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TOM THE DANCING BUG: Lucky Ducky, in "State of Denial"

Tom the Dancing Bug, IN WHICH Lucky Ducky’s entire state is saved from the ignominy of federally funded healthcare.

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BCnF: build, certify and fly your own homemade airplane


BCnF (build, certify and fly) hobbyists make their own airplanes from scratch or out of kits, extensively customizing them, and then get them certified by the FAA and take them into the air. The US has more 32,000 registered homemade airplanes. BCnF makers produce everything from racers to fabric-covered biplanes. This post is a good introduction to the fascinating world of BCnF, and is a great place to start if you're thinking of kit-bashing your own flying machine.

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Syria's lethal Facebook checkpoints

An anonymous tip from a highly reliable source: "There are checkpoints in Syria where your Facebook is checked for affiliation with the rebellious groups or individuals aligned with the rebellion. People are then disappeared or killed if they are found to be connected. Drivers are literally forced to load their Facebook/Twitter accounts and then they are riffled through. It's happening daily, and has been for a year at least." Anyone have any corroboration for this? Cory 3

CATable desk designed for humans and cats

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The CATable integrates crawl spaces to keep your kitty happy. (Laughing Squid)

Accused murderer wants "murder" tattoo hidden pre-trial

New slt chapman

This gentleman is Jeffrey Wade Chapman who will soon go to trial in Barton County, Kansas for first degree murder. Chapman's attorney has filed a motion requesting that before the trial Chapman be permitted to have a tattoo artist cover up his client's tattoo -- the word "MURDER" in mirror image -- because it "is irrelevant to the State’s case and would be extremely prejudicial to Mr. Chapman if introduced at trial or observed by the jury.” The State doesn't oppose Chapman's covering the tattoo but will not transport him to a licensed tattoo shop, and it's illegal for a tattoo artist to practice anywhere else. (Great Bend Tribune)

How science fiction influences thinking about the future


Eileen Gunn writes, "What's science fiction good for? The May issue of Smithsonian magazine has an essay on the relationship between science, science fiction, and the future by Boing Boing buddy Eileen Gunn. Major writers -- Ursula K. Le Guin, William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Samuel R. Delany, Kim Stanley Robinson, Cory Doctorow and others -- talk about why science fiction likes to think about the future and how SF can be used to help scientists think about the uses and ethics of their inventions. The rest of the issue covers science and ethical issues of the near future."

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Marvelous 18th century secretary cabinet

Please enjoy this video of my new writing desk with its hidden compartments, clockwork mechanisms, chimes, inkwell, and sand sifter. It was built in the workshop of Abraham and David Roentgen during the 18th century and previously owned by King Frederick William II. OK, fine, it's not mine. But it will be. Someday. SOMEDAY! (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, thanks Bob Pescovitz!)

Video: Bringing back extinct species

In recent years, the possibility of reviving extinct species by recreating their genomes has become a reality. First on deck for "de-extinction" are the wolly mammoth and passenger pigeon. But is this a good idea? KQED's QUEST takes a look: "Reawakening Extinct Species"

Loch Ness Monster photo on Apple Maps?

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Does this image of Loch Ness from Apple's Maps app depicts Nessie or the wake of a small boat? Unfortunately, I think it's the latter as we all know the Loch Ness Monster more closely resembles a pleiosaur than a giant catfish. (Forbes)

Phone phreakers' anthem

Brad sez, "A few decades ago, phone phreaks spent all of their free time learning about the Bell telephone system and making free phone calls to each other. This song by Bonecage attempts to capture that era, and the footage for the video was contributed by phone phreaks (and ex-phone phreaks) around the world."

Stephen Colbert on David Letterman

Last night Stephen Colbert sat down with David Letterman. The conversation is fantastic.

I will dearly miss Letterman, however I haven't been regularly watching the show in years. I remember sneaking after my bedtime, as a young kid, to watch Dave and Paul in the early 80s. Hal Gurnee's network time killers changed my life.

I can not wait to see Colbert's version of the Late Show. I'm already a fan!

Video Link

Petition against UK sell-off of private tax data

Pam writes, "The Open Rights Group has set up a petition in response to last week's news that the British government is planning to sell access to private tax records."

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Obama official responsible for copyright chapters of TPP & ACTA gets a job at MPAA; his replacement is another copyright lobbyist


Stan McCoy is the assistant US Trade Representative who oversaw the creation of the disastrous, far-reaching copyright provisions in ACTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership. He's left the Obama administration for a high-paid job at the MPAA, which represents companies that stood to reap massive profits and permanent control over Internet governance and innovation thanks to his efforts while in government. Now, the Obama administration has headhunted a software industry lobbyist (who supported SOPA) to take over his job. McCoy is one of more than a dozen USTR officials who've left the government to work for copyright lobbying bodies, including former Obama copyright czar Victoria Espinel, who now gets her paycheck from the Business Software Alliance.

Timothy Lee has an excellent piece on the revolving-door relationship between the USTR and the entertainment industry and other copyright lobbyists. When Obama was campaigning for office, he vowed that "lobbyists won't work in my White House."

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This Day in Blogging History: Scarfolk, trapped in a 1969-79 loop; Meat business-cards; Leaked memo reveals Diebold's illegal voting machines

One year ago today
Wyndhamesque missives from Scarfolk, an English horror-town trapped in a 1969-79 loop: I'm loving the Scarfolk site, where "Dr R Littler" chronicles the mysteries of an English town stuck in a Wyndham-esque loop betwen 1969 and 1979. It's full of the most lovely horrors.

Five years ago today
Business cards made from meat: We start with 100% beef jerky, and SEAR your contact information into it with a 150 WATT CO2 LASER.

Ten years ago today
A New Pentagon Papers Case - Newspapers, Blogs and the Diebold/Jones Day Memos: Last Tuesday it was revealed that Diebold was informed by its lawyers that using uncertified e-voting software in California was probably illegal. Where did this information come from? Leaked legal memos from Diebold's law firm, Jones Day.

How the Russian surveillance state works

In case you (like Edward Snowden) want to know about the full scope of Russia's program of mass domestic and international surveillance, World Policy's overview of the Russian surveillance state is brilliant and terrifying. As Snowden said, "I blew the whistle on the NSA's surveillance practices not because I believed that the United States was uniquely at fault, but because I believe that mass surveillance of innocents – the construction of enormous, state-run surveillance time machines that can turn back the clock on the most intimate details of our lives – is a threat to all people, everywhere, no matter who runs them."

The World Policy report has impeccable credentials, having been jointly researched by Agentura.Ru, CitizenLab, and Privacy International.

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