Shared posts

24 Nov 18:07

What's the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?

by Mark Frauenfelder


After watching this video, I realize I've never eaten a yam. According to the President of the Sweet Potato Council, yams in the United States are only found in "specialty stores." Yams have been a staple in some African countries for centuries, and when slaves were brought to the US, they referred to sweet potatoes as "yams." The name stuck.

23 Nov 19:43

The End of Godwin’s Law

by jon


Trump tells is like it is, if telling it like it is means using 1930s political tactics to instill fear, doubt and hatred in the voting public. Trump is engaging in dog whistle politics but he’s using a megaphone instead.


The post The End of Godwin’s Law appeared first on Scenes From A Multiverse.

19 Nov 18:09

Last chance to buy a TV-B-Gone!

by David Pescovitz


BB pal Mitch Altman informs us that he's ceased manufacturing on his marvelous invention the TV-B-Gone, a keychain remote control that turns off any television with a push of the button. It's great fun in sports bars, airports, restaurants, and wherever else there's an idiot box that annoys you! Grab one now because when they're gone, you'll have to make your own (also great fun). Mitch writes:


In 2003 I quit my job to explore ways of making a living doing what I love doing. It was kind of scary, since I had no idea how I would make enough money after quitting my work. But I knew that I had to quit doing what was only OK, to make time to explore what I truly love. One thing I knew was that I wanted to design and make one TV-B-Gone remote control -- just for me. I wanted to be able to turn TVs off in public places!

It took me a year and a half to make the first TV-B-Gone remote control. And when I did, I went all over San Francisco turning TVs off everywhere I went -- and enjoying the hell out of it! And, of course my friends all wanted one. So, I made them for all of my friends. But, oddly, most of their friends wanted one. And when it turned out that many of the friends of my friends' friends also wanted one, I thought it would be interesting to make a bunch. So, I took a big gamble, and made 20,000 TV-B-Gone remote controls.

I thought it would take years to sell enough to make my money back. But, instead, this fantastic article in on October 19th, 2004 made TV-B-Gone go viral on the first day of sales. And, I sold all 20,000 of the first batch of TV-B-Gone remote controls in 3 weeks! Thus, changing my life forever.

Since then I've traveled the world giving talks and workshops, encouraging everyone to explore and do what they may love.

But, for the first time since TV-B-Gone came out, sales slowed down enough so that I can no longer make a living from it. So, I will no longer be making any more. The batch in my warehouse is the last batch of TV-B-Gone universal remote controls that I'll manufacture.

It's been an amazing 11 years!

I don't know what is next for me. But I do know that I will continue to explore and do what I love. I'm excited to see what will transpire as a result of the choices I make in my life.

And, as always, I hope you will choose well with what you do with the time of your life.

TV-B-Gone (Amazon)

19 Nov 17:17

Virginia mayor says Japanese-American concentration camps were a good idea. George Takei's response is perfect.

by Mark Frauenfelder


David Bowers, the mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, recently praised the concentration camps that the US built during World War II to imprison Japanese American adults and children. And, according to Bowers' logic, that's why we can't allow Syrian refugees to be resettled in his town.

George Takei has something to say about it. From his Facebook post:

Earlier today, the mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, Mr. David A. Bowers, in the attached letter, joined several state governors in ordering that Syrian refugees not receive any government assistance, or be relocated to their jurisdiction. Apart from the lack of legal authority to do so (under the Refugee Act of 1980, only the President has authority to accept or deny refugees), his resort to fear-based tactics, and his galling lack of compassion for people fleeing these same terrorists, Mayor Bowers made the following startling statement:

“I’m reminded that Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then.”

Mayor Bowers, there are a few key points of history you seem to have missed:

1) The internment (not a "sequester") was not of Japanese "foreign nationals," but of Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens. I was one of them, and my family and I spent 4 years in prison camps because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. It is my life’s mission to never let such a thing happen again in America.

2) There never was any proven incident of espionage or sabotage from the suspected “enemies” then, just as there has been no act of terrorism from any of the 1,854 Syrian refugees the U.S. already has accepted. We were judged based on who we looked like, and that is about as un-American as it gets.

3) If you are attempting to compare the actual threat of harm from the 120,000 of us who were interned then to the Syrian situation now, the simple answer is this: There was no threat. We loved America. We were decent, honest, hard-working folks. Tens of thousands of lives were ruined, over nothing.

Mayor Bowers, one of the reasons I am telling our story on Broadway eight times a week in Allegiance is because of people like you. You who hold a position of authority and power, but you demonstrably have failed to learn the most basic of American civics or history lessons. So Mayor Bowers, I am officially inviting you to come see our show, as my personal guest. Perhaps you, too, will come away with more compassion and understanding.

-- George Takei

16 Nov 13:58

Cops kick in wrong door, kill wrong man

by Rob Beschizza


An unarmed North Carolina man was shot dead this weekend by Sheriff’s deputies in Harnett County, who reportedly kicked in his door after misidentifying his home as that of a suspect in another crime.

WNCN reports that John Livingston, 33, was shot several times during the incident. Few answers are forthcoming on the circumstances.

[room-mate] Carroll says sheriff’s deputies knocked on their door around 3:30 a.m.

Carroll said they were looking for someone that no longer lived there. When deputies asked Livingston if they could search the trailer, Livingston said “not without a search warrant,” according to Carroll.

Livingston then closed the door.

“The cop kicked in the door, got on top of him, started slinging him around beat him…” Carroll said.

The officers involved are on administrative leave, but their identities have not been released, according to ABC news. One of the deputies received minor injuries, but they were not specified.

12 Nov 18:28

Willy Wonka cast members reunited after 43 years

by Mark Frauenfelder

Charlie Bucket, Mike Teavee, Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, and an Oompa Loompa got together to chat about being in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. They haven't aged a day!

The notable person missing from the group, is the delightful Gene Wilder. Here's an interview with him from 2013:

I read his Gene Wilder's wonderful autobiography, Kiss Me Like a Stranger, a few years ago and highly recommend it, especially the audiobook, which he reads with his distinctive voice.

06 Nov 19:09

Man interviews himself 38 years later and makes it into an amazing movie

by Mark Frauenfelder


This is wonderful. When Stoney Emshwiller was 18 years old, he filmed himself interviewing his older self. Thirty-eight years later a 56-year-old Stoney completed the interview by answering his younger self's questions. He's funded the production of a movie, called "Later That Same Life."

20 Nov 19:36

Thrift store finds, Dave Pollot

Thrift store finds, Dave Pollot

20 Nov 07:16


by Jennie Breeden
04 Nov 17:21

Return of the Flying Toasters

by Rob Beschizza


The classic Mac screensaver Flying Toasters (from the "After Dark" suite) is yours to enjoy again, complete with Toast Controls and optional monochrome. And, thanks to the glory of modern web technology, it works on any computer. []

You can even share specific settings as a link. Here is the most existential setting: a single piece of toast in black and white.

Previously: recreating Flying Toasters with CSS.

19 Nov 06:00

Comic for 2015.11.19

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic
18 Nov 05:00


Researchers just found the gene responsible for mistakenly thinking we've found the gene for specific things. It's the region between the start and the end of every chromosome, plus a few segments in our mitochondria.
30 Oct 18:20

FHTAGN: Silver tentacle rings and earrings

by Cory Doctorow


The jewelry looks just as good as these pieces but their production doesn't harm any octopuses; they're made from high-quality Sterling and the rings come with three different finishes. The earrings are $20 and are through-the-ear/wrap around; the $40 rings can be easily adjusted for different-sized fingers. Both get top marks from reviewers.

30 Oct 15:07

Thanks to the meth wars, cold medicine's effective ingredient isn't

by Cory Doctorow


When the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 passed, pharmacies moved all cold-medicine with the actually-works ingredient pseudoephedrine, only available on request and with a copy of your ID. In its place, the pharmacy shelves were restocked with phenylephrine, which was alleged to work just as well. It doesn't work at all. (more…)

16 Nov 19:00

Everything You Need To Buy If You Love Motorcycles

by Sean MacDonald on Lanesplitter, shared by Patrick George to Jalopnik

Pumpkin spiced lattes and holiday music blaring at my local Whole Foods means it must be that time of year again when you do the shopping for the people you love, as well as a little shopping for yourself on the side. Make sure you, or the motorcyclist in your life, have these items come this holiday season.


16 Nov 19:00

Comic Anthony Jeselnik Trashes “Thoughts & Prayers” Tweets. I Disagree With Him (I Think)

by Terry Firma

In the wake of the Paris attacks, just when humor seemed temporarily in bad taste and frozen in suspension, I laughed much harder at Anthony Jeselnik‘s monologue than maybe I should have. Jeselnik has a knack for telling deeply uncomfortable, cringe-inducing jokes, and this bit from his latest Netflix special is no exception.

In times of calamity and crisis, Jeselnik says, people now flock to social media

…and they all write down the exact same thing: “My thoughts and prayers.” “My thoughts and prayers with the people in Aurora.” “My thoughts and prayers with the families in Boston.”

Do you know what that’s worth? Fucking nothing. Less than nothing. You are not giving any of your time, your money, or even your compassion. All you are doing is saying, “Don’t forget about me today. Lots of crazy distractions in the news right now, but don’t forget how sadz I am.” Those people are worthless, and they deserve to be made fun of.

I recognize the preening quality Jeselnik speaks of, and it’s true that “thoughts and prayers” is a ritual incantation that can be annoying for both its cheapnes and its lack of creativity. (Also, as an atheist, I think just about the last thing we need when religiously inspired madmen massacre 130 innocents in Paris is a call for more religion.)

But while “thoughts and prayers” is certainly inadequate, I disagree with Jeselnik when he says it means nothing. The phrase, ideally, accomplishes three things.

1. It gives the person who utters it a chance to say something about the tragic event, connecting with others whose mind space is also occupied by it.

2. It provides those words as an expression of succor and support to the families and friends of the victims.

3. It marks, albeit with only the tiniest soupçon of respect, one’s regret over the loss of innocent lives.

It does all these things feebly, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean the sentiment is devoid of meaning.

Again, I get where Jeselnik is coming from. The “thoughts and prayers” phrase reminds me of the almost comical lack of commitment by those who put magnetic yellow or U.S.-flag-themed ribbons on their cars after the start of the Iraq war — not stickers, mind you, ’cause apparently that would be too semi-permanent.

That said, not everyone has Jeselnik’s gift of gab, or creative-writing skills, or the ability to dream up a fresh meme. What’s the use in dumping on those who don’t? Or even on the merely lazy?

When it’s someone’s birthday, should we really have to come up with something less clichéd than, well, “Happy birthday”? When someone we know is sick, must we go out of our way to find new ways to express our concern and well wishes, rather than send the patient a heartfelt “Get well soon” message?

Next time I’m bereaved, I’ll accept any sign of sympathy in the spirit in which it was offered. If that expression of support comes in the form of genuine-seeming “thoughts and prayers,” I hope I will be gracious enough not to quibble, and to say my thanks.

20 Oct 14:57

Obama's coming for your Christmas drones

by Xeni Jardin


Amid growing fears about safety and security risks from unauthorized drone flights, federal regulators say they plan to require pretty much all recreational drones in the U.S. to be registered. (more…)

10 Nov 23:00

The Dude Who Built His Own Steampunk Gatling Gun Just Built A Railgun

by Tyler Rogoway on Foxtrot Alpha, shared by Patrick George to Jalopnik

Firearms tinkerer and car nut Alex fascinated the internet with his do-it-yourself steampunk gatling gun and now he has upped the ante significantly to what he says is his own homemade railgun. The contraption looks like a weapon right out of the movie District 9 and appears to work incredibly well in the test videos he just posted.


07 Nov 18:13

This Dude's Functioning Steampunk Gatling Gun Is Pretty Outrageous

by Tyler Rogoway on Foxtrot Alpha, shared by Alanis King to Jalopnik

Some people are super serious about the whole steampunk thing, making their own elaborate costumes and props that rival anything your would see in a Hollywood production. But one guy built himself a functioning, real-deal, steampunk gatling gun a couple of years back, and the video can still put other fanatics to shame.


06 Nov 21:37

Local Motors Has An All New 3D Printed Car Design

by Jason Torchinsky

Local Motors, the innovative company with the deceptively low-key name, has been researching and developing the use of 3D printing for car bodies for some time. At the last Detroit Auto Show, they printed a car, right there at their booth. Now they have an all-new, sleeker, and more practical design.


05 Nov 06:51


by Jennie Breeden
04 Nov 19:58

New Automotive Customizing Subculture Idea: The KintsuKars 

by Jason Torchinsky

TIL about Bosozuku.

Automotive customizing subcultures are strange, glorious things that seem to arise from one odd detail and then grow into a massive movement, incomprehensible to anyone on the outside. Think Stance , Donk, Bosozuku, Rat Rods, Lowriders, you get it. Today I’d like to propose a new one.


02 Nov 18:13

Gwinnett E-SPLOST Vote Has $950M on the Line

by Scott Bernarde
Voters will consider the education referendum in Tuesday's general election.
30 Oct 14:54

Honda Neowing Leaning Three Wheeler Concept

by Paul Crowe
Honda is also joining the leaning three wheeler concept competition with the Neowing, unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show. If both Honda and Yamaha are showing these concepts to the public, you can bet the showroom versions are coming in the not too distant future. The Neowing has an opposed flat four engine plus electric […]
30 Oct 13:37

A Softer World: 1244

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30 Oct 04:00


If that doesn't fix it, git.txt contains the phone number of a friend of mine who understands git. Just wait through a few minutes of 'It's really pretty simple, just think of branches as...' and eventually you'll learn the commands that will fix everything.
20 Oct 20:05

Google Software Engineer Lives In A Van To Avoid San Francisco Rent

by Andrew P Collins on Truck Yeah, shared by Michael Ballaban to Jalopnik

An educated full-time employee of a extremely high-paying company would rather live in a ten-year-old van in his office parking lot than pay San Francisco rent. How’s your apartment hunt going?


26 Oct 10:16

Kevin DeShazer Completes His 2400cc 3 Cylinder Radial Project

by Paul Crowe
About a year ago we wrote up a report on a work in progress, it was Kevin DeShazer's 3 cylinder radial engine, designed from scratch and created in his own shop. Well, as much as works in progress are interesting, it's always nice to see the project get to the finish line, or as much […]
22 Oct 04:00


by Jennie Breeden
22 Oct 14:55

Forced laborers sue Mississippi debtors' prison

by Cory Doctorow


If you're poor in Jackson, MS and you get a fine that you can't pay, the City of Jackson will sentence you to a "pay or stay" forced labor farm where you will work off your debts at $58/day literally shoveling shit; the alternative is to sit in an overcrowded, jail notorious for its violent guards and filthy conditions and pay down your fines at $25/day. (more…)