They that can give up general purpose computers for the sake of a little eye candy

Today, I wore my new NTK shirt to work and to the Google Xmas Party, and boy, did I ever get a lot of compliments. It reads: "They that can give up general purpose computers for the sake of a little eye candy deserve neither computers nor eye candy," a reference to Franklin's famous "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security." Link

12 Days of Xmas cost index

PNC publishes an annual price index of the good enumerated in the 12 Days of Christmas, discussing the costing trends of celebrating a carol-traditional Yule.
Two exceptions to this trend, however, are the swans and the calling birds, which cost significantly more this year. Unlike 2002, when swans took a significant dive in price, these graceful feathered friends have bounced back to their 2001 level of $500 a piece, up from $300 last year, according to the Philadelphia Zoo. The four calling birds are also flying high at $400, more than a 26 percent increase from last year. "The bird prices tend to be stable, except when supply and demand get out of sync, causing the prices to move dramatically," said Rebekah McCahan, investment strategist who provides the research for the Christmas Price Index. "The low inventory of calling birds and swans this year, combined with a resurgence in demand, has boosted prices -- a sign of consumer confidence returning," she added. All told, the swans, geese, calling birds, French hens, turtle doves, and partridges cost over $4,100, representing about 25 percent of the overall Index.
Link (via /.)

Anti-road-piss campaign from Washington State

Washington State highway cops are sick of picking up the bottles of piss and poopie that truckers (and other long-haul drivers) toss out their windows, so they've started a campaign to warn and fine scat-flingers and piss-pitchers. Link (Thanks, Psylux!)

Cousin-identification chart for cousin-marriage advocacy

CUDDLE (Cousins United to Defeat Discriminating Laws through Education) is an NGO that advocates for the rights of cousins to marry one-another. Here's a handy chart they've produced to show just how related you are to that cute girl (who looks a little like your mom) in the next pew at the Bar-Mitzvah. Link (via AccordionGuy)

Found alphabet made from human brains

The Brain Alphabet is a set of 26 Roman letters visible in the bumps and valleys of photos of real human brains. Link (Thanks, Armand!)

You need a license to say "I have a dream"

Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech is still in copyright (as is almost everything else familiar in our lives), and Dr King's heirs strictly enforce the copyright. Wendy Seltzer points out what this means for free expression and political commentary.
You can always quote a few lines without asking permission, but that's likely to be the same few lines that have become cliched with repetition. Quote the whole speech to make a more substantial point, and you face thousand-dollar license fee claims from the estate. Quote them to make a point critical of King, and you may be denied a license entirely.
Link

Elf Sex, per Tolkien

Nice scholarly paper on Tolkein's writings describing elf-sex:
There was at least one elvish word related to a sexual act in Quenya or Sindarin: nosta / onna, beget. The source for this is Treebeard's farewell to Galadriel and Celeborn in "Many Partings," ROTK. This farewell includes the Quenya phrase "O vanimar, vanimalion nostari", translated in The End of the Third Age, in the chapter discussing Many Partings, footnote 16, as "fair ones begetters of fair ones." There is a related early Quenya noun, ontâro, meaning begetter/masculine parent. The early Quenya word wegê, meaning manhood or vigor, may be open to a variety of interpretations. There was also a Quenya word meaning virgin, rod, as in Rodwen, "High Virgin Noble (female)." (Maeglin, The War of the Jewels, HME)
Link (via MeFi)

Nagano big-brotherware is insufficiently secured

Nagano's new citizen-tracking system is not only invasive of privacy, it's also incompetently secured and exposes citizen data to potential corruption by malefactors.
Tests by the prefecture to infiltrate the system found that access to private information on residents was accessible with local area network (LAN) connections, both from within and outside local body offices.

"(The network) is in a dangerous situation in which personal information can be stolen," specialists hired by the prefecture wrote in an evaluation of the access tests...

Part of the tests also reportedly showed that it was possible to falsify personal data in the network and send it to servers nationwide.

Link

Virtuoso Super Mario Brothers 3 game

This is a streaming screen-movie of an utterly virtuoso game of Super Mario Brothers 3, played from start to finish in under 11 minutes. Update: various among you point out that the video, while impressive, appears to be faked. Streaming Windows Media Link (Thanks, fRiT0!)

Wrist-mounted catapault watch

The Catapault Watch fires BBs and similar projectiles from your wrist. Link (Thanks, Samari Chop!)

Nerd porn: "Lord of the G-Strings"

Fleshbot is on a LOTR-themed rampage lately. See a slew of related posts over the last few days. Of particular note, this video:
We'll let the box cover copy speak for itself: "In the mythical realm of Diddle Earth, diminutive yet delectable Throbbit Dildo Saggins is sent by Smirnoff the Wizard to destroy the legendary G-String - most powerful weapon in the land."
Link

Cool bodypaint photo gallery

Link (thanks Invisible Cowgirl, via cupofchica)

Softcore Chinese flower girl photos -- on Xinhua

Bruce Sterling muses aloud, "Holy macaroni. Why is the official news agency of the People's Republic of China posting a whole bunch of nude body-painting? Have they lost all their little gray Mao suits over at Xinhua? What gives? A couple of these pics are Veruschka Lehndorff art-shots from the mid-1980s. Some official Chinese web-guy has been collecting these things. What could this be about?" Link

Hungary takes aim at phonecam snapshots

The data protection ombudsman of Hungary ruled last week that phonecam users who transmit pictures of people who are unaware of being photographed may be prosecuted for privacy violation -- as could their mobile service providers.
Ombudsman Attila Peterfalvi said he started an investigation after one of Hungary's three mobile providers ran an advertisement saying: "If you see a good-looking girl or guy on the street, don't hesitate to share the aesthetic experience with your friends via MMS." Mobile phones, kitted out with small cameras used in multimedia messaging (MMS), are selling fast in Hungary, where mobile penetration is a high 75.2 percent.
Link (via diepunyhumans)

Web Zen: Holiday gift guide zen

design object | print club | acme bags | pixel blocks | hand pressed prints | bleibtreu bags | pimp cups | shag | technokitty bags | catapult watch | tiki art | threadless | jelly bath | zakka | kid robot | happy tree friends | chaoskitty | ultimate wish list

web zen home, web zen store, (Thanks, Frank).