Archive for Dyssynergy

1313 Nope Street

Well, actually, it’s 709 Michaelmas Avenue. But wherever it is, it might not be where you want to be:

A recent Zillow listing warns potential buyers not to bother asking about the mysterious occupant living upstairs, rent-free. The listing has since been edited, but once stated:

“Upstairs apartment cannot be shown under any circumstances. Buyer assumes responsibility for the month-to-month tenancy in the upstairs apartment. Occupant has never paid, and no security deposit is being held, but there is a lease in place. (Yes, it does not make sense, please don’t bother asking.)”

If you’re looking for insight from the real estate agent, he’s not much help. Randal Longo, the man who listed the property, has since confirmed he has no clue what’s going on. “[The owner’s] got some mystery tenant up there that apparently he can’t answer many questions about, which is kind of strange,” Longo told a local newspaper.

Reclusive financier? Starving artist? One-man sleeper-cell? No matter: 709 is off the market for now.

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Alvin!

Because this really doesn’t sound like Theodore or Simon:

My mom has a hanging mushroom-shaped sunflower seed feeder (I gave it to her for Christmas year before last) and the chipmunks would climb the pole and eat the seed. Well, my mom wanted ONE feeder for the little birds, so she greased the pole, which seems to discourage the chipmunks. (Next step is mixing cayenne pepper with the seed: allegedly birds cannot taste it and are unaffected, but it repels mammals.)

But then she saw something, and called me over to watch: a chipmunk was climbing up a piece of garden statuary and launching itself at the feeder. But, because either its depth perception is poor (can’t judge distances) or it can’t jump that high (chipmunks are not really adapted for jumping UP), it would sail past the feeder, missing it by about half the distance, and then land on the ground on the other side. And then it went back, climbed the statue again, launched itself in the same shallow parabola, landed on the ground — it kept doing that for quite a while before it gave up. (And we stood there and laughed, because it just looked SO funny.)

I did not know that about greasing the pole.

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Lives in the balance, perhaps

Whoever came up with this scheme is, you should pardon the expression, running on empty:

West Lafayette police on Monday were trying to figure out why fliers talking about taking out singer-songwriter Jackson Browne — and by extension “college liberals” who didn’t agree with President Donald Trump — wound up this weekend tied to storm doors and bundled on driveways of a near-Purdue University neighborhood.

Police had several reports and picked up at least 50 fliers that called for Browne to get it, “Bam! Right between the eyes.”

“Doctor! My eyes!”

The fliers were rolled up with two or three sheets and, in some cases, with a nail and delivered in a portion of the New Chauncey neighborhood, a few blocks east of Purdue’s Mackey Arena.

The unsigned, uncredited fliers included the warning: “Hey, you p—- college liberal’s [sic], its Trump time now, shut your mouth or pay the consequences!! Just like this (piece of crap)!!”

Then again, had I written something that ridiculous, I wouldn’t want my name on it either.

(Via Fark.)

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Now here’s something we hope you’ll really like

(Read that title in the voice of Rocket J. Squirrel.)

My daily traipse through YouTube got me a row of recommendations from something called “Society,” which looked like this:

Five YouTube recommendations, perhaps chosen randomly

1. September 11th As It Happened: The Definitive Live News Montage (4.7 million views)

2. How Much Cheating Is OK For Japanese Girls? (300,000 views)

3. The American Kilogram (1.1 million views)

4. Funny Liverpool accent of this amazing girl (2.4 million views)

5. Stephanie Ruhle greatest leg cross ever (2.4 million views)

I dunno how representative these videos are of my typical YouTube viewing, but somebody’s algorithm came up with them somehow.

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He signs his name with a capital G

Google. It’s a trademark. Treat it like one:

In the case of Google, one could argue that it’s already the only term that many people use for doing an online search. You rarely hear anyone saying “Bing that for me” or “I Yahooed my name the other day to see what came up.”

But while one might use “Google” indiscriminately, a federal appeals court has ruled that Google is not yet ready for the genericide slaughterhouse.

Back in 2012, two men used a domain name registrar to acquire 763 domain names that combined the word “google” with another brand, like “googledisney.com,” or a person, like “googlebarackobama.net.”

Google did what they’re supposed to do under the circumstances: defend the trademark.

In 2014, U.S. District Judge Stephen M. McNamee ruled in Google’s favor [pdf], noting that underlying the two men’s argument is “the proposition that verbs, as a matter of law, are incapable of distinguishing one service from another, and can only refer to a category of services.”

“This premise is flawed: a trademark performs its statutory function so long as it distinguishes a product or service from those of others and indicates the product’s or service’s source,” McNamee wrote.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld that decision [pdf], ruling that the men didn’t present sufficient evidence to show that the general public sees the word “google” as a generic name for internet search engines.

Let’s see how LetMeBingThatForYou.com fares.

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Why aren’t there more female programmers?

A student asks the crowd at Yahoo! Answers:

I’m a university student studying game and graphics programming and I’m a girl. In my class there are a lot of guys but only few girls, only two or three of us. I also heard there’s a bit sexism when it comes to applying for programming jobs for women. Is it true?

A Level 6 answerer (highest is 7) replies:

I’m a female software developer. I’ve been doing this for over 30 years, and I have to admit that there are a lot less women in the job now than there were when I started and even I’m not sure why.

I work for a global organization, of which I think about 5% of the software developers are female. Most of the women working in our various IT departments are in project management, business analysis, quality testing or frontline support.

When I first started programming, at university, I guess about 40% of the class were female. In my first job about half the programmers were female. Even as recently as the late 1990s about one third of the programmers I worked with were female.

I really don’t have an answer on the decline. The only thing I can think of is that, when I started, object oriented languages and PC development weren’t really a thing. We wrote code in languages like COBOL on mainframes. There was a whole other team of computer operators whose job it was to look after the mainframe, run backups, look after operating system patches and disaster recovery wasn’t really something people thought about. Now, developers are much more expected to be conversant with server architecture, web configuration etc. It’s like that old adage that women are hopeless at programming their video recorders. I must admit I struggle with the server configuration side of things but it’s part of my job now and I get by. But I am much better at the core logic of writing code, which unfortunately only takes up about 20% of my working day these days. Maybe that’s part of the reason.

This latter problem, I suspect, is due to ever-diminishing staff: the gods of commerce have decreed that if a task can be completed with a staff of ten, it’s even better to do it with five or six.

And while not everything can be explained away by sexism, there’s plenty of it out there.

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And shame on me for thinking it

It’s a seemingly random homicide in the Old South:

The Dale County [Alabama] Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal drive-by shooting near Level Plains.

Level Plains Police Chief Billy Driggers says it happened late Friday night on Dale County Road 24 south of the town. It is believed the suspect fired from the tree line. The shooter is still at large.

And yes, there was a brief twinge of “That poor woman, no way she could possibly deserve this,” but mostly I was thinking: “Aren’t all Plains more or less Level?”

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I blame Mr. Slate

In Canada, just as it is here down south, the bureaucracy has the brains of a lump of Bedrock:

A 75-year-old Ontario woman has a pre-historic bone to pick with two of Bedrock’s most famous residents.

Documents show fictional characters Fred Flintstone and his daughter, Pebbles, have taken out very real liens against a Perth, Ont. woman’s van.

The woman, named Maureen, learned of the bizarre situation nine months ago, when the liens prevented her from selling her van to a car dealership. The sale cannot go through until the cartoon characters cancel the liens, or the government steps in.

Documents obtained by CTV Toronto show Fred and Pebbles Flintstone listed as debtors claiming liens against Maureen’s vehicle. Their address is listed at 9 Yellow Brick Road, Markham, Ont.

The registering agent is listed as “PPSR Test Data1,” which suggests the lien may have been created as part of a Service Ontario system test.

That address should have raised eyebrows:

The Flintstones had three addresses during the series’ six-season run. First: 222 Rocky Way. Second: 345 Stonecave Road. Third: 301 Cobblestone Way.

Not a yellow brick in the bunch.

Service Ontario will be cleaning up its act:

Tracy MacCharles, Ontario’s minister of government and consumer services, said she will look into the problem to ensure that no other real vehicle ID numbers were used in the test.

“To my knowledge this has not happened before and I’m making sure that it doesn’t happen again,” MacCharles told the Assembly.

[PC MPP Randy] Hillier called the whole situation “Looney Tunes,” and called for assurances that the next time this happens, it won’t take nine months to fix.

Although to be fair, such a problem would have taken much longer to resolve in the Flintstones era, when Service Bedrock employed dinosaurs and pelicans, not humans.

And it wasn’t Looney Tunes; it was Hanna-Barbera.

(Via Fark.)

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U! X! B!

The Allies bombed the living crap out of Germany in World War II, and some of those bombs are still around:

About one-tenth of Hanover’s population will be evacuated from their homes on Sunday as officials work to diffuse multiple Second World War bombs — the second biggest operation in post-war German history.

Is that like “defuse”?

Experts were able to confirm the existence of five unexploded Second World War bombs out of 13 possible locations within the Lower Saxon capital, the fire department said on Thursday. Seven care and elderly homes are among the buildings to be evacuated, along with a clinic, and a Continental tire plant.

The largest evacuation since the Second World War took place in Augsburg on Christmas Eve last year when 54,000 people had to leave their homes after a 3.8 tonne British-made bomb was found during construction work.

The Germans, sensibly, are playing this out without resorting to drama:

Evacuations will begin at 9am and the city says it expects all affected residents to be able to return home in the evening. Locals are also advised to take any necessary items, such as medication, along with them, and to turn off electrical and gas appliances before leaving.

The sheer volume of bombs dropped on Hanover is startling:

Hanover was often a target by Allied forces during the Second World War, with the most severe attack launched on October 9th 1943 where 261,000 bombs were dropped onto the city, killing 1,245 people and leaving 250,000 homeless.

Continental, the tire manufacturer, has been operating in Hanover since 1871. (No, they weren’t making tires then.)

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It just wasn’t late enough

Eastern Time? Forget that noise:

Four New England states, including Maine, are considering a move to the Atlantic time zone.

State representatives in New Hampshire and Maine have already approved the change, which would be contingent in each case on Massachusetts doing the same. That state’s legislature has appointed a commission to study the matter.

In Maine, where a time zone bill cleared the senate this week, the change would also be contingent on the results of a statewide referendum.

There’s also a bill in Rhode Island, which, again, depends on Massachusetts doing the same. This isn’t going to affect me greatly, except for one proviso common to all three current proposals: they’re ditching Daylight Saving Time. Rhode Island House minority whip Blake Filippi (R-Block Island) said that people in his state are tired of seeing darkness at 4:20 p.m. on December afternoons.

I am, of course, enthusiastic about any prospects to undo DST, however far away.

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Why me, Lord?

It’s a question you don’t have to be human to ask yourself:

Eastwood the Lab

Abandoned by the side of a Michigan road in December, “Eastwood” here suffers from a leg deformity which may or may not require surgery somewhere down the line at a cost of $4000 or so. Which may explain this:

The BISSELL Pet Foundation hosted an annual adoption event “Empty the Shelters” on Saturday, volunteering to cover the adoption fees for all pet owners… In total, the Little Traverse Bay Humane Society found homes for 49 animals last week alone, a new record.

Forty-nine out of, um, fifty. Guess who was left?

Yep. Poor fellow. The shelter’s communication specialist reported the story to Facebook, and what the local folks couldn’t bring themselves to do, a family in Detroit will. What’s more, this comes off as an actual useful purpose for Facebook, something no one was expecting.

(Via Fark.)

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The manipulation of cliché

Some nimrod on Yahoo! Answers has been demanding that someone agree with his premise that “this adult woman and 13yo boy were cast together in this music video.”

So I dialed over to it, and here’s Paris Hilton, then twenty-five, not exactly comporting herself lewdly with a nerd half her age.

“Nothing In This World” was the third single from Paris, her first album; it topped out at #12 on the Billboard dance-club chart. And it reinforced my belief that Paris Hilton has to be pushed hard to appear lubricious, that she’s a fairly ordinary, if sorta cute, woman with a few billion to spare. I said this of her infamous sex tape:

[I]n my opinion she didn’t come across, so to speak, as some sort of Hollywood succubus: she looks kind of small, appallingly young, and mostly dutiful.

She’s larger here, if only because the beleaguered nerd hasn’t reached his final form yet. Anyway, this is a lot less filthy than, say, “Hot for Teacher,” and no one accuses Van Halen of smut.

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The squeeze is on

Juicero!

Wait, what?

[T]hey have this juice-press thing that sells for $400 and that takes $7 proprietary bags of fruit or vegetables or whatever that the machine squeezes into juice. Apparently, the scandal is that you can squeeze the bags just as well without the $400 juicer.

To which I answer: duh. I will bet my Harvard MBA that this company’s business model really does not anticipate making most of its money from the machine. The machine itself may actually not have any profit margin at all. The bags at $7 certainly do. The machine is the excuse for you to buy lots and lots of their high margin juice bags. If you buy one a day for a year, that is over $2500 of revenue at a high margin vs. the original equipment sale of $400 at a low or no margin. Telling this company their machine is not necessary is like telling Gillette you can use their $5 blades without having to use the razor that they pretty much give away anyway.

Actually, it’s worse than that. From a commenter to the original post:

Oh also the juice bags have QR codes so that the individual bag can be tracked. Which means that…

A) the device requires an internet connection to squeeze juice
B) so it can be hacked if the firmware isn’t secure, and either used as a spam rebroadcaster or just bricked
C) and it phones home with all that juicy, tasty personal data like what kind of juice you drink and how often and when
D) and they can force it to not squeeze juice bags that have been partially squeezed or have hit their expiration date

If I’m ever forced to buy a razor with an IP address, you’d be surprised how fast I can grow a beard.

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Do not taunt Happy Fun Lion

You will not like the payback:

Mashable has the story:

It’s probably not a good idea to tease things that are perfectly capable of eating you.

A man spotted an Asiatic lion in the Gir Forest National Park in India and got a little too wrapped up in watching the king of the jungle. In the clip, released in September of 2016, the man drives just a few feet away from a lion walking alongside the road. He’s filming the whole thing, with his window down, no less.

Fool probably thought the lion didn’t notice him. He, um, thought poorly.

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Expect to be clawed

And, well, what the hell.

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Repellent borders

This is no way to treat a Canadian, or indeed almost anyone:

Gisele Lagace is a Canadian comic book artist for Archie, Dynamite IDW, a number of comic book publishers in the USA. She was planning to drive down to Chicago to attend this weekend’s C2E2 exhibition.

US officials had other ideas, says Lagace:

Welp, no C2E2 for me. Was refused entry at the border. They kept pressing about the comics I had and the sketches, and well, I had to be honest and said that I did get paid for commissions but before hand, but since they weren’t complete, it was considered work in the us. Comics wise, I had maybe $700 in value if I had sold everything. Honestly, it’s not a lot.

Was asked if I was the only one doing this as I looked surprised to be refused entry. I said no, many artists from around the world attend these to promote themselves. I don’t think they cared.

And things then proceeded to get worse:

… they searched me throughout and found 2 white pills in my wallet. There was no identification on them and I wasn’t sure what they were. Once I calmed down after being touched all over, I remembered they were generic acetaminophen from the dollar store that I carry around in case Marc gets a headache as it sometimes happen. I forgot they were even in there.

Anyway, I wasn’t turned around for the 2 acetaminophen, as they found those after I was refused entry for the comics in my car and the unfinished sketches but they kept us longer there until they were convinced they weren’t narcotics.

Guy wearing a jacket lined with C4? “Come right through, sir.”

During World Tour ’04, I approached to within a fraction of a block of the Canadian border. I decided I didn’t want to disturb them on a Sunday morning. Nowadays I am forced to assume that the Canadians would be fine with me — but my ostensible countrymen would give me a ration of shit upon my return.

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Fly the itchy skies

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I want to deal with a pilot who’s chafing:

A U.S. airline is getting hot under the collar and this time it’s not United. Around 100 American Airlines pilots have come forward with complaints of rashes, itching, and other symptoms, prompting an aviation union’s survey on pilots’ reactions to their uniforms, Bloomberg reports.

If this sounds familiar it’s because it has happened before: back in December, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) said that some 1,600 American Airlines staff had complained of adverse reactions to their new uniform and called for a total recall by the airline. That number has now surpassed 3,000, according to the APFA.

The airline, unsurprisingly, has a different take on the matter:

American Airlines Group, however, counts only about 800 complaints. It has undertaken testing on the uniform’s materials and given affected employees the option to wear their old uniforms or exchange new ones for a replacement made from different materials or issued by a different supplier. However, it has refused the union’s call for a total recall of the uniforms, which were distributed to about 70,000 employees in September 2016.

I wonder if ground personnel have to put up with these things.

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According to plan

An admission of sorts from The Sparkle Chronicles:

“I’m no good at being spontaneous,” said Twilight. “Everything has to be planned, and everything has to fit into the plan. When it doesn’t fit, I have to improvise, and that means formulating another plan, and — you see? Another feedback loop.”

I need hardly point out that this condition isn’t at all confined to cartoon ponies:

I am the least spontaneous person I know. This is due to the cynicism, pessimism, and loathing of surprises that I’ve painstakingly developed over the years. I take two weeks of planning, research, and thinking up all possible outcomes of the endeavor just to buy new sneakers, and then I always get the same kind anyway. (Chuck Taylors FTW!) Before I go to the grocery store, I try to anticipate any and all conversations I might have to have with random loons there, just so I have my searing retort handy. Before I take a shower, I turn it off and back on again in case that perfect temperature the first time was a fluke.

And we know how this story ends:

Eventually, surprises and suddenness stop being entertaining and educational and fun. Things take a darker turn and soon you’re conditioned to expect the worst, and not in that “Try me, I can overcome anything, given enough time and a flame thrower” way. Things just fall apart in patterns you can’t fathom as to why, why, o lawd, why.

I don’t even answer the phone if I don’t recognize the number anymore. There are only so many times you can trust that jerk with the free cruise before you have to close your bank account and start over.

That would certainly make me cynical.

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Toothpaste from hell

So I snap the cap shut, replace the toothbrush on its stand, and I watch as blue goo oozes from the little tube I only just set down. Repeat later in the day, and probably also tomorrow and the next day. “I am never buying this crap again,” I swear, though I sometimes wonder if maybe it’s all my fault.

No, it’s not my fault:

Crest Pro-Health toothpaste is a known leaker. The cap does not close properly and the paste oozes out and I am not alone.

The spout where the toothpaste comes out has a slight lip. When the circle of plastic on the inside of the lid passes over this lip, you get the satisfying snap that tells you the lid is closed and will stay closed. It works great when the toothpaste tube is new. But when the pieces have to fit together so precisely, you don’t have much leeway.

Procter & Gamble says:

The current Crest Pro-Health product is uniquely formulated to deliver superior health benefits including cavity, plaque, gingivitis, and sensitivity protection. This unique formulation presents some package challenges which we have been focusing on solving.

So is this truly Satan’s Own Dentifrice? If the Prince of Darkness had a toothpaste, swears James Lileks, “it would not be Crest, but Anti-Crest.”

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Beyond mere spam

I think this would bother me:

It’s not like the manufacturer is going broke, apparently:

Like all of the TNF inhibitors, infliximab is an expensive medication, costing about US$900 for a 100 mg dose, and within the United States is covered by almost every medical insurance plan (though caps on many plans make it possible to be covered for only a subset of treatments in the course of a year). Infliximab is supplied as a sterile, white, lyophilized (freeze-dried) powder, so must be reconstituted and administered by a health care professional, usually in a hospital or office setting. For this reason, it is usually covered under major medical insurance rather than prescription drug coverage. The loading regimen for all approved indications occurs at weeks 0, 2, and 6 at the above dosages.

A check of the formulary at CFI Care (not its real initials) got the Nelson Muntz treatment.

Respondents to the original thread estimate the price of this mailer as $25-55 per unit, which I presume you can afford to spend if you’re getting $900 per dose.

(Via SwiftOnSecurity.)

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Generally presumed to be hateful

“Minnie used to have a sign here that said, ‘No dogs or Mexicans allowed.’ You know why she took it off? Because she started allowing dogs.” — Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (2015)

Apparently some Uruguayans don’t find this so damn funny:

Which led to what you might call an International Incident:

The Mexican ambassador got involved and complained to the Uruguayan Foreign Ministry.

The message and an ensuing interview with Coffee Shop’s American owner Jim Delalla in a local publication did little to diminish the controversy. The Mexican Embassy said in a statement published on social media on Monday that they contacted the Uruguayan Foreign Ministry condemning the “lamentable and deplorable racist, discriminatory and xenophobic attitude of the Coffee Shop.”

If Tarantino’s in a revisionist mood, I suggest he have Samuel L. Jackson, next time around, say something like “No dogs or diplomats allowed.”

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Minor grocery fail

Well, finally it happened.

I duly reported to Walmart at 2 pm Saturday to pick up the week’s groceries. These are brought out to the car in a batch of blue plastic boxes about the size of milk crates. And when I got home, I discovered that several items managed not to make it home with me.

I went back out to the car to see if I’d missed anything. And then the phone rang: Walmart advising that they’d forgotten one box, and that they would hold it for me for a couple of hours, or they could cut me a refund. I opted for the latter, and they issued me a credit for around ten bucks to cover the cost of the undelivered items. Simple as that.

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Not to be shared

You got two people living in a household, you have to have two bathrooms, or at least no fewer than one and a half:

[T]hat’s just one way it’s hard to “go it alone” as an adult — yes, a spouse would generate more mess but at the same time a spouse could help clean up. (And if I were married? I would have to have a bigger house than I currently do. At a minimum I would want two bathrooms because … well … sharing a house with a man, there are times you just want to go to a bathroom that someone hasn’t JUST been in, if you get what I mean)

Either that, or you need an add-on ventilation system capable of cleansing Love Field in Dallas in 45 seconds or less.

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Tailgating those ambulances

Spotted in glorious SoCal:

I did try to bring up that URL, without success. Maybe I need to send them a check first.

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Moreau II: Have it your way

For some reason, there’s a lot more objection to genetically modified grain than there is to genetically modified people:

The same techniques that could conceivably end all genetically-occasioned birth defects could also be used to produce monsters.

Who would do such a thing, and why? Men of little skill or understanding, unaware of the consequences of their undertakings. Cruel men, who like to watch others suffer. Men with skill but without moral or ethical standards, who would produce distorted caricatures of humans for wealthy others ready, willing, and able to pay them. There may be other possibilities, but those are sufficient for now.

The base stock for such horrors would be readily available: zygotes “left over” from in vitro fertilization efforts. Many would-be parents are unaware of what happens to such “leftovers.” Others are unconcerned about their fates; they’ve got their babies, so nothing else matters.

Just about as soon as it can be done, it will be done — and no law or exercise of State power will prevent it.

I’m thinking it’s worse than that. The State’s power of the purse — your purse and mine, that is — will end up subsidizing the worst of them, on the basis that it’s unfair, unjust, and several other “un” words, to discriminate in favor of the best of them.

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One weird trick for winning a lawsuit

I’d like to think this particular motion was granted simply because it’s hilarious:

What this suit is all about:

A Russian-tied tech firm named in a controversial dossier containing uncorroborated allegations about President Donald Trump and the hacking of Democratic National Committee email accounts announced late Friday that it has filed defamation suits against the online news site BuzzFeed, its editor in chief and a former British intelligence agent.

The lawsuits were brought by XBT Holdings, a Cyprus-based company owned by Russian tech magnate Aleksej Gubarev. Lawyers for his firm filed complaints Friday [3 February] in London against the former spy and his company, and against BuzzFeed and its editor in chief, Ben Smith, in Broward County Circuit Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where XBT’s subsidiary Webzilla is headquartered.

“The dossier included libelous, unverified and untrue allegations regarding XBT, Webzilla and Gubarev. The lawsuits seek yet undetermined compensation for the damages suffered by XBT, Webzilla and Gubarev as the result of the publication of the dossier,” a statement said.

New York-based BuzzFeed Inc., which published the dossier in full on Jan. 10, wasn’t alone. Former spy Christopher Steele and his company Orbis Business Intelligence in London were named as defendants in the London suit.

In a statement to McClatchy, BuzzFeed spokesman Matt Mittenthal said Friday night, “We have redacted Mr. Gubarev’s name from the published dossier, and apologize for including it.”

Which apology was apparently not sufficient to mollify Mr. Gubarev.

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The wrong sort of buzz

It probably seemed like a good idea at the time:

Just recently, Cheerios removed Buzz the Bee from their cereal boxes to promote their Bring Back the Bees Campaign. Cheerios’ campaign is quite straightforward. They plan to send out 100 million wildflower seeds and urge people across the nation to plant them.

You might think “Buzz” an obvious name for a bee, but General Mills has not done well with cereal mascots over the years: the silly rabbit who so vainly pursues a bowl of Trix is supposedly named, um, “Tricks.”

And in this case, the absence of Buzz may not be helping:

[S]ome experts warn that the company’s wildflower initiative might actually do more harm in some areas. According [to] a report from My Central Oregon, some of the wildflower seeds being distributed by Cheerios could grow into a highly invasive plant that is not helpful to native bee species.

“No plant is inherently ‘bad,’ but many species can and has caused a great deal of damage when they are introduced into locations outside of their native range,” ecologist Kathryn Turner told Lifehacker:

“Invasive species can out-compete the natives they encounter, they can take up all the space and use up all the resources, they can spread disease, and cause other physical changes to their new homes, all of which can have detrimental effects on native species, and on humans.”

Further, said Lifehacker’s Beth Skwarecki:

What’s odd is that Cheerios partnered with Xerces, an organization dedicated to supporting pollinators, but didn’t use their locally customized, ecologically friendly seed mixes. If you’d like to plant a wildflower garden, maybe start with those instead.

Xerces has nine different plant lists, each one right for a particular region of the States.

(Suggested by reader Holly H.)

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The name gives it away

Laundrapp, as you’ve already guessed, is a laundry app for various devices, now building a reputation in the United Kingdom. From the description, it couldn’t be simpler:

You Order
Book a collection online or with our award winning app. We’ll bring a bag.

We Collect
Collection and delivery is free, just let us know where you are, office or home

We Clean
Our facilities are so good we guarantee you’ll be satisfied — we put a quality guarantee on all items

We Deliver
We’ll deliver your pristine garments back to you, anytime and anywhere

They run 16 hours a day — 7 am to 11 pm — and they’re looking to expand:

Laundrapp, an app that lets users have their washing picked up, cleaned and dropped off, will license its logistics technology to major laundry franchises in countries including China and Mexico.

The market for laundrettes differs around the world, with other countries having large franchises as opposed to the independent high street services in the UK. Laundrapp will license its technology to these major companies as part of its bid to expand internationally.

No indication that they’ll be coming to the States any time soon.

(Via Holly Brockwell, who admits: “I’ve got two huge sacks of clothes I don’t wear because they all need ironing.”)

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Sit there and take it

Like seemingly every other newspaper in the country, the Los Angeles Times is trying to shore up revenues from the online edition. Few, though, will go to these lengths:

The LA Times is a good newspaper and is currently doing the best political coverage in California. They are also the most aggressive ad shoveling website I have ever seen. Their ad blocker blocker and paywall works, preventing me from reading articles. I even tried installing an ad blocker blocker blocker which doesn’t work.

As a test, he opened up a single article and waited:

[T]he page requested 2000 resources totalling 5 megabytes in 30 seconds. It will keep making those requests as long as I leave the page open. 14 gigabytes a day.

Woe betide the man who reads the Times on his phone.

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Lawyer entangled by laws

I can’t help thinking this was a setup intended as public chastisement:

An offbeat Austin-area defense attorney who has built a practice representing clients accused of drunken driving and marijuana possession spent 11 days in an East Texas jail after federal authorities charged him with scamming $1.2 million from Colombian clients.

Jamie Balagia, who operates law firms in Manor and in San Antonio, was released on bond from the Fannin County Detention Center at 10:47 a.m. Monday, jail records show. Balagia, 56, agreed to stop practicing law until his case is resolved, according to court records that provide the conditions of his release.

The attorney who markets himself as the DWI Dude and the 420 Dude was arrested by the FBI on March 9 in McKinney near Dallas and charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and obstruction of justice. He was released on an unsecured $100,000 bond by U.S. Magistrate Judge Christine Nowak of the Eastern District in Sherman.

You should know that just about everyone named “Balagia” in central Texas is a relative of mine. (Jamie is in fact a first cousin.)

That said, he ran for Texas Attorney General in 2014 on the Libertarian ticket, promoting the legalization of marijuana. (The “420 Dude” is known for defending weed users.) He pulled about two percent of the vote.

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