…arrives…wheeze cough cough…at the stop sign. Its engine dies. Driver, conscientiously, looks both ways, kicks the starter. Kicks the starter again. Aha. It drives off. Cute little car.

Don't let that headline out!

About that new Amazon e-book service

Amazon's unlimited subscription book service could destroy libraries - Vox

"Few Americans read more than two books a year, much less a month. Only 28% of Americans read more than a book a month in 2013, according to a Pew Research Center study."


But not 23

No One Checked Into Flight MH17 With A U.S. Passport, Administration Emails Reveal

"WASHINGTON — None of the passengers on the Malaysia Airlines flight shot down over eastern Ukraine used a U.S. passport to check in, according to internal Obama administration emails about the incident.
"However one American citizen did die on the flight, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed: Quinn Lucas Schansman, a dual citizen of the United States and the Netherlands."

Parking stamp

Party over: Amazon now owns e-books

Amazon.com: Kindle Unlimited - Unlimited Reading. Unlimited Listening. Any Device.

"Enjoy unlimited access to over 600,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks on any device for just $9.99 a month."

Yeah, it’s sort of a commercial (unrecompensed). But still. If you’re a serious reader this pretty much puts an end to the discussion about vendors. (I’ve been reading e-books from a public library for the last couple of months but the selection is somewhat sparse. Meanwhile, the last e-book I purchased cost $13.00.)

And if you're surprised by this, please try to pay better attention in the future

Government-Grade Stealth Malware In Hands Of Criminals | Fortuna's Corner

" From the report: ‘Gyges is an early example of how advanced techniques and code developed by governments for espionage are effectively being repurposed, modularized and coupled with other malware to commit cybercrime.’"

Foodies on the rampage

Quinoa Isn't the Only Ancient Crop Swept Up by the Western Gluten-Free Craze - CityLab

"Teff, another gluten-free superfood, are highly nutritious tiny seeds grown in Ethiopia.…Ethiopia remains one of the world’s poorest countries, with chronic malnutrition, so it is unfortunate that a grain so nutritious—it’s high in iron, protein, fiber, calcium, you name it—isn’t helping to nourish the population. But high global demand has made the price too expensive for the country’s poor…"

Not the brightest bulb on the wall

On the lam for decades, fugitive’s Facebook account dooms him | Ars Technica

"US Attorney Melinda Haag's office in San Francisco said the 61-year-old fugitive was apprehended 'after the US Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security researched social media websites and found Legaspi's Facebook page."

Does Wisconsin have an old headache?

Wisconsin's new headache: 'crazy worms'? | Fox News

"As Scientific American explained in 2009, a glacier eliminated all native earthworms from the Great Lakes region some 10,000 years ago, and the forests evolved without them; now, those who invade the area—as discarded bait, trapped in tire treads, or imported via mulch, perhaps—are leaving forest floors barren."


Sad Campers

Charles Blow in today's NYT:

Adam Kwasman, a Republican congressional candidate and state legislator, also showed up to protest the children's arrival. When a school bus was spotted, Kwasman tweeted a picture of it with the words, "Bus coming in. This is not compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law."

Kwasman even regaled a local reporter with what he said he saw on the bus:

"I was able to actually see some of the children in the buses and the fear on their faces. This is not compassion."

That was until the reporter informed Kwasman that the children on the bus weren't migrant children but local YMCA campers who, according to "reporters at the scene," were "laughing and taking pictures on their iPhones."

Kwasman's response: "They were sad, too."

–Midwest and Elsewhere Bureau

Not looking dorky enough this summer? Help is on the way!

Pixelated sunglasses are here, so deal with it | The Verge

Drones! Drones!

Google's Street View cars help locate gas leaks in US cities | The Verge

"Three Street View cars equipped with specialized sensors capable of detecting methane were dispatched in Staten Island, Boston, and Indianapolis."

Shrug…I forgot that girl from Vienna years ago

Bing follows Google in allowing Europeans to be forgotten online | The Verge

Commies show GOP how

Chinese Company Wins Court Case Against Obama | The Diplomat

"The case sets an important precedent for Chinese companies interested in investing in the United States."

On pouring money into a big, deep hole

NYC Can't Afford to Build the Second Avenue Subway, and It Can't Afford Not To - CityLab

"In New York City history and lore, the Second Avenue subway is the Loch Ness Monster crossed with the Abominable Snowman.…
“At $2.23 billion per mile, the Second Avenue subway is orders of magnitude more expensive than similar projects across the world."


Who says our children isn't learning?

Nearly one in five high school seniors has used a hookah http://t.co/tBN9rJCFfi
7/16/14, 3:31 PM

I doubt when I was in high school one in five seniors even knew what a hookah was.

Pursuing the elusive useless stat

California Farms are Sucking Up Enough Groundwater to Put Rhode Island 17 Feet Under | Mother Jones

Not bad!

What are the odds?

Yahoo: Casino boat with 123 people aboard stuck on rocks off the coast of Ga.: http://t.co/wg6Acbt5nm Awaiting high tide http://t.co/Sq3021c59j

Wait, what?

Afghanistan might not use all those planes the Pentagon is sending - The Washington Post

"The Wall Street Journal adds the Pentagon already scrapped plans in 2012 to equip the Afghan air force with 20 C-27 cargo planes because an Italian contractor failed to deliver enough of them that were flyable."

They're coming to eat your soul

10 Ways to Convert More Customers Using Psychology

"Today’s infographic lists 10 psychological studies that have been proven to convert consumers to saying ‘yes’."

Some pretty nutty stuff


"People are becoming addicted to Nutella.  Some are speculating that the company is putting drugs in Nutella to make people addicted.  There are even rumors of people injected Nutella right into their veins.

"Germans are blaming the Italians for stealing the Nutella.  ‘Italians are born theives,’ said one top German official.  ‘I’m sure we will find all of our stolen Nutella in Italy.’"

The Weekly World News, on it’s Google Books page, says…

Rooted in the creative success of over 30 years of supermarket tabloid publishing, the Weekly World News has been the world's only reliable news source since 1979.

So who could doubt?

International relations

TSA agent stops reporter with D.C. license, doesn’t know it’s in United States | Voices

"As a result of this incident, all TSA agents in Orlando are being shown copies of a D.C. driver’s license."


Wait, can they just do this?

Thor will be a woman in the comics, Marvel announces - NY Daily News

"Thor, the lightning-wielding superhero played by the very manly Chris Hemsworth in the Marvel movies, will be embodied as a female in all-new series launching this October.
[And] "In recent months, new titles have focused on veteran heroines Black Widow, She-Hulk, Captain Marvel and Elektra, as well as introducing series around a new Ms. Marvel character, whose secret identity is a Muslim American teenager from Jersey City."

The Chicago way

Rahm Emanuel vs. Karen Lewis Would Be a Bloody Mayoral Battle | New Republic

“If you like your political campaigns bloody, then you have to be cheered by the new poll that found Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis beating Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a hypothetical matchup 45 to 36."

Is it only in Massachusetts you can have a "social services kingpin"?

The Valley Advocate: News - State to Flores: No Pot Clinic

"The Valley is accustomed to seeing Springfield social services kingpin Heriberto Flores carry out his plans…"

Sounds pretty ominous to me.

And who cares?

Though “barely an operating system,” DOS still matters (to some people) | Ars Technica

"Who still uses DOS, and for what?"

"Web-based" is the critical point here, but still

“Severe” password manager attacks steal digital keys and data en masse | Ars Technica

"The researchers examined LastPass and four other Web-based managers and found critical defects in all of them. "

The conclusion:

"On the whole, readers are likely better off using a password manager than they are using the same password for multiple sites. For that reason, Ars still recommends that people use a password manager. However…"

And if that works we're getting pidgeons, too

In the name of security, German NSA committee may turn to typewriters | Ars Technica

"Patrick Sensburg, chairman of the German parliament's National Security Agency investigative committee, now says he’s considering expanding the use of manual typewriters to carry out his group's work.

“…'In fact, we already have [a typewriter], and it’s even a non-electronic typewriter,' he said."

Well then, that solves everything

Crossfire - CNN.com Blogs

"Newt Gingrich is outraged that Israel is under attack and Paul Begala agrees with him."

And that pothole, Congress

5 ways the highway crisis could affect you - CNN.com

"Take New Hampshire, unhappy owner of massive cracks and potholes from the overly long winter. Thanks to congressional indecision, the state put off seven major paving projects and 11 other projects (including bridge repairs). That bump you feel from the road could be a crack in the Highway Trust Fund."

Questions we don't need answered before breakfast (or maybe ever)

Why pigs aren't having sex anymore | Fox News

Scary hacker dudes attack Israeli…wait…

Facebook page?

US firm helps Hamas, Netanyahu keep hackers at bay | The Times of Israel

"Several days ago, for example, anti-Israel hackers defaced one of the most popular Israeli Facebook pages, StatusHunter, replacing the content with a slideshow purporting to show how the IDF was making Gazans suffer."

Oh, the humanity.


Toot your veggies

"Linsey Pollak turns a carrot into a clarinet using an electic drill a carrot and a saxophone mouthpiece, and plays it all in a matter of 5 minutes."

–Noted by the fabulous M

Oh no! Not that!

Obamacare Fails to Fail - NYTimes.com

"The usual suspects will keep crying failure, but the truth is that health reform is — gasp! — working."

–Midwest and Elsewhere Bureau

You've seen the movie…

…but have you read the book? McMurtry's The Last Picture Show, now on the reading list, is the first of a Texas trilogy.

We're waiting for "TSA, the Musical"

Still showing up at TSA airport security: Guns, knives, bear spray, grenades (+video) - CSMonitor.com

"Here’s some of what the TSA found during one recent week: 42 firearms, 74 credit card knives, inert grenades and a live smoke grenade, eight ounces of bear repellant, knives in the handles of brushes and combs, and 17 stun guns. Of the 42 firearms, 35 were loaded and nine had rounds chambered. 

"TSA keeps a jaunty blog reporting such finds…"


Long-hair dog in a white convertible, blonde girl driving, whangs through a red light at the corner by the grocery store, no harm done. It’s a slow, sleepy corner on an otherwise slow, sleepy day, nobody in a rush. Everybody sees it coming and waits. Me too.

This is perhaps one advantage to being a dog.

What's left?

Public to get to vote on names for exoplanets | Ars Technica

"Before you get excited about naming HAT-P-7b after your first pet goldfish, it's worth taking a look at the restrictions the IAU places on its minor planet names. The 16 characters or less must be 'pronounceable (in as many languages as possible)' and non-offensive in any language or culture. The names of living persons are verboten, pet names are 'discouraged,' and you can't use a name that is commercial or has political, military, or religious connotations."

Citi offers $7 billion to buy off investigators

Citi, U.S. $7 billion settlement announcement expected Monday | Reuters

"The settlement, signed over the weekend, caps months of negotiations, during which the government demanded $12 billion and threatened to sue Citigroup, according to the sources."


Brewster, MA, Low-Tide Sunrise

Low-Tide Sunrise by snosno (Photo) | Weather Underground


Miami, the great world city, is drowning while the powers that be look away | World news | The Observer

"Today, shop owners keep plastic bags and rubber bands handy to wrap around their feet when they have to get to their cars through rising waters, while householders have found that ground-floor spaces in garages are no longer safe to keep their cars. Only those on higher floors can hope to protect their cars from surging sea waters that corrode and rot the innards of their vehicles."

Dude, you've really got to love the irony in this

Afghanistan to Audit All Votes - The Daily Beast

"The deal, which was announced by Secretary of State John Kerry…"



We're stocking up on popcorn for this one

Suspected German Spy Allegedly Working With State Department, – Not The CIA | Fortuna's Corner

"WASHINGTON, July 11 (Reuters) – A German defense official under investigation for alleged spying was in contact with a U.S. State Department officer rather than American intelligence agencies, raising questions about whether any espionage occurred, U.S. officials familiar with the case told Reuters on Friday."

You can avoid a ton of work right here

American Literature - Library of America - Fiction, History, & Poetry

(Added to our list of work avoidance tools this date.)

In case you were thinking about tiptoeing out

Big Data should not be a faith-based initiative - Boing Boing

"The debate is a hot one, and a lot of non-technical privacy regulators have been led on by sweet promises from the companies that they regulate about the possibility of creating booming markets in highly sensitive personal data that is somehow neutralized through a magic 'de-identification’ process…"

Politics: It's still be best entertainment in town

‘The bear is loose’: Is Obama breaking free or running away? - The Washington Post

"There’s no question in my mind that more people will see the images of the president playing pool and sharing a meal with ordinary people than will hear Ted Cruz or Governor Perry criticizing the president for not going to the border,’ Pfeiffer said…"

Pfeiffer, commenting on Obama’s recent tour of Colorado and environs, is a White House senior advisor. And the “ordinary people” of whom he speaks are, mostly, the Governor of Colorado