Self-destructing thumb drives with smoke loads, glowing elements, tiny explosives

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MG’s Mr Self Destruct project takes the USB Killer to new levels, combining a $1.50 system-on-a-chip with a variety of payloads: smoke bombs, “sound grenades,” and little explosives, cleverly choreographed with keystroke emulation, allowing the poisoned drive to first cause the connected computer to foreground a browser and load a web-page that plays an appropriate animation (a jack-in-the-box that plays “Pop Goes the Weasel” with the drive’s explosive detonating for the climax).


SE Ranking helps keep your website at the top of search rankings

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The web may be a big place, but space is certainly limited when it comes to securing a spot on that first page of a Google search. That’s why investing in your site’s SEO is critical for staying relevant and ensuring the appropriate audience finds you. Thankfully, doing so just got a bit easier with SE Ranking, and now you can sign up for a personal plan for $49.99.

SE Ranking delivers all the standard SEO tools, like keyword position tracking and competitor research, while also loading in unique features like page changes monitoring and SEO ROI forecasts. You can audit as many pages as you need while receiving actionable recommendations on the go. Plus, you can discover what keywords your competitors are using in their ads to give you an edge online.

You can net a lifetime personal plan of SE Ranking for $49.99 in the Boing Boing Store.

Becoming a mother in a Rohingya refugee camp

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This was her third baby. She was accustomed to the harsh realities of motherhood in a life in poverty. But I wasn’t.

I’m a midwife. I was volunteering at one of the camp clinics when I was called to visit Rojinessa on the morning after her baby was born. I walked about half a mile into the sprawling refugee camps to her tent and stepped inside. The tent was smoky and very dark. I could hardly breathe. I asked one of the Bangladeshi midwives who came with me to open the flap of plastic sheeting that served as a door.

Rojinessa was sitting on the concrete floor on a thin woven mat. The remains of a small fire was inches from her “bed.” She and her husband and her now three children live in a one bedroom tent in the middle of what used to be a rice field. Cows bathe in the small polluted stream that bubbles twelve feet from the structure.

I don’t know what happened during the birth because I wasn’t there. All volunteers are required to leave the camps by 5 pm every day. Most babies are born at night, so even as trained medical personnel, we are cold comfort to the mothers giving birth in the camps. Plus, I don’t speak the Rohingya dialect. And neither, it seems, do many others. The Chittagong dialect of Bangla, I’m told, is somewhat similar, but miscommunications are all too common as we play “telephone” from English to Bangla to Rohingya.

Rojinessa’s blood pressure and pulse were normal. She didn’t have a fever. She complained of weakness, dizziness, fatigue. No kidding. She hadn’t eaten anything but rice in days. Her family could not afford to buy one of the live chickens sold at the pop-up market by the road. We had nothing to give her but a few biscuits and… you guessed it, more rice, with a few lentils mixed in. She had no menstrual pads to catch postpartum bleeding. We were able to bring her some from the clinic.

Her baby was vigorous and hungry. Good signs. She popped him on her breast to nurse like she had done it hundreds of times before. Fantastic.

Pregnant women in Ukhia sometimes walk miles to receive care at one of the women’s-only clinics sprinkled throughout the camps. The clinics themselves are tents. Only a few of them have electricity. Most of them lack the equipment to provide the most basic prenatal and postpartum care. Running a routine lab test is out of the question, much less listening to a fetus on a heart rate monitor or ordering an ultrasound. We have to use our hands, our ears and eyes, and hope for the best.

If there is a true emergency, we can refer a patient to the Red Crescent or MSF hospital tents a few miles down the road, where they have some more capabilities. But there are a number of reasons a woman might not go. Maybe her husband won’t give her permission. Or he can’t give her permission because he’s out working in the fields. Or she doesn’t have anyone to watch her other children.

Rohingya mothers grow small babies. They often have trouble producing enough milk for their babies because they don’t have enough food themselves. All of the people in the camps are malnourished. They have been trapped in a state of abject poverty since long before they fled their homes. At the clinic we give each mother a small package of high-calorie cookies and a fist-sized bag of rice with lentils at every visit – which is about once a month. The food is encouragement to come and get care. But it isn’t anywhere near enough.

Rojinessa and her baby survived birth in the camp. Not all do. Hopefully they will continue to survive and her baby boy will grow into one of the many children running and playing everywhere in the camps. They play soccer with empty plastic jugs and make kites out of bamboo sticks and plastic bags. But survival is about all they can hope for. Without a home and without access to education, without the legal right to work, her family, as well as the other hundreds of thousands of families in the camps, continues to face a desolate future.

Firen Jones is a midwife from Texas who has found her home in San Francisco. She spends her time catching babies, running her midwifery practice, and occasionally getting to travel the world and volunteer. You can find her through her website, blog, or on Medium.

Sicko parents who tortured their children renew their vows in this creepy 2015 video

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David and Louise Turpin, the monsters who starved and tortured their 13 children, had a cheesy renewal wedding in 2015, which featured a bad Elvis imitator as their poor children, all dressed in matching church fashion, are forced to watch and then dance on stage in mock joy. This video has the same effect as a David Lynch movie, except it’s real.

Science paper’s abstract has one word

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Do Large (Magnitude ?8) Global Earthquakes Occur on Preferred Days of the Calender Year of Lunar Cycle?


This wasn’t the first time an earthquake-related research question was answered with a single word. Another paper from 1974 posed a similar question, basically, do earthquakes occur randomly in time, and answered it “yes.” In this case, the evidence suggests something similar: Earthquakes don’t occur on preferred days of the year, solar or lunar.

“That was the point of the exercise, in fact: to boil lunar/tidal triggering down to the questions that most people think about,” Hough told Gizmodo in an email. “Once it was clear there is no evidence for a significant correlation, the abstract wrote itself =)”

The rOtring 600: a classic mechanical pencil now made in Japan

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The legendary German rOtring 600 mechanical penicl is now made in Japan. I had to have one.

I once spent a day of wandering around London because my girlfriend had forgotten her .3mm architects pencil that she just neeeeeeded for whatever reason. She stayed in our AirBNB, drank tea, and probably read books all day while I looked for mechanical pencils. When I finally found a shop that carried more than just Pentel in plastic bubble wrap, I was given a lesson in the style and quality of automagic penciling — evidently my Autopoint is for low class Americans and anyone with any taste or style uses a rOtring 600.

The rOtring 600 is all metal. It has an octagonal shaft, and a lovely, finely textured grip. The eraser holder has an indicator for lead hardness, much like an old camera did for ASA. When you click it pencil lead comes out, and those clicks are precise. This is a well made mechanical pencil that will last for ages. The rOtring is only $16 in .5mm.

You can find this model in lead thicknesses of .3mm, .5mm and .7mm — .5 writes at about the same thickness as my Autopoint .9, with my hand.

If you like the feel of a tiny, pencil making very precise scratches on paper — the rOtring 600 is for you. If you want a big honkin’ AMERICAN pencil, get an Autopoint in .9.

The rOtring 600 inspired one of my favorite two daily use fountain pens, the Levenger L-Tech 3.0 in stealth.

Oh, and I got the woman a Pentel P203. She is long gone, but left the pencil behind.

rOtring 600 0.5mm Silver Barrel Mechanical Pencil via Amazon

We only see 5% of the universe

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Astrophysicist Katie Mack ( created this startling pie-chart to illustrate the ratio of observed matter to dark matter and energy, the invisible bulk of the universe.

From her 2014 article, The Dark Matter Poltergeist:

So what do we know? We know dark matter is real—the evidence is overwhelming. Something must be responsible for the extra gravity messing with the motions of stars and galaxies. If that doesn’t convince you, you can look to gravitational lensing—the bending of light around massive objects. The presence of dark matter accounts for the way the light from distant stars and galaxies is distorted as it travels through the universe, following the gravitationally induced curving of space-time itself. If motion and lensing don’t convince you, look at the evidence that galaxies existed within a billion years of the Big Bang. Without dark matter as a kind of cosmic glue, galaxies would have taken much longer to form, as the gravity of gas and dust and stars had to fight against the pressure of all that matter colliding and heating up. Or just take a look at the Bullet Cluster. It’s the aftermath of a cosmic collision in which clusters of galaxies collided but the bulk of the matter passed right through the collision, in the way only ghostly dark matter could.

Score 15 marketing courses for a price you choose

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Ask any marketing guru, and they’ll tell you that social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are an essential part of their everyday toolbox. So, whether you’re looking to build your own brand or market someone else’s for a pretty penny, understanding social media marketing is a must, and getting started is easy with the Pay What You Want Social Marketing Mastery Bundle. This bundle boasts more than 15 courses on the subject, and they can be all yours for a price you choose.

Here’s how the deal works: Simply pay what you want, and you’ll instantly unlock two of the collection’s 15 courses. Beat the average price paid, and you’ll get the remaining 13 at no extra charge.

From writing Facebook ads to optimizing campaigns with Google AdWords, this collection delivers a complete digital marketing education. You’ll have more than 75 hours of training at your disposal as you explore tried-and-true copywriting techniques and unique approaches to capturing leads on specific platforms, like Snapchat, Periscope, and Twitter.

Kickstart your digital marketing education for a price you choose with the Pay What You Want Social Marketing Mastery Bundle.

Here’s an amazing three-year timelapse of Seattle shot from atop the Space Needle

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Since January 2015, the high-def 360 panoramic webcam on top of the Space Needle has been consistently capturing images every ten minutes of Seattle. Ricardo Martin Brualla took that footage and made this super-groovy timelapse video.

He explains his process in depth on Hackernoon:

I started with two full panoramas a day for the last two years, more than 2000 panos. Then, the sequence was stabilized, as the camera shakes and moves over time, either by being knocked, or because of the wind and other forces of nature. The final step was to smooth temporally the sequence, to remove the variation due to weather and lighting conditions.

Also, he’s created a bunch of GIFs that highlight some of the cooler parts of the video (like the one below). Be sure to check them out.


A review of Starbucks’ fancy $80 mug

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YouTuber Dave Lee starts off his video review by saying that he went into Starbucks during the holidays to get a cup of coffee and was soon persuaded by their heavy advertising to buy an $80 Ember mug*.

“So basically I got conned into buying this thing,” he says.

He goes on to talk about the Ember, which is a ceramic temperature control mug. It measures the temperature of your your coffee or tea (or whatever hot beverage) and let’s you decide what temperature you want it to be all day. It also syncs with the Ember’s smartdevice app.

He likes it overall but has some issues with it. For example, it doesn’t hold the full 10 ounces unless it’s filled to the brim. It holds more like eight to eight and a half ounces.

While I appreciate Dave’s thorough review, if I’m spending $80 for a mug, it had better be making and serving me my hot beverage on a silver platter. I recently got a $40 electric kettle and — call me old fashioned, if you will — when I want to heat up my tea, I simply get off my butt, walk over to flip the kettle on, and take a break while I wait for it to heat up.

*Ember’s travel mug version is a mere $150!

Previously: Man creates a snarky review of his office’s janky $1K/yr water cooler

A gritty Netflix-style documentary on the Tide Pods epidemic

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The folks at Reality Check Documentaries took the trailer for Netflix’s gritty drug-crime docuseries DOPE and made it into a clever parody for the “Tide Pods epidemic.” It works a little too well, imo.

The official trailer for #TideDoc a documentary exploring the struggles and lives of pushers and the police in their never ending cat and mouse game.

Previously: Now there’s Tide Pods sushi and, yes, it’s edible

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