Archive for the ‘Weird Wednesday’ tag
Hmmm. What’s the privacy implication? But I’d be moderately interested in trying version 3 or 4 of this concept…
Imagine if you could explore Europe’s greatest cities without having to constantly look down at your phone to make sure you’re on course to your next destination. U.K.-based regional airline easyJet is trying to solve that problem, at least in theory, with a new pair of internet-connected sneakers that signal to wearers when to turn left or right by vibrating underneath the respective foot. This way, sightseers’ heads can stay up, taking in the surroundings while they walk, without losing their way. The shoes buzz twice to indicate a wrong turn, thanks to a connection to Google Maps via Bluetooth, and easyJet’s proprietary app. They also adjust to provide a new route if a user veers intentionally off course. Upon arriving at the destination, both sneakers will buzz.
(click here to continue reading An Airline Made Sneakers That Vibrate to Lead You Around Cities You’re Visiting | Adweek.)
Yowsa. I think we need to seriously consider banning churches – too much violence, too many religious-minded people are murderers.
Braxton, a member of the church, was sitting in a back overflow area when another congregant tapped him on the shoulder and told him he had taken an already-occupied seat.
Ushers and others chose to clear the area and let Braxton cool down. But Storms, who is a church member but has no official role at Keystone Fellowship, approached him.
Storms asked Braxton to step outside with him, and Braxton punched him in the face.
Storms told police he was “trying to stop him because I was afraid he was going to hurt me and other people,” according to an arrest affidavit filed in the case.
But firing a gun in a crowded church is “unreasonable,” Steele said Thursday, as is the suggestion that Storms acted in self-defense.
“This is a situation where a gun is introduced into a fistfight,” he said.
The arrest affidavit filed in the case noted that Braxton came to church “only armed with his Bible.”
(click here to continue reading Montco man charged in church-service killing – philly-archives.)
And on a serious note, Trump, and the rest of the NRA/GOP want to remove gun free zones from nearly everywhere, except in the halls of Congress and other similarly creepy places.
When humans retire, life is different, but not as much as a racing horse’s life:
American Pharoah is living the good life in retirement and earning big money in doing so. The four-year old thoroughbred and Triple Crown champion has traded racing for reproduction at Coolmore Farms in Versailles, Kentucky.
…Pharoah, who made history as the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed did it in 1978, is living a life most could only dream about. “He could breed 2-3 times per day during breeding season,” said Scott Calder, who works in sales & marketing at Coolmore Farms America.
When Pharoah isn’t breeding, he spends his time in the fields eating grass, getting groomed and visiting with tour groups that have stopped by the farm. The 1,340-pound horse has gained about 170 pounds since retiring.
“He’s proven to be very professional in the breeding shed. He’s breeding very well and so far it’s been smooth sailing.”
Now considered a “stud,” Pharoah has bred with more than 100 mares so far. By the time breeding season is over in late June, it’s expected he will have bred with 175.
(click here to continue reading American Pharoah retires to stud job in Kentucky.)
Not a bad year…
Getting fat, screwing twice a day…
Because of an editing error, an article on Monday about a theological battle being fought by Muslim imams and scholars in the West against the Islamic State misstated the Snapchat handle used by Suhaib Webb, one of the Muslim leaders speaking out. It is imamsuhaibwebb, not Pimpin4Paradise786.
(click here to continue reading Corrections: May 10, 2016 – NYTimes.com.)
Maybe the epithet is true, and I’m an analog kid after all, but count me out of connecting each and every item to the internet. I don’t see the need, nor the problem that needs this as a solution.
Let’s play a game. Which of the following is a real smartphone-connected product?
A) A bottle that tracks your H2O intake
B) A bowl that tracks your dog’s H2O intake
C) An umbrella that reminds you not to leave it behind
D) A tampon that reminds you when it is time for a change
It is actually a trick question. All four of these “smart” items have either been announced by startups or are already shipping.
(click here to continue reading Smart Tampon? The Internet of Every Single Thing Must Be Stopped – WSJ.)
especially since so few of these devices work as promised, or have software bugs, or are poorly engineered, or whatever:
There is even greater irony: Instead of solving the hassles of everyday life, they create more of them. I’ve been testing many products that simply don’t work as promised. It is time potential buyers wised up to the Internet of Every Single Thing. Until the hardware improves and the ideas get more practical, it is buyer beware.
My egg tray doesn’t like my Wi-Fi network. That may sound like a Mad Lib, but I’m serious. It took me 15 minutes to correctly pair Quirky’s $15 Egg Minder with the iPhone app, which gives you a count of remaining eggs. Yet when I removed eggs from the tray to make breakfast, one of them remained virtually present. I guess you could say the app was… scrambled.
I washed down that delicious breakfast with nearly 15 ounces of water. But it happened to be one of the times the Hidrate Spark water bottle didn’t record it. What a waste of hydration! Later in the day at spinning class, my OMSignal smart bra only recorded half of my 45-minute workout. Because the fit of my preproduction bra wasn’t perfect, the sensors in the fabric didn’t always pick up my heart rate.
(click here to continue reading Smart Tampon? The Internet of Every Single Thing Must Be Stopped – WSJ.)
I wouldn’t even want my vaporizer to have connectivity:
The Firefly2 syncs via Bluetooth to a smartphone app that lets users control the heat settings and get firmware updates.
This might sound excessive, but it means customers won’t have to buy the newest model to get new software. The most recent update just reduced app bugs, though Williams says in the future, users may be able to select optimum settings for the material in use (such as temperature-specific tobacco, concentrates, and marijuana).
(click here to continue reading A former Apple designer has created the iPhone of vaporizers.)
What a bunch of wack-a-doos.
You remember the Bundy cult of ammosexuals, right? Turns out being jailed for armed insurrection isn’t as much fun as it is on television or in a video game. In fact, the mean, mean Oregon jailers won’t even allow the Bundy cult members access to guns. What a travesty!
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
(click here to continue reading Second Amendment to the United States Constitution – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)
The nerve! No guns in jail! That’s, that’s unconstitutional!
Ammon and Ryan Bundy are actively considering whether they should pursue a civil rights lawsuit against the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office for conditions at the county detention center.
In court documents released Tuesday, the leaders of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation give a list of conditions at the jail they said are violating their constitutional rights.
But the sheriff’s office also denied many requests from the inmates, including access to internet and chairs in their cells, access to other defendants so they can “strategize together” before the trial, unmonitored phone calls, a cordless printer and scanner, more storage space in jail cells, and “real pens.”
In his conclusion, Arnold said Ammon Bundy may pursue a civil rights lawsuit based upon U.S. Code Section 1983, which guarantees recourse for anyone who has been denied civil rights.
Courtesy of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office “My rights are being violated. My right to life is being violated. All of my First Amendment rights are being violated. My right to freedom of religion is being violated,” Ryan Bundy wrote in a supporting statement. “My Second Amendment rights are being violated. I never waived that right. My Fourth Amendment rights are being violated.
“I could argue that my right to life hasn’t been taken. But the FBI tried to take that right when they attempted to kill me.
“They missed on that one,” he added. “I still have the bullet to prove that.”
(click here to continue reading Ammon Bundy Considering Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Multnomah County . News | OPB.)
Coming from a group who doesn’t believe the federal government has any rights in the first place, this gives me a belly laugh…
Sounds like someone watched a few too many gangster movies…
The body of Peter Martinez, 28, better known on the streets as Petey Crack, had washed up near Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn. At one end, his head was wrapped in duct tape. At the other, where his feet should be, was a five-gallon bucket filled with rock-hard concrete — a mix of cement, sand, gravel and water — encasing his legs up to the shins.
The police said Mr. Martinez had a long history of arrests. He had been reported missing in February by his girlfriend. It seems that strong currents dragged Mr. Martinez, despite the homemade anchor, to shore, where he was discovered by a college student. There were no arrests in the case as of Wednesday, and the results of an autopsy were not yet complete.
How long his body had been in the water was just one of the mysteries the police were sorting through; Mr. Martinez’s last outfit — gray sweatpants, blue boxer shorts and a black jacket — was intact, and his tattoo of the Virgin Mary holding a rose was still visible.
Crime historians were mystified, struggling to think of similar cases.
(click here to continue reading Cement Shoes, Fabled Anchor to Watery Grave, Surface in Brooklyn – The New York Times.)
Rare because there are probably more efficient ways of killing people besides having them stand in a bucket of concrete, waiting for the concrete to set, and then dragging the bucket, and target, into water. Cement is heavy! And while the cement is hardening, it can be escaped. For how long? An expert says, maybe 12 hours, temperature depending…
But there is one more important ingredient: time. An amount of uninterrupted time not commonly associated with murderers looking to cover their tracks.
How long would cement shoes take to harden? Paul Bartelotti, owner of M&B Concrete in Brooklyn, tried to imagine the process.
“They could have gotten just a bag and added water,” he said. Not too much — the consistency has to be just right. “Like Carvel ice cream. Not, like, paint-thick. A little thicker.”
For several hours, the captive could still pull his feet out. “It would take at least, I would say, the better part of the day to not get your feet out,” Mr. Bartelotti said. “Depends on the temperature.”
Concrete hardens quickly in warm temperatures, he said. Mr. Martinez disappeared in February.
“It was cold,” Mr. Bartelotti mused. “If you let it sit from 12 hours to a day, the guy wouldn’t be able to get his feet out.” He considered the situations. “They could make it wet and make the guy stand in it, or put his legs in and pour the cement around it. He could have been dead and they just stuck his feet in.”
(click here to continue reading Cement Shoes, Fabled Anchor to Watery Grave, Surface in Brooklyn – The New York Times.)
And speaking of police full to the brim with self-righteousness, a woman was arrested in New Jersey for not answering a variant of the question, “Do you know why we pulled you over”…
Two New Jersey state troopers cuffed a woman along a Warren County roadway and hauled her in on an obstruction charge because she refused to answer questions during a routine traffic stop, according to dashboard camera footage obtained by NJ Advance Media.
The Oct. 16 incident, which happened near the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border on Route 519, is now the subject of a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by the woman, Rebecca Musarra, an attorney from Philadelphia.
Musarra claims in the suit the troopers violated basic rules familiar to anybody who’s ever watched a police show on TV, including the right to remain silent.
She claims at least three troopers insisted during the ordeal that her refusal to answer questions was a criminal act.
NJ Advance Media obtained the footage, along with a dispatch log from that evening, through an Open Public Records Act request filed in April.
The documents show Trooper Matthew Stazzone pulled Musarra over just before 9:30 p.m., suspecting her of speeding. He was quickly joined by a second trooper, Demetric Gosa, records show.
The dashboard camera footage shows Stazzone approached the vehicle on the passenger side and asked Musarra for her license, registration and insurance.
“While you’re looking for that, do you know why you’re being pulled over tonight?” the trooper asked her, according to the tape. She claims she provided the documents but didn’t respond.
After asking her several more times, Stazzone walked to the other side of her car, rapping on the window with his flashlight and again demanding a response.
“You’re going to be placed under arrest if you don’t answer my questions,” he told her. Musarra claims the force of the flashlight chipped her window.
The footage shows she eventually told the trooper she was an attorney and that she did not have to answer questions. Stazzone then ordered her out of the vehicle.
As the two troopers cuffed her and walked her toward a troop car, Musarra asked them, “Are you detaining me because I refused to speak?”
“Yeah,” Stazzone replied, according to the video. “Yeah, obstruction,” Gosa added.
(click here to continue reading WATCH: N.J. troopers arrest woman for remaining silent during traffic stop | NJ.com.)
Obstruction. Yeah, ok. I hope they lose their jobs over this bullying…
Names are power, but still, paying someone $30,000 to come up with a name seems excessive. What happened to randomly opening a dictionary? Or a Bible?
Professional services have popped up in the U.S. and Europe to aid parents with naming their children for a fee. Last year, Marc Hauser, who runs the Switzerland-based naming agency Erfolgswelle, went from solely serving brands to also branding children. His firm charges over $29,000 for every baby it names, devoting two to three weeks and around 100 hours of work to the process. Though Hauser thinks that approaches rating baby names strictly by data (and not emotion) are “overrated,” his firm does check to ensure that a baby name has not already been trademarked. “Even when it’s a little close to an existing brand name, it will not survive,” he said. Historians also vet the name to ensure it goes not have “an aggravating past.” Hauser admits that his own first name, Marc, would never make the cut at his firm because it’s connected to the name of an ancient Roman god of war.
Sherri Suzanne, who runs My Name for Life in New York, said her services begin at several hundred dollars. She spends around 30 hours on a single name report.
Baby-naming experts have been around since long before Western specialists started marketing the service to nervous parents with high disposable incomes. In South Korea and India, for example, spiritual leaders can offer advice on what to name a child by reviewing scripture, astrology, and local culture. Just as with a wedding, a donation is offered to the spiritual leader in exchange for the service. In some cases, the baby is not named until after it has been born. “A shaman came over to our place and did a ceremony when I was a couple weeks old,” said Seung Lee, a 23-year old San Francisco resident who was named through this process in South Korea. “The shaman gave a couple names for us to mull over.” While the practice is not entirely common, it’s important to those who participate, said Lee.
Some experts recommend a more data-driven route. “I’ve seen parents do just incredible things with their poor children’s names because they were creative and thought they were going to be unique,” Mehrabian said. “If you are getting somebody who really knows the evidence, then I’ll say it’s worth every penny, whether its $500 or $5,000. Believe me, you don’t want to name a child with an unattractive name and have them go through life and suffer the consequences.”
(click here to continue reading You Can Now Pay Someone to Name Your Baby – Bloomberg.)
Really, A-B InBev?
Ernie’s Old Time Saloon, Sitka, Alaska…
Budweiser… brand has sought approval for new labels that replace the Budweiser name with “America,” according to a filing with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. The labels don’t stop there. They include phrases such as “E Pluribus Unum” and “from the redwood forest to the Gulf stream waters this land was made for you and me,” as well as “indivisible since 1776.”
A-B InBev on Tuesday, May 10, confirmed the limited-edition label change, saying “America” would replace “Budweiser” on the front of 12-oz. cans and bottles. The packaging will run from May 23 through election season in November, the brewer stated. The agency that handled the design change is Jones Knowles Ritchie, New York. The packaging will be accompanied by a summer-long campaign called “America is in Your Hands.” A national TV spot featuring the cans and bottles will premiere on June 1.
(click here to continue reading A-B InBev Looks to Replace Budweiser With ‘America’ on Packs | CMO Strategy – AdAge.)
Honestly, this makes me laugh more than anything I’ve read recently. Maybe I’m not the target demographic, no, not maybe, definitively. Even when I was a young, beer swilling college student without much money, I still didn’t drink Budweiser. Mind you, this was back in the dark ages before the craft beer explosion – which meant if a bunch of us went on a camping trip, or had a party, we’d scrounge together enough money to purchase Shiner Bock, or if we couldn’t swing that, we would buy a case of Carling Black Label, or Stroh’s, or Lone Star, something like that, or frequently, wine. I honestly cannot think of a single time when I had a choice of beverage that I chose Bud. Maybe at some low rent sporting event?
And also, Budweiser is made in massive factories, probably by robots, and is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, a conglomerate headquartered in Leuven, Belgium. You know, MURICA! Whoo hoo!
Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV makes beers such as:
Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois, international brands Beck’s, Hoegaarden and Leffe and local brands such as Bud Light, Skol, Brahma, Antarctica, Quilmes, Victoria, Modelo Especial, Michelob Ultra, Harbin, Sedrin, Klinskoye, Sibirskaya Korona, Chernigivske and Jupiler.
(click here to continue reading Anheuser-Busch InBev – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)
and have annual revenues in the neighborhood of $50,000,000,000. So obviously, somebody drinks that swill. A lot of people apparently. But I wonder what percentage of their gross revenue goes to pay American taxes? I’m guessing they are in Belgium instead of St. Louis because the tax climate is friendlier there.
If you are a Bud drinker, you aren’t really drinking it for its flavor, I’m assuming. Especially in light of:
After the November 18, 2008 InBev takeover, several cost-cutting measures were implemented that negatively affected the flavor of the beer. Whole rice grains were been replaced by broken ones, and the high quality Hallertauer Mittelfrüh hop was phased out. A former top AB InBev executive told BusinessWeek Magazine, in an article published on November 8, 2012, that the company had saved approximately $55 million a year by substituting cheaper hops in Budweiser and other U.S. beers
(click here to continue reading Budweiser – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)
Anyway, I’m sure summer sales will be brisk, lots of ironic purchases of six packs that will sit in refrigerators around the nation, collecting dust…
Is this weird or what?
The governments of the world are dragging their feet, so good for these citizen activists.
Global warming is already disrupting the planet’s weather. Now it is having an impact on the courts, as well, as adults and children around the world try to enlist the judiciary in their efforts to blunt climate change.
In the United States, an environmental law nonprofit is suing the federal government on behalf of 21 young plaintiffs. Individuals in Pakistan and New Zealand have sued to force their governments to take stronger action to fight climate change. A farmer in Peru has sued a giant German energy utility over its part in causing global warming.
And while the arguments can be unconventional and surprising, some of the suits are making progress.
Last month, a federal magistrate judge in Oregon startled many legal experts by allowing the lawsuit filed on behalf of 21 teenagers and children to go forward, despite motions from the Obama administration and fossil fuel companies to dismiss it; the suit would force the government to take more aggressive action against climate change. The ruling by the magistrate judge, Thomas M. Coffin, now goes to Federal District Court to be accepted or rejected.
(click here to continue reading In Novel Tactic on Climate Change, Citizens Sue Their Governments – The New York Times.)
The editor of this sucky blog1 has assigned Wednesday’s topic as Weird. Weird would include items such as you might encounter in Chuck Shepherd’s seminal News of the Weird, or on a late-night comedy show, or similar. The universe is a wild and wacky place, and not everything is beige, focus-tested, and lifeless.
Anyway, a couple of days ago, I read about a doctor about to perform the first ever head transplant:
Three years ago, [Dr. Sergio] Canavero, now 51, had his own Dr. Strange moment when he announced he’d be able to do a human head transplant in a two-part procedure he dubs HEAVEN (head anastomosis venture) and Gemini (the subsequent spinal cord fusion). Valery Spiridonov, a 31-year-old Russian program manager in the software development field, soon emerged from the internet ether to volunteer his noggin. He suffers from Werdnig-Hoffman disease, a muscle-wasting disorder, and is desperate.
Canavero has a plan, delineated in a June 2013 paper in the peer-reviewed journal Surgical Neurology International and presented in 2015 as the keynote address of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons’s 39th annual conference. It’s a 36-hour, $20 million procedure involving at least 150 people, including doctors, nurses, technicians, psychologists and virtual reality engineers.
In a specially equipped hospital suite, two surgical teams will work simultaneously—one focused on Spiridonov and the other on the donor’s body, selected from a brain-dead patient and matched with the Russian for height, build and immunotype. Both patients—anesthetized and outfitted with breathing tubes—will have their heads locked using metal pins and clamps, and electrodes will be attached to their bodies to monitor brain and heart activity.
Next, Spiridonov’s head will be nearly frozen, ultimately reaching 12 to 15 degrees Celsius, which will make him temporarily brain-dead.Doctors will then drain his brain of blood and flush it with a standard surgery solution. A vascular surgeon will loop sleeve-like tubes made of Silastic (a silicone-plastic combination) around the carotid arteries and jugular veins; these tubes will be tightened to stop blood flow and later loosened to allow circulation when the head and new body are connected. Then the two teams, working in concert, will make deep incisions around each patient’s neck and use color-coded markings to note all the muscles in both Spiridonov’s head and that of the donor, to facilitate the reconnection.
Next comes the most critical step of all. Under an operating microscope, doctors will cleanly chop through both spinal cords—with a $200,000 diamond nanoblade, so thin that it is measured in angstroms, provided by the University of Texas.
Then the rush is on: Once sliced, Spiridonov’s head will have to be attached to the donor’s body and connected to the blood flow within an hour. (When the head is transferred, the main vessels will be clamped to prevent air from causing a blockage.) Surgeons will quickly sew the arteries and veins of Spiridonov’s head to those of his new body. The donor’s blood flow will then, in theory, re-warm Spiridonov’s head to normal temperatures within minutes.
If all that goes as planned, Canavero can then make good on his Dr. Strange inspiration with Gemini. The lengths of the transected spinal cord stumps will be adjusted so they’re even, and the myelinated axons, the spaghetti-like parts of nerve cells, will be fused using a special type of glue made of polyethylene glycol, an inorganic polymer that Canavero says is the procedure’s true magical elixir.
In this way, spinal cord function will be established by enabling the cytoplasm of adjacent cells to mix together.Then it’s time to make sure the spinal fusion is secure with a few loose sutures applied around the joined cord and threaded through the thin membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
To finish securing Spiridonov’s head, the previously exposed vertebral arteries of the donor and Spiridonov will also be linked to achieve proper blood flow. In addition, the dura, the tough outermost membrane covering the brain and spinal cord, will be sewn watertight with wires and clamps. Doctors will similarly reconnect the trachea, esophagus, vagi and phrenic nerves, along with all of the severed muscles, and plastic surgeons will sew the skin for optimal cosmetic results.
Throughout, doctors will ensure a suppressed immune system through medication, and after the transplant, doctors will regularly screen Spiridonov’s blood for anti-donor antibodies while he lies in a drug-induced coma for four weeks to allow his brain to recover. During that time, doctors will electrically stimulate the spinal cord to promote communication between neurons and improve Spiridonov’s motor and sensory functions.
(click here to continue reading Doctor Ready to Perform First Human Head Transplant.)
Doubters and naysayers don’t believe the operation will be possible, or even attempted, but science is always about exploring the edges of human knowledge, with plenty of failures along the way.
I see a few possible outcomes to the surgery.
- The patient dies during surgery. Dr. Canavero will learn from the experience and try again later.
- The surgery seems successful, but the patient never wakes up from the induced coma. Again, something can be learned from the experience, and applied to future surgeries.
- The patient wakes up: but who is he? The brain and human consciousness are not totally understood. Will the patient be able to wiggle his fingers? Walk? Talk? Speak Russian? Write C++ code? Did you know that the stomach contains serotonin receptors (5HT receptors)? Maybe these brain-stomach connectors are more important to consciousness than we know and the patient will retain some fragments of the other person’s body? Memories? Emotions? Who knows?
The surgery is scheduled for 2017, I assume we’ll hear about the successes or failure. Will there be a Frankenstein monster? Or just another step towards Ray Kurzweil’s 2020 goals for humanity?Footnotes:
- me, though if you have some free time, I’d like to have your help, proofreading and what not [↩]