Dance Dance Resurrection

Jesus-themed variant of DDR (of *course* it's a hoax). Update: BoingBoing reader Ross Payton says, "It was actually created by a member of the forums who goes by the name None More Negative. It's a few years old."
Link; other recent BoingBoing posts on DDR 1, 2, 3. (millegrazie, mi piccolo snoodilio, also on Geisha)

Ukuleles for MassGeneral Hospital for Children Healing Arts Program

flea ukulele Over at my other blog, Ukulelia (which gets way more visitors than Boing Boing does, btw), my co-editor (Gary Peare) and I have set up a fund to donate Flea ukuleles to the MassGeneral Hospital for Children's Healing Arts Program (Here's an article about the program from The Boston Globe.) We've collected $518.95 so far, and our goal is to come up with $1100 (enough for 12 Flea ukuleles). If you want to donate, Gary and I would be grateful. All funds received will go towards the purchase and postage costs of ukes for the hospitalized kids. Link (Look for PayPal donate button in middle column).

Old wireless tech wanted for cellphone museum

Sean Bonner, my co-curator in the SENT phonecam art project, says:
While watching a documentary from 93 last night where people were running around with giant brick cell phones I decided I need to start collecting these things and make some kind of archive of them. If you have one of these things sitting in the closet somewhere let me know. Actually, I'm expanding this to any kind of old school gadgetry - old pagers, original PDAs, but really old cell phones are going to be the focus.

NASA/DARPA "Robonaut" and Boba Fett -- separated at birth?

BoingBoing reader Noah says,
DARPA, the folks behind the creepy eye in the pyramid Total (now Terrorist) Information Awareness logo, and the short-lived terrorism futures market (FutureMAP), have been at work on a robot for NASA that looks suspiciously like Boba Fett from Star Wars! Could it be an Episode 3 tie-in?

Art of being cold

03012204 Amateur digital photographer R. Todd King has posted a set of startlingly gorgeous photos of the snow and ice festival in Harbin, China.
"The temperature in Harbin reaches forty below zero, both farenheit and centigrade, and stays below freezing nearly half the year.  The city is actually further north than notoriously cold Vladivostok, Russia, just 300 miles away. So what does one do here every winter?  Hold an outdoor festival, of course! Rather than suffer the cold, the residents of Harbin celebrate it, with an annual festival of snow and ice sculptures and competitions. The festival officially runs from January 5 through February 15, but often opens a week early and runs into March, since it's usually still cold enough. This is the amazing sculpture made of snow greeting visitors to the snow festival in 2003." Link (Thanks, Michael-Anne!)

Red Mars: a very belated appreciation

I'm pretty well-read in the modern sf canon, but there are some gaps in there that are almost embarrassing in scope. Take Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars. This doorstopper, clocking in at nearly 800 pages, is the first volume in a trilogy of comparably-sized companion volumes, each of which depicts a different vision of the [dis|u]topiian establishment of a permanent human settlement on Mars. When Red Mars first came out, I was working at Bakka Books, the science fiction bookstore in Toronto, and there was something else in my queue that month, and one of my co-workers had already dived into it and was writing the shelf review, and it seemed like such a commitment that, well, I just never got around to it. With the publication of Green Mars and Blue Mars, it just got worse: if I couldn't clear enough schedule to read volume one, volumes two and three were impossible.

It wasn't that I didn't like Robinson's books. Quite the contrary, I adore them. Pacific Edge -- a gripping, rollicking utopian novel whose plot hinges on a zoning debate over the placement of a baseball diamond -- is one of my all-time favorite books. When Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom came out and the reviewers compared it to John Varley for the technology stuff, I was honoured, but the few reviews that compared it to Pacific Edge sent me over the moon: if Robinson could disrupt his utopia with a zoning fight and make it into a gripping tale, could I do the same with a fight over the politics of Disney ride fandom and design?

Like Red Mars, Pacific Edge is one volume in a trilogy that approaches utopia from three different angles. I haven't read the other two books in the trilogy, and that's a keen regret that I intend to do something about post-haste.

Because now I've finally read Red Mars, and I am agog at what may be the finest sf novel I've ever read. Red Mars has all the hard-sf window-dressing that many of us imagine when we think of sf: great and accessible tours through speculative cog sci, geology, astronomy, rocketry, physics, biology, genetics, and so on, until the head swims with the sheer scope of the research task Robinson set himself in this book.

But the hard science is just the skin, and the meat of this book -- as with Pacific Edge -- is the "soft" science: the complex play of the community of his vast cast of characters as they set out to advance their competing agendas, writing the future of Mars.

Robinson doesn't just shine here: he glows. There is this hard question at the core of every story of violent social upheaval, which is, how does collective action materialize? How is it steered? How does it go off the rails? How, in short, does stuff get done? Can a speech change the world? Can a bomb? Who gets to construct the consensus reality, and how do you disrupt it?

This is the stuff of Robinson's books: big, social questions answered through skilful point-of-view switches, fantastic characterization and fearless exposition.

In the beginning, a lot of sf was just technocrat fantasy: here's a cool new technology I've thought of, with a minimal narrative around it as a kind of turntable so that it can be rotated 360' and you, the reader, can appreciate its cleverness from all sides.

Later, sf writers took on the more ambitious challenge of predicting the social upheaval that tech could create, an approach embodied in the cliche that "the job of the sf writer is to consider the car and the movie-palace and invent the drive-in."

But Robinson goes many steps beyond this: he extrapolates the drive-in, then the sexual revolution, then the Boomers' nostalgia for the drive-in where they lost their virginity, and finally, their grown childrens' disdain for that nostalgia. There's an eerie prescience to these books that tells you that what's being written here is a deep and broad tale of social reconstruction on the micro, macro, nano and mezzoscales.

I just finished Red Mars on a BA flight from Vienna, and I was bitterly disappointed not to find Blue and Green Marses on sale at Heathrow, but I'll have them in my possession by dusk. I can't wait to read them. Link

Colorful Canadian holidays, part umptybillion: National Masturbation Month

BoingBoing pal in France Jean-Luc alerts us to the breaking news that May is National Masturbation Month in Canada.
G-Rap unit Stink Mitt will give a concert tomorrow: May 29 in Montreal at Le Swimming. StinkMitt will also participate in the Masturbate-A-Thon to encourage right-thinking Canadians everywhere to "Come for a Cause". Funds raised will be going to sex worker rights organizations Stella (Montreal) and Maggie's (Toronto). you can find a poster of his concert here.

Update: BoingBoing reader Casey says, "We also celebrate in the USA! Check out for more info."

Movie bits you didn't get to see photoshopping

Today on Worth1000's photoshopping contest: "Movie scenes you didn't get to see." Lots of subtle funny stuff here. Link

Cory's Vienna photos

I had a killer day in Vienna today -- I am here to give a couple of talks at the LinuxWeek event in MuseumsQuartier. My hosts took me through Prater Park, a cool old amusement park, and then to a beer garden in the old Swiss World's Fair pavillion where I got an entire roast haunch of pig (!), then Monochrom staged a performance of the world's first "massively multiplayer thumbwrestling tournament." I shot a ton of pix -- here they are. Link

Toronto-set Bollywood movie

Ouchless sez, "My mother found this Bollywood-esque film "poster" completely by accident. The movie is titled 'Coxwell and Gerrard', which is the main intersection in Toronto's Little India." Link (Thanks, Ouchless!)

Airplane grounded by praying pentecostals

A pair of Pentecostal preachers grounded a plane when they panicked passengers and pilots, saying 9/11 was "a good reason to pray."
One preacher told fellow passengers as the Continental Airlines plane taxied down the runway, "Your last breath on earth is the first one in heaven as long as you are born again and have Jesus in your heart," according to FBI spokesman Paul Moskal. Passengers on the Wednesday flight to Newark, New Jersey told a flight attendant, who alerted the plane's captain, officials said. The captain turned the plane around. "They were sincere in their beliefs and were not malicious," Moskal said by telephone from Buffalo. "In the context of 9/11 it may not have been the best way to promote their religion."
Link (Thanks, Mike)

More RIAA lawsuits, more bizarre tales of unsuspecting defendants

I'm fresh out of snarky intros. Just too bizarre, and too wrong. As one reader on the pho mailing list quipped to this tale of a single mom defendant, "What's next -- breaking kneecaps?"
Tammy Lafky has a computer at home but said she doesn't use it. "I don't know how," the 41-year-old woman said, somewhat sheepishly. But her 15-year-old daughter, Cassandra, does. And what Cassandra may have done, like millions of other teenagers and adults around the world, landed Lafky in legal hot water this week that could cost her thousands of dollars.

Lafky, a sugar mill worker and single mother in Bird Island, a farming community 90 miles west of St. Paul, became the first Minnesotan sued by name by the recording industry this week for allegedly downloading copyrighted music illegally. The lawsuit has stunned Lafky, who earns $12 an hour and faces penalties that top $500,000. (...)

A record company attorney from Los Angeles contacted Lafky about a week ago, telling Lafky she could owe up to $540,000, but the companies would settle for $4,000. "I told her I don't have the money," Lafky said. "She told me to go talk to a lawyer and I told her I don't have no money to talk to a lawyer." Lafky said she clears $21,000 a year from her job and gets no child support.


The Rance Who Wasn't There

OK, no one really believes he's Owen Wilson, George Clooney, or Mister Potatohead anymore -- but we still don't know who Rance is. The true identity of the much-hyped Hollywood blogger is the subject of a Reuters story today. WhatEVER. I mean, "Who's Rance" is like, so Friday April 9, 2004. "Who's Defamer" is what I want to know. Link to "Hollywood mystery man has Internet abuzz."

OS X update has Bluetooth caller ID

Gadget Lab's Brian Lam sez: "I noticed that you covered bluephonemenu in the past, so figured I'd drop a line about the new os x panther update. I was just reading the update details and saw this :

"Dialog windows for incoming phone calls and SMS messages for a paired Bluetooth phone now appear in the foreground."

I just tested it. You have to pair your bluetooth phone in address book, and a little pop up comes up, like bluephonemenu. The dialog choices are: add card/log call, sms reply, hang up, answer.

Log call puts the time and date of the call in the address book entry

Unfortunately, the pop up box doesn't show an image of the person calling - that would be freakin' cool

For SMS, the pop-up box has the dialog choices: log sms, reply, and ok.

It's pretty good, and stable, but doesn't sit in the system tray like bluephonemenu. Link

Peter Orosz sez: "This feature was available in 10.3.0 and may have been available as far back as in 10.2.4. What actually makes it useful this time around is the caller-window-to-the-foreground feature. Previously, calls and sms's would still come in but remain lodged behind your other windows and you would find them hours after the call (since the address book is not usually your topmost window)."

Jack Black to star in movie adaptation of Rudy Rucker novel

Variety reports that Rudy Rucker's fantastic 1984 novel, Master of Space and Time (you can buy it used on Amazon for $0.01), is going to adapted into a movie. It'll be directed by Michel Gondry, who directed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and will star Jack Black. Link (subscription required)