Court sides with cheerleader punished for writing "fuck cheer"

    A cheerleader in Pennsylvania has won a free-speech case against her school, which tried to punish her for insulting it on social media.

    The case involves a First Amendment challenge to the Mahanoy Area High School’s “Cheerleading Rules,” which prohibit cheerleaders from posting any “negative information” about cheerleading online. B.L. was kicked off the junior varsity cheerleading squad for posting a Snap to Snapchat on the weekend that school officials believed was “negative,” “disrespectful,” and “demeaning.” ... On March 21, 2019, the court granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, finding that the school did not have the authority to discipline her for her off-campus speech and that the school was in violation of the First Amendment..

    "fuck school fuck softball fuck cheer fuck everything," to quote the magnificent B.L., but most of all fuck the Mahanoy Area High School for trying to silence its students off-campus.

    Photo: Brook Robinson / Shutterstock Read the rest

    Elon Musk but with Elizabeth Holmes' eyes

    Good morning, Happy Mutants.

    Previously: 10 minutes of Elizabeth Holmes' creepy unblinking stare with Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Read the rest

    Mario theme performed on violin at four levels of expertise

    Level two, "Amateur", sounded so good that I suspected a joke was afoot. It was, but only the sort of joke a virtuoso like Rob Landes could pull off. Read the rest

    Online privacy tips for 2019

    Keith Axline at The Tools We Need, writes that if you haven't already, switch to Firefox and install Privacy Badger, HTTPS Everywhere, uBlock Origin, Decentraleyes, CanvasBlocker and Smart Referrer. Use as your DNS and change your default search engine. He explains why: A Few Simple Steps to Vastly Increase Your Privacy Online. Read the rest

    Deep Space 9 remastered with deep learning

    Star Trek's original series and TNG were shot on film, allowing them to be rescanned for high-definition broadcast. Star Trek: Deep Space 9, however, depended much moreso on sprawling CGI space battles and other special effects sequences that were mastered on standard-definition video. This creates an enormous challenge for remastering: machine learning to the rescue! CaptRobau writes:

    I will go into greater detail about my process in a future blog post, but it took me about two days to get everything extracted, upscaled and put it back together in a way that was pleasing. This resulted only in the first five minutes of the episode being done (the episode recap, the opening scene, and the intro). Still pretty good time for a mid-to-high end PC with software that isn't just available to professionals.

    The result left me pretty awestruck. It looked better than I had hoped. No weird issues or anything. It looked pretty much like an HD version of DS9. Since (moving) pictures are worth more than a thousand words, here are two comparison videos that show off the improvement I was able to get with this machine learning based upscaling technique.

    Below, the intro at 4K. CBS, hire this man! (Or license his code!) "Imagine what a real team could do, with more powerful equipment, custom trained neural networks ... and access to the original SD files instead of a DVDRip like me."

    CORRECTION: I originally suggested that DS9 was entirely shot on video, which is incorrect. Read the rest

    Facebook stored millions of passwords as plain text

    "Change your Facebook password right now" is the instructive title of a news story at Wired today, sourced to a report at Krebs on Security. Read the rest

    Infinite Elizabeth Holmes

    Last night I saw HBO's The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley about the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and her company/cult, Theranos. It's very good and surprisingly unsettling.

    UPDATE: I've looped her intensely unpleasant stare for 10 minutes and set it against a nice slow performance of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Enjoy the embedded video above.

    Here's an infinitely looping GIF of it, sans music.

    Read the rest

    Bill & Ted 3 announced

    Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves are to star again as Bill and Ted, a long-hoped-for sequel to the 1990s classics: "The world is about to get a lot more excellent."

    Weird fact: both Winter and Reeves are British, but neither have spent much time there: Winter moved to the U.S. from East London when he was 5, while Reeves's mom is from Essex but moved to Canada before he was born. Winter holds British and American citizenship; Reeves is a naturalized Canadian citizen. Both would have been exposed, as youngsters, to Estuary English, an emergent dialect with many curious similarities to California English, like, totally. Read the rest

    New Jack the Ripper claim strains under scrutiny

    Every few years, someone figures out who Jack the Ripper was. Science is cited, in a peremptory kind of way, and there might even be a study or paper to show for it. But then the hypothesis falls apart.

    According to the new study, a silk shawl was found by the body of Catherine Eddowes, a victim killed by Jack the Ripper during the early morning hours of Sept. 30, 1888. ... First and foremost, it's doubtful that the shawl belonged to Eddowes, Jack the Ripper's fourth victim. ... The genetic analysis of the shawl is also unconvincing, said King, who is known for her work sequencing the whole genome of King Richard III ... handled by countless people over the years, meaning that their DNA got on the shawl, contaminating it, King said. "At that low resolution, it could be that thousands and thousands and thousands of people share the mitochondrial DNA types that they're finding," King said.

    The study was designed to hit Kosminski, and it was not described to permit reproduction. Read the rest

    Auschwitz asks visitors to stop balancing on rail tracks for photos

    The rail tracks at Auschwitz, where more than a million Jews, Poles and other victims of the Nazi regime were murdered, have become a popular spot for selfies and other photos. "Balance beam" poses are especially popular. The museum would appreciate it if this would stop happening. The BBC:

    The official account for Auschwitz Memorial said on Tuesday: "There are better places to learn how to walk on a balance beam than the site which symbolises deportation of hundreds of thousands to their deaths." One respondent, Francesca, wrote: "This is a very necessary post, our picture taking habits are completely out of control. I may be visiting in the summer. I will make sure I am aware of your photography policy. Thank you for the essential work you continue to do. Without our historical memory we are nothing." Moran Blythe said: "I don't understand why people use Auschwitz as a photo op or how they take cheerful selfies at a site that saw the murder of thousands of innocent people."

    Photo: Nelson Pérez Read the rest

    Business systematically videos people getting towed from its parking lot

    The parking spot has "NO PARKING" and tow-warning signs, and is so notorious for enforcement that legitmate customers tell anyone parking their car there what is going to happen. This is all being filmed, from 60 angles, by people who have seen it happen many times before. Because they are the people who make it happen. Then it happens.

    This time around the drivers get warned IN PERSON. Does it work? Nope. But there's so much more going on here. Watch on!


    Q: You suck. A: That's not a question, but I get the point. And I've heard it all before. I understand you think you've got a witty, original insult for me. You probably don't. Save yourself the humiliation.

    The sleazy music, pop-up commentary and just-right production values really make it. Read the rest

    The worst toy: Flushin' Frenzy

    Flushin' Frenzy [Amazon] is a toy wherein you push a plunger until a poop pops up. All the fun of clearing out a blocked toilet! The game's tagline is "Poop there it is!"

    Game night just got gross - in the best way!

    Flushin' Frenzy makes being a plumber fun! Push the toilet handle to release the die. When a number pops up, you plunge the toilet that number of times. Be ready to catch the poop when it flies out at any moment! POOP - there it is! The player to catch the poop wins a token, or two tokens if they catch it in mid-air! Set includes 1 toilet, 1 plunger, 1 die, and 10 score tokens.

    Safe for ages 5 and up. 2-4 players.

    At Mattel, play matters. We strive to help children learn and develop through play ever since our founding in 1945.




    Flushin' Frenzy [Amazon] Read the rest

    Man films suspected burglar working on his front door, then opens it

    Guy tries to rob house but the owner is there from r/PublicFreakout

    In this video of a resident quietly filming a man trying to pick his front door lock, the stellar direction makes it. It's Coen-esque, almost, from the indisinct peephole shot to the pathetic excuses the allegeable burglar made after the door is opened. Read the rest

    Sightseeing train station has no exit or entrance

    A train station in Japan is apparently unique, in that it has no exit or entrance other than the platform. Get off the train, check out the beautiful scenery, and get right back on again.

    Called Seiryu Miharashi Eki, which translates to “Clear Stream Viewing Platform Station“, this station has been built so that passengers can stop off and admire the surrounding scenery.

    Read the rest

    The Forbes Pigment Collection

    How do you know for sure if your carefully-recreated 18th-century paint would fool pass muster as art dealers a legitimate recreation long enough to get away with it? of the authentic originals? Tom Scott visits the Forbes Pigment Collection.

    The Forbes Pigment Collection at the Harvard Art Museums is a collection of pigments, binders, and other art materials for researchers to use as standards: so they can tell originals from restorations from forgeries. It's not open to the public, because it's a working research library -- and because some of the pigments in there are rare, historic, or really shouldn't be handled by anyone untrained.

    Read the rest

    Three dead in Netherlands tram shooting

    Police are hunting for a gunman who shot at least four passengers on a train in Utrecht, killing three of them, then fled. BBC:

    Police say the gunman is still at large. Trains and trams have stopped running and schools have been asked to keep their doors closed. Counter-terror police reportedly say the shooting "appears to be a terrorist attack". Dutch anti-terrorism co-ordinator Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg said all efforts were now focused on catching the gunman. He also said there could be more than one perpetrator.


    10:30 a.m. EDT Three of the victims are reported dead. Police say they are hunting a 37-year-old Turkish man named Gokmen Tanis. They issued a photograph of Tanis taken by security camera and warned everyone to stay away from him.

    1:40 p.m. EDT Police arrested a suspect. Read the rest

    New iPad Mini, iPad Air

    Android tablets being crummy and Microsoft ones being dismembered laptops, it's nice that Apple's unexpectedly announced new models of its aging iPad Mini and iPad Air.

    The 10.5" iPad Air weighs one pound and starts at $499, while the 7.9" iPad Mini has pencil support, an ultra-high DPI and starts at $399. Both use Apple's latest A12 chips and have optional LTE.

    The new Air effectively replaces last-gen iPads with something a little smaller and much more powerful, while the Mini should be especially interesting to artists and designers who don't want to hoik around a ~$800+ iPad Pro just to get dirty. From the press release it appears to be the last-gen pencil with the standard 60hz refresh rate, but even then the latency is in a league of its own. Read the rest

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