Today's Worth1000 photoshopping contest is "Vintage Products" -- lots of nice steampunk and dead-media licks here.
BoingBoing pal Steve Portigal
points us to "a demo of Japanese speaking robot technology, presented as a duo-standup routine featuring one of Japan's well-known comics. The robot is called PaPeJiro. So, if the robot kills
- does that violate [Isaac Asimov's] Three Laws [of Robotics]
The video clips from the new Bob Moog (inventor of the Moog synthesizer) documentary (titled "moog") are very exciting. Can't wait to see it. He says inventing things is a combination of "discovering and witnessing." (As an aside, isn't "Moog" a great name. It has that mod 60s sound that's perfect for a synthesizer. I don't think it would have been as popular had his last name been anything else.) Link
From the Guardian
: Pet TV "is being billed by the BBC as an attempt to find out what sort of TV programmes, sounds and images animals respond to. The interactive TV service will consist of a looped series of images and sounds, including clips of snooker balls rolling across the green baize, frisbees flying through the air, cat toys and cartoon characters such as Top Cat." Link
(Registration required, unless you use the wonderful bugmenot.com
) (Thanks, Carlo!)
Great headline from the Washington Post
: "Patriot Act Suppresses News Of Challenge to Patriot Act." It has to do with the ACLU filing a lawsuit challenging something in the Patriot Act, but a different provision in the Patriot Act made it illegal for the ACLU to reveal the lawsuit. Neat! Link
The Sydney Morning Herald spoke to a lawyer about allofmp3.com
, the Russian company that sells tons of online music by the gigabyte, and he said it is not likely that anyone who buys music from the site could get in trouble.
We sought some advice from a Melbourne barrister and contributor to these pages, Simon Minahan, who practises in the area of intellectual property.
His opinion: "There's probably nothing to stop the individual from downloading this material for private use. For end users, the issue is a basic question relevant to acquiring a reproduction of any copyright work: has the rights owner consented?"
Even if allofmp3.com's asserted licence is bogus, says Minahan, "the end user would seem to have a good basis to argue that he is an innocent infringer, which would mean he isn't liable to damages, although he would still be liable to an order requiring him to destroy or deliver up any copies and an order requiring him to refrain from doing it again."
Link (Thanks, JNelsonW!)
Seal Beach, California's UFO-shaped Parasol diner, which is kept in pristine 1967 original condition by its owner, is scheduled to be torn down by a shopping mall developer in May. This site has more Parasol pictures, articles, and a link to an online petition. Link (Thanks, Todd!)
TechTV has a HOWTO for modifying a disposable camera into a stun-gun:
These disposable cameras (about $5 dollars a pop) have a capacitor that can store up to 600 volts of stopping power. When the capacitor discharges those volts, it delivers an amperage comparable to stun guns. Perfect for our shocking device.
Our friends at Gawker
mutter into their Xantinis:
America's public enemy #1, radio-dude Howard Stern, made an off-hand remark on this morning's show -- he claims he writes a secret weblog. Stern said he writes as "another character" and that only "about 4 people are in on the joke." OK, he's almost certainly not Rance, who repeatedly claims to be an actor and not a fat guy eating Twinkies in his basement, laughing at a credulous, gossip-starved public.
If anyone out there has candidates for what might be Stern's secret blog, let us know -- if the blogger brags about hurling prosciutto at a stripper's ass, that might be a tip-off.
, And see also this previous Boingboing entry about mystery celeblogger "Rance" (George Clooney? Owen Wilson? Jimmy Hoffa? Alf?), Link
In Wired News
today, a story I filed about Heather Robinson -- also known as E-Girl. Her dark tale of following databases to Hollywood dreams broke first in the book Hollywood, Interrupted
by Andrew Breitbart and Mark Ebner.
An America Online customer service rep illicitly surfs the company's customer database, ferrets out private data on celebrity members and then hunts them down online under a false identity, seeking fame and fortune in Hollywood.
Sound like a prelude to prison? Not in the case of Heather Robinson. The former AOL employee managed to parlay privacy violations into useful contacts in Hollywood. With the help of those contacts, Robinson, 25, landed a movie deal, and she's using her toehold in the industry to advance another.
Later this week, Universal Pictures will start filming Robinson's first movie, The Perfect Man, a romantic comedy staring Hillary Duff and Heather Locklear. The film is about a teenage daughter who tries to create a "nonexistent boyfriend for her dejected mother," Robinson said. The story is based on another of her youthful indiscretions when she was 16 -- this one involving a stolen credit card and thousands of dollars of purchases.
Some would say it takes Robinson's level of moxie to succeed in Hollywood. In fact, the favorite legend in the movie business is that of a hard-working kid who starts in the mail room and through ambition, flexible ethical standards and political skill becomes a mogul. Judging by her exploits so far, Robinson is well on her way.
The ABC-TV program 20/20 will air a contest between five couples on the show this Friday -- the winners get to adopt a real-live, pooping, crying baby. So, let me get this straight. You can't say "fuck," but you can
broadcast a raffle for a human being? Snip from SJ Merc story:
"What's that? You say the program and host Barbara Walters have gone too far this time? What do you know about television? ABC knows a winner when it sees it and this is Nielsen gold, my friend. A reality show with a human life on the line -- all disguised as news programming.
Let the other shows have half-naked people betraying each other on a deserted island. Give them the half-naked people eating buckets of bug eyes. And the half-naked people putting up with Donald Trump. And the half-naked people trying to get other half-naked people to marry them."
to SJ Merc story, Link
to NY Post story (Thanks to several BB readers who pointed to this, including Iain Cooper
UPDATE: Stop press! The real scandal here? Celebrity spoon-bending psychic Uri Geller is outraged at news of the 20/20 baby giveaway episode. He's planning legal action, and claims he owns a worldwide patent on any reality TV show that involves winning a baby. "I will speak to my patent attorney," says Geller, "I own the idea." Whatever, dear BoingBoing readers, but let me set the record straight: I own the patent on any reality-TV show involving live mudwrestling smackdowns between Uri Geller and Barbara Walters, and I will personally bend the spoon of anyone who forgets it. Link to Reuters story.
UPDATE 2: BoingBoing reader Kevin T. Keith says: "As a matter of fact, Uri Geller does hold a patent for a reality TV show that involves competing to adopt a baby. You can view the patent by going to the Patent and Trademark Office's Applications search page here and entering the phrase "in/geller-uri" (without quotation marks) in the large search window. The world gets weirder and weirder."
UPDATE 3: BoingBoing reader Marc Ascolese, who is a patent attorney, says -- more or less -- not so fast, mister spoonbender:
The link included above takes you to the search site for published U.S. patent applications (not issued patents). This does not mean that a U.S. Patent has been granted. Under certain circumstances, the USPTO requires applications to be published. In fact, if you go here, and enter the application number for Geller's patent application (09/757609) you can see some current status information. Basically, the application has not been examined yet. Because this application has been classified in U.S. Class 705, we can expect that it will be examined pretty rigorously. It may be a long time before Geller has an issued U.S. Patent he can enforce. Class 705 is where most "business method" type applications end up. For more about that, look here. Who said being a patent attorney was dull!
Online clothing boutique Danger Dame offers some super-cool retro styles for wannabe vixens. Lace up, slink over to a barstool, and pretend you're in a Raymond Chandler novel with a tragic ending.
to Danger Dame shop. See also this lush new Taschen book, FILM NOIR
What is the mathematical, fractal relationship between shapes found in beehive honeycombs, a pineapple, tesselating hexagons, and African-American hair braiding? Dr. Gloria Gilmer, founding president of the International Study Group on Ethnomathematics, is glad you asked. Link