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      Drunken gentleman on a high-speed train threatens the engineer with a fire extinguisher for speeding

      A sloshed gentleman thought the high-speed train he was traveling on was moving too fast and became aggressive, grabbing a fire extinguisher and smashing a window in hopes of saving the day.

      According to USA Today:

      Police say passengers said the man took a fire extinguisher off the wall, smashed a glass door separating the cab from the passenger compartment, and told the shocked driver the train was going much too fast and he had to save the passengers.


      Federal police said the ICE train operated by Germany's Deutsche Bahn stopped near Frankfurt after the incident Sunday morning. The 30-year-old man from Heideberg, who wasn't identified, was arrested and faces an investigation into dangerous interference in rail traffic, among other things.

      Fortunately, his heroic act did not injure any passengers.

      Image: Max Pixel

      What's wrong with blaming "information" for political chaos

      David Perell's 13,000 word essay, "What the Hell is Going On?" presents a reassuring -- and contrarian -- view on how our current dysfunction in politics, media, and business has come to pass, drawing on orthodox economic theories about "information asymmetry" in a way that makes the whole thing seem like a kind of adjustment period between a middling old world and a fine new one. (more…)

      LA Magazine wrote an entire article on how cool Souplantation is

      I do remember eating at Souplantation when I lived in LA. Buffets were soul-less and scary unless they were at an Indian food restaurant where they became pretty hilarious. All you can eat and drink sushi was awesome.

      LA Magazine sure makes Souplantation sound like a buffet-style restaurant to me.

      LA Magazine:

      Since its founding by a surfer in 1978, Souplantation has survived bankruptcy, an e-coli outbreak, and food-stealing customers. The restaurant is treated like a punchline on social media, but certain locations—like the one at Beverly Connection which, until recently, featured a quote from Fran Lebowitz on its walls—seem to be thriving.

      “It doesn’t have a bleak Sizzler vibe,” says Bethany Cosentino, one-half of the band Best Coast. “It’s its own mood and its own thing, and the pure joy it brings me can never ever be replaced by any other salad bar—not even the Whole Foods one.”

      Some still can’t get over the name. Search Twitter for “Souplantation” and the results are a mix of pop culture GIFs and bafflement that a restaurant in 2019 would want to associate boiling liquids and broccoli dishes with the history of slavery. (Throughout most of the country, the chain is called Sweet Tomatoes.)

      The Smorgasbord at the Magic Castle was one of the scariest things I've ever seen.

      John Oliver looks at public shaming on the internet

      John Oliver shows how innocent people's lives can be destroyed by unwarranted public shaming. As an example, he gives the example of the woman who "sued her nephew" for injuring her by hugging her too hard.? The real story is more complicated - the woman was forced to sue her nephew to get the insurance company to pay her bills (and her nephew and her parents were happy about it). As a result of the public shaming online, no one would hire her, and she had to change her identity.


      He also interviewed Monica Lewinsky about her thoughts on public shaming, having been a victim of it for years.

      SGeek goes nuts for Audeze Mobius headphones

      I recently received a pair of Audeze Mobius to review and I have to agree with Lisabel's "HOLY SHIT!"

      I am too new with these cans to give them a thorough review but my initial impression is that Audeze has figured out how to make their incredible planar magnetic headphone technology accessible to folks for an all-in price of around $400.

      Typically, if you dive into the world of high-end audiophile headphones you are going to need a DAC and a specialized headphone amplifier in addition to cans. There is a lot of dickery about which headphones and what components sound best to whomever the hell is writing in an internet forum at this exact moment in time.

      The Audeze Mobius have all the hardware built-in to the set of headphones!

      You do not need to spend 1-2x more on components than you already did on headphones. You can take the Mobius out of the box, connect them via USB, Bluetooth or a 3.5mm jack to almost any source. You absolutely everything you need and can skip there "where is that one magic cable?" experience after spending $1000s on gear you can not connect.

      While billed as "Gaming" headphones the Mobius are really much, much more than that. I am looking forward to a call with Audeze CEO Sankar Thiagasamudram sometime this week to start really diving into the functionality of the headset.

      I was blown away with them in video games. Watching TV and movies are a whole new world where the audio is really evocative of a well-designed movie theater.

      Can't wait to play with them more.

      Audeze Mobius Premium 3D Gaming Headset via Amazon

      Publisher's Note: I consulted for Audeze, under a prior CEO, for a few months, seven or eight years ago. I have had no contact with the company since and am reviewing the headphones because I am super enthusiastic about the technology.

      NYT reviews Citizen, a live map of crimes in your city

      After reading this NY Times review of Citizen, which seems to be a Next Door on steroids,? I downloaded the app to see what's happening in the part of LA I live in:






      It looks like I'm living in the movie, Children of Men.

      From the review:

      It is not clear, at first, where Citizen’s reports come from or how they’re selected. But they arrive constantly, in an authoritative voice, providing the app’s signature ambient sense of alarm and disorder.

      Under the hood, Citizen is essentially a transcription service for emergency radio. The company employs teams of people to listen to police, fire and emergency radio transmissions and to submit certain categories of incident for including in the app. (“Citizen has a detailed editorial guide about what goes into the app and why,” Mr. Donald said. “Citizen does not include, for example, suicides inside a private residence, suspicious people, or vague suspect descriptions.”)

      Facebook's year-old "improvements" to the newsfeed have elevated enraging Fox News posts to the service's dominant form

      A year ago, smarting over public criticism of its role in promoting division and stoking racism, Facebook announced a major shift in its newsfeed algorithm which would downrank posts from media organizations and uprank the things sent by your friends on the network, in the name of promotion a gentler form of "engagement" that would emphasize discourse over clickbait, which founder Mark Zuckerberg promised would be "time well spent." (more…)

      Humans have a sixth sense for Earth's magnetic field

      A new study suggests that humans can subconsciously sense Earth's magnetic field. While this capability, called magnetoreception, is well known in birds and fish, there is now evidence that our brains are also sensitive to magnetic fields. The researchers from Caltech and the University of Tokyo measured the brainwaves of 26 participants who were exposed to magnetic fields that could be manipulated. Interestingly, the brainwaves were not affected by upward-pointing fields. From Science News:

      Participants in this study, who all hailed from the Northern Hemisphere, should perceive downward-pointing magnetic fields as natural, whereas upward fields would constitute an anomaly, the researchers argue. Magnetoreceptive animals are known to shut off their internal compasses when encountering weird fields, such as those caused by lightning, which might lead the animals astray. Northern-born humans may similarly take their magnetic sense “offline” when faced with strange, upward-pointing fields...

      Even accounting for which magnetic changes the brain picks up, researchers still don’t know what our minds might use that information for, (Caltech neurobiologist and geophysicist Joseph) Kirschvink says. Another lingering mystery is how, exactly, our brains detect Earth’s magnetic field. According to the researchers, the brain wave patterns uncovered in this study may be explained by sensory cells containing a magnetic mineral called magnetite, which has been found in magnetoreceptive trout as well as in the human brain.

      "Transduction of the Geomagnetic Field as Evidenced from Alpha-band Activity in the Human Brain" (eNeuro)

      "Evidence for a Human Geomagnetic Sense" (Caltech)

      Truck-eating bridge claims a new victim

      On March 13, the driver of a Ryder truck missed multiple warnings signs and ran into infamous "can-opener" bridge in Durham, NC. People have been offering solutions for this problematic bridge for years, but there doesn't seem to one that will take care of the problem.

      What about some kind of system that senses the height of the truck and unfurls a banner from the bridge that reads STOP! in red letters? Here's a mock-up of what I'm thinking:

      Images: YouTube

      For sale: home that inspired Emily Bront?'s Wuthering Heights

      Ponden Hall, a nine bedroom house in Stanbury, West Yorkshire, England, is considered to be the inspiration for Emily Bront?'s Wuthering Heights and sister Anne's Wildfell Hall. The Bront?s spent a great deal of time on the property in the early 1800s. Now it could be yours. Current owner and Bront? superfan Julie Akhurst and her husband have put it on the market for £1.25m. In their twenty years of ownership, they've completed a major, yet careful, renovation and opened it as a B&B for other Bront? geeks. From the Yorkshire Post:

      The most popular B&B room at Ponden Hall is the Earnshaw room. It features a tiny east gable window that exactly fits Emily Bront?’s description in Wuthering Heights of Cathy’s ghost scratching furiously at the glass trying to get in...

      “We think that Emily based that scene on this room because old documents relating to the house describe a box bed in a room across from the library and you can see where it was bolted to the wall by the window. It is just how it is described in Wuthering Heights.

      “Plus the date plaque above the main entrance identifies the hall as being rebuilt in 1801 and Emily’s story starts with that exact date,” says Julie who has had a replica box bed made for the room.

      Unvaccinated high school student is suing the health department for banning him from school during a chicken pox outbreak

      An 18-year-old high school senior is suing the Northern Kentucky Health Department for banning him from school and sports during a chicken pox outbreak. He refuses to get vaccinated because of his "Christian faith," so the Health Department refuses to let him attend school or play sports.

      "The fact that I can't finish my senior year in basketball, like, our last couple of games, it's pretty devastating. I mean, you go through four years of high school playing basketball, you look forward to your senior year," the student, Jerome Kunkel, told WLWT5.

      According to NBC:

      The health department announced the policy Feb. 21 in a letter to parents, citing an outbreak of chickenpox at the school.

      It first warned parents of the outbreak Feb. 5, urging them to get their children vaccinated. By March 14, the school had 32 cases of confirmed chickenpox, according to the health department.

      "The recent actions taken by the Northern Kentucky Health Department regarding the chickenpox outbreak at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart/Assumption Academy was in direct response to a public health threat and was an appropriate and necessary response to prevent further spread of this contagious illness," the health department said in a statement in response to Kunkel's lawsuit.

      Chicken pox is an airborne virus that can also be contracted through physical contact. Although most people get through the illness without any lasting effects, it can be devastating to pregnant women, babies, and people with weakened immune systems.

      Image: by F malan - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9575488

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