Look for hidden dealer fees when buying a car

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A car buying consultant named Tom McParland shows how car dealers sneak in bogus and questionable fees to pad the price. He compared invoices for the same car from two different California car dealers. One dealer charged $10,000 more for the same car.’

From Jalopnik:

Let’s have a look at this quote line by line. The MSRP on the car is $74,765. The dealer is offering a discount of $5,780 and there is a $1,500 rebate from Chevrolet, bringing the total discount $7,280. That seems pretty good for a brand new Corvette.

Then we have a dealer fee of $449, a California tire fee of $8.75 and a documentation fee of $80. All of which are within a reasonable range for additional fees in order to process the paperwork for the loan and registration.

It all goes downhill from there. There is a random non-taxable fee of $131, a “VSA fee” of a whopping $3,500 (I have no idea what this is or why it costs this much), a “Perma Plate” for $995 (license plates are already included in the DMV fees), a GAP insurance policy of $995 and a “maintenance” fee of $2,495 (You don’t really need a maintenance plan on a Corvette.) The grand total for all this comes to an extra $8,116 tacked on!

(I entered the VIN number on the invoice, and this is the car.)

The joy of troubleshooting the Raspberry Pi

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In his Lifehacker essay looking back on his five years of tinkering with the Raspberry Pi, Thorin Klosowski says one of the desirable features of the Pi is the fact that it’s not easy to use right out of the box.

Snip:

The joy I get from finding a solution to some dumb problem is one of the main things that drew me to the Raspberry Pi to begin with. Thankfully, Raspberry Pi projects have gotten easier over the years. Where it was once a complicated process to build an SD card, it’s now pretty much automatic. Still, the Raspberry Pi is far, far away from being as user friendly as a PC or Mac. That’s a feature, not a bug. The Raspberry Pi is built to force you to learn troubleshooting, and that’s still one of my favorite things about it.

Before hobbyists latched onto the Raspberry Pi, it was a computer for learning how to code targeted mainly at kids. Since then, the appeal has broadened, but it’s still impossible for a project to “just work” out of the box. You will have to tweak something, dig into the command line, or spend a few hours buried in an obscure internet forum to find solutions to problems that only you seem to be having. You will slam your head against the wall, yell a little, and throw your Raspberry Pi at least once for every project you attempt to make.

For every project you complete, for every bug you squash, and for every typo you correct, comes a small, glowing feeling inside your stomach that is well worth the trouble of it all. Troubleshooting is a way of processing the world at large, but if you’re not putting those if-then skills to the test repeatedly, you will lose them.

Image: Wikimedia/Nico Kaiser

A fairy tale in Midi pattern art

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2WjVUJyro8&spfreload=10

You’ve seen Midi pattern art before, but this one tells a story! Composer and artist Mari Lesteberg writes:

A longer MIDI Drawing this time – a little girl who lives in the woods, and what she finds when she enters a dark cave… 🙂 Hope you like the music/story. Both the music and the design is inspired by old school RPG-games.

Someone asked every member of Ireland’s parliament what their favorite Beyoncé song was

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Amy O’Connor asked every member of the Dáil Éireann the following questions:

Do you like Beyoncé?

If you answered YES, what is your favourite Beyoncé song?

If you answered NO, why don’t you like Beyoncé?

Thirty-seven of the 158-member parliament responded. John Brassil, representing Kerry for the Fianna Fáil party, is a big fan: “Hi Amy what a pleasant questionnaire of course I like Beyoncé my favourite song is Halo.” But Sinn Féin’s Pat Buckley has reservations: “I’d like her a lot better if she paid the Sri Lanka women who sew her clothing line a decent wage while she enjoys a personal wealth of over a quarter of a billion dollars.” His party mate Jonathan O’Brien, though, is swayed: “I am republican, but Beyoncé is the only queen I have time for.”

Meet Flippy, the burger-flipping robot

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Miso Robotics’ Flippy is a “kitchen assistant” robot that can grill, flip, prep, fry, and plate food.

“We focus on using AI and automation to solve the high pain points in restaurants and food prep,” says Flippy CEO David Zito. “That’s the dull, dirty and dangerous work around the grill, the fryer, and other prep work like chopping onions. The idea is to help restaurants improve food quality and safety without requiring a major kitchen redesign.”

And what of those millions of people who flip burgers to make ends meet?

“Tasting food and creating recipes will always be the purview of a chef,” says Flippy CEO David Zito. “And restaurants are gathering places where we go to interact with each other. Humans will always play a very critical role in the hospitality side of the business given the social aspects of food. We just don’t know what the new roles will be yet in the industry.”

(TechCrunch via Laughing Squid)

An anti-eavesdropping hands-free headset/muzzle that looks like Bane’s mask and changes your voice to Vader’s

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2wF8LOV5kw

Hushme is an electronic muzzle that you strap around your face, talking into its built-in mic in order to prevent people from eavesdropping on your calls; you can also use it to change your voice so you sound like a howler monkey or Darth Vader. If this isn’t a hoax, its so deep into Poe’s Law territory that it might as well be one.

Uber driver snaps after taking crap from spoiled brat

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After waiting and waiting for a passenger in Chicago, an Uber driver is about to leave when two young women slide into his back seat. One of them immediately gets on his case.

“You weren’t at our location, Jesus Christ,” she says. In reality, he was across the street because the corner that she was at was too crowded with other cars.

She goes on to berate him, and then… “she broke me,” he says on his YouTube description.

“Get the fuck out of my car,” he tells the women.

“Are you joking?” she says.

“No, I’m dead serious, get the fuck out.”

“Oh, I don’t think so. Nope.”

The women do not budge, and he gets more and more irritated. One of the women suddenly turns sweet, asking him in a syrupy voice if he’ll please just take them home. Her entitled friend, however, is offensive. Her strong bitchy Valley Girl accent makes it hard to tell if she’s drunk or just spoiled rotten.

Yes, the driver loses it and calls her a “bitch” and a “cunt,” but it’s easy to see how someone can “snap,” as he also says in his Youtube description, with such an obnoxious brat in his car. Finally a bystander comes over to try to smooth things out, but isn’t much help. The driver ends up telling the bystander to close the door, he’s going home, and if the woman doesn’t get out of his car, she’ll have to be dropped off at his house. She ends up finally getting out of his car, but not before he flips her off while she tapes him (although this tape comes from his own dash cam).

The driver defends himself on his YouTube description with this great line: “I get paid to drive, not to eat spoiled rich brats shit.”

There’s a hidden wire stretched above Manhattan

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Manhattan is just one of hundreds of metropolitan areas in the United States that has an eruv, which is a wire that symbolically turns public spaces into private spaces during the Jewish Sabbath.

From Mental Floss:

On the Sabbath, which is viewed as a day of rest, observant Jewish people aren’t allowed to carry anything — books, groceries, even children — in public places (doing so is considered “work”). The eruv encircles much of Manhattan, acting as a symbolic boundary that turns the very public streets of the city into a private space, much like one’s own home. This allows people to freely communicate and socialize on the Sabbath — and carry whatever they please—without having to worry about breaking Jewish law.

Along with everything else in New York City, the eruv isn’t cheap. It costs a group of Orthodox synagogues $100,000 a year to maintain the wires, which are inspected by a rabbi every Thursday before dawn to confirm they are all still attached.

Just add Guinness: the strange world of prefab “Irish pubs”

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The Irish Pub Company offers Irish pub interiors in six styles: “Modern,” “Brewery,” “Shop,” “Country,” “Celtic” and “Victorian.” Choose your package and they’ll ship you a bar, as well as “flooring, decorative glass, mirrors, ceiling tiles, light fixtures, furniture, signage, and bric-a-brac.”
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America has spent more rebuilding Afghanistan than it spent rebuilding Europe under the Marshall Plan

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After WWII, the US launched the Marshall Plan to help Europe rebuild, spending about $120B in inflation-adjusted dollars on the project, which lifted the war-stricken European nations out of disaster and launched them into post-war prosperity; the US has spent even more than that on rebuilding projects in Afghanistan since the official cessation of hostilities there, but Afghanistan remains a crumbling, corrupt, failed state where violence is rampant, opium exports are soaring, and soldiers and civilians alike are still dying.

Large-scale corruption persists, with Afghanistan third from the bottom in international rankings, ahead of only Somalia and North Korea. Adjusted for inflation, American spending to reconstruct Afghanistan now exceeds the total expended to rebuild all of Western Europe under the Marshall Plan; yet to have any hope of surviving, the Afghan government will for the foreseeable future remain almost completely dependent on outside support.

And things are getting worse. Although the United States has invested $70 billion in rebuilding Afghan security forces, only 63 percent of the country’s districts are under government control, with significant territory lost to the Taliban over the past year. Though the United States has spent $8.5 billion to battle narcotics in Afghanistan, opium production there has reached an all-time high.

For this, over the past 15 years, nearly 2,400 American soldiers have died, and 20,000 more have been wounded.

The Never-Ending War in Afghanistan
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[Andrew J Bacevich/New York Times]

(via Super Punch)

Guardian visits online trolls in their home

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The Guardian was interested in meeting the most hateful people on Twitter so they went all over the world to meet them and make a 20-minute documentary.

Why do so many people use the internet to harass and threaten people, and stretch the freedom of speech to its limits? Director Kyrre Lien meets a global group of strongly opinionated individuals, who spend their time debating online on the subjects they care most strongly about. Online platforms are their favourite tools to express the opinions that others might find objectionable in language that often offends. Do they behave in the same way when they come offline?

How the “tech support” scam works

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Security researchers at Stony Brook deliberately visited websites that try to trick visitors into thinking that their computers are broken, urging them to call a toll-free “tech support” number run by con artists that infect the victim’s computer with malware, lie to them about their computer’s security, and con them out of an average of $291 for “cleanup services.”
(more…)

Donald Trump, Jr is a patent-troll and his biggest client now does business with the US government

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Oklahoma’s Anyware Mobile Solutions was founded in 1997 to make PDA software, but after its sales collapsed, it changed its name to Macrosolve and devoted itself to suing people for violating a farcical patent that they said covered filling in questionnaires using an app.
(more…)

Creeps pretending to be feminists

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You know the type: the guy whose bio advertises “feminist,” who wears the t-shirt and the pink hat, is well-versed in feminist doctrine but rather too eager to harangue women about it rather than get on with smashing nearby patriarchies. Lurking between desperate need and narcissism, the “woke misogynist” lingers, wanting what’s his and spying in feminism a fashionable way to get it.

Nona Willis Aronowitz writes:

When I put out a call for “woke misogynist” stories, I received tales of behavior all across the spectrum: The college guy who bought his girlfriend feminist zines and also slapped her so hard she reeled backwards. The boss who was an enemy of the patriarchy on the internet but regularly intimidated and talked down to his female employees. The outspoken women’s rights advocate who went out of his way to call Kellyanne Conway ugly.

Women recalled chronic patronizing, compulsive manterrupting, and classic sexism excused with self-awareness (“I know this is super-sleazy of me, but…”). Riot Grrrl icon Kathleen Hanna, who skewered her woke misogynist fans last year in her song “Mr. So and So,” told me she “was raped in college by a guy who’d read more feminist books than [she] had.”

I heard countless versions of my awful Tinder date: a supposedly feminist guy who bent or broke the rules of consent in some uncanny, unsettling, unconventional way. The worst thing about this phenomenon, one woman remarked, is that it’s often “a general feeling, not necessarily a momentous incident. And that makes it feel less real.”

Angelica Alzona (@angelicaalzona painted that amazing illustration of a wolf in pussy-hat attire.

$20 for one of the best laptops money could buy 20 years ago: is it worth it?

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“It was a little worse for wear… but I wanted to nurse it back to health.”

An interesting video for people who like vintage computers: the mid to late 1990s is not only a hinterland of general boringness between “vintage” and “modern”, but the high point of Microsoft domination, when Windows was so crummy that to try and put it to use invites an instant headache. As a $20 thrift store find, though, a mid-1990s IBM Thinkpad seems a good find.

It was infested with malware, needed a new battery, couldn’t even run Windows XP, and the hard drive sounded like “marbles rolling around in a teacup.” Ah, but what wonders lurk in the back of the desk drawer!

Spoiler: You can play old DOS games or fool around with Linux.

(I found one on eBay, but will pass on it, as it’s $200!)

P.S. I know many will disagree, but I found those old Thinkpads perfectly portable: imagine the battery life you’d get these days from a laptop nearly two inches thick!

3D animal print undies with ears

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Your 3D wolf snout undies will doubtless be getting a little worn by now and you’re planning on reordering soon. But wait! Check out 3D Animal Print Briefs With Ears.

They come in several flavors—squirrel, pig, raccoon, fox and “British Kitty”—but are one-size-fits-all. At $8, though, you could always turn them into classy wall art if it doesn’t work out.

97% polyester/3% cotton

Environmental friendly printing without bad smelling,un-faded

Made of polyester but the line is made of cotton, so cute and comfortable.

If you like it, feel free to choose more patterns, buy 3 pieces, get one for free.

This brief would make a great gift. It’s sure to be a hit with anyone. Especially girls and tweens

Machine wash

Keep your private life private (please.) with this simple webcam cover

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Take a look around your office at your coworker’s laptop webcams. You probably see a lot of janky, crooked tape. (If you don’t, please direct your coworkers to this page.) Not to be Petey Paranoia, but like, webcams are pretty easily hijacked, as evidenced by the CIA, that Black Mirror episode, that Mark Zuckerberg Instagram post, that Pennsylvania school district, and, well, tip of the iceberg and all that. There just may never be a more urgent tech security issue with a more simple solution.

Yeah, tape will do the trick, but it can also damage your webcam if left on too long, and, well, you don’t hang a picture with tape for a reason. The stuff peels. Here’s a simple solution to all of the above. Nope Webcam covers aesthetically blend with your laptop while covering your webcam completely. Mounted with 3M adhesive that will last significantly longer than tape, these covers are also magnetic, allowing you to easily move them when you actually do need your webcam. And they’re pretty cute, too, right?

Reduced from $21.99, you can get a 6-pack of Nope webcam covers for $14.99.

Explore other Best-Sellers in our store:

A kid-friendly electronics board that you can program from the web

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbIxF7yEibo

Peegar is an Arduinio-style electronics kit that you design programs for by dragging and dropping Scratch-style objects around in a browser; when you’re done, the program is converted to a brief snatch of sound that you transmit through the board by plugging a standard audio cable into your device’s headphone jack.
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