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In 1977, a German tourist spent three days in Bangor, Maine, thinking it was San Francisco | Boing Boing

In 1977, a German tourist spent three days in Bangor, Maine, thinking it was San Francisco | Boing Boing

In 1977, West German tourist Erwin Kreuz spent three days enjoying the sights, sounds, and hospitality of Bangor, Maine. Unfortunately, he thought he was in San Francisco, on the other side of the continent. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast, we'll describe Kreuz's unlikely adventure, which made him a local hero in his adopted city.We'll also consider an invisible killer and puzzle over a momentous measurement.

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Jan 12
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RIP Michael Apted, director of the decades-spanning documentary series Up | Boing Boing

RIP Michael Apted, director of the decades-spanning documentary series Up | Boing Boing

We've lost another brilliant visionary. British filmmaker Michael Apted has passed away at age 79.In 1964, Apted turned his camera on to capture the hopes and dreams of 14 7-year-olds from different socioeconomic backgrounds for the first time with Seven Up!, launching an unparalleled documentary project that would go on to span 56 years. Every seven years since that initial encounter, he followed up with the subjects to see where life has taken them (though some of the originals dropped out – Charles Furneaux hasn't appeared since 21 Up), ending with 2019's poignant 63 Up.Apted was a...

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Jan 10
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Relaunched Aptera electric cars get thousands of pre-orders | Boing Boing

Relaunched Aptera electric cars get thousands of pre-orders | Boing Boing

Last month, announced they were taking orders for their three-wheeled electric vehicles with solar panel options that allow for a "never charge" experience for low-mileage commuters, etc.Via , co-founder Chris Anthony said:We quickly sold out of our Aptera Paradigm and Paradigm+ editions on the first day, and things haven't slowed down since. It's with excitement and gratitude we announce we've accepted over $100 million in pre-orders with over 3,000 vehicles reserved by future Aptera owners in the U.S. and internationally. We'll be ramping our production with a new facility in San Diego...

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Jan 8
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Congress office panic buttons "torn out" prior to Capitol attack and other disturbing details about Capitol Riot emerge | Boing Boing

Congress office panic buttons "torn out" prior to Capitol attack and other disturbing details about Capitol Riot emerge | Boing Boing

It's becoming clear that the assault on the Capitol last week was well-planned. Here are a few of the latest findings:As people rushed out of other buildings on the Capitol grounds, staffers in Pressley's office barricaded the entrance with furniture and water jugs that had piled up during the pandemic. Groh pulled out gas masks and looked for the special panic buttons in the office."Every panic button in my office had been torn out — the whole unit," she said, though they could come up with no rationale as to why. She had used them before and hadn't switched offices since then.[Image: By ]

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Jan 13
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Google provides police with user info based on search terms | Boing Boing

Google provides police with user info based on search terms | Boing Boing

Google is , reports CNet's Alfred Ng. The practice is exposed in the case of an arsonist, collared after police asked Google for anyone who had searched for the victim's address. Google yielded the suspect's IP address, and the cops figured out the rest."This 'keyword warrant' evades the Fourth Amendment checks on police surveillance," said Albert Fox Cahn, the executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project. "When a court authorizes a data dump of every person who searched for a specific term or address, it's likely unconstitutional."That Google was prepared to do this...

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Oct 13
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A darker, 3-hour version of "Batman Forever" exists | Boing Boing

A darker, 3-hour version of "Batman Forever" exists | Boing Boing

Batman Forever holds a special place in my heart, both because of and despite its 90s neon camp. The introduced me to Sunny Day Real Estate, the Flaming Lips, PJ Harvey, and other great artists ("Kiss From a Rose" is a banger, y'all); and it's the first I can remember really, truly being consciously attracted to a woman (I was 12).I guess Jim Carrey's absurdly over-the-top Riddler performance was pretty great, too.Earlier this summer, confirmed that a darker, 170-minute version of the film still exists somewhere in the world. A large portion of this "Schumacher Cut" reportedly, "focuses on...

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Oct 5
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New research: There's a 50-50 chance we're living in a simulation and here's how to find out | Boing Boing

New research: There's a 50-50 chance we're living in a simulation and here's how to find out | Boing Boing

In 2003, University of Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom presented a mathematical argument that we are likely living inside a computer simulation created by some future intelligence. Of course, decades before Bostrom and The Matrix, other folks like Jacques Vallee, John Keel, Stephen Wolfram, Rudy Rucker, Ed Fredkin, and Hans Moravec also explored this . Now, Columbia University astronomer David Kipping has used Bayesian reasoning—a common method of statistical analysis—to calculate the odds that reality is unreal. There's a 50-50 chance we're living in a simulation, he says. And the...

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Oct 13
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'Crop artist' makes portrait of Kamala Harris in a Kansas field

'Crop artist' makes portrait of Kamala Harris in a Kansas field

//A portrait of VP nominee Kamala Harris has in a Kansas field. It's the work of artist whose bio reads, "The earth, my canvas."He writes:Began an earthwork of Democratic nominee Joe Biden in early March, days before COVID-19 news and stay-at-home orders would sweep the nation. The ground swallowed up the portrait a few weeks later.On the afternoon of August 11, Biden announced his running mate – Kamala Harris. Within minutes, I began work on her portrait intersecting the circle where Biden's image had been laid.The artwork was created on Juniper Hill Farms, north of Lawrence, Kansas and in...

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Sep 4
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Electric vehicle company Nikola admits demo truck was just rolling downhill

Electric vehicle company Nikola admits demo truck was just rolling downhill

//In 2016, Nikola demonstrated a full-size electric truck flying along a desert highway. The company . The truck was simply rolling downhill.The trick ius not subtle: it appears they towed the vehicle to a subtle slope, hid the gradient with slightly curvilinear lenses and camera angles, and were careful to avoid making clear claims about power (the truck is "in motion") in their marketing copy. The company insists they did not lie about the truck, but no-one is fooled.Fred Lambert:The video was clearly fake. They can use their "in-motion" loophole, but this was undeniably a deceptive...

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Sep 15
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New whistleblower complaint alleges that ICE is forcing hysterectomies on detainees

New whistleblower complaint alleges that ICE is forcing hysterectomies on detainees

//Dawn Wooten is a nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia, a private prison owned by LaSalle Corrections that contracts with ICE. Wooten has filed a through the legal advocacy group Project South, alleging a variety of medical abuses, neglectful mismanagement, and other horrors. According to the complaint, LaSalle Corrections has been underreporting COVID-19 cases in the detention center; when Wooten questioned this, she was punished with a demotion.And then there's this, from :Multiple women came forward to tell Project South about what they perceived to be the inordinate...

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Sep 15
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Sunday may have been the hottest day on Earth ever reliably recorded

Sunday may have been the hottest day on Earth ever reliably recorded

//On Sunday, the temperature in California's Death Valley National Park apparently hit 130F (54.4C), the hottest air temperature recorded on Earth in 89 years, and possibly ever. According to a statement from the National Weather Service, "As this is an extreme temperature event, the recorded temperature will need to undergo a formal review" by a Climate Extremes Committee formed to check the data. The last time a 130F temperature was officially observed was during a heatwave in July 1913 but that reading's validity has been questioned. From :…A  published in October 2016 by climatologist...

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Aug 17
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Watch: Yesterday's Kamala Harris speech narrates this new "Prosecute Trump" ad

Watch: Yesterday's Kamala Harris speech narrates this new "Prosecute Trump" ad

//Yesterday Kamala Harris made her since becoming the 2020 vice presidential nominee, and in the blink of an eye came "Prosecute Trump," another delightful anti-Trump video by the progressive group Meidas Touch.Using parts of Harris's speech as the narration, the video presents an "open and shut" case as to why Trump is a criminal failure. We're reminded of the recent US catastrophes created by Trump's mismanagement and utter ineptness, including "a crisis of poverty, of homelessness, of hunger, more than 165,000 lives that have been cut short."And then we're reminded of why we were doing...

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Aug 13
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Noted white nationalist and guy who got punched in the face Richard Spencer is "financially crippled" from lawsuit

Noted white nationalist and guy who got punched in the face Richard Spencer is "financially crippled" from lawsuit

//Self-proclaimed white nationalist and Richard Spencer has been bogged down in a for his part in helping to organize the "" rally in Charlottesville, Virgina, which resulted in much calamity, including the of activist Heather Heyers at the hands of another proud self-proclaimed white nationalist. Spencer is — perhaps, sadly, fittingly — the , and that privilege has helped him to finance his campaign of hate. But increasing legal (and marital) pressures have finally started to milk his racist wallet dry. From :Richard Spencer's attorney has asked for the court's permission to withdraw from...

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Jun 15
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Reporter to Trump: "Do you regret all the lying you've done to the American people?"

Reporter to Trump: "Do you regret all the lying you've done to the American people?"

//The question was asked by Huffington Post correspondent SV Dáte, who told :I don't know why he called on me, because I've tried to ask him before [in March] and he's cut me off mid-question. Maybe he didn't recognise me this time. You know, he has this group of folks that he normally asks questions of. […] I had always thought that if he ever did call on me, this is the one thing that is really central to his presidency.Image: Public Domain viaThis is quite an interesting public records find from Anna Massoglia (@annalecta) of the nonprofit Open Secrets. Years ago, Kamala Harris once...

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Aug 14
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Prison labor in Massachusetts is used to manufacture Blue Lives Matter merchandise

Prison labor in Massachusetts is used to manufacture Blue Lives Matter merchandise

//As long as prisons exist, I've generally been a fan of the idea behind work release programs like the one in the , where incarcerated people learn skills like woodworking that will help them get jobs upon release. Or at least, it's the least worst work-related prison program I've come across. Most people who spend time in prison are usually driven there through a series of events complicated by poverty, so it makes sense to provide them with rehabilitative opportunities that they can keep them from experiencing the same depths of desperation after they've served their sentences.That being...

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Jul 29
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Trump tweets imaginary law that doesn't exist to threaten protesters

Trump tweets imaginary law that doesn't exist to threaten protesters

//Impeached president Donald Trump today tweeted an imaginary law that does not exist.Anarchists, Agitators or Protestors who vandalize or damage our Federal Courthouse in Portland, or any Federal Buildings in any of our Cities or States, will be prosecuted under our recently re-enacted Statues & Monuments Act. MINIMUM TEN YEARS IN PRISON. Don’t do it! @DHSgovThere is no such law.It doesn't exist.Complete fiction.Here's the original tweet.Anarchists, Agitators or Protestors who vandalize or damage our Federal Courthouse in Portland, or any Federal Buildings in any of our Cities or States,...

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Jul 27
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Texas AG probing Facebook over biometric data collection that may violate state law

Texas AG probing Facebook over biometric data collection that may violate state law

//“Texas is investigating Facebook for possibly running afoul of state laws on the collection of biometric data, according to June documents uncovered by a tech watchdog group,” reports .And the attorney general of Texas may just be on to something.Facebook users in Illinois recently secured a major settlement over the issue of biometric data collection.Excerpt:The Texas AG is investigating Facebook for possibly violating its Texas Deceptive Trade Practices — Consumer Protection Act by improperly collecting biometric identifiers, according to the documents, obtained by the Tech Transparency...

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Jul 27
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Unidentified federal forces enter Portland, pull protestors into unmarked vans

Unidentified federal forces enter Portland, pull protestors into unmarked vans

//Numerous videos shot in the last two days show . The Department of Homeland Securuity admits they sent them in, but local authorities say they have had no contact with the armed men and are not coordinating with them.The Secretary of Homeland Security released a statement justifying the invasion of Portland, by a variety of federal agencies that refuse to identify themselves or speak with local officials, using a list of violent Antifa crimes. Only issue is it’s a list of graffiti incidents.— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash)Senator Jeff Merkley : "Authoritarian governments, not democratic...

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Jul 17
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Pluto and five moons in our solar system have more water than Earth

Pluto and five moons in our solar system have more water than Earth

//There is less water on planet Earth than on Pluto, as revealed in this graphic by NASA's (). Moreover, five moons orbiting other worlds in our solar system—Europa, Triton, Callisto, Titan and Ganymede—have more. Ganymede has nearly 40 times as much water as planet Earth!The European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter satellite took this incredible image of the Sun, the closest photo ever taken of our star. It reveals tiny solar flares dotting the surface. The image above was captured at a distance of 77 million kilometers. From Nature: “When the first images came in, my first thought was this...

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Jul 15
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Cops charged with murder after tasing man 50 times

Cops charged with murder after tasing man 50 times

//Joshua Taylor and Brandon Dingman, two officers with Wilson Police Department in Oklahoma, . The New York Times reports that Jared Lakey, 28, "stopped breathing and became unresponsive" and died two days later.Court records said that “such dangerous and unnecessary tasing” was a “substantial factor” in bringing about Mr. Lakey’s death. ... Spencer Bryan, a lawyer for Mr. Lakey’s parents, Doug and Cynthia Lakey, said both officers had initially claimed that they used Tasers on Mr. Lakey only four times. He said the charges were appropriate given what was shown on Mr. Taylor’s body camera...

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Jul 3
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Tesla denies reports of firing workers who chose to stay at home to avoid coronavirus risk in Elon Musk's factory

Tesla denies reports of firing workers who chose to stay at home to avoid coronavirus risk in Elon Musk's factory

//On Thursday, Tesla denied media reports that it fired employees who chose to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic, rather than expose themselves to possible infection at Elon Musk's California factory.In a blog post today, “The Tesla Team” says it waived the company attendance policy for several weeks after obtaining approval to reopen factories, and offered employees "a window of time to stay home no questions asked".Read the Tesla post:The Tesla Team July 2, 2020yesterday that three Tesla employees were fired after they chose to stay home from the Fremont, California, factory....

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Jul 3
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Trump "America First" Eagle design looks like the Nazi parteiadler emblem

Trump "America First" Eagle design looks like the Nazi parteiadler emblem

//America First was a protectionist movement in the early 20th century whose name ultimately became the slogan of those opposed to fighting the Nazis. Revived by the Trump campaign in 2016, its antisemitic associations galvanized supporters while alarming wavering Republicans; his use of the phrase was a key moment in the forming of the "Never Trump" movement among conservative pundits. To help win re-election, he's selling T-shirts with the phrase, using a design that's unusually close to the Nazi parteiadler emblem.The potential for similarity between generically patriotic "American...

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Jul 2
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This Lincoln Project ad congratulating "Comrade Trump" is all in Russian

This Lincoln Project ad congratulating "Comrade Trump" is all in Russian

//Voiced by a Russian actor, "Fellow Traveler" is a Lincoln Project anti-Trump ad that is narrated in Russian."The most important endorsement Donald Trump received in 2016 was not from your Senate leader, Mitch McConnell," starts the ad. "And not from your Congressman, Paul Ryan...No, Donald Trump received the most important endorsement in 2016 from our great leader Vladimir Putin.""Our special services worked overtime to elect Comrade Trump," it continues. "We manipulated your voters to spread our glorious propaganda. And you, American dogs, were set against each other.""Comrade Trump's...

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Jul 2
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The time a man held a news anchor hostage on live TV

The time a man held a news anchor hostage on live TV

//On May 28, 1982, Joseph Billie Gwin, then 28, took four people hostage at the KOOL-TV station in Phoenix, Arizona. He eventually surrendered but not until news anchor Bill Close read Gwin's 20-minute statement on live television with a gun pointed at his stomach under the table. Gwin watched a portable TV to make sure they were on air.From a 1982 :The message needed to be broadcast ''to prevent World War III,'' the police quoted Mr. Gwin as saying. In it were other predictions, such as that that Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, would become President, and that on July...

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Jun 29
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Kentucky Election Board conveniently cuts 3,500 polling stations ahead of primaries

Kentucky Election Board conveniently cuts 3,500 polling stations ahead of primaries

//A record-breaking number of Kentuckians have this year, when Mitch McConnell is up for another term in the Senate. A slight majority of those voters are actually registered as Democrats, too. In fact, only of those registered voters are ineligible to participate in the because they are not affiliated with either party.Unfortunately, Kentuckians of all stripes will likely face some difficulty voting in the primaries this year, regardless of their political affiliation. As reports:In a typical election year, Kentucky has about 3,700 polling sites, according to most reports. When Election...

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BoingBoing
Jun 22
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