Boing Boing 

Group woman-gamer blog -- UPDATED

Fragdolls is a group-blog run by woman gamers. The entries alternate between tales of heroic gaming deeds and gripes about boys who borrow media and fail to return it -- gripping stuff! Link (Thanks, Nate!)
Update: James Everett sez, "you'll notice that Fragdolls is sponsored by UbiSoft, one of the largest publisher/developers around. While mentioning games they play they certainly don't do anything obvious like talk about strictly UbiSoft titles, and their favorite games lists include Nintendo titles like Zelda and Pikmin. But closer inspection reveals that they've tried SOCOM II and blogged about not liking it for one reason or another (mostly valid criticisms it looks like) while simultaneously talking about how much they can't wait for Ghost Recon 2, Ubi's competing military shooter title."

Update #2: Simon sez, "Thought you might be interested to know that I did some more digging into that Fragdolls link that someone sent in to you, and someone else pointed out was actually some pretty insidious stealth marketing.

Build your own Batphone

Step-by-step instructions for making your own light-up, buzzing, working Batphone with its own cake-dome -- killer! Link (Thanks, Dave!)

Printable Star Wars masks

Check out these downloadable, printable Star Wars Gen 1 masks reproduced from the 1983 classic, "The Star Wars Book of Masks." Link (Thanks, Bonnie!)

Nintendo v. Suicide Girls flap immortalized in online comic strip

Penny Arcade features a funny comic about the happily-resolved Nintendo v. Suicide Girls flap. News of that now infamous lawyer-gaffe was first posted here on BoingBoing. Link to Penny Arcade comic, and links (one, two, and three) to previous BoingBoing posts on the topic.

Sean Bonner's dispatches from 35th anniversary of Internet event

I'm sitting inside a UCLA auditorium, next to my friend Sean Bonner. He's been posting blog dispatches from the event all day. Since word got out ahead of time that there would be WiFi here but few electrical outlets, Sean even brought a long extension cord and a power strip to share juice with people. That's how cool he is. Here's a list of Sean's 35th Anniversary of The Internet Conference posts:

* Morning (Link): Bright Side: "Gorillas of the Internet," John Markoff, Gordon Bell, Henry Samueli, Patrick P. Gelsinger, Robert J. Aiken
* Session #2 (Link): Tim O'Reilly, John Perry Barlow, Dan Gillmor, Dave Patterson, Larry Press
* Lunch: (Link) Eric Schmidt and Leonard Kleinrock
* Session #3 (Link) -- The Young Side: The Indigenous Digital Generation. Alan Kay, Clay Shirky, danah boyd, Ethan Zuckerman, Xeni Jardin.
* Session #4 (Link): The Future Side: Pioneers and Visionaries. Bran Ferren, Vinton G. Cerf, Robert E. Kahn, Leonard Kleinrock, and Lawrence G. Roberts

Link to event home.

Japanese rock band cosplayers

Scott sez, "Elaborate, post apocalyptic fan-cosplay photos from outside a Tokyo (I think) concert of Dir En Grey. Costumes are mostly too unusual to describe, but gothic nurses, japanese nazis, pregnant schoolgirls come close for some of the pics." Link (Thanks Scott!)

Saddam statue leg up for auction

saddamlegJens Thiel sez: "A small German auction platform presumably has the left leg of the famous giant bronze statue of Saddam in Baghdad on sale, the CNN-one. Reverse auction price dropping, currently at 82 k euro. The auction is in English and German, there's loads of pics. Link

Air Force report on Teleportation Physics

Chris sez: "I subscribe to Steven Aftergood's Federation of American Scientist's Project on Government Secrecy 'Secrecy News' mailing list (that was a mouthful). It's an outstanding (and usually very dry) source of semi-classified material. Steven's been featured on The Daily Show and NPR's On the Media, among a lot of other media outlets. The following was the last entry on today's e-mail, dealing with Air Force research on psychokenisis and recommends further government experimentation to develop the USA's psychokenisis capabilities. It's a true story that I doubt Vonnegut could improve upon..."
The Air Force Research Laboratory has paid for and published a new study on "teleportation physics," referring to the disembodied transport of objects across space.

The author strives to distinguish his subject from the fictional Star Trek "transporter" concept, and notes that "we are still very far away from being able to ... teleport human beings (and even simpler biological entities such as cells, etc.) and bulk inanimate objects...."

But after fifty pages of opaque physics, he concludes with an endorsement of remote viewing, psychokinesis and spoon bending by psychic Uri Geller.

"During a talk that he gave at the U.S. Capitol building, Uri caused a spoon to curve upward with no force applied, and then the spoon continued to bend after he put it back down and continued with his talk," he reports.


Transcript of Google CEO's remarks at 35th Internet Anniversary

I'm at the "35th Anniversary of the Internet" event in Los Angeles, and Google CEO Eric Schmidt is speaking with UCLA professor Leonard Kleinrock. Here is a partial, rough transcript of Mr. Schmidt's remarks.
We allocate about 70% of our resources to our core business and 30% to "other" because we never know what that other will become. We also ask our employees to spend 20% of their time on exploration, and those tend to be complementary to our core.

Our agenda tends to be driven by a bottoms-up process not so much traditional strategic planning. Google is trying to solve the next problem not the last problem.

[ Question: Was it serendipity that made google what it became? ] I think the word is luck. The principles from which Google was built do exist in other indstries. Ours is a reproducable model, and others may end up reproducing it and solving other problems. We're just seeing the beginning of this.

Good management is not that complicated, it's about leadership. Some managers need to micromanage everything, but that doesn't produce creativity. If you can figure out a way to tell a story, that's how people learn. they have a beginning middle and an end. if you have the right kind of people and the right kind of values, that can work. The great thing about high tech is that labor is very mobile, and if you want to deal with other people, you are forced to deal with them as peers and equals.

There are many uses of the net that are not touched by Google. Peer to peer, and the majority of email traffic. It's very important that people work on internet monitoring, internet scaling, all of the next generation projects -- I don't think any single one is of dominant importance.

We're in a real time world where people who need to collaborate can do so instantly. That has a downside because evil people can collaborate quickly, as well as the good guys, but the overwhelming effect is very positive.

Software businesses, intellectual property businesses have good cashflow if they're run right. A friend who went to business school once told me the only rule you need to know is DNROOC. Do not run out of cash. For us the decision to go public was viewed as a neccesary thing but not something we needed for our operations. People were surprised about the fact that the decision to go public was such a last minute thing, which it was -- we made the decision hours before we filed. We then went through the whole process which was of course widely covered and entertaining in lots of ways. At the end of it, we flew back to our offices and went back to work. Following Monday we had a one hour biefing about what we felt we did right or wrong. We had one of the executives announce the "end of the IPO," and we haven't talked about it since.

The company is about end users changing the world, the good and bad things they're doing out there. It's not about the IPO.

Information on the internet has a very long tail (Ed. Note: referring to Chris Anderson's recent article in Wired.)There are very few things that the entire world is interested in at the same time. The vast majority of people out there are very much engaged in their own daily lives, in a local context very different than yours or mine.

The other thing to remember is that the average person does not want to debug their computer. We prefer instead the idea of a person typing something in and Google -- or someone else -- figuring things out for you. But very few things are organized around that principle of simplicity; we love and appreciate the complexity in technology but people using the internet really don't want that. When you see an ease of use breakthrough, it's such a wonderful thing.

Link to "35th Anniversary of the Internet" event site.

Tiny Humans update #5 -- hobbit hair found in cave?

The Age: "The discovery of hair in the Indonesian cave in which a new species of hobbit-sized humans was found has raised Australian scientists' hopes of obtaining their DNA. "If it's hobbit hair, we will be screaming with delight," said Bert Roberts, a member of the Australian-Indonesian team that surprised the world on Wednesday with its discovery that the previously unknown human cousins barely a metre tall had survived until at least 13,000 years ago on the island of Flores." Link

Tiny Humans update #4

Scientific American interviews Peter Brown, who led the startling discovery of Boing Boing's new mascot, the meter-tall human species Homo floresiensis that lived on the Indonesian island of Flores as recently as 13,000 years ago.
"Looking at the distribution of small-bodied animals around the world today, they tend to occur in rainforests... And certainly that's where small-bodied humans tend to be found. We don't know much about the paleoenvironment on Flores yet, but everything's consistent with it being heavily rainforested back in the Pleistocene and probably heavily rainforested until agricultural humans arrived and started clearing the rainforest. The fauna is consistent with that sort of environment as well. Maybe there just wasn't a lot to eat. The island is only about 14,000 square kilometers, there's not a lot of it there. So I think the most likely scenario is that as part of their adaptation to [having fewer] calories living in a rainforest--and maybe thermoregulation as well--there was this long-term selection for smaller body size."

Eyedropper contact lenses

Scientists at Singapore's Institute of Bioengieering and Nanotechnology have developed contact lenses that deliver eye medication to treat diseases like glaucoma. From New Scientist:
"If the drug is water-soluble, it will be trapped within a network of tiny inter-connected, water-filled channels in the material. If it’s water-insoluble, it will be trapped within nano-spaces in the polymer matrix, and slowly leach out into the channels. In contact with fluid on the eyeball, these channels open up and release the drug."

NASA image expert says Bush was wearing a device during debates

shirtDr. Robert M. Nelson is a NASA senior research scientist for NASA and according to Salon, an "international authority on image analysis. Currently he's engrossed in analyzing digital photos of Saturn's moon Titan, determining its shape, whether it contains craters or canyons." He used Photoshop filters to outline the bugle on President Bush's back seen during the first debate, and concludes that it is some kind of "device."

However, our President sheepishly admitted it was "a poorly-tailored shirt." Poor guy. We should send him some money for a shirt that doesn't have big rectangular pooch and a rope hanging from it. Link

Camera flash nanowelding

UCLA chemists have welded together nanofibers using an ordinary camera flash.
"I was very surprised," (professor Richard) Kaner said. "My graduate student, Jiaxing Huang, decided to take some pictures of his polyaniline nanofibers one evening when he heard a distinct popping sound and smelled burning plastic. Jiaxing recalled a paper that we had discussed during a group meeting reporting that carbon nanotubes burned up in response to a camera flash. By adjusting the distance of the camera flash to his material, he was able to produce smooth films with no burning, making this new discovery potentially useful."
The technique could also enable polyaniline nanofibers to be used as a solder of sorts, so that other polymers (plastics) can be welded together. Such an approach would be useful in the construction of myriad nanoscale devices such as chemical sensors and membranes. Link

Eye Spirits

Paul Devereux wrote an interesting article for Fortean Times about macular degeneration, a common cause of vision loss for elderly people. Why is an eye disease interesting to forteans who study unusual phenomenon? Some sufferers experience amazingly strange hallucinations as the brain "fills in" what the eyes are missing.
"The research reveals that the hallucinations can last from a few seconds to several hours and can be of many things, both familiar and unfamiliar to the person viewing them. Hallucinatory content can include inanimate objects, people, animals, plants and bunches of flowers, trees, and complete scenes. Some people see strange things such as monsters, shining angels, or transparent figures floating in a ghostly manner through rooms and hallways."

Anti magnetic ribbon site

antimagnetThis guy is irritated by those little magnetic stickers that look like ribbons. So he is selling anti-ribbons.
Why are you doing this?

We believe that there is strong possibility that the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan might be a little far away or maybe even a little too busy to be checking out the pseudopatriotic magnet on the back of a 1986 Geo Metro as it drives down I-95 or sits in an Olive Garden parking lot.

Why do you hate America?

We don't hate America, we hate that people think slapping a stupid magnet on the back of their car has meaning. Mostly everyone in this country supports the troops and hopes they will return safely. Maybe you should be telling them directly in person, on the phone or in a letter and not driving around with a big magnetic banner you probably got at Wal*Mart that simply attempts to prove to everybody but the troops that you support the troops more than everybody else.


AOL attempts to shame customer from unsubscribing

Jim Hanas sez: "Thought you and your readers might get a kick out of this post, in which an AOL cust service rep -- as I was trying to cancel my account -- asked me what I used the internet for, and when I said I didn't want to answer any questions, he asked if I was 'ashamed' of what I used the internet for.

"John Ashcroft, is that you?" Link

Idiocy of the Do Not Fly List

From Ubiquity Magazine
Deirdre McNamer (how appropriate) wrote a story in The New Yorker magazine in October 2002 about a 28-year-old pinko-gray-skinned, blue-eyed, red-blond-haired criminal called Christian Michael Longo who used the alias 'John Thomas Christopher.' His alias was placed on the DNFL used by the Transportation Security Administration. He was arrested in January 2002 but his alias was not removed from the DNFL. On March 23, 2002, 70-year-old brown-skinned, dark-eyed, gray-haired grandmother Johnnie Thomas was informed that she was on the master terrorist list and would have special security measures applied every time she flew. Indeed, the poor lady found that she was repeatedly delayed by a scurry of activity when she presented her tickets at an airline counter, extra X-rays of her checked baggage, supplementary examination of her hand-baggage and extra wanding at the entrance gates. On one occasion she was told that she had graduated to the exalted status labeled, 'Not allowed to fly.' She discovered that there was no method available for having 'her' name removed from the DNFL; indeed, one person from her local FBI office dismissively told her to hire a lawyer (although ironically, he refused to identify himself). An employee of the TSA informed her that 'four other law-abiding John Thomases had called to complain.'

Iraq update on Bush website blocking non-US vistors

BoingBoing readers from Austria to China to Zimbabwe wrote in to follow up on our post (Link) about President George W. Bush's website blocking non-US visitors with an "access denied" response. One American reader said, "Yeah, well come November 2 I'm planning to give HIM an 'access denied' response with my vote." One BoingBoing reader who requests anonymity updates us the Iraq factor:
I'm the Chief Technical Officer for a satellite internet and network services provider with offices in Baghdad and Arbil, Iraq. We have over 500 installed sites in Iraq, all of them since the end of the war - I came over 15 months ago. Many of those sites are military, and I may be able to provide some new information for you. Yes, my customers are also blocked from accessing Dubya's site. I can't say I really care - I'm a flaming liberal and he lost my vote when his father was still president. But the act itself is particularly odious.

We resell satellite bandwidth on several different satellite providers, among them Hughes Network Systems, Europe, and Tachyon Networks, Europe. All of those customers are shut out. Most military users here have these choices for internet:

1. NIPRNET, the non-classified network the military uses for communications, including AKO (the military mail system).
2. Filtered, proxied systems provided by Segovia or KBR. Locked down by Websence and filtered against most "offensive" content.
3. No internet.
4. Paying personal money for a private connection.

In general, support units such as the US Army Corps of Engineers have access to military internet options. The USACE builds NIPRNET, after all. But the common infantry units have little or no access except what they can scrounge up from personal funds. We sell a lot of cheap end-user satellite systems to these units. These systems aren't cheap by US / terrestrial standards - a 512x128 kbit shared-bandwidth satellite connection is $275 per month, and it goes up - way up - from there.

Those with access to #1 or #2 probably have access to Dubya's site and anything else that attempts to segregate network access by geography. The rest of us will not.

Link to previous BB post on "Bush website blocks non-US visitors"

Steven Johnson's next: "Everything Bad Is Good For You"

Steven Johnson, author of the wonderful books Emergence and Mind Wide Open, has just blogged soem info about his next book, "Everything Bad Is Good For You."
It's just me trying to marshal all the evidence I can to persuade the reader of a single long-term trend: that popular culture on average has been steadily growing more complex and cognitively challenging over the past thirty years. The dumbing-down, instant gratification society assumption has it completely wrong. Popular entertainment is making us smarter and more engaged, not catering to our base instincts.

I call this long-term trend the Sleeper Effect, after that famous Woody Allen joke from his mock sci-fi film where a team of scientists from 2029 are astounded that 20th-century society failed to grasp the nutritional merits of cream pies and hot fudge. (In conversation, I sometimes describe this book as the Atkins diet for pop culture.) Over the course of the book, I look at everything from Grand Theft Auto to "24," from Finding Nemo to "Dallas," from "Hill Street Blues" to "The Sopranos," from "Oprah" to "The Apprentice." There's some material about the internet, too, though less than you might suspect.

Link (Thanks, Steven!)

Nerd folksongs

Jonathan Coulton is a nerd folksinger who writes and performs anthemic, heartfelt songs about laptops, IKEA, fractals, and other geeky subjects. Link (Thanks, Rose!)

Voter fraud against Democrats

This fraudulent letter was sent to a largely Democratic area in Ohio. Link

Instant death and a $200 fine

Steve Jurvetson snapped this great sign and posted it to Flickr -- how the hell do they collect? Link

Internet Vets for Truth launch election-week download blowout

An anonymous tipster points us to the launch of an election-related download project organized by a group called "Internet Veterans for Truth." If you're familiar with P2P-politics, you get the basic idea -- though the projects are not related, and don't follow the same content-gathering process.

The site features excerpts (and some full-length downloads) from features including Going Upriver, Farenheit 9/11, Uncovered, a bunch of Jon Stewart and Daily Show clips, and Eminem's Mosh video.

Snip from the site:

Subject: The Rumors On the Internets Are True!

The INTERNETS VETERANS FOR TRUTH have launched a new pre-election campaign, "Never Forget," at in an effort to educate the voting public prior to the November 2nd election.

The website features documentary content highlighting the records of both George W. Bush and John Kerry. The Internets Veterans for truth invite you to view this documentary evidence as well as to enjoy the social and political commentary of Jon Stewart, Eminem, and others.

We know the rumors on the Internets are true. We invite you to visit and decide for yourself. And please, pass this on to our fellow Americans. Let's blogroll.

Link. Everything's free, natch.

Xeni on Australian national radio about 35th anniversary of 'Net

Earlier today I was a guest on the breakfast show of Australia's ABC Radio National, along with professors Leonard Kleinrock and Alex Halavais. The occasion: an event in LA tomorrow commemorating the 35th anniversary of the internet. (Event link). Here's the list of participants.

Kleinrock is from the Computing Sciences Department at the UCLA, and is credited with having sent the first email-type message in 1969. I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around how badass that is. I am planning to ask him to autograph my laptop tomorrow. Mr. Halavais is assistant professor at the School of Informatics at the University at Buffalo. He studies really interesting stuff! Here's a snip from the show summary:

It's the internet's thirty-fifth birthday today. Like any baby, when it was born in 1969, the Internet looked nothing like the grown-up version of today which networks millions of computers. Back then, it linked just a handful of computers. It was the brainchild of researchers from the University of California who wanted to send data from one computer to several others at the same time.

On this day in 1969, a message we might now call an email was sent from UCLA to nearby Stanford University. The moment the 'send' button was hit, a new era of global communications began.

Link to archived radio show, with streaming sound online (in RealAudio only, sorry).

For those of you in Los Angeles tomorrow who plan to stopy by the event -- here's a tip, if you're hoping to blog-while-confabbing. Bring batteries! They'll have wifi in the house, but no electrical outlets in the room where the conference is taking place. Only 50 or 60 IPs available, too, so connectivity could be tough to access if a lot of bloggers show up. See you there!

UK Creative Commons article

Becky Hogge has written an excellent piece in today's Guardian about the Creative Commons in honour of the upcoming Creative Commons UK launch.
On November 1, a group of new copyright licences will be released in the UK, arriving from the US under the umbrella of Creative Commons (CC). The project is the brainchild of Stanford University's law professor Lawrence Lessig, and the licences allow artists to move away from traditional copyright's "all rights reserved" towards a more digital age-friendly "some rights reserved". The different types of licence allow artists to choose which rights they wish to maintain. They could keep the right to exploit works for commercial gain, to veto derivative works or ask to be credited each time their work is reproduced. In turn, those encountering CC licensed works on the internet know immediately how the original artist feels about the use of that work without having to ring lawyers.
Link (Thanks, Becky!)

Work on Brit Library's Free Software archival crawler!

Mark sez, "I run the web archiving programme at the British Library and I've just posted a tender for the development of a smart archiving crawler. The smart crawler is to be free software under the GNU General Public License (GPL). The project may be of interest to BB readers in the search, document classification and ranking, digital library, or archiving space."
The British Library and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France are embarking on a programme to archive resources on the World Wide Web in their respective national domains. To achieve this programme, the British Library as lead partner wishes to tender for a contract to multiple suppliers to provide development services and/or software technology for a Smart Archiving Crawler. This will comprise of a framework controlling and interacting with Heritrix, the Internet Archive's open source archiving web crawler, and modules which provide prioritisation capabilities using document thematic analysis and link weighting.
113k Word Link (Thanks, Mark!)

Nintendo apologizes to Suicide Girls!

Nintendo sent the email below to the good people at Suicide Girls. Background here and here.

We would like to apologize to you and to those who frequent the website for inadvertently contacting you about a fan posting on the website.

We know that many of our fans are old enough to make their own choice about what they want to view on the Internet. We value the support of our fans and we respect their decisions. The letter was sent as part of an ongoing Nintendo program to aggressively protect our younger consumers from the hundreds of sexually-explicit sites each year that use Nintendo properties to attract children. We are proud of our efforts in this area. Unfortunately, the site posting identified in our letter was targeted by mistake.

As a gesture of goodwill, we would like to offer you (and RuneLateralus) a free Nintendo video game system and game of your choice. (...)

In addition, we would appreciate it if you could provide us with contact information for RuneLateralus, or have him contact us directly, so that we may apologize to him. We would be glad to send him a game and system of his choice through you as well, since we do not have his contact information.

Christie Hamilton
Nintendo of America Inc.
Consumer Service Department

What do George Lakoff and Jenna Jameson have in common?

Bonnie Powell points us to this incredibly odd story from the folks at Chelsea Green, the publisher of cognitive linguist George Lakoff's latest book Don't Think of an Elephant! (Previous BB posts about Lakoff here and here.)
Following reports that George Lakoff's political work Don't Think of an Elephant! had made the Booksense and San Francisco Chronicle paperback bestseller lists, Chelsea Green received word that the book had made #30 on the NY Times paperback list. We were ecstatic, but troubled to see that the book was listed with the wrong author (Howard Dean) and wrong publisher (Ballantine). When president and publisher Margo Baldwin called the Times to correct the information, she was told that the book was no longer on the list at all, as it had been reclassified as a How-To/Self-Help book.
The email exchange between Baldwin and the New York Times is funny, and sad. Link

Vintage scary Halloween sounds on MP3

shiverfront Terrifying (ly cheesy) sound effects from an old LP. Great stuff. Link (via PCL Linkdump)