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    Notorious UC-Davis Chancellor Charged School Big Money For Lavish Travel 
    Photo: Getty

    Linda Katehi, the chancellor of UC-Davis, was placed on leave in April after an outcry over conflicts of interest, nepotism, and grossly unwise spending of the university’s money. It turns out she (and her husband) also enjoyed a great deal of international travel at the school’s expense.

    The chancellor of a public university is a public employee. Is Linda Katehi aware of that? It is impossible to say for certain—the best we can do is to examine her behavior. She paid $175,000 to fund a farcical attempt to scrub the internet of references to the pepper-spraying of protesting students. She took a high-paid board seat at a for-profit educational corporation. And she gave family members plum jobs at her own school. These things alone are more than ample demonstrations of a lack of judgment so severe that she should be fucking fired. Just my opinion!

    Now, the Sacramento Bee has taken a look at her travel expenses that were billed to the university. Over the course of a little more than five years, Katehi took 26 international trips to “attend conferences and woo donors,” charging the school $174,000 for herself—a figure that does not include the travel expense the school paid for her husband and staff members, who accompanied her on some of the trips.

    Business travel, of course, is a legitimate part of the job. But Katehi “upgraded her seats to first class at least 25 times”; expensed eight trips to Greece, where she and her husband are from; and billed the school for tour guides in various locales. And she did not hold back when it came to hotels: the Bee reports that “Katehi justified spending more than the allowed amount on a room in Hong Kong in June 2011 because the room within the university’s budget was too small. On that same trip, she rented a room just to hold her luggage while attending meetings with potential donors, executives and university leaders, according to the reports.”

    Only private company expense accounts should be abused.


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    Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's Cybersecurity Platforms, Compared

    Every day it seems like there’s another hack, password theft, or leak. Both government agencies and private companies are regularly attacked, by intruders just looking for sensitive data to sell, or foreign actors looking for valuable information. That alone is reason enough for a Presidential candidate to at least have an educated, informed cybersecurity policy. Let’s take a look at their platforms to see if they do.

    Hillary Clinton’s Cybersecurity Policy

    Clinton has been knee-deep in security issues for a long time now. Between the recent DNC hack and the controversy surrounding Clinton’s private email server, and perhaps because she seems to be a magnet for hacks, Clinton has gone on the record extensively about information security. Clinton recognized the importance of data security in a town hall meeting back in February that sets the tone for both candidates in this election pretty well:

    [Cybersecurity is] one of the most important challenges the next president is going to face because the advances, the offensive advances by nation states that we know are very technically sophisticated — namely Russia, China, next level Iran, next level North Korea — are going to just accelerate...We have to be operating on both of these levels, making it very clear to Russia, to China, that not only that what their government does through various entities, but also if they outsource the work to hackers, they will pay a price.

    Clinton’s primary approach to information security is one that focuses on national security interests. Calling out Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea specifically gives you a glimpse into her general plan, and her data security priorities.

    What Hillary Clinton Has Officially Outlined

    Clinton has no official data security platform, or position document. Instead, she outlines her policies in a couple of different places. On her national security policy page, she lays out her thoughts about China, which gives us a general sense of her security position in a more official way then her town hall comments above:

    Hillary will work with allies to promote strong rules of the road and institutions in Asia, and press China to play by the rules—including in cyberspace, on currency, human rights, trade, territorial disputes, and climate change—and hold it accountable if it does not, while working with China where it is in our interest.

    Granted, none of that translates to “I will do X to accomplish Y,” but Clinton also indirectly talks about certain similar positions in her technology platform, listing these security issues as some of her core tenants:

    • Promote Cyber-Security: Hillary will build on the U.S. Cybersecurity National Action Plan by empowering a federal Chief Information Security Officer and upgrading government-wide cybersecurity.
    • Safeguard the Free Flow of Information across Borders: Hillary supports efforts like the U.S.-EU Privacy Shield to find alignment in national data privacy laws and protect data flows across borders.Commercial Data Protection: Advances in computing like the rise of “big data” and the Internet of Things is yielding transformative benefits, but raising important questions about privacy. Hillary’s approach to privacy will be to encourage high standards—and affirm strong consumer protection—through regulatory enforcement in an adaptive manner that doesn’t stifle innovation.
    • Protect Online Privacy as well as Security: Hillary supports creating a national commission on digital security, so that the technology and public safety communities can work together on solutions that address law enforcement needs while preserving individual privacy and security​

    The main takeaway here is pretty simple: Clinton likes the basics of President Obama’s Cybersecurity National Action Plan and wants to build on it. The plan calls for pushing multi-factor authentication awareness, credit card transaction security, and the creation of a new high-level position, the Federal Chief Information Security Officer.

    Most of the new internet security initiatives in the plan fall under the Department of Homeland Security, and are a general push for better security in government and consumer institutions. Aside from that, Clinton’s plans build on what President Obama has already started, with no hard specifics just yet.

    Hillary Clinton’s Cybersecurity History Is Complicated to Say the Least

    Looking back over her time as Secretary of State, the private email server controversy, and what she’s said publicly in interviews, it’s clear that Clinton’s above policy is “do as I say, not as a I do.”

    Let’s start with Clinton’s private email servers. As The Washington Post lays out in detail, for the four years she was Secretary of State, Clinton operated and used a private email server with an insecure private email account. That wouldn’t normally have been an issue if she hadn’t used it for official government business, instead of her official, state.gov email address. Nobody noticed until the State Department responded to a request for documents from congressional investigators, only to find emails sent to and from a personal, non State Department email address for Clinton. Clinton claims the whole affair was because she didn’t like carrying two devices, one for work email and one for personal email, but still wanted to get work done.

    Clinton has routinely claimed the State Department allowed private email servers, a fact refuted by the State Department Office of Inspector General. In the end, the FBI decided that Clinton’s actions were “careless,” but not illegal, and decided not to recommend charges. Even so, when it comes to information security, carelessness can have serious repercussions.

    Beyond that, the AP reported last year that Clinton’s State Department cabinet was horrible at sticking to security standards, criticism that the State Department was, to its credit, willing to accept:

    [T]he State Department was among the worst agencies in the federal government at protecting computer networks...The State Department’s compliance with federal cybersecurity standards was below average when Clinton took over but grew worse in each year of her tenure, according to an annual report card compiled by the White House based on audits by agency watchdogs.

    Clinton has endorsed an NSA reform bill that would roll back mass surveillance, but publicly spoken against Edward Snowden’s leaks. She’s also noted that while she supports NSA reform, she doesn’t want it to go too far. Clinton told Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that, “collecting information about what’s going around the world is essential to our security.” Even more recently, she called for more surveillance after the terrorist attack in Brussels.

    Clinton has also called out China as a security threat and commented last year that most pending security legislation doesn’t go far enough to coordinate and share information between public and private organizations. To that point, in one of the Democratic debates Clinton said she doesn’t support forcing companies to build backdoors or release encryption keys to law enforcement. Instead, she supports a kind of “Manhattan Project” to help law enforcement break encrypted communications on their own. She also seems to imply that companies should want to help the government break encryption when needed, but doesn’t think they should have a legal obligation to do so.

    Clinton did not vote on the updates to the Patriot Act or the FISA Amendments Act. She never commented on the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which was basically a revised version of the reviled CISPA, a security bill that would have forced private companies to turn over personal data to the government when asked.

    Despite how she’s handled things in her own office, Clinton’s tone has been politically moderate with regard to security. She seems to want a stronger security for public and private organizations and better security tools for law enforcement that won’t intrude on personal privacy. It’s a tall order, and she doesn’t do a great job of outlining exactly what that would mean, or how it would work, if it even could.

    http://lifehacker.com/the-patriot-ac…

    Donald Trump’s Cybersecurity Policy

    Since Donald Trump has never held a position in public office, and doesn’t have a formal position on internet security, it’s difficult to get an idea of what his policies might look like if he ends up in the White House. He does, however, talk a great deal, so it’s not difficult to collect an overview of his opinions.

    What Donald Trump Has Officially Outlined

    Trump has no official statement, policy page, or document that outlines his stance on information security or personal privacy. His position statements make no mention of anything related to the internet, data security, or national security in any way. In short, he’s outlined nothing.

    Donald Trump’s Public Stance on Cybersecurity

    As has been the theme with Trump’s campaign, his cybersecurity positions seem to be seat of the pants. His most direct response to internet security questions comes from an interview with the New York Times:

    First off, we’re so obsolete in cyber. We’re the ones that sort of were very much involved with the creation, but we’re so obsolete, we just seem to be toyed with by so many different countries, already. And we don’t know who’s doing what. We don’t know who’s got the power, who’s got that capability, some people say it’s China, some people say it’s Russia. But certainly cyber has to be a, you know, certainly cyber has to be in our thought process, very strongly in our thought process. Inconceivable that, inconceivable the power of cyber.

    And again, even more recently with the New York Times:

    SANGER: Would you support the United States’ not only developing as we are but fielding cyberweapons as an alternative?

    TRUMP: Yes. I am a fan of the future, and cyber is the future.

    These are the best two looks we’ve had at Trump’s potential security policies, but we can piece together a little more from his comments over the years.

    In an interview with Hugh Hewitt back in 2015, Trump says he “errs on the side of security,” continuing, “I assume when I pick up my telephone people are listening to my conversations anyway, if you want to know the truth.” He finishes by saying he would be “fine” with restoring provisions of the Patriot Act that allow for bulk data collection. Trump has declined to address CISA.

    How much he errs to the side of security might best be revealed by his call for a boycott of Apple earlier this year. Trump wanted Apple to give up encryption keys for the iPhone owned by the shooter in San Bernardino (even though that wasn’t possible, and it wasn’t what the FBI requested), saying:

    Boycott Apple until such time as they give that information... Apple ought to give the security for that phone, okay. What I think you ought to do is boycott Apple until such a time as they give that security number. How do you like that? I just thought of it. Boycott Apple.

    It’s not clear whether Trump thinks the government should have used legal tactics to pressure Apple, or if boycotting Apple would have made them change their position. Speaking of leaning on companies though, Trump has also called for Bill Gates to work on “closing the internet in some way,” despite the privacy, First Amendment, and logical problems that might entail.

    In his 2011 book, Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again, Trump’s homeland security policy revolves around the idea that “all freedoms flow from national security,” and one of his seven core principles of foreign policy is to, “See the unseen. Prepare for threats before they materialize.” Another one of those principles is to, “Keep the technological sword razor sharp,” which seems to echo his belief that cyber is the future.

    As for the Edward Snowden leaks, in an interview in 2013 with Fox and Friends, Trump called him a traitor and suggested executing him.

    Finally, there’s also the fact that Trump (supposedly jokingly) asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s email servers (and has more than a few alleged ties to Russia) and in 2014 Trump asked hackers to look into Obama’s college records for place of birth, both of which suggest that whatever security policy Trump ends up with, he seems to take the idea of security lightly.

    Trump’s plan (or lack thereof) seems to call for a general increase in security, in the context of national security and defense, but not necessarily in terms of public organizations, government agencies, or private entities. His comments imply this is also potentially at the cost of privacy and freedom of speech, while also calling for an increase in what law enforcement can force private companies to do. Ultimately, his policy is unclear, and will remain so until his campaign publishes something substantial.

    Illustration by: Angelica Alzona


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    "Blue Lives Matter" Is the Inevitable Endpoint of Hate Crime Laws
    Photo: AP

    This week, Louisiana became the first state to enact a “Blue Lives Matter” law, which makes attacking police a hate crime. Now, New York is considering a similar law. This is the inevitable political evolution of our well-intentioned but misguided hate crime laws.

    Defining an attack on agents of the state empowered to use violent force as a “hate crime” is, of course, a mockery of the hate crime concept. But this has always been the unavoidable endpoint of such laws.

    Eventually, every single sub-group of people will have their own hate crime law. At that point, we will be back to the exact place we were in before hate crime laws.

    Instead of passing laws that encourage our legal system to venture into Thought Crimes charges—while having little deterrent effect on crimes—we should fairly and intelligently enforce the laws we already have. That is a far thornier and more useful task than watching grandstanding politicians of all political persuasions crank up penalties on specific crimes for purely demonstrative reasons. You would think that after incarcerating two million people we would be skeptical of such remedies, but apparently not yet.

    Assaulting or murdering a civilian or a police officer is, in fact, already illegal. Look it up.


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    Marissa Mayer: You, Too, Can Work 130 Hours a Week If You Plan When to Take a Shit
    Image: AP

    According to Marissa Mayer, who was Google’s 20th employee and its first female engineer, the key to success at the search giant was hard work. Specifically, the kind of hard work that required strategically planned trips to the john.

    Speaking to Bloomberg Businessweek for its 2016 interview issue, the Yahoo CEO shared her thoughts on the “Google story.”

    The other piece that gets overlooked in the Google story is the value of hard work. When reporters write about Google, they write about it as if it was inevitable. The actual experience was more like, “Could you work 130 hours in a week?” The answer is yes, if you’re strategic about when you sleep, when you shower, and how often you go to the bathroom. The nap rooms at Google were there because it was safer to stay in the office than walk to your car at 3 a.m. For my first five years, I did at least one all-nighter a week, except when I was on vacation—and the vacations were few and far between.

    Beautifully, interviewer Max Chafkin responded with, “Wow.” Do you think Google employees ended up synching their bathroom breaks with each other, like women and menstrual cycles?

    Besides detailing the level of commitment needed to make it work at Google, Mayer also discussed her future at Yahoo (“I plan to stay. I love the company, and I want to see it go into its next chapter”), the challenges of balancing work life with home life (she recently gave birth to twins), and the surprises that emerged after she took over at Yahoo (“I didn’t know how much time I would spend studying things like tax law and forming an opinion on Chinese e-commerce”).

    I’m still stuck on the bathroom comment, though. If any Google employees are reading this, please, get in touch. I am very interested to learn more about your strategy.

    [Bloomberg Businessweek]


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    Good Help Is So Hard to Find These Days
    Photo: Flickr

    “She didn’t separate any of the clothes and just threw all of the laundry together... I was so upset because in the wash there were gifts people had given me, baby blankets, towels, and they were all dyed blue,” TV producer Amy Pack testified this week in the criminal trial of her maid, Jasmin Figueroa.

    Figueora, who was accused of stealing $1,000 worth of clothing from Pack after she was fired over the blue episode, which included the destruction of a “cherished bath towel,” was sentenced to 60 days in jail.

    Pack was sentenced to a “who wore it better” spread in the New York Post:

    Good Help Is So Hard to Find These Days

    At least one of them will have some time to learn to do their goddamn laundry.


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    Thanks to a newly released FBI file, we now know that the rabid anti-communist Ayn Rand was very thirsty for attention from the bureau’s equally rabid director J. Edgar Hoover, but Hoover repeatedly snubbed her. “But if you wish to speak to one of my assistants...” he once wrote, “please feel free to communicate.”


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    Small Town Newspaper Owned by Roger Ailes’ Wife Goes to Bat for Roger Ailes
    Photo: Getty Images

    Roger Ailes, who resigned as CEO of Fox News after a barrage of sexual harassment allegations from female subordinates, is married to Elizabeth Ailes, the owner and publisher of the Putnam County News & Recorder, a broadsheet newspaper in Philipstown, New York, where the couple maintains a summer home. Ailes’ ownership of the paper has not been without controversy—mostly, but not entirely, of the hometown-scandal variety—but its editors have avoided covering the dramatic downfall of the owner’s famous husband. Until today.

    Thursday’s edition of the P.C.N.R. carries a front-page story about Roger Ailes’ attempts to fund a new senior center, to be named after himself, in the village of Cold Spring. For years, local residents have resisted the donation, owing largely to the benefactor’s reputation and the secret terms of the senior center’s construction, but the harassment scandal at Fox has apparently brought those tensions to a boil:

    The [Ailes] family intended to donate $500,000, in the form of the finished renovations to the county, to bring a new senior center to pass in Philipstown after years of delay. Mr. Ailes is the founder of Fox News, and until July 21 was its chairman and CEO. Earlier in the month, an employee whose contract was not renewed, Gretchen Carlson, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes.

    Ailes has been under vicious attack since then, though he has not yet been able to speak to defend himself. His attorney, Susan Estrich, is a nationally prominent expert on women’s issues and former campaign manager to Michael Dukakis for his presidential run. Estrich said there has been a rush to judgment.

    Did you get that? By describing Carlson as “an employee whose contract was not renewed,” readers are encouraged to believe that her sexual harassment lawsuit is motivated by her desire for revenge. Describing Ailes as being “under vicious attack” completely ignores the manner in which Fox News itself immediately attacked Carlson’s reputation and character for crossing the channel’s CEO. Finally, it’s just not true that Ailes “has not yet been able to defend himself.” He’s done so, publicly, on multiple occasions. The problem is not that Ailes has been silenced. It’s that more and more women keep coming forward to talk about his terrible behavior toward them.

    The P.C.N.R. article, which is credited to three reporters (including editor-in-chief Douglas Cunningham) and runs over 1,600 words long, continues in the same vein as it describes a recent meeting of the Putnam County Legislature where the issue of Ailes’ donation and naming rights came up. One passage reads: “Mr. Ailes, who was not in attendance to defend himself, came under hostile fire when speaker after speaker criticized him. One woman charged: ‘The name of Roger Ailes is not appropriate or acceptable for a senior center.’”

    After “some 100 people attacked Ailes,” the legislature eventually voted to table the issue, thereby delaying approval of the new center’s name. In response, Roger and Elizabeth Ailes decided to call off their donation entirely. “The family said they had hoped to help the senior citizens in Philipstown but it is clear for political reasons their funding is not welcome,” the report says. “Therefore they are withdrawing the money, cancelling the contribution agreement and assigning the money to another one of their charities who can put it to use immediately.”

    Roger Ailes: vindictive to the end.


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    Ben Carson Will Never Not Speak His Truth
    Photo: AP

    Does Dr. Ben Carson wish that the Republican nominee was someone other than his good friend Donald Trump? Of course he does. But the Republican nominee is Donald Trump, Carson astutely noted in a radio interview yesterday. And that is perfectly fine and okay.

    “Would we like to have the kind of role model that our children should all aspire to? Of course,” the Trump surrogate said on The Mike Slater Show on 760AM-KFMB on Wednesday. “Of course that would be the most desirable thing, and, uh, you don’t necessarily always get the complete package in one individual.”

    Carson cited Scripture to support his point: “I don’t know that I would connect him to any one particular person, but I will say, throughout the Bible, there are many examples where God could carry out his will utilizing a particular ruler.”

    “But, he had people by him who were wise, like Joseph with Pharaoh, like Daniel with Nebuchadnezzar, and so on and so forth,” Carson said. “So, you know, God’s will can be carried out in a number of ways. I think we underestimate God when we say he can’t work through this person or that person. Because, you know, we’re making ourselves God, and he’s much greater than we are.”

    That Carson, an evangelical Christian, would make a (really quite nuanced!) faith-based argument justifying his support of a candidate as apparently secular and profane as Trump is to be expected. That doesn’t stop it from being hilarious, though! After all, in Carson’s formulation, what makes Trump the better candidate is that he is surrounded by people who are “wise.” This category would, presumably, include people like Carson! Which is awfully convenient. And also Rudy Giuliani, who on Thursday morning blamed New Gingrich for media reports that the Trump camp was planning an “intervention” with the candidate.

    “That word, I think, honestly I love him dearly, but I think that word was used by Newt in a memo that got around,” Giuliani said. “ What a ridiculous word. An intervention is for a drug addict and it’s for someone who’s an alcoholic and I’ve had to do them with people at times. There’s nothing wrong with them, if that’s the case. Donald Trump doesn’t drink or smoke, by the way. We don’t have that problem.”

    Like Joseph with Pharaoh, like Daniel with Nebuchadnezzar, and so on and so forth.


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    Sources: "Dumb-Dumb" Trump to Blame For Campaign Disarray
    Image: Getty

    Speaking under the condition of anonymity, sources familiar with the Donald Trump campaign revealed to Gawker their many frustrations with the campaign’s current path. One source even went so far as to venture, “He’s probably going to lose.”

    Over the past several days, we’ve seen countless reports of turmoil in the Trump campaign, credited to inside sources within the GOP and the campaign itself, as well as top donors and supporters. Speaking to Gawker last night, knowledgable individuals cited both Trump’s continued insistence on wall-building and his poor treatment of protestors as two of the major aggravators that led to the GOP’s current disarray. Still, when asked to name the single biggest problem facing the campaign, our source pointed to the public’s perception of Trump as “being bad.”

    Even while being interviewed for this piece, our sources began to argue over whether Trump’s problems are due more to poor decision making or to the fact that he works primarily out of his own self-interest. Tensions were undeniably running high.

    Now, Trump’s most ardent supporters are turning on him. One supporter, when asked how he thought the campaign was doing, insisted it was ‘good,’ but conceded that Trump’s unpredictable behavior has created the impression that he may be a ‘dumb-dumb.’

    You can listen to the full audio of Gawker’s exclusive interview below. Names of the speakers have been redacted to protect their identities.


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    The NYPD has, according to various reports, been “investigating” years-old racist Facebook posts made by one of its patrolmen. “Racist cop” is not exactly the most surprising news the world has ever presented us. What’s noteworthy about this instance of racism from a person nominally sworn to equally protect all citizens is that the policeman, Gregory Gordon, is already infamously known as the NYPD cop caught wining with various women at the city’s West Indian Parade in 2011.

    You remember this guy, right?

    NYPD's "Viral Grinding Cop" Shines In New Role As  "Viral Racist Facebook Cop" 

    I think I instinctively thought this image was fake. But no, this guy is a real cop. Alas, Gordon’s satisfied smirk over a black woman sticking her ass into his crotch is complicated by his Facebook posts regarding, say, Bill de Blasio’s wife. Via the New York Daily News:

    NYPD's "Viral Grinding Cop" Shines In New Role As  "Viral Racist Facebook Cop" 

    Or white people allegedly murdered by black people:

    In August 2014, Gordon posted a list of 19 white people from across the country who were allegedly murdered by blacks in June yet received no coverage in the press, he claimed.

    “Some might get pissed at this status, but it just shows how some people decide when ‘racism’ is acceptable. To sell the news,” he said, according to another post obtained by the Daily News.

    Or the Oscars:

    “So now the latest complaint is there aren’t enough African-Americans nominated for Oscars? Tell me again how there’s a White Entertainment Television Channel? But BET is ok?”

    Or bathrooms:

    “Are you f—-ing kidding me? If you have a d—k, you belong in the men’s room. Way to go de Blasio.”

    Or the terrorist attack in Nice:

    “So the drive(r) was named Mohammed. Go figure. See what happens when a mass exodus of people infiltrate a country?”

    Gordon’s “punishment” for dancing during a parade was a transfer from a Brooklyn precinct to one in Staten Island. Next stop is, uh, the Atlantic Ocean?


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    Russian Prime Minister Tells Underpaid Teachers To Get Side Jobs, Figure “Something" Out
    Photo: AP

    At a public forum on Wednesday, a teacher asked Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev why teachers earn so little while cops earn so much, relatively—according to the Moscow Times, the starting monthly salary for educators is 10,000-15,000 rubles ($150-$225); law enforcement officers earn 50,000 rubles ($750) per month. The teacher tactfully inquired if the government was going to do about that.

    “I am absolutely sure that a modern, energetic teacher, is capable of not only earning his position’s salary but also... earning something else somehow,” Medvedev responded, prompting the Russian internet to go like...

    Russian Prime Minister Tells Underpaid Teachers To Get Side Jobs, Figure “Something" Out
    Source: @KermlinRussia. “Answering a question about low teacher salaries, Medvedev said an energetic educator will find a way to make money.”

    Medvedev suggested that teachers can “make ends meet” by “lecturing” on the side and taking on second jobs, and anyway, this is all your own fault, teachers:

    “Every person chooses what’s important to him in life... If you just want to make money, then there are many wonderful places where you can do that. But you didn’t go into business, did you? Well, there you go.”

    There you go. You went into education. Now you can’t survive on your salary alone, there you go.

    The prime minister, who briefly kept Putin’s presidential throne warm from 2008 to 2012, is currently working out three annual budgets while exalting the Napoleonic code. With Russia ass-deep in a recession, he’s used to questions about money, and this is not the first time he’s given an answer that strains the people’s capacity for relentless government cynicism.

    When visiting Crimea in May, the prime minister was confronted on the street by an angry elderly woman who asked him if the abysmal pensions are going to be raised any time soon.

    “There’s just no money right now,” Medvedev said, shuffling quickly away. “You hang in there. Best wishes! Cheers! Take care!”

    A bakery in the Siberian republic of Buryatia briefly made cakes with “There is no money, but hang in there!” on them, but someone put an end to that.


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    “Is it rude to ask my [brother-in-law] not to come over for a bbq? I am 3 months pregnant and BIL is Panamanian and my sister mentioned that he traveled there recently to visit his brother. I am afraid he could have zika now.” A reminder that Urbanbaby still exists, and is good.


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    LAPD Cops Who Killed Black Man Sue Department for Racial Discrimination
    Still: KTLA

    Two years ago, LAPD officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas shot and killed Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Now, they are suing, alleging that the department is racially discriminating against them by keeping them on desk duty, because Ford was black and they are not.

    The suit, reported in the Los Angeles Times, alleges that Wampler and Villegas have been denied opportunities for advancement through the force, despite having been cleared of misconduct in Ford’s death. The officers point to a black officer who also shot and killed a suspect and was subsequently moved to “a highly sought after position” as evidence of the alleged discrimination. Wampler is white, and Villegas is Latino.

    Wampler and Villegas stopped Ford near his home in South Los Angeles in August 14, and Villegas quickly drew his gun. There are multiple accounts of what happened next. According to police, Ford tackled Wampler to the ground and reached for the officer’s firearm, prompting Villegas and Wampler both to shoot him. At least one witness said, at the time, that Wampler, in fact, tackled Ford, and Ford did not reach for his gun.

    LAPD Commissioner Charlie Beck found that the men had not violated policy, and an internal investigation found evidence to support their claims: Ford’s DNA on the gun and scratches on his and Wampler’s hands. However, the independent review board that oversees the LAPD later found that Wampler had violated LAPD use-of-force policy and that Villegas had acted inappropriately by drawing his gun early.

    The suit claims that Wampler and Villegas were kept on modified duty and denied overtime, promotions, and new assignments because of the racial dynamics of the shootings. It also claims that after the officers complained against the discrimination they believe they were faced with, officials retaliated against them further. “Clearly, there is a different standard of discipline meted out to officers solely on account of their race and color of their skin,” it reads.

    Is there a different standard of discipline meted out to suspects solely on account of their race and color of their skin? Who can say.


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    The Ways I Torture Myself To Stay Young In The Face
    Illustration by Sam Woolley.

    This week, we learned that Peter Thiel, the billionaire and proverbial vampire who bankrupted Gawker through a covert legal war, is apparently interested in harvesting the blood of the young to slow down (or even halt) the aging process. While thematically satisfying, this sounds complicated. And messy. And cannibalistic. And needless in a world bursting with blueberries.

    I say that from experience, I think. Like Thiel, I have been waging a one-man war against the inevitable sag of age. I’d like to be here as long as possible because sometimes it takes me a while to accomplish things—I’ve had a version of this post drafted for a year now—and an even greater fear I have than running out of things to say is running out of time to say them in.

    And then there is the greatest motivator: vanity. Since coming to terms with my mortality in my mid-20's (up until then, it existed in my head as an abstract theory), I have read studies about reducing the effects of aging on one’s face and applied them as liberally as I do the moisturizer that makes my face shine like the top of the Chrysler Building (and Daddy Warbucks’s head). My decade of conscious upkeep has yielded the only kind of currency that really matters today: compliments. With a fair degree of regularity, new people I meet voice surprise when I tell them my age (37). Granted, the darker the venue, the more pronounced the compliment. In a low-lit bar, I sometimes hear that I look like I’m in my 20's. In direct sunlight, I do not. (Two years ago, when I was 35, on the Wildwood, NJ, boardwalk, the Ask the Guesser said I was “32”). We must also keep in mind that in our youth-crazed culture, complimenting someone for looking young is an increasingly banal pleasantry that strangers say and probably don’t mean like, “It’s nice to meet you,” or “Your penis is pretty.”

    It’s hard to know what to make of this, or anything that anyone says given the selfish motivation behind virtually every human action. Is it true? Are people just being nice? (In which case, oh my god, why are they being nice?) Are we just aging more slowly as a species so that sixty is the new forty and thirty-seven is the new twenty-five (depending on the lighting)? Age ain’t nothing but a number, and feedback ain’t nothing but other people’s projections repackaged with your name attached. It’s all relative. It’s all subjective. What I mean to do here is merely present a correlation: I work at staying young, and I also get feedback suggesting my work is working. In the process, both of these things drive me a little crazy but at least I’ve got my blueberries for comfort.

    Below is a list of the things I do in the interest of aging well.

    The Ways I Torture Myself To Stay Young In The Face
    A photo of the author by Marco Ovando, concept by Tara Jacoby

    I don’t smoke cigarettes.

    I quit smoking cigarettes ten years ago, because I knew if I continued death was imminent and, more importantly, I also I had heard that if you quit around the age of 25, your face won’t show signs of smoking. I remember in high school, back when I was a pack-or-two-a-day kinda guy, chain-smoking on my friend’s porch with her and her mom. Her mom had a friend over who said that she never took up smoking out of “pure vanity.” Those words lodged in my brain. I quit smoking out of pure vanity first and out of fear of death second. I have not smoked a tobacco cigarette since March 14, 2005.

    I work out until I want to die.

    Immediately after quitting smoking, I began exercising. At first, I ran because I was too self-conscious to go to the gym and attempt to make sense of all of the weights and machines in front of strangers. Then a friend took me to his gym and showed me how to lift. Now I work out like a madman. If a workout doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to die, it’s a waste of my time. If I could afford Barry’s Bootcamp—whose classes alternate for an hour between running intervals on a treadmill for 10 minutes and doing a rapid succession of floor exercises with weights for 10 minutes—I would do it five times a week. Last year, I took up a workout from Men’s Health that includes about 30 minutes of straight torture with no more than 20 seconds of rest every three minutes. It’s hell and I love it (when it’s over). If I don’t have enough space to do that, I’ll run intervals on a treadmill, do a burpee-kettlebell swing combination for about 15 minutes straight, or jump-rope for at least 20 minutes (including at least 200 double-unders). And that’s just cardio.

    No offense to our sister site, but the best workout program is actually one that you fucking hate. It’s one that strikes fear in your heart before, during, and maybe even after. Why do you like the elliptical so much more than the treadmill? Because it’s so much fucking easier. If you wanted to do something easy, why did you go to the gym in the first place? Why are you wasting time reading this when you could be hyperventilating in yoga pants?

    Exercise, by the way, keeps skin looking young, according to at least one study. I like that study.

    I drink so much water that I never don’t have to piss.

    As I was quitting smoking, I read somewhere that drinking lots of water is a good way to stay feeling full and satisfied in the absence of cigarettes. I guess it’s true—I started drinking so much water that I stopped feeling basically anything except like I had to pee all of the time. I drink liters and liters of water a day, especially at work. My day is an endless cycle of getting up to fill my water bottle, sitting back down for a few minutes, getting back up to empty my tank and refill my bottle. Over and over and over again. I am the most hydrated person I know. I cannot sit anywhere in movie theaters except for at the ends of aisles because I am going to have to pee at some point. In the event that I am made to sit on the inside of a row (especially in a live setting, like a concert or a play), I spend the entire event thinking about whether or not I have to pee and if I’ll be able to make it until the end. I haven’t peed myself since I was a child, but the threat is constantly lurking. It keeps me moving and life exciting.

    Sometimes that water comes in the form of tea.

    I dream of a world in which mint iced green tea flows from taps like water. I have an iced tea brewer and I’d say I go through about a gallon a day.

    Many teas, including green and black, are high in antioxidants. Though plenty of doubt has been cast in antioxidants’ ability to be the fountain of youth they were once made out to be, I have faith in them. Why not? You have to believe in something. And even if tea does nothing to help slow the effects of aging, green tea is still really fucking good for you and worth drinking regardless because it’s enormously refreshing.

    Berries by the crate.

    I try to eat blueberries every day. Sometimes on my way into work, I can only find raspberries, but I like those too. I do not like blackberries because they are like 80 percent seeds. It’s like chewing on grape stems.

    Sometimes I haven’t eaten a single berry the entire week by Wednesday and I’m like, “What am I doing with my life?”

    Berries also are high in antioxidants. But they’re practically free calories (every trainer I’ve ever talked to about fitness has only expressed pro-berry sentiment), and worth eating just in case the antioxidants come through.

    I slather myself with sunscreen.

    Here is a list of things I wanted to be when I was a kid: straight, able to fly, and tan. Guess what happened? I grew up and realized that knowing what I’m not is at least as important as knowing what I am. At the very least, knowing what I’m not has ended up saving me precious time.

    I don’t want sun damage on my face, I don’t want skin cancer, so everyday I use a moisturizer that’s SPF 30. If I’m doing something outdoors like running or going to the beach, I cover myself in sunscreen with an SPF of at least 40 (I prefer 100, even though it’s basically the same as 40, just for psychological reasons). Sometimes I use so much, my face is streaked white and you know what? I don’t fucking care. I’d rather look like a mime than let a single UV ray penetrate my face. Laugh at me now, worship me later. As a white guy, this sun aversion may make me pasty, but at least I’m not dead or so dried up that I look dead.

    I’m this close to wearing a pillowcase over my head every time I leave the house and you know what? I’m fine with that.

    I wear sunglasses always.

    Even at night. I don’t trust the moon, either.

    I use eye cream even though I barely know what it is.

    I was talking to an esthetician at a Pride party two years ago and he asked me if I used an eye cream and I said, “No!” and then I started using an eye cream that I bought from the Sephora-biting section of Duane Reade. That area under the eyes is sensitive and I figure I can use all the help I can get. I especially figure this when I am staring myself down in the barber shop mirror under harsh neon lights at 10 am in the morning – sometimes it looks like I’m stopping by on my way to the airport wearing my baggage on my face. And I’ve never been one to pack lightly.

    Anyway, I just got some free eye cream samples at Kiehls. It tingles when I put it on. If it’s not working, I at least appreciate its effort.

    Tazorac is my god.

    Tazorac is a retinoid that my dermatologist prescribed. I’ve been using it for about five years and I love it. From age 12 until I started using Tazorac, I had at least one giant zit on my face at any given time. And now it’s rare for me to ever have one. My skin texture is way less bumpy, which is really what I was going for when I went on it. Dermatologists typically prescribe Tazorac and other retinoids for their anti-aging properties (though their effectiveness is contested by non-dermotologists). In this case, that function is secondary to my main objective, just like not dying from lung cancer was secondary to my reason for quitting smoking.

    I sleep like I’m dead.

    Never ask me, “Did you sleep well last night?” because the answer is always, “YES.” I don’t know anything but good sleep. I collapse wherever and whenever my body is ready to sleep and it won’t let me get up until it’s rested. I get no fewer than six hours of sleep a night, though it’s generally more around eight. Once I fell asleep in the club.

    I generally do really bad stuff in moderation.

    I get drunk a handful of times a year, mostly because a hangover destroys the next day for me and makes me feel very wasteful. (I’m so old! I need all the days I have left!)

    Weed is the only drug that I use regularly, and even that is mostly confined to weekends. Now, I’ll grant you, I’ve partied, but that’s always been moderate and has only become more so over time, and there’s a laundry list of shit I will not touch under any circumstance. How the Faces of Meth campaign hasn’t scared every soul on the planet away from that shit is beyond me. Do drugs to make yourself feel good—methface is not going to make you look good!

    I eat carbs because I enjoy life too much not to.

    The thing about all of this is that it’s so integrated into my behavior that most of it barely registers as a chore (streaming piss constantly from my body, though, can become inconvenient). It’s just how I live. None of it is particularly expensive, and all of it benefits my health beyond the driving vanity.

    Insecurity is just unrealized motivation. I refuse to take getting older lying down, but if I must lie down, it’s always on my back, because I hear that, too, is good for aging.


    0 0

    Dr. Kwadwo Safo is, according to his own legend, many things. He is a Pentecostal pastor. He is an inventor. Now he claims to be Ghana’s first carmaker as well. Over the past year, his Kantanka Automobile Company has made international news with its vehicles, mature industrial products emerging fully realized from a not-particularly industrial nation. As recently as last week, CNN was telling the story of its “‘made in Ghana’ cars... modeled for tough local conditions.”

    The idea of a Ghanaian-run car company offering Ghanaian-built, Ghanaian-designed world-class cars and trucks is compelling. Unfortunately, the reason Kantanka Cars is able to offer world-class vehicles is simple: It gets just about everything shipped over from a Chinese automaker.

    The Kantanka vehicles supposedly designed for Ghana’s local conditions are, in fact, indistinguishable from ones that have been on sale in China for years. Kantanka’s CEO has admitted to working with a secret Chinese partner, and one Chinese company has already claimed responsibility for Kantanka’s entire factory operation.

    To the extent that the cars are produced in Ghana, it appears to be matter of final local assembly of components that have been stamped out and largely prebuilt in China. It would seem Kantanka’s unique contributions amount to little more than the badges and trim, a fact that has escaped news coverage to date.

    As evidence of Ghana’s ability to compete with the rest of the world at a high technological and industrial level, Kantanka appears to fall far short. As testimony to Safo’s longtime ability to create works of faith, though, the company makes a remarkable story.


    Though it has a stable democratic government and somewhat strong oil, gold, and cocoa exports, economic news out of Ghana seems more defined by big promises and false starts than anything else.

    In 2011, Ghana was declared the world’s fastest-growing economy, but that statistics game quickly fizzled out, much like new (increasingly Chinese-run) steel mills and auto manufacturing plants that never make it past their pre-launch promises.

    The Living Apostle Who Sold The Media On The Myth Of ‘Ghana’s First Car'
    A publicity photo from Kantanka showing one of the automaker’s SUVs. Credit: Africa Arm Magazine

    It’s just that none of these announced projects have been as big, as dramatic, or as well-received as Kantanka, and that’s perplexing, as every major media outlet has gotten its story wrong.

    (Jalopnik reached out to every party involved in this story for comment, including the mysterious Chinese company that has claimed to have backed Kantanka, a second Chinese company that may be backing the first, and Kantanka itself, both through its official contact line and directly to the CEO himself. We have not heard back from any of them.)

    Safo started his own church, Kristo Safo, in Ghana back in the ’70s and made his money first by producing and selling low-cost soap. How he got his doctor title, or when he started calling himself an apostle, are less than clear. Those are two of the few things I haven’t been able to figure out, even after reading an overload of rarely skeptical, fawning, possibly self-published, sometimes academic, sometimes difficult to believe profiles of the man.

    A church with business connections is not altogether uncommon in Africa. It’s just that nothing has ever been this technologically advanced, or sought this scale of production.

    “Pentecostals are hugely involved in business all over Africa—both the church as business, and business that has occult overtones.” Dr. Jean Comaroff, a professor of African and African American Studies and of Anthropology at Harvard, explained to me over the phone, noting that the Nigerian film industry, Nollywood, is almost entirely run by Pentecostals.

    “But this case does sound quite arcane,” Comaroff said.

    Arcane is a good way to describe Safo’s inventions. At his annual tech fairs, held every year since 1980, he has unveiled a series of remarkable products to the world: a brick-making machine, for instance, or an electric guitar shaped like a fish.

    And as his church has grown—it now supposedly has some 130 congregations—his inventions have become increasingly elaborate, up to and including an array robots. Some robots were supposed to act like security guards or farm workers. Another rode a tricycle. One was designed to function as a three-in-one sweeper, mobile billboard, and rocket launcher. Nearly all of them are listed and photographed here.

    The Living Apostle Who Sold The Media On The Myth Of ‘Ghana’s First Car'
    A progression of Safo’s products. From left to right, a block moulding machine, consumer electronics, the 3-in-1 robot, a security robot, a tank.

    He also devised a number of planes, a homemade attack helicopter made out of wood, and a genuinely baffling tank. The helicopter is perhaps the most questionable of them all:

    The Living Apostle Who Sold The Media On The Myth Of ‘Ghana’s First Car'
    Safo’s helicopter, to give context to Kantanka’s claims regarding the state of their production capability. Image via Africa Arm Magazine.

    Those are “rocket launchers,” according to Safo. Yes, they are held on with tape. No, this helicopter has never made it off the ground.

    At the tech fairs, he hands out free food and demonstrates his walking, talking inventions to happy crowds and politicians who go “only to get votes,” Dr. Kodjo Senah, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Ghana, explained to me over the phone.

    “A few regard him as a hero,” Senah said. “I don’t believe him.”

    Safo’s early designs, like his block-making machine, were easy, Senah pointed out. The later technology, like the helicopter or the robots, “is beyond my belief, too,” he said.

    I has initially emailed Senah asking what ordinary Ghanaians think of Safo. The robots and the rest looked so unpersuasive, I didn’t know if I was missing something. He spoke to his students and to other people he knew, all of whom were very skeptical, if somewhat hopeful that it might all work out.

    For all the decades Safo has shown his cobbled-together inventions, he has been little more than ridiculed in the foreign press, uncritically backed in the local press, and given little from any government or bank than a smile, Senah said. And now, all of a sudden, he has emerged with a polished, fully realized line of automobiles.

    “This is very puzzling for all of us,” he said.


    There’s no other kind of technology that gets more tied to a national identity than a car, and that’s exactly how Safo framed his first notable automotive effort.

    “We want to show the world the intellect of the African,” Safo said in a mini-documentary, possibly commissioned by Safo himself, following him and his apprentices as they assembled their first SUV. They constructed it almost by hand.

    In the doc, Safo explained why, after years of developing other inventions, he started work on building his own car. “We have made it quality to prevent people from saying that African cars do not last long. This is our land. Our forefathers did their best. Now it is the turn of you and I to also contribute our best.” He laughed, continuing, “Since I am the front-runner, I will do more than you and also contribute your quota to raise high the flag and image of Ghana and Africa.”

    Believe it or not, this was recorded not in the ’80s or ’90s, but in 2006.

    The SUV itself looks like a knockoff of an early 1990s Isuzu Trooper and the assembly is done almost completely by hand. Panels are hammered on the floor, the engine block is cast in a courtyard, and trim pieces are made off of whittled molds.

    This is not to say that you can’t find new cars, even from major manufacturers, being sold in Africa that look like they came out of the ’90s. Renault, for instance, builds and sells new Dacias in North Africa with some success and they’re based off of a hatchback Renault started selling well over a decade ago.

    But handcrafting old-looking cars was all Kantanka could do just a few short years ago. What Kantanka says they’re making now is a world apart from this early effort, literally and metaphorically.

    Every year since 2006, Safo would bring out a new car to his technology fair, each one with a stranger feature. One would talk to its owner in native Akan. One could be steered with a wrist watch. Another could be started by pointing a cane at it, or placing your hand on your chest while wearing a special shirt. Safo described that last one as “an exhibition of God-given powers.” Another was a 26-foot stretch limousine shown in 2012 that could “see as far as 200m ahead and behind him with the in-built high sensitive long distance viewer, the Kantanka CCTV camera.”

    None of these vehicles have made it out of Kantanka’s headquarters, let along into consumer production.

    And then, just two years after he was still hand-making that limo, Safo announced he was constructing a modern factory, one producing cars at a rate of 120 vehicles a month. His son Kwadwo Safo Jr. became the new face and boss of the business, and Kantanka started showing off cars and trucks that didn’t look like they were hammered together in a shed. Safo’s dream seemed to have been realized.

    The Living Apostle Who Sold The Media On The Myth Of ‘Ghana’s First Car'

    By 2015, Kantanka was making global headlines with reports on the BBC, Forbes, Al Jazeera, and CNN admiringly showing made-in-Ghana cars. They were “built to survive anything,” CNN gushed.

    Not only were these Kantanka cars priced at competitively against foreign brands (around $20,000 USD), they looked every bit as well designed as their established rivals, as recently-announced CEO Safo Jr. declared to New Africa magazine. “Our vehicles are made to withstand the ruthlessness of the worst roads in Ghana, and because we live here, our cars are made for our type of weather. The quality and durability levels have already received government approval for commercial production.”

    It was around this time that Kantanka put out some pictures of their assembly line, including this one that has a guy sitting on the equipment.

    The Living Apostle Who Sold The Media On The Myth Of ‘Ghana’s First Car'
    This shows the state of Kantanka’s factory, where we see a complicated stamping that I can not believe was produced in Ghana itself. I also can not explain why the worker is taking a grinder to the firewall. Photo via Africarm.org

    Safo Jr. continued in his interview: “It is time to believe in ourselves, grow what we eat and produce what we use, so that we can create jobs for our people. There was a starting point for all the advanced countries whose products we have developed an insatiable craving for today. Now is our time.”

    When Al Jazeera asked Safo Jr. why he was even trying to sell cars at this price when the average yearly income in Ghana is just $1,400, or if these vehicles have even been crash-tested for safety, Safo Jr. only replied “We know the market and we can assure you that Africans will be able to buy our cars,” and with regard to crash tests, “We will be doing that in the course of our manufacturing process.”

    It was as if Kantanka’s cars had leapfrogged the company’s own operations.

    “We have made quite significant sales, including a very important one to the office of the president,” Safo Jr. told CNN just last week, claiming to get the recognition from the government his father (or his sister recently elected to the Ghanaian parliament) could never secure.

    When I started reading these reports, something seemed off. I noticed that these new Kantanka cars didn’t just look as good as other modern cars on sale, they looked exactly the same as other modern cars on sale. I just couldn’t put my finger on which cars precisely, until I bumped into this comment on this Al Jazeera article:

    The Living Apostle Who Sold The Media On The Myth Of ‘Ghana’s First Car'

    There was no way it could be real, I thought, up until I went to the linked URL of the mysteriously-named Chongqing Big Science & Technology. But there was the evidence that Kantanka’s new Ghanaian cars were actually coming from China.


    I’ll put the cars side by side so you can see exactly what I mean. The Kantanka brochure images are on the left, and the Chinese brochure images are on the right. The only differences visible are the badges.

    The Living Apostle Who Sold The Media On The Myth Of ‘Ghana’s First Car'

    The Kantanka Onantefo SUV (approx. $24,700 USD) matches the Foday Explorer 6, built off of an old Mitsubishi frame since 2010.

    The Living Apostle Who Sold The Media On The Myth Of ‘Ghana’s First Car'

    The Kantanka Omana pickup (approx. $22,600 USD) appears to be the Foday Lion.

    The Living Apostle Who Sold The Media On The Myth Of ‘Ghana’s First Car'

    Even the little new Kantanka K71 hatchback (approx. $19,700 USD) is a dead ringer for the Brilliance Jinbei S30.

    As I started looking further into Chongqing Big Science & Technology’s page on Alibaba—the massive Chinese e-commerce marketplace—I noticed that the site not only offered the same cars as Kantanka, but Chongqing Big Science & Technology explained that they sell the production facilities to assemble these vehicles yourself. And they will send out trained technicians to help you learn how to assemble these made-in-China cars, kind of like the world’s most complicated Ikea sets.

    To prove that they offered these services, Chongqing Big Science & Technology advertised that they had done this work before. In Africa. With pictures of the company’s workers in Ghana, building the factory that Kantanka proudly showed to the press as its own independent work.

    “Located in Accra, Ghana, KANTANKA AUTO was founded in 2012 by KOSA group (Ghana) and BIG S&T group (China) to bring innovative auto technology to Ghana,” Chongqing Big Science & Technology advertises on their Globalized Operations page, later generously claiming that Kantanka’s production is 200 vehicles per month.

    They even show pictures of Kwadwo Safo Jr. and a Kantanka truck right on their listing for “oversea auto assembly plant in Africa,” filed under their “Oversea Vehicel [SIC] Assembly Plant Project Dept.”

    The timestamps on the photos show that they started shipping over Chinese parts to Ghana at the same time that Safo started to announce his new production capacity. That truck that Kantanka claimed could be started with a cane? It’s identical to the white one on the middle right.

    The Living Apostle Who Sold The Media On The Myth Of ‘Ghana’s First Car'

    By all appearances, Chongqing Big Science & Technology is the secret behind Kantanka’s rapid transformation from a producer of low-level oddities to what looks like a viable auto manufacturer. Certainly it was strange that an Alibaba page, basically China’s version of Amazon where you might buy generic backpacks or electronics in bulk, might be the key to one of the breakout stars in the automotive world.

    But it’s not all that odd for a company in a developing nation to sell cars assembled from parts built in more industrialized countries.

    In the auto industry they’re called Complete Knock Down kits (CKDs), or KDs more generally. CKDs are basically how auto manufacturing got its start in India and in Iran. Daimler also notably used CKDs here in the U.S. to skirt American import tariffs on their big vans, and even Lincoln bizarrely shipped Town Cars to China as CKDs for local assembly as Hongqis, the brand of car that China’s president rides around in.

    The way it all works is that a developed country that has things like stamping machines and welding robots does the heavy industrial lifting, then ships those semi-finished pieces to a country that doesn’t yet have much in the way of advanced tooling or skilled labor does the final assembly.

    What varies is how much assembly has to be done on a local level. Judging by Kantanka’s factory tours, showing complete rolling chassis, engines hooked up and all, it appears to be using very complete kits from China. There’s no way that Kantanka could be doing much more; one German news team found that the factory is designed to be able to operate without electricity, and as late as August 2015, work was still being done by hand.

    The Living Apostle Who Sold The Media On The Myth Of ‘Ghana’s First Car'
    A screenshot of Ghanaian TV’s eBusiness Journal’s tour of the Kantanka factory showing an assembled rolling chassis.

    It’s also not odd for a Chinese company to get involved in an African operation. Chinese investment in Africa has a short but very intense business history, and that does include the automotive sector. Chinese cars started making their way onto African shores in the early 2000s and now they dominate many domestic markets on the continent, as GoodCarBadCar reports. There are Chinese joint ventures in Mozambique and Ethiopia assembling what are openly recognized as Chinese vehicles.

    Once I had read through everything I could find about Chongqing Big Science & Technology, I thought I had the whole Kantanka story cleared up. But it’s hard to believe that Chongqing Big Science & Technology is solely responsible for Kantanka’s growth. After all, they exist as a collection of Alibaba listings. They claim to have been around since 2004, with “51-100" employees, but there’s little to go on but for a few generic factory photos.

    There is, however, is a genuine automotive manufacturer that produces these cars: Guangdong Foday Automobile Co.,Ltd, which also advertises similar knock-down kit sales services, even on Medium of all places. Both are based out of the same region of China. So it might be Foday Auto that’s involved and not Chongqing Big Science & Technology.

    But Foday itself is not a large company, as Car News China reported all the way back in 2010. Foday claims their annual production is 100,000 completed vehicles per year with another 300,000 in kit form, but I struggle to find any evidence the company has been operating at all since their last ‘new’ vehicle launch halfway through last year. Moreover, their own website recently went offline.

    I have reached out to Chongqing Big Science & Technology for a clarification of where it gets its car parts from, but I have not heard back. The same is true of Foday, and I am still waiting for comment from Kantanka itself.

    Kwadwo Safo himself reportedly tried and failed to get outside investment from India or China for years, so in a way this is the realization of a longtime dream for Kantanka. But Kantanka’s secret foreign partner may be taking advantage in the relationship.

    If a Chongqing Big Science & Technology or Foday or whoever wanted to sell a Chinese truck in Ghana, they’d face a steep price hike.

    Selling these cars instead as locally-assembled “Made In Ghana” Kantankas not only could give them good press, it would skirt Ghana’s import laws and let them sell at low price. Basically, whatever Chinese company is behind all of this might just be using Kantanka to get access to cheap local labor and dodge import fees.

    This is exactly what’s been going on in the mining industry in Ghana and across Africa. I reached out to Dr. Lauren Coyle at Princeton’s anthropology department, who studied the ever-growing role of China in Ghana’s mining sector. She explained that “the Chinese are not allowed to get licenses for small-scale mining concessions, so they had been making arrangements with some Ghanaians to front for them. (Only Ghanaian nationals can get them.)” The very same could be happening with Kantanka.

    It’s an issue referred to as “wealth extraction”: what can look like investment doesn’t actually bring money into a developing nation, but instead draws it out.

    Only a handful of Ghanaian news sources have pointed out that Kantanka has any kind of Chinese partnership at all, but each of these outlets state that Kantanka is only getting parts from abroad, not knock-down kits. In an interview with local eBusiness Journal, Safo Jr. volunteered that he does have a Chinese business partner, but that he would not name what it is, or how involved the relationship is.

    “That’s my business secret,” Safo Jr. demurred in the story. And in interviews, the elder Safo has even said “The ‘Made in Ghana’ label means that ‘if you have any problems with the vehicle, you wouldn’t have to import from India or China or America. All the parts are right here and we have a 24-hour service.’”

    Amazingly, it’s a Ghanaian teen’s YouTube vlog that has most clearly enunciated how huge the gap looks between how Ghanaian Kantanka presents itself as, and how Chinese it really is. “Wait, they’re made in Ghana, right?” he asks to the camera in a rant dedicated to Kantanka. “This is like rLG,” he says, alluding to the electronics company that sprung up at the start of the decade selling phones and laptops made out of foreign components but assembled and branded in Ghana. It has now sort of kind of disappeared. “What the fuck happened to rLG? Their bullshit, slapped-on ‘Made-In-Ghana’ laptops. [...] It’s assembled in Ghana. People, there’s a difference. There’s made in Ghana and then there’s assembled in Ghana. Assembled in Ghana means, oh, you took the product from outside—right? because we couldn’t make it ourselves. [...] You import everything, then you assemble it in Ghana, then you call it ‘made in Ghana’ goods. It’s not made in Ghana.”

    That this Chinese relationship is kept obscured goes against Safo’s message of bringing pride to Africa through home-market design and manufacturing. Moreover, it’s difficult to tell if Kantanka has even sold a single car at all.

    Through all of its news stories, interviews, TV reports, and factory tours, there’s no evidence that any ordinary Ghanaian citizens have a Kantanka car in their driveway. News stories in 2016 are still using two-year-old photos of completed cars. It’s hard to tell how many cars Kantanka has actually produced, particularly because we almost never see any vehicles outside of Kantanka’s factory. The only times these things are recorded beyond Kantanka property, they’re organized in some Kantanka photo shoot or being driven by a celebrity or government official. We don’t know if any of these “owners” actually purchased their cars, or if they were gifted them by Kantanka as part of some publicity stunt.

    Worse still, Kantanka is perpetually claiming that it’s about to start production.

    As late as November last year, commercial production was one day away, whereas in 2014 it was one month away, but I could find no evidence any cars have actually gone to individual consumers. Kantanka has claimed that they can build 100 vehicles a month (you’ll remember it was 120 earlier), and they claim to have delivered several vehicles already, but those cars have only gone to government officials and departments.

    Kantanka’s business relationship with their unnamed Chinese partner has been going on since at least the start of 2014 and still we haven’t seen a single car make it into private hands.

    Perhaps the biggest mystery is how Safo made so many media outlets believe him.


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    Police shot and killed Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old woman, after a lengthy, armed standoff in Randallstown, Maryland, on Monday, which law enforcement officials now say was exacerbated by comments, left on Gaines’ Instagram account, encouraging her to resist arrest. Gaines’ 5-year-old son was wounded in the crossfire, though his injuries are considered non-life threatening.

    According to court documents released on Wednesday, police obtained an arrest warrant for Gaines, charging her with first- and second-degree assault, obstructing and hindering, and resisting or interfering with arrest, after she pointed a shotgun at an officer who had gone to her home to serve warrants to her and her boyfriend on Monday morning. From the Baltimore Sun:

    No one answered when the officers knocked and announced they were police, but they could hear someone cough inside, the documents state. An officer continued to knock for about 10 minutes.

    “During that time further movement could be heard inside the location and a small child was heard crying,” states the warrant, which was issued Monday. Two officers went to the rental office to ask for a key.

    But after using the key, officers still could not open the door because of an interior chain lock, the warrant states. Officers could see a woman sitting on the floor and asked her to come to the door, but she refused.

    One officer “kicked the door forcing the door open,” the warrant states, and another entered. Inside, Gaines, bearing her shotgun, told the officers to leave. The officers complied and called for backup before obtaining the arrest warrant and returning to her home.

    At least once, police said, Gaines aimed her shotgun at officers while her son was in her arms. At another point, she allegedly threatened to kill them if they did not leave. According to the New York Times, police said that an officer fired at Gaines, she fired back, and police fired three more times, killing her.

    Facebook, which owns Instagram, temporarily deactivated Gaines’ account at the police department’s request during the ensuing standoff. “It’s key for these trained negotiators to be able to interact with the subject without distraction, without interference from the outside,” a Baltimore County Police Department spokeswoman, Elise Armacost, said at a news conference. “The entire time, throughout the afternoon, she would repeatedly point the weapon at our personnel, and they maintained firearms discipline throughout,” Baltimore police chief James Johnson said.

    Gaines’ family disputes any attempt to portray her as having taken her child hostage. “She would never do that. Before she would hurt her baby, she would jump in front of a bullet for him. She would not hurt her kids, and for them to keep portraying her as that kind of person is awful,” Shannon Gaines, Korryn’s aunt, told WBAL-TV.

    The video Gaines posted is the only footage currently available from inside the apartment. In one video, Korryn asks her son: “What’s happening outside right now? Who’s outside?” He replies: “The police.”

    “And what are they trying to do?” she asks. “They trying to kill us,” he says.

    Shannon Gaines speculated that police requested that her account be deactivated to isolate her. “Because she was broadcasting it to people who cared about her,” Korryn’s aunt said. “They had to make her feel alienated, and they had to assassinate her right there with her baby sitting right there, and try to paint it like she’s the one that was wrong. She’s the one that was crazy. It is not right.”

    The family also said that Korryn suffered a miscarriage after a contentious arrest in March. “So why would she trust them now?” Shannon Gaines asked. “Why would she trust once they come into her house that they are not going to hurt her again?”


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    Consumers Allege Venmo Swiped $3,000, Even Though They Never Had Accounts
    Illustration by Sam Woolley

    The PayPal-owned app Venmo has grown tremendously in the past couple of years as a way to share money between friends. But as with all financial services, consumers have had a few complaints, according to documents recently obtained by Gizmodo.

    I received the complaints through a Freedom of Information Act request filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and they show two recurring themes, the first being people who get screwed out of money because they accepted payment from someone they didn’t know. More often than not, these people were selling something online (like through Craiglist) and the person they didn’t know used a stolen credit card. Venmo is very explicit in its terms that you should never use Venmo with someone you don’t know. If the credit card gets declined after you part ways, you’re out of luck.

    The second theme that pops up in the complaints is more peculiar. It seems that people who have never had accounts with Venmo have reported randomly seeing withdrawals from their checking and savings accounts for amounts just under $3,000. The FTC has anonymized the complaints so we’re unable to reach out to the people making the allegations. But the complaints seemed consistent enough to note. Venmo currently limits the amount for sending payments to $2,999.99.

    I asked a Venmo spokesperson over the phone if they’d noticed any pattern or why there might be these charges for just under $3,000. They said that they couldn’t comment on individual complaints. They also couldn’t tell me how a person who hadn’t signed up for an account could possibly be charged.

    “The security of our users and their money is a top priority,” a spokesperson told me a few days later over email. “If there is ever a situation where a question is raised, Venmo works quickly to address any concerns that are brought to our attention. Our users are the focus of everything we do and our goal is to ensure they always have a positive experience when using Venmo.”

    I’ve included a few of these complaint below. Have you had any strange mystery charges that appear to be from Venmo that were just under $3,000? Obviously filing a complaint with the FTC is an irregular step, so we imagine that there might be more people out there who have had this happen to them. If that’s you, we’d like to hear about it.

    March 2015 in Virginia:

    Someone transferred $2,999.99 from my Wells Fargo Checking account. Transaction information: VENMOPAYMENT [redacted]. I have opened a Fraud Claim with Wells Fargo. That number is [redacted]. Due to the large amount of money involved, they requested I open a case with the police.

    September 2015 in Florida:

    I am very frustrated in trying to get this problem resolved. Venmo (division of PayPal?) and Wells Fargo are involved and have been no help and I need answers quickly. This problem involves a large fraudulent withdrawal from my Wells Fargo account by/thru Venmo. There was an unauthorized withdrawal of $ 2,999.99 from my business account on 9/3/2015. The company that took/transferred the money is Venmo. I even know where the money went and am being told by Wells Fargo, that there is nothing they can do. Wells Fargo went as far as to tell me that since I reported it beyond the 24 hour threshold, I forfeited my chance to dispute it. Venmo does not accept phone calls and will only communicate via emails. I want to be clear, I never had a Venmo account, I never purchased anything anywhere near this amount that I an trying to return. This is theft!

    November 2015 in Florida:

    The consumer states that a company called Venmo debited his Bank of America checking account in the amount of $2850 for an unknown reason. The consumer has never had any contact with this company and does not know why they charged him. The consumer feels it could be a scam.

    November 2015 in Massachusetts:

    I do not subscribe to Venmo ( a subsidiary of Paypal) which apparently is a phone app that can transfer money from your atm account to a friend’s account. Never been involved with this company or app. On 11/13 , they stole $2578 from my TD Banknorth checking account thru my ATM card. I have gone to my bank and destroyed that card. Both yesterday and today, they continue to try to get money from my account thru my no longer active atm number. FRAUD, FRAUD, FRAUD. Please don’t let them do business in MA!!

    The complaints total just 42, which is relatively few, and deal with a wide variety of issues. But this mystery $3,000 withdrawal from people who claimed to have never used the service is by far the weirdest. There are also some complaints for unspecified amounts and smaller amounts ($850 in one case). Again, if you have had your own problems with fraudulent activity on Venmo, we’d like to hear from you.


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    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler

    Foam chairs, inflatable couches, and Anker phone cases lead off Thursday’s best deals from around the web.

    http://deals.kinja.com/todays-best-li…

    Bookmark Kinja Deals and follow us on Twitter to never miss a deal. Commerce Content is independent of Editorial and Advertising, and if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale. Click here to learn more, and don’t forget to sign up for our email newsletter.

    Top Deals

    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Vivon Comfort Foam Accent Chairs, $84

    Vivon’s foam chairs will certainly turn some heads, but if their minimalist style suits your home, you can choose from multiple shapes and colors for just $84 in today’s Amazon Gold Box.

    The chairs arrive at your front door compressed in a vacuum-sealed bag. Just break the seal, and the small bundle will expand into a full piece of furniture, which sounds like a great Snapchat opportunity. Just remember that today’s deal is the best price Amazon’s ever offered, but it’s only available today (or until sold out), so get off your butt and head over to Amazon.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0125QBI3E


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Philips Hue Bloom, $45

    You’re probably familiar with the color-changing Hue lights that screw into your existing lamps and light fixtures, but for truly dramatic lighting effects, you’ll want to pick up a few Hue Bloom accent lights as well.

    These fully-integrated light fixtures sit on the floor or on an end table and point towards the wall, allowing them to “paint” an entire side of a room in the color of your choice. $45 is a match for the best price we’ve ever seen on these, so if you’re already invested in the Hue ecosystem, you should absolutely pick up at least one.

    http://gear.kinja.com/how-to-get-sta…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler

    Anker’s back at it again with the discounts, with a special focus today on phone cases. Most of the options here are for iPhones, but there’s also a Galaxy S7 case, and a universal dry bag. Check out all of the deals below, and be sure to note the promo codes.

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    http://amazon.com/dp/B0142ELOLS?…

    http://amazon.com/dp/B014GU738G?…

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    http://amazon.com/dp/B01GH2ZTUK?…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Inflatable Couch, $40 with code T44NUOHU

    Just because you’re outdoors and/or floating on a body of water doesn’t mean you can’t have something comfortable to sit on. This $40 inflatable blob might stretch the definition of “couch,” but it certainly beats sitting in the dirt. This particular model includes a water bottle holder, plus two side pockets to hold your phone and other gear.

    https://www.amazon.com/Inflatable-Lou…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Seneo Qi Charging Pad, $8 with code FJ8ABTSW

    If your phone supports Qi wireless charging, $8 is a great price for a charging pad. I recommend stocking up, and scattering these all around your home and office. Just use promo code FJ8ABTSW at checkout to get the discount.

    https://www.amazon.com/Seneo-Wireless…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    FREE Sherlock Holmes: The Ultimate Collection

    All four of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock novels, plus four short story collections, all for free? The decision to download this to your Kindle is elementary.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Aukey Bluetooth Water Resistant Speaker + Bluetooth Selfie Stick, $13 with code OJSSO3VO. Use code C9Y3C9WO with the yellow speaker.

    $13 is a great price for a water resistant Bluetooth speaker. Throw in a free Bluetooth selfie stick for good measure, and it’s unheard of.

    Just add both items to your cart, and apply either code OJSSO3VO (black speaker) or C9Y3C9WO (yellow speaker) at checkout to get the discount.

    https://www.amazon.com/Bluetooth-Spea…

    https://www.amazon.com/Extendable-Mon…

    https://www.amazon.com/Bluetooth-Spea…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Extra 20% off Nature Valley. Discount shown at checkout.

    Nature Valley bars are my weekday breakfast of choice, and Amazon’s taking an extra 20% off dozens of varieties today. The deal is valid on crunchy bars, chewy bars, breakfast biscuits, granola clusters, and more, so head over to Amazon to stock up on your favorites.

    Note: Discount shown at checkout


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Klipsch X4i Headphones, $35 with code BESTSOUND

    If you’re in the market for a solid pair of new headphones, BuyDig will sell you a pair of Klipsch X4is with inline iOS remote for $35, the best price we’ve ever seen. For reference, these are selling for $15 more on Amazon right now.


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Cuisinart 3-in-1 Griddler, $60

    Cuisinart’s 3-in-1 Griddler is one of the most versatile kitchen appliances you can own, and it can be yours today for just $60.

    http://gear.kinja.com/cuisinarts-gri…

    Why stop with just a griddle, grill, and panini press? Add the optional waffle iron plates to your cart, and get even more use out of your new toy.

    http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-GR-W…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    UE Roll, $50 | Also available in “pinata”

    UE’s new Roll Bluetooth speaker is the company’s smallest offering, and reviews indicate that it lives up to its UE Boom predecessors. If you’ve been waiting for a discount to pick one up, you can save a whopping $50 on yours in Reef (pictured) or Pinata. That’s a match for the best price we’ve ever seen.

    http://gizmodo.com/this-waterproo…


    DJI’s newest prosumer camera drone changes the game with automatic obstacle avoidance and subject tracking, and this $200 discount on Amazon is one of the first big deals we’ve seen (though it was $50 less a few weeks ago). $1,200's still a considerable chunk of change, particularly when you can get a Phantom 3 Professional for under $1000, but it’s a solid deal if you’re serious about the hobby.

    https://www.amazon.com/DJI-CP-PT-0003…

    http://gizmodo.com/the-dji-phanto…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Mpow Muze Touch Bluetooth Headphones, $30 with code KYWLVZOM

    We’ve seen our fair share of cheap Bluetooth ear buds, but how about on-ears? Mpow’s Muze Touch headphones are wireless, foldable, and can run for 12 hours on a charge. That’s a heck of a package for $30. Remember, your next phone might not have a headphone jack, so this is as good a time as any to get accustomed to wireless.

    https://www.amazon.com/Mpow-Foldable-…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Xbox One S 2TB + 1 Year Xbox Live Gold + Sunset Overdrive, $400

    The 2TB Xbox One S is out now, and if you buy it from eBay today, you’ll get a free year of Xbox Live Gold and a copy of Sunset Overdrive to get you started .

    Obviously, this isn’t much of a deal compared to some standard Xbox One bundles that we’ve seen, but if you own a 4K TV, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to buy the old model anymore.

    http://gizmodo.com/xbox-one-s-rev…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler

    Grey felt laptop sleeves are so popular that they inspired a line of AmazonBasics knock-offs, but you can get even better deals by buying from Inateck today. Just pick the right size for your computer from the list below, and be sure to apply the corresponding promo code at checkout.

    https://www.amazon.com/Inateck-MacBoo…

    https://www.amazon.com/Inateck-13-13-…

    https://www.amazon.com/Inateck-MacBoo…

    https://www.amazon.com/Inateck-Bohemi…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    PPLEE 1.8" Dimmable Projection Alarm Clock, $20 with code 6W94OI4P

    Sure, your phone’s alarm will wake you up on time, but it doesn’t include an FM radio, it won’t function as a nightstand USB charger, and it definitely can’t project the current time onto your wall or ceiling. For a limited time, you can save $10 on this alarm clock with code 6W94OI4P.

    https://www.amazon.com/PPLEE-Dimmable…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    3-Pack Etekcity LED Camping Lanterns With 9 AA Batteries, $15 with code SHSY6HS6

    $15 would be a fair price for a single LED camping lantern. Today though, that gets you three of them, plus nine AA batteries to get you started.

    https://www.amazon.com/Etekcity-Porta…

    Once you use up those batteries, we recommend you replace them with rechargeable Eneloops.

    https://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-BK-4…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Yuge!: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump, $9

    Doonesbury has had a lot to say over the years about dried out circus peanut Donald Trump, and you can relive it all with this 112 page compendium. Just know that once he wins, owning this will be a federal crime.

    https://www.amazon.com/Yuge-30-Years-…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Monty Pyton’s Life of Brian, $6

    Blessed are the cheesemakers, but you don’t need much cheddar to buy Monty Pyton’s Life of Brian on Blu-ray.

    https://www.amazon.com/Monty-Pythons-…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    FoodSaver V3240 Starter Kit, $72

    We’ve all had to throw away leftovers or cuts of meat and cheese that spent a little too much time in the fridge or freezer, but vacuum sealing your foods can keep them safe from freezer burn pretty much indefinitely, and dramatically extend their shelf life everywhere else.

    It sounds like an expensive proposition, but today, Amazon’s selling this well-reviewed FoodSaver V3240 Starter Kit for just $72, an all-time low, and almost $50 less than usual. Of course you can use this to store meats in the freezer for a long time, but it can also keep cheese from molding, lettuce from wilting, or cookies from going stale, just to name a few examples. Think about how much food you throw away, and you’ll get a sense of just how quickly this purchase could pay for itself.

    https://www.amazon.com/FoodSaver-Auto…

    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler

    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Aukey Slim Profile USB Car Charger, $9 with code 2CARCHAR

    Your favorite USB car charger just happens to be the smallest one you can buy, and you can grab it on Amazon for $9 today with code 2CARCHAR. We’ve seen it go as low as $6 on a few occasions, but this is the best deal we’ve seen in several months, if it’s been on your wish list.

    http://co-op.kinja.com/your-favorite-…

    https://www.amazon.com/Aukey-CC-S1-4-…

    Note: Be sure to buy from Aukey’s Amazon listing, not from Amazon directly.


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    20% Off Your Purchase with code BACK2SCHOOL

    With a 20% off your purchase when you use the code BACK2SCHOOL, PUMA’s Back-to-School Sale could score you two pairs of sneakers for the price of one. Apparel, bags and accessories, workout gear, even sale items are also included in this discount. Just add the code and watch the numbers drop.


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Anker USB-C Sale

    It’s becoming increasingly clear that USB-C is going to push microUSB to the scrap heap of tech history, so if you haven’t replaced all of your old charging gear, Anker’s running deals on their popular kevlar-wrapped PowerLine cables, and chargers of all shapes and sizes today.

    Head over to yesterday’s post for all of the links and promo codes.

    http://deals.kinja.com/upgrade-all-of…


    Creed is worth watching for Rocky fans and newcomers alike, and now that you can rent it digitally from Amazon and iTunes for a buck, you don’t have any excuse to miss it. As always, you’ll have 30 days to start watching it, and then 24 hours to finish.

    https://www.amazon.com/Creed-Anthony-…

    http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/creed-hits-har…


    The brand new VAVA Voom 20 has everything you could want from a mid-sized Bluetooth speaker: Passive subwoofers, dual 8W drivers, USB power output, IPX5 splash resistance, NFC...shall I go on?

    For a limited time, you can save $20 on the speaker with promo code GOVOOM20 when you purchase form Amazon. Just don’t wake your neighbors.

    https://www.amazon.com/Bluetooth-Spea…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    ClearMax 10-Pack Mini Extension Cords, $13 with code Y5PZVCRL

    Giant plugs that cover up half the outlets on your power strip should be outlawed, but until that day arrives, these short extension cords will have to do. $13 gets you a pack of 10, which should be enough for even the most advanced home theater setups.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Mpow 3-in-1 Lens Clip Kit, $12 with code OTDS7HMV

    Phone cameras will never have true interchangeable lenses, but you can still take fisheye, wide angle, and macro photos with this newly updated clip-on lens kit from Mpow. Be sure to check out the sample photos uploaded by customers to get an idea of what this kit is capable of.

    https://www.amazon.com/Mpow-Professio…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Xbox One Media Remote, $19

    It’s a first world problem, but I hate waiting for my Xbox One controller to turn on and sync to the console just to pause a Netflix video. If that’s driving you crazy as well, this always-on media remote is only $19 today on Amazon, an all-time low.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IAVDPSA/…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Altra Delilah Parsons Desk, $44

    It turns out, you don’t have to exclusively use your laptop in bed or on the couch. This desk is minimal, attractive, and only costs $44 shipped with Prime. That’s an all-time low price, and we don’t expect it to last long.

    https://www.amazon.com/Altra-Delilah-…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    Aukey Mini Drone, $24 with code AUKDRONE

    Before you go out and spend hundreds of dollars on a DJI Phantom, you can learn the basics of flying a quadcopter with this $24 toy drone from Aukey. Trust me, if you can fly this thing, you can fly a GPS-equipped, gyro-stabilized camera rig. And if not, well, it’s not like crashing it will be that big a deal.

    https://www.amazon.com/Quadcopter-Gyr…


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    5-for-$25 Out From Under underwear from Urban Outfitters

    You will always run out of clean underwear before you run out of any other kind of clean clothing. It’s basically a Proverb at this point. Delay that trip to the laundromat a little longer with 5-for-$25 Out From Under underwear at Urban Outfitters. There are a few different styles to choose from, from boyshorts and hipsters to thongs and lace. - Jillian


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    40% off Mentos Gum. Discount shown at checkout.

    Here’s something to chew on: Amazon’s taking an extra 40% off Mentos gum for a limited time. The deal applies to both single bottles (with 50 pieces of gum each) and multi-packs with four or six bottles, so find your favorite flavor, and grab this deal before the bubble bursts.

    Note: Discount shown at checkout.


    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    3.3' Lightning Cable, $4 with code IHKTA559 | 6.6' LIghtning Cable, $7 with code 2RLJMO99

    You can never have enough Lightning cables, and we’ve spotted two different options on sale today, including a 6.6' model for just $7.

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    Today's Best Deals: Anker Phone Cases, Foam Furniture, Cuisinart Griddler
    FREE Prime Pantry shipping with purchase of five eligible items and promo code PANTRYAUG

    Amazon’s free Prime Pantry shipping promotion seems to be a permanent fixture at this point, but each month brings a new slate of eligible items, and August’s have just been revealed.

    http://gear.kinja.com/get-the-most-f…

    As always, just add five of the items on this page to your Prime Pantry box, enter code PANTRYAUG at checkout, and the $6 shipping charge will be waived. Plus, if you happen to have a free Pantry shipping credit from accepting no rush shipping on a previous Amazon order, it should stack, granting you an additional $6 discount.

    There are literally hundreds of products available for the promotion, so you should have no trouble finding five that you need. As for the rest of your box, check out this page for every Pantry item that includes an additional coupon.

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    Hey Facebook, It’s Spelled G-I-Z-M-O-D-O

    Back in May, Gizmodo writer Michael Nunez broke the story of former Facebook workers who said the site regularly suppressed news from conservative websites. And with today’s announcement that Facebook will change its algorithm (yet again) to reduce clickbait links, it looks like the company might be holding a grudge about that story and several others we’ve recently written about Facebook. We just wish Facebook could spell our name right.

    Facebook’s new algorithm is, according to the company, designed to filter out “clickbait.” And as Techcrunch points out, Facebook used an example of clickbait on its new publishing best practices page with a mocked up website called “Gizmotecho.com.”

    Techcrunch speculates that this might be a thinly veiled shot at Gizmodo for our coverage of the site.

    Hey Facebook, It’s Spelled G-I-Z-M-O-D-O
    Fictional screenshot used by Facebook as an example of “clickbait”

    Of course, GizmoTecho.com isn’t a real website. At least it wasn’t until we bought it for $3 as yet another digital warehouse for our clickbait trash journalism.


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