best unordered merchandise ever

According to the FTC -- part of the U.S government -- If you receive merchandise that you didn’t order, you have a legal right to keep it as a free gift.

The Feds Accidentally Mailed Their $350K Drone to Some College Kid (Motherboard)

A Redditor got more than he bargained for in the mail today: He was accidentally mailed parts to a $350,000 environment and wildlife monitoring drone owned by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration.

David Miller, a spokesperson for NOAA, told me he’s not sure how the wings and control panel to a NOAA Puma drone, which the agency uses to measure ocean debris, conduct seabird surveys, and monitor ocean habitats, ended up in the hands of the Redditor, but believes that UPS somehow erred and delivered it to the college student.

SCOTUS manages to crap on 20% of the Bill of Rights in one day

In a rare two-fer, the Supreme Court managed to disregard two-tenths of the Bill of Rights in one day. It allowed the town of Greece, New York, to continue its unconstitutional establishment of religion via prayers at public meetings:

U.S. Supreme Court backs prayer before government meetings (Yahoo News)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday gave local government officials across the United States more leeway to begin public meetings with a prayer, ruling that sectarian invocations do not automatically violate the U.S. Constitution. The court said on a 5-4 vote that the town of Greece in New York state did not violate the Constitution's ban on government endorsement of religion by allowing Christian prayers before monthly meetings.

and it allowed the state of New Jersey to continue to arbitrarily deny people's right to keep and bear arms. (I'm not opposed to setting objective standards for CCW permits for public safety purposes -- though those same standards must apply to cops -- but allowing the opinion of a local police chief as to whether someone has a "justifiable need" to determine whether someone has access to the tools of self-defense is unconscionable.)

Strict N.J. rule on gun permits stands, as Supreme Court refuses case (Yahoo News)

The challenged New Jersey statute prohibits state residents from obtaining a permit to carry a handgun in public unless they can demonstrate a “justifiable need” for such a weapon.


Under the New Jersey law, an application must be submitted to the local police chief. If the chief approves the application, it is then forwarded to a state judge, who also must approve the application.

Netanyahu doubles-down on the crazy

"Netanyahu said...the move was vital at a time when aspects of Israel's legitimacy were "under a constant and increasing assault from abroad and at home". Well, gee, Bibi, why do you think that legitimacy is in question? You just go ahead and keep pouring gasoline on that fire, I'm sure that will put it out.

A nation that defines itself as being "the nation state of one people only", ipso facto does not guarantee equal rights for all citizens. We tried that "separate but equal" thing here, as you may recall. Israel is trapped in a double bind of its own making.

Netanyahu pushes to define Israel as nation state of Jewish people only (the Guardian)

Binyamin Netanyahu will push ahead with a rare change to Israel's basic laws – which amount to the country's constitution – to insist Israel is "the nation state of one people only – the Jewish people – and of no other people".


The proposed law would be in addition to Israel's declaration of independence of May 1948 – the anniversary of which is celebrated on Tuesday – which defines Israel as a Jewish state.

feds using roundabout means to try to shut down adult film industry

So apparently Chase has been shutting down the bank accounts of porn actors. Why would a company that's kind of notorious for wanting your money, turn down customers? Seems the feds may be to blame.

DOJ Morality Police May Be Behind Chase Closing Bank Accounts Of Adult Film Actors | Techdirt (Techdirt.)

Well, the latest is that this may be a part of the US Department of Justice's "Operation Choke Point" program, in which the government has apparently decided that some extremely legal businesses don't get to exist anymore, but since they can't just disappear companies...they've decided to route around the whole "freedom" thing and get the financial industry to act as contract hitmen.


...The way it works is that the DOJ informs financial institutions that certain industries are more likely than others to be involved in unauthorized charges of consumer credit and bank cards. They likewise inform the banks that the DOJ is going to keep a special super-awesome close-eye on these industries, with the implication being that there will be a great deal of prosecutorial action, subpoenas, and scrutiny on those industries, not mention penalties on the institutions that work with them. The intention of the government, it would seem, is to make the banks unwilling to deal with the government harassment and simply cut anyone in those industries off from the financial institutions.

happy thoughts get you...nothing

If you want to see where "Law of Attraction" BS gets you, look at the dead bodies in James Arthur Ray's bogus sweatlodge.

The Powerlessness of Positive Thinking (The New Yorker)

...It’s just as hard to believe that the heroes in Byrne’s books—let alone a feverishly productive polymath like Goethe or the notoriously irritable Beethoven—succeeded because they cultivated good thoughts. Moreover, as the journalist Oliver Burkeman noted in “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking,” “Ceaseless optimism about the future only makes for a greater shock when things go wrong; by fighting to maintain only positive beliefs about the future, the positive thinker ends up being less prepared, and more acutely distressed, when things eventually happen that he can’t persuade himself to believe are good.”

Burkeman is onto something. According to a great deal of research, positive fantasies may lessen your chances of succeeding. In one experiment, the social psychologists Gabriele Oettingen and Doris Mayer asked eighty-three German students to rate the extent to which they “experienced positive thoughts, images, or fantasies on the subject of transition into work life, graduating from university, looking for and finding a job.” Two years later, they approached the same students and asked about their post-college job experiences. Those who harbored positive fantasies put in fewer job applications, received fewer job offers, and ultimately earned lower salaries. The same was true in other contexts, too. Students who fantasized were less likely to ask their romantic crushes on a date and more likely to struggle academically. Hip-surgery patients also recovered more slowly when they dwelled on positive fantasies of walking without pain.

have healthy babies -- or else

Continuing the efforts among the misogynist wing of the GOP to make The Handmaid's Tale a blueprint for society.

Tennessee just became the first state that will jail women for their pregnancy outcomes

Tennessee has become the first state in the nation to pass a law criminalizing women for their pregnancy outcomes. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam took the 10 days allotted to him to consider the advice of doctors, addiction experts and reproductive health groups urging him to veto the punitive and dangerous measure that allows prosecutors to charge a woman with criminal assault if she uses illegal drugs during her pregnancy and her fetus or newborn is considered harmed as a result. Haslam ignored these recommendations — and the recommendations of nearly every major medical association, including the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy — and signed the measure anyway.


The law does nothing to expand treatment options for women in Tennessee...

The AMA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are among the major medical associations opposing such bills, which will only discourage them from seeking medical care.

234 girl students missing in Nigeria; media silent

W. T. F.? My immediate gut reaction is that we need a two part plan here: 1) find the Boko Haram kidnappers and shoot them in the face, and 2) find every reporter who should have reported on this and put them in the stocks for public humiliation for a month. Because, have you heard a single word about this?

Harsh Reality Break: 234 Girls Kidnapped from Physics Test (Space)

The scientists-in-training were loaded into a truck at gunpoint, and taken into the forest. It is assumed that the kidnappers were Boko Haram, an extremist group whose name means, "Western education is sinful." The idea of allowing girls to get an education, and, worse, yet, a science education, is everything they hate. They have a local history of doing crazy, horrible things, like assassinating clerics who criticize their extremism, bombing schools, murdering students, and kidnapping girls to use as sex slaves. At the time of the kidnapping, every other school in the area was shut down due to security concerns, but this school was kept open specifically to take final exams, with over 100 taking a physics test.

The world has a lot of terrible, horrible things happening in it, but this is insane, crazy, and heart-breaking.

sand mandala, playground, it's all in your mind

He just wanted to help free them from attachment. Kids are good with that, I hear. Dogs, too.

Small boy mistakes Jersey City sand mandala for playground, destroys hours of work (

Jersey City received a lesson on the impermanence of life a bit earlier than planned today, when a toddler mistook a Buddhist sand mandala for a playground this morning, smudging the center and sides and almost destroying days of painstaking work.


Chodak added that the child who damaged the mandala inadvertently taught everyone the lesson it’s supposed to impart.

“It’s so beautiful and then, next thing, it’s gone,” he said.

concealed carry in the, um, nether regions

Maybe she got confused by the "this my rifle, this is my gun" thing?

Teen Arrested With Loaded Gun In Vagina: Cops (The Huffington Post)

Cops say a Tennessee teen who got arrested for driving with a suspended license on Monday had a surprise in store for police.

When a female corrections officer at Kingsport jail performed a search on 19-year-old Dallas Archer, she allegedly discovered an "unknown object" lodged in the young woman's crotch. She alerted another female officer, who accompanied her during a further examination, according to documents obtained by the Smoking Gun.

we can fix climate change. will we?

We can do this. We should do this. If we we're too dumb to do this, well, think of it as evolution in action...maybe in a few tens of million years the next technological species to arise will get it right. As Krugman says, "All that stands in the way of saving the planet is a combination of ignorance, prejudice and vested interests. What could go wrong? Oh, wait."

Salvation Gets Cheap

But there is one piece of the assessment that is surprisingly, if conditionally, upbeat: Its take on the economics of mitigation. Even as the report calls for drastic action to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, it asserts that the economic impact of such drastic action would be surprisingly small. In fact, even under the most ambitious goals the assessment considers, the estimated reduction in economic growth would basically amount to a rounding error, around 0.06 percent per year.

What’s behind this economic optimism? To a large extent, it reflects a technological revolution many people don’t know about, the incredible recent decline in the cost of renewable energy, solar power in particular.


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