The week that was (04-20-2018)

The CEO of MGA Entertainment bid $890 million in a last-minute effort to save Toys R Us from going bankrupt. Five people were arrested after they turned an abandoned Toys R Us into a massive rave.

The Walmart yodeling boy sang at Coachella.

In a leaked memo, Apple warns employees to stop leaking information

Samsung stock plummeted 10% after an employee of Samsung Securities pressed the wrong key and mistakenly unleashed 2 billion shares (worth about $105 billion USD) to members of its stock option program instead of 2 billion won (about $2 billion USD). The mistake was compounded during the 37 minutes it took to realize and correct the error when several eagle-eyed employees sold their windfall, flooding the market and depressing share prices.

The IRS’ “modernized eFile tax system,” built to handle bulk tax form submissions from online services such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s Tax Cut, crashed on the last day to file taxes.

In preparation for the eventual colonization of space, NASA shot human sperm into space.

Bitcoin prices spiked with some attributing the renewed interest to the cryptocurrency satisfying conditions that would make it halal.

Scientists accidentally created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drink bottles.

Four recent MIT graduates unveiled their new “Spyce Kitchen,” a robotic cooking machine about the size of a refrigerator which, at the press of a button, can turn out in less than three minutes any of the seven chef-approved bowls of stew on its menu. The first prototype, built in the basement of their fraternity house, “was conceived as an engineering solution to every hungry college student’s gripe — where to get good, cheap food fast.”

If you think your coffee has a bit too much of a jolt in it, beware. It might contain used battery dust.

A trader named Morgan Stanley was fired from Morgan Stanley.

Police in Louisiana say a woman came home to discover a naked stranger in her tub, eating her Cheetos while taking a bath.

In what is being hailed as a “Moon-landing equivalent for robots,” two engineers in Singapore have built an AI-powered robot that can build an IKEA chair in less than 21-minutes without instructions.

The FDA approved contact lenses that darken in sunlight.

Remember that burned out home in San Jose listed for $800,000? A condemed home in Fremont, just a few miles away, sold for $1.2 million, all cash.

A small town in Georgia prepared for a large Neo-Nazi march scheduled in their town by inviting families to draw rainbows and unicorns along the parade route.

Five men that attended San Rafael High School in 1971 came forward with the origin story of 420 code with published evidence.

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The week that was (04-13-2018)

Queen Elizabeth compared President Trump to a noisy helicopter.

An Ohio man was arrested Wednesday on a domestic violence charge, after hitting a woman in the face with a pizza.

A Houston gas station owner opened fire on someone who underpaid for his Slim Jim.

A 12-year-old in Philadelphia was arrested for brandishing a loaded assault rifle.

A Spaniard, raised by wolves, confessed to being disappointed with human life.

Someone finally invented a “roomba for your lawn.” (Lars in Tokyo points out Honda already has one).

Sales are way up at the New England Confectionery Company after they announced they were going to stop making their iconic Necco wafer. “People are rushing to stockpile them like they’re the next cryptocurrency.”

After 120 years, Sears is closing its last store in Chicago, its hometown.

DARPA developed a neural implant that has been shown to improve short-term memory by an average of 35 percent.

Chinese search engine giant Baidu launched a stock photo platform that uses blockchain technology to protect image intellectual property.

A married couple in China that was tragically killed in a car crash four years ago gave “birth” to a baby through a surrogate mother using IVF. The grandparents are overjoyed but had to submit to DNA testing to prove the baby’s nationality.

Researchers from Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute determined that the human body continues to produce new brain cells well into your 70’s.

Hockey sticks were left out on front doorsteps all across Canada as the nation mourned the loss of 15 college hockey players in a tragic bus crash.

In Denmark, the demolition of an old 173-foot concrete silo went horribly wrong and took out the neighboring library and cultural center.

A burned out house in San Jose was listed for $800,000.

“It’s a windy day. It must have flown through the window and into my purse,” claimed Kennecia Posey who was pulled over for erratic driving and arrested for possession of cocaine and marijuana.

Eight Argentinian police officers were fired after claiming that more than half a ton of marijuana that disappeared from a police warehouse had been eaten by mice.

“The time has come for serious consideration of a shift in federal marijuana policy,” said former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner in a statement announcing his addition to the board of one of the nation’s largest, multi-state actively-managed cannabis corporations.

In an effort to combat climate change, Los Angeles began painting some of its streets white to reflect the summer heat. Not to be outdone, China is testing roads paved with solar panels.

A 112-year-old Japanese man was recognized by Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest male. The world’s oldest female is a 117-year-old Jamaican.

Starting next year, it will cost an extra 1,000 yen to leave Japan.

A large chunk of the Irish cliffs of Mór fell into the Atlantic.

photo credit: Trump walked to Air Force One in high winds — and the photos of his hair are mesmerizing

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Zuck goes to Washington

Sure you could watch 9 hours of testimony (Day 1 on CSPAN, Day 2 on CSPAN) but just to put it in one place, here are the takes that I found insightful. I’ll add to this post when I find things so please add something in the comments too.

The New York Times’ Podcast The Daily had a great wrap-up of each day and are worth listening to in order.

Congress vs. Mark Zuckerberg covers the Senate hearings on Day One
Questioning the Business of Facebook covers the House on Day Two.

For a historical context, here’s a 2003 post in The Harvard Crimson about another site that was more popular than anticipated and drew criticism.

Anil Dash, central to the creation of early blogger communities, speaks the wiseman in a short video addressed to Facebook employees. “We can’t have it both ways. We can’t say we’re able to change the world and pretend it’s not our fault when we do.”

There were many photos, here are some of my favorites.

Leah Mills/Reuters

One photographer got a photo of Mark’s notes which was picked apart and dissected for insights.

Then there were the memes

Zuck in his booster seat

Zuck’s testimony in DC even reverberated all the way over to the TED conference that was being held in Vancouver. Here’s early internet pioneer talking about the Internet’s Original Sin.

The week that was (04-06-2018)

While a Milwaukee pastor was delivering his Easter sermon to his congregation a thief broke into his SUV and stole his bible.

An Easter performance of the Passion of Christ was all too real for a member of the audience member in Brazil. Taking matters into his own hands he whacked the actor playing a Roman soldier with his motorcycle helmet to rescue Jesus from the cross.

For the first time in modern history, the murder rate in London surpassed that of New York.

A South Carolina congressman pulled out a loaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun during a meeting with his constituents on Friday.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation was called out to rescue two goats stuck on a bridge.

photo credit: U2 pilot selfie with Northern Lights

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The week that was (03-30-2018)

The Governor of Utah signed a bill ordering Utah’s Department of Agriculture and Food to grow medical-grade cannabis for terminally ill patients.

It was a slow news day in Arizona on Monday so a Phoenix TV station decided to do an epic 90-minute livestream of a cat stuck on a pole.

Linda Brown from Brown vs. Board of Education died at age 76.

Two Chinese companies are now offering cars that they can 3D print in just three days for under $10k.

Another Chinese company has teamed up with Ford to offer five different model cars via a vending machine and mobile app.

Scientists have managed to build a bio-computer made of living human cells.

Maserati and Ferrari teamed up to build an SUV that can go from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds and do a top speed of more than 180 mph.

Alexo Athletica announced a new yoga pant that features a pocket where you can carry a small pistol.

Stormy Daniels had her much anticipated interview on 60 Minutes which set off a renewed debate over which magazine was used for the famous spanking.

Chinese startup 32Teeth has combined facial recognition and big data analysis to create a connected toothbrush that, “offers precise identification of 16 tooth surface cleanliness levels and analyzes users’ brushing activity data.” Oh, and you mine cryptocurrency while you brush your teeth too.

Last week a 3-year old was killed by a stray bullet from an AK-47. This week a 73-year old collapsed at her kitchen table, shot by her neighbor who obviously needs more target practice.

“I am not bitter. I was upset at first but mistakes happen,” said Richard Phillips upon being released after 45 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

A Georgia woman drove her SUV into a concrete pole to prove to her children that God was real.

With two goalies out on injury, the Chicago Blackhawks had to reach deep into their bench to come up with an emergency goalkeeper. Scott Foster is an accountant by day and the last time he played a competitive game was in 2005.

Opening Day for the Miami Marlins didn’t start out so well.  The first pitch of the season resulted in a home run.

After multiple failed tries, ‘Mad’ Mike Hughes, the 61-year old retired limo driver from Apple Valley, California finally launched himself into the air on his steam-powered rocket made from a modified RV. “I’m tired of people saying I chickened out and didn’t build a rocket. I’m tired of that stuff. I manned up and did it,” said Hughes. While he made it up to 2,000 feet, it wasn’t high enough for him to complete his mission and prove the earth is flat.

Photo credit – The Atlantic

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Alameda and the Egg Spoon Wars

My island home plays a bit part in this lovely story of the “spoon wars” in the Times earlier this week. Read the story, appreciate the spoon, and smile when you learn it was hand-forged in Alameda.

The 16-inch iron spoon is hand-forged to Ms. Waters’s specifications by Shawn Lovell, whom Ms. Singer described in an email as “an incredible female blacksmith in Alameda, CA.

From the catalog entry on Permanent Collection.

‘Alice’s Egg Spoon’ is a hand-forged iron spoon perfectly calibrated for frying an egg in the fireplace or over a gas flame. In 2004, when Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters (Permanent Collection co-founder, Fanny’s mother) read William Rubel’s The Magic of Fire: Hearth Cooking, she asked a blacksmith friend named Angelo Garro to make a spoon to cook an egg in the coals. The iconic spoon quickly became one of the items most identified with Alice’s kitchen and cuisine.

 

The week that was (03-23-2018)

A Romanian court ruled that a 63-year-old man is dead despite what would appear to be convincing evidence to the contrary: the man himself appeared alive and well in court. The court told him he was too late and would have to remain officially deceased.

In an effort to save money, the US Navy’s new Virginia-class submarines have replaced the clunky joysticks that used to control their periscopes with a more readily available (and familiar) XBox controller.

Another week, another pet mishap by United Airlines, this one narrowly averted. A flight turned around before reaching its destination once it was discovered the pet was on the wrong flight. Better to inconvenience the passengers on the flight than to suffer another unflattering story in the press. By Tuesday, United announced a temporary suspension to all pet transport.

Ford Motor recalled 1.4 million cars because loose bolts could allow the steering wheel to come off. Unfortunately, these cars are not yet able to take over and drive themselves.

The last male northern white rhino passed away. Scientists efforts to keep the species alive now turn to in vitro fertilization with the last two female northern white rhinos. (photo by @amivitale)

Charles Lazarus, the founder of Toys-R-Us died this week, just one week after the company he founded announced it was closing its doors for good.

Bozo the Clown passed away. Frank Avruch, who played Bozo from 1959-1970 died at 89.

Naomi found an interesting looking rock while digging around in the dirt during her older sister’s soccer game. This week she found out that it was a rare, 65 million-year-old fossil.

For the first time, the French ate more hamburgers than ham-and-butter baguettes.

Sherpas in Nepal removed 200,000 lbs of trash from Mount Everest. The mounds of trash included empty bottles of Tuborg beer, food cans, torn tents, empty oxygen bottles and even bodies of expired hikers.

CryptoKitties, an cryptocurrency-powered collectible game, received an investment of $12 million with high profile VC firms Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures leading a funding round.

Mexico launched a cryptocurrency backed by habanero peppers.

The design for the new post-Brexit British passports was announced. They will be made in France.

A 3-year old was accidentally shot by her grandmother as she was cleaning her AK-47.

Dramatic aerial video shows how Kenya’s Rift Valley is living up to its name.

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The week that was (03-16-2018)

We lost a great mind this week. In all the stories of Stephen Hawking’s life, my favorite was the detail that he used to run his wheelchair over the toes of people he didn’t like.

Mining cryptocurrency generates a lot of heat in the computers that are doing the computations. One French company decided to take advantage of the excess heat and sell them as “plug-and-mine” heaters.

A plane in Russia had a bumpy talkoff, lost it’s rear door and proceeded to dump $368 million in gold bars and diamonds all over the runway and 16 miles of desolate countryside Siberia.

Canada announced that they have hired their first female head of the mounties. Brenda Lucki, will take over as commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in mid-April.

Those people that steal your delivered boxes off your front doorstep? They have a name now, they’re called “porch pirates.”

Walmart filed a patent for robotic bees.

A giant, yellow, inflatable rubber duck escaped from western coast of Australia.

Google Japan released Google Street View from a dog’s perspective. This follows up a 2015 project when they released Google Street View in Hiroshima from at cat’s perspective.

Japan’s Sanrio announced that a Hello Kitty bullet train will start operating this Summer on the Osaka-Fukuoka route. This will join ANA’s Pokemon Jet which has it’s own website lovingly laid out in Comic Sans.

A hippo was discovered living in a pond in Southern Mexico. No one knows how it got there but the residents of the town have come to love the animal so much they have nicknamed it “Tyson.”

The Swindles were moving from Oregon to Kansas and took a United flight with their 10-year-old German shepherd Irgo in the hold. When they went to pick up their dog in Kansas City, a Great Dane was there instead. United mixed up the two and sent Irgo on a 16-hour flight to Japan. Apparently United has a pretty poor record for pet transportation.

The New Zealand post has a much better record. They successfully delivered a package addressed to, “Kay and Philip, on a farm, situated up a long drive with cows, opposite Cust pub or thereabouts”

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The week that was (03-09-2018)

The big storm that hit the East Coast brought down a 227-year old tree planted by George Washington.

The Florida state Senate can’t seem to agree on banning assault weapons but it took them less than a minute to pass the Sunshine Protection Act which bans Daylight Saving Time in the state of Florida.

Colorado state law permits lawmakers to carry concealed weapons into the state Capitol because it’s their place of business. In fear for their safety, two lawmakers now wear bulletproof vests to work.

A restaurant in Pasadena has turned over burger flipping duties to a $60,000 robot.

The Vatican announced that it’s hosting a hackathon.

A toddler in China managed to lock his mom’s iPhone after numerous failed attempts to guess the PIN. Thanks to a feature which increases the lockup period after each unsuccessful attempt, the phone will remain locked for the next 47 years.

The world’s oldest known message in a bottle was found half-buried on a West Australian beach nearly 132 years after it was into the Indian Ocean.

The Utah State Bar has opened an internal investigation to figure out how a photo of a topless woman was included in an email sent to all state lawyers.

Costco is selling a $6,000 “doomsday-prepper” food kit that can feed a family of 4 for a year.

Goodyear unveiled a eco-friendly tire concept at the Geneva Motor Show that features moss that inhales carbon dioxide from the air and converts it into oxygen.

As part of a settlement with the US Government, Martin Shkreli turned over the only known copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” (which he bought for $2 million). No word on what the feds will do with it but he’s not going to take it to jail.

A suspected drunk driver fleeing police jumped out of his car to make a fast getaway but his car thought better of it and ran him over.

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