Boing Boing 

Erotokitsch master: Boris Vallejo

Reflecting on the intergalactic love-art of Boris Vallejo, BoingBoing pal Siege opines:

"I recently stumbled across this online gallery of Boris Vallejo's paintings. A few days ago my mom had informed me that she had just scored an awesome calendar of his work, and snagged it for me, remembering that when I was a little kid I used to teach myself drawing with his paintings."

"Boris was the Botticelli of the trailer park. My dream (not yet dead) was to have a jacked-up molester van, regally decorated with massive Boris paintings airbrushed on the sides, accenting the tinted portholes and the silver tail-fin. I would blast Hot For Teacher as I cruised the parking lots, luring the Daisy Dukes into my mobile velvet-lined bachelor pad... I used to draw Boris art (along with the occasional Playboy centerfold) and sell them to the rich kids for $5-20 dollars each, priced according to the amount of nudity."

Link to the official Boris Vallejo website. Link to a ginormous gallery of work spanning multiple decades. And link to one of Siege's all-time fave Boris creations, which depicts a man-goat-loverdude ascending with his betrothed on an invisible hairway to Steven. This one is my favorite (alternate link). If you squint a little, it looks like the pattern on a Pucci dress.

Correction: RFID-chipped Mexican cop numbers overstated

Following up on this BoingBoing post from August, 2004:
News reports earlier this year indicated that 160 employees in the Mexican Attorney General's Office had been implanted with Verichip RFID devices. New information indicates that only 18 individuals received the device, said Katherine Albrecht, Founder and Director of CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering).

"Our concern is that dozens of news outlets have repeated the inflated number, which has reached the level of an urban legend," Albrecht observed. "I myself have repeated the erroneous figure in several media interviews, and I want to set the record straight."

Link to Allbrecht's statement and futher details.

Animation: My Neighbor's Wife

Link to Flash animated short (Thanks, Susannah)

Desktop wallpapers of cellular transmission towers

A collection of wireless transmission tower-themed desktop wallpapers: Link. See also this collection of wireless tower site snapshots, and this handy online search tool for locating a cell tower near you. (via SOCALWUG wireless tech listserv)

Karate chimp mpeg short

This movie's already made the rounds plenty of times. But in light of the Karate Kid moment we've been having here on BoingBoing, seems worth a mention. Link to mpeg short of a chimpanzee throwing karate kicks with a human partner. Link (Thanks Siege)

Math of Christmas Carols

BoingBoing reader Ben Dalton says,

"Brian Whitman, maker of eigenradio (which "plays only the most important frequencies, only the beats with the highest entropy") has released a happy holiday album automatically derived from the principal components of 'all christmas music'. Description, from his site: 'This season, as a present to friends worldwide, our system listened to as much Christmas music as it could handle. When it was done it synthesized these sixteen new timeless classics.' Great stuff."
Link, and Link to all of them compressed into a regularly updated .m3u audio stream (thanks Stevyile)

Blinged-out baby umbilical cord gift atrocity

A company in South Korea will gold-plate your child's umbilical cord and frame it for display. Link (second image down on the page.) (Thanks, Isaac)

Reader Andrew says, "Koreans have been keeping umbilical cords for centuries (Link) and recently they have used umbilical cord to help a paralysed woman walk again (Link). There are other medical uses for the umbilical cords (Link). My Korean girlfriend says her mum still has her umbilical cord, and she's 23!"

Update -- Darrin Perry: in memoriam

Earlier today, we posted word of the untimely passing of Darrin Perry, the former creative director whose career included work at both Wired Magazine and Sports Illustrated. Wired managing editor Blaise Zerega shares the following update for BoingBoing readers who may have known Mr. Perry:
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the North Carolina School of the Arts, a place that allowed Darrin to first cultivate his passion and love of the arts. Or donate to the human rights campaign @ an organization that was a voice for his beliefs. For the North Carolina school of the Arts please Note: "In Memory of Floyd Darrin Perry." Please make checks payable to: N.C.S.A. Foundation Inc., Mailing Address: N.C.S.A. Foundation Inc.. Attn: Sarah Turner, 1533 South Main Street, Winston Salem, NC 27127-2188, Tel: 336.770.1371, Email: turnes [at]
Link to a SF Chronicle story about Perry's redesign of Wired Magazine in 2002.

US Army spamming students by phone, too

Following up on a previous BoingBoing post about the US Army sending e-mail recruitment spam to college students, Mark Miller sez:
I had previously mentioned the US Army spamming students at UT Austin. While they have done so again, even after being told that I wished no further e-mails, what has become even more bizarre is a call from +1 702-671-0040, by a pre-recorded Army Recruitment message. It gave the number for the local Army Recruitment Center here in Austin. When I called back, it noted that you could leave no messages, but to call the number stated in the message you received. Several other friends of mine have received such calls this evening.

The NPA-NXX lookup says this is a Las Vegas number.

What's even more disturbing is that my number is on the FCC's Do Not Call List.

If any reader on BoingBoing could shed some light on the new recruiting practices of the US Army, and perhaps the call center that they are calling out from, I would be appreciative.

Link. You're welcome to send replies to that question via the BoingBoing submission web-form.

Reader Douglas Barnes says,

I, too got automated phone spam from the Army today; when I called to complain in, er, rather strong language, instead of apologizing or promising not to do it again, the sergeant in charge threatened to "find [me] and beat the shit out of [me]." Not a great day for Army PR.

I'm assuming they got my info from UT. A recent Third Circuit case allows universities to kick military recruiters off campus (and, one assumes, to refuse to provide databases of student information). No sign that UT would even want to do this, much less go to court for the privilege. Link to blog entry with details.

Responding to the same thread, reader Bryan Shepherd -- also a UT-Austin student -- writes, "You posted a week or so back about the army recruiting practices here at UT-Austin, so I thought you might find this interesting as well. It's an email I just received via my UT account."
From:Hood, Charles R SGT USAREC []
Subject:Special Forces Opportunities

To whom it may concern,

I am offering you a once in a lifetime opportunity to become part of America's elite. If you are always challenging yourself, highly adept at problem solving, and relentless in pursuing your goals, then a spot in the Special Forces is for you. The Special Forces soldier also known as the Green Beret is highly skilled in such arts as SCUBA diving, Parachuting, and Foreign Languages. This training along with the best equipment is what makes them the best of the best. For a limited time, the Army will offer you the opportunity to attend Infantry Basic Training, Jump School, and Special Forces Assessment and Selection. This opportunity is normally reserved for soldiers who have served for a period of 2 to 3 years, but at this time, it is available you with out any special prerequisites. I highly encourage you to take the chance and become one of America's Elite. For more Information, contact SGT Hood @ (877) 524-0211.

SGT Hood, Charles R.
U.S. Army Recruiter
(877) 524-0211 Cell
(512) 472-7616

Reader Sarah Looney writes, "I blogged on this a while back. The spam emailed to students clearly states that they are recruiting for 'a non-deployable position.' Finding this strange, I followed up with the recruiter..." Link to more on Sarah's blog.

See also this Mother Jones article: "No Child Unrecruited". The Army now has access to public school records, thanks to the No Child Left Behind act. (thanks, karen)

Anti-porno iPod feature?

BoingBoing reader Brandon says,
There is a "bug" in the iPod Photo that randomly flashes photos from other albums into slideshows. [on Leander Kahney's Wired blog, "Cult of Mac,"] Keith Finch has suggested this might not be a bug, but rather an intentional measure to dissuade users from keeping "double secret 'Hot Butts'" albums on their iPods. The hypothetical situation he presents to support his case is good for a chuckle or two.

Sony Adds MP3 Support

BB reader Morgan opines:
To paraphrase Cory, Sony has realized that their customers want to do more, not less, with their hardware. They're now offering firmware upgrades (at $20 per unit) for their portable digital music players that will allow them to play back non-DRM'ed MP3s. Previously, Sony customers were locked into using Sony's DRMeriffic ATRAC format. Their next generation of music players will have natively support MP3 playback.

Versace Barbie

I didn't know there was such a thing. Does she come with a (perfect) nose full of (plastic) coke? Link (Thanks CityRag)

Haptics: Can You Feel the Buzz?

My latest article for TheFeatures is about haptic interfaces, which send information to your skin.
At Nokia Research, Jukka Linjama and Topi Kaaresoja added a small acceleration sensor to a phone to create a Pong-like game that a user controls by tapping the phone either horizontally or vertically. The user gets feedback from different vibration patterns. In a paper presented at the NordiCHI human-computer interaction conference, they wrote that the synchronized combination of graphics and vibrations "creates a kind of a kinesthetic illusion of a soft ball being tapped and bouncing inside the device. In informal evaluations most users rated this illusion very natural, impressive, and enjoyable."

New Netscape = Firefox / IE shotgun wedding?

BoingBoing reader boogah says,
Apparently Netscape isn't totally dead - AOL outsourced development of a new browser based on Firefox to Canadian firm Mercurial Communications. Normally I'd applaud something like this. Getting Firefox into the hands of the many is a good thing... But the fact that they're going to allow the user to switch their rendering engine from Mozilla developed Gecko to Internet Explorer's rendering engine seems a bit sinister. BTW: Ugly screenshots are available here.

GuitarBot Strums Classics at Juilliard

BoingBoing reader Mia says,
Tonight at the high-falutin' Julliard School: the RoboRecitcal, an all-automata concert performance by a player piano (old school) and GuitarBot (new school). GuitarBot, "a stringed instrument that is designed to extend -- not simply duplicate -- the capabilities of a human musician," was created in 2000 by LEMUR (the League if Electronic Musical Urban Robots... no joke) and looks like it was designed by Dan Flavin. It will play a program featuring Bach, Mozart, and compositions by J. Brendan Anderson, the Julliard undergrad who coordinated the recital.

The Julliard link includes a discussion of the centuries-old history of musical composition for automata, based on the ideal of direct transmission of music from composer to listener, unsullied by those accident-prone humans.