A California-based dad manages to create a fully functional and transforming sword pickaxe out of cardboard and popsicle sticks from the popular video game Minecraft. The footage, filmed on May 5, shows the toy being turned and twisted into its various forms. He has previously created the "world's biggest" Minecraft character and an "infinity table" from Ikea products.
- The Independent
‘It is ironic that we came to India for two weeks and he contracted it here,’ says Dr Rajendra Kapila’s widow
The government will bring some "vulnerable" Australians home after its travel ban ends next week.
- Associated Press
Police in Thailand said Friday they have charged a U.S. citizen from the state of Colorado with murdering his pregnant Thai wife. Jason Matthew Balzer, 32, was interrogated Friday in the northern city of Nan where he had lived with Pitchaporn Kidchob, said police Lt. Col. Somkiat Ruam-ngern. Balzer was arrested Thursday in the northern city of Chiang Mai and confessed to killing his 32-year-old wife, said Maj. Gen. Weerachon Boontawee, chief of Provincial Police Region 5′s Detective Department.
- Business Insider
Melinda Gates was upset and uncomfortable after she and Bill Gates met with Jeffrey Epstein, The Daily Beast reports
Sources told The Daily Beast that Bill Gates' relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein "still haunts" Melinda.
SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australian citizens stranded in COVID-ravaged India will be able to return home from May 15, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, as Sydney remains on high alert for a potential outbreak. Morrison stood by his decision to impose a biosecurity order barring flights to and from India, a ban that was backed by potential prosecution and financial penalties. The policy drew heavy criticism from lawmakers, expatriates and the Indian diaspora, but Morrison said it had worked to slow the rate of COVID-19 infections in people quarantined in Australia.
- The Daily Beast
Fox NewsIn what has become a commonplace occurrence these days, Fox News host Tucker Carlson addressed a controversy purely of his own making on Thursday night, this time regarding his dangerous and sloppy suggestion that dozens of Americans a day are dying from the coronavirus vaccines.How did he explain away the highly misleading and disingenuous speculation? Well, by blaming it all on President Joe Biden, of course.Carlson, who has increasingly sought to cast doubt on the efficacy and safety of the highly effective vaccines, took his vaccine skepticism to new heights on Wednesday night when he cited a faulty open-sourced database dubbed a “a breeding ground for misinformation” to suggest that thousands of Americans have died from the shots.“Between late December of 2020 and last month, a total of 3,362 people apparently died after getting the COVID vaccine in the United States,” Carlson exclaimed, citing the Center for Disease Control’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. “That is an average of roughly 30 people every day. So, what does that add up to? By the way, that reporting period ended on April 23, and we don’t have numbers past that.”While acknowledging that there’s been criticism of the VAERS database’s numbers and insisting he believes “vaccines aren’t dangerous,” Carlson still spent 15 minutes speculating that the federally authorized COVID-19 vaccines are leading to an untold number of deaths.“The actual number is almost certainly higher than [30 people every day], perhaps vastly higher than that,” he said at one point.Of course, Carlson never once noted that the CDC itself had analyzed the reports of deaths submitted to VAERS—which is nothing more than open-access data—and offered the following conclusion: “A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines.”Following a 24-hour period in which he was roundly criticized and fact-checked—including from his own Fox colleagues—Carlson issued his rebuttal. And he wanted his critics to know he was “just asking questions.” Oh, and it’s also Biden’s fault.“We looked up the numbers the Biden administration has gathered on vaccine safety. Then last night, we boldly read those numbers on television—the Biden numbers,” Carlson began with a mocking tone.“As we did that, we noted the administration’s reporting system for injuries—it’s called VAERS—has been credibly accused of being inaccurate,” he added. “We also noted that very same system has been used for a long time.”Once again insisting that “more deaths have been connected to the new COVID vaccines over the past four months than all previous vaccines combined” in recent years—again, something the CDC has thoroughly knocked down—Carlson claimed he was just seeking answers.“Very same system, very different results,” he said, adding: “How does this happen? So what is that explanation? We still don’t know. Instead of answering that simple and important question, the usual chorus of partisans started screaming and calling for censorship!”After mocking his critics for telling him the VAERS numbers are untrustworthy, he wanted to know why “hasn’t the Biden administration fixed its reporting system” and “what are the real numbers.”Carlson, meanwhile, ended the segment by flipping the indignation over his reckless speculation back onto his critics, insisting they are actually the ones who are doing harm to the public.“It’s fair to ask how much harm this medicine causes. No one has told us,” he declared. “Their position is, you don’t need to know the rate of injury! That doesn’t matter. Anyone who asks about harm is immoral. That’s what they’re arguing. If you ever find yourself arguing that, you will know for certain you have lost the thread. You are no longer arguing for public health. You’re doing something else entirely.”Carlson, of course, could just read the disclaimers when searching the database to realize that it’s not a typical government data source and the numbers don’t reflect direct causation.“Reports may include incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental and unverified information,” one disclaimer reads, while another warns: “The number of reports alone cannot be interpreted or used to reach conclusions about the existence, severity, frequency, or rates of problems associated with vaccines.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Business Insider
Mitch McConnell's alma mater rejects his views on the 1619 Project and says they are 'quite troubling'
"To imply that slavery is not an important part" of US history "fails to provide a true representation of the facts," a university official said.
A wave of women streaming in bikinis - the 'hot tub meta' trend - has caused an uproar on Twitch, where critics claim it cheapens the platform.
He was abducted as a child by Uganda's LRA rebels, turning into one of its most ruthless fighters.
- The Independent
‘I’m a vet ... f*** you all!’: Capitol riot suspect screams at judge and disconnects call during wild hearing, report says
Attempts to mute defendant were unsuccessful and he may face competency hearing and detention
- The State
156 golfers teed off Thursday at Charlotte’s PGA event, competing for a first prize of nearly $1.5 million.
Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi on Thursday struck a heavy blow against his predecessor and political rival Joseph Kabila as his allies ousted the governor of Tanganyika province. It was the latest move by Tshisekedi's supporters to seize levers of power from Kabila, whose younger brother Zoe Kabila has run the southeastern territory for the last two years and was the only governor refusing to align himself with Tshisekedi. In October, Tshisekedi appointed three judges to Democratic Republic of Congo's constitutional court, the first in a series of manoeuvres that unshackled him from Kabila, then his coalition partner.
- The Week
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is extremely effective against two dangerous variants of the coronavirus, the B.1.1.7 strain first found in the United Kingdom and the B.1.351 variant discovered in South Africa, researchers reported Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet. Moderna also reported Wednesday that, according to early results from its booster shot trial, a third dose of its vaccine given six to eight months after the first two doses boosted antibodies to protect against the South African B.1.351 variant and other worrisome strain found in Brazil. Moderna is testing its original vaccine and a version modified to target the B.1.351 variant. The new variants are more transmissible than the original strain and, some studies suggest, deadlier. The New England Journal of Medicine study examined records of more than 200,000 people from Qatar's COVID-19 database. The Pfizer vaccine was 87 to 89.5 percent effective at preventing infection from the B.1.1.7 variant among people two weeks past their second shot, 72.1 to 75 percent effective against the B.1.351 variant, and 100 percent effective at preventing severe, critical, or fatal cases of either variant, the researchers found. The study in The Lancet was based on more than 230,000 cases from Israel. It found that the Pfizer vaccine was more than 95 percent effective against infection, hospitalization, or death in fully vaccinated people 16 and older, and 94 percent effective in people 85 and older. The vaccine efficacy numbers aren't self-evident, but Brains On!, a science podcast for kids, has a short, entertaining, and pretty effective explanation using defecating seagulls. You can watch that below. More stories from theweek.comThe insurrectionists are winningHouse GOP leader Kevin McCarthy apparently pays $1,500 to live in a 12-bedroom, 16-bath penthouseIn 1 year, Minnesota man turns knack for making ice cream into a new career
Remnants of a large Chinese rocket launched last week are expected to plunge back through the atmosphere this weekend in an uncontrolled re-entry being tracked by U.S. Space Command, the U.S. military said on Wednesday. The Long March 5B rocket blasted off from China's Hainan island on April 29 carrying the Tianhe module, which contains what will become living quarters for three crew on a permanent Chinese space station. The rocket's exact point of descent into Earth's atmosphere as it falls back from space "cannot be pinpointed until within hours of its reentry," which is projected to occur around May 8, Space Command said in a statement posted online.
- Associated Press
The United States has deployed a dozen additional warplanes to bolster protection of American and coalition troops making a final withdrawal from Afghanistan as Taliban insurgents step up pressure on Afghan government forces, top Pentagon officials said Thursday. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said F-18 attack planes have been added to a previously announced package of air and sea power — including the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the North Arabian Sea and six Air Force B-52 bombers based in Qatar — that can be called upon as protection for withdrawing troops. U.S. officials said before the withdrawal began that they expected the Taliban to attempt to interfere, even as the insurgents continue pressuring government forces, especially in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in southern Afghanistan.
- The Daily Beast
Well Go USAIt was the final days of our Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, when we were still trying to meet our $110,000 goal in order to make our independent movie The Paper Tigers. I received a letter from two of my aunties. They had no idea what the heck a Kickstarter was and probably have never done an online transaction with credit cards, but they knew we needed money fast. Stuffed in the envelope was $300 cash and a handwritten note in Vietnamese: “Bao, we hope this will help you achieve your dream. You represent the generations of Vietnamese who sought refuge and have passed safely through the golden gate of America.”While their cash gift didn’t officially count toward our Kickstarter goal (which we eventually met and surpassed), my aunties’ words carried a significant weight of its own. “You represent…”You represent our hopes and our dreams, the reason we escaped oppression and a war-torn home for safety and an opportunity to live. Here I thought I was making a goofy comedy about out-of-shape kung fu fighters who couldn’t touch their toes anymore, and now all of a sudden I have the weight of all my ancestors watching and judging to see if their sacrifice was truly worth it. So hey, no pressure.We had turned to crowdfunding and private financing out of desperation. Before then, we thought we could make our movie the old-fashioned way. You know the fairy tale. We waltz into a big Hollywood studio executive’s office and wow them with our moxie and our passion. They write a fat check to make our dreams a reality.We had a rude awakening. There were many noes. I guess they couldn’t understand the appeal of three-dimensional Asian and Black American characters carrying a crowd-pleasing, tragi-comic kung fu flick. And when there was genuine interest, one of the stipulations we actually got was to change the ethnicities of the main characters to white guys to make it more “marketable.” They needed names that you can take to the bank.There’s a list of usual suspects from the direct-to-video world that all these companies seem to pull from—the logic being that their name recognition automatically guarantees a minimum gross worldwide, regardless of the film’s quality. So, we thought that if we sensibly set the budget low enough, we could likely make our money back even without any big stars attached and still maintain creative control.We would make this point clear during every pitch, because in our mind, a lower budget minimizes risk, but that’s not how their math works. A production company once told us, “Look, if you bring on Bruce Willis, not only will your movie get sold right away, we can get you a $4 million budget easy. Or hey, how about you write a role for Nicolas Cage?” Now, I love Die Hard and Raising Arizona as much as the next guy, but we’re almost certain none of them actually read our script. Chloé Zhao Is Making History. But Hollywood Is Still a Nightmare for Asian Women.If you’re gluttons for punishment like us, getting these kinds of genius studio notes is delicious enough when we are spilling the tea, but the fact that they’d usually send their mid-level POC executives to be the messengers of whitewashing is a special chef’s kiss. As the saying goes: skinfolk ain’t always kinfolk. It ended up being a lot of hot-air advice from people who had no brown skin in the game. We said thanks, but no thanks.Mind you, we were on the grind long before the success of Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians, which have proved the box office potential of films and stories featuring characters of color. In recent years there’s been a whole spate of studio movies and shows with diverse casts. And while it’s great that non-vanilla folk are starting to have a seat at the table, when we first set out to make our movie 10 years ago, we might as well have been treated as the waiter.Right now, “representation” is a buzzword used to bolster brands. Hollywood studios like to chest-puff their great strides in representation and diversity, but it’s usually in the form of a reboot or adaptation of well-known, pre-existing intellectual property. “Count Chocula? Hmm, sounds vaguely ethnic. How about a gritty, modern re-imagining—only now with 100% more color!”When “representation” is bandied about by a Hollywood studio, it usually means that we’ve been allowed to have a voice from the powers that be. So, you better be #Grateful for the platform, because they giveth as much as they taketh away. Just remember while you’re standing on this plank, Hollywood’s commitment to “representation” is fleeting and fickle. When that multi-million dollar “Suave Latino Count Chocula meets Taken” reboot flops, they’ll throw up their arms and say, “It was that devil Diversity’s fault! America’s just not ready to see so many colors on their screen.”Even when we turned to our own Asian American community for support, some would lecture us that we weren’t “representing” our people in the right way. Asian American men have been long portrayed as random ninja henchmen in Hollywood. And as much as Bruce Lee is seen as an iconic hero, there are many of us who have complicated feelings growing up in his shadow—constantly targeted and bullied or mocked with random cries of “waa-taaa!”Their fear was that yet another kung fu movie would set our progress backwards by reinforcing stereotypes. Even our lead actor Alain Uy shared with me his initial hesitance in taking up a role in a martial arts film, because if the movie was just and only that, he’d be forever typecast and written off—the kiss of death for a working actor. Well Go USA But with our story, I wanted to shine a light on the martial arts world beyond only vengeance and violence—there was also family, friendships, failures, jobs, and obligations.It’s easy enough to lump The Paper Tigers together with Mortal Kombat, Shang-Chi, or CW’s Kung Fu because of the martial arts genre (in fact, some folks who saw our trailer have mistakenly called us a Cobra Kai ripoff even though we’ve been working on this many years before). But those are existing franchises that everyone is aware of already. Ever see Warner Brothers or Disney ask you to back their Kickstarter?As an independent film, we have more in common with original Asian American stories like Better Luck Tomorrow, Saving Face, Searching, The Farewell, or Minari. These films were all made outside the studio system, having taken several years to find the right supporters and partners to make it happen. All our stories have strong themes of family and duty and fighting for safety and security. In fact, Minari and The Paper Tigers were the only Asian American films to screen at South Korea’s renowned Busan International Film Festival this year.We suddenly find ourselves in a country where my senior aunties are especially vulnerable to hate attacks. But I understand now what they meant when they wrote to me about “representing.” Their meaning went beyond just diversity-as-branding-tool or avoiding negative stereotypes. It means telling our story of survival. They gave me cash-money permission to tell my dreams. That’s not a weight on our shoulders, that’s wind behind our backs. “Don’t play to lose, son! We went into mass exodus and scattered halfway around the world—all for you. Whatever story that you tell from your heart, you tell our story. We made it here and we are not going anywhere.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
DeGeneres shut down speculation that she was living with the "Friends" star because of "marital troubles."
- Business Insider
Chinese EV startup Nio is entering the international market - and plans to start deliveries in Norway in September
Nio said it would start EV sales in Norway with its Nio ES8, a seven-seater smart electric SUV, followed by its ET7 smart sedan.
In an email, chief executive Sundar Pichai suggests working three days in the office is the way forward.
Raffaele Esposito, the 19th century Neapolitan credited with inventing Italy's most famous type of pizza, may be turning in his grave: Rome has a new vending machine which slides out freshly cooked pizzas in just three minutes. "It looks good but it is much smaller than in a restaurant and there is less topping," said Claudio Zampiga, a pensioner. People have been eating forms of flat bread with toppings for millennia, but it is generally accepted that pizza was perfected in Naples, where it was a street food for the poor.