January 9, 2016

The Morning After The Night Before


This Day In History: January 9, 1911

On January 9, 1911, legendary striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee was born as Rose Louise Hovick in Seattle, Washington. One of the most popular performers of the 1940s and 1950s, Gypsy was much more than a pretty girl who provocatively removed clothing. She was a brainy businesswoman who created a winning persona and a unique approach to burlesque. She has been an inspiration and role model for those who have followed her, such as Dita von Teese.

Louise (as she went by as a child) and her sister, actress June Novac, were at the mercy of one of the original stage mothers from hell growing up. A single parent, she forced her daughters into vaudeville to support the family. She felt June had the most potential, and when she eloped at age 15 in 1928, she thought Louise’s only hope was to go into burlesque. ...

Why Do Republicans Dislike Jeb Bush So Much?

He’s not just losing. He is loathed.

It is not difficult to see why Jeb Bush is losing this presidential election. He is the wrong man in the wrong cycle. Republican primary voters are rewarding passionate, fiery, outsider, “anti-establishment” candidates who paint their visions in broad strokes rather than pesky details. Bush is the very picture of a Republican establishment and his donors the very image of donor-class Republicanism. Though he claims not to be “an expert on the ways of Washington,” he is vying to be the third consecutive Republican president named Bush. He is a conservative technocrat animated less by angst and more by, say, education funding models. Anti-immigration sentiment is dominating this primary, and immigration has long been Bush’s chief weakness in the primary. He’s a bad fit for the 2016 Republican Party, and barring some deus ex machina that switches every current coursing through the Republican primary electorate, he will soon have little rationale for continuing his run.

What’s more difficult to figure out, though, is why Republican primary voters seem to dislike the guy so much. It’s one thing not to support Bush’s candidacy or not to respond to his style of politics. It’s another to act as though the man personally beat up you and your entire family and then stole your television. And your dog. ...

Who Said It: Dr. Carson or Mr. Carson?

Dealing with a society where standards are slipping and the old social order is changing: It’s true of PBS’s Downton Abbey, where British aristocrats grapple with the indignities of the 20th century, and it’s true in the Republican base, where aging Americans do the same in the 21st. Fortunately, each has its quiet hero: Mr. Charles Carson, the longtime butler at the stately home of Lord Grantham, and Dr. Ben Carson, the pediatric neurosurgeon who is now fumbling his way toward the 2016 Republican nomination. Despite their differing sensibilities when it comes to home décor, they have been known to philosophize in surprisingly similar ways. Can you tell which Carson said what?


Interactive Goodness.......

10 Big Video Games That Were Supposed To Be Totally Different

While it will surprise few gamers that a video game undergoes changes during the complicated development process, drastic changes that completely alter the original intent of the project typically result in some of the industry’s biggest failures.

Yet that isn’t always the case. In fact, some of the greatest games of all time began their life as something entirely different.

10. Halo Was A Real-Time Strategy Game . . . For The Mac

Considering that Halo ended up being a first-person shooter that launched Microsoft’s Xbox into the stratosphere, its origins couldn’t be more bizarre.

If you want to go back to the very beginning, developer Bungie claims that Halo was originally supposed to be a sci-fi, real-time strategy game. While in development for some time under that approach, when the game made its public debut in 1999, it had morphed into a third-person shooter.

Oh, and that debut? It took place at the Macworld convention and was introduced by none other than Steve Jobs himself as a Mac-exclusive project. ...

Too far? The ‘Daily Show’ plugs nasty hashtag about Trump.

Is there a line between what the media should and should not say about Donald Trump? Or has the Republican presidential front-runner erased it with his own boorish behavior?

These are the questions running through my head as I scroll through Twitter posts marked by the hashtag #DonaldTrumpWantsToBangHisDaughter, which “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah promoted on Thursday’s late-night program.

Noah has used this line before -- and, we should emphasize, was making a rhetorical point when he pulled it out again. That point is this: Trump displays a reckless disregard for facts when spreading information (remember those bogus black/white homicide stats he got from “radio shows and everything else”?). So using Trump’s own standard, the logic goes, it’s okay to circulate the notion that he would like to have sexual relations with his daughter. ...

Here’s $100.
Can you win $900 million at Powerball?

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338. But someone has to win, right? We decided to put that idea to the test.

This game starts with $100 to play against multiple lottery drawings. Pick your numbers and watch the money disappear. Based on the odds, you're likely to hit numbers that pay out smaller prizes. This is for educational purposes only, we're not giving you any money. Oh, and good luck!


Interactive Goodness.......

10 Supernatural Creatures Of Islamic Tradition

The beasts and demons of Arabian mythology survive within the teachings of Islam. Many of these creatures have only brief mentions in the Quran, but their stories are fleshed out in Hadiths, which are collections of traditions and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.

10. Houris

In the Quran, the houris are female beings who will accompany the faithful in heaven. They are often associated with the 72 virgins referenced in the Hadiths. Houris are described in Hadiths as being young, doe-eyed girls with round, perky breasts. They do not spit, menstruate, urinate, or defecate. After a Muslim believer has sex with a houri companion, she immediately regains her virginity. Houris also have transparent skin. You can see through to the marrow of their bones, “like red wine in a clear glass.” Oh, and they’re over 30 meters (90 ft) tall.

Upon entering paradise, a Muslim man assumes the form of his younger self with all his imperfections erased, kind of like a residual self-image in The Matrix. If his true love is a believer, too, she will join him in paradise, young and beautiful and remade as a virgin. But if she does not love him, she will not be forced to spend eternity with him. Instead, he will receive a houri replica of her. ...

Japan Keeps This Defunct Train Station Running for Just One Passenger

The train makes only two stops—one when a lone high-school student leaves for school and the other when she returns.

For years, there’s only been one passenger waiting at the Kami-Shirataki train station in the northernmost island of Hokkaido, Japan: A high-school girl, on her way to class. The train stops there only twice a day—once to pick up the girl and again to drop her off after the school day is over.

It sounds like a Hayao Miyazaki film. But according to CCTV News, it was a decision that Japan Railways—the group that operates the country’s railway network—made more than three years ago. ...

Diabolical Falcons Trap Living Birds in Rocks For Future Meals

A team of ornithologists were working on a small Moroccan island when they observed some rather bizarre behavior in adult falcons. The raptors appeared to be imprisoning tiny birds in the crevasses of rocks in an effort to keep them fresh for a later meal.

As reported in New Scientist, University of Rabat ornithologist Abdeljebbar Qninba was doing field work on the barren Moroccan island of Mogador in 2014 when he noticed a number of small birds stuck in deep cavities. On closer inspection, he noticed that the helpless birds had their flight and tail feathers removed. They couldn’t move their wings or use their dangling legs. The birds appeared terrified, and sought any opportunity to escape. ...


Today in History: January 9, 1493

While sailing the waters around Haiti on January 9, 1493, Christopher Columbus spotted what he thought were three mermaids frolicking in the water. He reported later that they “came quite high out of the water,” but they were “not as pretty as they are depicted, for somehow in the face they look like men.”

Columbus’s statement infers that mermaid sightings were rather uncommon, but hardly unprecedented. Folklore of the period abounds with tales of mermaids, and maps of the known world were edged with illustrations of both monsters and mermaids. In fact, mermaid lore goes back at least a far as the ancient Greeks.

So what was Columbus actually seeing? ...

10 Outrageous Words Millennials Use (and What They Really Mean)

Consult HR if you hear the word "THOT," especially if you're trying to make "gwop" this year. Confused? You're not alone. Here's a breakdown of the slang words Millennials are using.

Youth slang isn't as complicated as it seems. In fact, it may even signal a high level of intelligence.

"This language exists for a reason," says Tony Thorne, a linguist who specializes in youth culture and business communication at London's King's College. Slang words, which typically fall into a limited set of categories (i.e., complaints or insults), can often indicate association with a particular group of people or culture.

When it comes to the workplace environment, a common concern about slang words is whether or not it puts Millennials who use them at a disadvantage. Thorne doesn't think so, since most are able to grasp the concept of "appropriateness," or knowing when (and when not) to use it. "Young people tend to be self-aware about these different registers of language," he explains.

Millennials--especially those who grew up texting--may actually be more literate than their older counterparts. "They tend to be more adept at different kinds of communication," he said. People who use language in a complex way need to have a heightened awareness of language, and how it works." ...

MIT Researchers Want to Teach Robots How to Wash Dishes

The robots arrived years ago. They help build stuff in factories. They shuttle packages and products across the massive warehouses that drive Amazon’s worldwide retail operation. And so much more. But Ilker Yildirim envisions a robot that can operate with a bit more subtlety, a bot that needn’t operate according to pre-programmed movements. This machine could respond to changes in its environment, much like humans do, and predict what will happen when one action is chosen over another. He envisions a robot that can do your dishes.

That’s a harder task than you might think. It involves predicting what will happen when you stack one dish on top of another; when you put it under the kitchen faucet; when you place it your dish washer. We humans do this intuitively, and Yildirim aims to duplicate this kind of intuition with hardware and software. ...

4 Problems With Men's Dress Clothes Nobody Talks About

A warm fart in a cold leather coat has but one direction to go.

When I was about nine or so, my grandmother died. My parents needed to outfit me for a proper funeral, as most of my clothes had Ninja Turtles or chocolate on them. My only slightly ill-fitting (but entirely dapper) funeral ensemble ended up being a pinstriped charcoal grey suit with a trilby hat and a black trench coat. I looked like Eliot Ness's much smaller partner. I cut a pretty fuckin' smooth figure. I was a classic gentleman. And I really enjoyed the look -- so much so that I've tried to keep it alive ever since. But being a classic '50s gentleman in the fashion sense is no easy task in the modern world, when every aspect of it gets shit on at every turn.

#4. Fart Smuggling

My little-man trench coat was fairly lightweight -- and more of a glorified raincoat more than anything -- but it did bring the whole ensemble together, and I enjoyed it immensely. So much so that throughout my life, I've probably owned about six trench coats or dusters of varying quality. My current coat is egregiously overpriced leather, but it's very nice-looking and supremely comfortable in all weather. It's also a tragic curse.

The problem with a leather coat that hangs to your calves is that you've basically sealed yourself inside the fashionable carcass of another animal, like Luke inside the tauntaun. And maybe nine times out of ten, that's no issue at all. But I invite you, when you have a chance, to put on a heavy leather trench coat, do it up, and fart. Then just stand there a moment. Sway a little -- maybe take a step or two in whatever direction. ...

Longmont techie on quest to teach tech to world

Last weekend Linz Craig left the comfort of Longmont for an 8,500-mile journey to Gulu, Uganda, where he's teaching robotics, electrical engineering, prototyping and more to young students and older future teachers.

He's made the trip before, and he'll make it again.

"It's a huge personal fulfillment," Craig said as he prepared for the trip last week. "Technology is an opportunity for everyone to be on the same page, and to better humanity."

For nearly a decade Craig had been teaching classes and workshops on technology and technology education across the U.S. Then out of the blue in 2012, he received an email from a man named Solomon King in Uganda. It was an email that would have a dramatic impact on Craig, and the technology-hungry people of Uganda. ...


If you’re looking for the quickest way to go from zero to voice-controlled home automation system, you should spend five minutes checking out [Hari Wiguna]’s project on Hackaday.io where he connects up IoT gadgets and services into a functioning lightswitch.

[Hari] demonstrates how to set up a complex chain: Amazon Echo to IFTTT to Adafruit.io as a data broker, which is then polled by an ESP8266 unit in his home that controls his X10 setup. (Pshwew.) But each step along the way is designed to be nearly plug-and-play, so it’s really a lot like clicking Lego blocks together. [Hari]’s video is a nice overview. ...

10 Awesome Feats Of Wartime Engineering

Construction is a difficult and complicated enough business at the best of times. Building prepared military structures in anticipation of conflict is one thing; building them in the middle of war is another. In combat conditions, with the enemy lurking just around the corner, the risks multiply. Allocation of manpower, availability of material, nature of terrain—all present obstacles that test the resourcefulness of combat engineers.

10. The Siege Ramp At Masada

High atop a rocky plateau in the Judean desert, 500 meters (1,500 ft) above the Dead Sea, the fortress of Masada frowned down upon any would-be invader. Here, after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in AD 70, a band of Zealots fled to continue the Jewish rebellion. For three years, they defied the besieging Romans. The 10th Legion under Flavius Silva tried to starve the rebels. It didn’t work, so the Romans tried every siege technique they knew to capture the mountain. Silva knew he had to get creative.

Silva took advantage of a specific geographical feature of Masada—a natural spur on the mountain’s west side. Upon this spur, the Romans began to pile up earth and debris. Soon, the defenders of Masada beheld a gigantic ramp was beginning to reach up to their walls. It appears that the Romans forced thousands of Jews to work on the ramp, as the defenders above would not shoot their own countrymen. ...

The Danger of Putin Losing in Syria

If Russia’s military adventure unravels, what happens next?

Last September, Russia deployed dozens of jets to Syria to rescue the ailing regime of Bashar al-Assad. Vladimir Putin aimed to protect one of Moscow’s few foreign allies and gain leverage for the coming peace negotiations over the Syrian Civil War. Russian media presented the mission as a heroic attempt to save the civilized world from Islamic terrorism. In Washington, however, Putin was widely seen as wading into a quagmire. According to The Economist: “If America’s Syria-watchers agree on anything it is that the Russian campaign, which has enabled Mr Assad’s forces to make only minor gains, will fail, and thereby encourage Russia to give up on its proxy. That would be a huge boost to the UN-backed peace talks John Kerry, the secretary of state, is brokering, with the aim of replacing Mr Assad with a transitional government early next year.”

But would a loss for Putin really be good news? While it’s tempting to take satisfaction in the Russian president’s travails in Syria—what you might call Putinfreude—Syria-watchers should question their assumptions. If Putin’s military adventure unravels, the result may not be peace. ...

Why Employers' Incentives For Weight Loss Fall Flat With Workers

Promising workers lower health insurance premiums for losing weight did nothing to help them take off the pounds, a recent study found. At the end of a year, obese workers had lost less than 1.5 pounds on average, statistically no different than the minute average gain of a tenth of a pound for workers who weren't offered a financial incentive to lose weight.

"Our study highlights some of the weaknesses" of workplace wellness programs, said Dr. Mitesh Patel, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine and the study's lead author.

The study, published in January's issue of the journal Health Affairs, reported the results of a yearlong randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of financial incentives to encourage weight loss among 197 obese employees of the University of Pennsylvania health system. ...

Fugitive caught in Darts Farm alpaca field after losing control of stolen car

A fugitive burglar who crashed his getaway car during a police chase has been jailed after he was caught in a field of alpacas.

Christopher Dixon lost control of the stolen car on road outside Darts Farm at Clyst St George and was followed by police through marshland onto the shopping complex's animal corner.

Dixon had stolen the Rover in a burglary in Cheltenham and driven it at full speed down the M5, only stopping to fill up with petrol and leaving without paying. ...

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: He had some trouble blending in; Dixon doesn't resemble an alpaca.


In ancient Greece, since laws were unwritten at first, the social pyramid’s elite of nobles and rich men interpreted and twisted the aforementioned laws for their own exclusive benefit. Of course, as usually happens in such cases, this elite claimed the laws were god-given, and subsequently, holy and to be blindly followed by all members of society… except themselves. At this time, however, something somewhat new to recorded history started to happen- certain people consistently began to think more logically about such laws, and finally initiated protests against the so-called “noble and holy habit” of creating and interpreting laws. The common people, thus, demanded a single, written and organized legal system that would be fair and practical for every social class.

In this way, Draco, the first legislator of Athens in ancient Greece, is introduced to us. Though, Draco wasn’t the first person to document a complete system of laws, he was the first democratic legislator in recorded history, given that he was the first lawgiver to write a codes of law following overwhelming request from the citizens of any ancient city-state. Simultaneously, the initiation and realization of written law came with an extremely high cost for local Athenian society, and actually worked to the disadvantage of the same citizens who had petitioned Draco to record a legal system. ...

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