May 4, 2016

Rebel Bird


This Day In History: May 4, 1970

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We’re finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio
– Neil Young “Ohio”

By May of 1970, protests against the Vietnam War were popping up with increasing frequency all over the United States, and especially on college campuses. The recent revelation that ex-president Johnson misled the country about events in the Gulf of Tonkin resulting in the escalation of the war in 1964, the end of college deferments, and the increasing numbers of American casualties led to a surge of protests, some of which turned violent.

After President Nixon’s announcement on April 30 that American troops had invaded Cambodia, anti-war activists began to protest with even greater zeal. Even the average American saw Nixon’s actions as a direct contradiction to promises he’d made to end the Vietnam War. Protests were staged on college campuses all over the country on May 1, including Kent State in Kent, Ohio. …

The Day the Republican Party Died

With Donald Trump its presumptive nominee after his win in the Indiana primary, the GOP will never be the same.

Where were you the night Donald Trump killed the Republican Party as we knew it? Trump was right where he belonged: in the gilt-draped skyscraper with his name on it, Trump Tower in Manhattan, basking in the glory of his final, definitive victory.

“I have to tell you, I’ve competed all my life,” Trump said, his golden face somber, his gravity-defying pouf of hair seeming to hover above his brow. “All my life I’ve been in different competitions—in sports, or in business, or now, for 10 months, in politics. I have met some of the most incredible competitors that I’ve ever competed against right here in the Republican Party.”

The combined might of the Republican Party’s best and brightest—16 of them at the outset—proved, in the end, helpless against Trump’s unorthodox, muscular appeal to the party’s voting base. With his sweeping, 16-point victory in Tuesday’s Indiana primary, and the surrender of his major remaining rival, Ted Cruz, Trump was pronounced the presumptive nominee by the chair of the Republican National Committee. The primary was over—but for the GOP, the reckoning was only beginning. …

Hard Truths About How to Beat Donald Trump

The odds of defeating the billionaire depend in part on whether Americans who oppose him do what’s effective—or what feels emotionally satisfying.

Tens of millions of Americans want to deny Donald Trump the presidency. How best to do it? Many who oppose the billionaire will be tempted to echo Bret Stephens: “If by now you don’t find Donald Trump appalling,” the Wall Street Journal columnist told the Republican frontrunner’s supporters, “you’re appalling.”

Some will be tempted to respond like anti-Trump protesters in Costa Mesa, California. Violent elements in that crowd threw rocks at a passing pickup truck, smashed the window of a police cruiser, and bloodied at least one Trump supporter. Others in the crowd waved Mexican flags. “I knew this was going to happen,” a 19-year-old told the L.A. Times. “It was going to be a riot. He deserves what he gets.”

Still others will be tempted to sound off against Trump on Facebook or Twitter while feeling all but helpless to do anything else about the course of the 2016 election. …

10 Moronic Teens Who Were Killed Mimicking ‘Jackass’

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but flattery does not reflect intelligence. The following individuals learned that the hard way.

Most of us have seen or heard of the short-lived MTV show Jackass, which starred Johnny Knoxville and his gang of stooges. Although the show featured disclaimers that urged viewers not to mimic the program’s dangerous stunts, that did not deter the dim-witted.

10. Drugs, Alcohol, And A Bulletproof Vest

In July 2014, 30-year-old Mark Ramiro and his friend of 15 years, Darnell Mitchell, were on an all-night binge of drugs and alcohol when the duo began daring one another. Mitchell was dared to lick a toilet, which he did. Afterward, he decided to up the ante by taking a bullet to the chest while wearing a bulletproof vest.

The duo’s intention was to create a Jackass-style video that would bring them fame and fortune. As the camera began to roll, Mitchell instructed Ramiro to shoot him in the chest. But Ramiro’s aim was a little high, and he shot Mitchell once in the upper chest. …

‘Toxic stew of hatred’: Elizabeth Warren excoriates Donald Trump

If there’s one person you can count on to berate Donald Trump on Twitter, it’s Elizabeth Warren.

The Massachusetts senator took to her feed Tuesday night after Trump’s victory in Indiana made him the Republican Party’s de facto presidential nominee for 2016. And, no surprise, the Democrat did not hold back in criticizing Trump, calling him a divisive narcissist and his ideology a “toxic stew of hatred & insecurity.”

“There’s more enthusiasm for [Trump] among leaders of the KKK than leaders of the political party he now controls,” Warren tweeted.

Warren said she will “fight her heart out” to ensure Trump never makes it to the White House. She has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick by Hillary Clinton, which would make a historic statement with two women on the ticket. But Warren has stayed neutral in the Democratic primary race so far. …

Larry Wilmore On ‘Breaking Taboos’ At The White House Correspondents’ Dinner

LANGUAGE ADVISORY: This interview contains language some readers may find offensive.

The reviews are mixed for Larry Wilmore’s performance Saturday night at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. The comic, who hosts Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, landed jokes about President Obama, the presidential candidates and the press. But a few of his bits — including his reference to the president as “my n****” — were greeted with some discomfort.

Reflecting on his performance, the comic tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross that “breaking taboos is a very dangerous thing to do.” And while he acknowledges that using the N-word might upset some people, he says that his intention was to recognize and honor Obama’s significance as the first black president.

“What Obama means to me as a black person, and to many black [people], really is hard to quantify,” he says. “… I wanted to take the opportunity to turn that [word] upside down and to use it in the way that we’ve used it inside the community … as that show of affection that only we can understand.” …

Top 10 Ways The Pharaohs Still Influence Egypt Today

Our history binds us and defines us. No matter where you’re from, your history has influenced you in one way or another. Egypt is no different. Here are 10 ways that the ancient pharaohs have affected modern-day Egypt.

10. Celebrating Sham El-Nessim

If you ever decide to visit Egypt during Eastern Easter, try not to be stunned by the lingering smell of rotting fish; it’s just the smell of another Sham el-Nessim in Egypt. Originating from ancient Egypt, Sham el-Nessim, which literally means “smelling of the spring,” is a national holiday that is still celebrated in Egypt today. It was created over 4,500 years ago.

It is believed that during pharaonic times, ancient Egyptians would offer salted fish, lettuce, and onions to the gods during harvest season. Today, Egyptians still bring salted fish, lettuce, and onions, but this time, they do so for themselves instead of the gods. People from all around Egypt gather in public gardens, zoos, and family houses, bringing their own share of salted and fermented fish. Everyone then proceeds to sit down and enjoy the taste of this smelly, salty treat, celebrating the centuries-old holiday. …

The real reason nothing can ever go faster than light

We are told that nothing can travel faster than light. This is how we know it is true

It was September 2011 and physicist Antonio Ereditato had just shocked the world.

The announcement he had made promised to overturn our understanding of the Universe. If the data gathered by 160 scientists working on the OPERA project were correct, the unthinkable had been observed.

Particles – in this case, neutrinos – had travelled faster than light.

According to Einstein’s theories of relativity, this should not have been possible. And the implications for showing it had happened were vast. Many bits of physics might have to be reconsidered. …

What Happens When Your Tech Predictions Tank

A New York Times software columnist revisits his prognostications from the 1980s.

In the 1980s, Erik Sandberg-Diment was a household name in Silicon Valley.

He had what was at the time a radical gig at The New York Times, or any other mainstream publication for that matter. He was a software and technology columnist, and wrote weekly reviews and reflections about the burgeoning personal computing industry. It was an era when terms like “pixels,” “megabytes,” and “floppy disks” earned painstaking explanations, and printers came with sound shields because they were so noisy.

In recent years, there’s been something of a Sandberg-Diment revival online; his archived work occasionally pops up on forums like Reddit and Hacker News. Picking apart predictions of the past has long been a beloved parlor game among history buffs and technologists, and Sandberg-Diment’s oeuvre is a particularly rich trove—owing largely to the confluence of his lively and assertive writing style and the technologically dynamic time at which he was covering computing. …


Simon K. asks: Why do we call it “red tape” when there are a lot of needless obstacles and paperwork in getting something done in business and government?

The practice of referring to “excessive bureaucratic rigmarole” as red tape dates back more than 400 years to the court of the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, Charles V (1500-1558). As heir to three of Europe’s most powerful dynasties (Habsburg, Valois-Burgundy and Trastámara), at the height of his power, Charles’ empire stretched from Spain in the west to Hungary in the east, and from the Netherlands in the north to Sicily in the south. In addition, Charles had significant holdings in the New World, and an enormous administration to manage his vast empire.

At the time, administrative documents were bound in some fashion, either with rope, string, ribbon or cloth. Sometime during the early 16th century, in order to distinguish the most important documents that required immediate discussion at the highest levels of government (such as the Council of State), from those of less significance, Charles’ ministers began tying important papers together with red string or ribbon. …

Longmont fracking ruling: ‘Blow to democracy’ or ‘win for individual property rights’?

Colorado reacts to court’s fracking decision

The Colorado Supreme Court’s decision that Longmont residents cannot unilaterally ban fracking within city limits prompted responses from around the state Monday.

The court upheld a previous ruling in a lawsuit brought against Longmont by industry group Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the state agency Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and operator Top Operating.

The groups that filed as citizen intervenors in support of Longmont’s claim that a city should be able to ban hydraulic fracturing responded to the court’s decision with outrage. …

Prominent Democratic Consultants Sign Up to Defeat Single Payer in Colorado

Influential Democratic consultants, some of whom work for the Super PACs backing Hillary Clinton, have signed up to fight a bold initiative to create a state-based single-payer system in Colorado, according to a state filing posted Monday.

Coloradans for Coloradans, an ad-hoc group opposing single payer in Colorado, revealed that it raised $1 million over the first five months of this year. The group was formed to defeat Amendment 69, the ballot measure before voters this year that would change the Colorado constitution and permit a system that would automatically cover every state resident’s health care.

The anti-single-payer effort is funded almost entirely by health care industry interests, including $500,000 from Anthem Inc., the state’s largest health insurance provider; $40,000 from Cigna, another large health insurer that is current in talks to merge with Anthem; $75,000 from Davita, the dialysis company; $25,000 from Delta Dental, the largest dental insurer in the state; and $100,000 from SCL Health, the faith-based hospital chain. …

5 Dumb Truths Behind Amazing Scientific Mysteries

If you’re a scientist, being able to announce a major new scientific discovery must be better than winning the lottery while having sex with an anthropomorphic, gorgeous Nobel Prize. So it makes sense that some of them might rush an amazing discovery to the papers before they check it properly — which can lead to some embarrassing and hilarious results.

#5. A Mysterious Newly Discovered Fungus Is … A Sex Toy

There isn’t much that happens in the small Chinese village of Liucunbu, on the outskirts of provincial capital Xi’an — at least, we assume that’s the case, since it doesn’t have its own Wikipedia page. So it must have been pretty exciting when they stumbled upon an unusual and unknown kind of fungus when drilling a new well. Their discovery managed to get them on Xi’an TV, spreading their fame across China and, eventually, the internet — where thousands of people pointed out that the rare new mushroom they found was, in fact, a male sex toy.

NSFW … maybe?

Ted Cruz’s hilarious presidential campaign, from A to Z

“What made Ted Cruz so special, among a field of candidates who were absurd in their own right?” your yet-to-be-born children may one day ask. You must tell them two things: his face, and his soul.

Mocking public figures usually reaches a point when it stops being fun, when cold guilt fills our bellies, and we reconcile with the fact that the target of our ire is only human. Rarely are we given a gift like Ted Cruz, a man so eminently despicable that no person could mount a defense of him. He is as despised by the right as he is by the left. In a way, he is a miracle, the single unifier of American conservatism and liberalism.

To celebrate his 13-month run — which has the pass and laughs of an episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos — we’ve assembled an A to Z collection of Ted Cruz’s finest moments on the campaign trail. …

Ouch: Watch as Ted Cruz accidentally elbows his wife in the face after leaving presidential race

Ted Cruz’s presidential primary campaign was filled with many awkward moments and it followed suit to the bitter end Tuesday as Cruz accidentally hit his wife in the face after calling his campaign quits.

After Cruz made his announcement, he turned and hugged his wife, Heidi. Then his father then walked over to console him.

But as Cruz turned into the embrace from his father, he ended up hitting Heidi in the face and followed it up with an elbow to the nose. …


10 Sacrificial Rituals Practiced By Ancient Farmers

We all depend on crops to survive, but even our most modern methods sometimes fail. When that happens, there’s often famine in underdeveloped countries and higher prices in the more developed countries. Farmers tend to stick to the scientific methods of farming, but in other countries, more ancient methods of ensuring good crops have been used.

10. Ritual Sacrifices In India

Many sacrificial harvest ceremonies are no longer practiced, but lately, there has been a rash of ritual sacrifices in India. As many as four bodies were found between 2011 and 2015. Human sacrifice has long been practiced in remote areas of India, though it’s no longer condoned or accepted.

In The Golden Bough, James Frazier wrote of a tribe in India who would sacrifice strangers for their crops. Frazier deemed the sacrifices to be opportunistic, as the tribe did not hunt for their victims, nor did they practice the sacrificial rituals on members of their own community. The sacrifice was not accompanied by a great ceremony. The tribe also didn’t give in to orgiastic feasting, dancing, song, or prayers like many other rituals for crops have done. …

U.S. Spent $1.4 Billion To Stop HIV By Promoting Abstinence. Did It Work?

In the past 12 years, the U.S. has spent more than $1.4 billion funding abstinence programs in Africa. They’re part of a larger program — called the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief — aimed at stopping the spread of HIV around the world.

Many health officials consider PEPFAR a succes. It is credited with giving lifesaving HIV drugs to more than 5 million people and preventing nearly 1 million babies from getting HIV from their mothers.

But a study, published Monday in Health Affairs, finds the abstinence programs have been a failure. …

Build and price your Fiat 124 Spider here


First we got pricing for the hotly anticipated Fiat 124 Spider, and now FCA has launched the configurator for the car that will inevitably become known as the “Fiata.”

The base Classica Spider starts at $25,990, which will get you cloth seats, 16-inch alloys and a six-speed manual transmission paired with the 1.4-liter inline-four MultiAir Turbo engine. A six-speed Aisin auto will add $1,350 to the price, while the almost-mandatory Technology Collection with a 7-inch screen and a backup camera comes in at a reasonable $1,295. And … that’s about it; all that’s left to do is to pick one of six colors. …


Jason Statham, the stunningly handsome man you occasionally see glistening on the cover of Men’s Health or kicking The Rock in the face in the latest Fast and the Furious movie, is primarily known for two kinds of roles- action movies, where he uses his formidable athleticism to beat up dozens of nameless thugs, and comedy films, where he usually plays a wise-cracking hustler. These are two roles he’s basically trained for his entire life, seeing as before he was an actor, he was, amongst other things, a street hustler and a professional diver who came just one position away from making the Olympics not once, but three consecutive Olympiads.

A naturally gifted athlete in his youth, Statham reportedly excelled at a range of sports during his formative years, including football (soccer), tennis, and gymnastics, along with boxing and several martial arts. In addition to this, the future action star would make ends meet hocking cheap jewelry and perfume on the streets of London under the watchful eye of his father, Barry, who was known by the affectionate nickname, “Nogger” for reasons that Statham has never elaborated on. …

Video Goodnesses
(and not-so-goodnesses)

CAUTION: Some language may not be appropriate for work or children.