Boing Boing 

Gingerbread Kama Sutra

These desperate amateur cookies will do anything to stay warm. Site includes recipes. Link (Thanks, Rose).

Low-cost, DRM-free audiobooks, to make an audio Gutenberg Project

TellTale Weekly is a new audiobook service selling low-cost (<$1) audiobooks as DRM-free MP3s and Oggs -- and building an audiobook version of the Gutenberg Project by releasing all their titles under a Creative Commons license after 5 years or 100,000 paid downloads, whichever comes first. There aren't many tracks up there yet, but as a certified audiobook addict, this is as exciting an idea as I've heard in a long, long time. Link (via Hammersley)

White House To Seek Ban On Gay Sex On The Moon

This is a pretty good extrapolation of the next probable announcement out of the Bush White House:
Worried by flagging poll numbers, a deteriorating situation in Iraq, and a sluggish economy, President Bush called on Congress today to approve a constitutional amendment that would ban gay sex on the Moon. Republican leaders hailed the move as a bold step to unite the country in a bold and forward-looking strategy to spread family values across the solar system, and protect the legacy of the Apollo missions.
Link (via Electrolite)

University requires copyright waiver from game-publishers for LAN parties

A university has begin requiring that LAN party organizers secure a written letter of permission from all game publishers whose works will be "performed" at the party.
A college student at Bowling Green University has run into trouble while trying to set up a LAN party, after the university refused to let him schedule the event over fears it may violate copyright laws.
I was casually informed that I had to secure permission from the copyright holders for the games we would be playing. I was quite confused as to why they needed this, and their only answer was that it would be considered a 'public showing of copyrighted work', and therefore I must secure permission. I asked a lawyer about the policy and his best advice was to get a hard copy of their policy and then comply to the bare minimum. The University was unable to provide much hardcopy, but largely referred me to the University rule that all State and Federal laws were in effect.
Link (via Lawgeek)

EFF on the Grey Album and Information Wants to be $5

Two goodies from EFF this week:

Legal analysis of the Grey Album's copyright status:

Are the Grey Tuesday protesters protected by fair use?

Fair use generally refers to the federal copyright law exception contained in Section 107 of the Copyright Act. Because the White Album is not protectible under federal copyright law, fair use is not directly applicable.

A proposal to end the file-sharing wars for a measly $5:
Voluntarily creating collecting societies like ASCAP, BMI and SESAC was how songwriters brought broadcast radio in from the copyright cold in the first half of the twentieth century.

Songwriters originally viewed radio exactly the way the music industry today views KaZaA users -- as pirates. After trying to sue radio out of existence, the songwriters ultimately got together to form ASCAP (and later BMI and SESAC). Radio stations interested in broadcasting music stepped up, paid a fee, and in return got to play whatever music they liked, using whatever equipment worked best. Today, the performing-rights societies ASCAP and BMI collect money and pay out millions annually to their artists. Even though these collecting societies get a fair bit of criticism, there's no question that the system that has evolved for radio is preferable to one based on trying to sue radio out of existence one broadcaster at a time.

History of a punk band circa 1980

M.Ace, who runs one of my very favorite weblogs, Irregular Orbit, has posted a wonderful history of the punk band he was in over 20 years ago. I really like the songs, which you can download one at a time, or in a 50 MB chunk.
Once upon a time, back in the old punk era, I was in a band you never heard of called Narthex. We played shows in Philadelphia and vicinity from 1980 to 1983. We've put together a web page recounting our ridiculously obscure story, because we think all of the little stories of all of the little bands are what added up to make a remarkable era. Everyone who participated should be telling their own first-hand stories. So here is ours. Along with visual artifacts, there's also a free web-album of audio, released with a Creative Commons license.

Absurd news bites from Reason

Good daily report of idiots on parade.
Weather forecasters weren't yet sure whether a snowstorm was coming, but Somerville, Massachusetts, Mayor Joseph A Curtatone wasn't taking any chances. Though not a flake of snow was in sight, he declared a snow emergency. The next day, citizens of the city awoke to find little snow. But some 3,000 of them found $50 tickets on their cars for parking on a snow emergency street. They were the lucky ones. Another 200 had their cars towed. The mayor says he has no plans to forgive the tickets or to cancel the towing charges, which could net the city some $179,000. Neither the state nor any other city in the area declared a snow emergency.

Jesse sez: "Our mayor may have made a bad call to pad the city's coffers, but that doesn't mean he can't backpedal furiously."

'Musclebots' Are Coming

Roland sez: According to an article to be published by New Scientist on February 28, First robot moved by muscle power, a microrobot half the width of a human hair has been powered by living rat heart muscle. "It is the first time muscle tissue has been used to propel a micromachine." Carlos Montemagno, from the University of California at Los Angeles, who created the 'musclebot', wants to use the technology to help paralyzed people to breathe without a ventilator. And NASA, who helped funding the research, hopes that battalions of these 'musclebots' could one day help maintain spacecraft by plugging holes made by micrometeorites. The device is an arch of silicon 50 micrometres wide. This overview contains more details and additional pictures.

Tragic, hilarious Marioland 8-bit Flash movies

The tragedy of Marioland: a three-part Flash animation using pixel-cool graphics from 8-bit Mario games as characters in a screamingly funny movie about the tragic invasion of Marioland. The use of Marioland mood music is a masterstroke. Part 1 Link, Part 2 Link, Part 3 (via MeFi)

Electroluminescent purse-liners

Bayer is proposing to use electroluminescent panels to line womens' purses, turning them into radiant, suitcase-of-drugs-from-Pulp-Fiction-esque cavities in which no lipstick or loose change can hide. Link (Thanks, Norm!)

Drinky Crow jack-in-the-box

This April will see the release of a jack-in-the-box featuring Drinky Crow from Tony Millionaire's genius transgressive funnybook series Maakies. Link (Thanks, Goopymart!)

Save money by tearing apart your iPod mini

Joanne sez: "The $249 iPod mini contains a $479.95 Hitachi MicroDrive. So the best deal on buying a MicroDrive is to buy a iPod mini and take it apart. You get the MicroDrive for almost 50% off and you get a free pair of headphones. You can slap an old compact flash card into the mini and keep on rocking." Link

Sean Bonner sez: "This guy took apart the mini iPod and found that it is NOT useable outside of the iPod, so buying one for the drive will prove useless." A firmware issue?

A Boing Boing reader sez: "The iPod/microdrive hack does work. Where the other poster is confused is that you can't format the microdrive in the camera. You need to mount drive on you system with a CF reader. Then format it FAT and it works fine. The drive out of the mini has a partition on it that their camera can't deal with. A full wipe on your machine solves the problem and gets you a cheap mammoth camera card.

Spy shots of Branson's Virgin Global Flyer:

Boing Boing guestblog alumnis Todd Lappin points us out to these pics of the Virgin Global Flyer, a plane designed for a solo pilot to fly around the world on a single tank of gas. (Here's a good PopSci article about it.) Link

Casshern Japanese movie trailer

Scott sez: "Imagine David Fincher & Terry Gilliam having a drunken fistfight in ILM's parking lot, and you've approximated the look."Link

Inside the CIA Museum

Bas sez: "One page showing some absolutely fascinating CIA gadgets. The remote-control libella and catfish are awsome. Note that these are not on the CIA Museum's own website." Link

China International Adult Toys & Reproductive Health Exhibition 2004

Mark your calendars for the China International Adult Toys & Reproductive Health Exhibition 2004, Aust 6-8, 2004.
With the economic development today Chinese people begin to pay more attention to the quality of their daily life including sex and reproductive health. A civilized, healthy and happy life has already been the realm of necessity that the Chinese mass cherishes.

The time of being shocked at the mention of sex or regarding sex as an evil has gone by. Now in China, the civilized sexual concept has widely prevailed.


Mark's new media blog: Mad Professor is my new media review blog. I'm writing about books, DVDs, software, games, and other media-like things that I like a lot. Link

Berocca: stay sharp?

My wife Kelly just returned from London Fashion Week with several packages of Berocca, an effervescent over-the-counter nutritional supplement sold by Roche "for hectic lifestyles." She says it's all the rage there as a vitamin source, energy enhancer, hangover remedy, and all-purpose pick-me-up. (The Berocca slogan is "Stay sharp!") It's mostly B vitamins and doesn't contain any caffeine, sugar, or ephedra. That's probably why it didn't seem to affect me too much. But it does taste great, kinda like Tang. Link

Australian Boing Boing reader Pete tells me that down under--where Berocca's much more fun slogan is "gives you back your b-b-bounce!"--he has a couple of friends "who think it's fun to suck on the tablets rather than dissolving them in water. Apparently having them fizz in your mouth wakes you up just as much as all those vitamins." Meanwhile, Jen points us to a US product similar to Berocca, called Emer'gen-C. "Whenever I'm feeling sick, I down a couple and immediately feel better," she says.

Yale Photonegatives Collection

Avi sez: "Don't know if you've had this before, but this database is an amazing photographic (and artistic) treasure of America's people and places at the turn of the previous century. Unfortunately, there is no index of the contents so you have to try your luck with keywords, which almost always turn up interesting finds. For example try typing in 'Indian' and see what happens! My favorite entries are 'Garden' and 'Gurdjieff'!" Link

Mykeru.Com on anti-gay editorial

This is a wonderful evisceration of a hilariously dunderheaded editorial against gay marriage that appeared in The Daily Mountain Eagle Online of Jasper Alabama. The editorial was written by the paper's copy editor, Susan Sanford.
Sanford (quoting from the Bible): "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." -- Revelation 20:12

Mykeru: Uh huh. How about this one:

"Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church." -- I Corinthians 14:34-35 (NIV)

How many times do you think Susan Sanford has been disgraceful in church? Do you think she ran this by her hubby?

Link (Thanks, bywayoftheroad!)

Cory signing/reading at San Francisco's Booksmith tonight

A reminder: tonight I will give my last public reading and signing for Eastern Standard Tribe before leaving San Francisco to emigrate to the UK.
Where: The Booksmith, 1644 Haight St, at Clayton, +1.800.793.7323
When: Tonight, Wednesday, February 25, 2004, 7PM
Hope to see you there! Link

Universal crackpot spam solution rebuttal

This is a very funny checkbox-based form-letter for responding to crackpot spam solutions proposed in message-board posts:
Your post advocates a

( ) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) Users of email will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Link (Thanks, Jef!)

Aryanfest 2004

Fascinating New Times article about Aryanfest 2004, "an 'international' gathering of Nazi skinheads, Ku Klux Klan members and other white supremacists that took place inside McDowell Regional Mountain Park just north of Fountain Hills a couple of weekends ago."
The atmosphere inside Aryanfest was that of a Renaissance Fair gone over to the dark side, with "Heils" in place of "Huzzahs." Costumed attendees wore Iron Cross medallions and black bomber jackets emblazoned with swastika patches instead of studded leather armor and princess dresses. A Nazi memorabilia dealer hawked SS patches and framed photographs of Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and Rudolph Hess in the parking lot. Next to the stage was a picnic pagoda, serving as the Aryanfest day-care center, where little white children in skinhead clothes colored in white power coloring books. Directly next door to the pagoda was a tattoo booth, where the incessant high-pitched buzz of a tattoo gun sounded from behind a blue tarp curtain. Beside the Panzerfaust merchandise stand was the Women for Aryan Unity booth, which sold child-rearing guides and White Nationalist Baby magazines, including one containing a simplified biography of Hitler suitable for bedtime stories: "He was a lifelong lover of animals and children . . . He is invincible and victory shall one day be his."

Slug Food T-Shirt now available

People have emailed me asking for a Slug Food T-shirt. So I'm selling them for $18. Link

Jimmy Scott biography on PBS tonight

Check your local listings for the airtime of this biography of vocalist Jimmy Scott, If You Only Knew.
"If You Only Knew is a film portrait of the now famous jazz vocalist who was 'rediscovered' decades after he disappeared from the public eye. Born in Cleveland in 1925, Jimmy Scott's early years were filled with devastating hardships. At age 12, he was diagnosed with Kallmann's Syndrome, a rare hormonal condition that kept his body -- and his voice -- from developing beyond boyhood. Seven months after the diagnosis, his beloved mother, the sole guardian of Scott and his nine siblings, was killed in a car accident. Her children were separated and sent to live in foster homes.

Pentagon warns Bush of apocalyptic climate change by 2020

The Pentagon issued a secret report to Bush warning him that catastrophic climate changes in the next 15 years are a bigger threat than terrorism, and will lead to massive riots and nuclear war.
A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

Link (Thanks, Tony!)

AndyHat sez: For those who want to make up their own minds about the Guardian story on the "suppressed" Pentagon report, Greenpeace has the full text available. Of course, as it says right at the top: "We have created a climate change scenario that although not the most likely, is plausible, and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately." I like how The Guardian has changed "plausible" but "not the most likely" to a statement of near certainty.

A Boing Boing Pal sez:The Pentagon climate change paper story is interesting - but not quite accurate. The more interesting story is how the European press distorted what was a very interesting piece on abrupt climate change into a would-be smoking gun for the Bush administration.  

Initial press on the abrupt climate change paper was neutral. It was a scenario exercise written for Andy Marshall in the Pentagon, profiled a month ago in Fortune Magazine.

From that piece, here is the story in a nutshell:
"Three years ago Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld picked [Andrew Marshall] to lead a sweeping review on military "transformation," the shift toward nimble forces and smart weapons.

When scientists' work on abrupt climate change popped onto his radar screen, Marshall tapped another eminent visionary, Peter Schwartz, to write a report on the national-security implications of the threat. Schwartz formerly headed planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group and has since consulted with organizations ranging from the CIA to DreamWorks—he helped create futuristic scenarios for Steven Spielberg's film Minority Report. Schwartz and co-author Doug Randall at the Monitor Group's Global Business Network, a scenario-planning think tank in Emeryville, Calif., contacted top climate experts and pushed them to talk about what-ifs that they usually shy away from—at least in public.

The result is an unclassified report, completed late last year, that the Pentagon has agreed to share with FORTUNE. It doesn't pretend to be a forecast. Rather, it sketches a dramatic but plausible scenario to help planners think about coping strategies."

So a month later, the world press catches wind of the story and sensationalizes the hell out of it. Headlines:

Agence France Presse: Leaked Pentagon report warns climate change may bring famine, war
The Observer: Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us: The US President has denied the existence of global warming. But a secret report predicts a looming catastrophe - a world riven with water wars, famine and anarchy

The story was picked up by Al Jazeera, Hindustan Times, Times of Oman, and more I'm sure.

That's just what landed in my inbox.

At this point the Oakland Tribune has the best coverage of the story - as well as the story behind the story.

Thanks, John Escobedo!

John Escobedo, who animated Boing Boing's Jackhammer Jill, sent me a transparent version of the logo so it looks good on a gray background. Thanks!

Nelson's Grey Tuesday RSS

Kudos to Nelson Minar for turning his RSS feed grey in honor of Grey Tuesday. (Also, kudos to Nelson for recently switching his RSS to full text instead of the stingy excerpts that some people still publish). Link

Garry Trudeau puts $10K up for anyone who will confirm Bush's Air Guard claims

Garry B Trudeau, the author of the Doonesbury comic strip, has put up $10,000 of his personal fortune for anyone who will come forward and confirm to having witnessed, first-hand, GW Bush's putiative Air Guard service story, in which the President claims not to have deserted his military post, despite all evidence to the contrary.
For the past several weeks, trolling-for-trash journalists have made repeated forays into the continuing mystery of George W. Bush's Air National Guard service (to catch up on developments, read Salon's "Bad news doesn't get better with age", The Decatur Daily's "Former Dannelly worker: Bush not AWOL", The Nation's "W's AWOL Spin Update!", and -- of particular interest -- The Memphis Flyer's "On Guard -- Or Awol?"). With just eight months left in the presidential campaign, GBT is hoping to speed the disclosure process along by offering a $10,000 reward to coax a witness to step forward and confirm President Bush's story, thereby putting the whole sordid mess behind us.

Education czar calls teachers' union a "terrorist organization"

The US Secretary of Education called the NEA, the national teachers' union, a terrorist organization. Then, he spun a mealymouthed apology that wasn't:
It was an inappropriate choice of words to describe the obstructionist scare tactics the NEA's Washington lobbyists have employed against No Child Left Behind's historic education reforms.
Link (via Making Light)