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What Was Inside the Glowing Briefcase in Pulp Fiction?

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Before I started making my own web pages, I spent a not-insignificant amount of my time on the Internet trawling the alt.fan.tarantino newsgroup for bits of knowledge about Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction, and Reservoir Dogs. A big topic of discussion back then was speculation about the contents of the briefcase that Jules and Vincent were tasked to retrieve for Marsellus Wallace. Was it gold? Diamonds? Wallace’s soul? No one knew and Tarantino wasn’t telling. It was the most compelling MacGuffin since Hitchcock himself.

Now, after nearly 25 years, we finally learn what was in the briefcase:

Pulp Fiction Briefcase

If you’d like to make one of your own, just follow these instructions.

If you want a Bad Motherfucker wallet just like Jules’, here you go.

Tags: movies   Pulp Fiction   Quentin Tarantino   video
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greglopp
32 days ago
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Houston, TX
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Even these Terrible Maps can teach us something

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  • Since 2016, Terrible Maps has been collecting, well… terrible maps.
  • They're awful, pointless and stupid, but also funny (and sometimes even instructive).
  • Here are 10 examples. Dive into the Twitter account for hundreds more.

What a strange map. How can I store it and collect more? That's how the Strange Maps blog got started back in 2006. Replace 'strange' with 'terrible', and you've got the idea behind Terrible Maps, a Twitter account that has been spewing awful, pointless, stupid maps since 2016.

Luckily, most are also quite funny – at least a chuckle, sometimes a snort – and not a few actually offer an insight worth contemplating. Here are our ten favorites. Click on the link below for the Twitter account.

All directions north


You can't go further south than the South Pole, which means that any other point is north again. Wait, does that mean you can't go east or west from the South Pole?

​Iggy Coke?


Iggy Pop is a mercurial character. To some, he's The Passenger, a rock 'n roll legend; to others, he's a car insurance salesman. This map grafts his persona on the map of the US that shows the border between people who call a carbonated drink 'pop', and those for whom that's a 'soda'. (see also #308)

Moon on Flag and Flag on Moon


The Moon is frequently used in Islamic iconography: on top of mosques, and on the flags of several majority-Muslim nations, but also Croatia and Moldova (in red on this map). But while 13 countries have the moon on their flag, there is just one country with its flag on the moon. That's right: USA! USA!

​Ding Dong, TX


Most people with have heard of Boring, Oregon. Here are some of America's other odd town names – one per state – that you might not have been aware of. Jackpot, NV and Okay, OK: yes, we see how those names came about. But Ding Dong, TX? Chugwater, WY? Booger Hole, WV?

Moose maps


Alaska is the biggest state in the U.S. But why is Maine second, Idaho third? The animal at the bottom is the key, and the legend of the map: each state is sized for their moose population. Even Nevada has a few.

Ages of the world


This map is a compound of the situation on the ground, and the prejudices of the mapmaker. Much of Africa, South America and the Arctic is living in the Stone Age. The interior of Australia, the north of Africa and elsewhere: colonial times. Russia, most of the US and China: the 1900s. The UK, the inhabited parts of Canada, Southern Europe, New Zealand: the present. Germany, Scandinavia, Japan, northeastern US, coastal China: the future. If you want to experience all at once: go to India.

​Airus Forcus Romanus


Take any outline map and think of a legend that doesn't require you to alter it. Like this map of Roman Air Force bases in the second century AD. Also in this series: Electricity consumption in Europe in 1507. Countries arranged by geographical location. Knowledge of Cherokee in the EU. Popes per square mile. Alcoholism in Russia. Map of Earth if there was no land (i.e. blank). Saudi Arabia mapped only by its rivers (also blank). Map of Europe showing population per capita (a '1' in each country).

​World Map of Bill Gates


Bill Gates is rich. Very rich. How rich? Richer than each of the countries on this map that have his grinning face superimposed on them.

​Brexit vs. Mad Cow Disease


Left, in blue: UK areas that voted for Brexit in the 2016 referendum. Right, in dark grey: areas affected by bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, a.k.a. 'Mad Cow Disease') during the 1992 outbreak. The correspondence between both maps is perfect. The message: the people who voted for Brexit were crazy, suffering from residual BSE. But the perfect correspondence is not that surprising: the second map is a black and white version of the first, with a different date slapped on. Point made. Fake data. Terrible map!

Gubernatorial eye colour map


A large, contiguous part of the US is ruled by blue-eyed governors: from Washington state all the way down to Florida. There are two blue-eyed islands in the northeast (Delaware-New Jersey and Massachusetts-New Hampshire). Virginia is the only state with a green-eyed governor. All the other states are ruled by brown-eyed top executives. Mind you, this map predates the mid-terms. Someone update this one, please!

Browsing through the Terrible Maps account, a few overlaps with Strange Maps jump out, including this map of potential EU leaving names, this world map of the metric system, and this map of the shortest route between all pubs in the UK. Are they terribly strange or just strangely terrible?

Find these and other terrible maps at Terrible Maps on Twitter or on Facebook. Thank you O. Jones for suggesting it. Strange Maps is also on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Strange Maps #952

Got a strange map? Let me know at strangemaps@gmail.com.



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greglopp
32 days ago
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Houston, TX
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Campaign Worker Arrested After IDing His Candidate As Democrat

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Here’s a troubling story out of Texas. Mike Siegel is running against Rep. Michael T. McCaul in Texas’s 10th district. This evening I saw a tweet from Siegel which said: “Just learned that my field director was arrested while delivering our letter. He told police he was working for me and the officer asked, “what party is he?” Now Jacob is under 48 hour investigatory detention in Waller County.”

That didn’t seem right, especially the part about getting arrested after being asked what party he’s affiliated with. So I managed to get Siegel on the phone to get some more details.

In the 10th district, there’s a historical black university called Prairie View A&M University. There’s a long history of the local county government (Waller County) trying to prevent the students from voting. There was even a big Supreme Court case about it in 1979. This year there’s a new controversy which has put a new set of obstacles in the way of the students voting.

As Mike Siegel explained to me, Siegel’s campaign wrote a letter proposing a solution to the problem and sent a campaign staffer, Jacob Aronowitz, to deliver to the County Courthouse in Waller County. In Texas, the County Judge (in this case Waller County Judge Carbett “Trey” J. Duhon III) is actually the county executive, not a judge as we usually use the word. In any case, Aronowitz presented the letter to a member of the County Clerk’s staff and then took a picture of himself submitting the letter as a sort of proof of service. It’s not clear whether this was County Clerk Debbie Hollan or another member of the clerk’s office. Whoever it was got upset that he’d taken a picture and called over a bailiff – she apparently thought her privacy had been violated by taking the photograph.

By this time, Aronowitz is walking out of the courthouse, with his mission accomplished when he’s stopped by a county sheriff’s deputy who asks who he is and what he’s doing. Soon enough Aronowitz surrounded by a court bailiff, a sheriff’s deputy and a city police officer. Aronowitz asks whether he is free to go or whether he’s under arrest. He also calls the candidate, Mike Siegel, who’s also a civil rights attorney. So Siegel is listening to the conversation and advising Aronowitz what to do he’s questioned and not allowed to leave.

Siegel didn’t say this to me in so many words. But from his description of the back and forth, it seems like that the law enforcement officers weren’t happy with Aronowitz but weren’t clear what exactly they could charge him with or if they could arrest him. After explaining what he was at the courthouse to do and then identifying himself, one of the officers asked Aronowitz which party his candidate was with.

Aronowitz told them Siegel was a Democrat. A couple minutes later the phone went dead and Aronowitz was placed under arrest for what he was told was “48 hour investigative detention.”

Notably, Siegel heard the party identification question himself, he tells, because he was on Aronowitz’s speaker phone through the whole exchange.

A local lawyer was called in and Aronowitz was released a relatively short time later. But that wasn’t the end of it. He was charged with a misdemeanor for failing to identify himself to a law enforcement officer – something Siegel said he heard Aronowitz do prior to being arrested. His court date, ironically, is November 7th, the day after election day.

I reached out to the County Clerk’s office for an explanation for why Aronowitz was arrested but haven’t received a response. I’ll update this post when I do.

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greglopp
97 days ago
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Houston, TX
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The Harriet Tubman $20 Stamp

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Frustrated that the US Treasury Department is walking back plans to replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman, Dano Wall created a 3D-printed stamp that can be used to transform Jacksons into Tubmans on the twenties in your pocketbook.

Tubman $20 Stamp

Here’s a video of the stamp in action. Wall told The Awesome Foundation a little bit about the genesis of the project:

I was inspired by the news that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, and subsequently saddened by the news that the Trump administration was walking back that plan. So I created a stamp to convert Jacksons into Tubmans myself. I have been stamping $20 bills and entering them into circulation for the last year, and gifting stamps to friends to do the same.

If you have access to a 3D printer (perhaps at your local library or you can also use a online 3D printing service), you can download the print files at Thingiverse and make your own stamp for use at home.

Wall also posted a link to some neat prior art: suffragettes in Britain modifying coins with a “VOTES FOR WOMEN” slogan in the early 20th century.

Votes For Women Coin

Update: Several men on Twitter are helpfully pointing out that, in their inexpert legal opinion, defacing bills in this way is illegal. Here’s what the law says (emphasis mine):

Defacement of currency is a violation of Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code. Under this provision, currency defacement is generally defined as follows: Whoever mutilates, cuts, disfigures, perforates, unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, Federal Reserve Bank, or Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such item(s) unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

The “with intent” bit is important, I think. The FAQ for a similar project has a good summary of the issues involved.

But we are putting political messages on the bills, not commercial advertisements. Because we all want these bills to stay in circulation and we’re stamping to send a message about an issue that’s important to us, it’s legal!

I’m not a lawyer, but as long as your intent isn’t to render these bills “unfit to be reissued”, you’re in the clear. Besides, if civil disobedience doesn’t stray into the gray areas of the law, is it really disobedience? (via @patrick_reames)

Update: Adafruit did an extensive investigation into the legality of this project. Their conclusion? “The production of the instructional video and the stamping of currency are both well within the law.”

Tags: 3D printing   Andrew Jackson   currency   Dano Wall   Harriet Tubman   legal   remix
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greglopp
116 days ago
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Houston, TX
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kbrint
107 days ago
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Nice.
jsled
119 days ago
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hell yeah.
South Burlington, Vermont

Pontevedra, Spain, has banned automobiles

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Not just on a boulevard or two, but for all of the central city.
Miguel Anxo Fernández Lores has been mayor of the Galician city since 1999. His philosophy is simple: owning a car doesn’t give you the right to occupy the public space.

“How can it be that the elderly or children aren’t able to use the street because of cars?” asks César Mosquera, the city’s head of infrastructures. “How can it be that private property – the car – occupies the public space?”

Lores became mayor after 12 years in opposition, and within a month had pedestrianised all 300,000 sq m of the medieval centre, paving the streets with granite flagstones. “The historical centre was dead,” he says. “There were a lot of drugs, it was full of cars – it was a marginal zone. It was a city in decline, polluted, and there were a lot of traffic accidents. It was stagnant. Most people who had a chance to leave did so. At first we thought of improving traffic conditions but couldn’t come up with a workable plan. Instead we decided to take back the public space for the residents and to do this we decided to get rid of cars.”

They stopped cars crossing the city and got rid of street parking, as people looking for a place to park is what causes the most congestion. They closed all surface car parks in the city centre and opened underground ones and others on the periphery, with 1,686 free places. They got rid of traffic lights in favour of roundabouts, extended the car-free zone from the old city to the 18th-century area, and used traffic calming in the outer zones to bring the speed limit down to 30km/h.
Details at The Guardian.
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greglopp
118 days ago
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Houston, TX
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A Win for Justice

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Congratulations to the Institute for Justice for an important victory against the abuse of civil asset forfeiture:

Today, the Institute for Justice dismantled one of the nation’s largest and most egregious civil forfeiture programs.  For decades, Philadelphia’s forfeiture machine terrorized its citizens:  throwing them out of their homes without notice, seizing their cars and other property, and forcing victims to navigate a rigged kangaroo court system to have any chance of getting their property back.  And the property and money forfeited was then given to the very officials who were supposed to be fairly enforcing the law.
After four long years of litigation, IJ cemented a victory for all Philadelphians this morning with two binding consent decrees in which city officials agreed to reforms that:
    1.  Sharply limit when Philadelphia law enforcement can forfeit property;
    2.  Prevent law enforcement from keeping what they seize;
    3.  Establish robust protections for the due process rights of citizens; and
    4.  Create a $3 million fund to compensate innocent people who were ensnared by the city’s abusive system.
My paper, To Serve and Collect (with Makowsky and Stratmann) suggests that this victory will not only reduce civil asset forfeiture it will also change police behavior and decision-making, altering the number, type, and racial composition of arrests.

The post A Win for Justice appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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greglopp
118 days ago
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Houston, TX
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kbrint
119 days ago
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Fuck civil asset forfeiture.
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