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an aural noise

word salad: Dive into a romantic, ethereal world with babbling brooks of a spacey river. Fly with flirty melodies and classy lounge vibes, while being accompanied by starry games, oriental ornaments, and the whisper of a saxophone. The album sounds light and dreamy, with dramatic drops to refresh the state of body and mind.

some of the things I read while eating breakfast in antisocial isolation

A Case for the Preservation of Abandoned Places

Finding where history, passion, and urban development come together can mean a lot to a community.

The auditorium at the historic Lansdowne Theater near Philadelphia. Embiggenable.

Whe I first moved to Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, a decade ago, I was immediately intrigued by the grand façade of the old theater in the center of town. Lansdowne, a small borough two miles southwest of Philadelphia, has the usual collection of dry cleaners and fast-food franchises, but the 1927 Spanish Revival theater stood out, both in its sense of quiet grandeur and the dark absence that radiated from its lobby. As a chronicler of abandoned places, I had to learn more. After a few calls and emails, I arranged to meet with Matt Schultz, CEO of the nonprofit Historic Lansdowne Theater Corporation. It’s always an amazing feeling when you finally get the opportunity to visit and photograph a place you’ve been curious about for months. The Lansdowne Theater didn’t disappoint: the red, gold, and blue auditorium boasted a spectacular 270-light-bulb chandelier, a tattered but regal curtain over the stage, and antique projectors still in the projectionist’s booth. As Schultz told me about the nonprofit’s goal to turn the theater into a music venue, I couldn’t help but notice what a massive job he had ahead of him.

While the light fixtures and frescoes were gorgeous, three decades of vacancy had left water-damaged plasterwork and holes in the ceiling that would take millions to repair. Schultz was much more pragmatic and business-savvy than most people I’ve met who buy abandoned properties with the hopes of restoring them—and I’ve met quite a few, often with little more than passion and a dream. Over 16 long years, Schultz had put together a solid board for the corporation, solicited the support of state lawmakers, courted volunteers and donors, and commissioned architectural studies.

The projection booth at the Lansdowne Theater.

Even after I moved away from the area, I revisited Schultz and the theater again and again over the years, and the building looked the same: beautiful, but cold and empty. A previous owner also had grand ambitions for it but ultimately went bankrupt and closed the theater in 1987 after a small electrical fire during a screening of Beverly Hills Cop II. Though I wanted to believe saving the building was possible, I secretly wondered if Schultz’s plans would ever become reality, or if The Lansdowne would wind up being yet another magnificent, abandoned place that would ultimately be demolished.

Why We Can’t Allow a Traitor, Racist, Sex Offender on the Ballot

Has the United States of America lost all reason?

Imagine if being called a traitor was only the third worst thing people said about you. You’d assume that there would be little argument that you probably weren’t an ideal candidate for the most powerful political office in the world.

And yet…

It’s kind of hard to have any respect for a group of people that would rally behind a sex offender, but we know that happens. To make matters worse, we have evidence that tens of millions of people are willing to put on the blinders and vote for a candidate who has declared his eagerness to become a tyrant.

This whole sad movement is held aloft by the rallying call to “Let the voters decide.” However, at every turn, our government has impeded the ability of citizens to vote. Not all citizens, naturally, just the ones who have been historically disinclined to vote for a traitor, racist, or sex offender.

“Let the voters decide” is a disingenuous argument. The voters have already decided. There’s no need to wait on any future results, the politicians who can turn popular policy into law have already won elections. The arguments against productive action are distortions of the truth designed to enable further oppression.

You have the right to a speedy trial because you should be spending the meantime in jail, not out campaigning for the highest office in the land.

We have to have safeguards that protect our society from traitors, racists, sex offenders, and worse. The last thing we should do is allow them to run for president.

Amazon hides cheaper items with faster delivery, lawsuit alleges

Hundreds of millions of Amazon’s US customers have overpaid, class action says.

Amazon rigged its platform to “routinely” push an overwhelming majority of customers to pay more for items that could’ve been purchased at lower costs with equal or faster delivery times, a class-action lawsuit has alleged.

The lawsuit claims that a biased algorithm drives Amazon’s “Buy Box,” which appears on an item’s page and prompts shoppers to “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart.” According to customers suing, nearly 98 percent of Amazon sales are of items featured in the Buy Box, because customers allegedly “reasonably” believe that featured items offer the best deal on the platform.

“But they are often wrong,” the complaint said, claiming that instead, Amazon features items from its own retailers and sellers that participate in Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA), both of which pay Amazon higher fees and gain secret perks like appearing in the Buy Box.

“The result is that consumers routinely overpay for items that are available at lower prices from other sellers on Amazon—not because consumers don’t care about price, or because they’re making informed purchasing decisions, but because Amazon has chosen to display the offers for which it will earn the highest fees,” the complaint said.

The 7 Most Ridiculous Supreme Court Cases Ever

The Supreme Court, which, contrary to popular opinion, isn’t simply a court with sour cream, is a primary pillar of American government. The highest court in the land is saddled with giving the final word on any legal issue deemed to require a ruling from the best and brightest legal minds our country has to offer. That doesn’t mean, however, that they never have to weigh in on anything weird. All that some strange case really has to do is get sufficiently tangled up in the Constitution to make it all the way up the escalator, and suddenly, the Supreme Court Justices are hearing about chicken coops.

Here are seven of the weirdest Supreme Court cases ever…

7. United States v. Causby

The big metal bird is back. Time to freak out and bust my own head open.

The case of the United States versus Thomas Lee Causby, at its core, was a case of one flying thing terrorizing another. Causby owned a chicken farm, and as you can imagine, a viable chicken farm requires chickens that are alive and well. Unfortunately, the health and welfare of his chickens was under attack by the U.S. military, in that they regularly flew planes out of a nearby airport, passing only 70 feet above the farm. This would scare the chickens so badly that they would, no exaggeration, panic, fly into the walls of their coop and kill themselves. The question this raised was: When you own land, how far up does that go? The Supreme Court declined to give a specific measurement, but ruled in Causby’s favor, while also affirming that ownership of land doesn’t extend infinitely into the sky.

United Airlines had to ground a whole fleet of planes because of an old law about the ‘No Smoking’ sign

A U.S. law from 1990 requires the ‘No Smoking’ sign on planes to be operated by the flight crew.

U.S. law is very strict on “No Smoking” signs in planes even though it banned smoking on all planes in 2000.

After causing a stir by mysteriously grounding its new Airbus A321neo planes on Monday, United Airlines wants people to know the decision has nothing to do with safety and isn’t even that exciting. Rather, it has to do with the aircrafts’ “No Smoking” signs, which are required by a 1990 law to be operated by the flight crew.

That’s not the case on the A321neo, which has software that keeps the “No Smoking” sign turned on continuously during flights, like many other aircraft in United’s fleet. In 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration approved United’s request for an exemption to the federal regulation requiring the flight crew to manually operate the “No Smoking” sign.

There’s just one problem. United’s 2020 exemption only applies to the aircraft it listed in its request at that time, which didn’t include the A321neo. United only recently received the first models of its order of A321neos and started flying them last December.

KLM Boeing 787 bound to LAX turns around over Greenland due to only one toilet in service

KLM flight from Amsterdam to Los Angeles was forced to turn around due to only one lavatory in service.

The flight #KL601 departed from Amsterdam on February 12, 2024 40 minutes late to Los Angeles.

The flight was operated by a Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner (reg. PH-BKF) for a 11-hour flight to LAX.

But a bit more than one hour into the flight, the crew was informed of several lavatories were out of service.

There are 9 toilets, 1 in the front, 6 in the middle, and 2 in the back.

According to a passenger, the captains decided to turn around but finally changed their mind and continued the flight.

But another hour later, with one toilet in service for over 200 passengers, the pilots didn’t have choice than to return to Amsterdam.

Maru becomes liquid in the transparent fishbowl on the kotatsu.

Ed. マルは、コタツの透明な魚玉で液体になります。


John Oliver has fun with the public domain Mickey

John Oliver went on Colbert’s show to promote his own, bringing along a giant, cuddly FU to Disney.

Now that Mickey has entered the public domain in some limited forms, it’ll be fun to see what people do with him! John Oliver is wasting new time; the new mascot for his show is Steamboat Willie.

THANKS to CBS and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for making this program available on YouTube.

I think the Church of Scientology is similarly litigious and more likely to sue him for the interview than Disney.

Ed. More tomorrow? Possibly. Probably. Maybe. Likely, if I find nothing more barely uninteresting at all to do.

Ed., etc. I didn’t have time to do this today.


Assimilation Complete