Super cheap 16GB USB flash drive

    16GB is not a lot by today's flash storage standards but the price on this Kingston Digital 16GB Data Traveler 3.0 USB Flash Drive is a bargain. The 32GB and 64GB models are cheap, too. Perfect for your Raspberry Pi OSMC media center! Read the rest

    Caterpillar Inc. sends cease and desist to Cat and Cloud Coffee shop

    Caterpillar, Inc., a company that manufactures construction equipment like bulldozers and tractors, sent a cease and desist to the Cat and Cloud coffee shop in Santa Cruz, California because the coffee shop sells shirts and caps with the word "cat" on it.

    Here's what a Cat and Cloud cap looks like:

    And here's what a Caterpillar cap looks like:

    See the similarity?

    From 25 News:

    “It seemed ridiculous, so we responded, we got a lawyer obviously and asked them to further explain their case, asked them to drop it as we are in a completely different industry and they didn’t want to, and so we went back and forth a few times and called them out for bullying,” said [Cat and Cloud Coffee owner Jarred Truby].

    Truby says when they opened the shop almost three years ago, they couldn’t have predicted something like this happening.

    “Could anybody imagine a 54-billion-dollar machinery company coming after a coffee company? I don’t think that’s even in the cards,” said Truby. “The first biggest thing they want us to do is not print the name Cat and Cloud on anything again. And so, I think that is unbelievable. I don’t think that’s going to hold up.”

    Caterpillar issued a statement about the cease and desist letter it sent:

    We are not suing Cat & Cloud, not targeting a small business and not focused on Cat & Cloud’s primary interest: coffee. We’ve simply asked the U.S. Trademark Office to remove Cat & Cloud’s trademark registration on footwear and apparel only, products for which Caterpillar has long-standing trademarks and a considerable business.

    Read the rest

    Oscar Meyer Wienermobile replica owner regrets purchase, selling it on Craigslist

    How's this for a sales pitch: "The Weinermobile as a daily driver was a novelty and enjoyable for about a week. Now I suffer." It's yours for $7,000.

    Image: Craigslist Read the rest

    Want a job where people complain to you all day long? Apply to be @Twitter on Twitter

    Besides @jack, I can't think of a worse Twitter account than @twitter to have to manage. Read the rest

    New game called "Kids" has you running with (and against) the crowd

    Kids is a new $3 video game that "allows you to move with and against crowds until everyone is gone."

    Here's a review on iTunes from KupaMan:

    This is a weird game. The combination of smooth animation, crowd mechanics, and spartan audio make for a weird, satisfying experience. It’s sometimes amusing, sort of gross, and a little unnerving. There’s no puzzles or scores, just a series of interactions. These repeat themselves in similar ways over the course of the short game, which is a little disappointing. This isn’t for everybody, but if the trailer looks appealing to you, you will probably find something to like about Kids.

    Read the rest

    This pistol grip garden hose nozzle is on sale for a very low price

    I bought this pistol grip garden hose nozzle in 2014 and it still works perfectly. I can control the flow from a cone of mist to a tight high-pressure beam by squeezing the trigger. For the price, it's a great deal. Read the rest

    How to make arpeggio music using MakeCode arcade

    MakeCode Arcade is a Scratch-like programming language for writing retro-style games. In this video, John Park shows how to make arpeggio music using MakeCode arcade. In the early days of video games, the existing technology didn't allow for chords, so arpeggios were a way to get the feel for a chord by playing all the individual notes in a chord as quickly as possible.

    Image: Adafruit/YouTube Read the rest

    Scotty of Strange Parts shops for wireless LEDs in Tokyo

    Scotty of Strange Parts went to Akihabara (an area in Tokyo loaded with electronics, game arcades, and maid cafes) and found these cool wireless LEDs that can be illuminated with inductive chargers. He then bought some electronic components and a soldering iron and went back to his hotel room and made his own wireless LED.

    Image: Strange Parts/YouTube Read the rest

    Owls have asymmetrically placed ears to track prey

    I have 4 or 5 beautiful great horned owls in my backyard. I see them every day. This short National Geographic video explains why owls are such great hunters: huge light-sensitive eyes, fringed wings that allow them to fly silently, and asymmetrically placed ears that picked up sounds a fraction of a second apart to help them pinpoint their prey's location.

    Image: National Geographic/YouTube Read the rest

    Visit to an interesting ramen restaurant in Japan

    Fukuoka, Japan is home to the Ichiran ramen museum, where you can see ramen noodles being made. You can also eat at an Ichiran restaurant, where you buy a menu item ticket from a vending machine then sit in one of the walled-off cubicles along the counter, so you can eat without having to interact with anyone else. That's my kind of eatery.

    Image: Abroad in Japan/YouTube Read the rest

    A mathematician explores the cat-and-mouse problem

    A swimming mouse is in a circular pond. A non-swimming cat on the perimeter of the pond can run four times as fast as the mouse can swim and will always run in the most optimal way around the pond to catch the mouse. The mouse can run faster than the cat. The question: can the mouse get away from the cat? Mathematician Ben Sparks explores different methods the mouse can try.

    Image: Numberphile/YouTube Read the rest

    Highly rated Black n' Red notebook on sale

    Amazon has a good sale on the 11-3/4" x 8-1/4”, twin wire bound, 70 sheets/140 pages Black n' Red notebook. It has a 4.3 star rating with over 523 customer reviews. Read the rest

    Deepfaking Mona Lisa

    From a Cornell University paper by Egor Zakharov, Aliaksandra Shysheya, Egor Burkov, and Victor Lempitsky titled "Few-Shot Adversarial Learning of Realistic Neural Talking Head Models"

    Several recent works have shown how highly realistic human head images can be obtained by training convolutional neural networks to generate them. In order to create a personalized talking head model, these works require training on a large dataset of images of a single person. However, in many practical scenarios, such personalized talking head models need to be learned from a few image views of a person, potentially even a single image. Here, we present a system with such few-shot capability. It performs lengthy meta-learning on a large dataset of videos, and after that is able to frame few- and one-shot learning of neural talking head models of previously unseen people as adversarial training problems with high capacity generators and discriminators. Crucially, the system is able to initialize the parameters of both the generator and the discriminator in a person-specific way, so that training can be based on just a few images and done quickly, despite the need to tune tens of millions of parameters. We show that such an approach is able to learn highly realistic and personalized talking head models of new people and even portrait paintings.

    Image: Egor Zakharov/YouTube Read the rest

    That guy who made up a story about stealing a brick of heroin from an MS-13 gang member says he now regrets it

    "It’s a lie. I made the whole thing up. Now I'm in huge trouble." That's what Shane Morris is now saying about his epic twitter story about buying an old van, finding a brick of heroin taped to the wheel well, then pulling a con on an MS-13 gang member.? In a Medium post, he wrote:

    But this lie has been incredibly stupid, and it comes with a heavy cost. A few hours ago, my weed man came by for his usual delivery. I don’t know how you are with your weed man, but my weed man and I have a good relationship. (Life lesson: Keep a good relationship with your weed man. Tip for delivery.) While he was at my house, I was showing him the thread, the whole story, and how I went viral. When I got to the very end, he said, “Wait. Hol’ up. Hol’ the fuck up. Did you actually just casually throw out how you robbed MS-13? Bro, that is the fucking whitest shit I have ever heard in my entire life. Like, bro, you know me. I used to bang. I know these n****as. These n****as ain’t just gonna murder you. They’re gonna make that shit last for six fucking hours. Bro. I don’t even know if I can be at this fucking house right now.”

    The narrator voice went off in my head: “At moment, I realized I had fucked up.”

    He demanded I leave my home. I don’t recollect his exact words, but it was, “If you don’t get the fuck outta this house, right now, I’m gonna kill you myself, so at least I know you died a painless death.

    Read the rest

    How a quartz watch works

    How do quartz watches keep time? Steve Mould gives a great demonstration explaining how they work. Quartz is piezoelectric, which means when it is deformed it generates an electrical signal. A quartz watch has a tiny quartz tuning fork that's been calibrated to vibrate at 215 cycles per second. This signal is fed through a series of 14 flip-flop circuits, each of which divides the frequency of the signal by 2. By the time the signal goes through the 14th flip-flop, the frequency is one cycle per second. Read the rest

    A neuroscientist explains the "brain orgasm" response of ASMR videos

    Some people shiver with delight at whispers and certain kinds of soft sounds. A psychologist/neuroscientist at Manchester University named Nick Davis tells Wired about the science behind these "brain orgasms."

    Image: Wired/YouTube Read the rest

    [UPDATED] Google disables Baltimore officials' Gmail accounts created during ransomware recovery

    [UPDATE 5/23/19. 2:44pm PT: a Google spokesperson contacted me with the following statement: "We have restored access to the Gmail accounts for the Baltimore city officials. Our automated security systems disabled the accounts due to the bulk creation of multiple consumer Gmail accounts from the same network." An anonymous source told me that the accounts were disabled when Google detected bulk account creation, which is "highly correlated to spammy and fraudulent behavior."]

    "Gmail accounts created by Baltimore officials as a workaround while the city recovers from the ransomware attack have been disabled because Google considers them business accounts that should be paid for," reports Ian Duncan of The Baltimore Sun. As my IFTF colleague Dylan Hendricks pointed out on Twitter, this is an "amazing signal about the massive security vulnerabilities of technology-based bureaucracies."

    From The Baltimore Sun:

    Mona Rock, a spokeswoman for the Health Department, said she logged in Thursday morning and can see old messages but not send or receive old or new ones. She said there was no notice showing why the account wasn’t working.

    The ransomware struck on May 7, locking up city records and shutting down baltimorecity.gov email addresses. The hackers behind the attack demanded payment in the digital currency bitcoin to turn over the keys to the files.

    The mayor’s office has said it could take months to recover. In the meantime, many officials have been using Gmail accounts along to communicate.

    Read the rest

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