The entrepreneurial family who recorded the Eskimos and prospectors of Gold Rush Alaska

In 1903, at the height of the Northern gold rush, the Lomen family of Minnesota relocated to Nome, Alaska. Rather than pan for gold, they sought other commercial opportunities in the booming Alaskan economy.

Within a few years, the family owned a men’s clothing store, pharmacy, stationary store, shipping company, a local photography studio and the Lomen Reindeer Corporation.

The father, Gutbrand, acted as a local attorney as well as the Norwegian Vice Consul. One of his sons, Ralph, was the chief of police. His brother, Henry, acted as the photography studio’s manager while another Lomen boy, Alfred, was the primary photographer.

Facebook reportedly blocked in Armenia during unrest in the capital

Facebook appeared to be blocked for a period in Armenia Sunday, according to locals on Twitter.

Only one day after Twitter was throttled in Turkey during an ill-fated coup attempt, social media again seemed to become a target during unrest in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan. Facebook has been approached for comment.

The Armenian security service said that armed men had stormed a police headquarters in Yerevan Sunday and were holding hostages, Reuters reported. Negotiations are underway with the group, which is calling for the release of Jirair Sefilian who was arrested in June. Sefilian is an opposition activist and critic of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. 

The security service also accused “the hostage takers’ supporters of spreading false rumours on the internet that an armed uprising against the government was underway,” according to the outlet.

Early Sunday, journalists and others in Armenia used Twitter to suggest Facebook had been blocked for a period as the incident unfolded.

Others shared that Facebook was working fine, and later that the connection had since been restored.

Photos and live video from the scene showed huddles of police near the station.

Armenia shares its western border with Turkey. Once part of the former Soviet Union, the country became independent in 1991.

This story is developing.

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Twitter data shows the world is making boring emoji choices

Bad news, world: Your emoji choices are truly bland.

In celebration of World Emoji Day Sunday — held annually on July 17 because that’s the date shown on the emoji calendar, geddit? — Twitter has released the most tweeted emoji globally from mid-2015 to mid-2016. And, well, it’s a little lacklustre. 

Worldwide, the most tweeted emoji is the “face with tears of joy,” as dubbed by Unicode. It’s followed by the smiling face with heart eyes and a weeping emoji. Where is the judgmental “thinking face?” Where is the “vulcan salute“? Where is any emoji with some personality?


Image: twitter

Country by country, the situation is no better. It does look like much of the west is a little miffed, though. In the U.S., UK and Canada, the grimacing emoji took out the top spot. France and Italy — love hearts, really? It’s too much.

Congratulations to Colombia, Brazil and Argentina, however, for living up to their celebratory reputations and choosing the music notes emoji. At least they’re demonstrating some basic recreational interests. 


Image: twitter

In the food category, the taco emoji isn’t even in the top five. It’s shameful.


Image: twitter

Interestingly, a breakdown of emoji state by state in the U.S. in 2015 delivered much more varied results. Including the fact that New Hampshire used alcohol emoji more than any other state.

Do better next time, please. If not for yourselves, then for the sake of the people writing these pieces. Twitter just started supporting the new avocado and pancakes emoji, so there’s no excuse.

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Thousands of Kate Bush fans recreate ‘Wuthering Heights’ around the world

Men, women, children and people of all types donned bright red dresses Saturday to celebrate “The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever.”

Sung by enigmatic British singer Kate Bush, the song “Wuthering Heights” debuted in 1978 and the music video, in which Bush cavorts on the moors in a billowing red gown, has become a classic.

Groups gathered in parks in London, Berlin and Madison, inspired by the inaugural 2013 event when around 300 people danced to the song in Brighton in the UK.

The Sydney event invited participants to “dance freely and merrily, frollicking and bounding across the grasses,” while in Melbourne, organisers told Agence France-Presse around 2,000 people took part.

If you’d like to prepare for the next “Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever,” or simply host your own at home, the 2013 coordinators prepared an instructional dance video. Polish up on your “it’s 9 o’clock” and “the zombie walk” so you too can be like Kate.  

Kate Bush

Image: Getty Images

A photo posted by Michael Venus (@houseofvenus) on

Kate Bush

Image: Getty Images

A photo posted by Will (@willhuxley) on

Kate Bush

Image: Getty Images

Kate Bush

Image: Getty Images

A photo posted by Pamela D (@pamalidi) on

A photo posted by @yana_amur on

A photo posted by Antonio Souza (@tomsouzajr) on

A photo posted by Lisa (@vespaliz) on

Kate Bush

Image: Getty Images

A photo posted by @yana_amur on

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX has chosen a rocket for its first true reusability test

SpaceX has long had the goal of creating a fleet of reusable rockets that can fly multiple payloads to orbit and then land back on Earth, greatly reducing the cost of launching to space. 

Elon Musk’s spaceflight company has already brought multiple rockets back from space after launches, but they have yet to re-fly a booster, a major component of their business plan. 

That should change by the end of the year. 

According to Musk, the company is planning to refurbish a landed rocket and fly it on another mission in September or October, a first for the spaceflight company. And we now know which landed Falcon 9 booster they’re planning to use for the company’s historic re-flight.

SpaceX is planning to fly a booster that landed on a drone ship in the ocean on April 8, Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX’s vice president of flight reliability, said during a press conference Saturday. (It’s still unclear, however, which mission will fly aboard the rocket.)

This was the first booster to successfully land on a drone ship intact after four previously failed attempts. 

The April landing marked the second time SpaceX brought a booster back down to Earth. In December 2015, the company landed a Falcon 9 booster back on land in Florida after successfully launching a clutch of satellites to orbit.

That first booster may not fly again, if Musk has anything to say about it. 

“I think we’ll probably keep this one on the ground just because it’s kind of unique, it’s the first one we brought back,” he said after the December landing. “So I think we’ll probably keep this one on the ground.”

Image: SpaceX

SpaceX’s goal to reduce the cost of spaceflight, thereby opening up outer space to many more people and companies, hinges on the idea that reusable rockets could be a viable option. 

Musk’s company isn’t the only one banking on this notion.

Jeff Bezos’ spaceflight outfit Blue Origin is also hoping to use reusable rockets for orbital and suborbital missions in the future. Blue Origin has already flown and landed a suborbital rocket four times. 

Currently, SpaceX has landed four boosters back on Earth after sending payloads to orbit, but that could change shortly. 

SpaceX will attempt another land landing in Florida after launching an un-crewed Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station for NASA on Monday.

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Bizarre found photo manipulations show a century of playful decapitations

These photos, gathered from eBay and other sources by collector Robert E. Jackson, offer a strange and humorous look at the ways 19th and 20th century artists have manipulated photos to decapitate their subjects or otherwise misplace or relocate their heads.

“Sometimes a photo exists simply to provide a smile or a laugh, without any hidden agenda or messages,” says Jackson, who in two decades of collecting photographic ephemera has amassed some 12,000 images. “They might say more about the technical abilities of the photographer than the subjects themselves.”

Well, that was fast: Trump/Pence campaign appears to have nixed phallic logo

And the Twitter comics wept: Donald Trump’s hilariously phallic campaign logo was gone as fast as it came.

Released Friday, the image depicts Trump’s “T” intertwined (politically, we assume) with running mate Mike Pence’s “P.” Of course, the internet immediately embarked on a campaign of its own — a campaign of ruthless dick jokes.

But the logo was noticeably missing at Mike Pence’s official introduction on Saturday. And a Pence fundraising email sent during the event featured a logo that wasn’t really a logo at all — it was just names.

Whether the camp will release a new, less sexual logo remains to be seen. In the meantime, we’ll miss you, old logo. RIP.

[H/T: USA Today]

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In defense of Chili’s, Mike Pence’s preferred NYC culinary destination

Twitter erupted like a Molten Chocolate Cake on Saturday when vice presidential candidate Mike Pence admitted to eating dinner at Chili’s. At 4pm. In New York City, ostensibly one of the best culinary cities in the world.

But while it’s cool to be hard on Pence, let’s soften our hearts a bit for Chili’s. Pence’s real sin was eating dinner at 4:30pm — the truth is, there are many Chili’s menu items that even our jaded urban hearts can love.

Here are a few of our picks, which we cannot promise resemble these photos in real life.

1. Onion rings dipped in ranch dressing

Image: twitter/chili’s

It works. Trust us.

2. Steak fajitas

Image: twitter/chili’s

That trademark sizzle adds an extra dash of excitement.

3. Quesadillas

Image: twitter/chili’s

We recommend the smoked chicken.

4. Molten Lava Cake

Image: twitter/chili’s

Looks just like a volcano! So fun.

5. Ribs

Image: twitter/chili’s

The most famous dish at Chili’s, these ribs are sincerely delicious. They are also the inspiration for that “baby back ribs” song your dad loves to sing.

6. $5 Presidente margaritas

Image: twitter/chili’s

This is just a solid deal. 

7. This cookie inside of a pan

Image: twitter/chili’s

Who could turn down a big ol’ skillet cookie?

8. Fried asparagus

Image: twitter/chili’s

In case you were wondering, that dip is totally mayonnaise.

9. Burger

Image: twitter/chili’s

“Not the best, but not bad.” — our endorsement of this burger, and also the GOP’s endorsement of Donald Trump.

10. Chili queso

Image: twitter/zagat

Trust us. This beefy cheese dip is very delicious. Even Zagat thinks so.

11. Triple Dippers

Image: twitter/chili’s

The culinary embodiment of the phrase “everything happens so much” — we’re here for it.

Hope you made the right choices, Mike Pence. Let’s just shoot for 5 o’clock dinner next time, okay? Great.

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The everyday app that help Erdogan beat the coup

LONDON —  The president’s address to a distraught nation in the midst of a surprise military coup was being interrupted, not by gunshots or protestors, but an incoming call. 

On Saturday at half-past-midnight, Nuh Yilmaz, press officer for Turkey’s national intelligence agency, called CNN Türk anchor Hande Firat on her mobile phone. He didn’t realize that he was interrupting a FaceTime call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Moreover, he didn’t know that the phone was being held up to a CNN studio camera in Ankara and broadcast around the world.

Firat’s index finger could be seen awkwardly and repeatedly pressing her iPhone’s menu button in the hope that Yilmaz’s name would disappear from the screen.

In the background, the president’s voice carried on, speaking from an undisclosed location somewhere in the Turkish resort town of Marmaris. Finally, flustered and confused, Firat jabbed her middle finger at the ‘end call’ button, sending the intelligence agency to voicemail. 

The president’s address to his distraught nation in the midst of a surprise military coup could now continue without interruption. 

Erdogan’s FaceTime call was bizarre, but revealing. It laid bare the calculus of a president whose support is heavily built on the ubiquity of his own face. The giant presidential portraits that have sprouted up on the country’s major boulevards in the last two years are a testament to this. 

And now, sequestered in a dull, white room with no camera crews on hand, he desperately needed a way to show his face. So his staff pulled out an iPhone and opened FaceTime. 

About three hours earlier, shortly after the first tanks rolled into Istanbul and Ankara, there was a moment when it seemed that everyone knew what was coming. 

This is your first coup…Don’t be worried

Military coups were a common feature in the Turkish experience of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Late Friday night into early Saturday morning, suburban parents called their children who were working or studying in the city to walk them through the process. 

Dogan, a 28-year-old engineer in Istanbul, told Mashable in an interview that his mother told him and his girlfriend not to panic.  

“This is your first coup,” Dogan’s mother told them. “We have been through many. So I just wanted to say, don’t be worried, ok?” 

Dogan requested that his last name be withheld due to the volatile political situation. 

Melis, a 26-year-old Turk living in New England, was terrified when she phoned home. 

Her parents reassured her by saying they already know the drill, she told Mashable. She also requested her last name be withheld for fear of repercussions for her family in Turkey. 

Activating VPNs

As families were coping with the unrest, reporters and activists were switching their conversations over to WhatsApp and activating VPNs.  

People chant slogans as they gather at a pro-government rally in central Istanbul’s Taksim square, Saturday, July 16, 2016.

Image: Emrah Gurel/AP

This, too, was a strategy based on experience. Erdogan once described social media as a “knife in the hand of a murderer,” and common communications apps like Facebook Messenger and Twitter are routinely blocked by court order in Turkey at the slightest disturbance to national security.  

With such disturbances becoming more frequent and extreme, authorities have more recently done away with court orders altogether, choosing to “throttle” social media services by slowing them down unilaterally.  

This was particularly handy in last night’s attempted coup, when court orders were in danger of becoming irrelevant. At 10:50 p.m., Dyn, an internet performance tracking service, reported that the throttling had begun. And then all assumptions were overturned. 

The throttling subsided, albeit inconsistently. Binali Yildirim, Turkey’s prime minister and Erdogan’s loyal ally, was tweeting furiously. The president was retweeting from his account, and he was also composing Facebook posts. 

When the president appeared on FaceTime, it became necessary for other politicians to also appear on FaceTime. Abdullah Gül, a former president, was interviewed by CNN Türk on a 5-inch screen via FaceTime. 

Lawmakers scurrying around the parliament building in Ankara were calling into CNN Türk via FaceTime, with explosions being heard in the background.

It was a phenomenon that echoed the American CNN’s peculiar obsession with ‘holograms’ for one month during the 2008 presidential election, but this time fueled by Turkey’s presidential personality cult and the abundance of unlimited 3G internet plans. 

Erdogan borrowed his enemy’s tactics

Erdogan’s own aides, like the journalists and activists they so revile, were switching their conversations over to WhatsApp and reaching out to as much of the President’s conservative base as they could. 

At around two o’clock in the morning, Istanbul’s thousands of minarets came to life. Imams issued calls on the loudspeaker for citizens to get out of their homes and show the military that they support their president. 

The calls were streamed and tweeted and the tides suddenly shifted. Outside, where soldiers were previously disarming police officers, police officers were now arresting soldiers. 

Pro-coup protesters were overwhelmed by pro-government protesters under the sonic boom of fighter jets zooming out of the urban airspace. 

The soldiers that instigated the coup had followed an old playbook, seizing media offices, shutting down bridges and airports, and trying to occupy physical territory. 

The President drew instead from the methods of the young, educated, urban elites who so frequently oppose him by focusing on a more virtual Turkey. 

With his back to the wall in Marmaris, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who condemned social media activists as knife-wielding murderers, decided to pick up the knife. 

82-year-old ‘America’s Got Talent’ star rocks out with Drowning Pool

John Hetlinger, the 82-year-old retired engineer who wowed America’s Got Talent with his screaming skills in June, reached peak metal on Friday: he performed with Drowning Pool itself.

The band invited Hetlinger to join them at Chicago’s Open Air Festival to perform “Bodies” — the same song he crushed on AGT (and during numerous karaoke sessions).

Spoiler alert: it’s still awesome.