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Trump’s NYE bash has a ‘modern fantasy garden’ theme. We have some better suggestions.

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President Donald Trump is often accused of living in his own personal fantasy world where white supremacists are “very fine people” and New Jersey muslims celebrated the 9/11 attack. So it is perhaps fitting that his New Year’s Eve celebration at Mar-a-Largo has, according to The Washington Post, a “modern fantasy garden” theme.

And while we’re excited to see what mythical bullshit takes root in such a gathering of sycophants and enablers, we also can’t help but note that Team Trump passed up a wonderful opportunity to explore other themes perhaps more germane to the 45th presidency of these great United States.  Read more…

More about Donald Trump, New Year S Eve, Fake News, Culture, and Politics

Architecture

My favorite Twitter account is a bot

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Human Twitter accounts serve their purpose, but I prefer tweets from bots.

Research suggests there are now some 30 million tweeting bots — though this might be a low estimate. Some of these bots provide weather updates, make stock recommendations, or attempt to subvert democracy. 

I, however, like bots that aren’t necessarily so useful nor ambitious. I look forward to their musings because their primary directive is to produce creative or absurd content — and I’m not alone. 

“I like anything that’s going to inject a little strangeness, beyond the normal strangeness that we have every day now,” Charles Bergquist, the creator of my favorite twitter bot, NewFound Planets, told Mashable. Bergquist is also the director of the public radio program Science FridayRead more…

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Architecture

Niagara Falls is a frigid, beautiful wonderland right now

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It’s bitterly cold across parts of the U.S. and Canada right now, and the freezing temps aren’t going away anytime soon

The bright side? Pretty pictures. In Chicago, people captured stunning images of their frozen city. And the images hitting Instagram from Niagara Falls have been beautiful. 

I mean, look at these photos, which went viral after journalist Muhammad Lila posted them on Twitter: 

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Architecture

Even Australia’s prime minister isn’t immune from being fined

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Politics might’ve been mad as ever in 2017, so perhaps there’s something oddly normal about a country’s leader getting what is a rather boring fine.

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was issued a A$250 ticket (US$193) on Friday for not wearing a lifejacket when he was moving his dinghy near his Sydney home earlier this week.

The fine was confirmed by the New South Wales maritime authority, who are on the lookout for boaters who are breaking the law — seemingly no matter how distinguished they may be. 

The executive director for NSW Maritime, Angus Mitchell, said it was “a timely reminder during the holiday season to always wear a lifejacket.” Photos of the prime minister sans lifejacket were published in The Australian, which noted the law that had been broken. Read more…

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Architecture

The backyard Hot Wheels track of your childhood dreams

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If you’ve ever built an epic Hot Wheels track through your house, much to the dismay of your perpetually tripped parents, this will be right up your alley.

YouTube channel 5MadMovieMakers released a video detailing a colossal Hot Wheels track that careens over two stories.

This is a serious amount of track. One car zooms from a second-story window into a highly complex set-up, all the way to a perfect stop. It’s as satisfying as watching the final scene in Happy Gilmore, which you may well have been watching the last time you set one of these up.

If you’re keen for a niche binge of this kind of home track content, check out this mini Thomas the Tank Engine performing stunts. Read more…

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Architecture

Chrissy Teigen live tweets bizarre flight turnaround, featuring John Legend

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Yep, even celebrities have to go through travel nightmares.

Chrissy Teigen experienced the pain on Tuesday, when the ANA 175 flight which departed Los Angeles for Tokyo was turned back after an “unauthorized person” was found on board, according to KTLA.

LAX airport police told the news outlet that it wasn’t a security issue, but passengers would be interviewed when they arrived back to Los Angeles.

.@chrissyteigen is on an international flight that turned around 4 hours in because a passenger isn’t supposed to be on plane. Look at this flight path! This is my Twilight Zonepic.twitter.com/II06VmfOah

— Jensen Karp (@JensenClan88) December 27, 2017 Read more…

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Architecture

Cyborg strums ‘Star Wars’ theme song with bionic hand

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Jason Barnes has used robotic prosthetics before, but this is the first time he has been able to move each finger independently and even play the piano again. 

Researchers at Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology developed the unique robotic arm using ultrasound sensors that allow amputees to control each prosthetic finger using muscles in their residual limbs. Read more…

More about Music, Piano, Star Wars, Research, and Real Time Video

Architecture

Steven Mnuchin got a present much worse than coal for Christmas this year

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin got an early Christmas present on Saturday when a mysterious package addressed to him was found near his Bel-Air home late Saturday night.

Los Angeles Police Department’s bomb squad was called to Mnuchin’s neighborhood and, according to Associated Press, the package turned out to contain horse manure.

The manure was gift-wrapped in a box and marked as from “the American people.” 

Aerial footage from @NBCLA‘s NewsChopper 4 shows officers investigating a large box wrapped in wrapping paper; it’s not clear what is inside the box addressed to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchinhttps://t.co/w0QsUKuIHI pic.twitter.com/2j0VmdtHFG

— Whitney Ashton (@whit_ashton) December 24, 2017 Read more…

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Architecture

The rapid rise and even faster fall of an HQ trivia champion

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HQ trivia, the live game-show app that launched in July, is ridiculously hard to win, but contestant Allan Gibbons repeatedly finds a way.

Better known by his username “AllanG,” Gibbons is an HQ trivia celebrity, born from his knack for dominating the game show’s daily competitions. The 28-year-old radio DJ from Owen Sound, Canada has earned more than $870 from the nine games he’s won and has sat at the top of the all-time leaderboard for about two months.

Sure, maybe his winnings sound like chump change in comparison to the game’s jackpots that range from $500 to $10,000, but it’s been enough to earn him a position atop the leaderboard, and therefore, the envious eyes of the hundreds of thousands contestants who have spent time with the iPhone app over the last six months.  Read more…

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Health

Theranos gets $100 million in debt financing to carry it through 2018, with some caveats

 Theranos has secured $100 million in debt financing. Yes, someone gave the blood testing company known for handing out questionable test results money.
First reported by Business Insider, the company reportedly told investors it had secured the money from Fortress Investment Group, a New York-based private equity firm that was acquired by Softbank earlier this year.
Of course, this is debt… Read More

Architecture

Our favorite books of 2017

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Every product here is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our work.

2017 is coming to a close, but if there’s one thing that stands out from this year, it’s all of the great books. 

From poignant, socially conscious YA novels like The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas to haunting short stories like Things We Lost In The Fire by Mariana Enriquez, 2017 was a year that shined bright with unforgettable literature.

This week on the MashReads Podcast, we look back and chat about what we read in 2017.  Read more…

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Architecture

Dude with festive Christmas lights-covered car gets fined by police

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‘Tis the season, except if you’re a car covered with holiday lights.

Brandon Wooden from Beaufort, South Carolina ties Christmas lights around his vehicle annually, spreading the glow as he’s done for the last five years. 

“People usually follow me for a few miles, videotape me, Snapchat, stop me and tell me to pull over on the side of the road to take a picture,” he told WJCL.

But while people follow him around for a photo, the police weren’t too keen on his attempt at holiday spirit.

Wooden received a $232 ticket for “improper lighting” by police, after they stopped to take a photo with the car, then gave him a warning. Read more…

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Architecture

Lost submarine from World War I found after 103-year search

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One of World War I’s biggest mysteries has finally been solved after a 103-year search.

On Sep. 14, 1914, Australia’s first submarine, the HMAS AE1, disappeared off the coast of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. 

It followed a successful mission to help capture what was then known as German New Guinea, and was the first loss for what was a young Royal Australian Navy. 

35 crew members went missing without a trace.

The AE1.

The AE1.

Image: Department of Defence

That’s until an expedition this week, the 13th search for the submarine, which located the AE1 on Wednesday off the coast of the Duke of York Island group, in east Papua New Guinea.  Read more…

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Architecture

How a majority-Indigenous owned wine company is giving back

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While there are already a handful of wineries run by First Nations people in Canada, Gondwana Wines is hoping to do the same in Australia.

It’s a majority-Indigenous owned wine company and social enterprise founded by Worimi entrepreneur Alisi Tutuila, that aims to simultaneously make great wine, promote Indigenous Australian culture and give back to the community itself.

A multifaceted business, Gondwana Wines gives a portion of its proceeds to the “Leading The Way” program, which provides training and employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians. Read more…

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Architecture

Oh nothing, just ‘spider lightning’ dancing across a stormy sky in Australia

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“Spider lightning”: It’s a thing.

An especially hard weather phenomenon to catch on film but one savvy videographer managed to capture it illuminating the sky in South Australia.

During an electrical storm illuminating the seaside suburb of Glenelg outside of Adelaide, local man Caleb Travis shot the stunning lightning on Monday night.

What’s spider lightning? It occurs when lightning bolts branch out and creep along the underside of stratiform clouds.

Seriously, if there’s an indication wizards are battling in our atmosphere, this could be it. Read more…

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Architecture

Chick-fil-A steps in to feed the stranded at Atlanta airport… on a Sunday

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Chick-fil-A, famed for never opening on Sundays and will likely never be, has made an exception.

The fast food chain is stepping in to feed passengers left affected by the Atlanta airport blackout, according to the City of Atlanta

They’ll be served at the Georgia International Convention Center, where they are able to stay overnight, which is a pretty nice consolation given what some of these people have gone through.

The City of Atlanta has mobilized the Georgia International Convention Center and will provide shuttle services for anyone who needs a place to stay for the night@ChickfilA will provide food for passengers.

— City of Atlanta, GA (@Cityofatlanta) December 18, 2017 Read more…

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Architecture

Firefox users lose trust in Mozilla after a ‘Mr. Robot’ promo went horribly wrong

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Protip for Mozilla and the USA Network: In the future when you’re plotting a tie-in for a show about vigilante hackers, maybe don’t actually compromise people’s privacy.

Some Firefox users were none too thrilled to discover that the web browser had installed an add-on called “Looking Glass” without permission. Bearing a description that read simply, in all-caps, “MY REALITY IS JUST DIFFERENT THAN YOURS,” people were understandably suspicious.

(The all-caps utterance, it should be noted, is a quote from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.) Read more…

More about Tech, Entertainment, Firefox, Mr Robot, and Mozilla

Business

A totally doable, not so intimidating self-care survival guide to 2018

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Every editorial product is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our journalism.

After an October week from hell — when allegations against Harvey Weinstein first began to unravel, Donald Trump threatened to take aid away from Puerto Rico, women boycotted Twitter, and historic wildfires destroyed California — I splurged on a large Blue Raspberry Icee and sat alone in a 12:15 p.m. Saturday showing of Marshall. I turned my phone all the way off, and over the course of the next two hours I ugly cried in the dark. Read more…

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Architecture

Hoo-boy! This damning Uber letter is a wild ride

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The disasters that former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick left in his wake at his popular ride-hailing app company was one of this year’s biggest tech industry stories. Now, as we wrap up the year, Uber (through a court case) has gifted us a letter detailing many of the company’s alleged wrongdoings and spy tactics. 

The so-called Jacobs letter was written by an attorney representing Richard Jacobs, a former Uber security analyst. It alleges shady and potential illegal operations, including how Uber employees monitored the competition and acquired trade secrets. 

More about Transportation, Uber, Self Driving Cars, Waymo, and Uber Waymo