Shared posts

22 Jul 14:52

You must all read Laurie Penny’s account of her visit to Milo’s Gays for Trump shindig

by David Futrelle
milohead2smoosh600_phixr

Milo Yiannopoulos: World-class terrible person

If you haven’t already read Laurie Penny’s brilliant and unnerving account of her surreal evening as Milo Yiannopoulos’ guest at the Gays for Trump shindig he held in Cleveland earlier this week, stop whatever you’re doing and read it now. Then come back and discuss.

If you need more persuasion: It’s a sharp and scary analysis of  “how trolls took the wheel of the clown car of modern politics,” as Penny puts it, and it’s full of weird details about the event and Penny’s strange non-relationship with Milo, whom she describes as “a charming devil and one of the worst people I know” and someone she simply can’t convince she’s not actually friends with.

Perhaps the oddest part of Penny’s piece, though, is her description of her encounter with a fellow we all know too well: Roosh Valizadeh, whom she describes all too accurately as a “headline-hunting nano-celebrity in the world of ritualised internet misogyny.”

“He asks me what I’m doing here,” Penny writes. “I ask him the same question.”

It’s a good question, given that Roosh is a raging homophobe who bans gays from commenting on his sites.

The interaction that follows is the most surreal episode in a deeply surreal evening. Roosh is tall and well-built and actually rather good-looking for, you know, a monster. I have opportunity to observe this because he puts himself right up in my personal space, blocking my view of the room with his T-shirt, and proceeds, messily and at length, to tell me what my problem is.

Number one: my haircut, and he’s telling me this as a man, makes my face look round. This is absolutely true. Number two: I seek to destroy the nuclear family, and disturb traditional relationships between men and women. This is also true, although I remind him that the nuclear family as it is currently conceived is actually a fairly recent social format. He insists that it’s thousands of years old, and asks me if I truly believe that it’s right for gay men to be able to adopt children. I tell him that I do. He appears as flummoxed by this as I do by his presence at what is supposed to be a party to celebrate Gay republicans. He’s here for the same reason I am: Milo invited him.

So, yeah.

For what it’s worth, I think Penny overstates Milo’s “weaponised insincerity.” He’s certainly a cynical enough opportunist, who jumped aboard GamerGate and then on the alt-right car of the Trump Train not because he gave a shit about any of the alleged issues involved but in order to promote himself. But he’s hardly the boy with the “fewest f*cks to give.” He actually gives a lot of f*cks, at least about himself. Like most narcissists, he’s acutely sensitive to slights and lashes out at anyone who pierces his vanity — much like his adopted “daddy” Trump.

But if you want to know how we got to this weird place we’re in now, Penny’s piece offers some invaluable insights.

21 Jul 07:01

I’m So Bored

by alex

I’m So Bored

22 Jul 09:35

The future is groovy with the Volkswagen Spacebeetle and Spacebus

by Caylin

Priovit70 has seen into the future and it is groovy and filled with awesome hovering vehicles like this adorable spacebeetle. It keeps the classic lines and still manages to keep up with the latest models from those other spacecar makers. Or, if you prefer more room, you’re welcome to cruise about in your VW Spacebus.

Even better, other companies have caught up to and integrated some sweet sweet AI to take care of autopilot. So sit back, relax, and enjoy your voyage to Miller’s planet with those towering waves for some sweet surfing.

Volkswagen Spacebeetle

Make space surfboards, not intergalactic war!

22 Jul 03:44

micdotcom: Watch: George Takei sends a message in Spanish about...





















micdotcom:

Watch: George Takei sends a message in Spanish about how we can defeat Trump

George is doing such important work right now. I’m so grateful he’s speaking out.

21 Jul 17:57

Photo from last night's convention

by Minnesotastan

Laura Ingraham salutes a photo of Donald Trump.

Video of her presentation and the gesture. Social media reaction at Esquire.

Via the Pics subreddit.
21 Jul 16:53

Millenials are not afraid of socialism

by Minnesotastan
A recent Reason-Rupe survey found that a majority of Americans under 30 have a more favorable view of socialism than of capitalism. Gallup finds that almost 70 percent of young Americans are ready to vote for a “socialist” president...

Indeed, the criticism most heard against the millennial generation’s evolving attachment to socialism is that they don’t understand what the term really means, indulging instead in warm fuzzy talk about cooperation and happiness. But this is precisely the larger meaning of socialism, which the millennial generation—as evidenced in the Occupy and Black Lives Matter movements—totally comprehends...

While banks were bailed out to the tune of trillions of dollars, the government was not interested in offering serious help to homeowners carrying underwater mortgages (the actual commitment of the U.S. government was $16 trillion to corporations and banks worldwide, as revealed in a 2011 audit prompted by Sanders and others). Facing crushing amounts of debt, millennials have been forced to cohabit with their parents and to downshift ambitions. They have had to relearn the habits of communal living, making do with less, and they are bartering necessary skills because of the permanent casualization of jobs. They are questioning the value of a capitalist education that prepares them for an ideology that is vanishing and an economy that doesn’t exist...

...the Keynesian insight that a certain level of equality must be maintained to preserve capitalism has been abandoned in favor of a neoliberal regime that has privatized, deregulated, and “liberalized” to the point where extreme inequality, a new form of serfdom, has come into being...

But millennials are done with blind faith in the market as the solution to all human problems. They question whether “economic growth” should even be the ultimate pursuit. Ironically, again, it is the extreme form capitalism has taken under neoliberalism that has put millennials under such pressure that they have started asking these questions seriously: Why not work fewer hours? Why not disengage from consumer capitalism? Why trust in capitalist goods to buy happiness? 
More at the Salon link.
21 Jun 00:00

Sun Bug

by xkcd

Sun Bug

How many fireflies would it take to match the brightness of the Sun?

Luke Doty

Not that many! I mean, it's definitely one of those gigantic numbers with lots of zeroes, but in the grand scheme of things, there aren't as many zeroes as you might expect.

Our first question: Where does firefly light even come from?

Fireflies may look like they're full of glow-in-the-dark goo, but the light they give off actually comes from a thin layer on their surface.[1]You can see some diagrams of the organs here and here. Lots of insects have glowing surface patches, and some of those patches have been studied carefully to calculate their brightness. A 1928 paper on beetles called "headlight bugs"[2]Such a great name. found that their glowing patches, which were a little over a square millimeter in area, emitted about 0.0006 lumens of light. Fireflies have luminous organs (bright patches) that are about the same size as those of headlight bugs,[3]See this paper on some common American fireflies. and their organs tend to have a similar peak brightness per area, so this figure is a good guess for the brightness of a firefly's lantern.

Firefly lights aren't "always-on." They blink on and off, with patterns that vary from species to species and situation to situation. These flashes carry information, some of which you can decode using this delightful chart.[4]You can also use LEDs to mess with firefly patterns, which feels strangely invasive.

To get the brightest light, let's assume we're using a species with a mostly-on duty cycle—like a headlight bug. How does its 0.0006-lumen light output compare to the Sun?

The Sun's brightness is \( 3.8\times10^{28} \) lumens, so by simple division, it would take \( 3\times10^{31} \) of those fireflies to emit the same amount of light. That's a surprisingly small number; adult fireflies weigh about 20 milligrams, which means \( 3\times10^{31} \) fireflies would only weigh about a third as much as Jupiter and 1/3000th as much as the Sun.

In other words, per pound, fireflies are brighter than the Sun. Even though bioluminescence is millions of times less efficient than the Sun's fusion-powered glow, the Sun can't afford to be as bright because it has to last billions of times longer.[5]If you like Fermi problems—and silly equations—there's an interesting route you can take to this answer without doing any research on fireflies or the Sun at all. Instead, you can just plug this equation into Wolfram|Alpha: (5 billion years / (4 hours/day * 3 months)) / (1% * (speed of light)^2 / (3200 calories/pound)).

Let's walk through it: The first half—the numerator—is a guess for the ratio between how long the Sun has to keep glowing compared to how long a firefly does. I took a wild guess that fireflies have to light up for a few hours each night for one summer, while the Sun has to last another five billion years. The second half—the denominator—is a guess as to the ratio between the stored energy in a pound of firefly vs a pound of star. Nuclear fusion converts about 1% of the input matter to energy, so from E=mc2, the stored energy is c2 kg/kg, whereas animal matter (say, butter) is about 3,200 food calories per pound. The result should tell us the ratio between a firefly's brightness per pound and the Sun's. And the answer we get says that the fireflies are a few thousand times brighter—which is roughly what we got from working through it the other way!

It's true that we got lucky with some of our guesses, but since we made errors in both directions, they tended to cancel out. This kind of thing works more often than it seems like it should!

But wait! A mass of fireflies that big would run into problems. Besides the obvious problems with gathering that many animals in one place, the fireflies would block each others' light. The inner fireflies would be hidden behind the outer ones, and the total brightness would be limited.[6]But the light from the core fireflies wouldn't just vanish. After bouncing around a few times, it would be absorbed by neighboring fireflies, which would get warmer. This is sort of like how radiation makes its way out of the Sun's core—but in the case of the fireflies, they'd die from the heat before the process got very far.

Since the only light that matters is the light at the surface, we could imagine arranging the fireflies in a hollow sphere, with their lanterns pointing outward. Or, to make thing simpler, we could imagine a single giant firefly. How big would it need to be?

Since we know our firefly will need to give off about \( 3\times10^{31} \) times as much light as a normal firefly, it will need a glowing patch \( 3\times10^{31} \) times larger. Since surface area is proportional to length squared, our firefly will have a body length \( \sqrt{3\times10^{31}}=5\times10^{15} \) times longer than a normal firefly, which would make it about the size of the Solar System.

Since mass is proportional to length cubed, our firefly would weigh \( \left( 3\times10^{31}\right)^{\tfrac{3}{2}}=1.6\times10^{47} \) times as much as a normal firefly, which works out to about half as much as the entire Milky Way galaxy.

Such a firefly would immediately collapse under its own weight and become a black hole. In fact, given the distribution of galaxies in our universe, there's an upper limit to how large black holes can grow, and this firefly would be bigger than that limit. That means our firefly would become the largest black hole in the universe. It would give off a lot of light as it devoured our galaxy, and then, eventually, it would give off none at all.

Black holes last a long time, but they eventually evaporate through Hawking radiation. When the black hole era of our universe comes to an end, black holes will evaporate one by one, with the smallest evaporating faster. Since our firefly's black hole would be the largest one in the universe, it would be the last to evaporate—a final outpost of irregularity in a universe fading toward heat death.

We should probably add that to the identification chart, just in case.

20 Jul 18:39

micdotcom: Watch: Stephen Colbert went to visit Jon Stewart —...

20 Jul 09:50

U.S. Government Sued for Software Piracy, Maker Claims $600m

by Ernesto

usnavyIn recent years the U.S. Government has taken an aggressive stance towards copyright infringement, both at home and abroad.

However, that doesn’t mean that the Government always sticks to the rules, quite the contrary. In a recent lawsuit it stands accused of willful copyright infringement on a massive scale.

The case centers around “BS Contact Geo,” a 3D virtual reality application developed by the German company Bitmanagement. The Navy was enthusiastic about the geographical modeling capabilities of the software and in 2011 and 2012 it agreed to license its use for 38 computers.

“Those individual PC-based licenses authorized the Navy to install BS Contact Geo on a total of just 38 computers for the purposes of testing, trial runs, and integration into Navy systems,” the software vendor states in the federal claims court complaint (pdf).

After testing the application for a while, both parties started negotiating the licensing of additional computers. However, before any deals were made, the software maker learned that the Navy had already installed it on over 100,000 computers.

According to emails Bitmanagement executives received in 2013, the software had been rolled onto at least 558,466 computers on the Navy’s network, without their permission.

“Even as it negotiated with Bitmanagement over the proposed large-scale licensing of its product, the Navy was simultaneously copying and installing that software, without Bitmanagement’s advance knowledge or authorization, on a massive scale,” the complaint reads.

In addition, the Navy allegedly disabled the software that is supposed to track on how many computers the software is being used. This violation of the terms of service prevents the software vendor from stopping the unauthorized copying.

“To make matters worse, starting in 2014, the ‘Flexwrap’ software intended to track the Navy’s use and duplication of BS Contact Geo on Navy computers was disabled,” the complaint explains.

This change made it impossible for Bitmanagement to know the scope of the deployment and use of BS Contact Geo on unlicensed machines or to limit that use,” the company adds.

The software vendor says that the willful copyright infringement has caused injury to its business and rights. As a result, they’re now demanding compensation for the damage that was caused, to a total of nearly $600 million.

Installing BS Contact Geo onto a single PC cost roughly $1067 at the time, so Bitmanagement claims that it is entitled to at least $596,308,103 in unpaid licensing fees.

For comparison, that is more than the damages Kim Dotcom and Megaupload have caused copyright holders, according to the United States. And that case was billed by the FBI as one of the “largest criminal copyright cases” in history.

Interestingly this is not the first time that the U.S. military has been “caught” pirating software. A few years ago it was accused of operating unlicensed logistics software, a case the Obama administration eventually settled for $50 million.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

20 Jul 03:27

Giant LEGO ISS and Space Shuttle Endeavor

by Caylin

It’s been a while since a Space Shuttle orbiter docked with the International Space Station; Atlantis launched July 8, 2011, over five years ago. Since then, all astronauts have caught a ride on the Soyuz out of Kazakhstan. In a few years, they’ll be flying out of Cape Canaveral, once again, thanks to the Commercial Crew program. Until then, let us all gaze upon the beauty of Lia Chan‘s absolutely stunning brick-built ISS and Space Shuttle orbiter Endeavor.

ISS-shuttle 02ISS- Shuttle 05ISS-Shuttle 03

For a look at the shuttle pre-launch, be sure to check out our post featuring the shuttle, launch pad, and NASA’s Next Giant Leap!

17 Jul 21:22

How Old School Floppy Drives Worked

by The 8-Bit Guy

Support this channel on Patreon
https://www.patreon.com/8bitguy1

Thanks go out to my guest stars:
Lazy Game Reviews
https://www.youtube.com/user/phreakindee

Modern Vintage Gamer
https://www.youtube.com/user/jimako123

Classic Gaming Quarterly
https://www.youtube.com/user/CGQuarterly

The Obsolete Geek
https://www.youtube.com/user/robivy64
18 Jul 16:18

Watch Franchesca Ramsey address and debunk four tactics people...



Watch Franchesca Ramsey address and debunk four tactics people often use in efforts to derail conversations about Black Lives Matter.

18 Jul 21:44

pseydaesthesis: my friend just texted me “it’s not acceptable that trump feels good about himself...

pseydaesthesis:

my friend just texted me “it’s not acceptable that trump feels good about himself and you don’t” and i think it’s the most motivational thing i’ve ever read

18 Jul 04:01

Media

by Robot Hugs

New comic!

It’s ok to have different approaches to the media we love. But being shitty about it doesn’t honour your favourite entertainment. Let it breathe!

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18 Jul 00:00

Dehydration

I don't care what the research says. Everybody knows you should drink 3,000 glasses of water a day and change your oil every 8 miles.
16 Jul 19:39

Jongno Tower in Seoul, South Korea

by Andrew

Jongno Tower is a unique office building in Seoul designed by architect Rafael Viñoly and completed in 1999. bigcrown85 has faithfully recreated the structure in LEGO, with extensive use of transparent blue bricks. Similarly, the outer structural elements of the building use numerous LEGO struts, demonstrating that repetition is often a key element of achieving a real-world look in a LEGO creation.

Jongno Tower

Even the trees at ground level use some interesting techniques.

Jongno Tower

15 Jul 13:23

I Have a Problem With the Police

by Alex Rudewell

This is a guest post by Mike Nam. Nam is a journalist and activist from the NYC metro area. He has volunteered for observing police interactions through Cop Watch, escorted patients at abortion clinics and led a skeptics group in New York City for a time.

I have a problem with Walmart. Not necessarily every Walmart greeter, cashier, marketing associate or vice president, but I have a problem with their employer as a monolithic organization that exacerbates poverty and global labor exploitation.I have a problem with Congress. Not necessarily every rep, every staffer, but I have a problem with the institution that maintains pay-to-play style governance and gerrymandered “for life” type membership, all married with ideological gridlock.

I have a problem with Fox News. Not necessarily every writer, producer, executive or even on-air talent, but I have a problem with the network’s adherence to misinformation and spin, and the rampant bigotry and misogyny it exploits so that wealthy individuals like its CEO Ailes can continue to live a life free of consequences (including from sexual harassment).

I have a problem with my profession of journalism in general. I have a problem with the Boy Scouts of America. I have a problem with the Roman Catholic Church. I have a problem with the NFL. I have a problem with the corn-growing lobby. I have deep criticisms for and distrust of many organizations, institutions, professions, associations and corporations.

So, this shouldn’t be difficult to understand when I say I have a problem with policing in America.

I have a problem with the use of police as a revenue stream through targeted citations and civil asset forfeiture – disproportionately in poor, black and hispanic communities – often under the guise of “broken windows” policing. 

I have a problem with the heavy militarization of police forces without even the accompanying military use of force restrictions. 

I have a problem with the majority “good” cops that turn a blind eye or knee-jerk protect the violent, racist ones. And when members of the police come forward to do the right thing, they are shunned, careers destroyed, or even get brutalized themselves.

I have a problem with police feeding the prison industrial complex. 

I have a problem because if the police are the guards of civil society, who guards the guards themselves?

15 Jul 04:01

Forum

by Robot Hugs

New comic!

SEVERAL WINES.

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15 Jul 13:00

You KNOW This Power Point Presentation Exists Somewhere

by john (the hubby of Jen)

Technique A:

The "Decorative Candy Drizzle Embellishment"

Step 1. Hold container in hand:

 

Step 2. Invert container:

 

 

Technique B:

The "Elegant Victorian Baroque Fine Lace Ornamentation"

Step 1. Hold piping bag over cake:

 

Step 2. Squeeze

 

 

Technique C:

The "Parisian Silk Corinthian Fancy Ribbon Embellishment"

Step 1. Hold ribbon over cake:

 

Step 2. Cut ribbon:

 

 

We trust these techniques will bring your cakes to new depths, bakers. Keep up the "good work."

 

Thanks to Anne Marie, Jill L., & Erin L. for proving it can always be worse - and when it comes to cakes, it probably will be.

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

15 Jul 08:32

Rhosgobel: The home of Radagast the Brown from The Hobbit & LOTR

by Andrew

One of my favorite minor characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings books is Radagast, a wizard like Gandalf and Saruman who cares for the plants and animals of Middle-earth. I really kind of hated how Peter Jackson blew up The Hobbit into a bloated monstrosity of a movie trilogy, but I did deeply enjoy the extended screen time that Radagast had. Who can fault a sled towed by a team of enormous rabbits, handled by a man with birds’ nests in his hair? Real-life Middle-earth resident David Hensel recently built this enormous version of Rhosgobel, the house in Mirkwood where Radagast lives, for the Christchurch Brick Show this weekend.

Rhosgobel (Radagasts house)

The largest LEGO creation he has ever built, David says that the build includes twenty to twenty-five thousand LEGO bricks, and measures 77 cm (30 inches) on each side.

This bird’s eye view shows just how huge the build really is, with Radagast walking along the path on the left side of the scene. This photo also shows off David’s skill at incredibly detailed landscaping, from the varied flora at ground level to the trees around and into which the house is built.

Rhosgobel (Radagasts house)

The roof of Radagast’s house is built from the arms of Star Wars battle droids, and the whole thing includes David’s signature level of detail. Just look at the stonework around the brick-built front door, which has hinges made from minifig hands.

Rhosgobel (Radagasts house)

The whole build is modular so that David can take it to LEGO shows, and he plans to display it around New Zealand over the next year, since it’s too big to fit in his own house! You can see more pictures in David’s thread about his creation on Eurobricks, and see it in person 16th & 17th July at Horncastle Arena.

14 Jul 22:36

Interspecies fist-bumps are the best kind

by Minnesotastan
"Rotterdam, Netherlands. A girl meets a polar bear at Blijdorp zoo." Photograph: Action Press/Rex/Shutterstock." 

14 Jul 22:17

Astronauts developing visual impairment

by Minnesotastan
Before-and-after images of an astronaut’s eyes via spectral domain optical coherence tomography show choroidal folds (marked by arrows), which are similar to stretch marks. (Courtesy North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society)
From an interesting story in the Washington Post:
During Phillips’s post-flight physical, NASA found that his vision had gone from 20/20 to 20/100 in six months. 

Rigorous testing followed. Phillips got MRIs, retinal scans, neurological tests and a spinal tap. The tests showed that not only had his vision changed, but his eyes had changed as well.

The backs of his eyes had gotten flatter, pushing his retinas forward. He had choroidal folds, which are like stretch marks. His optic nerves were inflamed.

Phillips’s case became the first widely recognized one of a mysterious syndrome that affects 80 percent of astronauts on long- ­duration missions in space. The syndrome could interfere with plans for future crewed space missions, including any trips to Mars.

Visual impairment intracranial pressure syndrome (VIIP) is named for the leading theory to explain it. On Earth, gravity pulls bodily fluids down toward the feet. That doesn’t happen in space, and it is thought that extra fluid in the skull increases pressure on the brain and the back of the eye.VIIP has now been recognized as a widespread problem, and there has been a struggle to understand its cause — and even to study it.
More at the link.

14 Jul 14:22

Life-sized scale models in LEGO

by Elspeth De Montes

Wait…I know what you are thinking, The Brothers Brick lets another sister start blogging and she gets distracted and starts posting about fashion and sewing machine techniques! Look again: the items adorning this table are life-sized scale models all built with LEGO bricks. The Singer sewing machine, glasses, scissors and tailor’s chalk are very accurately depicted using LEGO as part of an exhibition called the Tiong Bahru Show by The Brick Collective that took place at Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore.

The Brick Collective: Tiong Bahru Show

Another scene from The Brick Collective show is a typical cafe in the 1980s  with some snacks, drinks and the classic Coca-Cola sign on the wall.  When I say typical, clearly this is location dependant as Green Spot, Egg tarts, Siew Mai were not on the menu in my hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in the 1980s.

The Brick Collective: Tiong Bahru Show

If you want a closer look and images of further scaled LEGO builds that appeared in the show, then you will find more within crayonbricks album on Flickr.

13 Jul 15:00

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Why You're Attracted to Me

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Hovertext:
Also, I only wash the top part of plates then I put them DIRECTLY on top of other plates in the cupboard.

New comic!
Today's News:

13 Jul 21:22

Photo





13 Jul 22:28

Don’t have to think twice

by PZ Myers

It’s worth repeating what Lynna already said: the Republican party platform is made of poison.

– the platform committee endorsed constructing a wall along the U.S./Mexico border, just like Trump wants
– the committee changed “illegal immigrants” to “illegal aliens” in the text
– the committee refused an amendment that would have pushed for a restriction of magazine capacity in firearms
– they approved an amendment that would make it legal for parents to force their LGBT children to go through conversion therapy
– Children raised in “traditional” homes are “healthier.” “Children raised in a traditional two-parent household tend to be physically and emotionally healthier, less likely to use drugs and alcohol, engage in crime, or become pregnant outside of marriage,” the platform reads.
– Education includes “a good understanding of the Bible.”
– Coal is a “clean” form of energy

You don’t like Clinton (I don’t particularly care for the Clinton regime, either). You think Sanders was robbed. Ignore both Hillary Clinton and your grievances about the DNC: if you don’t vote to make sure that odious collection of lies and destructiveness isn’t put right at the top of our nation, you’re not helping.

Even with my top choice not making it on the ballot, this is the goddamned easiest election decision I’ve ever had to make in my life.

13 Jul 14:24

Depends on whose ox is getting gored

by PZ Myers

I’ve been harassed online by a demented Canadian for over 20 years. He’s still at it, but at a much lower rate, fortunately, but years ago I printed out a couple of months worth of his threats and hatred — it was a stack of hundreds of pages — and plunked it down at my local police station, and told them about the problem. They had no idea what to do.

At the height of the Catholic annoyance with my desecration of a cracker, I was getting death threats every day. I reported them to the police a few times. They shrugged.

I’ve had people send me email with specific, credible threats: they’re going to come to town on such-and-such a day. They have this weapon. They have my home address. They are going to show up at my university office.

The response? Nothing. I’ve given them names and email addresses and IP numbers. No action of any kind is taken, not even sending a warning.

I still get routine threats of maiming and abuse and murder. I’ve given up completely. I know from years of experience that the police will do nothing. I’ve heard every explanation: “It’s just social media,” they say. “Grow a thicker skin.” “We can’t do anything until they actually act.” “It’s free speech.”

I know women who experience far worse, far more often. By comparison to the police, Twitter is a model of friendly, fast-acting responsiveness to abuse and harassment, and if you know anything of Twitter, it’s a scum-sucking friend to every asshole on the internet.

But apparently, I’ve just been doing it wrong. I should have just joined the police.

Four men in Detroit were arrested over the past week for posts on social media that the police chief called threatening. One tweet that led to an arrest said that Micah Johnson, the man who shot police officers in Dallas last week, was a hero. None of the men have been named, nor have they been charged.

“I know this is a new issue, but I want these people charged with crimes,” said Detroit Police Chief James Craig. “I’ve directed my officers to prepare warrants for these four individuals, and we’ll see which venue is the best to pursue charges,” he said.

The self-serving hypocrisy is breath-taking to anyone who has had to deal with ongoing harassment on social media. For decades I’ve been told that nothing can ever be done about written threats. Suddenly that has changed now that the police are getting the same treatment.

An Illinois woman, Jenesis Reynolds, was arrested for writing in a Facebook post that she would shoot an officer who would pull her over. “I have no problem shooting a cop for simple traffic stop cuz they’d have no problem doing it to me,” she wrote, according to the police investigation. She was charged with disorderly conduct.

In New Jersey, Rolando Medina was arrested and charged with cyber harassment. He allegedly posted on an unidentified form of social media that he would destroy local police headquarters. In Louisiana, Kemonte Gilmore was arrested for an online video where he allegedly threatened a police officer. He was charged with public intimidation.

“Disorderly conduct”? “Public intimidation”? But I’ve been repeatedly told that there is no applicable charge to be made against, for example, someone who has declared that he’s going to shoot me in the head and rape my wife! This is news to me.

This is not to say I think the police should be arresting people who say rude things to me — there are serious civil liberties issues here. The article makes the point that there is legal precedent that sets a very high standard for taking action, which is fine with me.

The policing of online threats is hardly a new issue. The Supreme Court set a precedent last year when it ruled that prosecutors pursuing a charge of communicating threats need to prove both that reasonable people would view the statement as a threat and that the intent was to threaten. Elonis v. United States dealt with a man who had posted violent rap lyrics about his estranged wife; the court reversed his conviction.

The problem, though, is that the police apparently have one standard for action against people who are rude to them, and a very different standard when it comes to the people they are supposed to protect and serve. You can’t say “I have no problem shooting a cop” without being charged with a crime, but you can say “I’m going to murder PZ Myers” with no risk of even a warning.

So fuck the police. They’re worse than useless when it comes to harassment — they’re enablers of every bad behavior, except when it affects their delicate sensitivities.

13 Jul 05:13

New LEGO 10252 Volkswagen Beetle is totally radical, man! [Review]

by Andrew

Announced just last month and out on August 1st, The Brothers Brick is pleased to bring you a full review of the new 10252 Volkswagen Beetle, thanks to a special delivery from LEGO headquarters in Denmark. This new Beetle in stunning dark azure joins the dark green 10242 Mini Cooper and classic 10220 Volkswagen Camper Van in what I’m hoping is a permanent fixture in LEGO Creator sets. The set includes 1,167 pieces, and will retail for $99.99.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

The build

We’ve come to expect some solid techniques and clever tricks in the “Expert” LEGO Creator series sets, many of which are very obviously designed by the numerous builders who have disappeared from the face of the Internet only to turn up in Billund. And that’s the case here — the set was designed by the very talented Mike Psiaki, whose LEGO creations we’ve featured many, many times here on The Brothers Brick over the years — most notably one of the best LEGO X-wings ever made.

Mike’s Beetle doesn’t disappoint. The 211 steps span an instruction booklet 124 pages thick. I recently also built the new LEGO Ghostbusters (2016) Ecto 1, and it had far more complicated techniques than this larger vehicle does, but the Beetle is still full of half-stud-offset, SNOT, complex headlight and bracket geometry, and other techniques you’ll rarely if ever see in a LEGO City set.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

The set comes in three batches of numbered bags, though each set of bags includes a lot more parts than your average, highly modular LEGO Star Wars set. The first set of polybags take you through step 67 as you build the chassis and some of the rear body, the second bags get you to step 119 and the front fenders.

The stickers are noteworthy for several reasons. First, they’re only placed on “common” parts (none of the dark azure pieces). Second, there’s a complete extra set of bumper stickers on the decal sheet — something I’ve never seen in a LEGO set before. Finally, the set includes spare license plates — stickers on different-colored tiles — for Germany, the US, the UK, and presumably Denmark (I have no idea).

I placed the stickers on the window at a jaunty angle, because I’m a rebel.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

Parts & price

Oh, the azure! My God, it’s full of azure! I don’t even know where to start, so how about this brand new piece in dark azure?

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

While this 6x6x2 round brick appears to be the only totally new part (in other words, from a brand new mold), there are more parts in dark azure for the first time than I can list here. For example, the set includes 4 1×2 brackets in dark azure, plus 2 more of the “inverted” versions, typically only available in boring “internal” colors like light gray. Similarly, there are a whopping 30 1×2 tiles, 33 1×2 plates, 16 double-wide cheese slopes, and so on. The designers have even used the rare color in places where the bricks aren’t visible in the finished car (as long as the same bricks are also used elsewhere).

Also noteworthy is that several key pieces are printed. The VW logo on both the hood and gas cap under the hood is printed on a 1×1 round tile, and since they’re built from separate bags, you end up with two extra tiles. The top of the beer can in the red cooler (hey, it’s an “Expert” set geared toward nostalgic adults, right?) is also printed, and you end up with an extra of that tile as well.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

For over a thousand parts at a hundred bucks, including hundreds of rare dark azure pieces in a huge range of shapes, you can’t go wrong here.

The finished model

The set depicts a 1960’s Beetle kitted out for a day of fun in the sun at the beach. Like the charming little extras that came with the Mini Cooper, this set includes a surfboard, cooler, and even a striped beach towel. LEGO Scala Man is perfect for this set, complete with turtleneck and cargo pants.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle with Scala Figure

(Note: Slightly out-of-scale LEGO Scala Man not actually included. If you want your own LEGO Scala Man — his name is “Chris” — you can pick him up new for about $5, which is just over half of what he retailed for in 2000. Not all LEGO appreciates like gold. See also, Galidor.)

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

All of the gear fits on a cool roof rack, with some rubber bumpers to hold everything in place.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

The roof itself comes off so you can check out the mostly tan interior.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

The Beetle has a surprising amount of functionality, including seats that fold forward so people relegated to the back seat can clamber in.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle 10252 Volkswagen Beetle

While the wheel doesn’t do anything (a lost opportunity for working steering, as Ralph pointed out in his review of the Mini Cooper), the Beetle includes a parking brake and manual gearshift so you can exert total control over that high-performance 40 horsepower engine.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

Speaking of the engine, the 1200 cc, 4-cylinder engine appears in the same place as the Porsche 911 GT3 RS — in the back.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

The hood opens to reveal the spare tire and gas tank (useful as a crumple zone in front collisions), whose cap has another printed VW logo.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle

Finally, it’s worth comparing this Beetle with some of its LEGO forebears. Here it is with the Camper Van, proving how wonderfully they go together.

10252 Volkswagen Beetle with 10220 Volkswagen T1 Camper Van

This new Beetle is substantially smaller than 10187 Volkswagen Beetle from 2008, and has about 500 fewer parts. I know many LEGO collectors loved this older set, but I much prefer the smooth shaping and curves of the new version. Plus, DARK AZURE!!!

10252 Volkswagen Beetle with 10187 Volkswagen Beetle

You can also see a few more photos in our album on Flickr.

Recommendation

Even though this set doesn’t include a LEGO Scala Man named Chris wearing a turtleneck and cargo pants, it’s still a pretty groovy set. For $100, you get over 1,100 pieces, including a massive amount of dark azure. In addition to great parts, a fun build, and cool play features, this is a stellar display set.

As you can probably tell already from my writeup so far, this was a joyous build that had me grinning often as I built the set. I rarely recommend buying two of a set, but I’m doing so here — buy one for the parts (I expect to see plenty of azure spaceships at BrickCon in three months), and buy one to display proudly in your LEGO room or at work — mine is going on a shelf in my office next to my Mini Cooper.

LEGO sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set to review. Providing TBB with products for review does not guarantee coverage or a positive review.

12 Jul 20:30

70sscifiart: No Man’s Sky/70s sci-fi covers, mashed up by...








Chris Foss




John Harris


Chris Foss

70sscifiart:

No Man’s Sky/70s sci-fi covers, mashed up by NeoGAF user ichtyander

12 Jul 16:16

pdlcomics: Ernesto’s Song