within the world

The largest set of matryoshka dolls in the world is a 51-piece set hand-painted by Youlia Bereznitskaia of Russia, completed in 2003

Chinese businessman Tan Youhui was looking for a hitman to take out a competitor, Wei Mou, and was willing to pay 2 million yuan (£218,000) to get the job done. The hitman that Mr Youhui hired decided to offer the job to another hitman for half the original price. The second hitman then subcontracted to another hitman, who then subcontracted to a fourth, who gave the job to a fifth. However, hitman number five was so incensed at how much the value of the contract had fallen, that he told the target to fake his own death, which eventually led to the police finding out about the plot, Beijing News reported.

{ Metro | Continue reading }

Can’t hear with the waters of. The chittering waters of. Flittering bats, fieldmice bawk talk.

The U.S. government is in the midst of forcing a standoff with China over the global deployment of Huawei’s 5G wireless networks around the world. […] This conflict is perhaps the clearest acknowledgement we’re likely to see that our own government knows how much control of communications networks really matters, and our inability to secure communications on these networks could really hurt us.

{ Cryptography Engineering | Continue reading }

related { Why Controlling 5G Could Mean Controlling the World }

Desire, for hire, would tire a shire, phone, phunkel, or wire

When the world’s first cellular network was installed in Washington, D.C., in 1983, Gatt and Rwayitare knew instinctively that cellular could solve many of Africa’s communication problems. […] “How do you educate a government on what cellular is all about?” asked Gatt. […] You hand him a mobile phone and get him to call home, of course. […]

On an official state visit to the United States, Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko was handed a Motorola mobile phone and urged to call home. It was 1985, so he had to be persuaded that the device — which weighed as much as a bottle of wine and boasted a retractable antenna — was not a walkie-talkie. But once he’d spoken to his family in Kinshasa, he needed no further convincing. Joseph Gatt and Miko Rwayitare’s plan was coming together.

Telecel, the company they formally founded a year later, would soon have 3,000 subscribers in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) — well before mobile phones were ubiquitous in America. Zaire’s near-defunct fixed-line infrastructure meant that the country’s elite were willing to spend $5,000 on a handset and up to $16 per minute to remain connected. […]

Despite being impressed, the dictator — like most people in 1985 — hadn’t fully grasped how life-changing the technology would be and he initially refused to grant Telecel an operating license. Gatt and Rwayitare knew they were onto a good thing, however, so they used their life savings to purchase an ailing U.S. mobile technology firm and obtained finance from Motorola to erect a small system in Kinshasa. All that remained was to buy a couple of hundred handsets — at $3,000 a pop — and give them to Mobutu and his inner circle.

“These 200 Zairean officials called each other and overseas over the next year without paying for a single call.” […] At the end of the trial period, and faced with the prospect of losing what had now become an essential cog in the state machinery, Mobutu agreed to give them their license.

{ OZY | Continue reading }

a jungle of love and debts and jangled through a jumble of life in doubts

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{ Overnight, Gem Spa was transformed into SchitiBank | more | ThanksTim }

Fear causes the organism to seek safety and may cause a release of adrenaline, which has the effect of increased strength and heightened senses such as hearing, smell, and sight

In the first study [2010] of its kind, officials scoured the city’s subway system to discover what accounts for the perennial presence of rodents, a scourge since the system opened more than a century ago. […] Rodents, it turns out, reside inside station walls, emerging occasionally from cracks in the tile to rummage for food. The legend of teeming rat cities tucked deep into subway tunnels is, in fact, a myth. The electrified tracks, scientists said, are far too dangerous. […]

“They can fall 40 feet onto a concrete slab and keep running,” said Solomon Peeples, 86, a former director of the city’s Bureau of Pest Control Services. “We’re no match for them, as far as I’m concerned. Man does not stand no chance.” […]

Nothing quite excites a rat like a station’s “refuse room,” a storage space for bags of garbage waiting to be hauled away. For rodents, the room is “a restaurant,” as Dr. Corrigan called it, and he recommended that the transportation authority install poison bait in the rooms for a more surgical strike. (Currently, the authority places poison only on the tracks.) […]

Dr. Corrigan told health officials that while rats were a problem in the subways, the rodents inhabited many other public spaces, particularly parks. “Virtually all of New York,” he said, “is vulnerable to this uncanny mammal.”

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

New York has always been forced to coexist with the four-legged vermin, but the infestation has expanded exponentially in recent years, spreading to just about every corner of the city. […] Rat sightings reported to the city’s 311 hotline have soared nearly 38 percent, to 17,353 last year from 12,617 in 2014. […]

One key reason rats seem to be everywhere? Gentrification. The city’s construction boom is digging up burrows, forcing more rats out into the open, scientists and pest control experts say.

Milder winters — the result of climate change — make it easier for rats to survive and reproduce. And New York’s growing population and thriving tourism have brought more trash for rats to feed on.

Rats once scurried in the shadows but now they frolic brazenly in broad daylight. […] Parents at an Upper West Side playground said rats jumped into the sandbox where their children played, though the vermin have been cleared for now.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

Traps. Poison. Birth control. Dry ice. And now, what city officials are touting as a high-tech solution: drowning. […] a bucket that would lure the rodents and send them plunging to their deaths in a mysterious vinegary concoction. The toxic potion, according to its maker, Rat Trap Inc., prevents them from rotting too quickly and emitting a stink. […]

Mr. Adams said he wants to install the newfangled traps, which cost between $300 and $400, in several locations in Brooklyn. If successful, he said he would look to expand the methodology citywide.

The pilot program has already hit one snag. Mr. Adams’s office initially placed five boxes in and around Brooklyn Borough Hall, but one was disabled by a very large rat. “It was so big it broke the spring mechanism in the box so that it was no longer functioning,” said Jonah Allon, Mr. Adams’s spokesman.

{ MSN/NY Times | Continue reading }

his buildings needed to be the biggest, the grandest, the tallest (in the pursuit of which he skipped floors in the numbering to make them seem higher)

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studies have shown that America has been getting more narcissistic since the Seventies […] one study found narcissistic traits to be rising as quickly as obesity, while yet another showed that almost one-third of high school students in America in 2005 said that they expected to eventually become famous.

{ Rolling Stone | Continue reading }

Plato has Socrates describe a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire behind them, and give names to these shadows.

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In mid-1947, a United States Army Air Forces balloon crashed at a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico. Following wide initial interest in the crashed “flying disc”, the US military stated that it was merely a conventional weather balloon. Interest subsequently waned until the late 1970s, when ufologists began promoting a variety of increasingly elaborate conspiracy theories, claiming that one or more alien spacecraft had crash-landed and that the extraterrestrial occupants had been recovered by the military, which then engaged in a cover-up.

In the 1990s, the US military published two reports disclosing the true nature of the crashed object: a nuclear test surveillance balloon from Project Mogul.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

photo { W. Eugene Smith, Untitled [man holding bottle, S-shaped foam form emerging from it], Springfield, Massachusetts, 1952 }

More Americans are saying they need a variety of animals — dogs, ducks, even insects — for their mental health. But critics say many are really just pets that do not merit special status.

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{ Trump’s ties }

‘Praying for something implies that, despite My omniscience, I don’t already know what you want.’ –@TheTweetOfGod

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Weather forecasters need a ton of knowledge and a fair bit of experience with local weather patterns to do their job well. They also need a good forecast model. These computer models take in measurements from weather stations on the ground, satellites in orbit, and balloons in between and then simulate the physics of weather forward in time a few days.

For the first time in about 40 years, the guts of the US model got swapped out for something new today. The upgrade brings us a new “Finite-Volume Cubed-Sphere” (or FV3) dynamical core, which simulates the basic atmospheric physics at the heart of this endeavor, a change that has been in the works for a while.

{ ArsTechnica | Continue reading }

photo { The main prize in the 2019 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest went to Chu Weimin | Upernavik is a fishing village on a tiny island in west Greenland. Historically, Greenlandic buildings were painted different colors to indicate different functions, from red storefronts to blue fishermen’s homes—a useful distinction when the landscape is blanketed in snow. }

Max Headroom was portrayed as “The World’s first computer-generated TV host,” although the computer-generated appearance was achieved with prosthetic make-up and hand-drawn backgrounds

In Siege, Wolff quotes Bannon saying investigations into Trump’s finances will cut adrift even his most ardent supporters: “This is where it isn’t a witch hunt – even for the hard core, this is where he turns into just a crooked business guy, and one worth $50m instead of $10bn. Not the billionaire he said he was, just another scumbag.”

{ The Guardian | Continue reading }

update 6/3 { Italy is revoking a lease granted to Steve Bannon after reports of fraud in the competitive tender process. A letter used to guarantee the lease was forged. }

Into the eternal darkness, into fire and into ice

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US actor Ashton Kutcher testified in an LA courtroom that he called on a young woman’s home for a date in 2001, not realising she lay dead inside.

When the woman, Ashley Ellerin, did not answer the door, Mr Kutcher said he looked in her window and saw what he thought were wine stains on the floor. […]

Prosecutors allege Ellerin was slain by “Hollywood Ripper”, Michael Gargiulo.

{ BBC | Continue reading }

photo { Stephen Shore, Grand Canyon, June 1972 }

Facebook algorithm can recognise people in photographs even when it can’t see their faces

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In Shenzhen, the local subway operator is testing various advanced technologies backed by the ultra-fast 5G network, including facial-recognition ticketing.

At the Futian station, instead of presenting a ticket or scanning a QR bar code on their smartphones, commuters can scan their faces on a tablet-sized screen mounted on the entrance gate and have the fare automatically deducted from their linked accounts. […]

Consumers can already pay for fried chicken at KFC in China with its “Smile to Pay” facial recognition system, first introduced at an outlet in Hangzhou in January 2017. […]

Chinese cities are among the most digitally savvy and cashless in the world, with about 583 million people using their smartphones to make payment in China last year, according to the China Internet Network Information Center. Nearly 68 per cent of China’s internet users used a mobile wallet for their offline payments.

{ South China Morning Post | Continue reading }

photo { The Collection of the Australian National Maritime Museum }