Boing Boing 

Lessig launches UK CC licenses in London, Oct 4

Larry Lessig is coming to London on Oct 4 to launch the UK Creative Commons licenses!
Professor Lawrence Lessig, Stanford University Law School

12-2pm Monday 4 October 2004

Edward Lewis Theatre, Windeyer Building, UCL, Cleveland Street, London W1


Interstellar sugar cloud: not Atkins-compliant

An enormous cloud of high-carb, life-giving frozen sugar has been discovered at the end of the Milky Way.
Molecules of a simple sugar, glycolaldehyde, were detected in a cloud of gas and dust called Sagittarius B2 about 26,000 light years away.

Observations indicated large quantities of the sugar frozen to a temperature only a few degrees above absolute zero, the point at which all molecular movement stops.

Link (via Futurismic)

Computer industry to entertainment industry: we lied (right on!)

This amazing open letter to the entertainment industry, signed by the computer industry, is a nigh-perfect expression of what constitutes a successful approach to Internet technology. And it made me laugh my ass off.
We lied to you. In the golden 80s and 90s we told you micropayments and content protection would work; that you would be able to charge minuscule amounts of money whenever someone listened to your music or watched your movie. We told you untruths which we well knew would never work - after all, we would've never used them ourselves. Instead, we wrote things like Kazaa and Gnutella, and all other evil P2P applications to get the stuff free.

We told you these things so that you would finance the things we really wanted to build, not the things that you wanted to be built. We knew all along that DRM schemes do not work, and we knew that whatever we create can be broken by us. We don't care anymore, because your money made us bigger than you.

Look at us: every year, we churn out more computer games than your entire industry is worth. You know how we do it? We like our customers. We don't treat them like potential criminals, and try to make our products do less. We invent new things like online role-playing -games, where the money does not come from duplication of bits (which cannot be stopped, regardless of your DRM scheme) but from providing experiences that the people want.

We saw that you were old and weak. So we took advantage of it: told you things that you wanted to hear so we could kick you in the head in twenty years. Some of us told you that the future is going to be interactive - what did you do? You started to think how to make interactive movies (CD-I, anyone?), which is not what it really means, while we wrote games and tried to understand the new mediums, not how to bolt it on onto old things.

We lied to you. And we apologize for that, but it was for the greater good. So we're not the least bit sorry.

Signed: The Computer Industry

Link (via Blackbeltjones)

Gravity Lamp -- lighting design concept

The "Gravity" lamp reclines and goes to sleep when you're not in the room. When you enter, it awakens, stands up, and turns on.

Fun Furde says, "The Gravity is equal parts cute and creepy. Cute because it's sort of like a pet that's happy to see you when you come home. Creepy because it's a lamp that moves by itself! No idea if they're actually going to make this or how much it will cost if they do. Or how they keep the lightbulb from smashing when it hits the ground."


Plane diverted over former Cat Stevens as security risk

BoingBoing reader Greg says, "I thought that the No-Fly list was scrapped, but it turns out it was just renamed."
A plane bound for Washington from London was diverted to Maine on Tuesday after passenger Yusuf Islam - formerly known as pop singer Cat Stevens - showed up on a U.S. watch list, federal officials said. One official said Islam, 56, was identified by the Advanced Passenger Information System, which requires airlines to send passenger information to U.S. Customs and Border Protection's National Targeting Center. TSA was then contacted and requested that the plane land at the nearest airport, the official said.
Link to AP news story. John Battelle comes up with an infinitely better hed for this post than I: Link

Zapping the brain's fear center

Researchers at New York University claim to have located the part of the brain that "extinguished fear."
In their experiments, the researchers presented the subjects with either blue or yellow squares. One color was associated with a mild electric shock. Using this method, the subjects acquired a fear of the colored square associated with the shock.

Phelps's team then extinguished the fear response by presenting the colored square associated with the shock, first with a gradually reduced shock and then with no shock at all.

Link (via Futurismic)

Comic Art #6 on sale

comicartI picked up issue #6 of Comic Art magazine last week. What a treat. sethThere's a long article about Seth (creator of Palookaville) with plenty of pictures, including a cardboard city he built (seen on the cover) and a page from his sketchbook (which I scanned here -- incredible! Click on thumb for enlargement). Unfortunately, no pictures of Seth. I've only seen other people's drawings of Seth. (He's always wearing a vintage hat and suit and chain smoking when people draw him.)

6dThere's another article about Virgil Partch (aka "VIP"), a delightfully wacky cartoonist from the 40s and 50s. If you look closely at the hands on VIP's characters, you'll notice that they have more than five fingers. Sometimes they have as many as 12 fingers on a hand! He did this because he used to work at Disney, where he was forced to draw four-fingered characters. The extras fingers were his way of evening the score.

The price of Comic Art is $9, which is a good deal, because it's glossy color throughout. Link

UPDATE: Aaron sez: In response to Mark's post on Comic Art #6 where he mentioned never seeing a photo of Seth, I figured I'd point him over to the NYTimes article from July 11th. Along with a great interview of Seth, Joe Sacco, Chester Brown, Adrian Tomine, and Art Spiegelman, there's a nice photo of them all together. Seth is in the top right of the photo. Link

Eddie Campbell interviewed in The Graphic Novel Review

Great, long interview with Eddie Campbell in The Graphic Novel Review.
One problem, for instance, is that when a paper like Publishers Weekly does a spread on the graphic novel, they need to justify it with some advertising. And who can afford that kind of ad? DC of course, so the image of the latest Batman paperback will dominate the page, and any blather we spout about the serious intent of the graphic novel will be somewhat wasted.

Zombie apocalypse novels serialized

Wireless Ink is offering two serialized science fiction novels called Monster Island and "Monster Nation".
Monster Island is a 60 chapter serial novel published to mobile phones under Creative Commons license by David Wellington (an indie author) about a Zombie Apocalypse in New York City. Monster Nation, the second novel in the trilogy, will be available in September 2004.
Mobile Link (Also available at under "Featured Sites.")

UPDATE: Jef sez: [Here's] the full webpage for David Wellington's "Monster Island". The mobile phone serial concept is dandy, but the winksite pages contain very little content per click, which is necessary for mobiles, but frustrating if you want to read it online or cut/paste to upload to a PDA.

UPDATE: David Harper of Winksite sez: "Great point about reading Monster Island from the desktop. Let me explain a bit on what is going on. When you point your browser to Monster Island ( you are presented with a version appropriate for your mobile phone or PDA. The version that pops up when you enter that address from a PC is intended to emulate/demo the mobile experience. We certainly would not expect or suggest anyone to read the novel from their desktop in that manner.

The mobile version of Monster Nation, the prequel to Island just launched today at and can be reached from your desktop at Chapters are posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Over the next couple of weeks feeds of each of the novels will be made available for syndication. In addition, as each novel in the trilogy is completed, a downloadable PDF version will be made available under Creative Commons license.

UPS wants its shirt back

Darren sez, "A month or so ago, you guys referenced an entry about my UPS shirt. I though you might be interested in this follow-up.

"The blogosphere giveth, and the blogosphere taketh away. UPS got wind that I had one of their shirts, and they called and want it back. Here's my description of the first call. And here's my explanation today of why I'm giving it back.

Weinberger: "free access to every work of creativity in the world is a better world"

David Weinberger, author of the brilliant and seminal Small Pieces Loosely Joined, has posted a draft of a great speech on copyright that he's giving at the World Economic Forum in NYC tomorrow:
[F]or one moment, I'd like you to perform an exercise in selective attention. Forget every other consideration – even though they're fair and important considerations – and see if you can acknowledge that a world in which everyone has free access to every work of creativity in the world is a better world. Imagine your children could listen to any song ever created anywhere. What a blessing that would be!

...We publish stuff that gets its meaning and its reality by being read, viewed or heard. An unpublished novel is about as meaningful and real as an imaginary novel. It needs its readers to be. But readers aren't passive consumers. We reimagine the book, we complete the vision of the book. Readers appropriate works, make them their own. Listeners and viewers, too. In making a work public, artists enter into partnership with their audience. The work succeeds insofar as the audience makes it their own, takes it up, understands it within their own unpredictable circumstances. It leaves the artist's hands and enters our lives. And that's not a betrayal of the work. That's its success. It succeeds insofar as we hum it, quote it, appropriate it so thoroughly that we no longer remember where the phrase came from. That's artistic success, although it's a branding failure.

Link (via

Globe and Mail site jumps the shark

Misha sez:
The Toronto Globe and Mail has totally re-jigged their web site.

1) You need to register to see just about anything

2) Worse: From a quick glance, most of the feature writing, editorials, columns, etc now requires a *paid* subscription. They want $14.95/month for access to this. Even if you already subscribe to the print edition, they want you to pony up an extra $6.95 a month for full access to the web site.

Ah well, one more reason to get your news elsewhere. Link (Thanks, Misha!)

Elvis Costello disclaims antipiracy warnings on his own CD

Elvis Costello's new CD "The Delivery Man" is plastered with obnoxious FBI anti-piracy warnings. Over these is this legend: "THE ARTIST DOES NOT ENDORSE THE FOLLOWING WARNING. THE FBI DOESN'T HAVE HIS HOME PHONE NUMBER AND HE HOPES THAT THEY DON'T HAVE YOURS. Link (Thanks, Gary!)

HOWTO defeat Pentagon censorware and cast absentee ballots

The Pentagon is blocking websites that help overseas military personnel cast absentee ballots in the upcoming Federal election. The Verified Voter Foundation has initiated a program to create a distributed mirror of absentee voting info and to provide anonymizing proxy services to defeat the military's unconstitutional censorware.
The International Herald Tribune reported on September 20th that "the Pentagon has begun restricting international access to the official Web site intended to help overseas absentee voters cast ballots." Pentagon spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Ellen Krenke confirmed that a number of Internet service providers worldwide had been blacklisted "to thwart hackers." Such measures are generally recognized to be ineffective against hackers while blocking legitimate users.

Apparently, the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website is now blocked to civilians overseas trying to find out how to obtain absentee ballots in at least 25 countries--including Japan, France, Great Britain, and Spain--although military personnel overseas have other mechanisms for requesting absentee ballots.


Cory's DRM talk as a print-centric PDF

Change This, the org that publishes manifestos on the Web as print-centric, beautifully laid-out PDFs, has republished my Microsoft DRM speech as a printable, laid-out, typographically sophisticated and pretty PDF. How cool! Link