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  • Weird, why was Campbell's Soup vice president Kelly Johnston tweeting racist #MigrantCaravan lies?

    You guys, when the weird gets weird on top of the weirdest weird, you have this kind of story. It's really weird.

    Campbell Soup Company was today forced to deny claims tweeted by lobbyist Kelly Johnston that billionaire philanthropist George Soros' foundation is helping the so-called “caravan of migrants” who are walking from Central America to the United States border.

    Kelly Johnston is Campbell's vice president of government affairs. On Monday, he tweeted that the Open Society Foundation arranged for "troop carriers" and "rail cars" to support the loosely organized group of asylum seekers who are walking north, and suffering greatly.

    Johnston's Twitter account has since been deleted. The tweet is gone, but Ken Vogel from the New York Times screengrabbed it.

    "The opinions Mr. Johnston expresses on Twitter are his individual views and do not represent the position of Campbell Soup Company," a company spokesperson says.

    Someone delivered a bomb to one of George Soros's homes in New York earlier this week, and a person who worked there opened the package and could have been killed. This kind of inflammatory hate speech has consequences.

    Read the rest
  • Baking Skullzones, skull-shaped calzones, for Halloween or any time

    Awesome baking project for Halloween.

    Check out the step-by step gallery, from IMGURian swhertzberg.

    Skullzones (OP Delivers)

    Read the rest

  • VA official proudly displays KKK Grand Wizard portrait in his D.C. office, ‘I thought it was very nice’

    An official with the U.S. Veterans Administration proudly displayed a lit formal portrait of Nathan Bedford Forrest, the Ku Klux Klan's first Grand Wizard, despite protestations from people who worked for him. ‘I thought it was very nice,’ he said of the official showcased art, which he is sad to have been forced to take down.

    David J. Thomas Sr. is the deputy executive director of the VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.

    Thomas says he removed this painting from his office after discovering the guy on the big horse, Nathan Bedford Forrest, was a slave trading Confederate general who became the first leader of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

    The painting is titled 'No Surrender,' by artist Don Stivers, and a signature shows it was painted in 1999.

    “Thomas’s staff includes 14 managers, nine of whom are black,” reports Lisa Rein at the Washington Post.

    She reports that it was only removed after “offended employees began signing a petition to present to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.

    David J. Thomas Sr. is deputy executive director of VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, which certifies veteran-owned businesses seeking government contracts. His senior staff is mostly African American.

    Thomas said he took down the painting Monday after a Washington Post reporter explained that its subject, Nathan Bedford Forrest, was a Confederate general and slave trader who became the KKK’s first figure­head in 1868. He said he was unaware of Forrest’s affiliation with the hate group, which formed after the Civil War to maintain white control over newly freed blacks through violence and intimidation.

    Read the rest
  • Perfectly rectangular iceberg

    NASA photographed a rectangular iceberg puttering around off the coast of Antarctica.

    Kelly Brunt, a glaciologist with Nasa and the University of Maryland, said the process of formation was a bit like a fingernail growing too long and cracking off at the end.

    They were often geometrically-shaped as a result, she said.

    "What makes this one a bit unusual is that it looks almost like a square," she added.

    The point of the postmodern notion of hyperreality is not that reality is a simulation. It's that you can't tell if it is or it isn't, even when it's totally fucking with you.

    Previously: Extremely mundane places in Minecraft Read the rest

  • How Amazon‬⁩, Microsoft‬⁩, ⁦Palantir‬⁩, & other Big Tech profit from ICE and help Trump abuse migrants

    In their 'No Tech For ICE' report, Mijente details how firms like Amazon‬⁩, ⁦‪Microsoft‬⁩, and ⁦‪Palantir‬⁩ plan to profit from the detention and deportations of migrants.

    “Technology companies are working with ICE to increase arrests, detentions, and deportations. Mijente, Immigrant Defense Project, and NIPNLG worked with Empower LLC to create this report exposing how tech is fueling the current deportation crisis. Learn more and join us to demand #notechforICE.”

    The groups are urging technology workers to “Tell your execs you won’t build tools that enable mass deportation & human rights abuses, sign our petition, and connect with us to find out how you can hold your companies accountable.”

    A [PDF of the report is here.]

    Read the rest
  • Pompeo announces first U.S. penalties against Saudi Arabia over Jamal Khashoggi killing

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today said the United States will revoke entry visas for the Saudi men accused of torturing and assassinating Washington Post contributing journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

    It's the first punishment of any kind by the Trump administration over what Turkey's government is now describing as the “planned” and “brutal” murder of the Saudi journalist.

    From the Washington Post, a paper to which Khashoggi was a contributing writer:

    Pompeo said he is also working with the Treasury Department on whether to impose other sanctions against those responsible for the journalist’s death.

    “These penalties will not be the last word on this matter from the United States,” Pompeo said during a briefing at the State Department. “We will continue to explore additional measures to hold those responsible accountable.”

    The State Department said the penalties would affect 21 Saudis. Most already have visas, and their documents are being revoked. Some who do not have visas are now ineligible for them, officials said.

    The Trump administration has lagged behind the international community in criticizing the Saudi government for the killing of the journalist, but has started expressing frustration with Riyadh’s shifting accounts of what happened after Khashoggi entered the consulate on Oct. 2.

    “The coverup was the worst in the history of coverups,” President Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday.

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, also today called on Saudi Arabia to extradite 18 suspects to Turkey to face justice proceedings over Khashoggi's death, and the ensuing coverup. Read the rest

  • Criminal's farts turn interrogation room into a gas chamber

    Sean A. Sykes Jr. pleaded guilty this week to having possessed marijuana, heroin and cocaine with the intent to sell and of using a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime. It's a win for the Kansas City district attorney who, in 2017, charged 25-year-old Sykes with possession of drugs with intent to sell and of being a felon in possession of three firearms. Did I mention that two of the three guns were stolen? I think it's safe to say that Sykes is enthusiastic about his career.

    Anyway, on to the good stuff.

    Last year, when Sykes was being questioned by the cops for these crimes, his gas, presumably due to his nerves being shot after being arrested, was so bad that the investigating officer was forced to evacuate the interrogation room for fear of being overwhelmed by farts.

    From the Kansas City Star:

    On Sept. 1, Sykes was in a car that police searched and found a backpack that contained various drugs and two handguns. One of the guns, a .357 Magnum, had been reported stolen out of a car in Independence a few days earlier, according to the documents.

    In his report about the interview, the detective wrote that when asked about his address, “Mr. Sykes leaned to one side of his chair and released a loud fart before answering with the address.”

    “Mr. Sykes continued to be flatulent and I ended the interview,” the detective wrote.

    Charges were not filed at that time.

    Then on Nov.

    Read the rest
  • EFF just sent this letter to every official negotiating the EU's Copyright Directive

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I write today on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to raise urgent issues related to Articles 11 and 13 of the upcoming Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive, currently under discussion in the Trilogues.

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. We work to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as our use of technology grows. We are supported by over 37,000 donating members around the world, including around three thousand within the European Union.

    We believe that Articles 11 and 13 are ill-considered and should not be EU law, but even stipulating that systems like the ones contemplated by Articles 11 and 13 are desirable, the proposed text of the articles in both the Parliament and Council texts contain significant deficiencies that will subvert their stated purpose while endangering the fundamental human rights of Europeans to free expression, due process, and privacy.

    It is our hope that the detailed enumeration of these flaws, below, will cause you to reconsider Articles 11 and 13's inclusion in the Directive altogether, but even in the unfortunate event that Articles 11 and 13 appear in the final language that is presented to the Plenary, we hope that you will take steps to mitigate these risks, which will substantially affect the transposition of the Directive in member states, and its resilience to challenges in the European courts . Read the rest

  • Catch a glimpse of a New York City legend for the price of an MTA ticket

    City Hall Loop was one of the terminus stations for the first subway line to be built under New York City. Opened to the public in 1904, it was beautiful, featuring brass chandeliers, glass tiling and sky lighting to fill it with a warm glow during the day. Unfortunately, the station was closed to the public back in 1945.

    Happily, it's still possible and totally legal to catch a glimpse of this wonder from a bygone architectural era. All it takes is a little patience and a ticket to ride the MTA.

    Image: by Rhododendrites - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link Read the rest

  • Halloween ornaments painted on salvaged lightbulbs

    David Irvine (AKA gnarledbranch) sent us a selection of photos of his delightful Halloween ornaments painted on salvaged lightbulbs.

    Read the rest

  • Famous racist does everyone a favor and dies

    Racists, emboldened by the policies of populist far-right leaning governments, seem to be everywhere these days. They're having rallies, breaking up families at borders and beating folks in the streets. Happily, time is a wheel: as our lives our lessened by the emergence of fresh bigoted bullshit, we're also gifted with what I hope is the incredibly painful passing of those who made it their life's work to spew hate and kindle chaos.

    From The New York Times:

    Robert Faurisson, a former literature professor turned anti-Semitic propagandist whose denial of the Holocaust earned him multiple prosecutions, died on Sunday at his home in Vichy, France. He was 89.

    Mr. Faurisson was regarded as a father figure by contemporary French exponents of Holocaust denial, the extremist fringe in a country with a long tradition of anti-Semitism. Contemporary far-right figures like the propagandist Alain Soral and Dieudonné, who calls himself a humorist, have followed in his footsteps, but none have had the long-range tenacity of Mr. Faurisson.

    At least in death, he might finally be able to contribute to something useful--fertilizing palm trees to provide observant Jews with shelter from the elements during Sukkot, for example.

    While things feel as permissive as hell here in North America, the French weren't willing to put up with Faurisson's holocaust denying nonsense. According to The New York Times, he became the first person in France to be convicted for saying that the Holocaust, a crime against humanity, never happened. More recently, the prick was fined 10,000 euros by the French courts for "propounding 'negationism'" in interviews published on the internet."

    Good riddance. Read the rest

  • San Francisco spends $3.1m/year on homeless toilets and $65m/year cleaning up poop

    San Francisco's housing crisis is also (of course) a homelessness crisis, and homelessness crises beget public defecation crises -- and San Francisco has a serious public defecation crisis.

    The city spends $65 million/year cleaning up the streets, a figure that is so high because of the quantities of feces, urine, and dirty needles that find their way onto San Francisco's streets. And despite the $65 million, San Francisco's streets are very, very dirty.

    People poop. Even if there isn't a toilet for them to poop in, they still poop. Where there are no toilets, there is still poop.

    Pit Stops are toilets provided for homeless people to use, complete with secure needle disposal boxes. They get used a lot: 50,000 flushes in August across 24 toilets, which cost the city $3.1 million/year (mostly labor -- the toilets are kept clean and sanitary). The $3.1 million seems like a lot, until you realize it's less than 5 percent of what the city is (under)spending to clean up the poop that doesn't get into the toilets. And neighborhoods with Pit Stops have a lot less public poop. People poop, and they prefer to poop in toilets.

    Writing in Mission Local, Joe Eskenazi calls for a "Marshall plan for toilets": " Rather than solely heed the reductive call for more power-washers and more money literally going down the drain, this city should take the intuitive step: To prevent filth on the streets, provide toilets. To prevent needles underfoot, provide deposit boxes."

    Whenever the problems of homelessness come up, someone is always there to say, "You can't solve this problem by throwing money at it." It's true! Read the rest

  • Italy may kill the EU's copyright filter plans

    When the EU voted for mandatory copyright censorship of the internet in September, Italy had a different government; the ensuing Italian elections empowered a new government, who oppose the filters.

    Once states totalling 35% of the EU's population oppose the new Copyright Directive, they can form a "blocking minority" and kill it or cause it to be substantially refactored. With the Italians opposing the Directive because of its draconian new internet rules (rules introduced at the last moment, which have been hugely controversial), the reputed opponents of the Directive have now crossed the 35% threshold, thanks to Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Belgium and Hungary.

    Unfortunately, the opponents of Article 11 (the "link tax") and Article 13 (the copyright filters) are not united on their opposition -- they have different ideas about what they would like to see done with these provisions. If they pull together, that could be the end of these provisions.

    If you're a European this form will let you contact your MEP quickly and painlessly and let them know how you feel about the proposals.

    That’s where matters stand now: a growing set of countries who think copyright filters and link taxes go too far, but no agreement yet on rejecting or fixing them.

    The trilogues are not a process designed to resolve such large rifts when both the EU states and the parliament are so deeply divided.

    What happens now depends entirely on how the members states decide to go forward: and how hard they push for real reform of Articles 13 and 11.

    Read the rest

  • Ebola outbreak in Congo: things are getting worse

    The latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has proven a sumbitch to contain. Since this latest "oh shit" moment in the history of this infectious outbreak started on August 1st, the brave healthcare professionals and epidemiologists throwing their shoulders into the problem have reported 200 total cases of the disease, 117 confirmed Ebola-related deaths and 35 deaths that are probably related to the illness. This latest outbreak, the 10th to have cropped up in Congo since 1976, is proving more difficult, logistically, than past outbreaks have been. The epicenter of the outbreak is in North Kivu Province: chockablock with danger as government forces, local militias and regional warlords get their violence on. This makes getting folks in the region to the care that they need and, just as vital, containing the disease, far more difficult than it already is.

    From The New York Times:

    Congolese rebels have killed 15 civilians and abducted a dozen children in an attack in the center of the latest outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, Congo’s military said Sunday. The violence threatened to again force the suspension of efforts to contain the virus.

    Congo’s health ministry has reported “numerous aggressions” in the new outbreak against health workers, who have described hearing gunshots daily. Many are operating under the armed escort of United Nations peacekeepers or Congolese security forces, and ending work by sundown to lower the risk of attack.

    The World Health Organization hasn't classified the outbreak as a world health emergency, yet. Read the rest

  • Amazon is actively pitching face-recognition to ICE

    Despite an uprising of Amazon employees over the use of the company's AI facial recognition program ("Rekognition") in law enforcement, the company is actively courting US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the hopes that it will use the wildly inaccurate technology.

    Thanks to work by McKinsney, ICE and Amazon's sales team met over the summer to discuss how Amazon's facial recognition could help the agency, which has cemented its reputation for performative xenophobic cruelty with a program of stealing babies from immigrant parents, dooming thousands of babies and children to never see their parents again.

    ICE could use facial recognition as part of its illegal surveillance of medical facilities and houses of worship.

    Amazon founder Jeff Bezos recently described his pro-immigration views ("I’d let them in if it was me, I like ‘em, I want all of them in").

    In an email to ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) office dated June 15, 2018, an Amazon “sales principal” described the meeting and spelled out follow-up “action items.” One was setting up a tech briefing for ICE officials about tools including the tagging and analysis capabilities of Amazon’s real-time facial matching system, dubbed “Rekognition.”

    “Thanks again for your interest in AWS [Amazon Web Service] to support ICE and the HSI mission,” the Amazon salesperson wrote.

    The email lists “actions items from our conversation,” starting with an “Innovation Workshop focused on a big HSI problem,” but does not describe the problem. Regarding that problem, the Amazon employee wrote, “I would be happy to arrange for a 1 day workshop.

    Read the rest

  • Senator Jeff Flake on Kavanaugh's denial of sexual assault: "I don't know if I believed him"

    Today on ABC's The View, Senator Jeff Flake admits that he doesn't know if Brett Kavanaugh, accused by three women of sexual assault, was telling the truth or not during his hearing before being confirmed to the Supreme Court.

    It was Flake who had requested a delay in the confirmation process to make room for a week-long FBI-investigation into the sexual assault accusations against Kavanaugh.

    At about 5:20 in the video, he's asked if he believed Ford, and he answers, "She was very compelling. He was very persuasive. I don't know. I don't know. I wish I had the certitude that some of my colleagues expressed. But I said on the floor before that hearing, we’re likely to hear the hearing with as much doubt as certainty. And that’s how I felt afterwards.”

    Later, at 6:15, he's asked again, "So you didn't believe her?"

    And he answers, "I don't know. I don't know if I believed him, either."

    Via Daily Beast Read the rest

  • The wonderful Uni-Ball Signo Gel Pens are $3.72 for a 3-pack

    I love the ink in the Uni-Ball Signo Gel Pen. It's stark, smooth, and pure. If you've not tried one yet, you're in for a treat. Amazon has them on sale right now - a 3-pack for $3.72. Read the rest

  • What is beauty? A new explainer video by Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

    Why did early humans form their tools into teardrop shapes? Why do so many human-made things have proportions that match the Golden Ratio? Why is symmetry appealing? Why is human made abstract art preferred over procedurally generated art? This new video by Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell explains that humans like the way certain things look because they are tied in some way to our survival.

    This explains why I like visiting r/cozyplaces. Read the rest

  • Gentleman snaps off $1 million sculpture

    A man couldn't resist the urge to climb Len Lye's "Water Whirler" sculpture in Wellington, New Zealand earlier this month. To his surprise, the $1 million artwork snapped. In a final act of resistentialism, the sculpture fell on the man while he was in the water, and he was sent to the hospital.

    From The New Zealand Herald:

    Roger Horrocks, a trustee of The Len Lye Foundation and author of Len Lye's biography, said it was not the first time the iconic sculpture had been damaged.

    The foundation had no uptake when it previously recommended Wellington City Council block access to the sculpture. He hoped it would now reconsider.

    "A sculpture like that has to be proofed against idiots - total idiots who want to destroy it."

    Image: YouTube screenshot Read the rest

  • This lantern is equally at home on your desk or on the trail

    If you're shopping for a camping lantern, you're looking for reliability, period. So it's nice to find something like the Revogi Convertible LED Lantern that jumps over that low bar and actually offers some versatility.

    Made of simple materials, the Revogi is high-tech in a refreshingly minimalist, eight-ounce package. Yes, it'll light up the campsite and then some with 25 LED bulbs delivering up to 2.5 watts, and it can do it for up to six hours on a charge at the highest of its three brightness settings. But it's also collapsible, which allows not only for added portability but functionality. Fold it out and it's a lantern, collapse it and it's a powerful spotlight. Thanks to the sleek design, it can even serve as an indoor lamp.

    In short, it can go just about anywhere. The Revogi Convertible LED Lantern is $32.99 now - 17% off the original MSRP. Read the rest

  • How to set up a fake phone number

    I learned about a phone service called Twilio from reading this Lifehacker article. The article is mainly about how to set up a phone number that makes calls "disappear into the ether, never reaching me, never bouncing back, but disappearing like a stone tossed into the fog." I'm not sure why just making up a random number wouldn't be the easiest thing to do if that's your goal, but Twilio sounds useful if you need a way to receive voicemail from certain people without having to hear your regular phone ring. One cool thing about Twilio is the way you can create a computer-voice announcement just by writing the words you want it to say:

    But here’s the fun part. When you click on your phone number’s settings on the Twilio dashboard, you can tell the service what it should do when somebody calls or texts the number. By default, it reads a little message (saying that you haven’t set up the number, or something). So I copied that message, and altered it so it sounded like a full voicemail box. Here’s my script:

    You have reached. 5 5 5. 5 5 5. 1 2 1 2. Please leave a message after the tone. This mailbox is full.

    Image: By takayuki/Shutterstock Read the rest

  • Every minute for three months, GM secretly gathered data on 90,000 drivers' radio-listening habits and locations

    On September 12th, GM's director of global digital transformation Saejin Park gave a presentation to the Association of National Advertisers in which he described how the company had secretly gathered data on the radio-listening habits of 90,000 GM owners in LA and Chicago for three months in 2017, tracking what stations they listened to and for how long, and where they were at the time; this data was covertly exfiltrated from the cars by means of their built-in wifi.

    The company says it never sold this data, but the presentation to the advertising execs was clearly designed to elicit bids for it. Toyota has promised not to gather and sell telematics data, but GM seems poised to create a market in data gathered by your car, which can listen to you, follow you, take pictures of you and your surroundings, and even gather data on which passengers are in the car at different times by tracking Bluetooth beacons from mobile devices.

    Saejin Park, GM's director of global digital transformation, the report said, explained that by matching audio feeds from AM, FM, and digitally driven XM radio,GM plans to study the alignment between radio cues and consumer behavior.

    "We sampled (the behavior) every minute just because we could," Park explained.

    The report said GM considered station selection, volume and ZIP codes of vehicle owners.

    Here's what GM learned, according to Park:

    The owner of a Cadillac Escalade large SUV might be more inclined to listen to a radio station that is different from someone driving a GMC Yukon, even though that also is a large SUV.

    Read the rest

  • Apps are using "silent notifications" to track you after you uninstall them

    A new generation of commercial trackers from companies like Adjust, AppsFlyer, MoEngage, Localytics, and CleverTap allow app makers like Bloomberg, T-Mobile US, Spotify Technology, and Yelp to covertly track when you've uninstalled apps: the trackers send periodic "silent notifications" to the apps you've installed, and if the apps are still installed, they ping the trackers' servers. If they don't hear back from you, they assume you've uninstalled the apps.

    The trackers are billed as a means for app vendors to understand whether sending an update triggers its users to delete the app.

    This use of trackers violates both Google and Apple's terms of service.

    At its best, uninstall tracking can be used to fix bugs or otherwise refine apps without having to bother users with surveys or more intrusive tools. But the ability to abuse the system beyond its original intent exemplifies the bind that accompanies the modern internet, says Gillula. To participate, users must typically agree to share their data freely, probably forever, not knowing exactly how it may be used down the road. “As an app developer, I would expect to be able to know how many people have uninstalled an app,” he says. “I would not say that, as an app developer, you have a right to know exactly who installed and uninstalled your app.”

    Now Apps Can Track You Even After You Uninstall Them [Gerrit De Vynck/Bloomberg]

    (via /.) Read the rest

  • Guidelines for "kind communications" in free software communities

    Richard Stallman's new GNU Kind Communications Guidelines are a brief set of guidelines for being "kind" in your interactions in free software communities, with the explicit goals of ensuring participation from "anyone who wishes to advance the development of the GNU system, regardless of gender, race, religion, cultural background, and any other demographic characteristics, as well as personal political views."

    It's similar to other codes of conduct that have started to become the norm in tech circles, but with some free software-specific clauses ("be kind when pointing out to other contributors that they should stop using certain nonfree software. For their own sake, they ought to free themselves, but we welcome their contributions to our software packages even if they don't do that. So these reminders should be gentle and not too frequent—don't nag").

    The guidelines do say that suggesting "that others use nonfree software" is "not allowed," and set out the two non-negotiable political principles necessary for GNU contributors: "(1) that users should have control of their own computing (for instance, through free software) and (2) supporting basic human rights in computing. We don't require you as a contributor to agree with these two points, but you do need to accept that our decisions will be based on them."

    Please respond to what people actually said, not to exaggerations of their views. Your criticism will not be constructive if it is aimed at a target other than their real views.

    If in a discussion someone brings up a tangent to the topic at hand, please keep the discussion on track by focusing on the current topic rather than the tangent.

    Read the rest

  • Listen to Vincent Price's delightful 1969 lecture on witchcraft, magick, and demonology

    In 1969, Capitol Records released this incredible double LP set (and double 8-track tape) from Vincent Price titled "Witchcraft-Magic: An Adventure in Demonology." Hear the whole thing above. The nearly two hours of spoken word includes sections on the history and culture of "witchcraft" and helpful guides such as "How To Invoke Spirits, Demons, Unseen Forces" and "How To Make A Pact With The Devil." I certainly wouldn't vouch for the factual accuracy or research rigor of the material, but hearing horror icon Price's silky narration about such topics as necromancy and the "Witches Sabbat" is a joy.

    Read the rest

  • Megyn Kelly can't understand why blackface is offensive

    Megyn Kelly is stumped as to why wearing blackface makeup for Halloween is offensive. "When I was a kid, it was ok," she said on NBC News this morning.

    Sitting with Kelly, Jenna Bush Hager, NBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff and Melissa Rivers tried to explain. “If you think it’s offensive, it probably is,” Rivers said. But it was a real head-scratcher for Kelly, who just couldn't understand why you can't wear blackface if you can run around with an axe on Halloween.

    Via Vice Read the rest

  • Indie UK mobile carrier announces a Tor-only SIM that blocks unencrypted data

    Getting all your data to flow through the Tor network can be tricky -- the desktop Tor Browser only tunnels your web-traffic through the privacy-protecting service, and the mobile apps can be tricky and uncertain.

    But the independent pro-privacy UK mobile carrier Brass Horn Communications (founded by Gareth Llewelyn of OnionDSL, founded in response to the UK's passage of yet more mass-surveillance laws in 2016) now offers a data-only SIM that blocks any unencrypted data that leaks out of your phone, ensuring that only encrypted data makes it to the internet.

    (Boing Boing's servers in Toronto run a high-capacity Tor exit node).

    The new SIM card, which is still in a beta testing stage, takes that idea mobile. It requires some setup; users need to create a new access point name on their device—essentially so the device can connect to the new network—but Brass Horn provides some instructions to do this. The SIM also requires Orbot to be installed and running on the device itself, and it currently only works in the UK (Llewelyn provided Motherboard with one of the SIM cards for testing purposes; Motherboard confirmed that the SIM does transfer data).

    This SIM Card Forces all of Your Mobile Data Through Tor [Joseph Cox/Motherboard] Read the rest

  • Pop-up restaurant serves last meals of death row inmates

    Tokyo-based art collective Chim↑Pom has opened a two-week pop-up restaurant that serves up the last meals once requested by real death row inmates.

    For example, before being executed by firing squad in 1977, Utah double murderer Gary Mark Gilmore ate a burger, a hard-boiled egg, and mashed potatoes, and drank three shots of whiskey. Here is Chim↑Pom's version of Gilmore's pre-execution eats:

    The Ningen ("Human") Restaurant is located in Kabukicho, Tokyo's red-light district, and is open until October 28 (2 PM to 9 PM).

    (Spoon & Tamago) Read the rest

  • Microplastics found in human poop
    Microplastics -- the tiny pieces of plastic debris littering our planet -- has been found in human poop, surprising nobody. The pilot study included 8 people from seven countries in Europe plus Japan. While the study was obviously very small, the researchers did discover waste plastic such as that from food wrappers and synthetic clothing in feces from all the participants. According to lead researcher Dr. Philipp Schwabl of the University of Vienna, the study was too small to draw any huge conclusions but it does confirm what sadly was inevitable. From Laura Parker's feature in National Geographic:

    “I’d say microplastics in poop are not surprising,” says Chelsea Rochman, an ecologist at the University of Toronto, who studies the effects of microplastics on fish. “For me, it shows we are eating our waste—mismanagement has come back to us on our dinner plates. And yes, we need to study how it may affect humans.”

    Every year, an average of eight million tons of plastic waste, most of it single-use varieties, flows into the world’s oceans from coastal regions. There, sunlight and wave action break these waterborne plastics down into bits the size of grains of rice. Fibers from synthetic clothes such as polyester and acrylic make their way into freshwater systems via washing machines. You can see this in action with a fleece jacket; just scratching the arm of the jacket can shed invisible fibers. As a result, tiny plastic fragments and fibers have now spread all over the planet. They're in deep sea trenches and in the air we breathe.

    Read the rest

  • America has an epidemic of workplace miscarriages, caused by pregnancy discrimination

    America has some of the weakest anti-pregnancy-discrimination rules in the world (the federal statute says that companies only have to give pregnant people lighter duties if they make similar accommodations for those "similar in their ability or inability to work); and this has produced an epidemic of workplace miscarriages among women who have frequently begged their supervisors for lighter duties, even presenting doctor's written notes with their pleas.

    Warehousing and logistics companies are among the worst offenders: Verizon/Nike/Disney contractor New Breed Logistics (a division of the $12 billion XPO Logistics) -- one worker quit New Breed/XPO after her supervisor told her she should have an abortion if she didn't feel she could perform her usual duties during her pregnancy.

    Other egregious offenders include grocery stores like Albertons (which demoted a woman who was forced to work until she miscarried). The New York Times reports on documented incidents of supervisors requiring pregnant women to work until they miscarried in "a hospital, a post office, an airport, a grocery store, a prison, a fire department, a restaurant, a pharmaceutical company and several hotels."

    Legal movement to protect pregnant women from workplace conditions that induce miscarriages has been stalled by "anti-regulation" Republicans like Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.

    The intransigence to protect the pregnancies of willing mothers is especially terrible given the brutal stance of the right on abortion: on the one hand, women who want babies are not allowed to keep them, while women who became pregnant by accident, or through rape, or whose health is threatened by their pregnancies are required to give birth to babies they don't want or can't safely deliver. Read the rest