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Creepbay: the gothiest stuff on the net

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Creepbay is a beautifully selected catalog of online "creepy and cool" merch, skewed heavily to Etsy, though not limited to it: it's full of stuff that will probably end up in my house, eventually (this planter will look great in the tiki bar we're building; this is next Christmas's door-candy; and someone in my life surely needs this) -- better yet, there's RSS, so expect more from this feed to show up here in the fullness of time. (via Metafilter) Read the rest

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zippy72
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To save Brexit deal, Theresa May dropped an assault rifle ban

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On November 28, Conservative MPs removed references to assault rifles from the Offensive Weapons Bill in order to win support for Theresa May's Brexit bill from the European Research Group -- the hardline, pro-Brexit wing of her party -- who are also pro-assault-rifle. The vote was supported by every sitting Conservative MP.

Britons overwhelmingly support gun control. The police had asked for the assault-weapons ban. The ban was bipartisan.

The pro-Brexit wing of the Tories are a tiny minority of Parliament with fringe views well outside the norms of the popular British political consensus, but they call all the shots (literally), because they control the balance of power.

Next time there is a British mass-shooting, remember that it was enabled by cowardly Tories who have been completely captured by extremists from their own party. The Tories are the party of assault rifles.

But – and here’s the really striking thing – as well as securing the support of the ERG, every Conservative MP went along with the vote. Of course, every Tory MP I have spoken to privately is mystified by the decision, but for the most part, the politics makes short-term sense: they are in safe seats where the issue is not going to cause immediate harm. That said, one can easily imagine how at some future election, any of James Cleverly, Penny Mordaunt or Nigel Huddlestone, either as a boxfresh opposition leader or as Prime Minister, will wake up to discover that a Momentum video on their opposition to banning assault rifles (pegged perhaps to some hypothetical future shooting) has gone viral on Facebook overnight. But it’s not just future prospects. Take say, Jake Berry, Ben Bradley or Jack Brereton, all of whom are in marginal seats, and all of whom opted to vote against banning assault rifles. To repeat: gun control is popular everywhere in the United Kingdom, and assault rifles are popular nowhere in the United Kingdom.

Something crazy happened in parliament last night, and no one is talking about it [Stephen Bush/The New Statesman]

(via Naked Capitalism)

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The BBC Just Found Itself In The Dumbest Brexit Scandal Yet

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Troll Train: Brazil’s Steamy Mundo a Vapor Museum

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[ By Steve in Culture & History & Travel. ]

The front facade of the Mundo a Vapor train museum in Canela, Brazil recreates a spectacular Parisian train wreck from 1895 in steamingly accurate detail.

No doubt the worst – or at least, the most embarrassing – day in the history of the Chemins de fer de l’Ouest railway was October 22 of 1895, the date of the Montparnasse Derailment. Captured for posterity through the miracle of photography, this epic urban train wreck saw the twelve-car Granville to Paris and Montparnasse Express train enter the Gare Montparnasse station at too high a speed, suffer a brake failure, smash through safety buffers, careen 100 feet across the station concourse, and finally burst through the building’s outer wall, falling 30 feet into the street below. Ta da!

Steam locomotive No. 721 was hauling 10 coaches and 131 passengers at the time. The only fatality of the spectacular crash, however, was a woman in the street who was struck by displaced masonry while waiting for her husband. Though CF de l’Ouest was absorbed into the French national rail system in 1909, their day of infamy lives on, day after day, thousands of miles away in Brazil. Flickr member RV1864 has posted several photographs of the accident and the subsequent cleanup, two of which are presented above.

Troll Steam Ahead

Fast-forward 96 years and fast- er, sideways 5,837 miles to Canela, a charming town of 40,000 set jewel-like in the Gaucho Highlands of Rio Grande do Sul. Canela (Portuguese for “cinnamon”) is a popular tourist destination boasting several noteworthy attractions including Mundo a Vapor… the “World of Steam” train museum and theme park, which opened in 1991.

Exterior Loco Motive

It’s hard to miss Mundo a Vapor, just like it was hard to miss a major train station in Paris… we’re looking at you, engine driver Guillaume-Marie Pellerin. Unlike the old (demolished in 1969) Gare Montparnasse train terminal, over-achieving locomotive No. 721 is a feature, not a bug… and yes, the replica engine proudly displays its ID ‘cuz if one’s gonna troll, might as well troll to the max. These images from Flickr members Rosanetur and Solon Aguiar (solonneto) date from November of 2017 and September of 2012, respectively.

Steam Dream Team

Mundo a Vapor isn’t your average train museum and calling it a “theme park” is a bit of a stretch – the only real “ride” is a small steam train that, perhaps fortunately, does NOT crash through the second-story wall. What’s up with that? Here comes the history! Back in the 1920s, Ernesto Urbani ran a small business servicing and repairing the steam engines used at many of the local sawmills. Urbani’s sons Omar, Benito and Hermes spent their childhoods in the shop, learning all about steam engines and crafting miniature versions in their spare time. The boys – now retired gents – opened Mundo a Vapor in 1991 as both a tribute to their father and an homage to their love of all things steam.

Iron Horseplay

As such, Mundo a Vapor isn’t so much a museum of railroads as it is a showcase of the Urbani’s many handmade steam engines and miniature mechanical devices. For example, one steam-driven machine presses pulp into usable paper while another spits out pot-metal souvenirs cast from molten solder. Not exactly thrilling but hey – there’s always the replica crashed locomotive out front for photo opportunities. Be sure to snap the shutter when the stack belches thick white smoke. Flickr members Contato Dearaujo and Cesar Cardoso captured these scenes (and our lead image) in April of 2014 and June of 2011, respectively.

South Polar Express

Canela (along with its sister city Gramado) lies on the so-called “Rota Romantica” and it’s popular with tourists year-round. Successive waves of immigrants from the Azores, Germany and Italy have influenced the town’s architecture, not to mention its overall European character. Snow often falls during the winter, prompting extensive Christmastime events and activities. Someone better tell Santa that reindeer can’t fly but steam locomotives can…  for a few seconds. Flickr member Anderson Rancan snapped some of the holiday disaster fiasco fun in late 2008.

Keepin’ It Rail

Flickr member Jeff Belmonte brings us these night-time images of Mundo a Vapor’s crash-tacular facade taken in early 2006. Flying down to Rio – or a tad farther, to the Sao Paulo region – isn’t an option for many in the Northern Hemisphere but thanks to Mundo a Vapor you can pay a five-minute visit to the museum via this YouTube video. In the meantime, and to paraphrase Bogie from Casablanca, “We’ll always have the Paris trainwreck” thanks to those masters of steam (and trolling), the brothers Urbani.

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[ By Steve in Culture & History & Travel. ]

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The C64 Mini: a gaming blast from the past

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In 1982 the 8 bit world was rocked by the Commodore 64, or C64 home computer. For $60 you can relive the glory.

Once the most popular home computer around, Commodore's C64 was an amazing follow-up to the Pet and the VIC-20. The games were fun, and there were a lot of them. I was an Apple ][ user for most of this time period, and I think Commodore users had more fun. The Amiga really kicked ass.

Included are many games I'd love to go back and play again: Temple of Apshai, Impossible Mission, California Games, Boulder Dash. The list goes on, they've included 64 titles:

64 built in games: Alleykat, Anarchy, The Arc of Yesod, Avenger, Battle Valley, Boulder Dash, Break Dance, California Games, Chip's Challenge, Coil Cop, Confuzion, Cosmic Causeway, Cyberdyne Warrior, Cybernoid, Cybernoid II, Deflektor, Destroyer, Everyone's a Wally, Firelord, Gateway to Apshai, Gribbly's Day Out, Heartland, Herobotix, Highway Encounter, Hunter's Moon, Hysteria, Impossible Mission, Impossible Mission II, IO, Jumpman, Jumpman 2, Mega-Apocalypse, Mission A.D., Monty on the Run, Netherworld, Nobby the Aardvark, Nodes of Yesod, Paradroid, Pitstop II, Ranarama, Robin of the Wood, Silicon Warrior, Skate Crazy, Skool Daze, Snare, Speedball, Speedball 2, Spindizzy, Street Sports Baseball, Street Sports Basketball, Street Sports Soccer, Summer Games II, Super Cycle, Sword of Fargoal, Temple of Apshai Trilogy, Thing on a Spring, Tower Toppler, Trailblazer, Uridium, West Bank, Who Dares Wins II, Winter Games, World Games, Zynaps

Hard to go too wrong for $60, but be forewarned the keyboard is decorative and typing has to be done via controller. The device has 2 USB ports, is software upgrade-able, and perhaps keyboard support will come.

The C64 Mini via Amazon

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4 days ago
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Look to the new Mac mini with Thunderbolt 3 to predict what the 'modular' Mac Pro will be

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There aren't many users who have a real need for the internal expansion options that the old Mac Pro used to give us -- yet they are loud and there will probably be a roar of disappointment when the machine comes out, because we don't think "modular" as it refers to the forthcoming Mac Pro means what some of the devout want it to mean.
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zippy72
16 days ago
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In other words, "we've decided to tell you what you want and it's basically a shiny underpowered box that's almost impossible to upgrade - like the NeXT workstation was, basically.
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