Ireland sits idly by as GDPR goes unenforced

    Politico shares an investigation into why the GDPR's lead regulator Ireland has failed to bring a single enforcement action against the big tech companies it is supposed to watchdog.


    Last May, Europe imposed new data privacy guidelines that carry the hopes of hundreds of millions of people around the world — including in the United States — to rein in abuses by big tech companies.

    Almost a year later, it’s apparent that the new rules have a significant loophole: The designated lead regulator — the tiny nation of Ireland — has yet to bring an enforcement action against a big tech firm.

    That’s not entirely surprising. Despite its vows to beef up its threadbare regulatory apparatus, Ireland has a long history of catering to the very companies it is supposed to oversee, having wooed top Silicon Valley firms to the Emerald Isle with promises of low taxes, open access to top officials, and help securing funds to build glittering new headquarters.

    Now, data-privacy experts and regulators in other countries alike are questioning Ireland’s commitment to policing imminent privacy concerns like Facebook’s reintroduction of facial recognition software and data sharing with its recently purchased subsidiary WhatsApp, and Google’s sharing of information across its burgeoning number of platforms.

    (Thanks, Antoin!) Read the rest

    Cobra Kai season two is beyond fantastic

    William Zabka and Ralph Macchio are back in season two of Youtube's Cobra Kai.

    I adore this wonderful buffet of Gen-X nostalgia. As a former Angeleno who grew up in the same era Danny and Johnny inhabit everything about this show makes me happy.

    I watched the first 6 episodes last night and am sure I'll have finished the season by dinner tonight. Read the rest

    Backyard Scientist tries out the Fortnite "Boom Bow" IRL

    The Boom Bow is currently my favorite weapon in Fortnite Battle Royale. Firing shotgun shell laden arrows, this gold weapon hits hard and is hard to track. Read the rest

    At first I thought this Ka-Bar Tactical Spork was an artisanal Spork

    My friend sent me a photo of his uber tuff tactical Spork.

    Perhaps it is the burlap couch upholstery, but my aged eyes missed the KABAR and thought this was a handcrafted Spork that some Seattle-area artist must have designed just for my pal. Because who doesn't want a super cool Spork?

    I was told to wait for it. Then I was sent this photo and it became clear the Spork was made by famed US Military hardware enthusiast fan-favorite Ka-Bar, and not some artisanal Spork maker.

    I am sort of disappointed the fleetingly imagined trend where Game of Thrones enthusaists are all eating with their own custom version of a Casterly Rock Spork, just like Tywin used, died so quickly. I am ordering a KaBar Spork for my camper van.

    Ka-Bar Tactical Spork via Amazon Read the rest

    Video ad for temperature control mug would be a great parody, but it isn't

    The video ad for this smart mug, for sale on Amazon, is either brilliant or an SNL parody.

    I can not embed the video, you have to click to the Amazon product page to load it.

    (Thanks, Jolie!)

    **UPDATE** A kind reader found an embeddable copy, and it has subtitles!

    Read the rest

    My two favorite times someone says "evil" in the movies

    I get a lot of mileage out of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai's "Evil! Pure and simple from the Eighth Dimension!" but Time Bandits "It's evil! Don't touch it!" certainly gets put to frequent use.

    Read the rest

    New York anti-vaxxers suing for right to infect public

    As ongoing and growing measles outbreaks flare up around America some New York City anti-vaxxers are suing to block last-minute emergency measures city leaders are taking to slow the spread of infectious disease.

    The anti-vaxxers are relying on the repetition of known bad science to carry the day.

    Ars Technica:

    Five unnamed mothers in New York City filed a lawsuit Monday, April 15, seeking to block the city's mandatory vaccination order in areas hit by a massive measles outbreak that has raged since last October.

    City health officials announced the order earlier this month as they declared a public health emergency over the outbreak, which has sickened 329 people so far—mostly children. According to the city's order, all unvaccinated people in affected ZIP codes must receive the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, prove immunity, or have a valid medical exemption. Violators could face a fine of $1,000.

    In the lawsuit, the mothers claim that the outbreak does not constitute a dangerous epidemic (though the virus can cause severe complications and even death) and that the city's orders are "arbitrary and capricious." Moreover, they allege that the MMR vaccine has significant safety concerns (this is false; side effects beyond mild, temporary discomfort are exceedingly rare) and that the order violates their religious freedom.

    The lawsuit is just the latest example of anti-vaccine parents challenging the legality of public health officials' efforts to curb measles cases—which are mounting at an unprecedented rate across the United States. As the mothers filed their lawsuit Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated this year's nationwide measles count, reporting a whopping 555 cases confirmed from 20 states.

    Read the rest

    ESPN's 30 for 30 spoof honors the Karate Kid

    In advance of Cobra Kai's season 2, we get this fantastic spoof.

    When you think about 1984, you’re thinking about the fight between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence. It was the biggest event of the year. It was the fight that’s gone down in history as both one of the dirtiest moments in sports history and the greatest comeback in fighting. Whichever side you land on, people are still talking about the All Valley Karate Championship 35 years later.

    Read the rest

    Fortnite 'Air Royale' far more fun than petting in-game dogs

    Holy smokes! Air Royale is fun! FUN! FUUUUUUUUUUUUN!

    Two-person teams take to the skies and try to be the last in the air. The storm closes in from the sides, and above. Health and weapons upgrades abound, for those daring enough to collect them. This is a wild dogfighting free-for-all in the sky!

    Epic has also added functionality to allow in-game players to stroke other players back-bling 'pets' with a motion that looks more like telling the pet to buzz off. Read the rest

    Leia kisses Luke for good luck in this 'A New Hope' LEGO set

    One of the most memorable moments of the movie that will always be known to me as Star Wars is now in LEGO.

    I had to wonder if people just went around kissing strangers for good luck in the Republic. This scene was awesome, it deserves to be immortalized in LEGO.

    The Han Solo chases stormtroopers down hallways scene will come with 1000 extra stormies, in the event you want to re-enact the re-releases.

    LEGO Star Wars: A New Hope Death Star Escape 75229 Building Kit , New 2019 (329 Piece) via Amazon Read the rest

    Star Foreman photographs Disneyland's 'Dapper Day'

    Phenomenal Los Angeles-area photographer Star Foreman visited Disneyland's Dapper Day. The resultant images are wonderful.

    View her entire slideshow at the LA Weekly!

    Dapper dude with the moustache is Marquis Howell II, of the wonderful Marquis and the Rhythm Howlers. Read the rest

    I bought the second installment in Neal Shusterman's Scythe series before I finished the first book

    Neal Shusterman's Scythe explores a post-mortal dystopia where everything is perfect except humanity.

    Our nascent 'Cloud' has developed into 'the Thunderhead' and all of humanities problems are solved! The Thunderhead is an AI that has only our best intentions at heart! Amazon Cloud Services Rejoice! Quantum computing or some advancements in cloud technology have allowed for the elimination of human death! Go figure! Aged folk can reboot into new younger bodies! Accidental deaths simply render people 'dead-ish' until they are revived in a new bod.

    Unsurprisingly, humanity not motivated by want or finite time on the planet becomes pretty boring. To add the edge back into life Scythes are created. This group of humans randomly permanently kill otherwise-immortal humans. The idea is that random death will keep folks aware that their end could come. This service is for some reason viewed as critical for the survival of the species and Scythes are the one aspect of life not controlled by the Thunderhead.

    Humans have never proven good at running things for themselves.

    I had a fantastic time reading this book, look forward to the second installment in the series, and was disappointed to learn I'd have to wait until November for the finale.

    Scythe by Neal Shusterman via Amazon Read the rest

    Culturing butter at home to enjoy with sourdough made with freshly milled wheat

    Baking great tasting, and looking sourdough bread with freshly milled wheat is only complicated if you are used to market-bought wheat. Like we all are.

    These two loaves are pretty identical, the only difference in their composition was perhaps 1 tablespoon of extra water in the loaf that got the dusted linen crust. I eyeball water in the measuring cups and do not weigh anything.

    I used 2 cups of King Arthur bread flour and 1 1/2 cups of the Hard Red Winter Wheat supplied by Grist and Toll for each loaf, as well as 1 1/2 cups of water, 1/3 cup of well-fed starter and 1 1/2 tsp of Trader Joe's fine sea salt.

    I find the Grist and Toll wheat slows fermentation down. Everything I read suggested fresh wheat would speed things up, by my experience showed that more patience and more time are needed. In addition to giving the first ferment more time, close to 18 hours rather than a normal 12-14, I also engaged the use of my Rancilio Ms Silvia espresso machine. I put the fermenting glass bowls of dough on top of Silvia, and her warming tray helps kick the yeast into high gear.

    Fresh whole wheat absorbs water differently than market-sourced wheat. 'Hydration' or ratio of flour to water in the dough is something a baker can pay a lot of attention to if said baker wants. I don't bother, but you do need enough water in the dough to get everything to stick together. Read the rest

    Hanging by my arms helps my shoulder pain

    One of my shoulders stopped working very well about three years ago. Hanging from a pull-up and chin-up bar helps me a lot.

    I was waking up in the middle of the night unable to move my right arm. Then my arm started to ache all day and I was already suffering a greatly reduced range of motion. A physical therapist told me that my sleeping position, on my right side, matched with my 8-12 hours a day standing in front of a laptop and typing, was to blame.

    I can't stop typing, and the frustration of trying to change my sleeping position is a monster. As if an aching dominant arm's shooting pains when moved were not hardship enough, running on to little sleep is a whole other category of horrendous. Issues start to compound. I was spending a lot of time wondering if this was now my life.

    My physical therapist told me to hang from my chin-up bar, palms out. Just to hang there and to try and do it for 2 minutes a day. The first time I tried it, I didn't have the strength to even hang there for 5 seconds. I could do chin-ups with my palms facing in no problem, but just hanging on the bar palms out caused the impinged arm to start shaking and trembling. Over the course of a few days, I worked up to 30 seconds and maybe up to one minute hangs.

    My arm felt better.

    My arm improves for longer and longer periods of time after hanging. Read the rest

    San Dimas High School and associated football team "rule"

    San Dimas High School, famed alma mater of Bill S. Preston, ESQ. and Ted "Theodore" Logan, is ready to host The Wyld Stallyns, if the new Bill and Ted 3 needs a high school location.


    TMZ reports that according to the Bonita Unified School District, Reeves, Winter, and the rest of production are welcome to film any high school scenes at San Dimas High School, the actual school portrayed in the film.

    BUSD officials told TMZ “while the district hasn’t been contacted by anyone in the production so far, they’d be thrilled to provide a backdrop in the upcoming installment and would accommodate any filming.”

    Although parts of the Bill and Ted film took place at San Dimas High School, most of the high school scenes were actually filmed in Arizona, says TMZ.

    Even if filming doesn’t end up happening at the high school, BUSD told TMZ that Keanu and company are welcome there any time.

    Read the rest

    Baking with a small-batch, whole grain, locally sourced wheat

    I was sent some small-batch, whole grain, locally sourced flour. I baked some bread.

    One of my oldest friends recently went BreadCore on me. He is baking beautiful loaves, paying attention to hydration and scoring some cool designs with a fancy schmancy lame. To thank me for being his on-call baking consultant, he sent me 7.5 lbs of two different small-batch flours that he loves.

    I am a no-stress it'll all work out in the bake, baker. I am over a decade into delicious bread, pizza, pretzels, waffles, and bagels and I don't like to stress over baking. Baking is a relaxing and fun food preparation method. I guess this is the opposite of everything a highly technical Breadcore baker wants to hear. I do not weigh my ingredients. So, my first thought about specialty flour was "Fuck, this'll complicate things!"

    I was wrong.

    I opened the bag of Hard Red Spring Wheat. I baked my first loaf at 70% Trader Joes AP flour and 30% HRS. I did reserve some flour from the initial mix, as I was afraid the HRS would drink more water than market flour. I ended up adding it all in and developed a very sticky ball of dough that rose very well. It baked up beautifully.

    On this bake, I lowered my oven temperature 5 degrees. In my mind, I was holding back one Kadam for the imaginary Hebrew god to whom my parents dedicated the 12th year of my life. In reality, I'd noticed that my friend who baked at the same temps I did got a much less explosively crumbastic crust on his loaves. Read the rest

    'Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances' describes Disney's Star Wars-land 'Batuu'

    Learn all about Batuu, the Black Spire Outpost, and some of the things you should fear in the Unknown Regions in Star Wars Thrawn: Alliances.

    Disneyland's new theme land is set on the planet of Batuu. Timothy Zahn's second update to the Grand Admiral Thrawn story COINCIDENTALLY spends a lot of time describing this planet and the Unknown Regions it acts as a gateway to.

    The Thrawn story is fantastic on its own. Adding in that I get to learn a bit about the new Star Wars land's backstory is a huge bonus. Knowing 'who is who in Batuu' will help maintain my credibility when I take my daughter to see the new park.

    Thrawn is a real badass. This novel covers both young Thrawn encountering and assisting the Jedi General Skywalker near the end of the Clone Wars, and a joint mission later assigned Grand Admiral Thrawn and his battle group supported by Darth Vader and his elite commando unit. Both stories transpire along the Outer Rim, and introduce us to Disneyland's new portion of Star Wars space.

    Thrawn: Alliances (Star Wars) by Timothy Zahn via Amazon Read the rest

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