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The lamp that spies on you and tweets your conversation
04.24.2014
07:11 am

Topics:
Science/Tech
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:
Conversnitch

gubecived.jpg
 
Are we now so blasé with our privacy that we think it cool to have a lamp that eavesdrops on our conversations and Tweets random bon mots to the public? This is the question artists Brian House and Kyle McDonald claim they are asking with their listening device Conversnitch, which covertly records conversations and then posts extracts online.

Conversnitch uses a Raspberry Pi mini computer, a microphone, an LED, and a plastic flower pot to spy on us. The bugging device can fit into any standard bulb socket, and transmit any conversation taking place nearby directly to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing service, where they are transcribed and interesting snippets extracted, which are then posted onto the Conversnitch Twitter feed.

Here’s how House & McDonald describe their product:

Conversnitch is a small device that automatically tweets overheard conversations, bridging the gap between (presumed) private physical space and public space online.

Information moves between spaces that might be physical or virtual, free or proprietary, illegal or playful, spoken or transcribed.

Yep, we all know our governments can and do listen into our private conversations, store our email and keep tabs on us, and House & McDonald probably think they are doing something quite radical to make us examine all of this invasion of privacy. Personally, I think these guys have created a gimmick to draw attention to themselves, and three cheers for that. But more troublingly, they are probably just making it slightly more acceptable for our privacy to be invaded whether by governments, businesses, Google, Facebook or even your local neighborhood hipster, and that’s not edgy. Conversnitch is not making governments more accountable or businesses more ethical, it’s making the public more vulnerable, and ultimately more oppressed.
 

 
Via Slate

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Heaven Is For Real’ kid’s interview on Fox News is COMEDY GOLD


 

Sean Hannity: Do you think everybody goes to Heaven?

Colton Burpo: Um…. No. Not everybody does go to Heaven.

Sean Hannity: How do you know?

Colton Burpo, the little boy who had an NDE on an operating table a few years back and claimed to have been to Heaven, has had his experiences “there” recounted in several Heaven is for Real books that have sold like hotcakes to people desperate to believe they will live forever in the Kingdom of Heaven, eternally youthful, kickin’ it with their homeboy Jesus C. and all the dead people they ever knew.

Watch this clip of Colton promoting his parents’ books (his dad is a minister and radio broadcaster, natch) and a major Hollywood film about to come out based on this fiction. From where I’m sitting it seems rather obvious that this kid is lying through his teeth and Sean Hannity is just too stupid not to uncritically believe every word of it.

This is truly remarkable, Marjoe Gortner-level hoodoo nonsense. Even by the admittedly sad standards of Fox News, this is riveting in its abject stupidity…

Colton Burpo: Heaven is… such an amazing place and… and you just want to be there for a long time. I mean, I didn’t wanna come back.

Sean Hannity: What’s the difference… in other words, what did you see? What did you feel? Who did you meet?

Colton Burpo: Well, I saw a lot of stuff… In Heaven there are a lot of colors, but there’s even more than we have down here on Earth. Also I got to meet my great grandpa and my sister who was miscarriaged and… it just feels like home.

Hannity: And she came up to you? Are you there physically or spiritually?

Colton Burpo: You are there physically. You do have your own body.

Hannity: You were there in your body?

Colton Burpo: Well, not my earthly body, they were working on my earthly body.

Hannity: It’s the same? You look the same, relatively speaking?

Colton Burpo: Relatively speaking. If you die an old man or an old woman, you’ll be in your prime, like your late 20s, early 30s.

Hannity: And you say that you met Jesus Christ and God. (Colton nods) Can you describe God and Jesus Christ?

Colton Burpo: Well, Jesus was more like the humanoid version. He’s the one you can relate to because he… loves you so much and he’s actually your size, so you can like walk with him and talk with him.

Hannity: And you talked with him?

Colton Burpo: Yes.

Hannity: And he talked to you?

Colton Burpo: Yes.

Hannity: What did he say?

Colton Burpo: Well, I can’t remember what all it was that we talked about because some of it he even taught me! God has not allowed me to remember what Jesus has taught me.

Hannity: You saw God?

It just gets worse—and even more painfully funny—from there…

You can easily see why Hannity’s audience would eat this shit up, because it sounds exactly like something they already believe. Of course every mean old Archie Bunker watching Fox News will be young again in Heaven. Forever and ever! Throw away that Viagra! No need for it in Heaven, you’ll be 30 again soon, dude…

This is why there needs to a separation between church and state: America is a country full to the bursting point with idiots.
 

 
Via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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The truth about Joseph Stalin’s half-man, half-ape super army
03.26.2014
03:13 pm

Topics:
Science/Tech
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:
Mad Scientists

sepaelttab111.jpg
 
In December 2005, The Scotsman newspaper published a story about “Stalin’s half-man, half-ape super-warriors”:

THE Soviet dictator Josef Stalin ordered the creation of Planet of the Apes-style warriors by crossing humans with apes, according to recently uncovered secret documents.

Moscow archives show that in the mid-1920s Russia’s top animal breeding scientist, Ilya Ivanov, was ordered to turn his skills from horse and animal work to the quest for a super-warrior.

According to Moscow newspapers, Stalin told the scientist: “I want a new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat.”

In 1926 the Politburo in Moscow passed the request to the Academy of Science with the order to build a “living war machine”. The order came at a time when the Soviet Union was embarked on a crusade to turn the world upside down, with social engineering seen as a partner to industrialisation: new cities, architecture, and a new egalitarian society were being created.

The Scotsman must have thought they had uncovered one of Soviet Russia’s darkest secrets. The article went on to detail how Stalin financed a scientist Doctor Ivanoff with $200,000 to find out if it was possible to create a human-ape hybrid, the “Humanzee.” 

In order to do this, Ivanoff decided he had to impregnate chimpanzees with human sperm. With assistance from the Pasteur Institute, Ivanoff was able to use their primate facility in Conakry, Guinea to carry out his experiments. It was in 1926, Ivanoff had three chimpanzees artificially impregnated at the facility. However, the experiment failed.

Back in Russia, Ivanoff decided to impregnate Russian women with ape sperm. A “Woman G” was set to be impregnated with orangutan sperm, but the donor ape (called “Tarzan”) died, and the experiment was canceled. In one of Stalin’s political purges, Ivanoff was removed form office, and died not longer after.

However, as explained in this documentary on the “Humanzee,” Ivanoff was not creating a hybrid ape army, but was attempting to discredit religious belief in creationism. For Ivanoff hoped his experiments in cross-fertilization would prove (once and for all) the evolutionary theory that man came from apes.

The documentary tends to errs on the more sensationalist aspects of this story before hurriedly tying-up the true story of the “Humanzee.” It also includes the tale of Xena, a “hairy woman,” believed to be a seven-foot-tall “abanu,” or ape-human; and the very disturbing Doctor Moreau-like experiments of Doctor Robert White, who transplanted a living monkey head onto another monkey’s dead body in 1970.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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World’s angriest lady tries to justify driving 70 MPH in a 35 MPH zone during her test drive
03.23.2014
08:39 am

Topics:
Amusing
Hysteria
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:
Angry people


 
A poor car dealership salesman takes a wild test drive with one extremely irate woman. Her “reasoning” for being such an a-hole is er, something else.

There are a lot of F-bombs dropped here, so you may want to wear some headphones if you’re at work.

 
Via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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A capella heavy metal will incinerate the tyranny of talent and set the world free to rock
02.18.2014
10:20 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:
EyeSea
Dokaka
Jud Jud


 
Despite the brave and noble efforts of the iconoclastic naifs espousing punk’s anyone-can-play ethos, almost all music still remains captive ‘neath the omnipowerful thumb of the instrumentally and compositionally adequate. But this hegemonic stranglehold of the modicum-of-talent nazis does not go unchallenged. In the underbelly of heavy metal—a genre whose tradition for shredding solos unfairly excludes the totally giftless from giving life to their creative visions unless they play bass—a visionary movement is emerging that defies the ironfisted rule of able craft by doing away with instruments.
 

 
First, there were the onomatopoetic godfathers Jud Jud. Formed by members of Assück and Murder-Suicide Pact, their instruments were their voices, “Left Jud” and “Right Jud.” Accordingly, you’ll want to bust out the headphones for this (and maybe a little ganj, bruh), as there are MINDBLOWING STEREO TRICKS. Just because you’re not playing anything doesn’t mean you can’t like totally explore the studio as an instrument, man.
 

Jud Jud—”Fast Song”
 

Jud Jud—”Wah Wah Song”
 
There’s a pigpile of free Jud Jud MP3s at WFMU’s blog. Go getcha some.
 

 
The next artist to come along and smash the tyranny of capability was the Japanese master Dokaka. Though not strictly a metal artist, his completely awesome re-interpretations of metal classics utterly shame the instrumentally apt original artists with the steely-eyed determination of the outsider with something to prove.
 

Dokaka—”Angel of Death” (Slayer)
 

Dokaka—”The Trooper” (Iron Maiden)

But lo, on the horizon, an upstart! Jud Jud and Dokaka have taken aim at the cruelly despotic autocracy of having what it takes by substituting scat vocals for instrumental beds, and they’ve even spawned some pale imitations, but via Music For Maniacs, we learn of the brutal emergence of Blue Tapes’ recording artists EyeSea, who eschew even that:

EyeSea’s “blue ten” is an entire album of Cookie Monster vocals going ‘rowr rowr rowr’, screams, and silences. And they don’t cheat by sneaking in other sounds - there really are no other instruments.  Are they even “singing” in English, or is this a guy clearing his throat for 22 minutes?

LISTEN UPON THESE WORKS, YE MIGHTY, AND DESPAIR.
 

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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The most racist preacher in America?


 
Is Brother Donny Reagan of the Happy Valley Church of Jesus Christ in Johnson City, Tennessee, the “most racist pastor in America”? This is what The American Jesus blog is wondering. Surely he’s one of the dumbest.

Brother Reagan begins his remarks in the video below by informing his congregation that he is probably “going to make some people mad.” He’s apparently not self-aware enough to realize that some other people are going to simply point and laugh at him, but I believe it’s safe to say that self-awareness is not a quality the good Lord bestowed upon Donny boy here in any appreciable amount.

“Today we have so much fussing and stewing about this segregation of white and colored and everything. Why don’t they leave it alone? Let it be the way God made it.”

Wait, what?

“There is a move in the message, of blacks marrying whites, whites marrying blacks. And folks think that is alright, but you know, my God still has nationalities outside the city.’

“Nationalities outside the city”! I LOL’d at that line. Brother Donny’s congregation, clearly consisting of low IQ buffoons like himself, shout “Amen!” as Reagan reads from his prepared remarks. I wonder how these intellectually challenged folks vote, don’t you? [Me, neither, that doesn’t even qualify as a rhetorical question does it?]

“Hybreeding, hybreeding, oh how terrible. They hybreed the people. You know it’s a big molding pot. I’ve got hundreds of precious colored friends that’s borned again Christians. But on this line of segregation, hybreeding the people. What, tell me what fine cultured, fine Christian colored woman would want her baby to be a mulatto by a white man? No sir, it’s not right.”

At 2:19, Brother Donny makes an honest admission:

“Now friends I’m not very smart.”

Um, that’s right you inbred cracker fuck calling for MORE INBREEDING!!!!

DNA doesn’t work that way, Bro.

Dumb Donny goes on to say:

“If God wanted a man brown, black, white, whatever color he wanted him, that God’s creation. That’s the way he wanted it.”

Uh, you heard the man… As the Firesign Theater once said “Good lord, a stiff idiot is the worst kind.”
 

 
Via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Dozens of douchebags wish Sarah Palin a happy 50th birthday


 
Dozens of Republican asshats wish reality tee-vee star Sarah Palin a happy 50th birthday in this video, including Newt Gingrich, the homophobic Duck Dynasty dude, Sen. Ted “I’m Canadian” Cruz, some cheerful NRA “mothers,” RNC chairman Reince Priebus (if that is, in fact, his real name), talk radio hate-spewer Michael Savage, SC governor Nikki Haley, thick-fingered vulgarian Donald Trump and of course, Sen. John McCain who we have to, er, “thank” that we even know this airhead’s name in the first place.

I wonder why they shut down comments on YouTube? Actually, I don’t wonder about that….
 

 
Via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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If you can’t beat ‘em, cheat ‘em: Republicans pull shenanigans to confuse voters—then brag about it
02.04.2014
01:02 pm

Topics:
Politics
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:
Republicans

Nick Rahall
Visit the fake GOP “anti-site” of Nick Rahall (D-WV)
 
What does a political party do when it can’t win on personality and it can’t win on the issues? That’s the problem faced by the Republican Party these days. The most visible Republicans in the last year have been Mitt Romney, Ted Cruz, and John Boehner, whose dyspeptic crimson mug grimaced at every positive-sounding notion President Obama uttered during last week’s State of the Union address. To judge from that spectacle, Republicans get queasy at the thought of such radical notions as food stamps and equal pay for women.

Meanwhile, it’s been a truism for many years now that the Republicans have had to overcome perceived deficits on the issues. My favorite example of this came around the 2004 election, when polls revealed that Bush voters (that is, people who liked Bush and his issue set) were prone to attributing positions to Bush himself that were markedly more liberal than anything Bush himself believed. Here, look:
 

In particular, majorities or Bush supporters incorrectly assumed that he supports multilateral approaches to various international issues, including the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) (69 percent), the land mine treaty (72 percent), and the Kyoto Protocol to curb greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming (51 percent).

In August, two thirds of Bush supporters also said they believed that Bush supported the International Criminal Court (ICC), although in the latest poll, that figure dropped to a 53 percent majority, even though Bush explicitly denounced the ICC in the most widely watched nationally televised debate of the campaign in late September.

In all of these cases, majorities of Bush supporters said they favored the positions that they imputed, incorrectly, to Bush.

 
The point is that conservatives frequently have to pretend to hold liberal—or at least moderate—positions in order to win national election. The Democrats currently face little pressure of that sort.

We can argue about which party’s platform has a better purchase on the issues; what’s salient here that the Republicans are the ones behaving as if they have to game the system in order to win. Republican attempts to limit voter participation in the 2012 election were well documented and even, perversely, may have actually contributed to Democratic gains due to the outraged reaction on the part of Democratic constituents, especially black Democrats.

Now there’s a brand new bit of GOP bullshittery to reckon with—Republican websites designed to look like the web presence of Democrats running for Congress. Shane Goldmacher at National Journal caught it in December; Alex Pareene at Salon wrote about it earlier today.

The websites have targeted Amanda Renteria (CA), Martha Roberston (NY), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Domenic Recchia (NY), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Nick Rahall (WV), Alex Sink (FL), and John Tierney (MA), among others. In each case, somebody—presumably the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), but we’ll get to that in a moment—has taken out an apparently “official” pro-candidate website like every candidate for Congress has, except that once you get past the deceptive optics, the content of the site is stridently hostile to the candidate whose name is on the website, and donations are solicited to defeat the candidate. (I know just what you’re thinking: At least it didn’t say, “Click here to donate to the candidate!” with the money getting funneled to his or her opponent. Although from a semiotic point of view, it kinda does say that.)
 
Martha Robertson
Visit the fake GOP “anti-site” of Martha Robertson (D-NY)
 
As to the authorship: if you look at, say, http://martha-robertson.com, you’ll see at the bottom the following text: “Contributions to the National Republican Congressional Committee are not deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes. Paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. www.nrcc.org.” If you click on “Donate” (just above the text “Fed up with Martha Robertson? – Sign up Today”), you are directed to https://www.nrcc.org/martha-robertson-congress/contribute/, where, confusingly, underneath a decently sized banner that says “Martha Robertson for Congress,” the text asks you to “Make a contribution today to help defeat Martha Robertson and candidates like her.” It’s unlikely that an imposter (i.e. not the NRCC) would be able to concoct a page at the NRCC website.

The headline and subhead of Goldmacher’s article is “Republican Look-Alike Sites Mocking Democrats May Violate Rules / Could targeted Democrats get the last laugh when it comes to anti-candidate microsites?” Goldmacher quoted Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan campaign watchdog group, to the effect that the websites constitute a violation of election law: “This doesn’t even strike me as a close call. It’s a slam dunk.” Additionally, Goldmacher similarly cited Larry Noble, a former general counsel of the FEC and now the head of a bipartisan Americans for Campaign Reform: “Part of their attempt is to sow confusion and draw people there who would be looking for the candidate’s website. All the candidate has is their name.” One of the problems with the Federal Election Commission is that their investigations are measured in years, not weeks. By the time they administer a ruling, the damage has already been done.
 
Domenic Recchia
Visit the fake GOP “anti-site” of Domenic Recchia (D-NY)
 
Pareene says that the Republicans have taken out Google Ads intended to direct Internet users to the fake sites:
 

As of now, there are at least six of these fake sites, all promoted with Google ads to make them appear at the very top of searches, with that barely legible yellow background (denoting paid links) that Google hopes you don’t notice. At least one person accidentally donated to the RNC while intending to donate to a Democratic candidate. The NRCC agreed to refund his donation, but obviously people who never realize they were tricked won’t ask for refunds. It may not be quite Nixonian, but yes, solid dirty trick, NRCC.

 
My attempts to generate these Google Ads on Google did not meet with success, which suggests at least the possibility that Google itself has intervened.

Curiously, the NRCC isn’t even bothering to deny the charges—it’s bragging about the technique. Last September Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Georgia, deputy chairman of the NRCC, bragged in a fundraising pitch to donors:
 

We ruined three Democrats’ campaign launches last week and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (Pelosi’s campaign machine) couldn’t be more upset.

1. Democrat John Lewis announced he was running for Congress in Montana, but we bought JohnLewis4Congress.com beforehand and have made sure that anyone who searches for him online ends up visiting our site instead.

The Democrats didn’t see that coming. In fact, they were so caught off-guard that Lewis still doesn’t have his own campaign website up yet!

2. We also did this to the Democratic candidate in West Virginia’s 3rd District with NickRahallForCongress.com.

3. Last but not least, we beat the Democrats to the punch by buying EldridgeForCongress2014.com before Sean Eldridge even launched his own campaign! The Democrats desperately want to win back New York’s 19th Congressional District but thanks to this it’s not going well.

 
The Republicans have been behaving like a a goon squad for quite a few years now. We don’t have to rehash every step of the way since the Monica Lewinsky coup/impeachment and Bush-Gore 2000 to be confident in the truth of that assessment. There will come a day when even conservatives try to win on the issues. But it looks like we’ll have to wait a while for that day.

I couldn’t find any video on this yet, but here’s a similar story from 2012 with no apparent partisan value, in which regular scammers imitated the official web presences of the two major parties for a much more basic reason: greed.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Just like punk, except it’s cars’: Subaru’s unintentionally hilarious ‘grunge’ commercial


 
The out-of-left-field commercial success of grunge in the early ‘90s took practically everyone by surprise, and produced a lot of amusing and embarrassing attempts to play catch-up (couture flannel on fashion runways and the brilliantly played grunge-speak hoax at the expense of the New York TImes were among my favorites), but watching the advertising and marketing industries in particular caught with their pants down was illuminating. Never before or since have the massive promotional machines that drive the American status-anxiety economy been caught so unprepared, and forced to scramble so publicly to chase a demographic it hadn’t yet even begun to comprehend. Some of them nailed it—Fruitopia, for example, was pretty gross, and its pandering was shamefully transparent, but they sure did sell a metric shitload of sugar-water for awhile. But successes aren’t as funny as massive public failures.

In 1992, somebody decided that it would be a great idea to sell Subaru’s newly-introduced Impreza by filming a grunge kid making proto-Dane Cook gesticulations and explaining to us that “This car is like PUNK ROCK!” Nevermind (sorry) that in spite of grunge chart successes most people still thought of punk as the milieu of unhygienic, violent, misanthropic dropouts—because IT WAS. Never mind the utter absurdity of drawing an equivalence between an explosive expression of rage against complacency and a drab, modest grocery store assault vehicle. And never mind that almost nobody who might be moved by such an appeal had money or credit for a brand new car. There were so many perfectly sensible arguments against attempting such a stupefyingly dumb marketing tactic, and yet this happened anyway… Talk about Crass commercialism (again, sorry!)

Astute readers (and people who can see the plainly visible caption on the video) may recognize the young actor in this total mistake as Jeremy Davies, who would quickly overcome all this unfortunate business with his starring role in the well-received indie feature Spanking The Monkey. He’d go on to a lauded performance in Saving Private Ryan, and he even appeared in Lars von Trier’s daring experimental films Dogville and Manderlay. His filmography is impressive, but he’s probably most widely recognized from his portrayal of Daniel Faraday in seasons four and five of ABC’s cult hit Lost.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Is the Ku Klux Klan distributing lollipops with its recruiting literature?
01.22.2014
04:47 am

Topics:
Idiocracy
Race
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:
Ku Klux Klan

Lollipop
 
The talented Emily V. Gordon, cohost of the delightful gaming podcast The Indoor Kids and recently the manager of the NerdMelt comedy space in Hollywood, yesterday wrote a post on her Gynomite! blog in which she calls attention to a possible disturbing trend in the recruitment practices of the KKK.

It’s barely more than a sentence: “In my own hometown, the KKK is putting lollipops alongside their stupid flyers in people’s driveways. Fucking ridiculous.” Gordon linked to a gallery posted by imgur user crick3t4.

Under the image at the top of this page, crick3t4 wrote, “My daughter found this at the end of our driveway, candy and hmmmm.” The paper inside the bag is pictured below.
 
Klan literature
 
Gordon hails from the Winston-Salem area of North Carolina, and the area code in the leaflet, 336, corresponds to the Winston-Salem area too. So if you live near there, tell your children to beware of intolerant white men bearing candy.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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