Patrick Slattery and Mark Collett on the hollowness of many self-styled “free speech activists,” whether the awakening too little too late (it’s not), and what to think of rising Chinese power.

Patrick Slattery and Mark Collett on the hollowness of many self-styled “free speech activists,” whether the awakening too little too late (it’s not), and what to think of rising Chinese power.


Check out Dr. Slattery’s website,

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Man Had 'AR-15-Styled Rifle,' Bump Stock Outside Indianapolis Hotel Before Women's March: Report

A 22-year-old man living in the U.S. illegally has been charged with a federal crime after police in Indianapolis, Indiana, found him in possession of guns on two occasions in January, The Indianapolis Star reported Sunday.

Police responding to a Jan. 20 call from security at the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Indianapolis saw Ahmed Alaklouk was in possession of a firearm described by the Star as “an AR-15-styled rifle,” which he reportedly told police was “fully tricked out.” 

Alaklouk, described as as a Tunisian native and Saudi Arabian citizen in federal court documents obtained by the Star, had been renting a room at the Hyatt when hotel security contacted the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department around 3 a.m. after they saw several weapons in his parked truck. There were six handguns in the backseat and an assault-style rifle in the front seat, according to the Star.

Police reportedly told Alaklouk to keep his firearms in a hotel safe and out of sight in his truck to avoid a potential break-in. Officers said the rifle had been modified to function like an AR-15 and was equipped with a scope, bipod and bump stock, reported the Star.

Federal law prohibits people in the U.S. illegally from possessing guns and ammunition, prompting federal prosecutors to file a federal gun charge against Alaklouk on Wednesday. U.S. Department of Homeland Security placed an immigration detainer in Marion County Jail for Alaklouk so he may be held in custody while federal agents obtain a warrant to begin deportation proceedings, the Star reported.

A bump stock, shown here in a Utah gun shop in October 2017, attaches to a semi-automatic rifle to increase its firing rate. (George Frey / Reuters)A bump stock, shown here in a Utah gun shop in October 2017, attaches to a semi-automatic rifle to increase its firing rate. (George Frey / Reuters)

Hotel security reportedly contacted police a second time around 7:45 a.m. when they found Alaklouk’s rifle in the front seat of his truck again and were concerned about his hotel room overlooking the area where thousands of Women’s March participants were expected to gather hours later.

Police and hotel security then removed Alaklouk and two other unidentified men from the hotel, according to the Star.

AR-15-style rifles are often the weapon of choice for mass shooters, including the suspected gunman in last month’s deadly shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

Bump stocks are a type of gun modification that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like automatic weapons. Stephen Paddock had outfitted his rifle with a bump stock, which enabled him to fire hundreds of rounds into a crowd of concertgoers at a music festival in Las Vegas last year.

The hotel’s general manager, Joe Pinto, confirmed the incident Monday in a statement emailed to HuffPost.

“At Hyatt Regency Indianapolis, the safety of our guests and colleagues is a top priority,” Pinto wrote. “On January 20, hotel security was alerted to firearms in a vehicle parked in the garage. The police department was in touch with the vehicle owner to notify him of the policy violation, which requires firearms to be unloaded and stored in a locked container, and the guest left the property soon after.”

A week later, police responded to another firearm-related incident involving Alaklouk roughly four miles west of the hotel. A woman called 911 after Alaklouk pointed his rifle at her and her father and threatened to kill them over a business disagreement at Alaklouk’s store, Medo Tire Shop, according to the Star.

Charges were filed against Alaklouk on behalf of the state on Jan. 31 in Marion Superior Court in Indianapolis. He is being charged with two felony counts of criminal confinement, two felony counts of intimidation, one felony count of unlawful possession of a firearm and a battery misdemeanor. 

A representative for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department confirmed Alaklouk was arrested, but did not provide additional comment. Jennifer Lukemeyer, Alaklouk’s attorney in the criminal case, declined to comment.

Read the full report on The Indianapolis Star.


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  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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MGMT welcomes ‘Little Dark Age’ in gothic-styled music video

Indie rock act MGMT premiered the music video for “Little Dark Age” on Oct. 17. The duo returns with another trippy clip.

“Little Dark Age” is the lead single from MGMT’s upcoming fourth studio album of the same name. It’s the band’s first taste of new music since putting out a self-titled record in 2013. MGMT takes it back to the ’80s with the funky and synth-filled “Dark Age.” Singer Andrew Vanwyngarden welcomes in despair with echoed vocals. “Just know that if you hide it doesn’t go away,” he sings. MGMT’s psychedelic sounds are at their poppiest on this dark and decadent dance track.

In the music video for “Little Dark Age,” Vanwyngarden, who is seemingly paying homage to a Cure-era Robert Smith, and his bandmate Ben Goldwasser find themselves in a Medieval-like mansion with many supernatural happenings going on around them. The duo and several other guests navigate the unsettling abode in this gorgeously gothic clip.

“Little Dark Age” is now available on iTunes and Apple Music. MGMT’s Little Dark Age album will reportedly drop early next year.

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Avionics V1 is a distinctive & massively powerful retro-styled e-bike

Even though the price has yet to be revealed, the V1 looks to be one of those bikes that attracts crowds of people shouting “Take my money!”

With everyone from legacy bike manufacturers to crowdfunded startups getting in on the electric bike action, It’s getting harder and harder to stand out in the e-bike sector. However, as Avionics demonstrates with its forthcoming V1 model, there’s still plenty of room in the market for unique electric bikes that don’t compromise on power or style.

Avionics V1 e-bike© Avionics
We’ve seen a number of retro-inspired electric bikes get launched over the last few years, possibly as a response to the influx of mass-production e-bikes that seem to treat the electric drive system as merely another add-on to a conventional bike, with no real innovation in either the design or the functionality. No matter what the reasons, it’s unsurprising, given our culture’s attraction to both all things retro and all things high-tech, that combining old-school design elements with next-gen bike technology yields some serious e-bike eye candy. And with its forthcoming offering in the e-mobility sector, Avionics is setting the ‘cool factor’ bar very high indeed.

Avionics V1 e-bike© Avionics
With design details that evoke the heyday of board track motorcycle racing, while also capturing a hint of the early days of aviation, the Avionics V1 e-bike draws the eye as not only a fast-looking machine, but also as a beautiful object in and of itself. Built on a graceful steel frame, accented and augmented with jatoba wood and with not a piece of plastic or rubber in sight, the V1 has a massive 5000W electric motor, said to be capable of an incredible 125 Nm (92 ft-lb) of torque and a top speed of 58 kph (36 mph). With that kind of power at the ready, the V1 has to rein it in to still be considered street legal bicycle, which it does with three different lower-speed modes for street riding.

Avionics V1 e-bike© Avionics
The motor is powered by a 24Ah lithium-ion battery pack, which is said to be capable of delivering a riding range of up to 120 km (~74.5 miles), with a recharge time of 2-3 hours, and the potential for partial recharging through a regenerative braking feature. The battery pack, and pretty much all of the other electronic components, is concealed in a sleek jatoba chest that sits at the bottom of the frame and is held together with old-school leather straps, while the full-sized headlight is built inside a jatoba wood enclosure. The saddle, grips, and parts of the front fork are also made with the wood, which adds a touch of color and warmth to the rather stark look of the bike’s low-slung frame. [Fun fact: Jatoba, AKA Brazilian cherry and West Indian locust, is sometimes called stinktoe.]

Now for the bad news: At this point, the Avionics V1 isn’t in production or for sale yet, but if a crowdfunding campaign slated for this fall is successful, the bike could be available to backers and eventually the general public. No price has been hinted at yet, but looking at what appears to be a handcrafted and high-end approach to building the V1, a wild guess would put the future price of it somewhere beyond the reach of most e-bike buyers. That said, it’s possible that Avionics is not building the V1 for the luxury market, and that we’ll see a retail price on it that is in line with the bulk of the electric bike market, but we won’t know until sometime in September, which is when the company plans to launch its campaign on Indiegogo with pre-orders of the bike available for “up to 40% off.”

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The retro-styled Munro Motor 2.0 blurs the line between e-bike & motorcycle

This electric bike offers a little taste of yesteryear’s classic motorcycle design on the outside, but has a high-tech heart.

When is an electric bike not an electric bike? Perhaps when it doesn’t have any way to pedal it manually, I suppose.

There’s been a recent flush of electric two-wheeled ‘bikes’ to hit the market lately that are too similar in design to a bicycle to be properly called a scooter, and which don’t even have pedals, so they don’t qualify for the -ped in electric moped, and which are too small to be a motorcycle. Maybe that’s splitting hairs, but it’s becoming an increasingly important distinction, mostly because of regulations for roads and vehicles, which vary by the country, state, and municipality. A proper motorcycle or scooter has a certain set of licensing, registration, and insurance requirements, and in some places, electric bikes that can achieve higher speeds are subject to some restrictions (again, varying by location).

So when an electrified “bike” is roughly the size of a conventional bike, but is throttle operated and not pedaled, yet isn’t powerful enough to keep up with faster traffic, it begs the question of just what category to put it in, and where it’s legal or illegal to ride it. After all, these small electric vehicles are convenient, easy to park, and cheap to operate, and are arguably cleaner to use than a gas engine, especially at the ‘tailpipe’, and getting more people riding could be an effective pollution and climate solution, but most existing transportation infrastructure and regulations aren’t really encouraging their adoption.

All of that is a long way of saying that calling the Munro Motor 2.0 electric bike a “bike” might ruffle some feathers, not only for leading people to think that it can be pedaled as a bike can, but also because even as the company incorporates the latest in electric drive technology, it still retains design elements that resemble actual components from its gas-fueled inspiration, just for style. Sure, it looks cool at first glance to have faux V-twin cylinder heads on the bike, but after a quick think, one wonders why that particular skeuomorph was left in the final design. But then again, Vintage Electric is doing it, and so is Juicer Bike, so what do I know? I’d ride one, regardless of any potential shade being thrown my way by non-electric cyclists.

Munro Motor 2.0 electric motorbike© Munro Motor

The Munro Motor 2.0, which isn’t yet available in the US, is named so in a nod to Burt Munro, a world land speed record holder who rode a highly modified Indian Scout motorcycle to much success at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the 1960s. The e-bike’s design invokes some of the same curves and lines as an early Indian motorbike, but on a much smaller scale, and has a Bosch electric motor in the rear wheel and space for two battery packs within the frame’s triangle, which are said to be capable of speeds of 28 mph (45 kph) and a range of up to 30 miles per charge (per battery pack). With dual battery packs fully charged and on the bike, the 2.0 could potentially be ridden it for 60 miles before needing to be charged again, and with no pedaling necessary.

Munro Motor 2.0 electric motorbike© Munro Motor

The following video (which refers to the product as an “electric motorbike”) is an introduction to the Munro 2.0 at CES 2017:

It appears as if the Munro 2.0 will be available in several color schemes, will have three different handlebar choices for customers, and will weigh in at about 35 kg (~77 lb). At the moment, the website is all in Chinese, and there are no clear set of specs for the motor and battery in English that I could find, yet in January, the company noted that the bike would ship to the US in April. And while its Instagram profile has shots of production bikes coming off the line, there’s still no hard date for a launch anywhere outside of China at this point. Various media reports point to pricing of the bike in China ranging from $800 to $1200 depending on how it’s configured, with a potential US price being “above $1,700.”

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