You can have your turducken…I prefer the meaterprise
The turkey is for Thursday’s traditional Thanksgiving feast…the meaterprise is for Friday’s hodgepodge leftover celebration! Right? Well, it is at my house!
I don’t understand people that use judgement and criticism to somehow get the results they want. Like parents who tell their children that they are living in a sty and it’s filthy and disgusting and all that stuff. Does that sound motivating to you? It’s like “Oh. Thank you for taking a shit on my existence. I absolutely want to clean it now.”
Why can’t more people be like “Hey, I’ve noticed you’re living in squalor. Are you depressed?” or even better like “You know, honey, you always feel more motivated and happier when your room is clean. Want to spend some time doing that? We can go to lunch later if you get it done this morning.”
I mean like… that sounds awesome, right? Compliments? LUNCH??? I’m game. I trick myself with rewards all the time. For instance, right now I just finished breaking down a bunch of boxes for recycling. You know what my reward was? Writing this!
Anywho. Brain thoughts.
Vtech is a ubiquitous Hong Kong-based electronic toy company whose kiddy tablets and other devices are designed to work with its cloud service, which requires parents to set up accounts for their kids. 4.8 million of those accounts just breached, leaking a huge amount of potentially compromising information, from kids' birthdays and home addresses to parents passwords and password hints. (more…)
In China, a cable got snarled in the rotating broom of a street sweeper. A reddit user who understands Mandarin explained what happened in more detail:
A telephone pole was being installed. There was a steel cable that was coiled on the road that (they believed) should have been no problem for cars going over it. The street sweeper truck on the right went over it and wound up the cable in the rotating cleaner. The other end of the cable was attached to the pole on the left of the video. The cable was brought taut and caused all that damage to the trucks and car.
Martin Shkreli, the hedge-fund douche-bro who hiked the price of an off-patent drug used by AIDS and cancer patients from $13.50 to $750, then promised to lower the prices after becoming the Most Hated Man on the Internet did no such thing, because he is a liar. (more…)
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So I actually have this exact conversation about once a week.
It’s funny, but it also ties into stuff that I’ve been struggling with over the past year – about how to present in a way that feels true to myself, that communicates my identity to other people, and that is also comfortable and work/life appropriate. Clothes and fashion are a core part of presentation, of course. And I really do hate pants. They’re uncomfortable and any time I am wearing pants about 10% of my brain is dedicated to wishing intensely that I wasn’t wearing pants. But I have a tricky gender to communicate and someone with my body wearing skirts or dresses has an uphill battle to fight in terms of getting the people around me to get my gender correct, even those who already know, because we read cues from clothing and are aggressively socialized to consider anyone wearing dresses to be women (while less feminine clothing is less gender specific – the more typically male fashion is, the more people read it as general rather than gendered). So genderqueer fashion options still skew very dapper/masc, and that’s great, but that’s also not really how I feel and I spend an annoying amount of time just wishing I knew what to wear that would be comfortable, that would support my gender identity, and would make me feel less unhappy about dressing every morning.
Whatever that clothing configuration is, I sure hope it doesn’t have a lot of pants, because fuck pants.
When I click through to the article that has a slowed down animation of the solution, my brain exploded. I've always sucked at Rubik's cubes. Sure, I haven't touched one in decades, but still, I wasn't much younger than the current world record holder.
Fourteen-year-old Lucas Etter is now the Roger Bannister of the Rubik’s cube. On Saturday, Etter became the first person to solve a Rubik’s cube in less than five seconds under sanctioned competitive conditions. That’s the kind of breakthrough that Bannister made in 1954 when he became the first person to run a mile in less than four minutes. Etter’s time was 4.90 seconds, 0.35 seconds better than the record-holder going into Saturday’s competition, Collin Burns.14 The chart above shows the progression of the official world record, according to the World Cube Association.
In these competitions, the colorful cubes are randomly scrambled according to a computer program, and a solver has 15 seconds to inspect a cube before racing to spin it back to its organized state. The first official record — 22.95 seconds — was set at the first world championship, held in 1982 in Hungary, home country of the cube’s inventor, Erno Rubik. But speed cubing went into hibernation for two decades, until the next world championship was held in 2003. From there, the record has fallen precipitously, thanks to innovations like the Fridrich method, the Petrus system and even “cube lube.”
If you’re curious what it looks like to solve a Rubik’s cube in less than five seconds, here’s video of Etter’s feat, which occurred at a tournament in Clarksville, Maryland.
Hovertext: Also, birthdays will be replaced by nulldays in order to gather data.
The greatest video of all time.
No, really. Don’t accept my opinion on it, just go look at his twitter feed and be sure to note the glorious RT’s he is making.
What got him riled up this time you ask? He saw in the news that a teen-aged ISIS member horrifically executed someone. So he linked to a photo of that execution and instead of being a genuine and insightful leader and speaking out against the atrocities of that particular violence, he instead directed his anger and hyperbolic tweets (sent to his 1.3 million followers) towards the young American Muslim boy who made a clock for his science class. He used that image to talk about the young American boy, Ahmed.
Yeah, that’s right. Remember Texas schoolboy Ahmed Mohamed? Dawkins sure does and calls him “Hoax Boy”, which if you google, has become a meme! How meta!
After being arrested and humiliated for doing his science homework, Ahmed accepted a scholarship in Qatar and is currently suing Texas for 15 million dollars and asking for a written apology from the local mayor and the police chief. Seems about right to me. And someone might want to add Dawkins to that apology list cuz he seems convinced that Ahmed and his family are organized scam artists embroiled in some sort of cash-grab opportunist conspiracy plot– and Richard refuses to shut up about it.
"But he's only a kid." Yes, a "kid" old enough to sue for $15M those whom he hoaxed. And how old is this "kid"? https://t.co/kjzxGDs5Az
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) November 24, 2015
@yodat_nioj OK, I'll spell it out. People are defending Clock Hoax Boy by saying "He's only a kid." My point is kids can do the indefensible
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) November 24, 2015
@boringfileclerk No, I just want to alert the gullible fools who fell for his scam. And STILL fall for it even after his $15M demand!
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) November 24, 2015
You know, for the past few years I have done my best to keep my head down and avoid the mainstream skeptic and atheist communities because I received so much hate during the time that Dawkins attacked this blog and Rebecca that it made me not want to have anything to do with the so-called “community.” I can only imagine what atheism looks like to an outsider who doesn’t have friends who are out atheists when they see arguably the most influential man in the atheist community spending his time picking on feminists, social justice activists… and now children.
I said this on my twitter but I’ll say it here before I go back to having a lovely day carving out my own world away from the stereotypical angry atheists:
Remember everyone, the goal is to “punch up” when dismantling or making fun of hierarchies such as religion and racism, not down. If you can “punch down” you are already displaying your power differential. You have more. Taking more doesn’t change the system of oppression. But you all are smart and already know this and can see through the BS and pointlessness of hero worship and bigotry. The emperor’s clothes are fading.
featured image wiki creatives commons via: https://www.flickr.com/photos/matthia/174219809/
Architecture critic Oliver Wainwright recently went to North Korea and took photos of colorful, symmetrical building interiors that look a lot like a Wes Anderson film set.
After watching this video, I realize I've never eaten a yam. According to the President of the Sweet Potato Council, yams in the United States are only found in "specialty stores." Yams have been a staple in some African countries for centuries, and when slaves were brought to the US, they referred to sweet potatoes as "yams." The name stuck.
The Slo Mo Guys set fire to a bucket of fuel surrounded by box fans, then filmed the resulting column of fire. It's really something—a beautiful and scary thing that's understandably hard to capture in the wild.
For some time now LEGO artist Chris McVeigh has been bringing us palm-sized chunks of hi-tech nostalgia heaven, such as his Atari 2600 and Apple Macintosh kits. But now Chris jumps into the unfashionable-yet-practical camp of “IBM compatibles” with this picture-perfect 80’s era DOS computer. This certainly brings memories of my first tech job flooding back – twin floppies, Hammer pants, and all.
The kit is currently available for pre-order from Chris’ store. Or if you prefer, as of today you can now download the instructions and build one from your own collection of bricks. But here’s all the narly stuff you’ll get if you order the full kit:
I know what I’m putting at the top of my list of stocking stuffers this Christmas! Hmmm, but I guess the important question is: Have I been naughty or nice?
US police seized $4.5 billion through civil asset forfeiture (through which police can take money and valuables away from citizens without charging anyone with any crimes) in 2014; in the same period, the FBI estimates that burglars accounted for $3.9B in property losses.
Last February, Lenovo shocked its security-conscious customers by pre-installing its own, self-signed root certificates on the machines it sold. These certificates, provided by a spyware advertising company called Superfish, made it possible for attackers create "secure" connections to undetectable fake versions of banking sites, corporate intranets, webmail providers, etc. (more…)
Army Col. John Hope blew the whistle on a task force that spent $43 million to build a useless gas station in Afghanistan. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction says the useless gas station should have cost about $500,000. As a result of pointing out the doubly wasteful project, Hope has “been singled out for retaliation and retribution” for “speaking truth,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in a letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.
The gas station is useless because it supplies natural gas to cars that have been converted to run on natural gas. But there are hardly any cars that run on natural gas in Afghanistan, and the cost to convert a car to run on natural gas is $700. The average annual income in Afghanistan is $690, according to the Washington Post.
More from the Washington Post:
The high cost of the gas station has angered many in Congress. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) has scheduled a hearing on it for next month. And Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said it was one of the worst cases of wasteful spending that she has ever seen.
“There are few things in this job that literally make my jaw drop,” she said in a statement. “But of all the examples of wasteful projects in Iraq and Afghanistan that the Pentagon began prior to our wartime contracting reforms, this genuinely shocked me.”
The contractor, Central Asian Engineering Construction Company, originally bid $3 million to build the gas station, which is already an order of magnitude too much to charge. How they ended up charging $43 million is a mystery. I wonder who owns Central Asian Engineering Construction Company?
If I could walk, I wouldn’t have missed my connection.
If I could walk, I wouldn’t have been left onboard, twice, after everyone else disembarked.
If I could walk, I wouldn’t have my feet crushed, dragged under a narrow chair, as untrained staff pulled me off a plane.
“We'll still have someone contact you," came the message, at last, after two trips in travel hell. "We don't want to lose your business and hope you won't give up on us.”
But I have given up on American Airlines. They have lost my business. I urge anybody who travels with a disability to consider any other airline.
As a space and aviation writer, I never look forward to writing about a bad experience in the air. Those who use wheelchairs to get around know how unfriendly our friendly skies can become. But I never expected an experience as unpleasant as the one given to me by American Airlines.
Warning: beeps loudly upon booting. [via r/internetisbeautiful]
Previously: Windows 93.
Rather than just RT these, I put them into chronological order, because I think what Mark says is important.
Munroe's upcoming book, Thing Explainer, occasioned an interview in Time; in characteristically wonderful style, he answered all the questions with one-panel cartoons. (via /.)
Rebecca Solnit is a brilliant writer whose essay Men Explain Things to Me sparked the discourse about "mansplaining" and whose 2009 book A Paradise Built in Hell is one of the best history books I've ever read -- so why do so many interviewers want to talk to her about the fact that she chose not to have babies? (more…)
Cristina Odone is not happy that her daughter is required to take science and math classes — and it’s all those damned feminists pressuring girls to go into STEM fields. She thinks it isn’t right that, under the British system, kids are required to take a couple of GCSEs in the sciences.
Now this is where my Americanism gets in the way — I’m unfamiliar with the British system, so I had to do a little digging to relate her complaint to the American system I understand. GCSEs are qualifications that demonstrate basic understanding of a subject — students take exams, after a couple of years of coursework, when they’re about 16 years old, in a collection of subjects, some of which are required, and others which are elective. They’ll typically get 8-10 GCSEs.
Speak up, readers from the UK, if I’m getting any of this wrong!
In the US, we don’t have any qualifying exams — instead, we have state standards that design a general curriculum for our high schools. To get a diploma, students are expected to take and pass a series of courses in subjects like earth science or algebra or English or history. There are also recommended, somewhat more rigorous courses that it is suggested that students take if they want to go on to college. When I was in high school, for instance, I took the recommended college track, which included more math and science and two years of a foreign language than was required for graduation. I didn’t have to take an exam at the end of a sequence of courses, just pass each course along the way, so the British system is a bit more demanding.
But the point is that in both systems, and as a general rule in good education everywhere, students are expected to take courses that they might otherwise avoid: to be properly educated, one should have some exposure, at least, to diverse subjects, such as your language, a foreign language, world and local history, some basic math and science, and there should also be an opportunity to explore in greater depth subjects that students find appealing. So maybe a student really wants to do nothing but theater…but they should also know a little geometry and physics. The math nerd may want to just do calculus, and hates the performing arts…but it would be good for them to take a communications class.
We continue this practice at the university level. We have a required core in a subject, and distribution requirements that force students to take classes outside of their comfort zone. When advising students, I get a lot of annoyed people (especially the pre-meds) who just want to take physiology and genetics and molecular biology, and hate the fact that we also require them to take history or sociology or psychology. I suspect that faculty across campus have to deal with students peeved at having to meet the university requirement to take a science course in order to graduate.
I have little patience for people, like Odone, who want to demand that their little girl be sheltered from the breadth of education. It is fine that her daughter wants a career that’s more literary; Odone seems to think that expecting her daughter to take math courses at the age of 15 is the same as shoe-horning her into a lifetime of soldering and pouring things into flasks. But let’s get real: the stuff you learn at 14, 15, or 16 isn’t the detailed knowledge of the subject that you’ll need to go on to a career. It’s the general basics that are broadly applicable to many subjects.
I’ve seen this over and over: being able to cross-fertilize ideas is incredibly helpful. In high school, my daughter was really into theater, especially theater tech; understanding math and programming was important. I’ve been impressed with the art department at my university — did you know that chemistry is a good thing to know for artists? I was just listening to an episode of Radiolab in which a medieval historian and a microbiologist teamed up to evaluate a medicine described in an old manuscript. So, please, don’t try to tell me that you know exactly what narrow range of human knowledge ought to be dispensed to your daughter. She might surprise you.
But Odone goes even further, from promoting ignorance and tall tales of conspiracies by feminists to lock her daughter into an engineered future because she has to take a few math courses, into full-blown offensive stupidity.
She tries to suggest that literature makes everyone happier.
J K Rowling, say, strikes me as a lot happier and more successful than Alan Turing, the tortured mathematics genius who took his own life.
My dog, but that’s stupid. Alan Turing was unhappy because people, anti-homosexual prudes like the Catholic church Odone so loves, criminalized his sexuality and chemically castrated him. It wasn’t because he was tortured by math or his genius. He would have been even more miserable if they’d taken his mathematics away from him. And he was also a polymath who applied his ideas more broadly than just to computer science — developmental biologists are familiar with his work, because he applied it to morphogenesis and pattern formation.
And then Odone goes even further.
Attempts are being made to remedy this. Elizabeth Truss, the former education minister, has warned against “science deserts”, while Wise, the campaign run by the Engineering Council with the Equal Opportunities Commission to promote girls’ take-up of sciences and maths, wants at least one million more women in the UK Stem force.
This sounds laudable. But to a girl such as Izzy with a literary bent, this focus on STEM subjects sends a message that makes her (and me) uncomfortable: doing a man’s work is more impressive than doing a woman’s.
I can’t help thinking that this denigrates women’s achievements. Maybe the time has come to discard the straitjacket of compulsory science GCSEs. I believe we should free girls to choose the subjects they are passionate about rather than force them to boost productivity or Britain’s ranking in the STEM-obsessed indices.
Science is a “man’s work”? Jebus. She begins her essay by talking about her son, who read English at Oxford. How would she if we characterized that as doing “woman’s work”? I have one son who was an English major in college; another who was a political science and economics major; and a daughter who is a computer science student. I oppose any attempts to stereotype professions by gender — we should allow students to pursue their passions no matter what their sex.
But that does not mean that we should wedge education into narrow pigeonholes where kids are able to specialize to a ludicrous degree at an early age, or where meddlesome parents feel they are entitled to protect their kids from the horrors of mathematics or art history.
It’s practically a cartoon of far right idiocy, but it’s popular, and no one ever seems to stop and wonder that they can promote such hatefulness and ignorance and still maintain a readership. But then, this is the country of Trump and Carson, where a race towards stupidity has become a successful strategy for running for the presidency. And that scares me. We’ve got loons promoting murder and fascism, and we shrug our shoulders and say it’s just a fringe, don’t worry.
But look at what that fringe is saying.
My own politically incorrect suggestion is that we remove ISIS from the face of the earth, hopefully as a joint effort with every other nation it has threatened or attacked, and that we then bomb Mecca off the face of the earth, not concerning ourselves in the least with collateral damage, letting the Muslims know once and for all that our God is far more powerful and, yes, vengeful than their own puny deity.
It’s harsh, but they’ve been asking for it for over 1,400 years, and it’s time they got it. I, for one, am sick and tired of seeing the Islamic bullies demand our lunch money and, like a bunch of scrawny wimps afraid of our own shadow, we hand it over. What’s even more appalling, we then pretend we did it because we’re good guys who realized that they’re human beings just like us, and who just happen to be a little bit hungrier than we are.
not concerning ourselves in the least with collateral damage means killing innocent civilians. And that is OK to this fellow, because the important thing is destroying a religious center (yeah, that’ll win us friends and allies), and demonstrating that our god is more vengeful, barbaric, and murderous than their god.
I’m also baffled by the resentful claim that somehow, we are the weak country that’s getting taken advantage of by bullies, as if Iran is the bad guy sending drone strikes against outdoor weddings in Poughkeepsie, Scranton, and Walla Walla. As if Kuwait is forcing Americans to buy their oil at gunpoint. As if our little dribble of foreign aid is going to countries that are faking their poverty.
That guy, you can be sure, gets out and votes in every election, and he votes angrily against those damn liberals on the basis of that kind of bigotry and ignorance. And that’s why we’ve got the representatives we do.
We should be terrified not by terrorism, but by the lunatics in our own country.
Well it seems we’re enthralled with James Bond all over again with the release of the latest film. Blocks Magazine cleverly realized this and decided to create a feature in their publication celebrating both the 50th anniversary of the legendary secret agent and the aforementioned Spectre movie. I’m a big fan of 007 movies and action adventure in general, so I was very excited about being a part of the collaboration of creations. It was also a bit of a daunting challenge since I rarely build LEGO things even remotely modern in theme.
Thankfully, I knew exactly what scene I would create. Sean Connery was my favorite James Bond, and Thunderball was the first 007 movie I ever saw, so for nostalgic reasons alone I had to go with that. At first I wanted to build the shark pool scene, those minutes of the movie really had me at the edge of my seat and it would be neat to try to recreate it in LEGO. Here some shots of that endeavor:
Unfortunately, in order to keep the creation to the standards of the magazine, (family-friendly and without stabbing and blood like the film) I had to scrap that idea. Instead I opted to build the outside of the pool, where James Bond infiltrates the bad guy’s luxurious, well-guarded mansion.
I had some issues with the new plan though, because I had spent so much time planning and buying white tile pieces for the inside of the pool I only had three days to make the bigger outside. Happily for me, my brother is a very talented builder in his own right, and he kindly offered to help me finish my derailed project just in time for the publishers.
I had fun experimenting with the palm trees. I always like trying different combinations and styles.
But I honestly think the scene really comes alive at night. The LEGO compatible lifelights installed in the pool and buildings really help set the tense mood of the original movie.
After this, I hope to get pushed out of my comfort zone more often.