Japanese web celeb rabbit "Oolong" now has a successor

Remember that website where the guy in Japan took totally cute daily snapshots of his beloved bunny named Oolong, and remember how Oolong passed away, and he took snapshots of his rabbit's death that were so sincere they just made you want to cry right into your keyboard? I may be the last blog-obsessed geek to learn, but the guy has a new, and equally photogenic rabbit named Yuebing ("moon-cake") Brace yourself for more really cute rabbit photos. Link Read the rest

Female blogger's first-person sex column causes ruckus in China

NY Times piece on 25-year-old Chinese blogger Mu Zimei, whose sexually explicit first-person accounts have generated controversy -- and celebrity -- for the former magazine columnist. Snip:
What changed everything was her decision in April to start her own online blog at a new Chinese site for personal diaries. She said she thought it would be fun. While writing her magazine column, she had hopped from man to man, sometimes hopping to two men at once, sometimes hopping to married men. Her topics, though, remained more thematic than explicit.

But in her online diary, she began writing explicitly about these encounters, or those of her friends, and on July 26 described her brief and apparently unsatisfying liaison outside a restaurant with a famous guitarist in a Guangzhou rock band. The entry was posted at a popular online discussion board, spread among China's "netizens" like wildfire and was quickly picked up in the gossipy newspapers that feed China's growing celebrity culture. Eventually, she was featured in China's edition of Cosmopolitan magazine.

Link. Zimei isn't the first female writer in China to raise eyebrows over sexually explicit autobiographical work -- check this link for background on Mian Mian. (thanks, Invisible Cowgirl) Read the rest

"Rodney-King-like" citizen phonecam episode

BoingBoing pal Emily says:
A blatant act of racism by the Portland police was snapped by a "citizen reporter" armed with a camera phone. The story and the photos were published in the Portland Tribune and broadcasted on television: "Police offers parked their car outside Ringlers restaurant with a stuffed gorilla attached to the car's grill last Tuesday night, - where a largely black crowd had gathered for a weekly hip-hop show hosted by disc jockey Mello Cee. This is the kind of thing you expect to see in the South, like a Confederate flag. They might as well paint their faces black with white lips," said Mello Cee.

"Resident Calvin Washington who said he took the photos around 1 a.m. last Tuesday morning outside Ringlers restaurant at 1332 W. Burnside St. Washington said when he realized what was happening, he grabbed his cell phone camera and walked outside to take pictures. 'I went out and flicked a few pics. The police couldn't tell what I was doing because I had the phone in my hand. They couldn't tell what it was,' he said."

The Portland Tribune published a follow-up article on Friday, questioning whether the "incident may have launched the age of technological vigilantism in Portland".

News stories: Clubgoers accuse police of racism, Gorilla case highlights cell phone vigilantism, more links here Read the rest

Deborah Iyall of Romeo Void sells new print on eBay

Debora Iyall -- artist, Native American cultural activist, and former front-woman for new wave band Romeo Void-- is selling this linocut on eBay to benefit People for the American Way. She says:
"[I wanted] to visually address recent events and the role of the Supreme Court. Where have all our freedoms gone? The foundation of our nation is based on broken treaties. A stack of money energizes the book of law. Apache helicopters circle overhead as the Supreme Court loiters around a river of death, the Court which allowed George W. Bush to assume the office of President of the United States of America in 2000. A soldier strides toward battlefield while a woman pulls a cart of produce. Hummers roll by. Mortar rounds flank the scene and a bear witnesses."
Link Read the rest

Roy Disney resigns from Disney, slams Eisner

Roy Disney has resigned from the Disney Board of Directors, and has sent a scathing email to Michael Eisner explaining, in exorciating detail, exactly why he's leaving the company his uncle founded.
1. The failure to bring back ABC Prime Time from the ratings abyss it has been in for years and your inability to program successfully the ABC Family Channel. Both of these failures have had, and I believe will continue to have, significant adverse impact on shareholder value.

2. Your consistent micro-management of everyone around you with the resulting loss of morale throughout the Company.

3. The timidity of your investments in our theme park business. At Disney's California Adventure, Paris and now in Hong Kong, you have tried to build parks "on the cheap" and they show it and the attendance figures reflect it.

Link (Thanks, Robynne!) Read the rest

ipodsdirtysecret.com's dirty secret

The guy who donated bandwidth to ipodsdirtysecret.com (about two brothers who spraypainted complaints about lousy batteries on iPod posters) is pissed a plenty:
"Jesus, I cannot BELIEVE you guys. In good faith, I put the video back on the basis of the email you sent me, hoping that at least some people would click on the mirror link at at least get the truth, and information about how to replace the battery. Instead, you removed the mirror link entirely, used the bandwidth and resources that I was providing you exclusively on your front page, AGAIN without providing ANY information whatsoever about how users can solve this problem, or the fact that Apple now has an official $99 battery replacement, and on top of it all, put ThruPort's banner on the front page! I've now served 91,629 downloads for you, for over 0.6 terabytes of data transfer. What the f*** is you guys' problem? I guess that fact that you are liars shouldn't surprise me, since that's exactly what your whole site and the video is. Have fun with it, and whatever f***ed up satisfaction you get from having as many people as possible see your video, and not even wanting to tell people that there is a solution."
Link (thanks, Ian! Read the rest

San Francisco's homelessness quagmire

The San Francisco Chronicle has begun a five-part series on the incredible homeless problem in SF. Thousands of homeless people live on San Francisco's streets, in straits as dire as anything you can imagine in the worst slums of the developing world, amid some of the wealthiest people in the world. It's a crisis that no one seems to know how to solve, and that San Franciscans have, by and large come to accept as an unchangeable fact of life. The first installment, "Homeless Island," is a gripping account of the knot of beggars who live and die on a downtown traffic island, holding up heartbreaking signs and shooting heroin into infected veins, waiting to die from flesh-eating bacteria. It's like a tour of hell.
"Day clinics? Jail? You think anyone out here on the street, all over this city, can stick with that?" Tommy said weeks before he died. "Why the hell do you think we're out here? Because we can't get over what's going on with us by ourselves, that's why.

"We want to get off the street, but I got to tell you true," he said. "Unless they take people like us and put us somewhere where we can't keep f -- ing up, we're going to keep f -- ing up."

Link (via Nelson's Weblog) Read the rest

Retro-feel travel accessories

Flight 001 is a chi-chi luggage-and-travel-accessory boutique, with retro-style Pan-Am-logo bags and such. I'm particularily fond of the airline-safety-card-print wallets, passport-sleeves and etc. Link Read the rest

Herald Square Xmas tree topped with open WiFi antenna

Yahoo! has sposored the ornament atop the Xmas tree in NYC's Herald Square this year: a WiFi antenna broadcasting an open connection to the Manhattan passers-by who want to get in the holiday spirit with a little open spectrum. What a brilliant idea. Link (via Gizmodo) Read the rest

Journey Thru Innerspace lives again in 3D animation

A trufan of the sadly defunct Journey Thru Innerspace ride from Disneyland's Tomorrowland has recreated the ride as a 3D model and is publishing stills and flythroughs of the textured mesh. Link (Thanks, John!) Read the rest

Dishonest anti-bootleg DVD ad

The UK-based Federation Against Copyright Theft is running ads in UK newsmags that warn:

To ensure your complete enjoyment, don't be persuarded to buy fake DVDs -- especially pre-release copies. Pirate DVDs are a rip-off, with poor sound and picture quality. Even if the packaging looks convincing, you will probably be disappointed with the contents. Avoid being conned by con men. You can report any suspicious activity in confidence to the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) on 0845 6034567. Copyright is a matter of FACT.

This ad makes the fairly hilarious and very hysterical assertion that people who buy pre-release DVDs at fun-faires or out of the trunks of suspicious cars are somehow being duped into buying less than they expect; that purchasers of bootleg DVDs assume they're getting crystal-clear sound and picture and are, in fact, patsies of these sinister con artists who dupe them left and right. It's my suspicion that the FACTs are quite different -- that most customers of DVD bootleggers know exactly what they can expect when they buy a fake DVD off a blanket on a side-street. And they buy them anyway.

When I was in Hong Kong's Temple Street night market, I found stalls selling bootleg VCDs of current release movies for less than a (US) dollar; alongside the stalls were permanent storefronts selling the licensed VCDs (months behind the theatrical release) for about US$8. The life-cycle of the movies there appears to be: buy the bootleg, check to see if it's worth seeing in the theatre. Read the rest

Eroticising trademarked battlemechs

ScoutWalker is a novel form of Star Wars porn: giant AT-ST Walkers engaged in scenes from the Kama Sutra. Link (Thanks, Jed!) Read the rest

DNA sequencing for children

Discovery toys is selling an $80 toy called the DNA Explorer, which allows small children to extract and sequence the DNA from a variety of foodstuffs. Link Read the rest

Turing paper into ASCII

Gary Wolf has a wonderful feature in this month's Wired about the parallel efforts to put texts, indices and images of books on the net (and to render them in cheap wood-pulp substrate) from the Internet Bookmobile to the Amazon Search Inside the Book system:
Kahle is happy to sidestep the problem of digitizing commercially successful books. He has no wish to antagonize the publishing industry. What he hates is that the Million Book Project cannot legally digitize countless books that aren't generating money for anybody. US libraries hold about 30 million unique volumes. No one knows how many of those books continue to be protected by copyright or are available from commercial publishers. Still, Kahle says, "they can't be digitized because the copyrights can't be cleared, and the copyrights can't be cleared because it's too much work to identify the copyright holders. Some people call them abandonware. I call them orphans."

"Amazon is taking a cut at the commercially available titles," continues Kahle. "We are going for the public domain titles. But who is taking care of the orphans? Nobody."

Link Read the rest

Aussie passports get animated kangaroos

The new Australian passports have an anti-counterfeiting laser-generated image of a kangaroo that hops up and down when you change your viewing-angle. Link Read the rest

Labels detect and display fruit-ripeness

A new labelling technology foor fruit senses the ripeness of the underlying comestible and changes color accordingly:
The system, developed at the Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand, uses a punnet that traps the volatile compounds fruit emit. As the fruit ripen, the colour of the label changes in response to changing concentrations of these compounds.

Since pears need to soften before they achieve their best flavour, shoppers often squeeze the fruit to test them, which can damage them, says Ron Henzell, who led the research team.

Link Read the rest

Replace storage with the bag it came in.

Anti-static plastic, the kind used in RAM envelopes and other component-wrappers, is an excellent candidate for high-density storage. Reminds me of the Lily Tomlin bit: "I bought a garbage can and brought it home in a plastic bag. When I got there, I put the bag in the can."
Any device resulting from their work would be a "write-once, read-many" format and could perhaps be used to store films or music.

The researchers speculate that very dense memory blocks could be created by stacking the thin layers of the material on top of each other.

They team estimates that working devices could be up to 10 times more dense than current hard disks.

Link (via /.) Read the rest

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