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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
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Halloween ornaments painted on salvaged lightbulbs
David Irvine (AKA gnarledbranch) sent us a selection of photos of his delightful Halloween ornaments painted on salvaged lightbulbs. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Famous racist does everyone a favor and dies
Racists, emboldened by the policies of populist far-right leaning governments, seem to be everywhere these days. They're having rallies, breaking up families at borders and beating folks in the streets. Happily, time is a wheel: as our lives our lessened by the emergence of fresh bigoted bullshit, we're also gifted with what I hope is the incredibly painful passing of those who made it their life's work to spew hate and kindle chaos. From The New York Times: Robert Faurisson, a former literature professor turned anti-Semitic propagandist whose denial of the Holocaust earned him multiple prosecutions, died on Sunday at his home in Vichy, France. He was 89. Mr. Faurisson was regarded as a father figure by contemporary French exponents of Holocaust denial, the extremist fringe in a country with a long tradition of anti-Semitism. Contemporary far-right figures like the propagandist Alain Soral and Dieudonné, who calls himself a humorist, have followed in his footsteps, but none have had the long-range tenacity of Mr. Faurisson. At least in death, he might finally be able to contribute to something useful--fertilizing palm trees to provide observant Jews with shelter from the elements during Sukkot, for example. While things feel as permissive as hell here in North America, the French weren't willing to put up with Faurisson's holocaust denying nonsense. According to The New York Times, he became the first person in France to be convicted for saying that the Holocaust, a crime against humanity, never happened. More recently, the prick was fined 10,000 euros by the French courts for "propounding 'negationism'" in interviews published on the internet." Good riddance. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
San Francisco spends $3.1m/year on homeless toilets and $65m/year cleaning up poop
San Francisco's housing crisis is also (of course) a homelessness crisis, and homelessness crises beget public defecation crises -- and San Francisco has a serious public defecation crisis. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Italy may kill the EU's copyright filter plans
When the EU voted for mandatory copyright censorship of the internet in September, Italy had a different government; the ensuing Italian elections empowered a new government, who oppose the filters. Once states totalling 35% of the EU's population oppose the new Copyright Directive, they can form a "blocking minority" and kill it or cause it to be substantially refactored. With the Italians opposing the Directive because of its draconian new internet rules (rules introduced at the last moment, which have been hugely controversial), the reputed opponents of the Directive have now crossed the 35% threshold, thanks to Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Belgium and Hungary. Unfortunately, the opponents of Article 11 (the "link tax") and Article 13 (the copyright filters) are not united on their opposition -- they have different ideas about what they would like to see done with these provisions. If they pull together, that could be the end of these provisions. If you're a European this form will let you contact your MEP quickly and painlessly and let them know how you feel about the proposals. That’s where matters stand now: a growing set of countries who think copyright filters and link taxes go too far, but no agreement yet on rejecting or fixing them. The trilogues are not a process designed to resolve such large rifts when both the EU states and the parliament are so deeply divided. What happens now depends entirely on how the members states decide to go forward: and how hard they push for real reform of Articles 13 and 11. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Ebola outbreak in Congo: things are getting worse
The latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has proven a sumbitch to contain. Since this latest "oh shit" moment in the history of this infectious outbreak started on August 1st, the brave healthcare professionals and epidemiologists throwing their shoulders into the problem have reported 200 total cases of the disease, 117 confirmed Ebola-related deaths and 35 deaths that are probably related to the illness. This latest outbreak, the 10th to have cropped up in Congo since 1976, is proving more difficult, logistically, than past outbreaks have been. The epicenter of the outbreak is in North Kivu Province: chockablock with danger as government forces, local militias and regional warlords get their violence on. This makes getting folks in the region to the care that they need and, just as vital, containing the disease, far more difficult than it already is. From The New York Times: Congolese rebels have killed 15 civilians and abducted a dozen children in an attack in the center of the latest outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, Congo’s military said Sunday. The violence threatened to again force the suspension of efforts to contain the virus. Congo’s health ministry has reported “numerous aggressions” in the new outbreak against health workers, who have described hearing gunshots daily. Many are operating under the armed escort of United Nations peacekeepers or Congolese security forces, and ending work by sundown to lower the risk of attack. The World Health Organization hasn't classified the outbreak as a world health emergency, yet. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Amazon is actively pitching face-recognition to ICE
Despite an uprising of Amazon employees over the use of the company's AI facial recognition program ("Rekognition") in law enforcement, the company is actively courting US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the hopes that it will use the wildly inaccurate technology. Thanks to work by McKinsney, ICE and Amazon's sales team met over the summer to discuss how Amazon's facial recognition could help the agency, which has cemented its reputation for performative xenophobic cruelty with a program of stealing babies from immigrant parents, dooming thousands of babies and children to never see their parents again. ICE could use facial recognition as part of its illegal surveillance of medical facilities and houses of worship. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos recently described his pro-immigration views ("I’d let them in if it was me, I like ‘em, I want all of them in"). In an email to ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) office dated June 15, 2018, an Amazon “sales principal” described the meeting and spelled out follow-up “action items.” One was setting up a tech briefing for ICE officials about tools including the tagging and analysis capabilities of Amazon’s real-time facial matching system, dubbed “Rekognition.” “Thanks again for your interest in AWS [Amazon Web Service] to support ICE and the HSI mission,” the Amazon salesperson wrote. The email lists “actions items from our conversation,” starting with an “Innovation Workshop focused on a big HSI problem,” but does not describe the problem. Regarding that problem, the Amazon employee wrote, “I would be happy to arrange for a 1 day workshop. Read the rest
1 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Senator Jeff Flake on Kavanaugh's denial of sexual assault: "I don't know if I believed him"
Today on the ABC's The View, Senator Jeff Flake admits that he doesn't know if Brett Kavanaugh, accused by three women of sexual assault, was telling the truth or not during his hearing before being confirmed to the Supreme Court Justice. It was Flake who requested a delay in the confirmation process to make room for a week-long FBI-investigation into the sexual assault accusations against Kavanaugh. At about 5:20 in the video, he's asked if he believed Ford, and he answers, "She was very compelling. He was very persuasive. I don't know. I don't know. I wish I had the certitude that some of my colleagues expressed. But I said on the floor before that hearing, we’re likely to hear the hearing with as much doubt as certainty. And that’s how I felt afterwards.” Later, at 6:15, he's asked again, "So you didn't believe her?" And he answers, "I don't know. I don't know if I believed him, either." Via Daily Beast Read the rest
2 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
The wonderful Uni-Ball Signo Gel Pens are $3.72 for a 3-pack
I love the ink in the Uni-Ball Signo Gel Pen. It's stark, smooth, and pure. If you've not tried one yet, you're in for a treat. Amazon has them on sale right now - a 3-pack for $3.72. Read the rest
2 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
What is beauty? A new explainer video by Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell
Why did early humans form their tools into teardrop shapes? Why do so many human-made things have proportions that match the Golden Ratio? Why is symmetry appealing? Why is human made abstract art preferred over procedurally generated art? This new video by Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell explains that humans like the way certain things look because they are tied in some way to our survival. This explains why I like visiting r/cozyplaces. Read the rest
2 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Gentleman snaps off $1 million sculpture
A man couldn't resist the urge to climb Len Lye's "Water Whirler" sculpture in Wellington, New Zealand earlier this month. To his surprise, the $1 million artwork snapped. In a final act of resistentialism, the sculpture fell on the man while he was in the water, and he was sent to the hospital. From The New Zealand Herald: Roger Horrocks, a trustee of The Len Lye Foundation and author of Len Lye's biography, said it was not the first time the iconic sculpture had been damaged. The foundation had no uptake when it previously recommended Wellington City Council block access to the sculpture. He hoped it would now reconsider. "A sculpture like that has to be proofed against idiots - total idiots who want to destroy it." Image: YouTube screenshot Read the rest
3 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
This lantern is equally at home on your desk or on the trail
If you're shopping for a camping lantern, you're looking for reliability, period. So it's nice to find something like the Revogi Convertible LED Lantern that jumps over that low bar and actually offers some versatility. Made of simple materials, the Revogi is high-tech in a refreshingly minimalist, eight-ounce package. Yes, it'll light up the campsite and then some with 25 LED bulbs delivering up to 2.5 watts, and it can do it for up to six hours on a charge at the highest of its three brightness settings. But it's also collapsible, which allows not only for added portability but functionality. Fold it out and it's a lantern, collapse it and it's a powerful spotlight. Thanks to the sleek design, it can even serve as an indoor lamp. In short, it can go just about anywhere. The Revogi Convertible LED Lantern is $32.99 now - 17% off the original MSRP. Read the rest
4 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
How to set up a fake phone number
I learned about a phone service called Twilio from reading this Lifehacker article. The article is mainly about how to set up a phone number that makes calls "disappear into the ether, never reaching me, never bouncing back, but disappearing like a stone tossed into the fog." I'm not sure why just making up a random number wouldn't be the easiest thing to do if that's your goal, but Twilio sounds useful if you need a way to receive voicemail from certain people without having to hear your regular phone ring. One cool thing about Twilio is the way you can create a computer-voice announcement just by writing the words you want it to say: But here’s the fun part. When you click on your phone number’s settings on the Twilio dashboard, you can tell the service what it should do when somebody calls or texts the number. By default, it reads a little message (saying that you haven’t set up the number, or something). So I copied that message, and altered it so it sounded like a full voicemail box. Here’s my script: You have reached. 5 5 5. 5 5 5. 1 2 1 2. Please leave a message after the tone. This mailbox is full. Image: By takayuki/Shutterstock Read the rest
4 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Every minute for three months, GM secretly gathered data on 90,000 drivers' radio-listening habits and locations
On September 12th, GM's director of global digital transformation Saejin Park gave a presentation to the Association of National Advertisers in which he described how the company had secretly gathered data on the radio-listening habits of 90,000 GM owners in LA and Chicago for three months in 2017, tracking what stations they listened to and for how long, and where they were at the time; this data was covertly exfiltrated from the cars by means of their built-in wifi. The company says it never sold this data, but the presentation to the advertising execs was clearly designed to elicit bids for it. Toyota has promised not to gather and sell telematics data, but GM seems poised to create a market in data gathered by your car, which can listen to you, follow you, take pictures of you and your surroundings, and even gather data on which passengers are in the car at different times by tracking Bluetooth beacons from mobile devices. Saejin Park, GM's director of global digital transformation, the report said, explained that by matching audio feeds from AM, FM, and digitally driven XM radio,GM plans to study the alignment between radio cues and consumer behavior. "We sampled (the behavior) every minute just because we could," Park explained. The report said GM considered station selection, volume and ZIP codes of vehicle owners. Here's what GM learned, according to Park: The owner of a Cadillac Escalade large SUV might be more inclined to listen to a radio station that is different from someone driving a GMC Yukon, even though that also is a large SUV. Read the rest
4 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Apps are using "silent notifications" to track you after you uninstall them
A new generation of commercial trackers from companies like Adjust, AppsFlyer, MoEngage, Localytics, and CleverTap allow app makers like Bloomberg, T-Mobile US, Spotify Technology, and Yelp to covertly track when you've uninstalled apps: the trackers send periodic "silent notifications" to the apps you've installed, and if the apps are still installed, they ping the trackers' servers. If they don't hear back from you, they assume you've uninstalled the apps. The trackers are billed as a means for app vendors to understand whether sending an update triggers its users to delete the app. This use of trackers violates both Google and Apple's terms of service. At its best, uninstall tracking can be used to fix bugs or otherwise refine apps without having to bother users with surveys or more intrusive tools. But the ability to abuse the system beyond its original intent exemplifies the bind that accompanies the modern internet, says Gillula. To participate, users must typically agree to share their data freely, probably forever, not knowing exactly how it may be used down the road. “As an app developer, I would expect to be able to know how many people have uninstalled an app,” he says. “I would not say that, as an app developer, you have a right to know exactly who installed and uninstalled your app.” Now Apps Can Track You Even After You Uninstall Them [Gerrit De Vynck/Bloomberg] (via /.) Read the rest
4 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Guidelines for "kind communications" in free software communities
Richard Stallman's new GNU Kind Communications Guidelines are a brief set of guidelines for being "kind" in your interactions in free software communities, with the explicit goals of ensuring participation from "anyone who wishes to advance the development of the GNU system, regardless of gender, race, religion, cultural background, and any other demographic characteristics, as well as personal political views." It's similar to other codes of conduct that have started to become the norm in tech circles, but with some free software-specific clauses ("be kind when pointing out to other contributors that they should stop using certain nonfree software. For their own sake, they ought to free themselves, but we welcome their contributions to our software packages even if they don't do that. So these reminders should be gentle and not too frequent—don't nag"). The guidelines do say that suggesting "that others use nonfree software" is "not allowed," and set out the two non-negotiable political principles necessary for GNU contributors: "(1) that users should have control of their own computing (for instance, through free software) and (2) supporting basic human rights in computing. We don't require you as a contributor to agree with these two points, but you do need to accept that our decisions will be based on them." Please respond to what people actually said, not to exaggerations of their views. Your criticism will not be constructive if it is aimed at a target other than their real views. If in a discussion someone brings up a tangent to the topic at hand, please keep the discussion on track by focusing on the current topic rather than the tangent. Read the rest
4 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Listen to Vincent Price's delightful 1969 lecture on witchcraft, magick, and demonology
In 1969, Capitol Records released this incredible double LP set (and double 8-track tape) from Vincent Price titled "Witchcraft-Magic: An Adventure in Demonology." Hear the whole thing above. The nearly two hours of spoken word about the history and culture of "witchcraft" and helpful guides such as "How To Invoke Spirits, Demons, Unseen Forces" and "How To Make A Pact With The Devil." Of course I certainly wouldn't vouch for the factual accuracy of the material, but hearing horror icon Price's silky narration about such topics as necromancy and the "Witches Sabbat" is a joy. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Megyn Kelly can't understand why blackface is offensive
Megyn Kelly is stumped as to why dressing up in blackface for Halloween is offensive. "When I was a kid, it was ok," she said on NBC News this morning. Sitting with Kelly, Jenna Bush Hager, NBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff and Melissa Rivers tried to explain. “If you think it’s offensive, it probably is,” Rivers said. But it was a real head-scratcher for Kelly, who just couldn't understand why you can't wear blackface if you can run around with an axe on Halloween. Megyn Kelly wonders what the big deal is about blackface pic.twitter.com/07yvYDuAYe — Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) October 23, 2018 Via Vice Read the rest
4 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Indie UK mobile carrier announces a Tor-only SIM that encrypts all your data
Getting all your data to flow through the Tor network can be tricky -- the desktop Tor Browser only tunnels your web-traffic through the privacy-protecting service, and the mobile apps can be tricky and uncertain. But the independent pro-privacy UK mobile carrier Brass Horn Communications (founded by Gareth Llewelyn of OnionDSL, founded in response to the UK's passage of yet more mass-surveillance laws in 2016) now offers a data-only SIM that routes all of your mobile traffic through Tor. (Boing Boing's servers in Toronto run a high-capacity Tor exit node). The new SIM card, which is still in a beta testing stage, takes that idea mobile. It requires some setup; users need to create a new access point name on their device—essentially so the device can connect to the new network—but Brass Horn provides some instructions to do this. The SIM also requires Orbot to be installed and running on the device itself, and it currently only works in the UK (Llewelyn provided Motherboard with one of the SIM cards for testing purposes; Motherboard confirmed that the SIM does transfer data). This SIM Card Forces all of Your Mobile Data Through Tor [Joseph Cox/Motherboard] Read the rest
5 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Pop-up restaurant serves last meals of death row inmates
Tokyo-based art collective Chim↑Pom has opened a two-week pop-up restaurant that serves up the last meals once requested by real death row inmates. For example, before being executed by firing squad in 1977, Utah double murderer Gary Mark Gilmore ate a burger, a hard-boiled egg, and mashed potatoes, and drank three shots of whiskey. Here is Chim↑Pom's version of Gilmore's pre-execution eats: 甘い香りが漂う店内で、巨大なチョコレートの塊を舐め続ける女のコを見ながら、ハンバーガーにかぶりつき、バーボンを嗜んできました。#にんげんレストラン pic.twitter.com/CHzYxA6Zk4 — sequi@ya (@se_qui_ay) October 22, 2018 The Ningen ("Human") Restaurant is located in Kabukicho, Tokyo's red-light district, and is open until October 28 (2 PM to 9 PM). にんげんレストラン、サクッとぐるっとしただけだけどすごい楽しかった。誰かがどっかしら四六時中何かしらやってる渋滞に巻き込まれる快感。 pic.twitter.com/wsbKn6hWhp — チャパタイさん (@norima___k) October 22, 2018 にんげんレストラン行って来た。ジェームズ・ポール・ジェニーガンのラストミール食べたけど、バンズ美味しかったなぁ。せきゆかさん、あと10kgを切ってた。黙々とチョコ食べ続けるの、エロかった。 pic.twitter.com/RBIgQ9pvg6 — kazumin08 (@kazumin197608) October 22, 2018 (Spoon & Tamago) Read the rest
5 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Microplastics found in human poop
Microplastics -- the tiny pieces of plastic debris littering our planet -- has been found in human poop, surprising nobody. The pilot study included 8 people from seven countries in Europe plus Japan. While the study was obviously very small, the researchers did discover waste plastic such as that from food wrappers and synthetic clothing in feces from all the participants. According to lead researcher Dr. Philipp Schwabl of the University of Vienna, the study was too small to draw any huge conclusions but it does confirm what sadly was inevitable. From Laura Parker's feature in National Geographic: “I’d say microplastics in poop are not surprising,” says Chelsea Rochman, an ecologist at the University of Toronto, who studies the effects of microplastics on fish. “For me, it shows we are eating our waste—mismanagement has come back to us on our dinner plates. And yes, we need to study how it may affect humans.” Every year, an average of eight million tons of plastic waste, most of it single-use varieties, flows into the world’s oceans from coastal regions. There, sunlight and wave action break these waterborne plastics down into bits the size of grains of rice. Fibers from synthetic clothes such as polyester and acrylic make their way into freshwater systems via washing machines. You can see this in action with a fleece jacket; just scratching the arm of the jacket can shed invisible fibers. As a result, tiny plastic fragments and fibers have now spread all over the planet. They're in deep sea trenches and in the air we breathe. Read the rest
5 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
America has an epidemic of workplace miscarriages, caused by pregnancy discrimination
America has some of the weakest anti-pregnancy-discrimination rules in the world (the federal statute says that companies only have to give pregnant people lighter duties if they make similar accommodations for those "similar in their ability or inability to work); and this has produced an epidemic of workplace miscarriages among women who have frequently begged their supervisors for lighter duties, even presenting doctor's written notes with their pleas. Warehousing and logistics companies are among the worst offenders: Verizon/Nike/Disney contractor New Breed Logistics (a division of the $12 billion XPO Logistics) -- one worker quit New Breed/XPO after her supervisor told her she should have an abortion if she didn't feel she could perform her usual duties during her pregnancy. Other egregious offenders include grocery stores like Albertons (which demoted a woman who was forced to work until she miscarried). The New York Times reports on documented incidents of supervisors requiring pregnant women to work until they miscarried in "a hospital, a post office, an airport, a grocery store, a prison, a fire department, a restaurant, a pharmaceutical company and several hotels." Legal movement to protect pregnant women from workplace conditions that induce miscarriages has been stalled by "anti-regulation" Republicans like Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. The intransigence to protect the pregnancies of willing mothers is especially terrible given the brutal stance of the right on abortion: on the one hand, women who want babies are not allowed to keep them, while women who became pregnant by accident, or through rape, or whose health is threatened by their pregnancies are required to give birth to babies they don't want or can't safely deliver. Read the rest
5 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
South Korea warns its 23,000 students in Canada: smoke weed and we will imprison you
If you're a citizen of South Korea, you're expected to obey the laws of that country even when you aren't in the country. That means any South Korean citizen who smokes perfectly legal pot in Canada could return home and receive a five year prison sentence. From Korea Times: Yoon Se-jin, head of the Narcotics Crime Investigation Division at Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency, warned earlier this week that smoking pot is treated as a serious offense here and Korean smokers, subject to the laws of their country, could face up to five years in prison. "Weed smokers will be punished according to the Korean law, even if they did so in countries where smoking marijuana is legal. There won't be an exception," he said. Image: Shutterstock Read the rest
5 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
12 members of Nevada GOP gubernatorial candidate's family publish op-ed opposing him
On Monday 12 members of Nevada Republican candidate for Governor Adam Laxalt's family published an op-ed denouncing his credentials, his record, and his connection to Nevada. Via the Reno Gazette: ...All of these shortcomings come down to a lack of real, authentic connection to our state, and a failure to understand what is important to real Nevadans. We are a state driven by a modern economy and a diverse population, and we take deep pride in our rich, complicated history. Nevadans value their independence and their ability to share in the beauties of our wild state, while still respecting each other’s autonomy. If Adam is elected governor, these values will be put in danger. Public lands will become less accessible for hunters and fishers and backpackers. Adam’s positions on health care and reproductive rights would limit how Nevadans care for their bodies, or be free from government interference in relationships as sacred and personal as marriage. Adam wants to repeal hundreds of millions of dollars of education funding, even though he knows full well that Nevada is ranked 49th in the nation for pre-K-12 education. If he responds to this column at all, it will probably be to say that he hardly knows the people writing this column. And in many ways that would be true. We never had a chance to get to know him, really — he spent his life in Washington, D.C., while we lived in Northern Nevada and grew up in public schools and on public lands. Read the rest
5 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Fear and Soldering, an excerpt from Peter Bebergal's Strange Frequencies
I posted some pre-release interviews with Peter Bebergal about his latest book, Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural. The book examines the frequent use of science and technology in pursuit of the otherworldly. In Strange Frequencies, Peter gets up close and hands on with such tinfoil fun stuff as ghost boxes, spirit radios, EVP recordings, spirit photography, brain toys, and more. In the following excerpt, reprinted from Strange Frequencies and used with permission from TarcherPerigree/Penguin, Random House, Peter delves into the history of the "ghost box" and sets out to try and build one of his own. Fear and Soldering In 1995, the October issue of Popular Electronics offered the article “Ghost Voices: Exploring the Mysteries of Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP),” and laid out a few methods for modifying radios to be able to answer whether “the dead are trying to break through the veil between the worlds.” Various techniques are presented: a simple tape recorder with a microphone in a quiet room might record answers to questions that can be heard on playback (tried it, no luck); a circuit to build a small radio much like the Tesla radio I built; tuning a radio between stations and recording the static; and a white noise generator schematic to use instead of a radio to be sure stray transmissions are not being picked up. The tone of the piece is playful but not skeptical. The author takes no position, but Popular Electronics was written for the amateur hobbyist, and if any audience would be interested in such an article, it would certainly be this magazine’s readers. Read the rest
5 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
A database of instructions for making different paper airplanes
Fold N Fly is a visual database of paper airplane designs, sortable by aerodynamic properties (distance, airtime, etc), and difficulty of folding. Some pretty exotic designs, too! (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest
5 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Man's excuse for groping woman on plane flight: Trump "says it's OK"
Police arrested Bruce Michael Alexander for groping a sleeping woman seated in front of him on a Southwest flight from Texas to New Mexico. In the police car, Alexander reportedly told police that "the president of the United States says it’s OK to grab women by their private parts." From USA Today: The woman said she felt Alexander's hand move from behind her and grab her right breast. She said she fell asleep about 20 minutes into the flight and not long after, she felt him touch her but assumed it was an accident, according to court documents. About 30 minutes later, she said she felt Alexander's hand grab the back of her arm and grope around her ribs and then her breast. The woman then stood up and told Alexander she did not understand how he could think that was OK and he needed to stop. Read the rest
5 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Violence breaks out at symphony over concert-goer's loud snack bag
I remember when I was a young kid, I sat in a movie theater watching That's Entertainment with my friend and her family. Bored, I fiddled with my candy, and after unwrapping one too many pieces, my irritated friend's mom snatched it all away from me. Silence was restored. But with adults who don't know each other, restoring silence in a theater can take an ugly turn. Such as it did last week, when a man trying to enjoy the symphony in Malmo, Sweden couldn't take the sounds of his neighbor's scrunching gum bag any longer. The man grabbed the stranger's bag of gum and threw it to the ground. The gum owner sat quietly for awhile, but suddenly had a burst of anger and, after whispering something to the person she was with, began to hit the man in the face multiple times, knocking his glasses right off his face. Then the woman's friend joined in, throwing punches at the man. According to The Washington Post: “It was very unpleasant actually. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Olof Jonsson, who was sitting in the row behind the brawling patrons. He described the salvo from the woman and her ally as a “violent attack.” At one point, as the tension seemed to ease, the woman’s companion walked toward the younger man as if to converse with him, but then punched him in the stomach. Other patrons intervened, establishing a cease-fire. Since then, the concert hall published an etiquette list for people planning to go the theater, which includes restraining from bringing snacks going to a symphony. Read the rest
5 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Patagonia wants the outdoor industry to start a pro-public lands movement as powerful as the NRA
Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard has called on the outdoor industry to join him in backing politicians who believe in preserving public lands; his company has now backed Montana Democratic Senate incumbent Jon Tester (facing a Trumpian challenge from Republican Matt Rosendale, who espouses the cultlike belief that the Constitution bans the federal government from owning land, a belief that was spread by Cliven Bundy and a group of racist Mormon extremists) and Nevada Democratic Congressional incumbent Jacky Rosen with a 97 percent approval rating from the League of Conservation Voters. Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario says the outdoor industry should lead a political movement as well-organized and effective as the NRA, but aimed at protecting public lands. Both conservative and liberal voters disapprove of Trump's record on public lands, making it a rare bipartisan issue. With the momentum of the past two years, this almost seems an inevitable step for Patagonia. The company’s current CEO, Rose Marcario, has said she’d like to see the outdoor industry become a political force like the NRA. “We cannot give up an inch of protected land on our watch,” Marcario told Streep. “Not an inch.” That campaign kicked off most publicly when Patagonia forced a decision on the governor of Utah: either come out against President Trump’s plan to shrink Bears Ears National Monument, or Patagonia, REI, and the North Face would use their clout to move the Outdoor Retailer show and the $45 million it bestowed on the state’s economy each year. Now the show’s home is Denver. Read the rest
5 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
46 minutes of Bob Ross beating his paintbrush clean
While watching this 46-minute compilation video by YouTuber Rhodri Marsden, try to count how many times Bob Ross "beats the devil out" of his paintbrush. I lost count of the "whackings" five minutes in. Also, take note of the guest painters cleaning their brushes on Ross' show, Joy of Painting. (Geekologie) Read the rest
6 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
NASA photo of incredibly odd rectangular iceberg
NASA’s Cryospheric Sciences Program released this astonishing aerial photo of a rectangular iceberg in Antarctica. Located on the Larsen C ice shelf, the curious iceberg is likely one mile or so across. From the BBC News: Such objects are not unknown, however, and even have a name - tabular icebergs. These are flat and long and form by splitting away from the edges of ice shelves. Kelly Brunt, a glaciologist with Nasa and the University of Maryland, said the process of formation was a bit like a fingernail growing too long and cracking off at the end. They were often geometrically-shaped as a result, she said. "What makes this one a bit unusual is that it looks almost like a square," she added. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
This hoodie looks like the spacesuit Neil Armstrong wore on the Apollo 11 mission
Can't help but love GearHumans' astronaut suit hoodie ($45.99). The image is a 3D-photo print of the spacesuit that Neil Armstrong wore in 1969 during his Apollo 11 moon mission. It ships with his last name on it unless you specify otherwise. (The Awesomer) Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Slack running on a Nintendo SNES
In the mid-1990s, Nintendo released Satellaview, a satellite modem for Nintendo's Super Famicom (SNES) only available in Japan. Just for kicks, Bertrand Fan hacked an SNES and Satellaview to run Slack. Bertrand has an intimate knowledge of Slack because he's one of the engineers building that platform. From Bert: If you can beam satellite signals to a SNES, you can probably run Slack on it... Most SNES games are closed systems. When you play a game like Bronkie the Bronchiasaurus, an educational game about dinosaurs with asthma that teaches you how to use an inhaler, the content is fixed on the cartridge. But the game that comes with the Satellaview, BS-X: The Story of The Town Whose Name Was Stolen (BS-X それは名前を盗まれた街の物語), is different. It looks like a lot of Japanese RPGs but has one key difference: it can receive content beamed from the sky and that content gets integrated into the game.... Using a tool called SatellaWave, you can generate your own Satellaview Broadcast binary files. Slack on a SNES (Bert.org) Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Sarah Silverman reveals she used to let Louis C.K. masturbate in front of her
Nearly a year after the New York Times reported that five women had accused Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct, his longtime friend Sarah Silverman told Howard Stern Monday that C.K. used to masturbate in front of her. The difference? She gave him full consent to do so. Indiewire: “I know I’m going to regret saying this,” Silverman said. “I’ve known Louis forever, I’m not making excuses for him, so please don’t take this that way. We are peers. We are equals. When we were kids, and he asked if he could masturbate in front of me, sometimes I’d go, ‘Fuck yeah I want to see that!’… It’s not analogous to the other women that are talking about what he did to them. He could offer me nothing. We were only just friends. Sometimes, yeah, I wanted to see it, it was amazing. Sometimes I would say, ‘Fucking no, gross,’ and we got pizza.” Silverman said these encounters happened when the two comedians were younger and “letting our freak flags fly.” The comedian shared another story in which the two would strip naked in C.K.’s apartment building and throw their clothes out the window onto the street and proceed to go down the elevator naked to retrieve them. Silverman was clear these were consensual moments between the two and were not comparable to the experiences of the women who accused C.K. of sexual harassment. The overall point Silverman was making hinged on how C.K. initially failed to realize the inappropriate predicament he was putting younger comics in by asking to masturbate in front of him once he became well-known and more powerful within the comedy world. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
The American right loves forms, paperwork and other bureaucracy
The American right spent generations lauding the "free enterprise" spirit of "cutting red tape," contrasting its private sector ethos with the stodgy, Stalinist ways of the USSR, where bureaucrats weaponize forms and other paperwork to oppress the citizenry. But anyone who's dealt with the US private sector knows how much big business loves its forms, from the clickthrough agreements that sign your life away every time you turn around to the waivers you have to sign to rent a car, check into a hotel, or enroll your kid in gymnastics class (I took my family for belated flu shots at CVS last night and the paperwork took more than 30 minutes). David Graeber's Utopia of Rules makes this point with savage force. So much of this fetishization of forms boils down to the libertarian love affair with the "contract" and the idea that the state's true legitimate purpose is enforcing contracts. The natural progression here is that if you have the bargaining power to force people to sign abusive contracts, then every time you do so, you are helping the market's invisible hand to sort the galty "job creators" from the "takers" and ensuring that the "takers" get their due in the form of shitty, confiscatory contracts. Note that taking steps to improve your bargaining position is only a valid course of action for the rich: if workers band together through collective bargaining, that is (for some reason) and illegitimate action that "distorts markets." (Remember when Wells Fargo forged 2,000,000 Americans' signatures to open fake accounts, then argued that the fine-print over those forged signatures that waived the right to sue for fraud was enforceable?) And no one loves abusive form-filling more than right-wing, "business friendly" governments, like the Trump administration, which made headlines recently by forcing a 5 year old Honduran girl to sign an English-language form waiving her asylum rights. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
The amazing deluxe commemorative edition of The Art of Dungeons and Dragons is out today
Today marks the publication of the $100 Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana box-set, which contains a 700-page retrospective of the classic art of D&D, a reprint of the notoriously hard Tomb of Horrors module (designed by Gary Gygax to challenge the most overpowered characters), and frameable lithos. It's incredible. The book alone just consumed me for days, recalling the endless hours I spent poring over modules, rulebooks, supplements and the pages of Dragon magazine, losing myself in the visual art and the accompanying tables and narrative. Starting with Chainmail and moving all the way forward to the present moment, the retrospective of art, from pencil-sketches to 8-bit game art to line art to the covers of the classic rulebooks and novels. It's a visual history of one of the most seductive, captivating collections of art and design in US history, a set of works that lured a generation into a new narrative form. Combined with the other materials in the box, this thing is a gateway into another dimension. Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana box-set [Warhammer] Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
I’m suing the U.S. government for causing the climate change crisis, and I'm 22.
My name is Kelsey Juliana and I’m suing the United States government for causing and accelerating the climate change crisis. I’m 22 years old and I’ve been a climate activist for more than half of my life. I know that young people like me, and others who have yet to be born, have a right to a safe climate system. The constitution guarantees all Americans the right to life, liberty, and property. But how is anyone supposed to live a life of freedom amid a climate crisis? My own government is violating my constitutional rights by its ongoing and deliberate actions that cause climate change and it’s not right. I, along with 20 other young people from around the country, filed a lawsuit against the federal government in 2015, called Juliana v. United States. We’re not asking for money. Instead, we’re asking the court to order the government to develop and implement a National Climate Recovery Plan based on the best available science. This plan should end the reign of fossil fuels and quickly decarbonize our atmosphere so that we can stabilize our climate system before it’s too late. The longer we go without climate recovery, the more we risk allowing our climate to spiral completely out of control. And the climate is spiraling out of control, no matter how many politicians claim we’re experiencing normal fluctuations or, worse, a “hoax.” All of the expert witnesses in our lawsuit say that we are currently—already—in the “danger zone” and an “emergency situation” with only 1°C of planetary heating. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
As Brazil prepares to elect 'Trump,' Facebook shuts down 68 pages & 43 accounts that got him there
Facebook Inc said Monday it has removed 68 Facebook pages and 43 user accounts linked to a shady Brazilian marketing group, Raposo Fernandes Associados (RFA), for violating the social media network’s misrepresentation and spam policies. Both Facebook and its WhatsApp sister/subsidiary company are under fire for enabling similarly sketchy disinformation campaigns in Brazil that appear to be reaching their collective goal: electing Brazil's version of Donald Trump. There's coverage of today's Facebook news in Brazil's Folha. Facebook again does too little, too late. The damage Bolsonaro will do may only be matched with what Trump and Republicans in the U.S. intend to do. Reuters: The newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo said the group was the main network of support for far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro on the internet. Bolsonaro is expected to win a runoff on Sunday in Brazil’s most polarized election in a generation in which social media has become the main battleground between the candidates. Facebook said RFA created pages using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of clickbait intended to direct people to third-party websites. “Our decision to remove these pages was based on the behavior of these actors – including using fake accounts and repeatedly posting spam – rather than on the type of content they were posting,” Facebook said in a statement. And on the WhatsApp election disinformation debacle in Brazil: Facebook’s popular messaging service WhatsApp has also come under scrutiny in Brazil after leftist presidential contender Fernando Haddad of the Workers Party accused Bolsonaro’s supporters of using it for bulk messaging of misleading information during the campaign. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
CIA Director Gina Haspel heads to Turkey for Jamal Khashoggi investigation
Gina Haspel, the director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, is reported to be traveling to Turkey late Monday to assist in “an investigation” over the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Multiple U.S. news agencies are reporting the news of Haspel's trip to Turkey, as government security agencies examine what role Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman played in the case. NEW: CIA director Gina Haspel traveling to Turkey for Khashoggi investigation, from @Acosta, @ZCohenCNN and mehttps://t.co/hUED43M1Ry — Caroline Kelly (@caroline_mkelly) October 23, 2018 New: CIA director flies to Turkey amid growing controversy over Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing. Update soon. https://t.co/lgaySbFw5m — Shane Harris (@shaneharris) October 22, 2018 More at Reuters. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Trump's midterms strategy: Lying his ass off to scare white people into voting Republican
They're coming for your health insurance, your guns, your Social Security, they're giving illegal immigrants free cars, and they love terrorists. “False, false, false, false, false, false, false,” says Daniel Dale of The Star, writing about Trump's midterms strategy of lying his damn fool ass off. Trump appears to be working to retain power by doubling down on a “well-worn tactic that helped him win the presidency in 2016: a blizzard of fear-mongering and lies, many of them about darker-skinned foreigners.” Trump is doing a rally with Ted Cruz in Houston. Tweets in this thread. — Daniel Dale (@ddale8) October 22, 2018 Pres Trump calls the caravan of migrants heading for the US southern border, "an assault on our country." He says the caravan contains "some very bad people," but doesn't cite evidence. He tells his rally, "we need a wall built fast. We have to protect our borders.” pic.twitter.com/TvgjhtygWH — Mark Knoller (@markknoller) October 23, 2018 Excerpt: Trump has been a serial liar about just about everything for his entire tenure in office, but he has rarely before deployed so many complete fabrications about so many important subjects at the same time. His most frequent and significant recent whoppers have centred on immigration, the issue about which his base has been most excited, and health care, the issue polls suggest is most important to the Democratic base. Trump escalated his immigration dishonesty on Monday morning. Seizing on a groundless claim from a host on his favourite Fox News morning show, he tweeted that “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in” to a caravan of Latino migrants that began in Honduras. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Magnificent "Voyager of the Moons" GIF from Cassini's images from Jupiter and Saturn
Kevin M. Gill, a software engineer and data wrangler at NASA-JPL, created the fantastic video below "using still images taken by the Cassini spacecraft during it's flyby of Jupiter and while at Saturn. "Shown is Io and Europa over Jupiter's Great Red Spot and then Titan as it passes over Saturn and it's edge-on rings," Gill wrote on Flickr. People seemed to like the Europa/Io/Titan gifs, so as an experiment I went and made a short video of them. The Voyage of the Moons.Image data via @CassiniSaturn https://t.co/8SLjERSRWc pic.twitter.com/kvznw9ck6J— Kevin M. Gill (@kevinmgill) October 22, 2018 image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/CICLOPS/Kevin M. Gill Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Must-have travel gear - inexpensive zipper bags
Ever since I started using these nylon mesh zipper bags, my travel experience has improved. I have one bag for paper stuff and pens, one for medicine and first aid, one for tools and gear, one for cords and portable power, and one for snacks. When I get home I leave the bags in my suitcase, making packing much easier the next time I take a trip. The bags are see-through and very durable. The price is right, too: you get 8 bags for $9. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
The more Instagram followers you have the more free sushi you get at one restaurant
Whether you are Instagram famous, or have just a moderately large following of 1,000 followers, This Is Not A Sushibar is a restaurant in Milan that gives you a discount, if not a free meal, depending on your Instagram stats. In other words, along with an Instagram post that includes @thisisnotasushibar and #thisisnotasushibar, "the more followers you have, the more you can eat without having to spend a cent," according to Oddity Central. Here's the breakdown: 1,000–5,000 followers = 1 free sushi plate 5,000–10,000 followers = 2 free plates 10,000–50,000 followers = 4 free plates 50,000–100,000 followers = 8 free plates 100,000 followers = 1 free lunch or dinner This Is Not A Sushibar began its marketing gimmick on October 11, and it's not clear how long the restaurant plans to accept this form of "currency." Image: Pexels/CC0 License Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Because sexism: Mansize Kleenex to be renamed
Quick! Get some of these sexist facial tissues while you still can. It took them 60 years but Kleenex is finally renaming their "Mansize" tissues after getting customer complaints. The facial-tissues-formerly-known-as-Mansize will now be branded "Extra Large." Parent company Kimberly-Clark "succumbed to growing public demand to change the name, despite not itself believing that the Mansize branding suggests or endorses gender inequality." Sam Smethers, chief executive at feminist campaign group, the Fawcett Society, praised the move, saying: "Rebranding mansized tissues is not to be sneezed at. Removing sexist branding such as this is just sensible 21st century marketing. But we still have a long way to go before using lazy stereotypes to sell products is a thing of the past." (DesignTaxi) Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Anti-gay protestors sue library over Drag Queen Story Hour
Anti-gay (and anti-fun) protestors have sued the Houston Public Library over the Drag Queen Storytime events. (Previously: different assholes, same bullshit in Louisiana.) From the Houston Chronicle: The library director and Mayor Sylvester Turner are named as defendants, accused of being recklessly entangled in “LGBT doctrine.” The lawsuit says the storytelling sessions advertised as appropriate for patrons of all ages at the Freed-Montrose Neighborhood branch should not be funded with taxpayer dollars since the library would not host a “man-woman marriage storytelling hour.” The group behind the lawsuit identify themselves as “Christ followers,” taxpayers and card-carrying library patrons. Another plaintiff is Chris Sevier, who has filed a number of lawsuits across the country, including one in Houston for the right to marry his laptop. If men can marry men, he has argued, why can’t he marry a computer. The plaintiffs also include an evangelical minister and a woman who says she got into a custody battle with her husband after he left her for a transgender woman. Check out the Drag Queen Story Hour Web site and organize your own event! image: Drag Queen Story Hour at Santa Ana Public Library via Instagram Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Embassy murder squad made 4 calls to Saudi crown prince's office on day Khashoggi was killed
The Saudi entourage who went to the embassy in Turkey to cut off journalist Jamal Khashoggi's fingers, inject him with a drug to silence him, and dismember him with a bone saw made four calls that day to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's office, according to Turkish media reports. The Crown Prince denies knowing anything about the gruesome torture/murder of Khashoggi, who was a US resident. Three of Khashoggi’s children are US citizens. From Global News: Turkish media reports and officials maintain that a 15-member Saudi team flew to Istanbul on Oct. 2, knowing Khashoggi would arrive for a document he needed to get married. Once he was inside the diplomatic mission, the Saudis accosted Khashoggi, cut off his fingers, killed and dismembered the 59-year-old writer. The report by Yeni Safak on Monday said Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage on trips to the United States, France and Spain this year, made the calls from the consulate. The newspaper said the four calls went to Bader al-Asaker, the head of Prince Mohammed’s office. It said another call went to the United States. Meanwhile, Marco Rubio says the real victim here is not Khashoggi, but Trump and other lawmakers owned by the House of Saud who now suffer from the discomfort of having everyone on the planet angry that they continue to treat Saudi Arabia with kid gloves. The #KhashoggiMurder was immoral. But it was also disrepectful to Trump & those of us who have supported the strategic alliance with the Saudi’s. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Entire amusement park for auction
In the market for a Ferris Wheel? Carousel? Scrambler? Go-kart Fleet? How about just a Chili Cheese Dispenser? The entire contents of the Heritage Square Amusement Park in Golden Colorado will be up for auction on October 25. It's cash-and-carry (certified or cashier’s check accepted) but "buyers of large pieces will have additional time for removal." Whew. I've got my eye on that Space Shuttle Ride from 1980 and maybe the 1963 Tilt A Whirl. Heritage Square Amusument Park Auction Brochure PDF (via Atlas Obscura) Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
The worst of modern websites, in one short video
Allow notifications. Change your homepage to this website. Privacy notification. Age verification. Location verification. Subscribe to our newsletter. Chat with our bot. Disable your ad blocker. Did you find what you were looking for? Something went wrong -- please reload the page. Welcome to the World Wide Web of 2018! Every website in 2018 pic.twitter.com/Gm7jhfuuUO — Daryl Ginn (@darylginn) October 20, 2018 Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
The Saudis had a Khashoggi body double conspicuously leave the embassy after murder, but he wore the wrong shoes
One of the most remarkable things about the Saudis' torture and execution of dissident Jamal Khashoggi and their attempted cover-up is the end-to-end full-spectrum incompetence of every aspect of it. They had a body double on hand to be seen on security camera leaving the embassy in Khashoggi's clothes, but he forgot the shoes, thereby making any footage useless. For weeks, the Saudi government had denied that it killed Khashoggi and said he walked out of the consulate after his Oct. 2 visit. The body double appeared to be an attempt to substantiate that denial, but the cover story fell apart, according to a diplomat familiar with the deliberations, because the video footage clearly reveals the body double’s flaws, mainly that he is wearing different shoes than Khashoggi wore when he entered the consulate. Note the layers of ineptitude: they apparently held off releasing footage because of the clothing discrepancies, according to Turkish sources, but they would have been caught anyway had they got the shoes right, because the guy doesn't look much like Jamal Khashoggi. A member of the 15-man team suspected in the death of Jamal Khashoggi dressed up in his clothes and was captured on surveillance cameras around Istanbul on the day the journalist was killed, a senior Turkish official has told CNN. CNN has obtained exclusive law enforcement surveillance footage, part of the Turkish government's investigation, that appears to show the man leaving the Saudi consulate by the back door, wearing Khashoggi's clothes, a fake beard, and glasses. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things