Boing Boing 

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

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)

"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

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."

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!)'s dirty secret

The guy who donated bandwidth to (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!>

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)

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

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)

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!)

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. See the good movies, buy the licensed discs. So long as the studios make movies people want to see, the bootlegs merely serve as advertisements for cinema tickets and licensed discs.

It's all well and good for FACT to pursue its goals of convincing Britons to buy licensed discs instead of bootlegs, but this ad is pretty intellectually dishonest. Link

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!)

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

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."


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

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.


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 /.)

Custom crocheted laptop sleeves

For 60 Euros (and up), avant-gardge Viennese artist Evelyn Fürlinger will hand-crochet you a custom laptop sleeve with a design of your choosing: I'm especially fond of the red go-faster stripes. Link (Thanks, Johannes!)

Lockers create love hotel loyalty

According to Joi Ito, Japanese love-hotels have lowered churn and increased customer loyalty by adding storage lockers, because:
Married couples found it convenient to store adult toys and other things that they didn't want their children to find in these lockers. These lockers created a relationship between the customer and the hotel and dramatically increased customer retention. Now these lockers are used to store all sorts of "Not Safe For Home" things.

P2Pnets: where deleted documents are reborn

Matt Jones posted a strategy document he'd his co-workers had written for the BBC, his then-employer, on his blog. They asked him to take it down. As is inevitably the case when this happens, people are coming by and posting to the comments section, asking where the document can be had. Turns out, it's circulating on Kazaa. Link

Sociology of cellular

"The Effects of Mobile Telephones on Social and Individual Life" is an interesting paper by Motorola sociologist Dr. Sadie Plant. Joi points out the fascinating stuff on cellular body-language:
Those who use their mobiles with this light touch often have their index finger aligned with the aerial at the top of the phone. There are also variations in the ways in which people’s eyes respond to a mobile call. Some mobile users adopt the scan, in which the eyes tend to be lively, darting around, perhaps making fleeting contact with people in the vicinity, as though they were searching for the absent face of the person to whom the call is made. With the gaze, the eyes tend to focus on a single point, or else to gaze into the distance, as though in an effort to conjure the presence of the disembodied voice.
1327k PDF Link (via Joi Ito)

Big Mouth Billy Bass runs Linux, does impressions

Now that the antimated talking fish doll Big Mouth Billy Bass is out of fashion and can be had at pennies on the dollar, why not try your hand at installing Linux on it and getting it to lipsynch funny Simpsons quotes or act as the phyical avatar for someone at the other end of a teleconference line?
We will make the following improvements to Big Mouth Billy Bass.

* User defined audio clips
* Lip syncing
* Video recording
* Audio recording

By adding this functionality to the bass, in addition to networking protocols, the bass will be transformed into an H.323 compliant video teleconferencing host. It will be possible to use Microsoft NetMeeting or CUSeeMe to connect to your bass at home and talk with your loved one ones!

Link (via Smartpatrol)

Wayne Correia's Magic Bus

The satellite-equipped rockstar tour bus of Critical Path founder and geek's geek Wayne Correia is the subject of this San Francisco Chronicle article. He (and his bus) saved my ass once in Black Rock City. I rode around with 30 pounds of gear on a young girl's banana-seat Huffy bike, all day long in burning heat and whiteout dust storms, all over the desert, looking for a functional satellite connection to file an audio report on Burning Man for NPR. My skin was sunburned, my butt was aching, and I was as dehydrated as an overdone tofurkey. And then, when I'd all but given up -- I stumbled on Mr. Correia. He said "Hey, I know your face from Friendster!" -- and opened the door to a bus filled with nerd hotties and unwired bandwidth.
The bus cannot be described as "regular." It's a luxury cruiser of an ungainly vintage -- 1992, to be exact -- and is rumored to have belonged to Don Mattingly of the New York Yankees. The carpet is teal, with an ivory dolphin carved into the weave. (To be fair, Wayne swears he's about to tear out the carpet because, he says, it's "silly.") The wall lights are a peculiar construction of brass and graduated glass rods that would fit on a set for "The Sopranos." Gilt-edged cocktail glasses nest in the glass cupboards. In the front of the bus are gray leather captain's chairs on swivels. In the back is a bedroom lined with mirrored cabinets.

Wayne, who intends to install solar panels on the roof, somewhere near the satellite uplink for his computer, bought the bus on eBay for the bargain price of $200,000 in cash. He says that as he drove it from Chicago, where he purchased it, to the Bay Area, he had a revelation: "I realized, 'Oh, my God, I'm a bus driver! My grandfather was a bus driver in L.A.for 40 years. He got up at 5 am every day. And now I'm a bus driver, too!'"


Microsoft prepares to launch new moblogging services?

On the "Microsoft Windows Mobile Communities" site, this blurb:
Get Ready for Moblogs -- Turn an ordinary blog into a moblog by including pictures from your Pocket PC or Smartphone. Check back here in December to learn how to create yours.
Link (thanks, Jean-Luc!)

Vietnam Veterans' art online

This online gallery features a portion of the works in the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago, which contains works in various media created by vets from around the US. At left: "Ambush Behind a Thin Wood Line," by John Plunkett:
"Our home base sat at the foot of the only mountain range for about a hundred miles. It consisted of two mountains: Nui Ba Den and Nui Ba Ra. These paintings are from a diary that was written in my brain and in the brains of thousands of others, on a daily basis in Vietnam. Some of the situations did happen to me; others were bad dreams, fears of what might happen, hallucinations; images that seemed to appear out of nowhere, for no reason."
Link (thanks, Invisible Cowgirl)

Persian blogger runs for parliament in Iran

Hossein Derakhshan, Toronto-based pioneer of the Persian blogosphere, just announced he's running for Iranian parliament. Jeff Jarvis on Buzzmachine says:
In the comments, Sassan worries that this will put Hossein in jeopardy. I fear his incredible activities online could do that as well. But if he merely tries to run -- even if from afar, even if not allowed to, even if unable to campaign or win -- sends a most powerful message: Here is a man who has created a new political power base online. We've joked about a blogger running for office in the U.S. Hoder is doing it. We've joked about starting a revolution online. Hoder has done it. I pray that Hoder does nothing to put himself at risk. But I stand in awe of what he has accomplished.

Red Riding Hood dances with DDD-breasted fursuits video

In this TV commercial for a Japanese construction firm, Little Red Riding Hood dances with huge-titted and generously-testicled furry woodland creatures. Link (via diepunyhumans)

update: Jed says, " "Here are eight more ads from this company (with heavily overlapping elements in some of them; the first two are particularly similar). Also, here is more info and a translation, plus a transcription of the lyrics. It seems that the theme of the ad is 'expansion.' And more translation here.

At any rate, the other thing worth noting on that last page is that the raccoon with the giant testicles is actually a tanuki, apparently a raccoon-like nature spirit. Or else actually a raccoon, depending on which source you believe. It's been speculated that Totoro is part tanuki, and there's another Studio Ghibli movie (not directed by Miyazaki) that features tanuki more directly/prominently. And that's more than enough digression for one site suggestion, so I'll stop now."

Mood-recognition coming to Playstation

The next-gen Sony Playstation will have an optical sensor built in for gesture and facial recognition, and is indended to allow for affective game-design that detects and responds to players' emotional states. Link (via Wonderland)

Big Thunder Mountain broken by negligence

Looks like the fatal crash on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain was the result of poor maintenance. Disneyland's maintenance has been suffering ever since a group of McKinsey and ex-McKinsey consultants advised them to save money by cutting back on preventative maintenance and forcing out experienced, senior cast-members. Management consultants: is there anything they can't screw up?
"Our own analysis found that the accident was caused by incorrectly performed maintenance tasks required by Disneyland policy and procedures that resulted in a mechanical failure," said Leslie Goodman, senior vice president of strategic communications for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Foldable popcult dollies

Printable templates for folding-and-glueing together Kubrick-like characters from Mario Brothers and other pieces of the popcult pantheon. Link (via KoKoRo)