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Posted by David Pescovitz

A couple in Orlando, Florida ordered plastic storage bins on Amazon. When they received the bins, they were surprised to find 65 pounds of marijuana inside. Now THAT'S Amazon Prime! Police are investigating. From WFTV:

The couple said that after going back and forth with Amazon mostly by email for more than a month, they never spoke to a supervisor....

They eventually received an email giving them a $150 gift card with the message, "I am unable to do anything else at this time..."

Amazon sent a statement saying its customer service team worked directly with the customer to address concerns and will work with law enforcement to investigate the case.

(via Dave Pell's NextDraft)

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Posted by Jason Weisberger

It is pretty painful to see the recently widowed pregnant wife of a slain United States serviceman have to personally explain the disrespect she was served by the sitting President of the United States because the words of her black, female US Congressperson were not good enough.

On Good Morning America, Myeshia Johnson shared memories of her husband Sgt La David Johnson, a highly accomplished US soldier and family man who was recently slain under undisclosed circumstances in Niger.

While the Widow Johnson has a number of unanswered questions for the US Government, she makes it very clear that accounts of her call with US President Donald Trump describing him as insensitive are true. Mrs. Johnson describes the call, the attendees, and her tears at Trump's callously failed attempt to offer condolences.

Mrs. Johnson additionally explains that Representative Frederica Wilson's (D-FL) much maligned account of the call was "100% correct."

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Posted by Mark Frauenfelder

We got this picnic blanket in 2016 and use it every time we go to the beach. It folds out to 60" x 78", and folds up to a 12.5" x 10.6" rectangle complete with handle. The bottom is made of some kind of tough waterproof material and the top is easy to wipe clean. It's padded, and the top surface feels nice and has a pretty leaf pattern.

It was $27 when we got it but if you use coupon code BQ9PEOCY you can get it for $16.

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Posted by David Pescovitz

Hundreds of biologists, computational scientists, technologists and clinicians from across the world have kicked off a massive effort to build the Human Cell Atlas, a comprehensive reference map of all kinds of human cells to help us understand our complex biology and diagnose and treat myriad diseases. From Nature:

Cells have been characterized and classified with increasing precision since Robert Hooke first identified them under the microscope in the seventeenth century. But biologists have not yet determined all the molecular constituents of cells, nor have they established how all these constituents are associated with each other in tissues, systems and organs. As a result, there are many cell types we don’t know about. We also don’t know how all the cells in the body change from one state to another, which other cells they interact with or how they are altered during development...

The atlas could also facilitate research on the molecular mechanisms of communication within and between cells. And it should allow biologists to compare cell types across species to better understand human evolution, and to determine to what extent animal model systems and organoids reflect human biology.

Crucially, the atlas should help researchers to compare healthy reference cells to diseased ones in the relevant tissues — and so facilitate the development of better drugs and more accurate predictions of unintended toxicity. The atlas could also aid regenerative medicine — the process of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to establish normal function. Key diagnostic tests, such as the complete blood count — a routine blood screen that provides crude counts of white blood cells, red blood cells and so on — would become vastly more informative if cell types and states could be identified with much finer granularity. Such information could, for example, help to diagnose blood cancer, autoimmunity or infection before clinical symptoms appear.

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Posted by Boing Boing's Shop

The Paww WaveSound 3's keep your music from getting lost in loud environments through elite noise-cancelation, and they're currently available in the Boing Boing Store.

These headphones are designed to create an ideal listening experience, whether you’re enjoying music at your desk or trying to enjoy a quiet podcast on a noisy flight. Their CSR chipset employs several onboard microphones to filter out background activity as loud as 20dB, and their comfortable ear cups are large enough to provide a passive sound seal.

Featuring the latest Bluetooth spec, the WaveSound 3's provide low-latency audio, as well as a standard headphone cable for non-wireless devices. They’re built to take a beating — an all-metal enclosure protects the audio drivers, and each pair comes with a compact carrying case.

For a full-sized headphone that you can take anywhere, take a look at the Paww WaveSound 3. You can get them in the Boing Boing Store for &79.99. 

BUY NOW

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Posted by David Pescovitz

If you're craving some light reading, might I suggest Stephen Hawking's 1965 doctoral thesis "Properties of Expanding Universes." In celebration of "Open Access Week 2017," Cambridge University Library has made Hawking's 117-page thesis freely available online.

"By making my PhD thesis Open Access, I hope to inspire people around the world to look up at the stars and not down at their feet; to wonder about our place in the universe and to try and make sense of the cosmos," Hawking says. "Anyone, anywhere in the world should have free, unhindered access to not just my research, but to the research of every great and enquiring mind across the spectrum of human understanding.

"Each generation stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before them, just as I did as a young PhD student in Cambridge, inspired by the work of Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell and Albert Einstein. It's wonderful to hear how many people have already shown an interest in downloading my thesis - hopefully they won't be disappointed now that they finally have access to it!"

From the thesis abstract:

Some implications and consequences of the expansion of the universe are examined. In Chapter 1 it is shown that this expansion creates grave difficulties for the Hoyle-Narlikar theory of gravitation. Chapter 2 deals with perturbations of an expanding homogeneous and isotropic universe. The conclusion is reached that galaxies cannot be formed as a result of the growth of perturbations that were initially small. The propogation and absorption of gravitational radiation is also investigated in this approximation. In Chapter 3 gravitational radiation in an expanding universe is examined by a method of asymptotic expansions. The 'peeling off' behaviour and the asymptotic group are derived. Chapter 4 deals with the occurrence of singularities in cosmological models. It is shown that a singularity is inevitable provided that certain very general conditions are satisfied.

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Posted by Mark Frauenfelder

On the October 8, 1997 students and faculty at Cornell University noticed an unusual addition to the tip of McGraw Tower: a pumpkin. To this day, no one knows who put it there, or how they were able to do it.

From Atlas Obscura:

“One day, there was this thing at the top of the tower,” remembers Oliver Habicht, at the time a recent graduate working for the university IT department. It was way up at the top, impaled on the spire. It was round, and about the size of a beach ball. Was it… was it a pumpkin?

It was. Someone, somehow, had apparently carried the gourd up hundreds of steps. They had snuck it silently through the tower’s bell cage—a structure criss-crossed with cables that, if tripped, would have let out an immediate BONG—and gotten it up to the top of the very steep roof, all without being noticed. Not only that, but they had affixed it well enough that it stayed put until springtime, enmeshing itself in campus culture and becoming its own type of steady, albeit slowly rotting, beacon.

[via Clive Thompson]

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Posted by Mark Frauenfelder

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial was released 35 years ago and the tale of a friendly space creature marooned on Earth continues to captivate our imaginations. This month, Quirk books is releasing an illustrated kids' book version of E.T. The large format book features color illustrations throughout by Kim Smith, and is appropriate for very young kids. I received an advance copy and took a few photos:

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Posted by Cory Doctorow

A family of three (including a 7 year old girl) on a British Airways overnight from Vancouver to London spotted bedbugs crawling on their seats and alerted the crew, but the crew said the flight was sold out and wouldn't move them, so they spent 9 hours getting gnawed by bedbugs, arriving with their skin "absolutely covered" in bites. (more…)

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Posted by Mark Frauenfelder

"When Twitter users report harassment on the website, their reports land in one of two queues: one slower-moving line, and one high-priority 'VIP' line for verified users and Twitter employees’ favorite accounts," according to what former Twitter staff told The Daily Beast.

And Twitter doesn't seem to want to talk about it:

Twitter “doesn’t really have anyone from a harassment, academic, or activist background” responding to complaints, one former employee said, adding that the work is “going to developers who don’t use the platform.”

Reached for comment about how Twitter ensures fair treatment of harassment reports, a company representative asked for potentially identifying information on ex-Twitter employees The Daily Beast had interviewed, as well as more information on “why you believe this opinion is worth digging into?”

When The Daily Beast declined to give information on the former Twitter employees, the company did not return multiple follow-up emails.

How to fold a fitted sheet

Oct. 23rd, 2017 09:51 am
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Posted by Mark Frauenfelder

If you've ever tried to fold a fitted sheet, you probably know you can't just fold it like a regular sheet. If you are like me, you will just wad it up and hide your shameful attempt in the closet. Here's a woman made of better stuff than me, who has conquered the fitted sheet conundrum. The first video shows you how to fold a fitted sheet without elastic all around the edges, and the second video shows how to fold one with elastic all around the edges. https://youtu.be/_Z5k9nWcuFc https://youtu.be/0dQc8C08fp0

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Posted by David Pescovitz

For around $250, Private Jet Studio invites you to book a two-hour photoshoot on a grounded Gulfstream jet at an airstrip in Moscow. Why? To impress people on social media with your (fake) jet-setting lifestyle. Hair stylist and makeup artist costs extra.

(Bored Panda)

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Posted by Cory Doctorow

Back in April, experts warned that Trump's plan to hire 5,000 new Customs and Border Patrol officers was unlikely to succeed: the agency already loses 1,000 employees per year and a significant number of applicants are disqualified on the grounds of past bad actions, from theft to rape to drug smuggling. (more…)

The ultimate DMCA takedown fail

Oct. 23rd, 2017 09:11 am
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Posted by Rob Beschizza

A gentleman jailed for his part in a $5.4m scam wanted Google to remove links to news stories about the wheeze. His cunning plan to get them to do it – file a DMCA takedown notice claiming copyright in his own name and criminal record – perhaps offers a clue about why he got caught in the first place.

From the FBI's press release:

According to a plea agreement filed in this case, Henrik Sardariani obtained more than $5 million in loans after, among other things, falsifying numerous documents. In order to obtain one of the loans, Henrik Sardariani fraudulently used a house as collateral and falsely claimed to be the president of the company that owned the property. To support the claim that he controlled the company, Henrik Sardariani created false corporate records that were presented to the lender.

Henrik Sardariani also admitted that he created fraudulent property records to make it appear that prior loans had been paid off and that, therefore, new loans would be fully secured by unencumbered property. The fraudulent reconveyances bore forged and fraudulent signatures of notaries public, as well as fraudulent stamps of the notaries public.

Update: Shooting the Messenger writes that there are at least three of these DMCA takedowns filed by people involved in this particular case.

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Posted by Jason Weisberger

I wanted to try whittling. This knife is my tool.

I dreamed of carving my own cute wood trinkets in all the spare time I have, so I asked a pal what knife he uses when he whittles. He suggested I start with a "sloyd" knife, a traditional Swedish carving blade.

This video may help:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSxNpAxgPmc

I also ordered the recommended starter wood: basswood chunks, and after cutting myself I'm awaiting a THUMB GUARD.

Get a thumb guard first.

BeaverCraft, The Best Wood Carving Sloyd Knife for Whittling via Amazon

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