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  • 90,000 young Britons register to vote in one day

    ...and they're likely to vote for the "unelectable" Jeremy Corbyn, a guy significantly to the left of, say, Bernie Sanders, who has survived multiple attempts by the finance-capital wing of his own party to unseat him, and who is riding on a national wave of disillusionment with Thatherism, Neo-Thatcherism, and May-Thatcherism. (more…)

  • Summer's almost here, time to pick up an outdoor-ready speaker

    Boasting an IPX6 waterproof rating, the Trakk Bullet Ultra Compact Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker resists dust and heavy rainfall. It’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store.

    The Trakk Bullet offers the same wireless convenience as other portable speakers, but few are built as tough as this one. Its utilitarian construction is designed to be a totally low-maintenance outdoor companion. Whether you’re hiking through a downpour or relaxing on the beach, the Trakk Bullet will keep playing anywhere for up to 20 hours on a single charge. And if you ever need to take it inside, just hose it down—it can easily withstand a high-pressure water stream.

    For crystal-clear audio in a durable package, pick up the Trakk Bullet Ultra Compact Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker. You can get it here for $39.99, 42% off the usual price.

  • Ryan Reynolds helps Honest Trailers take on Logan

    With a movie as good as Logan, Honest Trailers had to enlist Deadpool himself to help them make fun of it.

  • A prisoner in solitary confinement was the only survivor of the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century

    Mount Pelée, on the Caribbean island of Martinique, erupted in 1902, killing 30,000 people in the scenic town of Saint-Pierre. But rescuers found one man alive -- a 27-year-old laborer in a dungeon-like jail cell. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll meet Ludger Sylbaris, who P.T. Barnum called "The Only Living Object That Survived in the Silent City of Death."

    We'll also address some Indian uncles and puzzle over a gruesome hike.

    Show notes

    Please support us on Patreon!

  • Cars parked on the mean streets of mid-1970s New York City

    Cars: New York City, 1974–1976 collects over 100 of Langdon Clay's creepy shots of cars parked overnight on the streets of New York at its lowest ebb. The scenes evoke Taxi Driver, The Warriors, even a little Snake Plisken. (more…)
  • Vintage isochrone maps show 19th-century travel times

    In the late 19th century, travel times became a thing of fascination as modes of transportation improved by leaps and bounds (e.g., Around the World in 80 Days, published in 1873). Great thinkers of the day like Francis Galton even devised isochrone maps, which showed how long it would take to get from a central point to other points of interest. (more…)
  • Op-ed recommendation: “Why Straight Men Kill The Trans Women They Love”

    In this new op-ed, L.A.-based writer, actor, and trans activist Jen Richards explores the tragic phenomenon of straight men who murder the trans women they love. As she puts it, “Bigotry is rarely as simple as we’d like to believe.” Richards starts by detailing a romantic encounter she once had with a man named Mark, who suddenly became agitated. She writes:

    I know what the story would be if my lifeless body were later found, and if Mark were arrested. He would say that I didn’t tell him I was trans. That I came to his hotel room and it was only when we were in bed that he discovered I was “really a man.” That he panicked and the next thing he knew I was no longer breathing. If the case went to court, his lawyers would argue “trans panic,” an admissible defense in 49 states. And the only person who could contradict his statement, me, would be unable to. I would be further proof of a stubbornly pervasive narrative: the man who dresses up as a woman to trick a man. We as a society have decided that such deception justifies murder. He might go to jail for involuntary manslaughter—maybe—but there’d undoubtedly be sympathy for him, too. How awful to think you’re with a woman and have it turn out to be a man. (The unspoken subtext being “the faggot had it coming.”)

    No one would know that Mark sought me out in a forum specifically for men looking for trans women. That he was one of many straight men who watch trans pornography, hire trans escorts, troll Craigslist for “discreet” hookups, go to clubs trans women are known to frequent, or look for trans sex workers on the “stroll” that every city has. No one would know I don’t trick men, that I don’t need to.

    I made it out unharmed that night, but many women like me don’t.

    Richards goes on to tell the story of 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson, a trans girl killed by her boyfriend. She ties both stories into broader issues of toxic masculinity, which can be fueled by things even as seemingly innocuous as a crude joke made by a Bachelorette contestant. The full article is well worth a read and is available on Logo’s New Now Next website.

  • A great look back at Soviet futurism

    This summer, the Barbican is mounting Into the Unknown: A Journey through Science Fiction. As part of that, they will be displaying some rare Soviet-era sci-fi collectibles from the seminal Tekhikia – Molodezhi magazine, according to a great overview by It's Nice That. (more…)
  • An awesome Beatles-scored tap dance routine

    Dancer/choreographer Nick Young uses The Beatles’ “Come Together” as inspiration for this gorgeously shot tap dance number.

  • Watch how maple syrup harvesting has gone high-tech

    Buckets hanging on maple trees may have worked great 200 years ago, but modern producers use a system like the internet: a series of tubes! (more…)

  • Friendly woodpecker gets a guided tour of Chicago

    “Welcome to Chicago!”

  • Watch this artist assemble her gorgeous papercraft portraits

    Yulia Brodskaya (previously) creates beautiful textured portraits by tightly folding and quilling colorful paper and affixing it upright on a flat surface. Here's a timelapse of her piece Girl with peacock earrings. (more…)

  • Taste-testing weird, internet-famous pizzas

    First We Feast’s Sean Evans teams up with The Pizza Show’s Frank Pinello to taste test internet-famous pizzas like The Taco Taco Taco Pizza, The Pizza Box Pizza, and a 24 Karat Gold Pizza that costs $2,000 per pie.

  • Meet Unko Sensei, the poop teacher making kanji fun for Japanese kids

    Unko Sensei (literally Poop Teacher), is a charming mustachioed turd helping Japanese grade-schoolers learn over 1000 kanji characters required by the end of 6th grade. (more…)

  • The world’s heaviest weight

    The YouTube channel Veritasium visits the world’s heaviest weight at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Washington, D.C. With a maximum force of 1 million pounds, it's used to measure the force of planes, jets, and rockets.

  • Liverpool, I'll see you tonight on the Walkaway tour! (then Birmingham, Hay-on-Wye, San Francisco...) (!)

    Thanks to everyone who came out for last night's final London event on the UK Walkaway tour, at Pages of Hackney with Olivia Sudjic; today I'm heading to Waterstones Liverpool One for an event with Dr Chris Pak, followed by a stop tomorrow at Waterstones in Birmingham and then wrapping up in the UK with an event with Adam Rutherford at the Hay Festival. (more…)

  • Remembering the original, Harold Pinter screen adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale

    Zachary Smith writes, "Almost 30 years before Hulu's take on Margaret Atwood's feminist classic, a less-successful adaptation was filmed in Durham, NC. Here's a well-researched look at the making of that film, and its strange parallels to the community." (more…)

  • Colombian biologist won't go to jail for 8 years for sharing a scientific paper (probably)

    Timothy writes, "Diego Gómez is a Colombian conservation biologist. When he was a college student, he shared a single research paper online so that others could read and learn from it, just as he did. Diego was criminally prosecuted for copyright infringement, and faced up to 8 years in prison." (more…)

  • Would-be Montana GOP Congressjerk with ties to sanctioned Russian companies beats up reporter at press-conference

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQwu4wff7lI

    Greg Gianforte is a short-tempered, hyper-conservative Montana political hopeful who is standing for the GOP in a special election for a Congressional seat; he is also invested in Russian firms that are under US sanction. (more…)

  • UK Tories say they'll exploit Manchester's dead to ban working crypto in the UK

    One of UK Prime Minister Theresa May's government ministers told a reporter from The Sun that the government is planning on invoking the "Technical Capabilities Orders" section of the Snoopers Charter, a 2016 domestic spying bill; the "orders" allow the government to demand that companies cease using working cryptography in their products and services, substituting it with deliberately defective code that can be broken. (more…)

  • Republican candidate Greg Gianforte attacks reporter during interview (Updated: he's been charged with assault)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhoH4v8xYlU

    Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate in Montana's congressional election, attacked a reporter from UK newspaper The Guardian, body-slamming him and breaking his glasses.

    In audio recorded by Ben Jacobs, who covers the U.S. political beat, you can hear Gianforte getting shirty, then, when pressed, the muffled sounds of what Jacobs said was "the strangest thing that has ever happened to him in politics."

    “I’m sick and tired of you guys,” Gianforte said. “The last guy who came here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here. Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?”

    “Yes! You just broke my glasses,” Jacobs replied.

    “The last guy did the same damn thing,” Gianforte said.

    “You just body slammed me and broke my glasses,” Jacob said.

    “Get the hell out of here,” Gianforte yelled.

    Jacobs was taken to hospital but is fine—except for his specs. A TV crew and a Buzzfeed reporter were nearby at the time, each apparently getting a partial look at the altercation. The Gallatin County sheriff, Brian Gootkin, says he's investigating.

    One interesting aspect to Gianforte: he's a tech entrepreneur, which would account both for his emotional inability to cope with conflict and his evidently slobbish and untutored combat technique.

    UPDATE: Gianforte's campaign released a statement suggesting that Jacobs got physical, not Gianforte. I'm not sure if it was released before or after The Guardian published its audio of the incident, but one doubts they were aware of it.

    UPDATE II: The Fox affiliate news crew in the room with them released a statement, and it's completely damning for Gianforte.

    Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of "I'm sick and tired of this!"

    Jacobs scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken. He asked Faith, Keith and myself for our names. In shock, we did not answer. He then said he wanted the police called and went to leave. Gianforte looked at the three of us and repeatedly apologized. At that point, I told him and Scanlon, who was now present, that we needed a moment. The men then left.

    To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff's deputies.

    UPDATE III, 5 a.m. Thursday: He's been charged with assault and the big local newspapers supporting him have publicly repudiated their endorsements. The interesting wrinkle is that it all happened so late in the race—the election is today!—that it seems unlikely to cut Gianforte's substantial polling lead. When you consider mail-in votes, they may already have all-but elected this lying handsy thug.

  • Whatever happened to Alfalfa from Little Rascals?

    This is a good homebrew documentary about Little Rascals' Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer. He was born in 1929. As an adult he held a variety of odd jobs such as dog trainer, bartender, and hunting guide. He was shot to death in 1959 during a drunken confrontation over $50 at a movie cowboy's house in Mission Hills California. He was 31.

  • Trumpcare would leave 23 million fewer insured by 2026, CBO forecast of GOP health bill shows

    The plan Donald Trump and the GOP released to dismantle "Obamacare," the Affordable Care Act, will increase the projected number of people without health insurance by 14 million next year and by 23 million in 2026, the Congressional Budget Office reported Wednesday. The long-awaited "CBO report" you've been hearing about in the news was finally released today, weeks after The American Health Care Act, or "Trumpcare," narrowly passed the House. The 10-year figure of 23 million people losing their insurance coverage is slightly less than originally estimated, but still completely insane.

    (more…)

  • Animated interviews with "futurists" Ayn Rand, Kurt Vonnegut, and Aldous Huxley

    The first law of futurism is that there are no facts about the future, only fictions.

    (Blank on Blank)

  • 'Bad' Russian intel may have influenced how FBI and Comey handled Clinton email investigation, helping Trump win

    But his intel.

    The Washington Post has a bombshell report out today on how the Russians may have hoaxed former FBI director James B. Comey into his public statement on the Hillary Clinton "but her emails" investigation, which helped swing the election in Donald Trump's favor.

    (more…)

  • TSA to require some electronics out of bags at 10 U.S. airports starting Memorial Day weekend

    The TSA will be testing out expanded screening for carry-on electronics larger than a phone and certain food items at selected airports around the country. The new rules come just two days after a major terrorist attack in Manchester, UK, and stepped-up security in response.

    The TSA says they're “testing security screening procedures for carry-on bags at 10 U.S. airports” only, and “There are no changes to nationwide procedures.”

    (more…)

  • Game of Thrones season 7 trailer

    ♫ Enemies to the west of me, enemies to the east, here I am, stuck in the middle with you ♪

    The seventh and final season of Game of Thrones starts July 16.

  • Watch the beauty of a Lego Porsche 911 crashing in slow motion

    Who knew a slo-mo car crash could look so celestial? Of course it helps that the car, going about 29 mph, was made of Lego pieces.

    From YouTube:

    c't went to the crash test experts from ADAC and crashed the model car just like a big one (EURO-NCAP, 40% offset). The crash was filmed with several high speed cameras with 1000 fps.

  • Neil Gaiman agrees to read entire Cheesecake Factory menu, with a catch

    Neil Gaiman has just agreed to do a dramatic reading of the Cheesecake Factory menu, which is nearly the size of a Bible. But there's a catch – the Coraline author will only do the reading if $500,000 has been raised for a charity of his choice, which happens to be the United Nations Refugee Agency.

    It all started with a tweet from comedian and author Sara Benincasa:

    "Dear @neilhimself: for $500K to the charity of your choice would you read the Cheesecake Factory menu in its entirety onstage pls advise."

    To which Gaiman replied a few hours later:

    I have said Yes. If she makes it happen, for charity, I will do this thing.

    According to Los Angeles Times:

    Benincasa told Eater that her tweet was inspired in part by watching the television adaptation of one of Gaiman's most famous books.

    “Last week I watched an episode of the sublime TV adaptation of ‘American Gods,’ went on a goddamn elegant date to Cheesecake, woke up, drank coffee, and went into some kind of inspiration blackout. When I came to, I discovered I'd asked Neil if he'd read the entire Cheesecake Factory menu onstage in exchange for a $500,000 donation to a charity of his choice.”

    Benincasa then set up a fundraising campaign on the charity crowdfunding site Crowdrise

    "If we hit $500K, Neil has kindly agreed to do a live reading of the greatest restaurant menu of all time. It's about 8000 pages, last time I checked," Benincasa wrote on the site. "Have you heard Neil's voice? Mellifluous, I tell you."

    So if you want to hear all about the Glamburgers, Skinnylicious victuals, cheesecakes galore, and the millions of other Factory menu items read in Gaiman's "mellifluous" voice, you can chip in at Crowdrise to make it happen.

    Image: ActuaLitté

  • Is this keyboard player the happiest person on the planet?

    The keyboardist for The Incredible Bongo Band likes his job. (There's also some seriously egregious cultural appropriation happening.)