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Land trust raises enough money to preserve land overlooking White River

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The Central Indiana Land Trust has completed the first part of a deal to buy acres from the Highland Golf Course along the White River.

      
 
 
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toddgrotenhuis
1 day ago
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Indianapolis
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Legos in Bulk

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Legos are a forever toy. Without moving parts, they last a really long time, can be assembled and reassembled in infinite arrangements, and have a long-term appeal even for old kids like me. But they are relatively expensive if you want to make something big. Seeking out the best discount boxes from Lego, or from resellers, they cost about 10 cents per piece. Smaller sets are even more expensive. I wanted to build a wall of Legos, but there was no easy way to buy standard bricks in bulk from Lego. So I went to the Chinese and found a whole army of knock-off Legos from China available on Amazon. They cost about 2.5 cents per piece.

The best option for the standard blocks are packs of 1,000 bricks for about $25. I recently needed 15,000 pieces for a 25 foot tower of Lego I am building, so I bought bulk packs from five different knock-off vendors. All five sources sell bricks that are pretty indistinguishable and interchangeable with authentic Lego — and with each other.  They are about 99.8 percent exact. When building my tower, once or twice I notice a very slight gap between one level that would not be there in genuine Lego. Also there can be very slight variation in color, especially between vendors; the yellow of one is not 100% the yellow of the other. There is a slighter variation of color within one source but it is not noticeable unless you build in a solid color. For 99% of most uses, these subtle variations will not be a problem, and the fit will not be a problem. Reviewers on Amazon who actually counted the number of pieces included verify that you do get at least 1,000 pieces. Out of 10,000 pieces so far I’ve only encountered 6 pieces that were malformed.  Some Amazon customers have complained that the larger bricks are less durable than the real thing when disassembling, but I am not joining and unjoining parts, so I can’t tell. For my purposes these work great.

So which knock-off to use? Because these bulk bags are sold as “random” selections it is hard to say. Toysopoly included more browns and orange bricks than the other brands, but I detected some color variance from other brands. Big Bag of Bricks had a lot of purple. They also had a pack with lots of Lego pastels  — light blue and pink. I used Play Platoon and Wonderbricks and Brickyard and didn’t notice anything special but a random assortment, with different amounts of gray, or roof tiles. None of these include any special items beyond basic bricks. Any of them will be perfectly acceptable substitutes for real Lego if you need large quantities. At the time of my purchases, Big Bag of Bricks had the cheapest prices, at $25 per 1000 pieces.

Prices go up and down. I use CamelCamelCamel and The Tracktor to track the lowest prices for these packs and buy whichever one goes lowest, which has been Big Bag of Bricks in recent months.

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-- KK

Big Bag of Bricks, 1000 pieces ($25)

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toddgrotenhuis
2 days ago
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Indianapolis
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Kevin’s Quest

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toddgrotenhuis
2 days ago
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Indianapolis
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Officer Claimed He Shot Philando Castile Because of Secondhand Smoke

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As you probably know, the officer who killed Philando Castile was acquitted of manslaughter and two other charges last week. (This was the incident where Castile’s girlfriend streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook.) The squad car’s dashcam video was made public yesterday for the first time, and watching that makes it even less possible (if that’s possible) to understand the jury’s decision. But even more astounding is the transcript also released yesterday showing that the officer, Jeronimo Yanez, told investigators last year that he smelled marijuana as he approached the car, and that just before he opened fire, the thought going through his mind was that Castile was a dangerous man because he had been exposing others to secondhand smoke:

That is actually something an adult human said: I was afraid this person would be willing to murder a police officer for no reason because it smelled like he had been doing something that might slightly increase the risk of disease to others if he kept it up for another decade or so. (At least according to some experts.) If this man is willing to subject others to secondhand smoke, certainly he would not hesitate to murder me.

This deep concern that Yanez had about the health of Castile’s five-year-old daughter, supposedly, is part of what led him to fire seven bullets at Castile, the driver, while the girl was sitting in the back seat in the line of fire:

Or maybe he was pulling out a pack of smokes? We shouldn’t second-guess officers when it comes to using deadly force to protect citizens from potential long-term health risks.

In fact, Castile had just volunteered the fact that he had a gun in the car (a gun he was licensed to carry), which doesn’t seem like something you’d do if you were just about to reach for it and try to shoot someone. It actually seems like something you’d do if you didn’t want anybody to get hurt, especially yourself. But according to Yanez, it was secondhand smoke, not this, that went through his mind just before opening fire.

Of course, I don’t know what other evidence was presented to the jury. The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office has put the transcript, videos, and some other key evidence on its website, so you can see that if you want and decide for yourself. But I assume the jury saw the transcript of this interview, and frankly I don’t know how you hear somebody give that ridiculous explanation and not vote to convict him of something. (The jury was apparently split 10-2 in favor of acquittal, but eventually the two holdouts gave in.)

I guess if you wanted to, you could argue that now we know the risks of secondhand smoke really are substantial, because among other things it might frighten a cop into putting five bullets in your chest. You might as well give it a shot, because the risks of making stupid arguments appear to be virtually nonexistent these days.

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acdha
3 days ago
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I hadn't seen this detail before…
Washington, DC
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3 days ago
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toddgrotenhuis
3 days ago
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Indianapolis
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2 public comments
jhamill
3 days ago
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He can't remember how many rounds he fired into a car, in the direction of a baby, that killed a man but, he can remember he was scared that the guy was crazed because of second hand smoke? And we're supposed to take that seriously?
California
skittone
3 days ago
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Ugh.

Mop Used to Clean Minor Spill Now Permanent Addition to Living Room

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toddgrotenhuis
3 days ago
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Priorities

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toddgrotenhuis
3 days ago
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