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Posted by Michelle Jaworski

When Steve Trevor crash-landed near the island of Themyscira, he was plucked from the water by Wonder Woman herself. But when Conan O’Brien crash-lands there, he receives a much different reception.

O’Brien is heading to San Diego for Comic-Con, which doesn’t go as planned after he has to find his own way there in a WWI-era aircraft. Once he arrives in Themyscira, he’s greeted by a group of Amazonian warriors still on the island, most of whom mistake him for a translucent sea jelly, and it just goes downhill from there.

He might’ve gotten proper training from Wonder Woman herself, but talking to them? That’s an entirely new challenge.

The post Conan O’Brien made an unexpected stop at Themyscira on his way to San Diego Comic-Con appeared first on The Daily Dot.

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Posted by Ana Valens

Sometimes, when we run out of ingredients, we get creative with our cooking. Like, out of sugar? Add honey. Or just add more butter. Always add more butter.

But on the Facebook page Sanctimommy, one parent is getting a lot of heat for deciding to use her own breast milk for brownies she brought to a school bake sale.

“I need some advice,” the mom’s anonymous Facebook post starts. “I made brownies for my school bake sale that had breastmilk in them. I didn’t have time to run to the store and didn’t think it was a big deal (some of those kids could use the nutrition let’s be honest).”

According to the woman’s post, which was brought to the attention of Sanctimommy and reposted there, one of the other moms at the school found out about the brownie baker’s breast milk recipe and decided to warn everyone about her offerings.

I shall forever remember today as the day I stopped supporting bake sales.

Posted by Sanctimommy on Monday, July 17, 2017

Suffice to say, it’s unclear whether the breast milk brownies are real or not. The post could just be from an elaborate troll. But many Facebook and Twitter users have responded harshly to the mom’s idea, arguing that her recipe is utterly foul (and borderline morally repulsive).

Screengrab via Sanctimommy/Facebook

Screengrab via Sanctimommy/Facebook

Others pointed out that brownies don’t need milk. You can bake a set without using any dairy, human or otherwise, because most brownie mixes come with powdered milk inside.

As it turns out, doctors suggest that children shouldn’t drink unscreened breast milk from strangers. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that informal breast milk sharing could cause infections in children.

“In my mind, it’s a risky business,” Dr. Joan Younger Meek told U.S. News. “Even the informal sharing between mom’s sister and the mother’s best friend–there are still risks to that because you don’t know the full health history or if the milk was stored in clean containers.”

In other words, brownies and human breast milk do not mix well with each other. They’re best left apart.

H/T The Sun

The post Mom allegedly uses breast milk in bake-sale brownies, disgusts the entire internet appeared first on The Daily Dot.

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Posted by Andrew Wyrich

President Donald Trump gave a long interview Wednesday with the New York Times that touched on numerous topics. The interview’s full transcript was released online last night, but here are some of the more interesting things Trump said.

Giving away Nebraska: While talking about the Senate’s inability to repeal or repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the president began talking about the Cornhusker Kickback, which he said involved “giving away” the state of Nebraska. He said:

“They had 60 in the Senate. They had big majorities and had the White House. I mean, ended up giving away the state of Nebraska. They owned the state of Nebraska. Right. Gave it away. Their best senator did one of the greatest deals in the history of politics. What happened to him?”

All of Nebraska’s senators in the last decade have retired at the end of their terms rather than be ousted from office.

Some clarity on the healthcare debate: Trump seemed to actually get why the Republican’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is deeply unpopular among a majority of Americans.

“Once you get something for pre-existing conditions, etc., etc. Once you get something, it’s awfully tough to take it away.”

Trump knows the “bad people”: As the interview continued to dissect the healthcare fracas, Trump stressed that he had a “great meeting” with Republican senators but lamented that there are divisions within the party over how to proceed with healthcare.

“And then they’ll vote on this, and we’ll see. We have some meetings scheduled today. I think we have six people who are really sort of O.K. They are all good people. We don’t have bad people. I know the bad people. Believe me, do I know bad people.”

Distance makes the heart grow fonder: Trump said he gets the “best reviews” on foreign land, including from his “enemies” in the media, who Trump claimed called his Poland speech “the greatest speech ever made on foreign soil by a president.”

Most people felt the president’s speech had alt-right undertones and pitted different countries against one another. Trump also has dismal reviews among citizens of foreign countries.

Macron apparently loves holding Trump’s hand: When discussing French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump referenced their ongoing masculinity-testing handshake saga in a strange way.

Trump: He’s a great guy. Smart. Strong. Loves holding my hand.

[New York Times reporter Maggie] Haberman: I’ve noticed.

Trump: People don’t realize he loves holding my hand. And that’s good, as far as that goes.

Trump: I mean, really. He’s a very good person. And a tough guy, but look, he has to be. I think he is going to be a terrific president of France. But he does love holding my hand.

More on Macron: Trump says Macron allegedly told him “they love you in France” when inviting him to Bastille Day, to which Trump replied:

I said, “O.K., I just don’t want to hurt you.”

Trump also said “never had a bigger celebration ever in the history of the Eiffel Tower” because he and Macron were eating dinner there.

“Things” were discussed during the second Putin meeting: Trump defended his second meeting with Putin at the G20 Summit by trying to explain the elaborate set up for dinner including the “big table, big room” where various world leaders were sitting. He added that his wife, Melania Trump, was seated next to Vladimir Putin.

“So the meal was going, and toward dessert I went down just to say hello to Melania, and while I was there I said hello to Putin. Really, pleasantries more than anything else. It was not a long conversation, but it was, you know, could be 15 minutes. Just talked about—things.”

And adoption: Trump said that he and Putin talked about adoption during their dessert chat, which he found “interesting.” His son, Donald Trump Jr., is mired in controversy because while adoption was initially given as the reason for a meeting he had with a Russian lawyer, it really came about because of a promise to give the Trump campaign damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

Trump also defended his son’s meeting.

“As I’ve said—most other people, you know, when they call up and say, “By the way, we have information on your opponent,” I think most politicians—I was just with a lot of people, they said [inaudible], ‘Who wouldn’t have taken a meeting like that?’”

“A lot of them. They said, ‘Who wouldn’t have taken a meeting like that?’”

Trump stumbles with a fact check:  As the interview continued, the president tried to make a connection between Hillary Clinton and Russia. When pressed by the reporters about when exactly he heard that she was “totally opposed to any sanctions” against Russia, the president stumbled and admitted:

“I don’t really know.”

There is a “big. big. big” problem with North Korea: While talking about Russia, the president pivoted to blasting the Obama administration’s handling of North Korea.

“You know, he can talk tough all he wants, in the meantime he talked tough to North Korea. And he didn’t actually. He didn’t talk tough to North Korea. You know, we have a big problem with North Korea. Big. Big, big.”

On the pee-tape dossier: The infamous Russia dossier came up, which Trump brushed off as “phony.”

“Now, that was totally made-up stuff, and in fact, that guy’s being sued by somebody. … And he’s dying with the lawsuit. I know a lot about those guys, they’re phony guys. They make up whatever they want. Just not my thing—plus, I have witnesses, because I went there with a group of people.”

Rethinking Jeff Sessions’ appointment: Trump threw Jeff Sessions under the bus when he said he wouldn’t have appointed him as Attorney General if he knew he would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

“So Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself. I then have—which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the president. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, “Thanks, Jeff, but I can’t, you know, I’m not going to take you.” It’s extremely unfair, and that’s a mild word, to the president. So he recuses himself. I then end up with a second man, who’s a deputy.”

Trump alludes to conflicts of interest: When discussing Robert Muller becoming a special counsel for the Russia investigation, the president seemed to drop hints that he has more to say on the matter.

“There were many other conflicts that I haven’t said, but I will at some point.”

The Trump Jr.-Russia email was “unimportant”: The now-infamous email chain that Trump Jr. released regarding his meeting with the Russian lawyer—which said the lawyer was connected to the Russian government—is “unimportant,” Trump said.

“I didn’t look into it very closely, to be honest with you.”

“I didn’t know noth—It’s a very unimportant—sounded like a very unimportant meeting.”

Trump on Mueller: Trump wouldn’t say whether he would fire Mueller if he began looking into the Trump family’s finances as part of the Russia probe. However, he did meander a bit while answering the question as to whether it would be a “breach of what his actual charge is.”

“I would say yeah. I would say yes. By the way, I would say, I don’t—I don’t—I mean, it’s possible there’s a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows? I don’t make money from Russia. In fact, I put out a letter saying that I don’t make—from one of the most highly respected law firms, accounting firms. I don’t have buildings in Russia. They said I own buildings in Russia. I don’t. They said I made money from Russia. I don’t. It’s not my thing. I don’t, I don’t do that. Over the years, I’ve looked at maybe doing a deal in Russia, but I never did one.”

When pressed about whether he would fire Mueller, Trump clammed up.

“I can’t, I can’t answer that question because I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

The post The 15 weirdest things Trump said during his interview with the New York Times appeared first on The Daily Dot.

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Posted by David Covucci

Late Wednesday night, news broke that doctors at the Mayo Clinic diagnosed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) with a brain tumor.

As news of the tumor, discovered during a procedure to remove a blood clot, rippled through Washington, everyone offered their well-wishes to one of American’s most admired and respected statesmen.

The president of the United States also tweeted out support for McCain.

The full statement reads:

Senator John McCain has always been a fighter. Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers to Senator McCain, Cindy, and their entire family. Get well soon.

That terse language rubbed some people the wrong way, given Trump’s past criticism of McCain. During the primaries, Trump said he preferred heroes who don’t get captured, a dismissive reference to McCain’s time a prisoner of war in Vietnam, where he was repeatedly tortured. People were also upset it took several hours after the news for Trump to tweet about it. (The White House issued the same statement about an hour before the president’s tweet.)

Others pointed out that the expression of sympathy possibly didn’t come from Trump himself.

After McCain’s initial surgery for the clot, Trump wished him well, calling him a “crusty voice” in the Senate, saying that he hoped he’d return so he could get his healthcare vote.

The post Trump accused of sending phony well-wishes to John McCain appeared first on The Daily Dot.

The Big Idea: Nat Segaloff

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:34 pm
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Posted by John Scalzi

When biographer and historian Nat Segaloff sat down to interview science fiction Grand Master Harlan Ellison for his new book A Lit Fuse, he knew that he was in for a challenge. What surprised him about the process was how much it wasn’t just about Ellison, but also about him.

NAT SEGALOFF:

How do you write something new about someone everybody thinks they already know? A writer who is famous for putting so much of his life into his stories that his fans feel that even his most bizarre work is autobiographical? That was the unspoken challenge in late 2013 when I agreed to write Harlan Ellison’s biography, an adventure that is just now seeing daylight with the publican of A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison.

I wrote the book because Harlan wouldn’t. He came close in 2008 when he announced he would write Working Without a Net for “a major publisher,” but he never did. Maybe he figured he’d said enough in his 1700 short stories, essays, and articles he’s published over the last 60 years. It wasn’t as if he was afraid of the truth; he always said he never lies about himself because that way nobody can hold anything against him. That was my challenge.

When we shook hands and I became his biographer, I also became the only person he ever gave permission to quote from his work and take a tour of his life. What I really wanted to do, though, was to explore his mind. What I didn’t expect was that, as I examined his creative process, I would also bare my own.

When you sit down with someone for a conversation, it’s fun; when you sit down with someone for an interview, it’s serious. Harlan has been interviewed countless times and he has always been in control. This time, I was. I had to get him to say stuff that was new, and I had to go beyond where others had stopped.

A Harlan Ellison interview is a performance. He will be quotable, precise, vague, and outrageous. He takes no prisoners. He will run and fetch a comic book, figurine, photograph, or book to illustrate a point, all of which breaks the mood. My job was to get him to sit still and not be “Harlan Ellison” but simply Harlan.

Harlan is one of the few speculative fiction writers (along with Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and a handful of others) who became public figures. Part of this stemmed from the quality of his work but much of it was created by his being, as I kept finding in the clippings, ““fractious,” “famously litigious,” and “argumentative.” Indeed, most of the stories I found during my research could be divided into two categories: “What a wild man Harlan is” and “I alone escaped to tell thee.”

Balderdash. What I discovered was a man who takes his craft seriously and fiercely defends others who labor in the field of words. An attack on them was an attack on him, and an attack on him was not to be deflected but returned in kind. “I don’t mind if you think I’m stupid,” he told one antagonist, “it’s just that I resent it when you talk to me as if I’m stupid.”

Even though I had final cut, I ran whole sections past him to get his reaction. He never flinched. In fact, he challenged me to go deeper. It was almost as if – and don’t take this the wrong way – I was Clarice Starling and he was Hannibal Lecter — the more I asked of Harlan, the more I had to give of myself. Both of us put our blood in the book even though I am the author.

—-

A Lit Fuse: Amazon|NESFA Press

 


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Posted by Andrew Couts

Has it really only been six months?

The first stretch of President Donald Trump‘s presidency has been an exhausting roller coaster of controversies, gaffes, missteps, and scandals. Indeed, it may be difficult to remember every twist of the past week, let alone those of the past 181 days. But oh, what a trip it’s been, this democracy of ours.

Below, we’ve attempted to catalog all the most notable moments—some serious, some ridiculous, some silly, some downright strange—that have occurred during Trump’s first six months in the White House. As you skim through the whirlwind of memories, remember: This carnival has only just begun.

January

1. Against all odds, Trump becomes president of the United States.

2. White House removes the climate change page from its website.

3. Trump deletes all previous ‘We the People’ petitions.

4. For the entirety of the Trump administration’s first-ever press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer lies about the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd.

5. Trump repeats his false claim of widespread voter fraud in his first meeting with Congress.

6. Photos reveal that Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway punched a man in the face at an inauguration party.

7. White House uses debunked 2012 study to justify Trump’s errant belief that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election.

8. Conway says on live television that the Trump administration operates on “alternative facts.” Sales of 1984 soar.

9. Trump’s nominee for budget director, Mick Mulvaney, is forced to admit to members of Congress that former President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration crowd was bigger.

10. Trump orders the Environmental Protection Agency to delete climate change information from its website.

11. Trump promises a “major investigation” into the non-existent problem of widespread voter fraud.

12. Spicer tweets his password.

13. Trump proposes a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico to pay for his border wall.

14. Reports reveal that Trump personally called the National Parks Service to complain about it tweeting photos showing the size of his inauguration crowd.

15. Trump bans all travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations, sparking chaos. (A federal court would block the ban a day later.)

16. Trump appoints adviser and former Breitbart executive Steve Bannon to the National Security Council.

17. Trump blames an airline system malfunction and liberals for the disastrous rollout of his travel ban.

18. Trump fires Actin Attorney General Sally Yates after she refuses to defend his travel ban.

19. Some 900 State Department officials resign over Trump’s travel ban.

20. Trump picks conservative judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee.

February

21. Trump threatens to defund the University of California, Berkeley following violent protests between alt-right and anti-fascist protesters on the school’s campus.

22. Trump puts Iran “on notice,” via Twitter, after the country tests a ballistic missile.

23. Trump starts a fight with Australia, of all places, over refugees.

24. Conway makes up a fake “Bowling Green massacre” to justify Trump’s travel ban.

25. Another federal judge shuts down Trump’s travel ban.

26. Trump says polls that show negative sentiment against him are “fake.”

27. Trump ramps up his war on the media after calling the New York Times “total fiction” and “fake news,” a term he co-opted in January.

28. White House releases a typo-ridden list of “78 terrorist attacks” it says the media failed to report.

29. Vice President Mike Pence casts the tie-breaking vote to confirm Betsy DeVos as the education secretary.

30. Spicer cites an imaginary terrorist attack to justify Trump’s travel ban.

31. Conway plugs Ivanka Trump’s clothing line on Fox News. (She was later hit with a formal ethics complaint about the de facto advertisement.)

32. Then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is accused of violating federal law for discussing sanctions with Russia’s ambassador during Trump’s transition.

33. Trump pretends to understand Japanese.

34. Trump gets into a Twitter fight with Mark Cuban.

35. Trump administration promotes official inauguration poster (with a typo).

36. Trump receives a briefing on a North Korean missile launch while surrounded by guests at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, sparking national security concerns.

37. Flynn resigns as national security adviser after reports reveal he lied about his chats with Russia’s ambassador to Pence.

38. Reports reveal Trump knew about Flynn’s contact with Russia’s ambassador for weeks before forcing him to resign.

39. Conway tweets, “I love you back,” to a white supremacist account; she later deletes tweet.

40. Members of Congress call for an investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia in light of Flynn’s resignation.

41. Trump announces his first 2020 re-election campaign rally.

42. U.S. intelligence agents reportedly express distrust of the White House’s handling of classified information.

43. Trump goes all out in his first press conference as president.

44. Trump administration scraps first travel ban executive order.

45. White House document shows officials considered using National Guard troops to round up undocumented immigrants.

46. Trump accuses the mainstream media of being the “enemy of the people.”

47. Trump makes up a terrorist attack in Sweden at his first 2020 campaign rally.

48. White House orders all federal law enforcement agencies to detain and deport all undocumented immigrants.

49. Trump attacks anonymous sources leaking information to the media.

50. Trump condemns “leakers” after reports that he asked top U.S. intelligence officials to refute claims that he or his campaign had ties to Russia.

51. White House relaunches a war on weed.

52. White House bans the New York Times, BBC, CNN, Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed News, and Politico from a press briefing.

53. Pence shows support for Israel by tweeting the flag of… Nicaragua.

54. Trump says he will skip the annual White House Correspondents Dinner.

55. Spicer surprises staff with a search of their phones to catch leakers, a fact that is immediately leaked.

56. Trump’s love of ketchup on steak revealed, ridiculed.

57. Trump blames Obama for leaks to the press.

58. Trump orders a raid in Yemen that results in the death of a U.S. Navy SEAL, 29-year-old Chief Petty Officer William Owens. The raid resulted in no actionable intelligence.

59. Justice Department announces it will “pull back” on investigating police wrongdoing.

60. Trump holds his first address to a joint session of Congress, is widely praised as appearing “presidential.”

March

61. Reports reveal Attorney General Jeff Sessions failed to mention multiple meetings with Russia’s ambassador during his Senate confirmation hearing.

62. Spicer accidentally announces Trump as the new secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

63. Sessions recuses himself from all investigations related to Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election.

64. Reports reveal that three additional Trump campaign advisers—J.D. Gordon, Carter Page, and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner—met with Russia’s ambassador during the campaign.

65. Trump misspells the word “hereby” twice in now-deleted tweets calling for investigations into Democratic leadership.

66. In a Twitter rant, Trump accuses Obama of wiretapping his phones at Trump Tower. To date, there is no evidence this is true.

67. Trump gets in a Twitter fight with Arnold Schwarzenegger over Celebrity Apprentice.

68. Trump calls on Congress to investigate his unfounded claim that Obama wiretapped him.

69. Trump rejects then-FBI Director James Comey’s assertion that Obama did not, in fact, wiretap him.

70. Trump signs a new travel ban, this one on six Muslim-majority countries. (Iraq was removed from the list.)

71. Trump falsely accuses Obama of releasing 122 former Guantanamo detainees who returned to terrorism. (Former President George W. Bush released 113 of them.)

72. HUD Secretary Ben Carson implies that slaves in the U.S. were immigrants.

73. Trump roundly mocked for touting his “tremendous respect for women” on International Women’s Day.

74. Report reveals Trump met Russia’s ambassador despite denying he did.

75. Congress tells Trump to stop deleting tweets.

76. White House releases bizarre press release about women entrepreneurs.

77. Trump fires Preet Bharara, a U.S. attorney known for fighting corruption.

78. Conway claims that microwaves can be used to film people in an attempt to justify Trump’s unfounded wiretap claims against Obama.

79. Trump gets in a Twitter fight with Snoop Dogg over a music video depicting the president’s assassination.

80. Sessions falsely claims heroin is just “slightly” more dangerous than marijuana.

81. A federal judge in Hawaii blocks Trump’s second travel ban.

82. The Senate Intelligence Committee says there’s no evidence Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.

83. Records obtained by the House Oversight Committee show Flynn failed to disclose $56,000 in payments from Russian companies.

84. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says a U.S. military strike against North Korea is “on the table.”

85. While meeting with Ireland’s prime minister, Trump reads aloud an Irish proverb that is actually Nigerian.

86. Trump says stories about his possible collusion with Russia are “fake news.”

87. Former FBI Director James Comey confirms a federal investigation into the Trump team’s potential ties to Russia.

88. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee—which is investigating Russia’s election meddling—claims the U.S. intelligence community collected “incidental” intelligence on Trump’s transition team based on documents given to him by an unnamed “source.”

89. Trump lies during interview with Time magazine for an article about how much he lies.

90. House Republicans’ first attempt to pass legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act dies.

91. Trump has a blast sitting in a large truck.

92. Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, accuses the White House of pushing Nunes to cancel the committee’s hearing on Russia.

93. The House’s second move to pass an Obamacare replacement fails.

94. Kushner, a White House adviser, calls American citizens “customers” of the federal government.

95. Sessions announces plan to withhold federal funding from “sanctuary cities” that refuse to enforce federal immigration law.

96. Trump says he will “fight” Republicans who refuse to support his agenda.

97. Reports reveal Nunes source for the intelligence documents was actually the White House.

98. Flynn asks for immunity in exchange for testifying.

April

99. Trump starts beef with NBC’s Chuck Todd over his reporting on Russia.

100. Trump donates the first three months of his presidential salary to the National Parks Service.

101. Trump signs bill killing FCC privacy protections for internet users.

102. Bannon gets kicked out of the National Security Council.

103. Trump blames Obama’s foreign policy for a deadly chemical weapons attack Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched on his own people, including children.

104. Trump accuses Obama administration National Security Adviser Susan Rice of breaking the law by unmasking the names of Americans included in incidental intelligence collection. There is still no evidence Rice committed any crime.

105. Nunes steps down from the House Intelligence Committee’s probe into Russia amid an ethics investigation for his conspiring with the White House.

106. Senate Republicans eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees—the so-called “nuclear option,” a drastic move that some say changes the nature of the upper chamber.

107. Trump launches a missile strike on a Syrian airfield, angering his own supporters, igniting tensions with pro-Assad Russia, and polarizing the international community.

108. Reports reveal Kushner failed to include his meetings with foreign leaders, including Russia’s ambassador, on his security clearance form. His attorneys would later add some 100 names to his list of foreign government officials with whom he had contact.

109. Eric Trump, the president’s son, says his sister Ivanka’s “heartbroken and outraged” reaction to Assad’s chemical weapons strike inspired Trump to launch a missile attack on the country.

110. North Korea threatens to nuke the United States.

111. The Government Accountability Office launches an investigation into the funding of Trump’s White House transition.

112. Spicer attempts to justify Trump’s missile strike on Syria by claiming that Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons” during World War II—failing to mention the horrors of the Holocaust.

113. Trump says in an interview that he was enjoying “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake” with China’s president as he bombed Syria.

114. Reports reveal the FBI obtained a warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page on the grounds that he was acting as an agent of a foreign power.

115. Trump falsely claims he only recently met Bannon, whom he has known since at least 2011.

116. U.S. drops the “mother of all bombs” on an ISIS target in Afghanistan.

117. Trump signs legislation that allows states to defund Planned Parenthood.

118. White House announces it will keep visitor logs secret.

119. Following widespread protests, Trump doesn’t understand why people still want to see his tax returns.

120. White House misspells “Secretary of Education” on Snapchat.

121. Trump, speaking with Fox & Friends, seems to forget who the leader of North Korea is.

122. Trump congratulates Turkey’s president for winning an election the State Department says may not be legitimate.

123. The White House appears to have accidentally claimed that an “armada” of U.S. Navy ships was heading into the waters off North Korea. It was actually off the coast of Indonesia.

124. Spicer struggles to name a single legislative victory during Trump’s first 100 days in office.

125. South Korea condemns Trump’s “shocking ignorance” after he repeats the false claim that “Korea actually used to be a part of China”—a fake detail he may have been told by China’s president.

126. Trump invites Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent, and Kid Rock to the White House. The trio later trolled Hillary Clinton with a mocking photo next to her portrait.

127. Sessions implies Hawaii isn’t a legitimate state in the union after a federal judge from Hawaii knocked down Trump’s second travel ban.

128. Despite his own embrace of a president’s first substantial period in office, Trump claims the 100-day benchmark is “ridiculous.”

129. With zero sarcasm, Trump’s attorneys claim protesters “have no right” to demonstrate at political rallies because doing so infringes on the candidate’s—in this case, Trump’s— First Amendment rights.

130. Trump tweets an odd video celebrating imprisoned Egyptian-American Aya Hijazi’s return to the U.S.

131. Trump’s remarks remembering the Holocaust are suspiciously similar to those on the Holocaust Museum’s “Introduction to the Holocaust” webpage.

132. Trump sparks an uproar after signing an executive order to review the status of some 30 national monuments, which are comprised of millions of acres of protected land.

133. Trump claims he thought being president “would be easier.”

134. Five months after his election, Trump hands out 2016 electoral map to reporters.

May

135. Trump hires a family planning official to the Department of Health and Human Services who is anti-abortion, anti-contraception, and anti-family planning.

136. Churches can now engage in political activism after Trump signs a “religious freedom” executive order.

137. Even the FDA isn’t safe from Trump’s preference of cable news network.

138. Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates testifies that Michael Flynn was susceptible to “blackmail” by the Russian government.

139. Shocking nearly everyone, Trump fires FBI Director James Comey—a decision that would send American politics into a seemingly never-ending maelstrom.

140. In the midst of a Comey-related Twitter tirade, Trump retweets a CNN story despite repeatedly calling the network“fake news.”

141. Amid the growing frenzy over Trump firing Comey, the president meets with Russian officials in the Oval Office and bars any United States media members from attending.

142. Trump claims he invented the phrase “priming the pump,” seemingly unaware that the phrase has been used for decades.

143. Trump calls Comey a “showboat” during an interview with NBC News while also admitting that he fired him in part due to the FBI’s investigation into Russia.

144. As the Comey controversy continued to envelop Washington, Trump threatens Comey on Twitter by suggesting he has “tapes” of the two of them speaking.

145. The Washington Post reports that Trump shared sensitive information with Russian officials when they came to the Oval Office the week before. Trump then confirmed the report on Twitter.

146. Memos written by Comey suggest that Trump asked him to end the FBI’s investigation into Flynn, spurring calls that Trump obstructed justice.

147. Reports reveal Trump allegedly told Comey that he should consider jailing reporters.

148. Rep. Al Green (D-T.X.) calls for Congress to impeach Trump, the first lawmaker to do so on the House floor.

149. A special counsel is named to head the investigation into whether Russia worked with the Trump campaign and if the country meddled in the 2016 election. Former FBI Director Robert Muller is tapped to lead the investigation.

150. Before embarking on his first trip abroad, Trump’s team reportedly demands that steak and ketchup (Trump’s favorite meal) be served in Saudi Arabia.

151. The New York Times reports that Trump called Comey a “nut job” during his meeting with Russian officials in the Oval Office and told them that firing him relieved “great pressure” off of him.

152. A picture of Trump touching a glowing orb in Saudi Arabia spawns a million memes.

153. Trump inadvertently leaks the name of the country that gave the United States information that he subsequently told to the Russians: Israel.

154. Trump praises the brutal actions (such as government-sanctioned attacks on suspects) taken by the Phillippines to tackle its drug problem, telling the country’s president that he is doing an “unbelievable job.”  

155. French President Emmanuel Macron destroys Trump at his own masculinity-testing handshake thing he does all the time.

156. Reports surface Kushner allegedly attempted to set up a back-channel with Russia.

157. Officials claim Trump reportedly prefers pictures in his daily intelligence briefing.

158. Comedian Kathy Griffin poses in a photoshoot with Trump’s severed head. It sparks a tremendous firestorm online.

159. Trump loves bragging about the size of his online audience. The Daily Dot finds that many of  his followers are actually fake.

160. Covfefe.

161. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes Covfefe-gate worse by implying that some people knew what Trump meant when he typed the nonsensical series of letters.

162. Trump announces that the United States will exit the landmark Paris Climate Accord, an international agreement that excludes just three countries—now including the U.S.

June

163. The Intercept reports that Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on voting software in the United States days before the presidential election.

164. During a must-watch testimony before Congress, Comey says he orchestrated a leak of his memos to the New York Times and also uttered the now-famous line, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” in reference to Trump’s earlier threat.

165. Trump surprisingly refrains from tweeting about Comey’s testimony on the day of it occurs. He returns with a fury the following day, saying he felt “total and complete vindication” and accused Comey of committing perjury.

166. Dan Scavino Jr., the White House director of social media, is found to be in violation of federal law for tweeting about an election in Michigan while a member of the government. He receives a warning.

167. Covfefe returns—this time in the form of legislation.

168. Reports surface that Special Prosecutor Robert Muller is investigating whether Trump obstructed justice.

169. Trump appoints a family planner with no experience in housing to oversee federal housing programs in New York and New Jersey.

170. In a somewhat tone-deaf move, Trump says he doesn’t think poor people should serve in his cabinet.

171. Trump draws thunderous cheers from people in Iowa for saying he is going to enact an immigration law that has already been on the books for 20 years.

172. Trump admits he was lying about having recordings of his conversations with Comey.

173. While on a golf course, Trump commits an ultimate sin.

174. Amid allegations that Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey, he pivots by saying Obama “colluded or obstructed” during the 2016 election.

175. The Washington Post discovers that Trump has a fake Photoshopped cover of Time magazine with him on it framed in several of his golf resorts.

176. The Supreme Court rules on Trump’s travel ban, allowing parts of it to proceed. However, it said that anyone with “close” family ties must be allowed to enter the country, which the Trump administration believes doesn’t include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, or fiancées.

177. Trump starts what would become a days-long saga when he tweets sexist and vulgar things about the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe. In the tweets, Trump says co-host Mika Brzezinski was “bleeding badly from a facelift” during a meeting around New Year’s Eve. This is proven to be false.

178. Despite calls to stop tweeting about the hosts, Trump continues his Twitter tirade over the next few days.

July

179. Reports indicate that the Trump administration is considering shutting down the White House Council on Women and Girls, which tries to “ensure that federal programs and policies address and take into account the distinctive concerns of women and girls, including women of color and those with disabilities.”

180. Trump can’t stop tweeting about Morning Joe.

181. Twitter continues to land Trump in hot water. This time, he tweets out a GIF of him body slamming someone with CNN’s logo on their face during a WWE segment he was featured in.

182. Someone in Trump’s administration forgot to book him a hotel room for the G20 Summit.

183. During a highly anticipated meeting between Trump and Putin, Trump apparently agreed to form a joint working group between the two countries to fight cybersecurity issues—despite the U.S. intelligence community concluding that Russia was using cyber tactics to influence the 2016 election.

184. Trump is sued for blocking Americans on Twitter. The lawsuit argues that by doing so, Trump is violating people’s First Amendment rights.

185. The White House releases comments it has received on its much-debated collection of personal information on American voters as part of its “election integrity” commission. In doing so, the White House exposes the personal information of hundreds of people. One of the comments is a link to the infamous shock-site photo “goatse.”

186. Trump says he wants his border wall to be transparent because of flying bags of drugs.

187. Donald Trump Jr. confirms that he was involved in a meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer by posting the email chain setting up the meeting on Twitter. The British publicist who arranged the meeting promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton. The meeting is the first proof that Trump’s campaign was at least willing to have help from Russia in the campaign.

188. Trump seems to dismiss the magnitude of the meeting, saying, “That’s politics!

189. Several outlets report that Trump had a second, undisclosed, meeting with Putin at the G20 Summit.

The post Trump’s first 6 months: The 189 moments you need to remember appeared first on The Daily Dot.

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Posted by Samantha Grasso

The team of Afghan girls who were twice denied U.S. visas to participate in the inaugural FIRST Global Challenge for robotics will be taking home a silver medal for their “courageous achievement” with their ball-collecting robot.

According to ABC News, the girls’ award recognizes teams with a “can-do” attitude under difficult circumstances, or when things don’t go as planned. South Sudan’s team won gold, while Oman’s team were awarded bronze. Teams from more than 160 nations competed in the event, with the event’s top awards going to the team with the most cumulative points over the course of the three-day competition.

The team from Afghanistan arrived in the U.S. early Saturday morning after requiring the assistance of President Donald Trump to participate in the Washington, D.C., competition. Previously, the girls and their chaperone had risked their lives for their U.S. visas for short-term entry, traveling 500 miles across Afghanistan twice. They were denied both times.

As previously reported, Trump asked officials at the National Security Council for assistance, which granted the girls “parole,” a 10-day stay without a U.S. visa.

After their win, the girls’ team celebrated at a reception hosted by the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council and the Afghan Embassy, met presidential adviser Ivanka Trump, and had their stories entered into the official Congressional Record by Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire.

Had the girls been unable to attend the competition in person, they were ready to livestream their participation from Afghanistan, a testament to their positivity in the face of adversity, indeed.

H/T ABC News

The post Afghan girls robotics team originally denied entry into the U.S. wins silver appeared first on The Daily Dot.

daf bit: Sanhedrin 2

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:55 am
cellio: (talmud)
[personal profile] cellio

We begin a new tractate, Sanhedrin, which discusses court cases. Unlike in many secular court systems, the judges are active participants (they're the ones who question witnesses) and the ultimate decisors; there are no lawyers or juries.

A court is made up of some number of judges, depending on the type of case (at least 3, sometimes 23 or 71 or occasionally other numbers). Here are some of the cases listed in the first mishna of the tractate (this is not a complete list):

  • Various types of monetary damages are judged by three.

  • Rape, seduction, and libel require three according to R' Meir, but the sages say libel requires 23 because it could involve a capital charge. (A note suggests this comes up with adultery but doesn't connect the dots. Also, rape and seduction can involve capital charges too, so I don't know why they only call out libel. Perhaps it's addressed later in the g'mara.)

  • Capital cases, as implied in the previous bullet, require 23.

  • Cases for which the punishment is flogging require three, but according to R' Yishmael, 23.

  • Calendar decisions (witnessing the new moon, adding a leap month) are judged by three, though R' Shimon b. Gamaliel describes a more complicated scheme.

  • A tribe charged with idolatry, a false prophet, and a high priest can be tried only by a court of 71.

  • The following require 71: authorizing wars of free choice, adding to the temple courtyards, establishing small sanhedrins (of 23) for the tribes, condemning a city, condemning frontier towns.

Why is a great sanhedrin 71? Because Moshe was commanded to gather 70 (other) men. And why is a small sanhedrin 23? It's complicated. (I don't completely follow their math, sorry.)

This is all from 2a. The mishna continues onto 2b before the g'mara starts there.

(Today's daf is 4.)

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Posted by Michelle Jaworski

Rising up to take over a top late-night mantle takes decades of honing your talents, perseverance, and for many of its hosts, maybe a little privilege. But for the “next” host of The Tonight Show, there’s another magical element to it.

After talking to Harry Styles about his performance with Stevie Nicks, Jimmy Fallon showed Styles the jade bottle Nicks gave him as a gift. Nicks told Fallon that he could make a wish by blowing into the bottle and closing it, joking that’s how he got The Tonight Show. And then Fallon hands Styles the bottle.

You can see where this is going.

We’re just saying, if Styles ever wanted to take a break from being a musician and touring the world, he already looks quite at home at that iconic desk.

The post Harry Styles ‘kills’ Jimmy Fallon to get the ‘Tonight Show’ appeared first on The Daily Dot.

#tbt: Moar space history (pre-2006)

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:12 pm
nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
[personal profile] nanila
IMG_20170720_124419_753
[Image of a Cassini spacecraft model inside a black gimbal structure comprised of three concentric rings, mounted on a plexiglass stand and sitting on the corner of a desk.]

Now that I'm back at work, I present another of my Rare Objects from Space History for #tbt. This is a model of the Cassini spacecraft, mounted in the centre of what I can only think to describe as a gimbal. The high gain antenna is pointed toward the bottom of the photo. The model was distributed to instrument teams to aid them with pointing design. It can be rotated around three axes within the gimbal. Each circle of rotation is marked in degrees, so that from a set of numbers indicating its orientation (eg "RA & dec"), an instrument engineer can work out which way the spacecraft is pointing.

I have no idea when it was originally given to our team but it predates me joining the Cassini project (ca 2006).
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Posted by Kristen Hubby

Whether it’s your college friends’ engagement photos or those long political rants from your ex that you can’t help but read, Facebook is the ultimate hub for personal updates from friends you’ve probably lost touch with over the years. While it’s a great way to stay in the know in your social circle, Facebook is also an easy way to keep tabs on your favorite celebrities and public figures. You can subscribe to their page to receive instant updates if you’re a true fan. In case you need somewhere to start, here’s our list of the people with the most followers on Facebook

Who has the most followers on Facebook?

1) Cristiano Ronaldo—122.1 million likes

Professional soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is by far the most-liked person on Facebook, with a massive lead of more than 15 million likes. Ronaldo is one of the most recognized soccer players in the league playing for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Portugal national team.

most followers on facebook : Cristiano Ronaldo Screengrab via Cristiano Ronaldo/Facebook

2) Shakira—104.6 million likes

Shakira’s hips don’t lie, and these numbers don’t either. The popular Colombian singer and dancer holds the second most-liked spot, as well as the world’s heart. Shakira’s page is a goldmine of personal updates as well as posts documenting her philanthropic efforts.

most followers on facebook : shakira Screengrab via Shakira/Facebook

3) Vin Diesel—101.6 million likes

The Fast and Furious actor takes advantage of his large following by self-promoting with inspirational quote memes in a surprisingly pleasant way. That’s sweet, Vin.

most followed person on facebook : vin diesel Screengrab via Vin Diesel/Facebook


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4) Eminem—90.4 million likes

Although he hasn’t produced music recently, the best-selling artist of the 2000s still holds his place on social media. His last few posts have been hyping his appearance in the HBO documentaryThe Defiant Ones.

most followers on facebook : eminem Screengrab via Eminem/Facebook

5) Leo Messi—89 million likes

The Argentine professional soccer star who plays for the Spanish club FC Barcelona and Argentina national team posts a lot of family pictures with him and his childhood sweetheart that’ll surely make you swoon.

most liked people on facebook : lionel messi Screengrab via Leo Messi/Facebook


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6) Rihanna—81 million likes

If you don’t follow Rihanna already, what is the point of even being on Facebook?

who has the most likes on facebook : rihanna Screengrab via Rihanna/Facebook

7) Justin Bieber—78.7 million likes

When your favorite child star-turned-bad boy isn’t touring with chart-topping hits (or occasionally flubbing Spanish lyrics), he’s posting selfies, a few nearly nude mirror pics, and goofy dance videos to his Facebook page.

most followers on facebook : justin Bieber Screengrab via Justin Bieber/Facebook

8) Will Smith—75.4 million likes

Before Facebook, Will Smith was mastering his game of sweet-talking women on Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Now, the father of two and four-time Grammy Award winner has mastered the art of taking scenic selfies.

who has the most likes on facebook : will smith Screengrab via Will Smith/Facebook

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9) Michael Jackson—75 million likes

The King of Pop continues to influence pop culture even after his passing in 2009. His Facebook page today is mostly throwback photos and fans reminiscing about performances or memories of his golden years.

most liked celebrities : michael jackson Screengrab via Micheal Jackson/Facebook

10) Taylor Swift—74 million likes

Although Taylor Swift recently took a leave of absence from social media, her fans have not forgotten her on Facebook. Give her page a like if you’re also into occasional videos of her adorable cat, Olivia Benson.

most loved celebrities on facebook : taylor swift Screengrab via Taylor Swift/Facebook

Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.

The post These are the 10 most popular people on Facebook appeared first on The Daily Dot.

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Posted by John-Michael Bond

When it comes to our cultural understanding of male masturbation and sexuality, it’s usually in the form of dumb jokes in movies or the toxic things guys hear in locker rooms growing up. But there’s no shame in responsible sex toy use. It doesn’t mean you’re lacking, that you’re a pervert, or that you’re a sad, lonely soul. Just open your mind, and you just might have a very good time. Here are the best sex toys for men to consider, whether you’re looking to spice up your alone time or your next amorous frolic.

The best sex toys for men

1) Autoblow 2+

You live in a high tech world, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t have a high tech sex toy to match. Introducing the Autoblow 2+, a robotic blowjob machine whose motto is “who needs a human when you’ve got a triple gripping mechanism.” While the answer to that question is “almost everyone,” the Autoblow 2+ really is the next best thing.

Once you’ve inserted yourself into the Autoblox 2+’s sleeve, a series of three beaded grips move up and down your penis so you can sit back and relax. Its industrial-strength motor lasts up to 500-plus hours, while variable speeds and intensities help to make sure you’re never finished until you’re ready.

When clean up time comes, the removable sleeve pops out of the mechanism, so you’re never in danger of damaging the device. At $179.99 retail, this is an expensive investment, but if you have the money or the desire, it’s a worthy one.

sex toys for men : autoblow 2 Photo via Autoblow

2) The Fleshlight

If you’ve spent any amount of time watching pornography—and let’s face it, if you’re reading this list you probably have—you know the Fleshlight. The leading male sex toy in the world offers the widest variety when it comes to artificial orifices. Unlike the Autoblow, there’s no motor in the Fleshlight unless you spring for their $199 smart system the Fleshlight Launch.

Fleshlight has the most customizable options of any sex toy manufacturer on the market—offering models that come in special casts of your favorite porn stars’ and cam girls’ bodies, plus a wide range of internal textures and case styles. Like the Autoblow, Fleshlight comes with a removable sleeve for easy cleanup after each session. Just don’t put it somewhere people might look for a flashlight.

best sex toys for men : fleshlight Photo via Fleshlight

3) Poppers

Whether you’re on your own or entertaining company, poppers can be a pleasurable addition to any evening of sexual activity. Popularized in the gay community, poppers are technically a drug that enhances your sexual feelings. Taking a whiff from a bottle can give you a rush of sexual euphoria, make you feel incredible, and cause your muscles to relax. That includes your anal muscles if you’re looking to explore the male g-spot during your adventures.

Just make sure to use caution when huffing poppers. As with any drug, you can always take more, but too much can give you a headache or, in extreme cases, make you sick.

sex toys for men : poppers Photo via Poppers San Francisco

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4)
Tantus Perfect Plug

It’s 2017; stop being afraid to play with your butt. The Tantus Perfect Plug is a beginners buttplug, offering up a way for newbies to—pardon the pun—ease into anal play. Roughly the size of an index finger, the small shape of the Tantus Perfect Plug makes it less intimidating for men who are interested in anal exploration but wary of painful first encounters. Its soft design ensures a comfortable experience, and its wide base gives you reassurance that nothing will get lost in your body. Just make sure you don’t forget to also pick up some of our next items. $19 on Amazon

sex toys for men : Tantus Perfect Plus Photo by Amazon

5) Boy Butter Lubrication

Everyone needs lube sometimes, whether you’re rocking your hand, a toy, or a partner. It’s important to remember that different activities call for different kinds of lube.

Using a condom? You’ll need to avoid oil-based lube because it destroys latex. Using a silicone toy like the Tantus Perfect Plug? Stay away from silicone-based lubes; they’ll damage your silicone toys. Your best bet is water-based lubricants, but while they don’t harm the materials you’ll be playing with, they can dry out faster.

That’s where Boy Butter comes in. The company offers a broad range of oil- and water-based lubes, including a desensitizing formula if you’re worried about finishing too soon. Their website offers a 90-day return policy and a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, so no matter what the outcome, you won’t be out your hard earned dollars if it doesn’t end up the right product for you. $12 on Amazon

best sex toy for men : boy butter Photo via Amazon

6) Perfect Fit Play Zone Kit

If you read our guide to the best sex toys for gay men, you might have seen these rings before. There’s a reason they’re on both lists; every man should probably consider giving these a spin. Cock rings help a man last longer, sustain a harder erection, and feel enhanced pleasure over the course of their sexual experiences, whether playing alone or with a guest.

Perfect Fit’s Play Zone kit is worth splurging $40 just for the sheer variety of options that come with it. There’s nothing worse than buying a cock ring only to discover you got one that’s too tight. Simply put, a too-tight ring is the sort of safety hazard you don’t want to gamble experiencing. This kit has you covered no matter what you’ve got between your legs, with the bonus inclusion of extra large rings if you’re interested in restraining your testicles while you’re at it. $39 on Perfect Fit  

sex toy for men : perfect fit play zone Photo via Perfect Fit Brand (CC-BY-SA)

7) Jimmyjane Hello Touch X

Electrostatic stimulation has been used for 50 years as a form of muscle stimulation by physical therapists and trainers, in which electricity is used to excite nerve endings and bring about involuntary muscle contractions. For some people, this sensation is absurdly erotic, working erogenous zones unlike anything else.

Jimmyjane’s Hello Touch X combines electrostatic stimulation with classic vibration, coming with two sets of interchangeable pods depending on what kind of evening you’re looking for. Want to play with a vibrator? Put on the vibration pods. Want to explore the shocking world of electrostatic stimulation? Attach the electrodes and get ready for a good time. There’s just one catch: You’ll need to check with your doctor to make sure your heart is healthy enough to experience electroshock play before experimenting. You don’t want to discover any surprises when you’re in the middle of taking care of business. $72 on Amazon

sex toys for men : hello touch x Photo via Amazon


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8)
Lelo Billy

Did you enjoy your first round with the Tantus Perfect Plug? Lelo’s Billy is there when you want to take things to the next level. This compact and subtle prostate vibrator is one of the best on the market, offering a broad range of speeds, intensities, and pulses to ensure you have nothing but the best experiences when playing with your butt. Its curved shape helps it easily reach your prostate, while the soft and narrow design ensures you won’t be unexpectedly flashing back to any uncomfortable trips to the doctor. Lelo offers a one-year warranty and a 10-year guarantee on the product, so if you love it, you’ll have some extra protection should your Billy ever die. $89 on Amazon

best sex toys for men : lelo billy Photo by Lelo

Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance. 

The post The 8 best sex toys for anyone with a d**k or a butt appeared first on The Daily Dot.

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Posted by Nahila Bonfiglio

Ever wonder what Hogwarts would look like with “happy trees”?

Artist Mike Marrocco recreated the wizard school in the style of Bob Ross, the public TV icon known worldwide for his program, The Joy of Painting, which aired between 1983 and 1994. Ross was known for his laid-back personality and used simple colors and techniques to teach viewers how to paint like him. Marrocco was clearly paying attention.

hogwarts bob ross Screengrab via funkblast/InstaGram

The magic of Hogwarts comes to life in his lovely oil painting. Marrocco, an artist on Instagram, painted the beautiful picture using a combination of oil paint and digital tweaking. The addition of Severus Snape‘s ethereal patronus at the edge of the lake really makes the whole thing magical, particularly for lovers of the complicated Potions master.

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In the painting, the quiet lake stretches into the background with the steadfast light from the castle windows shining above. There are a few happy little trees in the foreground, just enough to really bring that Bob Ross feel home.

Close up #harrypotter #bobross #art #artist #hogwarts #artwork #painting #oilpainting

A post shared by Mike Marrocco (@funkblast) on

Marrocco is on Etsy, and though this particular painting is not for sale just yet, he has several up for grabs at a reasonable price. His five-star rating and comments from buyers should encourage anyone looking to purchase one of his creations.

The post Someone painted Hogwarts like Bob Ross—and it’s magical appeared first on The Daily Dot.

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Posted by Bryan Rolli

Guns N’ Roses’ landmark debut album, Appetite for Destruction, turns 30 this week. The record has become a staple of our cultural lexicon, inspiring countless bedroom shredders and rock critics. It resonates as one of the greatest hard rock albums of all time, and resuscitated the floundering genre at the peak of its hair metal bloat.

More than just a commercial and artistic achievement, however, Appetite elevated five talented street urchins to godlike status. As an older, slightly tamer Guns N’ Roses plows through a reunion tour, the album continues to perpetuate the mythology behind the Most Dangerous Band in the World—if only in fans’ imaginations.

Its cult congregates online and swaps high-quality video of a band that spent prime years in the shadows, ducking your speculation. As a response to the internet age, the band has become dependable, visible, precise onstage, and louder than ever.

Let’s talk about the album

Praising Appetite purely on its technical merits is tired and practically disingenuous at this point—but I’m going to do it anyway.

Guitarists Slash and Izzy Stradlin deftly trade serpentine riffs and explosive solos, slinking through each song at a simultaneously urgent and laidback pace, recalling the bluesy twin guitar attacks of the Stones and Aerosmith. Drummer Steven Adler offsets the pyrotechnic fretwork with deceptively swinging beats and thunderous fills, while bassist Duff McKagan cuts through the sonic boom with his groovy, minimalist bass licks, honed from years of studying punk progenitors like the Sex Pistols and New York Dolls.

And what more can one possibly say about Axl Rose? The strawberry blond from Lafayette, Indiana, doesn’t function as a singer so much as a vocal contortionist, twisting his voice to replicate a police siren on “Welcome to the Jungle” and quivering with unmatched ferocity on “Nightrain.” His pseudo-baritone at the beginning of “Mr. Brownstone” is deceptively cool; his banshee wail at the end of “Paradise City” transcendent. He sounds equally sincere in the schoolyard taunts of “It’s So Easy” (“I see you standing there / you think you’re so cool / why don’t you just fuck off?”) and the heartwarming coda to “Rocket Queen” (“Don’t ever leave me / say you’ll always be there / all I ever wanted was for you to know that I care”), which is the only reason both sentiments can exist on the same album. For 54 minutes, 12 songs, one album, the most powerful vocalist in the world could do no wrong.

Appetite for Destruction plays like a requiem to the band’s historically debauched L.A. lifestyle, bursting with odes to substance abuse, indictments against authority figures, and plenty of regrettable misogyny. It was, in short, the antidote to the contrived glam metal scene that dominated the first half of the decade, and it paved the way for the stripped-down, hyper-aggressive grunge storm that would ironically render the band irrelevant just four years later.

All good things must come to an end

Guns N’ Roses sounded too good to last on Appetite for Destruction. Drug abuse, volatile temperaments, and frequent lineup changes quickly sunk the band, which followed up its debut with 1988’s Lies EP and 1991’s massively successful double album, Use Your Illusion. A 1993 cover album, The Spaghetti Incident?, marked the group’s last release until 2008’s Chinese Democracy, largely a product of Rose’s studio tinkering and dozens of hired guns (no pun intended).

At every juncture, these guys have sought to recapture their former glory. So have their fans.

In the years following his band’s meteoric rise to the top, Rose disappeared from the public eye for nearly a decade. Fans took it upon themselves to track him down; the best they could do was scrounge together a handful of photos from “the wilderness years.” The singer finally resurfaced, pudgy and cornrowed, with an unrecognizable backing band, for Rock in Rio 2001. He offered periodic updates about the band’s forthcoming album. Primitive file-sharing sites leaked scraps of half-finished material purportedly from the album.

In 2008, Guns N’ Roses finally released Chinese Democracy as a Best Buy exclusive, and the rest of the world… didn’t seem to care much. The album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard chart behind Kanye West and Taylor Swift. David Fricke gave it a respectable four out of five stars in Rolling Stone. Months later, it occupied the bargain bins of used record stores across the country.

They resumed a proper touring schedule in 2010, and stateside fans jumped at the opportunity to catch them for the first time in years. But attendance gradually dwindled as they downgraded from arenas to amphitheaters to, finally, clubs and theaters on 2012’s Up Close and Personal Tour. The marketing suggested this was a rare opportunity to catch the group in an intimate setting, but the writing was on the wall: People simply didn’t care about the “new” Guns N’ Roses.

Appetite for secrecy

Fast-forward to April 1, 2016. The newly reunited Guns N’ Roses featuring Rose, Slash, and McKagan performed a surprise show at the Troubadour in Hollywood. No cell phones were allowed at the gig, but a handful of grainy photos and short videos emerged, to the delight of hysterical fans. The same day, the band announced a massive North American stadium run that would officially kick off the ongoing Not In This Lifetime Tour.

Suddenly, people cared about Guns N’ Roses again.

The band leads the list of highest-grossing tours in 2017. Rose and McKagan have granted exactly one interview since embarking on the reunion trek last year, on Brazil’s Globo TV. This tight-lipped approach is a testament to the group’s enduring popularity and ability to thrive on secrecy. Suddenly, GN’R fanatics were commenting on YouTube videos about the quality of Rose’s vocal rasp (there’s an entire forum dedicated to tracking this rasp over the years) and freaking out if he wore cowboy boots instead of sneakers. Fans wondered every night whether the band would welcome Adler onstage for a song or two. L.A. Weekly published an exhaustive long-form called “Where’s Izzy,” in which Art Tavana dutifully attempted to track the only member of the band more notoriously reclusive than Rose.

For the first time in almost 25 years, the real-life Guns N’ Roses nearly matches the Gn’F’nR that fans have built up in their heads for so long. However you slice it, the band sounds mostly phenomenal on its reunion tour. That’s good for Axl and friends, as it saves them from the undying scorn of internet trolls and cynical music bloggers. (God knows we don’t need any more “Fat Axl” memes.) It’s great for us, because we’ve waited patiently—some of us literally our entire lives—for this moment.

Cheap video-editing tools allow fans to upload nearly professional footage of the band on any given night, rendering useless the notorious jeers about showing up two hours late or walking offstage after three songs. The petulant reputation is being fixed up: Anybody can see that Guns N’ Roses is out to make amends for the past on this tour, showing up on time to masterfully deliver two-and-a-half-hour performances every night, without fail.

The bittersweet irony, of course, is that we’ll always be a little disappointed by this reunion. How could we not be? Rose is 55 years old; no amount of vocal dynamism or humble penance can make up for the fact that he and his bandmates squandered their prime years because they never learned how to get along.

A reunion tour also destroys the myth that bolstered the band for so long. Whenever Rose would invite McKagan or Stradlin onstage for a night, or Adler would sit in with Slash and Myles Kennedy, fans came tantalizingly close to seeing and hearing what a legitimate reunion would sound like. Still, we never quite got it. We clung to the belief that if the band did reunite, it would be every bit as spectacular as we’d hoped.

Now, that bubble has burst. They sound great live! But with this reunion also comes the devastating realization that we’ve reached the final frontier. Unless Stradlin or Adler miraculously rejoin the fold (which seems unlikely, but then again, I also didn’t expect to be writing about any sort of GN’R reunion in 2017), this is the closest we’ll get to the band’s glory days. Time waits for no one, not even self-destructive geniuses.

Where do we go now?

This is no longer the young, bloodthirsty rock band that revitalized an entire genre and inspired rabid fandom among a generation of listeners. They’re also not a bunch of strung-out, accident-prone junkies who throw public temper tantrums when their water bottles aren’t precisely room temperature. They are, in short, everything we could ask for in 2017: a punctual, razor-sharp group of veteran musicians who delight in playing through their own catalog with virtuosity.

Guns N’ Roses rewrote the rock music rulebook 30 years ago with Appetite for Destruction. Now its members are content to celebrate their past. We’ll just have to use our illusion for the rest.

The post After 30 years, Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Appetite for Destruction’ still inspires fans to use their illusion appeared first on The Daily Dot.

Wood Pidgeon, York

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:43 am
highlyeccentric: A seagull lifting into flight, skimming the cascade (Castle Hill, Nice) (Seagull)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric posting in [community profile] common_nature
I get the impression these are perfectly normal birds in the UK, but they're quite a novelty to me. Those fancy collars! There were three in the yard of the pub we stayed in, but they wouldn't sit still to be photographed. Here's one from the walk into town:

QotD

Jul. 20th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Everybody knows, a humungous thing happened on Sunday, July 20th, 1969 at exactly 4:17E.D.T. The 'Eagle' has landed. Bingo. Just like that. Man became an alien." -- Janet Turpin Myers, Nightswimming

The Red by Tiffany Reisz

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:00 am
[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Elyse

B+

The Red

by Tiffany Reisz
July 11, 2017 · 8th Circle Press
RomanceErotica/Erotic Romance

The Red by Tiffany Reisz is an erotic journey though art history. It’s a book that pushes the envelope, and one that won’t be for all readers, but one that I found immensely enjoyable. In many ways it reads like an erotic fairytale, complete with an ending that felt a little too convenient.

Mona Lisa St. James promised her mother that she would do anything in her power to save the family art gallery, The Red. Unfortunately, the gallery is half a million dollars in debt.

In true fairytale fashion, a mysterious man named Malcolm appears and offers Mona a million dollars for twelve days of sex. They will have an assignation one day a month over the period of one year. In return he will pay her in art worth a million dollars. Malcolm is handsome, dominant, and almost supernaturally appealing. Mona agrees to his terms.

The rest of the book is set up almost in vignettes, scenes in which Mona and Malcolm play out one of his fantasies, one month at a time.

All of Malcolm’s desires are inspired by famous paintings, and the first one he and Mona reenact is Olympia by Manet.

The painting Olympia by Manet. A nude woman reclines in bed. There's a flower in her hair and she wears a velvet choker. A Black woman presents her with a bouquet of flowers. A cat stands on the end of the bed.

Mona waits for Malcolm, nude and reclining in bed. The subject of the painting, Olympia, is a sex worker, defiantly staring at the viewer, unabashed by her profession. The Black woman holding the flowers does not feature into their fantasy.

Mona is clearly having sex with Malcolm for financial reasons, but she finds the idea of being his whore intriguing and titillating.

“You do like your whores, don’t you?” she asked.

“I have trouble respecting a woman who gives away what she could sell for good money. Whores are the only women who know their own worth. I mean that.”

“What about male prostitutes?”

“Their clients are generally men as well. I don’t fault anyone who takes a man to the bank before going to bed with him. I wouldn’t let a strange man put his finger in my mouth and whores take far more into their bodies every single night. It’s skilled, brave work. Bless those lasses, they’ve saved my life and damned my soul. What more could I ask for?”

Just like in her Original Sinners series, Reisz subverts the idea of sex work as degrading; instead she empowers the sex worker and applies a logic to it.

As the novel progresses Mona gets drawn deeper and deeper into Malcolm’s fantasies and develops feelings for him, and he for her.

Because this is erotica, much of the book is about Mona’s sexual journey. However, she is never a blushing innocent. She is occasionally shocked by what  she enjoys, but she’s no Anastasia Steele tormented and conflicted about the kind of sex she craves. At no point do Mona or Malcolm attribute a desire for kinky sex to a moral failing or any kind of emotional damage.

After a particularly intense BDSM session, Malcolm articulates what Mona is feeling:

“You only love me tonight because of the beating. You understand that, don’t you?”

Before tonight, she would have said “no,” that made no sense, there was no logic to it. He’d done something to her mind as well as her body. By the end of her beating, she couldn’t tell the crop apart from kindness. They were one and the same to her so that every strike of the crop was tender as a kiss and every word of tenderness made her crave the crop.

“Now I understand,” she said, because now she did.

There’s a lot of kink in this book. There’s bondage, sadomasochism, penetration by objections,  flogging, group sex, anal sex, and at one point Mona has sex with a minotaur (for realsies). As their scenes together become more vivid, Mona questions whether or not Malcolm is giving her hallucinogens to make these fantasies feel real.

As the book progresses, the mystery and supernatural elements associated with Malcolm become more clear. Weirdly, this was the part I didn’t like. When we finally got the explanation for who Malcolm was and why he sought out Mona, I was disappointed. The fantasy and intrigue surrounding him was so well constructed than any explanation felt disappointing. I just wanted him to be a mysterious, other-worldly fucking machine.  I wanted him to stay an enigma who entered Mona’s life every month, even while I acknowledge that’s not great storytelling.

Fans of Reisz’s Original Sinners series will gobble this book up. For those looking for erotica without a ton of emotional angst, The Red is right up your alley. It’s a delightful, wicked fairytale and it’s a ton of fun.

[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by SB Sarah

Missinglettr square logoI’ve been using a new social media campaign tool called MissingLettr, and currently they are running a deal where new subscribers get six months for the price of one. There are three price tiers, and I’ll get to the particulars in a moment.

NB: the links in this post are affiliate coded, which means if you choose to subscribe, I will receive a percentage at no extra cost to you. That said, I’d recommend MissingLettr even without an affiliate account. 

MissingLettr is great for bloggers, reviewers, and pretty much anyone who posts frequent content on their blogs. It works by scanning your site for new content, then automatically creates a year-long drip campaign for Twitter, Facebook, and/or Google+ using images and quotes from your content. The feed is spread out, as I said, over a year, and each item is posted automatically to your choice of social media.

They have an intro video that explains it better than I could:

Missinglettr – Intro from Benjamin Dell on Vimeo.

For me, Missinglettr is terrific because it resurfaces and promotes content throughout the coming year, allowing me to highlight reviews and cover snark long after they’ve been posted. While blogs do come with an expectation of timeliness and newest items are always first, well, some things don’t really get old – cover snark and book recommendations especially!

If you’re a reviewer or book blogger, this would resurface content from your archive for a year. If you’re an author, you could schedule posts about your books automatically for a year as well. There are a lot of possibilities!

You might have seen some of the MissingLettr posts on our Twitter or Facebook feeds (they also link to LinkedIn and Google+, and I hear rumors that Pinterest is next). Here’s an example:

MissingLettr auto-magically created the quote box image in blue, using quotes from inside the review. I can also upload alternate images and select from a bunch of different quotes from the content. I can also edit the text that’s part of the Tweet or FB post, too. The ability to customize is pretty substantial.

I’ve really enjoyed using MissingLettr and have had a great experience with their customer service after I accidentally changed my subscription and couldn’t switch back. I recommend them most enthusiastically. And this deal is pretty sweet, hence my posting about it!

Personal Business and Small Team plans with price and details below - I'll explain in the text don't worry

There are three plans, and with this offer, which expires July 25th, you can get six months for the price of one. Then, if you decide to continue after six months, you’ll receive 20% off the subscription cost going forward.

The Personal plan is $15 per month, and you can link two sites with four campaigns a week. The automatically scheduled content from one post is a campaign. So if I had cover snark and two reviews, and had campaigns scheduled for all of them, that would be three total. You can link four social profiles and upload custom images.

The Business plan is $40 per month. It comes with unlimited sites, 10 campaigns per week, 10 profiles, plus advanced analytics (which are coming soon).

The Small Team plan is $65 per month, includes unlimited sites, 10 campaigns per week, 25 social profiles, and additional team members who can approve content.

Plus, if you sign up for the six months free deal, if you decide to continue (and you can cancel after six months) you’ll receive a lifetime discount of 20% off the cost of your plan.

This is a pretty spiffy offer, and since it’s saved me a bunch of time and boosted inbound traffic by resurfacing content, I didn’t want you to miss it. Again, this offer expires July 25th, so if you’re thinking about it, think quickly! Again again, the links in this post are affiliate coded, but this post is not being sponsored. This is my own overly-verbose opinion, as usual.

Any questions, please ask in the comments, or email me!

Tawny owl

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:50 am
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
Short-eared owl
[Grainy photo of a short-eared tawny owl sitting on a lawn]

I know this isn't the greatest photo of all time. In my defense, I did take it from behind a dusty windowpane in an upstairs bedroom where I was crouched breathlessly lest I frighten it off.

There've long been barn owls living at my partner's parents' home in rural Norfolk, but I'd never seen any other type of owl there. I was surprised, therefore, to see this tawny owl (h/t to [personal profile] shapinglight for corrected identification) sitting on their lawn at dusk a couple of weeks ago. I worked out that it was watching a group of four partridges who were pecking through the pebbles in the drive, closer to the house. They seemed a rather optimistic target, given that the owl wasn't much bigger than they were.

The owl flew off and returned to the lawn several times whilst I watched, but never made a move on the partridges, who eventually moved onto the roof of the house and over to the other side.

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