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.


Interesting traffic citation scam

 Citizen Citation Citation04 Stefan Jones sez: Rob Cockerham takes a break from pranks, hijinks, tomfoolery, and bizarre eBay auctions to describe a new type of mail fraud: An authentic-looking letter claiming that the recipient's car was spotted exceeding the speed limit and demanding payment (by money order or cashier's check) of a fine. Link

Exploding lava lamp kills man

BB reader Poppy says, "A 24 year old man left a lava lamp on his stove, and it exploded. A shard of glass pieced his heart, killing him instantly. Link to story. This just a week after all the warnings over exploding cell phones. Link."

Reader Jeremy says, "I thought the story might be complete bull, but went right to the Kent Police Department site and found this press release. It has a little more information that the AP report." Link

Casino cheater's blog

Interesting weblog run buy a retired casino cheater -- that is, a former casino dealer who cheated the casinos. He gets interesting email from fans of his book, American Roulette:
Read your book and took action. It was the most satisfying money I’ve ever received from a casino. It was a post-bet placement of a $5 dollar chip on number 33. I placed the chip between the 32 & 33. Like your book says it was to the dealers far left and I could see the ball falling into the 33 slot on the wheel. It’s not much fun working on your own but it was greatly satisfying.

World Health Organization's bird flu warning: 100 million deaths

Matt Vine sez: Since yesterday, the rest of the world has been buzzing with news of the World Health Organization's warnings of a impending flu pandemic that could kill up to 100 million. These warnings are suspiciously missing from American news sites - we get things like "Godzilla honored with 'Walk of Fame' star" from CNN's front page." Link

UPDATE: Alex Rosen sez: "Well, the Times is carrying it, and has a much different spin than the submitter's. It sounds like off-the-cuff guestimates by one guy, not a prediction by WHO itself.

While the agency has previously said that the death toll would be from 2 million to 7 million people, Dr. Omi said the toll "may be more - 20 million or 50 million, or in the worst case, 100" million.

W.H.O. officials in Geneva said later that they had not received an advance copy of Dr. Omi's remarks and did not know the basis for his estimates and why he believed a pandemic was so likely.

"No one knows how many are likely to die in the next human influenza pandemic," or even when it will occur, said Dr. Klaus Stöhr, the agency's top influenza expert. "The numbers are all over the place."

Darrin Perry: in memoriam

Kenn Brown says,
My friend and mentor Darrin Perry, former Creative Director of Wired Magazine , passed away over the holiday weekend. He was only 39 years old. I am devastated... it was three awesome years we spent collaborating first as professionals, and then as friends... and now its over. I will miss him. I will miss working with him. He had a significant impact on publications from Sports Illustrated to Wired.

Here is the obituary. There is a guest book for those who wish to leave their condolences. Link

Tim Jarrett says, "Perry led the 2002 redesign of Wired Magazine, which freshened the look and feel of the aging geek bible while making it more legible."

Karate Kid, The Musical

A musical for stage, based on the 80's cheeseball film classic The Karate Kid. Now playing at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center in NYC. Somewhere, Ralph Macchio is crying. Link (Thanks, mediamelt)

Tis the season to STICK IT TO THE MAN

BoingBoing reader Garth Johnson says,

"This is a lovely pamphlet that artist Packard Jennings distributed at his local mall. Packard is the human who brought us the 'fallen rapper' pez dispensers."

Link to art-pamphlet, and Link to other past work from Jennings.

Bestial reality

Stay with me here: The British Office of Communications cleared Channel Five of any wrongdoing for airing an episode of reality TV show TheFarm in which David Beckham's ex-girlfriend gave a handjob to a pig.

From ABC News Online:
"The task performed by Rebecca Loos is one that occurs regularly on UK farms. It was properly supervised by a qualified veterinary surgeon and was carried out for a genuine purpose, to artificially inseminate the pigs on the 'celebrity farm'," the ruling said.

"We don't believe that the scene was degrading or harmful to the boar."

UPDATE: BB reader Jamal Cole points out: "It should be noted that Beth Littleford masturbated a pig on the Daily Show way back when Craig Kilborn was hosting (~1998). She showed it pictures of Miss Piggy, and asked, 'Do you find this attractive?' I had always found her attractive until then..."

Victorian Fax

This fax-by-telegraph machine was in operation at the New York Herald in 1900. From a Pearson's Magazine article published at the time:
victorianfax"The equipment consists of two machines, almost identical in construction, the first being called the " transmitter," the second the " receiver." Each is provided with an eight-inch cylinder, which may be made to revolve by a delicate system of clockwork so finely regulated that both instruments work together to a nicety.

Above each cylinder rests a fine platinum needle, or stylus, not unlike the point in a telegraph key. A sheet of tin-foil, six inches by eight inches, ready to wrap round the transmitter's cylinder, and a sheet of ordinary carbon manifold-copying paper of the same dimensions, which, when placed between two sheets of blank paper, is to be wrapped round the receiver's cylinder--these complete the chief requirements."
Link (via MetaFilter)

Etienne-Jules Marrey

MarreyThe Musée d'Orsay has an exhibition of the mind-blowing photographs by physician and physiologist Etienne-Jules Marey, whose research in the 19th century led directly to the invention of the movie camera. The image at left is a 1901 shot of a smoke machine.
"Marey became interested in movement at an early stage of his career: the movement of blood as it circulated, the movements which controlled the beating of the heart, then those of the muscles and nerves. To improve his studies, he developed more and more precise recording instruments. Once had explained the internal movements of the body, Marey extended his investigations to the motion of the body as a whole: a walking human being, a flying dragonfly, a swimming ray, a falling cat..."
For those outside of Paris, "Movement In Light" is a stunning online exhibit of Marey's work from which the text above was taken. Link (via AEIOU: Excuse my French!)

Busty hentai mousepads

About $25 per ergonomic hentai mousepad, boobies included. Link (via Fleshbot)

DIY dodecahedron calendar, a la D-n-D dice

This 12-sided pentagon print-em-yourself calendar is a nifty gift idea for thrifty geeks. Dodeca-bitchin'! Link (Thanks, ritilan).

McRorie the one-man bandstravaganza

McRorie Tait is a one-man, kilt-wearing, awesomely mulletted, electronic music phenom from Canada. His website describes him thusly:

"McRorie wears eight custom designed sensors on his shoes, four sensors on his chest, two midi keyboards on his hips, and sings lead vocals, harmonies, and solo instruments with his voice. McRorie coordinates the multiple parts of a musical composition: drums, bass, rhythm, vocals, and lead instruments -- TOTALLY LIVE."

Out of control cool. Plus his chest lights up like a robot and I think he also eats fire on stage while playing killer '80s cover songs with his feet. This is so cool it almost feels like a hoax. But I think it is real. Link to website with video clips, song downloads, and CD purchase details. (Thanks, Q-Burns).

UPDATE: BoingBoing reader Alexis says, "McRorie is legit - most of the footage in that clip IS from the 80's, that's why he's covering 80's songs. He appears in the clip on the now defunct Canadian talk show Dini Petty Show, several pieces are from Toronto news show City TV and part of the way through the clip he's seen with a very young Celine Dion before she hit mega-stardom."

Reader Matt McParland says, "I saw McRorie, the one man band, play live 4 or 5 years ago when his Canadian tour rolled through my hometown. His Canadian tour consisted of the man himself, two racks of MIDI-controlled effects and a few old Macs running wireframe screensavers for the light show. He played for about 20 people that night in a hole in the wall bar and we've been talking about it since!"

Genetically engineered plants detect land mines by changing color

 Materials Processes Plant Land MineWhen the roots of these GMO flowers hit nitrogen dioxide (which leaches into the soil from buried land mines), the plant changes color. Link

Big head people in Tokyo stores

 Images Bigkid

Giant headed people in Tokyo stores are a sign that Christmas is coming. Link