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23 Jan 11:11

Hisui & Narutaki VS. The Best of 2017 Manga

by reversethieves

It was a difficult thing, but we narrowed down our favorite U.S. manga releases from 2017. Let us know yours!

Best New Manga

narutaki_icon_4040_round Cells at Work by Akane Shimizu If I can be entertained and learn stuff at the same time, well is there really anything better?

Each character (cell) is bold in their depiction and each is sooo serious about their job. But I guess they have to be to keep this blundering human alive! From getting the flu to the creation of cancer cells to seasonal allergies to getting a blood transfusion, the fun never stops.

All of this is weathered with a big dose of humor. The jokes, reactions, rivalries, team-ups, and just general eccentricities of these characters (cells) makes every chapter a hilarious and educational romp.

Cells at Work! is a unique and charming manga that I’d never seen before. And just this month it was announced that Cells at Work! will be getting an anime. I hope this brings loads more people to the series.

Real Girl by Mao Nanami Nerd boy meets real girl and together they navigate the ups and downs of love. In this opposites attract scenario, the series steers away from putting its characters into boxes. This is especially true with Iroha who has past relationship experience, a rare thing for a girl romantic lead.

The depth and sincerity of the romance in Real Girl is endearing. Mao Nanami strikes so many great notes in her sweet portrait of two people falling in love, one of who happens to be an otaku.

This series wraps up with volume 12, coming out in February. But I won’t have to miss it for long since it will be getting an anime very soon!

hisui_icon_4040_round The Black Museum: The Ghost and the Lady by Kazuhiro Fujita When Florence Nightingale appeared in Fate/Grand Order lots of fans seemed perplexed by her portrayal in the game. They expected a gentle healing Caster that kissed people’s wounds and told the pain to fly away. In fact, they assumed that the pink haired lady with a white crown would be Nightingale when it eventually turned out she was Medb. Instead, they got a gung-ho Berserker drawn by Jormugand’s Keitarou Takahashi that was adept at healing but also was a no-nonsense tough as nails combat medic. It turns out that her portrayal in the game was heavily influenced by a single manga. That manga is The Black Museum: The Ghost and the Lady.

If you have been on this site long enough you know that we really loved Le Chevalier D’Eon. It was a great series that mixed historical fiction with fantasy. I love stories that mix historical characters real with the fantastical elements of the time. I think if the gameplay was more my style could really get into the Assassin’s Creed games. The story combines the famous story of the mother of modern nursing and the legend of the Man in Grey of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. It is a clever combination that adds a bit of Homunculus to spice things up.

The core of series is the relationship of Florence Nightingale and the Man in Gray. They have a lively relationship that really grows both of them as characters. Considering Gray is an old ghost who is impossibly set in his ways this is no small feat. At the same time, the setting is informative and fascinating. The horrific conditions that Nightingale is forced to work in at the start almost seem more inhuman and insane than the conflicts going on around her. The addition of the supernatural angle is merely a pleasant spice to an already great dish.

The series is also only two thick volumes long. It a world of sprawling epic likes One PieceDetective Conan, and Boys Over Flowers it is nice to be able to sit down and get a full and rich story that you can read in a single day with only minimal effort. You get a nice chunk of Nightingale ‘s life with Gray and hits lots of her early days in nursing especially in Crimea. This lets you feel as if you read the equivalent of a long movie without the story ever dragging or wearing out its welcome. If anything you might only curse that it is not longer.

It goes without saying that I would love to see an anime adaptation of this manga but I figured I would stoplight another series there and let The Ghost and the Lady winning this prize mostly speak for itself.

The Promised Neverland by Posuka Demizu and Kaiu Shirai As of late Shonen Jump is in search of a new hit. With Naruto and Bleach out of the magazine, they seem in constant search of new titles to fill those coveted blockbuster spots. One Piece is still going strong and My Hero Academia is doing a good deal of heavy lifting but there is still a void of mega-hits outside of them. I have a feeling The Promised Neverland will never fill that hole but it has a much more interesting legacy to step into. I think The Promised Neverland fills the role of the next Death Note for the magazine. It will never be the merchandise machine that Naruto is but a title that feels different from the normal fare in Shonen Jump and can bring in a different audience than the more conventional titles as well as appealing to the traditional fanbase.

The Promised Neverland distinctly has that cat and mouse psychological thriller that you might usually see in a seinen magazine with a bit more of all ages bent. That said this is still a series where man-eating demons often kill and consume their adolescent prey. Sometimes on-screen. It places it somewhere between One Piece and anything Go Nagai on the sliding scale of disturbing shonen violence.

That is what I think makes it a successor to Death Note. It feels a bit more daring than most of the other titles in the magazine while still being firmly in the demographic. Also, the Promised Neverland feels a bit smarter. While strategy and cunning often play a part in sport and fighting shows it feels a bit simpler than the more Machiavellian mental chess matches in something like The Promised Neverland. Also, there is often a bit more on the line. Overall it seems a nice transition into more mature titles while still being a good fit for the magazine.

I have a feeling The Promised Neverland is going to be one of those titles that goes under most people radars until it gets an anime. Then I expect to explode like Attack on Titan. If you’re not reading it I think you should at least keep your eyes on the series.

Best Ongoing Manga

hisui_icon_4040_round JoJolion by Hirohiko Araki JoJolion is a bit of an odd duck in the greater JoJo’s cannon in the same way that Diamond Is Unbreakable was. So far there is no clear ultimate antagonist, the stakes are high but a bit unclear, and the end game of the story is a bit murky. But much like Diamond Is Unbreakable is feel like the primary draw is discovering that is going on in the town. If anything Diamond Is Unbreakable may have tipped its hand too quickly with Kira and Araki has realized sometimes teasing out the mastermind is something you can do for great effect without losing your audience before then. So far JoJolion has kept the story engaging and tense without putting all of its cards on the table.

That said JoJolion has done a good job of keeping the story exciting and mysterious so far with the Rock Human antagonists. They are a bizarre bunch that feel slightly different from the standard stand users but still tap into the great Jojo’s formula. Dolomite and Urban Guerrilla both had a great sense of tension when they confronted Josuke and Yasuho. They are good fights that reveal just enough information so that the plot always feels like it is moving forward.

I would also like to mention that the recent  She Saw story arc really helped show that Yasuhois vitally important to the story and not just a sidekick or support character for Josuke. I really felt like she was on the borderline between being a main heroine and just a love interest with a lot of screen time and this was a vital push in the right direction.

I am really interested to see where the story goes from here. Wherever it goes you know it will be bizarre.

Space Brothers by Chuuya Koyama There was a time when Space Brothers  was the constant talk of the town when it came to stories for adults. But that slowly stopped once the anime went off the air. It was not that people stopped loving the adventures of Mutta Nanba. It is more that any manga without an anime loses some traction with fans. That is a real shame because the story has remained consistently strong, moving, and inspiring since the manga has continued.

Mutta’s trip to the moon feels like the emotional climax of the story. For the longest time everything has been building up to Mutta finally realizing his dream of exploring space and he is finally doing it. At the same time the story is tying in all of the other storylines in both subtle and dynamic ways. Chuuya Koyama does a great job with tension in the mission. It seems far more leisurely and character based than anything before it. There are these moments when you think they are going to hit a disaster but things actually gets solved with a bit of humor and ingenuity.  When the real disaster hits you have been lulled into sweet sense of security so it hits really hard. Brilliant timing.

It is simple. If you stop with the story of Space Brothers when the anime ended now is the time to start reading.

narutaki_icon_4040_round Barakamon by Satsuki Yoshino This series has been consistently at the top of my reading list. The story developments in the volumes from 2017 were some of the biggest and most crucial for Handa’s future.

Satsuki Yoshino has a firm hold on when the story needs to be wacky, needs to be serious, and needs to just be. More than just an eccentric comedy in the idyllic countryside, Barakamon is full of life-affirming spirit.

Kimi ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina This series is still going strong at 28 volumes. In fact, I think it’s actually gotten better as it goes.

What started out as a beautiful story of friendship and romance has developed into a thoughtful look into navigating life changing decisions as the end of high school approaches. The friendships and love have only gotten deeper and more true as the real world starts closing in.

I’m going to be very sad to say goodbye to these characters in just a couple more volumes.

Best Manga-ka

narutaki_icon_4040_round Akiko Higashimura As a prolific manga-ka who works on multiple series, she is extremely focused. Watching her work (check out her YT channel!) is impressive. More than that though, Akiko Higashimura consistently feels like she is looking directly into my awkward soul whether through her nerds in Princess Jellyfish or her not-adults in Tarareba Girls. I look forward to seeing many more of her stories in English in the future.

hisui_icon_4040_round Eiichiro Oda I know that Kate will tell you that Oda has gone on hiatus but that is just her wearing her homicidal hatred of Sanji on her sleeve. It turns out that he is still writing manga and it is very good. This current Whole Cake Island Arc has been an interesting ride which has a great mixture of comedy, adventure, and drama. Sanji has always been one of the more flat characters so a some added depth really helps make him more than just the lecherous cook. Plus they have been hinting that there he had some major secrets for years now so it is nice to see some of those checks have finally been cashed.

It was also interesting to see the return of Capone Bege. It was always clear that he would come back but it is super surprising that he is a reluctant ally. From his first appearance you would naturally assume he would be a major antagonist or at least the ally of a major villain. It is the sort of mix-up that makes Oda manga worth reading.

I have been really enjoying Carrot as a temporary crew member. She does not seem like someone who is going to stick around but she has a great dynamic with the crew and really adds a good bit of goofy humor as well as a nice bit of firepower. Much like Marguerite I will be sad to see her go but I will appreciate the time we had with her.

Oda really wins this spot barbecue after two decades of writing manga he is still able to surprise his audience while tying together the many plot lines built up over the hundreds of chapters of the series filled with foreshadowing for most of the major reveals. Amazing.

Best Manga That Should Get an Anime

hisui_icon_4040_round Vinland Saga by Makoto Yukimura I have to say part of me is always perplexed that Vinland Saga has never gotten an anime. It really seems like a prime candidate because it seems to have all that you would want for an anime. It is a great historical setting that has action, intrigue, and a merciless  quest for revenge. It has all the flashy fights for simple entertainment but also enough meaty story surrounding it that it does not feel like total cotton candy. Plus the viking setting is not touched enough in anime and manga that it feels fresh and different.

My only theory is that they are waiting for the manga to be near completion before they green light the anime so they can run the whole story without interruption. If that is the case then all we can do is wait.

narutaki_icon_4040_round Kigurumi Guardians by Lily Hoshino This manga is such a “this could only happen in manga setup” which makes it absolutely perfect. Magical guardians. Giant-sized stuffed animal mascots. Beautiful and clandestine student council president. Hyper-sexual transformations. Villains from another dimension stealing hearts.

This series is at turns delightful, strange, funny, familiar, unique, and bizarrely accepted by the cast in such a way that I also embrace it.

22 Jan 21:06

This Memo Pad Reveals Architectural Sculptures As You Use It

by Kenya Foy

Prepare to have your sloppy childhood attempts at stick figure flip book animation completely blown out of the water. Japanese company Triad is the creator of Omoshiro Blocks ("fun blocks"), memo pads that slowly reveal an architectural treasure with the removal of each page.


22 Jan 21:04

What Women Thought Of Trump Through Year One

by Harry Enten and Kathryn Casteel

Graphics by Julia Wolfe

The 2016 election was marked by a clear gender divide. In fact, men and women differed in their voting choice that year more than they had in any other modern presidential election.

A year on from President Trump’s inauguration — and the Women’s March protest that filled the National Mall the following day — that gender divide persists. Trump has a lower approval rating among women than men, and that gap has stayed about the same size throughout his first year, according to SurveyMonkey data collected from over 600,000 Americans. When you further divide the results by respondents’ party and race or ethnicity, some of the differences among subgroups have stayed relatively steady while others have changed significantly since the election.

In February 2017, 53 percent of men approved of Trump compared to 38 percent of women. That 15 percentage-point difference in approval remained in December 2017. For comparison, the difference by gender in former President Barack Obama’s approval rating in Gallup’s weekly surveys in December 2009 was never greater than 6 percentage points.

It’s unfair, however, to look at men and women as monolithic groups. College-educated men and women, for example, were less likely than their non-college-educated counterparts to approve of the job Trump was doing as president throughout the year. Similarly, men and women who live in the Northeast and West were less likely to approve of Trump than their counterparts in the Midwest and South.

Perhaps more interesting is the president’s approval rating among various age groups, which has shifted over time. Trump’s approval rating among 18- to 29-year-old women stayed pretty stable during 2017, while women 65 years old and over have soured on him a bit.

In fact, the gender gap among young people may have gotten slightly smaller, while it may have grown during the year among those age 65 and up. Across all the monthly averages of Trump’s approval rating since February, December’s 20-point difference among this oldest subset was the largest gender gap of any age group.

Not surprisingly, party affiliation also makes a big difference in how men and women tend to feel about the president. Republican women are, for example, far more likely to approve of Trump than independents or Democrats are, regardless of gender.

Yet even when we control for party, the SurveyMonkey data reveals a consistent gender divide. Fewer women in all three political affiliation groups — Democrats, independents and Republicans — approved of Trump than did their male counterparts.

That fact that the gender divide remains large even after controlling for party is somewhat unusual. In December 2017, the difference in Trump’s approval ratings among men and women in the same political group was between 3 and 7 percentage points. According to the 2008 American National Elections Study and the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Survey, at the end of both George W. Bush and Obama’s presidencies, the gender gap between men and women in the same party53 was less than 2 points in both cases. The fact that Trump does worse among women across the political spectrum suggests that women’s feelings about his policies or personal history are independent of the partisan divide to at least some degree.

The SurveyMonkey data also indicates that Trump’s actions may have eaten away at his base. According to the 2016 exit polls, Trump did equally well with Republican men and women. But over the course of 2017, Trump’s support seemed to drop more among GOP women than GOP men.

A widening of the gender gap to 7 percentage points (if the current number holds) among Republicans may not seem like a lot, but an erosion of support among Republican women that produced a gap of that size would have been more than enough to deny Trump the White House if 2016 voting patterns had matched Trump’s 2017 approval ratings.54

The gender divide also persists even once we control for party and race and ethnicity. In an average of monthly surveys since February 2017, men were more likely than women to approve of Trump for each of the 12 combinations of race or ethnicity (white, black, Hispanic and other) and party (Democrat, Republican and independent).

Even among Republicans, black women don’t like Trump

The president’s average approval rating during 2017, by demographic group

Race Party Men Women Diff.
White Republican 90.2% 87.5% -2.7
Democrat 7.6 6.3 -1.3
Independent 43.4 37.2 -6.1
Black Republican 68.2 48.2 -20.0
Democrat 11.7 5.6 -6.1
Independent 23.4 14.9 -8.5
Hispanic Republican 78.3 66.4 -11.9
Democrat 12.0 7.4 -4.6
Independent 28.8 17.6 -11.2
Other Republican 86.1 81.4 -4.7
Democrat 14.4 8.2 -6.2
Independent 40.1 29.3 -10.8

Source: Surveymonkey

Yet the gender divide is not consistent across all 12 groups. White Democratic men and women are separated by just a point. White independents have a 6-point gender gap. But the largest gulf is among black Republicans. SurveyMonkey interviewed 5,000 black Republicans, and men in that group were by far the least likely male Republicans to approve of Trump — just 68 percent did, compared to 90 percent of white Republican men — but approval among black Republican women is even lower.

Only 48 percent of black Republican women approved of Trump’s job performance in an average of responses to polls taken from February through December, which is actually lower than his disapproval rating among this group. That is, even among black Republican women who are sticking by the Republican brand, a plurality — 50 percent — still disapprove of how the president is performing in office. Fortunately for Trump, his lower approval rating among black Republicans doesn’t have a major effect overall, given that black Republicans made up only about 1 percent of voters in 2016.

Trump’s approval rating wasn’t the only place where we saw dramatic differences in opinion between genders in 2017 — topics touching on sexism, gender equality and women’s rights in the U.S. often dominated the news, and public opinion on them has shifted over the course of the year. Ahead of the first Women’s March in January of 2017, research and polling firm PerryUndem surveyed registered voters on the state of gender equality. About a year later, the researchers asked some of the same questions and found that views among certain demographic and partisan groups had changed.55

Enthusiasm for women in politics is growing

Percentage of respondents who agree that the country would be better off with more women in political office

Party Gender 2016 2017 Diff.
Democrats Men 68% 87% +19
Women 82 89 +7
Independents Men 46 60 +14
Women 58 67 +9
Republicans Men 28 42 +14
Women 28 59 +31


Over the past year, more voters, particularly Republicans, have come to feel that the country would benefit from having women in politics and, overall, voters have spent more time thinking and talking about sexism and sexual harassment in the U.S.

In PerryUndem’s most recent survey, published in December, 69 percent of all voters said they thought the country would be better off with more women in office, up 17 points from last year. The biggest jump was among Republican women, 59 percent of whom now agree with that statement, a 31-point increase from the previous year. Republican men also became more likely to support the idea of women in elected office, as 42 percent backed this position in the latest survey compared to 28 percent previously.

Yanna Krupnikov, a professor at Stony Brook University who studies political psychology, said the increase could partly be caused by respondents not having Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in mind when they answered the question in 2017.

“When asking that [in 2016], since they’re Republicans, they’re more negative to women in office because they’re thinking about Hillary,” Krupnikov said. But she also noted that media coverage of women who want to run for political office could have played a role in the change, particularly among women, who may have identified with some potential candidates or held similar ambitions.

Perceptions of sexism have also shifted. In PerryUndem’s most recent survey, 44 percent of voters thought sexism was a big problem, a 14-point increase from the year before.

In addition, a few weeks before the 2016 election, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 68 percent of likely voters thought Trump had probably made unwanted advances toward women. Just over a year later, PerryUndem found that 76 percent of registered voters thought Trump had definitely or probably sexually harassed or assaulted women. The same percentage thought there should be an investigation into the sexual harassment and assault accusations against the president. Even among respondents who said they viewed Trump favorably, 43 percent said that the allegations of harassment and assault should be investigated.

More broadly, 57 percent of voters in the most recent survey said they wouldn’t tolerate a politician who faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct even if he or she could pass laws they supported. And almost three-quarters (73 percent) of respondents in the most recent poll said stories of sexual harassment in the news have made them think more about sexism in society.

“We’ve been very aggressively confronted with [the fact] that, regardless of whatever we say in our society, that women are not treated equality and are being treated as lower-class citizens,” said Lilliana Mason, a government and politics professor at the University of Maryland, referring to the numerous allegations of sexual harassment and abuse by high-profile men. “Before all of this happened and even before the 2016 campaign, there was a generally accepted idea that women were doing OK in society.”

As Trump enters the second year of his presidency, we’ll see if he can bring more Americans together than he was able to in his first year. This data suggests he has a lot of divides left to bridge, including major splits along gender lines.

22 Jan 01:52

The week in wildlife – in pictures

by Compiled by Eric Hilaire

The final picture of the moose and the story are awesome!

Icelandic horses, an endangered hawksbill sea turtle and snow leopards are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

Continue reading...
22 Jan 01:48

Help! My Cats Are People!

by thingsthatareawful

As a rule, the Bad Advisor does not tend to take on questions she believes to be fake, but this rich trove simply had to be addressed. (And as a certified cat lady, herself, the Bad Advisor feels the need to avenge her people.)

So with that said: It’s Bad Advice Tuesday over at The Establishment!

Read the Bad Advisor’s response to this and two other people who need a fairly solid comeuppance here.

22 Jan 00:27

You Can Now Buy an Oreo Cookie Club Subscription on Amazon — Food News

by Elizabeth Licata

There's nothing like the excitement of getting a care package. These special boxes full of surprise snacks and random treats were one of the best things about summer camp and college, and it's not fair that they tend to stop showing up once a person turns 30.

But now there's a new Oreo Cookie Subscription Box service you can get on Amazon, and it's basically like signing up to receive a care package of cookies every month.


21 Jan 22:04

The 5 Best Frozen Veggies from Trader Joe's — Tips From The Kitchn

by Kelli Foster

I could wax poetic about my favorite Trader Joe's finds all day long (currently cannot get enough of the Mixed Nut Butter!), but beyond the snacks, condiments, and cheeses, the freezer section is a gold mine. Trader Joe's really gets frozen vegetables in a way that most other stores don't. Sure, you can pick up the standard bag of peas and broccoli florets, but the freezer cases are stocked with even more fun, interesting, and convenient finds you can't pick up anywhere else.

Here are five favorites I keep stashed in my freezer for quick sides, simple soups and stir-fries, and dinners when I don't feel like cooking.


21 Jan 21:09

7 Easy Ways to Save Money on Groceries Using Target’s App — Shopping

by Ayn-Monique Klahre

It happens almost every time: You run into Target thinking you're going to spend $20 and then you end up spending $200. Between stylish table linens, metallic bowls, and all those Chip and Joanna Gaines goodies, it's impossible not to go overboard. Luckily, you can save some decent money on groceries, paper goods, and cleaning supplies when you use the store's app.

Here's what you need to know about it.


21 Jan 21:03

Shop Your Soup: A Grocery List for Making the Best Ramen at Home — The Asian Soup Pot

by Meghan Splawn

Many of us are accustomed to throwing a few inexpensive packets of dried ramen soup into our grocery cart to save our weary weeknight cooking in a pinch. But making the best restaurant-quality ramen at home begins at the Asian market. Most of the ingredients are long-lasting pantry ingredients that make keeping a ramen-ready kitchen almost as easy as cooking up a cup of noodles.


21 Jan 17:04

McDonald’s Says All Its Packaging Will Be Recyclable by 2025

by Clint Rainey

To make customers feel better about eating the food, McDonald’s has come up with a plan to make its bags, cups, and wrappers better for the environment. It will take seven years, and Big Macs will probably still have 500 calories by then — but, assuming they still require...More »

21 Jan 17:03

15 Essential New York Bakeries

by Daniela Galarza

Where to find the city’s best bread, pastry, cake, cookies, and more

One great thing about a city as vibrant as New York is that around every corner, within each neighborhood, there’s a great bakery lurking under a shy awning, behind a dusty facade, smelling of toasted flour and browned butter. But only a few places across the city’s boroughs make an array of great bread, pastries, and sweet cakes. The bakers and pastry chefs behind these shops are true talents in a city where only the very best survive.

For a bakery to be considered for this list, it must serve both yeasted breads and an assortment of breakfast pastries and more intricate sweets, such as cakes, pies, tarts, and cookies. Bakeries that only make a handful of items were excluded, as were strictly wholesale operations or those that only sell their goods at greenmarkets. Ahead, the 15 finalists that are essential to New York City’s bread and sweets scene.

Note: This map is arranged geographically from north to south.

21 Jan 17:02

Random Ramen: 9 Unique Bowls You Have to Try in Tokyo

by Justin Egli
Ask someone on the street for the first Japanese food they can think of and the answer will probably be sushi. Ramen, however, is sure to come in a close second. From cheap mom-and-pop shops to Michelin star offerings (Tokyo now boasts two 1-star ramen shops), it seems that the choice on offer is now bigger that ever. Keeping up with the latest ramen shops in Tokyo is a challenge in itself. Periodic magazines such as Ramen Walker list new openings around the city, yet while many new shops appear every month, just as many close their doors due to intense competition. Traditional soup bases such as shoyu (soy sauce), shio (salt), miso and tonkotsu (pork bone) are available right across Tokyo—but for those who want to delve a little bit deep

The post Random Ramen: 9 Unique Bowls You Have to Try in Tokyo appeared first on Tokyo Cheapo.

20 Jan 01:10

Cells at Work! Manga Gets TV Anime in July

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure director Kenichi Suzuki helms anime at David Production
16 Jan 00:26

Gonzo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles RPG Has Everything You’d Ever Want

by Mordicai Knode

Transdimensional Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may very well be the greatest role-playing game sourcebook of all time. I’m not even being slightly hyperbolic. It is a book that talks about everything from dinosaurs to time travel, from wizards to parallel dimensions.

I suppose I should start a little further back: do you know that Palladium published the TMNT game, called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness? Well they did, and while the game is built on the rickety foundation of the Palladium system, the “Bio-E” mini-system for mutating your character from everyday animal into an anthropomorphic version is incredibly elegant. Transdimensional TMNT takes the “Strangeness” part of “…and Other Strangeness” and cranks it up to eleven. The real kicker, though, is that it has perhaps the most cogent system for time travel that I’ve ever seen, period.

One of the things that makes TMNT and Other Strangeness (and many Palladium games) wonderful and frustrating are all the random tables. Everything from your background to your animal species is rolled up on a table. Sure you could just pick, but where is the fun in that? If you did that you’d never find out that chickens can see ultraviolet, and create a mutant rooster gambler who marks his cards with UV paint. Transdimensional TMNT’s random character backgrounds are…phenomenally surreal and wonderful.

This includes rather tame stuff like accidental hitchhikers and animal samples from the Jurassic or Cenozoic, mutated by the raw forces of time travel, sure. It also includes…being a magically altered witch’s familiar! Or a “brain-edited” traveller from the far future, sent to make historical observations on the past. Yes! You could be a Howard the Duck-style visitor from another dimension where everybody is a duck-person like you, rather than an ape-person like our Earth has; heck, you can be from an Earth where Neanderthals survived and Sapiens didn’t; you know how much I like that.

Then, in one of the greatest examples of giving the customer what they want: the rules for making mutant dinosaurs! Heck yes I want to pay 10 Bio-E for my mutant stegosaurus to have “Temperature Control Plates.” Not content to stop there, we get a bunch of other prehistoric critters to mutate, too. Woolly mammoths, sabertooth tigers, glyptodons, terror birds, brown paper packages tied up with string…these are a few of my favorite things. Ready to rest on their laurels? Not a chance! Rules for mutant humans— that is, devolving into grey alien-like humanoids—and for other mutant hominins are icing on the cake, complete with a host of psychic powers to pick from.

All gonzo excellence aside, It is Transdimensional TMNT’s time travel mechanics that really force you to take a second look at it, though, with your serious pants on. Now, a disclaimer here: I don’t know how much of the time travel concepts come from Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird or Erick Wujcik, but what I do know is that they are really quite cunning. The analogy used is that of a coiled up garden hose. Imagine that the flow of water through the hose is time, moving at 1 second per second. Fighting against the flow isn’t really effective, but if you were to sneak out of a loop of the hose and into the one below, you’d end up in a different “Twist” of time. (Twists themselves coil up into Cycles; I’m simplifying here) Now, like a hose, the coils on the bottom are bigger, and the coils up top are smaller, meaning closer to current history you can jump from century to century—giving your players a chance to hit the historical highlights—and farther in the past they are big enough to go with broadstrokes for things like the Cretaceous or Permian or, heck the moments after the Big Bang.

Meanwhile, the flow of time through the proverbial hose keeps moving forward! If you leave 2018 CE at 6:00 PM, go back to 162 BCE and spend three hours there, you’ll come back to 2018 at 9:00 PM. The constant motion of time resolves all those nasty paradoxes and issues of cause and effect. You can have the timeline hopping shenanigans without having to worry why Cloud didn’t give Aeris the Phoenix Down about trying to go back in time to stop the villain before his evil plan even started. The Grandfather Paradox problem still exists, and they have rules for Temporal “Kickback” for when the bad guy gives the Confederacy a crate of AK-47s and changes the future, but if you are more of a Predestination Paradox type like myself, or adhere to the “self-correcting time stream” space opera concept, you can go with that, too.

The story that Transdimensional TMNT chooses to tell by describing the future Twists that you find as you go forward instead of backwards is, I think, really compelling, and weaves various disparate elements of continuity together. There was a very popular spin-off line from TMNT and Other Strangeness called After the Bomb, which posits quite simply that after WWIII, the fallout of the nukes, bioweapons, chemical weapons, et al mutate all of the surviving animals (and mutate insects to fill their old ecological niches). As far as elevator pitches go, that is a pretty strong one; After the Bomb includes Mutants Down Under, the Australian expansion, Road Hogs, for all your Mad Max-y needs, Mutants in Avalon, if you want to ride a giant snail and meet a mutant raven King Arthur, Mutants in the Yucatan if flamingos and vampire bats are your style…just a host of great pulp ideas. So it is no surprise that it is the first Twist ahead in the future.

The clever interweaving doesn’t stop there. Did you know the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles go to space not infrequently? At least, starting with their Mirage run they did, and Turtles Guide to the Universe covers the cosmic playground for the RPG. One of the most dangerous places to end up is on a Wild Planet, where mutagens have gone crazy, making the whole planet a hyper-evolved deathtrap. Guess what? After the Bomb was the start of that trend, and the next stop on the time-train is, you guessed it, Earth as a Wild Planet. A nice little bow-tie on the TMNT universe, I think. Here, at the Wild Planet of Twist 2, you’ll also meet one of my favorite NPCs of all time: the young mutant fox piloting the space shuttle that rescues the PCs, Gary Morbriar.

See, the great thing about Gary Morbriar comes up in the Twist 3, the Terminator-style machine world apocalypse that grows from the death-droids designed to tame the Wild Planet. Here, young hotshot Gary Morbriar has matured into a senior officer with a creepy robot snake “advisor” around his neck and just a smidge more mutation. The non-linear notes are what make the scene, though: “He will be happy to see the characters again (incidentally, he’ll recognize them and call them by name, even if, the way the game has been going, they haven’t met him before.)” That’s right, Gary Morbriar is Transdimensional TMNT’s River Song, circa 1990.

The next Twist is even more grimdark: War! A war so wild that a chain of hydrogen bombs ripping across the face of Eurasia is described as harmless sensor cover for the Ultan I-Beams. Whatever that means. Gary Morbriar is here again, covered in cybernetic implants, mutated even further. After the War, though…there is a peace of sorts. An Earth covered by wilderness reclaiming the ruins of…well, everything. Where the only people left are…humans. Strange, “Garden of Eden” style humans, hyper-intelligent and hyper-primitive.

Gary Morbriar appears here as a hologram, shifting between his previous incarnations. Beyond that is a “Dark Eden” Twist, where the humans start evolving to fill the niches occupied by animals—giant herd humans on the plains, small arboreal humans in the trees, amphibious humans…and the Night Hunters, human predators. Past that, though is the Third Millennial Barrier. Time travel, whether spells or machines, just doesn’t work past that point, and if you keep trying? Well, an apparently omnipotent power will give you an indirect message to knock it off—say by disassembling your time machine and burying the pieces in the wall to spell out “BUZZ OFF!”

I’m really only scratching the surface of the book, here. It has rules for building a time machine and vehicle, so you can build your own Delorean. Rules for making wizards (!) and magical Time Lords. Hey, if you want to read “Time Lord” and think of Gallifrey, I won’t stop you. Also included are rules for historical weapons and gear, sample adventures and even an excerpt of the Donatello mini-series where he meets a fictionalized version of Jack Kirby…complete with “Kirby King’s” statistics. He is a 9th level comic artist, in case you were wondering. So yes, Transdimensional Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is exactly what it looks like: a game where you can play as a mutant dinosaur wizard fighting post-apocalyptic robots. Seriously, it is probably the greatest sourcebook of all time.

Transdimensional Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was published in 1989 by Palladium Books.
This article was originally published in March 2013.

Mordicai Knode had a mutant porcupine assassin named Spike Q. Seta when he was 12 years old who ended up retiring to an alternate universe where Genghis Khan’s empire never fell and because a utopia. You can follow him on Twitter or Tumblr.

14 Jan 00:07

David Brothers joins Viz as an Editor

by Heidi MacDonald
    Today’s “Job Moves” listings in Publishers Weekly confirmed that David Brothers has joined manga publisher Viz Media as an editor. Brothers, formerly Branding Manager at Image Comics, commented in tweets. New Year, New V — pshaw brothers (@hermanos) January 9, 2018   (I probably won’t talk about it online much but I’m […]
14 Jan 00:02

ONE AND DONE: The 30 Man Over The Top Royal Rumble Comic

by Davey Nieves
It’s a bit in on 2018, but I wanted to start the year in #1’s and one-shots with something that brings my love of comics and men who wear no pants fighting over belts, together. Boom! Studios is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of WWE’s most awesome and ridiculous match by examining fan favorite moments in […]
13 Jan 23:38

Character & mecha designs by Hayao Miyazaki and Yasuo Otsuka...

Character & mecha designs by Hayao Miyazaki and Yasuo Otsuka for “Conan, the Boy in Future” TV series (1978)

13 Jan 23:34

The GOP Plan To Overhaul Entitlements Misses The Real Problem

by Evan Horowitz

Energized by the successful passage of tax cuts, some Republicans are eying a new target: entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. House Speaker Paul Ryan is leading the charge, arguing that the only way to break the cycle of rising deficits and surging debt is to reduce entitlement spending.

Political resistance is likely to be fierce, not only because these programs are massively popular, but also because President Trump opposed any such cuts during his campaign. Even if the political hurdles can be cleared, though, the bigger problem is that this push for entitlement reform attacks the wrong target.

There is no wide-reaching entitlement funding crisis, no deep-rooted connection between runaway debts and the broad suite of pension and social welfare programs that usually get called entitlements. The problem is linked to entitlements, but it’s much narrower: If the U.S. budget collapses after hemorrhaging too much red ink, the main culprit will be rising health care costs.

Aside from health care, entitlement spending actually looks relatively manageable. Social Security will get a little more expensive over the next 30 years; welfare and anti-poverty programs will get a little cheaper. But costs for programs like Medicare and Medicaid are expected to climb from the merely unaffordable to truly catastrophic.

Part of that has to do with our aging population, but age isn’t the biggest issue. In a hypothetical world where the population of seniors citizens didn’t increase, entitlement-related health spending would still soar to unprecedented heights — thanks to the relentlessly accelerating cost of medical treatments for people of all ages.18

What’s needed, then, is something far more focused than entitlement reform: an aggressive effort to slow the growth of per-person health care costs. Or — if that’s not possible — some way to ensure that the economy grows at least as fast as the cost of health care does.

Diagnosing the debt: It’s not about demographics

America’s long-term budget problem is very real. Already, the federal government has a pile of publicly held debts amounting to around $15 trillion, or about 75 percent of the country’s entire gross domestic product. That’s the highest level since the 1940s, yet the debt burden is expected to double by 2047 and reach 150 percent of the GDP, according to the Congressional Budget Office.19

It makes sense to list entitlement spending among the culprits for the growing national debt, given that these programs have grown from costing less than 10 percent of the GDP in 2000 to a projected 18 percent in 2047. Part of this is simple demographics: As America ages, more of us become eligible for Social Security and Medicare, thus driving up expenses.20

But there’s a crack in this demographic explanation: It only makes sense for the next 10 to 15 years. That’s the period of rapid transition when graying baby boomers will boost the population of seniors from around 50 million to more than 70 million. A change like that should indeed produce a surge in entitlement spending as those millions submit their enrollment forms.

By 2030, however, this wave will start to ebb, leaving the elderly share of the population at a roughly stable 20 to 21 percent all the way through 2060, based on the size of the population following the boomers and slower-moving forces like lengthening lifespans.

But think what this should mean for entitlement spending. As the population of seniors levels out in those later years, costs should naturally stabilize — at least, if demographics were really the driving factor.

This is exactly what you see for Social Security. The CBO expects total Social Security spending to leap up over the next decade but then settle at just over 6 percent of the GDP, at which point it will cease to be a major contributor to rising entitlement spending or growing debts. Social Security is thus a minor player in our long-term budget drama; if you cut the program to the bone, shrinking future payouts so that they won’t add a penny to the deficit, the federal debt would still reach 111 percent of the GDP in 2047.21

Likewise, cuts to welfare and poverty-related entitlements like food stamps and unemployment insurance are unlikely to improve the debt forecast. In fact, spending on these entitlements has been dropping since the high-need years around the Great Recession and is expected to shrink further in the decades ahead — partly because payouts aren’t adjusted to keep up with economic growth, and partly because the birth rate has been falling and several programs are geared to families with children.22

But the scale of the problem is totally different when you turn to health care. Spending on entitlement-related health programs — including Medicare, Medicaid and subsidies required by the Affordable Care Act — will never shrink or stabilize, according to projections. The CBO predicts these costs will grow over 65 percent between now and 2047 — and then go right on growing after that, heedless of the fact that the percentage of the population that’s over 65 should no longer be increasing.

Why is health care eating the budget? Per-person costs

Demographics aren’t responsible for the projected explosion in health care costs. More important than the growing number of elderly Americans is the growing cost per patient — the rising expense of treating each individual

The CBO found that the lion’s share — 60 percent — of the projected increase in health spending comes from costs that would continue to increase even if our population weren’t getting older.

The reasons for this are many, including the rising cost of prescription drugs and the fact that hospital mergers have reduced competition. But since 2000, per capita health costs in the U.S. have, on average, grown faster than the GDP. And while these costs rose more slowly after the Great Recession and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, analysis from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services suggests this slower growth rate won’t last.

Which is bad news for these programs, because if the problem were demographic, it’d be easier to solve. By mixing the kind of program cuts Republicans generally support with targeted tax increases favored by some Democrats, you could meet the short-term challenge posed by retiring baby boomers and raise enough money to cover the larger — but stabilizing — population of eligible seniors. But with ever-rising costs, there is no stable future to prepare for. To keep these programs funded, you’d need a wholly different approach — indeed a whole new perspective on mounting federal debt and the role of entitlements.

The future is a race between rising health care costs and economic growth, a race that the economy is losing. Each time health costs outpace the GDP, it creates what the CBO calls “excess cost growth,” which feeds the federal debt. If the government could close this gap, the long-term budget outlook would be a lot rosier.

There are two ways to solve this issue: Either contain health care costs — say through price regulation or more competitive markets — or boost economic growth enough to pay for this expensive health care. Success on either front would make health care spending look more manageable over future decades and lighten the debt load.

Entitlement reform needs health care reform to work

Few of the proposals that commonly fall under the heading of entitlement reform target the health care cost problem, which limits their ability to reduce the long-term debt.

Even when they do address health care, often the result is to shift — rather than solve — the problem. Say lawmakers decide to dramatically cut Medicare. That would indeed ease the government’s debt problem. But the underlying dynamic — the race between health costs and the GDP — wouldn’t really change. Seniors would still need health care, and per-person costs would likely still grow (maybe even faster, since Medicare is a relatively efficient program).

On top of all this, there’s also a deep-seated political barrier: It’s no good if one party picks its favored solution only to watch the other party dismantle it when they next take over. You need political consensus to make changes stick, and America is notably short on consensus right now.

In the end, though, it won’t do to just throw up our hands. Absent some workable solution, spending on health care will sink the federal budget, generating levels of debt that would hold back the economy and potentially spark a global crisis of confidence in the United States’ ability to borrow.

If Republicans are serious about addressing this challenge and reducing America’s debt, they need to find an approach to entitlement reform that can both reduce out-of-control health costs and also survive under Democratic governance.

13 Jan 23:26

New York City just declared war on the oil industry | Bill McKibben

by Bill McKibben

The home of Wall Street announced on Wednesday that it will be divesting its massive pension fund from fossil fuels. That hits fossil fuel giants where it hurts

Over the years, the capital of the fight against climate change has been Kyoto, or Paris – that’s where the symbolic political agreements to try and curb the earth’s greenhouse gas emissions have been negotiated and signed. But now, New York City vaulted to leadership in the battle.

On Wednesday, its leaders, at a press conference in a neighborhood damaged over five years ago by Hurricane Sandy, announced that the city was divesting its massive pension fund from fossil fuels, and added for good measure that they were suing the five biggest oil companies for damages. Our planet’s most important city was now at war with its richest industry. And overnight, the battle to save the planet shifted from largely political to largely financial.

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13 Jan 23:16

The week in wildlife – in pictures

by Compiled by Eric Hilaire

Rockhopper penguins, bleeding heart baboons and a flying fox are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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13 Jan 23:10

World's biggest wildlife reserve planned for Antarctica in global campaign

by Matthew Taylor

Vast 1.8m sq km fishing-free zone would protect species, such as penguins, leopard seals and whales, and help mitigate the effects of climate change

A global campaign is being launched to turn a huge tract of the seas around the Antarctic into the world’s biggest sanctuary, protecting wildlife and helping the fight against climate change.

The huge 1.8m sq km reserve – five times the size of Germany – would ban all fishing in a vast area of the Weddell Sea and around the Antarctic Peninsula, safeguarding species including penguins, killer whales, leopard seals and blue whales.

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13 Jan 23:06

NYC’s Finest Bagels, Mapped

by Eater Staff

Where to find exemplary versions of NYC’s unofficial favorite food

There’s no where better in the world to eat a bagel than in New York City. One of the city’s defining foods, a bagel is a deeply personal item with varying chew, size, flavor, topping, and toasting preferences that date back to a person’s first version. It’s thus impossible to pick one that reigns supreme, especially when NYC hosts hundreds of options, but these 11 bagelries rise above the rest.

Note: This map is arranged geographically from north to south.

07 Jan 13:31

Recovery of an MMO Junkie’s “Alternate NEET” and the Question of Responsibility

by sdshamshel

Recovery of an MMO Junkie is a charming anime about a romance that develops between two MMORPG players, only without the need to trap them in the game. It’s a refreshing series in many ways, with one notable reason being its portrayal of its NEET main heroine.

NEET (“Not in Education, Employment, or Training”) is originally an English term that migrated over to Japan and is one of the many terms used to describe Japanese youths as a way to admonish their lack of drive. In response to this negative image, many anime, manga, and light novels have NEET protagonists rise to the occasion, get the girl, and save the day. However, even when they’re portrayed as lovable losers who become winners in a new world, they still have that aura of initial failure about them.

However, Recovery of an MMO Junkie‘s main character, Morioka Moriko, is not portrayed as being a sad sack who never went anywhere. Prior to her becoming a NEET, she actually had a lucrative office career. While they never explicitly say why she quit, it’s implied that something about the job wore her down over time, and that she left it for her own sanity. Where other series’ NEETS are often presented as people who never even try to enter adult society, Moriko is someone who could have walked down that path but didn’t.

The reason Moriko being a former working adult is important is that NEETs, hikikomori, greeters, etc., are viewed as irresponsible and lazy, as if their lack of employment and romantic success falls squarely on their shoulders. MMO Junkie suggests that maybe there’s something wrong with the corporate and societal culture that grinds people down. It’s similar to the arguments we see about millennials, except it’s been going on in Japan for even longer.

The English title, Recovery of an MMO Junkie, can sound misleading. It’s not about an MMO player getting over her online addiction, it’s about an MMO player using an MMO for self-therapy to help her recover her life. When she worked, it was her nightly reprieve. When the job became too much for her, she needed more extensive healing. Even adults need time to recuperate mentally and emotionally.

07 Jan 13:00

Here Are Some Of The Films That Made 2017 An Incredible Year For Feature Animation

by Amid Amidi

Check out this video that celebrates some of the highlights from an excellent year in feature animation.

The post Here Are Some Of The Films That Made 2017 An Incredible Year For Feature Animation appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

07 Jan 12:49

Another Specialty Japanese Dessert Shop Heads to NYC

by Serena Dai

Plus, a ‘Clueless’-themed brunch — and more intel

Another new Japanese dessert place

Desserts from Asia are going strong around New York City: The latest addition to Canal Street Market will be a kakigori shop, a Japanese shaved ice treat often topped with fresh fruit and other toppings. Bonsai Kakigōri, popping up on January 9th in the Chinatown food hall, will change its flavors seasonally, but expect options like goat’s milk caramel with sea salt and a persimmon cardamom lime version. Though Taiwanese shaved ice has been growing in popularity in NYC, kakigori isn’t as prolific. But it might be on its way: Last month, an ambitious dessert counter called The Little One opened, also serving kakigori with flavors like hojicha caramel and lime zest.

‘Clueless’-themed brunch in Midtown

Bilevel Midtown gastropub 5th & Mad is hosting a Clueless brunch on Saturday January, 20th — where diners are encouraged to wear their best outfits inspired by the ’90s film. The restaurant will have games, the movie playing in the background, and themed food and drink like a Luke Perry and a Dionne. Tickets cost $40 and include a brunch dish, dessert, and bottomless prosecco from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. A $75 ticket comes with a whole bottle of bubbly. The same restaurant has also previously hosted a Meal Girls-themed brunch.

Chelsea restaurant Motel Morris goes daytime and late night

Lively Chelsea neighborhood American restaurant Motel Morris now offers lunch and a late-night menu. The spot from former Red Cat chef Bill McDaniel serves an extended bar menu with dishes like pimento cheese deviled eggs, tuna tartare with black sesame, chili with sriracha potato chips, and a fried chicken sandwich topped with celery root and a cabbage remoulade. Costs range from $9 for malt vinegar fries to $19 for a burger with black garlic barbecue sauce, cheddar, onion ring, bacon, and picked jalapeños. See the full menu below.

Two more closings downtown

The end-of-year to beginning-of-year restaurant closing bonanza continues. The East Village location of popular Latin restaurant Yerba Buena has closed after close to a decade in the neighborhood. Owner-chef Julian Medina — who was accused of sexual misconduct last year — plans to flip his West Village restaurant Toloache into a new outpost of Yerba Buena this summer. Over in LES, taqueria El Luchador shuttered this week due to a broken water pipe, and it’s not clear when or if it will reopen. It’s been open for a year and a half.

‘Foodgod’ Jonathan Cheban eats most disgusting creation yet in Queens

In this absolutely ludicrous video on Page Six, Kardashian regular Jonathan “foodgod” Cheban visits Bayside, Queens pizzeria Krave It for a pizza topped with fries, onion rings, burger patties, bacon, burger buns, deep-fried Oreos, and powdered sugar. It makes no sense and looks obscene, but Cheban claims to like it: “This is yummy,” he says. For a more appetizing-looking pizza, look here:

05 Jan 02:29

Trump’s Voter Fraud Commission Is Gone, But Scrutiny Will Continue

by by Jessica Huseman

by Jessica Huseman

In an unexpected executive order on Wednesday night, President Donald Trump abruptly dissolved the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which he’d set up after alleging with no evidence that he lost the popular vote because of millions of illegal votes. In a statement, he said the Department of Homeland Security will take up the commission’s mantle while avoiding the “endless legal battles” that bedeviled the commission in its brief existence. (For a history of the commission’s many woes and stumbles, see ProPublica’s chronology.) But experts say the scrutiny and resistance that the commission faced will persist. They are skeptical DHS will achieve the results Trump claims.

“Having watched the commission go up in flames, I don’t know that DHS personnel would be eager to follow their lead,” said Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola University School of Law and former Department of Justice civil rights official. “You don’t normally want to be the second person to jump on a live grenade.”

Echoing Trump, commission co-chair and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told multiple news outlets on Wednesday night that Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of DHS, would use the voter rolls already collected by the commission and compare them to a federal list of non-citizens — something he’s discussed as a possibility since the commission’s formation was announced in March. (It didn’t convene its first meeting until July.)

Dale Ho, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project, scoffed at the idea, saying that DHS had the authority to begin such a match months ago when the commission first began to collect the data. “Why haven’t they been doing this the entire time?” he said. “I don’t think anyone should be particularly impressed.”

Ho said the non-citizen list maintained by DHS is flawed. It includes only non-citizens who’ve interacted with DHS, according to Ho. Names remain on the list, he said, even after people on it have become U.S. citizens. “You may have been a non-citizen who interacted with DHS five years ago, then naturalized and registered to vote, and you would appear to be a non-citizen under this match,” he said.

After the state of Florida sued to access the DHS database in 2012, the agency said the database was not foolproof and told the Miami Herald it was “not designed” to be used as a check on non-citizen voting. Ultimately, Florida’s use of the database resulted in a flawed analysis that the governor and secretary of state later apologized for.

Levitt said DHS would understand the limitations of such a match, and may be hesitant to take on an imperfect project that would face the same scrutiny as the commission, creating a “sizeable distraction” from their real priorities — especially since the White House has already begun to distance itself from the work of the commission.

Indeed, anonymous White House insiders took to the media on Wednesday night to distance the administration from the commission. One senior advisor told CNN the commission was a “shit show” that “went off the rails,” and said Vice President Mike Pence should have viewed the commission “as a shit sandwich and treated it like a book report.” Another official blamed the commission’s formation on Steve Bannon (who was essentially excommunicated by the White House yesterday), calling the commission a “blundered Bannon rollout” that “should’ve never been in place.”

Levitt said DHS would likely face far more scrutiny than the commission if they did attempt that data analysis. “DHS is a real agency with real appropriations from Congress and real oversight authority from Congress,” he said. “They have to be very careful to keep to the purpose for which money is appropriated — OIG [the agency’s inspector general] and internal auditors take those responsibilities seriously, and their general counsel will be strict.”

Matt Dunlap, a Democratic member of the voter fraud commission and the secretary of state for Maine, also said scrutiny — including his own — would continue. This fall, Dunlap sued the commission, asserting that it had left him out of its deliberations. Last month, a judge found in his favor, ruling that he was unlawfully excluded from the drafting process related to the controversial letter sent by Kobach to the states requesting voter data, and from meeting planning. The judge also ruled the commission must turn over documents Dunlap requested, which Dunlap says he will continue to demand even though the commission is no more.

In his years as a public administrator, Dunlap said he’s never seen as much public interest as he did with the commission. He’s convinced that DHS would face the same pushback. “People don’t want their elections messed around with. They want them left alone,” he said. “If Secretary Kobach thinks he can escape public scrutiny of his work by exclusion and cloaking it even deeper, I think the American people may have a surprise waiting for him.”

Kobach snapped back at Dunlap on Wednesday night, telling news outlets that Democrats both on and off commission “lost their seat at the table” because of their protests. For his part, Dunlap professed to be unbothered. “Good luck, buddy — the curtain has been pulled away,” he said. “Everyone is watching now.”

Kobach did not respond to a request for an interview related to this story.

Other groups who filed suits relating to the voter fraud commission also say they will continue their scrutiny. For example, the Brennan Center has sought to compel the Department of Justice, DHS and the Office of Management and Budget to disclose information regarding their work with the commission. Myrna Perez, the leader of the center’s Voting Rights and Elections project, says they will continue to pursue these disclosures.

The ACLU also sued the commission, alleging that it failed to follow federal disclosure laws. Ho says these issues have not disappeared just because the commission no longer exists. “It doesn’t mean they get to shred everything now,” he said. “I still want to know what it is they’ve been concealing from the public, and I think the public deserves that.”

Experts also say that, if DHS takes on the role of investigating voter fraud, it could harm work it is doing with states to shore up cybersecurity and prevent foreign intervention. Late in the Obama Administration, election infrastructure was declared “critical,” which allowed DHS to better help states collaborate with the federal government. David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research, said states initially viewed DHS intervention as federal overreach, but have now begun to productively work together. If DHS takes the lead on “a wild goose chase” to sniff out fraud, Becker argued, the necessary work of improving cybersecurity will suffer. “If DHS is being tugged in a different direction by the White House itself,” he said, “that could have a really detrimental impact.”

05 Jan 02:22

Bomb cyclone: heavy snow pounds US east coast – in pictures

by Guy Lane

An intense winter storm has caused electricity outages for tens of thousands of Americans. Some 65,000 homes and businesses along the US east coast are without power. The storm is the product of a rapid and rare drop in barometric pressure known as bombogenesis, or bomb cyclone. Heavy snow has pounded the east coast from Maine as far south as North Carolina, taking out power lines, icing over roads and closing hundreds of schools

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04 Jan 13:19

Bullet Journal For ADHD

by Jessica McCabe

I love planners. I love organizers. I’ve always been drawn to anything that promises to Tame the Chaos, because there is a staggering amount of internal chaos that comes with having an ADHD brain. It’s incredibly satisfying to me to “get organized.” But staying organized — that’s another matter.

Turns out, my brain is used to the chaos, and feels uncomfortably boxed-in by the same rigid systems I’m drawn to through the shiny promise of “you’ll finally have your s&*$ together.”
I usually give a new system 2 weeks before I’m back to the freedom of random post-it notes and lists and notebooks full of ideas and epiphanies that I will…never find again.

So when I heard there was a system that could give me the organization my brain craved *without* sacrificing the freedom my brain needed…a system that didn’t require remembering passwords or paying a monthly subscription fee or buying refill paper or anything, really, except a notebook and a pen…a system designed BY someone with ADHD… I wanted to shout its praise from the rooftops.

I settled for my YouTube channel. You can see the full extent of my enthusiasm here:

I dove in headfirst and never looked back.

Well…I tried.

As I began to use my bullet journal, I noticed some limitations — what if I couldn’t find my bujo/left it at a friend’s house/am currently waiting tables and can’t carry it around with me? Where am I supposed to capture my awesome ideas then?

What if my schedule keeps changing? There’s only so much white-out you can use without getting frustrated at yourself for not being able to stick to what you had planned. Which for ADHDers, happens…often.

Cool, I feel super relaxed and confident about my schedule and…“wait, what do you mean we have a big important meeting today? It’s not in my bullet journal!” (The bullet journal is…not great at syncing schedules).

Turns out, I still need a digital calendar I can share with my team. I still need a whiteboard to quickly hash out a show schedule for the month and make adjustments as necessary. I still need a notepad on my phone to dump stuff when my bullet journal isn’t by my side. My bullet journal is not the One Tool to Rule Them All I hoped it would be. Which would have been terribly disappointing…

Except, in the time it took me to figure that out, my bullet journal was quietly doing amazing things for me.
Here’s what I really love about the bullet journal, after having used one for a year, and why I will probably always keep one:

It’s amazing at reducing my mental load.

I notice a huge difference on days when I offload to my bullet journal vs. days I try to keep everything in my head. I’m less overwhelmed, I have less anxiety — both of which are common issues for ADHD brains. Not only do I feel better, I also *work* better because my working memory is freed up for actually working, rather than trying to remember all the stuff I’m supposed to do.

It’s given me a relationship with myself.

Everything in my bullet journal, I put there. It’s an extension of me — my thoughts, ideas, what I find important and want to be a part of my life. As someone who’s often been swept into the current of other people’s lives and wants and goals, it’s good to have a touchstone to what I want, who I am, what I’ve accomplished. Yeah, I can do that in my phone or my computer, but those are tools I use to connect with the rest of the world — my bullet journal is a way for me to connect to me.

It’s a fantastic litmus test — if I’m too busy to update my bujo, I’m too busy.

It’s really easy for ADHDers to take on too much, because we tend to be enthusiastic about new things…and also underestimate how long those things will actually take. Not having time to plan is the canary in the coal mine that lets me know I’ve got too much on my plate and I need to say no for awhile.

I’m still 100% in love with the index.

It blows my mind every time I scribble something random and *can find it again later*. It’s so simple it’s brilliant. And hey — I can still write on post it notes!

It helps me prioritize.

The executive function deficits that come with ADHD can make it challenging for us to plan, prioritize, and sustain effort toward our goals. Which means we end up putting a LOT of effort into life that never really pays off. With the help of my bullet journal — even though I am FAR from perfect at using it — I’ve gotten better at spending my time and energy on stuff that matters, and I’ve made more progress toward my goals in the last year than I ever imagined was possible. I got to quit my day job to become a full time YouTuber and ADHD advocate, and even gave my first TEDx talk:

I’m grateful for what the bullet journal system has helped me learn about myself and accomplish, and I’m excited to see what 2018 will bring.

The post Bullet Journal For ADHD appeared first on Bullet Journal.

01 Jan 17:37

Case Closed Reviews: Fall 2017

by reversethieves

First impressions are great but what about our thoughts after we’ve watched an entire series week to week? We figured our listeners might want to hear our final impressions as well so we’ve created the Case Closed Review podcast. Just like the S.W.A.T. Reviews, these are mini-podcasts and completely off the cuff.

Final impressions of Kino’s Journey -The Beautiful World- from Lerche. It is streaming on Crunchyroll. DOWNLOAD

Final impressions of MAGICAL CIRCLE GURU-GURU from Production I.G. It is streaming on Crunchyroll. DOWNLOAD

Final impressions of Recovery of an MMO Junkie from Signal M.D. It is streaming on Crunchyroll. DOWNLOAD

01 Jan 17:32

New year, new rules: what changes around the world from 1 January

by Mark Rice-Oxley, Richard Nelsson and Guardian correspondents

British rail fares will rise again this year and Californians will be able to buy marijuana legally for recreational purposes

Saudis and Emiratis will pay more tax, the Swiss will pay less, Brits will start taking more expensive train journeys and China will stop taking in the world’s rubbish.

These are some of the changes that will take effect as the world ticks over into a new year.

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