Shared posts

20 Dec 18:50

The Prenda Saga Goes Criminal: Steele and Hansmeier Indicted On Federal Charges (Updated)

by Ken White

Ahh the satisfied smile of watching bad people get caught hard.

This is the latest post in the Prenda Law saga.

More than three and a half years ago I started covering a copyright-troll firm called Prenda Law, which came to my attention because it was filing defamation suits against critics accusing it of wrongdoing. Rarely does the Streisand Effect so utterly annihilate a group of censorious miscreants.

Over the last three years, Prenda Law and its principals John Steele and Paul Hansmeier have met with ruin at the hands of federal courts across the country. Their scheme — to upload porn, track people downloading it from torrent sites, then engage in fraudulent and extortionate litigation against the downloaders — has been exposed. The story has involved spectacles like lawyers taking the Fifth rather than answer a judge's questions about their lawsuits, devastating sanctions orders quoting Star Trek and referring lawyers for federal criminal investigation, withering fire from federal appellate courts, and generally every bad thing that can happen to a lawyer happening to the bad men behind this case.

When people have asked me why these lawyers aren't in jail, I've answered that the wheels turn slowly.

But they turn.

Today federal agents arrested John Steele and Paul Hansmeier, the two lawyers most responsible for this nationwide debacle. They were arrested on a federal indictment brought by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota. An indictment is an accusation, not proof: it only signifies that the U.S. Attorney has persuaded a grand jury that there is probable cause, which is not one of the more difficult challenges anyone ever faced. But a federal indictment is a very grave development for any defendant. The feds' competitive advantage is their ability to pick and choose cases, to develop evidence and witnesses painstakingly over time, and to bring their case only after they've amassed what they see as overwhelming odds in their favor.

The indictment (courtesy of Fight Copyright Trolls) is here. Let's discuss it, shall we?

The indictment charges Hansmeier and Steele with a raft of federal crimes: conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to suborn perjury in federal court. As usual, if you count up the statutory maximum sentence for all of these crimes, you get a ridiculous number that bears no relation to the probable sentences they face if convicted. However, given the amounts discussed in the indictment, they are facing years in federal prison.

Having covered this story for almost four years, what's remarkable to me is how comprehensive the federal indictment is. It covers almost every sort of misconduct any judge or commentator has accused Steele and Hansmeier of committing in substantial detail. It therefore serves to demonstrate how broad and flexible federal criminal law is — how it can be brought to bear against a wide variety of conduct.

The story, as the indictment tells it, is this: Steele and Hansmeier used various entities, including Prenda Law, to commit fraud. The indictment mentions many entities familiar to followers of this story — AF Holdings, Ingenuity 13, Guava LLC, and so forth. These entities would appear in copyright cases as the nominal plaintiffs, but the indictment alleges they were actually owned and controlled entirely by Steele and Hansmeier to conduct their fraudulent scheme. According to the feds, Steele and Hansmeier uploaded their "clients'" pornographic movies to file-sharing websites intending to lure people into downloading them, then sued the people who downloaded for copyright infringement, concealing their role in uploading the movies. They used what the feds describe as "extortionate tactics" to coerce quick settlements, and dismissed cases when defendants fought back rather than risk discovery. When federal courts began limiting the number of people they could sue at once for porn copyright infringement, they changed tactics and began to file suits falsely asserting that their clients had been "hacked" and then using those allegations as a basis to subpoena ISPs for subscriber information. Eventually Steele and Hansmeier filmed their own porn to upload to support this scheme. When courts began suspicious, the indictment alleges that Steele and Hansmeier sent underlings to lie to courts, or even lied to courts themselves, to conceal the scheme. The indictment specifies 14 separate instances of perjury or lying to courts. This scheme, the feds claim, netted more than $6,000,000 in copyright settlements, of which $3,000,000 went to Steele and Hansmeier and only $1,000,000 went to sham "clients," with the rest consumed for expenses.

The feds apply these facts to the law deftly. They describe the entire thing as a conspiracy to defraud, which forms the first (and most flexible) count in the indictment. The indictment offers five counts of mail fraud tied to five settlement demand letters sent by the schemers. It offers 11 counts of wire fraud tied to uploadings of porn to file sharing site and processing of checks. That's the way mail and wire fraud works — every mailing or wire communication resulting from the scheme can be a separate count. The feds frame their conspiracy to commit money laundering charge on the theory that Steele and Hansmeier engaged in transactions (probably with the sham companies) designed to conceal that the money came from mail fraud and wire fraud. The conspiracy to commit perjury count is based on the theory that they agreed to send people across the country to lie to courts to protect their scheme. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of ill-gotten gains.

This is a devastating indictment. Its scope will make it extremely expensive and difficult to defend. The detail level suggests that the feds have amassed a vast amount of documentary evidence. Its reference to Prenda Law employees with initials like "M.L." and "P.H." strongly suggests that the feds have flipped some former employees, who are now testifying for the government.

Prenda fell years ago. But now doom has come for Steele and Hansmeier. Based on my observations throughout this case, it couldn't happen to more deserving criminals.

Steele and Hansmeier might have continued this scheme for much longer — and might have even gotten away with it — had they not gotten arrogant and vengeful. When criticized, rather than settling and dismissing some suits and moving on (the way practiced con men do), they were incensed, and decided to abuse the legal system even more by blitzing critics with multiple lawsuits. John Steele gleefully threatened opponents and Paul Hansmeier famously sneered at the defamation defendants "welcome to the big leagues." It was those actions that drew much more attention to their cases. Character is destiny. Not only are Steele and Hansmeier wanton crooks, they're spiteful, entitled, arrogant douches. That led to their downfall.

December 19 bail update: Paul Hansmeier made his first appearance in Minnesota District Court and was released on a $100,000 signature bond — that is, he was released on a promise to pay $100,000 if he fails to appear for trial or breaks terms of release.


That sounds fairly lenient, but bear in mind that under the Bail Reform Act bond is supposed to be set at the minimum necessary to make sure that the defendant doesn't flee and doesn't pose a danger to the community. White collar dudes — and particularly white white collar dudes — typically get pretty low bail in federal court.

John Steele was arrested in Florida. Here's the way it's supposed to work: if you get arrested on a federal warrant in a different district, you have a right to a hearing at which the feds have to show you're the same dude charged in the other district and that there's probable cause (which can be satisfied by an indictment, like they have here.) Steele — who said he would be representing himself — waived further proceedings, thus agreeing to go to Minnesota to appear, and was released immediately on a $100,000 signature bond and a promise to post an actual $100,000 bond (meaning he'll have to put up $10,0000). Again, that is not atypical.

If Steele represents himself in Minnesota, it will be spectacular.

Copyright 2016 by the named Popehat author.
12 Dec 16:27

how george washington got votes - 12/07/16

Today's selection -- from Drinking in America by Susan Cheever. Money, alcohol, and votes were regular companions at polling places in colonial and early America:

"George Washington, a wealthy Virginia aristocrat who loved par­ties and fox hunting, found out about the connection between drink­ing and voting for the American electorate the hard way. A rigorous military commander who drove his soldiers hard and expected much of them, he began to aspire to a government position after he did not get a command in the British military. While seeking a seat in the Vir­ginia Assembly in 1755, he was roundly defeated.

George Washington
depicted during
French &
Indian War days. 

"Two years later he ran again, but this time he delivered 144 gallons of rum, punch, cider, and wine to the polling places distributed by election volunteers who urged the voters to drink up. At 307 votes, he got a return on his investment of almost two votes per gallon. Most elections featured vats and barrels of free liquor as well as the candi­date in hand to drink along with his constituency. Candidates showed off their generosity as well as their drinking capacity. Although voting while intoxicated was normal for the colonists, French traveler Ferdi­nand Bayard was horrified to notice, 'Candidates offer drunkenness openly to anyone who is willing to give them his vote.'

"A few years later the writer George Prentice described a Kentucky election that lasted three days. 'During that period whiskey and apple toddy flow through our cities and villages like the Euphrates through ancient Babylon.' Later, after the Revolution, some of the Founding Fathers objected to the American way of voting. James Madison, who drank a pint of whiskey daily to aid his digestion, was also running for the Virginia Assembly in 1777. Madison decided that bribing the voters with alcohol was beneath his dignity and the dignity of the new nation. The influence of liquor at the polls was 'inconsistent with the purity of moral and republican virtues,' he announced. He lost.

Old courthouse in Philadelphia during the October 1, 1764 election

"Later, when he became Thomas Jefferson's secretary of state, Madison's ideas about democracy began to sharpen. A Virginia aris­tocrat who had grown up on a plantation, he did not believe in 'excessive democracy'; democracy was too precious to waste on the common man. This belief, which may have begun with his horror at the way polling places were conducted, led him to favor a strong fed­eral government, and he eventually helped Alexander Hamilton­ -- another man who was disturbed by drunkenness -- draft The Federal­ist Papers."

18 Nov 19:12

silenceformysoul: George William Russell (1867-1935) - Spirit...


George William Russell (1867-1935) - Spirit of the Pool

17 Nov 16:50

A psychological link between disease and gender equality

by Annalee Newitz

Enlarge / In the movie Children of Men, declining public health leads to extreme social inequality.

Levels of disease in the environment may be linked to gains in women's political power. That's the finding of two psychologists who pored over six decades of data, looking at connections between ecological stressors and gender equality. Arizona State - Tempe's Michael E. W. Varnum and University of Waterloo, Canada's Igor Grossmann found that declining infectious disease rates in the US were strongly correlated with a rise in gender equality. The big question is why. Writing in Nature Human Behavior, the researchers say the trend can be partly explained by looking at how pathogens "cue people to adopt faster life strategies."

Varnum and Grossman's study was inspired by the field of behavioral ecology, where scientists explore how the physical environment affects animal behavior. Obviously, social equality among humans is affected by political events such as the passage of Title IX and anti-discrimination laws. But the researchers were curious about whether environmental factors might also have an impact on whether we build societies that are more egalitarian or more authoritarian. To get an answer, Varnum and Grossmann narrowed their focus to looking strictly at gender equality between the years 1951 and 2013 in the US and the UK. They explain that they created "an index of gender equality using data on indicators of political representation (the number of women in Congress), wage inequality (male:female wage ratio based on data from the US Women’s Bureau and the National Committee on Equal Pay), linguistic representation in cultural products (use of male versus female pronouns in published books) and sexist work attitudes (percentage of respondents in Gallup polls preferring a male boss)."

They stacked this data up against changes in four environmental problems that affect humanity: infectious disease, resource scarcity, warfare, and climatic stress. Of the four, only infectious disease could predict levels of gender equality. But the effect was striking. As levels of infectious disease dropped, Varnum and Grossmann could see a similar drop in gender inequality. Making the relationship more believable was the fact that it operated at a temporal remove. Fifteen years after a decline in nine infectious diseases, we see the most noticeable uptick gender equality. Essentially, it takes almost a generation for the environmental conditions to affect social ones. The researchers got these results by looking at CDC data on the prevalence of tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea, malaria, typhoid, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, and polio in the US. As a point of comparison, they looked at deaths from measles and tuberculosis in the UK. In both countries, the pattern was the same. As diseases dropped, gender equality rose.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

15 Nov 17:05

This fall, the “Radioactive Boy Scout” died at age 39

by Cyrus Farivar

Enlarge (credit: Kelly Michals)

David Charles Hahn, who gained some notoriety in 1994 for attempting to build a homemade breeder nuclear reactor for a Boy Scout project in his mom's Michigan backyard shed, has died at the age of 39. He passed away on September 27, but his death did not draw much media attention until Monday.

Breeder reactors are a type of nuclear reactor that generate more fissile material than they consume. They have been researched extensively for decades, and a number have been built, but the approach has largely been abandoned.

Hahn’s travails were most notably chronicled in a 1998 article in Harper’s, which described his story in detail. (That article was later expanded into a book, The Radioactive Boy Scout.)

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

15 Nov 16:53

D&D rolls a 20, makes it into the Toy Hall of Fame this year

by Andrew Cunningham

Enlarge / Dungeons & Dragons, one of this year's inductees into the Toy Hall of Fame. (credit: The Strong National Museum of Play)

For more than four decades, people looking for a bit of fun escapism have been able to turn to Dungeons & Dragons, the tabletop role-playing game first published in 1974. The game, currently in its fifth edition, has had a big influence on countless other tabletop games and video games, and this year The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, has recognized its contributions by inducting it into its Toy Hall of Fame.

“More than any other game, Dungeons & Dragons paved the way for older children and adults to experience imaginative play,” said museum curator Nic Ricketts. “It was groundbreaking. And it opened the door for other kinds of table games that borrow many of its unique mechanics. But most importantly, Dungeons & Dragons’ mechanics lent themselves to computer applications, and it had a direct impact on hugely successful electronic games like World of Warcraft.”

D&D was inducted alongside Fisher-Price's Little People toddler toys and the swing (yes, as in swing set). The three new inductees were chosen from a list of 12 finalists and beat out Nerf, the coloring book, Transformers, the card game Uno, and Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, to name just a few.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

15 Nov 15:56

Check the balance of your gaming dice by floating them in salt water

by Mark Frauenfelder

Over at Make, Gareth Branwyn wrote about how to check the balance of your d20 dice:

Gamer Daniel Fisher used an old golf ball balancing trick to test the integrity of his D20 gaming dice. To set up the test, he mixed 6+ tablespoons of salt with 1/3 cup room temperature water in a small glass jar. By floating and spinning a die in the jar, he was able to see if it consistently rolled high, low, or was balanced.

Among other things, Fisher discovered that translucent dice tend to be more balanced, perhaps because you can easily see imperfections inside them (and wouldn’t buy or use them). Finding out that a number of his D20s regularly rolled low or high in the water, he cut into one to see what might be causing the imbalance. Inside, he found obvious manufacturing imperfections, chalky areas where the die may not have cured properly. Later in the video, he puts the cut die under a microscope to get a closer look inside.

15 Nov 15:55

aleyma: Edmund J. Sullivan, Death in a Bell Tower, 1912...


Edmund J. Sullivan, Death in a Bell Tower, 1912 (source).

09 Nov 21:46

Makeover of 2016

by Scandinavia and the World
Makeover of 2016

Makeover of 2016

View Comic!

09 Nov 13:28

anarchy-of-thought: The Morgan Library & Museum, New York...


wow that is georgious


The Morgan Library & Museum, New York City

03 Nov 14:18

The Ars Technica science fiction bucket list—42 movies every geek must see

by Ars Staff

I need to see some of these!

Enlarge / From A to Z, as it were. This was fun. I liked making this. (credit: 20th Century Fox)

Here at Ars, we're always making lists (just like Liam Neeson). Lists of science fiction movies are a common item for discussion on the Ars staff Slack channel—particularly short lists of the best science fiction movies ever made. But "best" is an impossible word to quantify in any broadly applicable way—one person's "best ever" might be another person's worst, especially in a genre of movies as rich and varied as science fiction.

While the Ars staff has some bitter disagreements on which movies are better than others, it's undeniable that some science fiction movies are mandatory viewing for the modern geek. To that end, rather than try to pull together another tired "top ten sci-fi movies" listicle, we've instead polled the Ars staff to try to come up with a definitive "science fiction bucket list"—that is, a list of sci-fi movies that you should absolutely see at least once before you die. They aren't necessarily the "best" movies by any specific set of criteria, but every film on this list is outstanding in some particular way. Some were groundbreaking in their stories or subject matter, some were controversial, and some contained a character or plot twist that went on to become an archetype, referenced in and reused by countless other films. Some films on the list, like Fritz Lang's Metropolis, are pure cinematic poetry; others, like Pacific Rim, are pure popcorn fun. And, as a bonus, we even included a bonus list of a few absolutely terrible stinkers at the very bottom.

Strap in, dear reader, and pick through the Ars Technica sci-fi bucket list. Each staffer contributed a movie or two to the list, so we've captured a pretty broad range of must-see films. We're sure many folks are going to disagree over our choices—this is the Internet, after all, and arguments on the Internet about science fiction have been going on since the 1970s!—so you're welcome to tell us all of the movies we should have included but didn't down in the comments.

Read 52 remaining paragraphs | Comments

01 Nov 13:15

When She's Got You Puzzled

mad,emotions,rubiks cube,dating

Submitted by: Unknown

Tagged: mad , emotions , rubiks cube , dating
01 Nov 13:08

Where do laptops go when they die?

by Scott K. Johnson

(credit: Rashmi Gupta)

As electronics have become increasingly ubiquitous, the never-ending upgrade churn fills an ever-larger e-graveyard. If that’s where the story ends, we’re in real trouble. The several years of use a typical device sees effectively become a short conveyor belt between mines around the world and the local landfill. The only sensible and sustainable thing to do is to recycle the materials in our devices—ideally right into the next generation of tech.

Responsible recycling operations (that don’t simply dump e-waste in developing countries) have an interesting set of challenges to work on. Recycling is always trying to catch up to—and is limited by—what manufacturers are doing. But opportunities are there for those willing to make it a priority.

To learn a little about the kinds of things that can be done now and what stands in the way of doing more, Ars talked to Dell about its recycling efforts. Dell runs a take-back program for old devices in partnership with Goodwill, which sells anything worth selling and sends the rest on.

Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

31 Oct 13:49

Butt shot shows promise as male birth control—but many side effects, too

by Beth Mole

Enlarge (credit: Getty | Dmitry Rogulin )

Routine hormone injections into the buttocks of 320 men dramatically shrunk their sperm counts and prevented pregnancies during a year-long, early-phase trial, researchers reported Thursday.

The findings suggest that a future hormonal male contraceptive may one day be possible. However, the data also revealed high rates of side effects, such as acne and mood swings, suggesting much more work is needed before such a birth control method is realized.

"A male hormonal contraceptive is possible," lead author Mario Festin, a medical officer with the department of reproductive health and research at the World Health Organization, told the Chicago Tribune. "We have to continue searching for or investigating the right drugs, and their combinations, with the highest efficacy and safety, and acceptability, with the least side effects."

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

31 Oct 13:49

Tesla shows off solar roof and energy ambitions at Los Angeles event

by Megan Geuss


UNIVERSAL STUDIOS, Calif.—On Friday evening Tesla officially announced an integrated solar roof and Powerwall product for individual use. When or if the roof and the Powerwall become available to consumers is most likely contingent on Tesla and SolarCity investors voting to approve Tesla's offer to buy SolarCity in a $2.6 billion (£2.1 billion) all-stock deal on November 17.

Tesla set up an elaborate "neighborhood" display on the Universal Studios lot in Los Angeles. The company unveiled several model homes with Tesla Powerwalls mounted on the side and a variety of custom roofs with photovoltaic cells disguised as tiles.

"You really need to make solar panels as appealing as electric cars have become," Tesla CEO Elon Musk told a crowd of several hundred people as the sun set on the artificial neighborhood. "The goal is to have a roof that's less than the installed cost of a roof plus electricity."

Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

31 Oct 12:21


27 Oct 19:54

Non-designers design a "superior anti-clogging drain device"

by Mark Frauenfelder

Design website Core77 says, "Industrial designers: Do you find it stings when non-designers invent a successful product that you should have thought of?" The product is called the TubShroom, and it's a silicone ribber gadget that fits into drains to trap hair.

What's interesting is that [inventors Serge and Elena Karnegie] sought funding on both Kickstarter and IndieGogo — and smashed it on both. They gathered $59,267 on the former and about $120,000 on the latter.

That was last year. This year they've returned to Kickstarter with a smaller version called, unsurprisingly, the SinkShroom. The $12 device has already been 400% funded, and there's 18 days left to pledge if you want one.

The TubShroom is available on Amazon for $13.

27 Oct 18:45

20 arrested, 61 charged in India-based IRS phone scam case

by Cyrus Farivar

Enlarge (credit: Jim Watson / Getty Images News)

On Thursday morning, federal authorities in Texas unsealed criminal charges against dozens of people who are accused of being part of a “transnational criminal organization” that allegedly victimized tens of thousands of people and yielded hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.

The indictment was filed against 61 people and includes charges of conspiracy to commit identity theft, impersonation of an officer of the United States, wire fraud, and money laundering. Of those people, 20 were arrested Thursday in the US.

The suspects are believed to have orchestrated an incredibly large series of phone-based scams that lasted for years. According to prosecutors, the suspects would call victims, impersonating Internal Revenue Service and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services officials, and would then demand payment through debit cards or wire transfers. If victims didn’t pay up, the callers threatened them with arrest, deportation, or heavier fines. There were also related scams involving fake payday loans and bogus US government grants, according to the criminal complaint.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

27 Oct 18:36

Dude's Wife Gets Another Random Call from Some Thirsty Stranger Looking for an Escort, and He Steps in with Hilarious Response

27 Oct 12:21

This Video Is Proof That Teaching Your Mom How to Use VR Is the Perfect Way to Pass the Time

27 Oct 12:19

EU lies and the British tabloids who told them

by Cory Doctorow


Last June, the Economist ran this chart: "Lies, Damned Lies, and Directives," which documents decades of flat-out lies about EU regulations that were published in the tabloid press (many invented by the UK's post-Brexit foreign minister and Trumpian hairclown Boris Johnson, whose press colleagues considered him most reckless confabulist on European matters in their ranks). (more…)

26 Oct 17:31

WATCH: Trump's Hollywood Walk of Fame star destroyed

by Rob Beschizza

Dominic Patten reports that Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star was destroyed early Wednesday morning by a man dressed as a city construction worker.


26 Oct 17:27

Watching a Pumpkin Get Carved With a Waterjet Might Be The Most Peaceful 30 Seconds of Your Day

26 Oct 13:43

Trilobites: Why Does Fall Foliage Turn So Red and Fiery? It Depends.

Many of the hypotheses for why leaves turn red before they fall off trees in the autumn sound contradictory.
26 Oct 13:39

Housing Relative to Bubble Highs & Post Crash Lows

by Barry Ritholtz

I am in the middle of doing some real estate related research, and I came across an old favorite set of charts: These two Case-Shiller charts (via Bespoke, updated October 25th) shows the changes in current RRE prices from both the boom top and the crash bottom, by metro regions. They are still astonishing:     Source: Bespoke…

Read More

The post Housing Relative to Bubble Highs & Post Crash Lows appeared first on The Big Picture.

26 Oct 13:38

Trend Job Growth: Where’s Normal?

by Guest Author

Trend Job Growth: Where’s Normal? Rhys Bidder, Tim Mahedy, and Rob Valletta FRBSF Economic Letter 2016-32 | October 24, 2016         With the U.S. labor market at or near maximum employment, assessing trend job growth has become increasingly important. This “breakeven” rate, which is the pace of job growth needed to maintain…

Read More

The post Trend Job Growth: Where’s Normal? appeared first on The Big Picture.

26 Oct 13:36

History of Mechanical Keyboards

by Rob Beschizza


Andrew Lekashman offers a brief pictorial a history of mechanical keyboards, from adding machines to dumb terminals to Symbolics monstrosities to modern blank-key hacker totems. There was a lot of ingenious tech left by the wayside on the way to finding the perfect click.

Pictured above is one not included in the roundup, a particularly beautiful Raytheon(!) model that can be bought on eBay for $300, then sent to me.

Lekashman's tastes are grittier:


Ultrasonic I Plus

This keyboard is acoustic and operates entirely by vibration. This makes it more like a musical instrument than a workplace device. This is something that hasn’t been replicated in the keyboard market since 1982. The specific principle that allows it to work is called Time Difference Of Arrival (TDOA). This is like a form of echo-location to measure which key hits the acoustic transfer bar. Whenever a switch is pressed, a metal “slapper” strikes the bar, and transducers measure the sound wave produced, which differs based on the distance of the slapper from the transducer. Typing on the keyboard is delightfully clicky and pleasantly tactile.

26 Oct 13:36

Trump brand "loses luster" amid campaign

by Rob Beschizza


Trump hotels are slashing their rates to try and maintain occupancy, and similar stories are emerging from other corners of the Trump brand-licensing empire held to be the source of The Donald's wealth. The simple answer is that he's just ruining his brand, but it may be truer to say that his political base is becoming his clientele.

The Republican nominee for president is in danger of losing not just the election, but something dear to a man who claims the marketing value of his name alone is worth $3 billion: the many customers, mostly wealthy, who have stayed at his hotels, played a round at his golf courses or held galas at his oceanside resorts.

Experts say the Trump brand is tarnished and at a tricky crossroads as his appeal shifts from the well-heeled, high-income people he has long courted to a more middle-class base, including the fervent fans he cultivated during the campaign.

There is speculation that he could start a Trump media network as a right-wing alternative to major news outlets, drawing money from advertisers to make up for any weakness in his empire elsewhere. But he may have to pivot fast.

"The current trajectory is very harmful to his businesses," said Scott Galloway, a marketing professor at New York University. "Right now his brands cater to the affluent, who are disproportionately turned off by his activities."

26 Oct 13:35

When the Irony of Your Kid's Permission Slip is This Obvious, You've Got to Attach a Note Like This Dad

list,books,permission slip,tweet,irony

Submitted by:

26 Oct 13:33

Hubble releases shimmering image of a youthful globular cluster

by Andrea James

  Globular clusters offer some of the most spectacular sights in the night sky. These ornate spheres contain hundreds of thousands of stars, and reside in the outskirts of galaxies. The Milky Way contains over 150 such clusters — and the one shown in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, named NGC 362, is one of the more unusual ones. As stars make their way through life they fuse elements together in their cores, creating heavier and heavier elements — known in astronomy as metals — in the process. When these stars die, they flood their surroundings with the material they have formed during their lifetimes, enriching the interstellar medium with metals. Stars that form later therefore contain higher proportions of metals than their older relatives. By studying the different elements present within individual stars in NGC 362, astronomers discovered that the cluster boasts a surprisingly high metal content, indicating that it is younger than expected. Although most globular clusters are much older than the majority of stars in their host galaxy, NGC 362 bucks the trend, with an age lying between 10 and 11 billion years old. For reference, the age of the Milky Way is estimated to be above 13 billion years. This image, in which you can view NGC 362’s individual stars, was taken by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).

Recent revised estimates upping the number of galaxies in the universe seem even more mind-boggling when contemplating this image released from Hubble this week. It shows NGC 362, one of about 150 globular clusters on the outskirts of just one galaxy, our own Milky Way. (more…)