Seoul sisters

Would you call this “LAX security”?

A pop group has flown back to South Korea after officials in Los Angeles thought they might be sex workers.

The eight members were travelling to America for an album cover shoot but were detained for 15 hours in customs.

A statement from the group’s record company, WM Entertainment, said authorities held them after going through their costumes and props.

Oh My Girl, who formed in March, are thought to be back in South Korean capital Seoul after being released by officials at Los Angeles International Airport.

Looking at the video for their second single, I can only conclude that the officials had some fairly warped ideas about Korean women under 21. This song is called “Closer,” and it in no way resembles a somewhat risqué tune of the same title recorded by Nine Inch Nails:

Okay, one of them actually is 21. Another is 16; the others fall between. And it’s not like the ROK encourages slutty behavior or anything:

In 2012, the government clamped down on over-sexualised performances by threatening to give higher age ratings to films, music videos and TV shows which exaggerated the sexuality of younger singers and bands.

(Via Shakila Karim.)


The maybe-fly list

I can’t say this is too awfully surprising:

It gets, if not better, at least a bit more complex:

That’s a whole lotta veggies, San Francisco to Amsterdam.

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No, sign the other name

This is the lead single from Sananda Maitreya’s The Rise of the Zugebrian Time Lords, released this past October, and damned if it isn’t infectious:

It’s made no chart noise as yet, perhaps due to Who Is This Guy? Syndrome. And you have heard this voice before, back in the late 1980s. But that was then, and today he’s Sananda Maitreya, and you probably shouldn’t refer to him as The Artist Formerly Known As Terence Trent D’Arby.

What prompted this, exactly?

He was typically maximalist in his explanation of the change: “Terence Trent D’Arby was dead,” he said. “He watched his suffering as he died a noble death. After intense pain I meditated for a new spirit, a new will, a new identity.”

And, given his relations with Sony during that first segment of his career, a new label would be nice. Sensibly enough, he set up his own.

But what matters is this: he’s still great. Here’s an earlier, harder song:

“Because You’ve Changed” comes from Maitreya’s 2009 album Nigor Mortis. As is his wont these days, he plays everything on most every track.

And there’s one more credit I want to mention: in 1999, he appeared in a two-part drama on CBS-TV called Shake, Rattle and Roll: An American Love Story. Credited as D’Arby, he played Jackie Wilson. Of course. (Start at 4:35.)

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The occasional dropped beat

After that first thrashing of the Jazz in November, you have to figure that Utah would be itching for revenge, and they darn near got it: after falling behind by a dozen or more several times, the Jazz went on a 9-2 run in the middle of the fourth quarter to pull within five. Then Kevin Durant, who hadn’t made a shot in the second half, suddenly made two of them. Utah kept coming. And, said radio guy Matt Pinto, the Thunder were coming apart at the seams. With 1:24 left, Trevor Booker got one of two free throws to tie it up; Durant promptly tossed in a trey from the top of the circle. The Thunder got a stop, Durant dropped another bucket, and OKC led by five with 12 seconds left. Trey Burke nailed a trey with 3.3 left; Durant came back with two free throws, the Jazz put up an air ball at the horn, and that was that, 94-90.

The biggest question going in, for me, was “How well can Derrick Favors, shoved into the middle, substitute for Rudy Gobert?” The answer, at least tonight, was “Well enough”; Favors scored 13, gathered seven rebounds and blocked three shots. The reliable Gordon Hayward led the Jazz shooters with 19. But said Jazz shooters did not shoot well: 42 percent, 8-28 from outside. The Thunder weren’t a whole lot better, 47 percent and 6-17, but there’s the mysterious KD Factor to contend with; you’ll note from the first paragraph that he got all 11 of OKC’s final points, finishing with 21. Russell Westbrook contributed 24 to the cause. And Enes Kanter, booed with vigor whenever he showed his face, knocked down 11 points and retrieved six boards from his former teammates. (The game sold out, which most Jazz games haven’t this year, perhaps because people wanted to boo Kanter.)

Both these teams, though, are in the same division (Northwest), so they’ll play twice more. The third game in the series is, um, day after tomorrow in OKC. (The fourth will be in March.) Next three after that: against Portland on Wednesday, at Cleveland on Thursday, and back home against the Lakers on Saturday.


Troll level: prodigious

It’s all a conspiracy, says this guy who definitely ought not to give his name:

Before anyone asks, I do believe that computers exist because I am currently using one. We are just being lied to about how they work. We are told that computers use quantum mechanics and the laws of electricity to work but those are all built on Newtonian laws which are wrong.

In a computer everything is connected to the magical and illusive “CPU”. Nobody can explain how it works and we are expected to believe that all computing is done in some magical silicon chip the size of a fingernail. Have you ever tried to break into a CPU? Even a hack saw can’t penetrate that case, it’s as if they are trying to hide something. These companies have a lot of secrecy surrounding them, which is definitely suspicious. I have looked it up and it turns out that Intel and other “tech” companies are censoring this stuff from the Internet because they don’t want us to know it.

Only living things can think and reason, inanimate objects like rocks cannot think and reason. So why is it that computers, which we are told are inanimate, can think and reason? It just doesn’t add up. If you ask a rock what 2+2 is then it wouldn’t do anything but if I hold the home button and ask Siri what 2+2 is IT will respond “4”. Aperently the Wizards at Intel can use fictional physics to defy nature and people actually buy into that crap.

Just wanted to note here that I have broken into CPUs, sometimes intentionally.

So how do computers work? It’s a lot simpler then the mess of wires and magical microscopic switches Intel wants you to think is there. They trap spirits and force them to do a bunch of logic. Have you ever wondered why programming is called “programming theory”? If people invented programming as we are lead to believe then why is it just a theory? Answer: because they didn’t invent programming and in reality it’s the language spirits speak. I still can’t believe that people don’t question it when Intel says that machines can read, understand what it read, and do what it’s told. They say that computers always do what they are told but inanimate objects don’t do that, if you don’t believe me then tell stick to throw it’s self to you and tell a gun to shoot you. They won’t do it because they are inanimate objects, but the little squares of silicon Intel makes aperently defy this and they will do your taxes and pay your bills for you if you want. What a joke.

Here is some more suspicious stuff about “computers” that prove that we are being lied to:

Every “CPU” is slightly different in speed and we are told that it’s because their precise and consistent manufacturing process is making little mistakes and that somehow effects the speed. They are using machines to precisely make new “machines”, so shouldn’t these CPU’s rolling off the assembly line all be identical? In a car assembly line you don’t see cars that can naturally go twice as fast as another for no apparent reason. Clearly this variation is coming from the diversity of spirits they are using.

Also, why would a computer need power if it does no physical work? It makes no sense. In reality they use the power to help contain spirits and punish insubordinate ones.

It would be nice, I suppose, if this blithering hosehead found a way to make his mysterious computer do spellcheck: “aperently” doesn’t work, though apparently he can spell “apparent.” I’d almost be tempted to sic @SwiftOnSecurity on him, but I’m sure she has better (and likely more remunerative) things to do with her time.

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Nothing up my sleeve

Blood donation sticker from AANRThis is, of course, due to the fact that I have no actual sleeves at the moment.

I received the following this week in email from the American Association for Nude Recreation:

The AANR home office will be hosting a blood drive on January 29, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the AANR office in Kissimmee, Florida. AANR invites everyone in the area to stop by, donate, and meet its staff.

While January is National Blood Donor Month, you can support the thousands of people in need of blood daily, any time of the year. Let’s show AANRs support and help save a life one nudist at a time.

A nice, public-spirited thing to do, and it’s not like the staff goes to work in the nude. At least, I don’t think they do. I’ve never visited the home office, and you can’t assume anything from occasional pictures in AANR’s Bulletin.

That said, if you’d like to swap a pint for a rather unique sticker, it’s 1703 North Main Street, Suite E, Kissimmee, Florida 34744.

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Road ending prematurely

Cars in the scrapyard often end up crushed. Some of them end up there because of crushing debt:

According to a recent PEW study [pdf], one out of every nine title loans results in a repossession, with the titled vehicle eventually heading to auction.

And after that, maybe the car finds a new home, but maybe not:

One vehicle, a 1995 Chevrolet Blazer, currently shows 271,285 miles. Pulling up its history, we see it shows up at auction in December 2011 with 199,683 miles, then it’s sold with a lien attached in February 2013. Since it had almost 200,000 miles at the time, it is highly unlikely any traditional lending institution would have written a loan for it, meaning this loan was almost certainly processed by a subprime lender. The February sale comes during one of the bigger months for subprime and “Buy Here Pay Here” dealers as many potential customers are receiving tax returns that can give them enough money for a down payment on a new-to-them car.

The Blazer’s owner was immediately in the hole since they were likely taking out a loan with an annual percentage rate of 30 percent for a vehicle that was only worth its weight in scrap. We see three more liens reported on the vehicle with the last one hitting in October of this year. The vehicle’s owner could have taken out multiple title loans or refinanced his loan, the last one being too expensive to cover. Since the vehicle was not worth more than $300 or $400, they would have only been able to get a loan for $150 or so, which would have cost them double or triple the original amount once interest was added. The owner may have been in a tight situation or the car could have broken down, making default a more affordable proposition. Due to the mileage and condition, [the] next stop for this Blazer is likely a salvage yard.

Five will get you ten the guy who bought this Blazer in 2013 went scurrying to Yahoo! Answers to see if there was a chance he could plunge himself further into debt to get himself something newer. Not that it matters what anyone actually told him. (I started suggesting that people start pricing bus passes, a practice some would dub cruel and insensitive.)

Most of the other cars I checked on the run list followed a similar path where they spent a few years in the mainstream market before ending up at a subprime dealer. Some of them experience accidents that should leave them with a branded title, but there are loopholes that allow the title to be washed. Others live a long life with their first owners before reaching the subprime market. The second and third owners of these vehicles are usually underwater as soon as they buy the vehicle and the title loans just put them further into debt.

That Blazer, says the intrepid reporter, was “not worth more than $300 or $400.” What would a BHPH dealer have sold it for? I’m guessing $1999.


All becoming one

We are told that eventually all this Web stuff will be mobile, that desktops and laptops and tablets and phones will all handle the same material in exactly the same way.

That time has not come. American Express sent out a survey request to some of its customers (including me) that contained this warning:

Please note that this survey is best completed using a computer. You may experience some technical problems if you use a tablet or smartphone due to limitations with these devices and their software.

And the inequality goes in both directions. An editor at Merriam-Webster sent this up:

Happy convergence, I conclude, is a long way away.

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No straps, Sherlock

The following two paragraphs have more in common than you might think. First, from Wikipedia:

The ability of geckos — which can hang on a glass surface using only one toe — to climb on sheer surfaces has been attributed to the van der Waals forces between these surfaces and the spatulae, or microscopic projections, which cover the hair-like setae found on their footpads.

And now, from HelloGiggles:

We have a love/hate relationship with strapless bras, for sure, and by love/hate, we mostly mean hate; strapless bras pinch, push, and fall down. Oh do they fall down. Especially if you’re, uh, more gifted in that department, you’ll find yourself pulling up your bra all night when no one is looking (curse you, perfect dress!). Not fun.

This is where they met:

Kellie K Apparel 2015 Kickstarter Campaign Video from Anthony Roy on Vimeo.

They raised $26,921 in that Kickstarter, and they’ll be offering two versions of this garment, with or without underwire.

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Sheer pluck

At one point in the second quarter, the Thunder had a 17-point lead over the Hawks, despite the Hawks shooting well over 50 percent. By halftime, that lead had been whittled to 11; in the third quarter, Atlanta pulled to within one more than once, largely powered by reserve swingman Kent Bazemore, who made his first seven shots. But Bazemore eventually cooled off, and at the 1:40 mark Mike Budenholzer pulled his starters. The final was 107-94, surely adequate revenge for OKC’s loss at Atlanta a few days back. And I have to figure that Bazemore wouldn’t have gotten all those shots if the Thunder hadn’t done a good job of bottling up Al Horford and Paul Millsap. (Horford, in fact, didn’t score at all until the second half, and the duo, normally good for 30 points or so between them, were held to 16.)

The Big News, though, was Kevin Durant, who bagged his 1,000th career 3-pointer early on, and logged his first triple-double of the season (25-12-10). Both Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook picked up double-doubles with 23 points each. (All three of these guys outscored Bazemore, who led the Hawks with 22.) OKC had no real answer for guard Jeff Teague, who scored 18, often untouched. Still, Atlanta wound up below 45 percent shooting, and did not look good from the stripe, missing nine of 23 free throws. And if the Thunder has finally learned to close out games, well, it’s not a moment too soon.

The scheduling weirdness continues: tomorrow night in Salt Lake City against the Jazz, then home Sunday against, um, the Jazz. And Rudy Gobert, Utah’s shot-blocker extraordinaire, has a bad sprain of the MCL in his left knee — it happened last week in practice, yet — and is not expected to play either of those games. Still, beating the Jazz in their house isn’t the easiest task in the world.


Too many quarks for Muster Mark

You say you were reading one of those science-y web sites today? You say there was all this talk about protons and neutrons stuck together for dear life while electrons go whizzing around them at a zillion miles per hour? You say they told you that you were mostly empty space but you still feel like you swallowed an anvil? You say they told you all about strong and weak forces and you just know the weak force is gonna win and the electrons are all going to fall apart and crash into one another and knock your hat in the creek? Is that what’s troubling you, cousin?

Well, forget that:

Scientists at the Borexino detector in Italy experimented to see if they could detect electron decay and predict how long it would take for one to actually break down. Turns out a single electron would take 66,000 “yotta-years” to break down. This comes out to 660,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years, or five quintillion times the current age of the universe. In other words, we will probably never see even one electron break down anywhere in the universe for as long as beings exist to detect electrons and see if they are breaking down. So you may strike “death by unexpected subatomic decay” from your list of possible concerns, and Merry Christmas to you!

Phew. That’s a load off my mind.

(Particle Man was not available for comment. The opening paragraph, of course, was inspired by the late Eddie Lawrence; the title was adapted from a line in Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.)

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Featured features are buggy

Back in the summertime, the icemaker in my aging refrigerator went troppo; I finally got around to getting it fixed last week. There was, in the interim, a sensible workaround: the ever-popular ice tray, four of which got filled up daily to meet my cold-beverage needs. Not everyone, however, can solve fridge problems this simply:

I have a Samsung RF4289HARS refrigerator. The Google calendar app on it has been working perfectly since I purchased the refrigerator August 2012. However, with the latest changes in Google Calendar API, I can no longer sign in to my calendar. I receive a message stating “Please check your email in Google Calendar website”. I can sign in fine on my home PC and have no problem seeing the calendar on my phone. Perhaps this is a Samsung issue, but I thought I would try here first. Has anyone else experienced this problem and what was the solution?

Now maybe it’s just me, but I have this weird notion that the function of that big box in the kitchen is to keep stuff cold, not to remind you of your comings and goings. Then again, I paid less than $700 for my fridge more than a decade ago. Clearly it’s not going to have the incredible array of functions on — wait, what?

As announced since July, an old version of the calendar API has been shut down. (version 3 has been announced then, and version 1 has now been deactivated)

This effected everything that relied on the old version of the calendar API (that was even deprecated back then as v2 was already around!) Not only fridges, but everything that relied on v1. Everything provided with updates by the manufacturer should be fine as Google even provided a migration guide for the software makers (it’s part of the doc for v3), and of course the stock android apps for calendar have been updated directly by Google.

But it’s up to the device manufacturers to push those updates out to your devices. Google can’t and wouldn’t push firmware updates to other companies devices.

This thread started over a year ago. Apparently there are a lot of people with this problem:

I called the tech guy and he said that this part number DA97-11828A is the new part number (sorry got it confused). Apparently, the panel, board and dispenser paddles were originally sold separately and had their own older part numbers (pre 2013). I guess the dispenser paddles can still be ordered separately (for $50). But this new $300-$400 part bundle replaces the previously separate parts. I guess as it’s aged they don’t ship it separately anymore. So the guy said if you get this new part number, you are getting new stock. But the realist in me (who was told everything under sun by Samsung Support) feels obliged to tell you that it could also have been luck that I got a new one (if the service guy doesn’t really know what he’s talking about). I did look on the old part and there were no distinguishable part numbers or version numbers that I could discern. So I hope I’ve helped. Like I said in my first post, I had a few hundred bucks in my pocket and while I was fixing the other problem, I took a chance. The service guy did say that new part actually came with 2.690 (which my old one had 2.550) and it updated just after the installer replaced it. So the software update did work to 2.750 on the new board. So fingers are crossed that if there are new updates in the future, they will download with the new board.

At one level, I want to see these folks get the services they paid for, because dammit, that’s the American Way. Still, a part of me wants to see their mayonnaise spoil, just because.

(Via Popular Mechanics.)

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Blather, Reince, repeat

Another email from Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee:

You never activated your 2015 Official Republican Membership — and we’re one year out from the presidential election.

But I’m committed to bringing you on board, so here’s what I’ll do: If you register for 2016 Membership by TOMORROW AT 11:59 PM, you’ll get a $39.50 discount on the RNC Diamond Membership.

If ever there were a year to become a member of our Party — it’s 2016 — and you can do it right now.

I dunno, Reince. I mean, geez, I’ve been a registered Democrat for forty-odd years, and every time I think maybe I might be better off in the GOP — well, hell, you can read the news as well as I can. Yeah, I might have said something nice about Carly Fiorina. Hardly makes me a Republican, you know?

I will concede that your Democratic counterpart, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is slightly less clever than a bag of yak hair. But I’ll bet the DNC database kids didn’t generate any letters like this to my friends and neighbors in the GOP.

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The Draimanator

Once in a while, I’ll glare at the work box and wonder how the hell I got so many Disturbed tracks. Occasionally I’ll remember this:

Truth be told, I rather liked the Disturbed version of “Land of Confusion,” though this is not so much because it’s by Disturbed as it is the fact that Phil Collins doesn’t sing on it.

I think it’s mostly repeated exposure to David Draiman’s voice, both forceful and distinctive. And while the band writes most of its own stuff, their occasional cover demands my attention:

This band, apparently, is better than I’d been willing to admit.

(In regard to that Phil Collins dis, see also the Nonpoint cover of “In the Air Tonight.”)

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Manny, Moe, Jack and Carl

Feared investor Carl Icahn has offered $863 million for the Pep Boys auto-parts chain:

Icahn’s offer Tuesday of $15.50 per share is higher than Bridgestone’s offer of $15 per share in October for the chain of 800 stores. The Japanese tire giant offered to buy the chain to add to its 2,200 stores including Tires Plus, Firestone Complete Auto Care, Hibdon Tires Plus and Wheel Works to make one of the largest parts, tire and service chains in the U.S.

Before placing his bid, Icahn had acquired a 12-percent stake in Pep Boys. This is his second try at the whole ball of wax; he’d previously offered $13.50 a share.

Pep Boys has given Bridgestone until 5 pm Eastern on Friday to top this bid, or Icahn prevails.

(Title swiped from Fark.)

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Seriously. Albatross:

The world’s oldest living tracked bird has been spotted back on American soil where she is expected to lay an egg at the ripe old age of 64.

Wisdom, a Laysan albatross [Phoebastria immutabilis], was seen at the Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge with a mate at the weekend following a year’s absence.

She was first tagged in 1956 and has raised at least 36 chicks since then.

If your next question is “How do they know how old she is?” this is your answer:

Wisdom was banded by a US Geological Survey researcher in 1956, and in February 2014 she was seen rearing a new chick on Midway Atoll. Because Laysan albatrosses can’t breed until they are five years old, as of 2014 Wisdom was estimated to be at least 63 years old.

As noted previously, you don’t get wafers with it.

(Via American Digest.)

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