Boing Boing 

Tracking e-voting dangers: I VOTED?

EFF's DeepLinks blog has been given over to warnings and advice about electronic voting systems while the election runs, in a special segment called, "I VOTED?" Here are three from last night:
  • Election observers with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Verified Voting Foundation (VVF) reported today that the problem, which some voting officials initially attributed to fluke "voter error," is evidently widespread and may even be relatively common with touch-screen machines. Incorrectly recorded votes make up roughly 20 percent of the e-voting problems reported through the Election Incident Reporting System...
  • According to the Local 6 news station in Florida, about 13,000 ballots were put in jeopardy today because of a bad memory card in an optical-scan voting machine. When the error was discovered, representatives from both parties were notified and the ballots were removed from the site and placed in a vault. Now, it's up to the canvassing board to decide how to recount the ballots.
  • Tips for voting, "Make sure you've cast your ballot! The last step is to touch a box on the touch-screen to cast your vote. Some voters have forgotten to do this. Depending on local procedures and how well they are followed, poll workers may finish casting your vote for you, or they may cancel your vote. If you make sure to finish the voting process, you can make sure your vote will be stored and counted."

Who should own your wedding pix?

Michael Geist's new Toronto Star column deals with a proposed Canadian law that will give photocgraphers copyright in their works, not the people who commission their photos. Sounds like a good idea, but boy, is this a badly written law. Check it out:
As anyone who has used a wedding photographer or taken their children for portraits can attest, consumers hire photographers to capture their precious life moments with the expectation that the resulting photographs belong to them. While photographers may seek permission from consumers to use a particularly good picture to hang in their storefront window or place in their portfolio, the current law requires photographers to first obtain the commissioning party's authorization...

[U]nbounded by any limitations in the law, photographers might sell such photos as stock photography.

Moreover, a change in the law would literally force consumers to track down their photographer (or the photographer's heirs) in order to obtain permission to use their own archived pictures.

Reg Req'd Link -- use to login

Visualisations from five years' worth of blog-posts

A couple days ago, we blogged about Tom Coates's celebration of five years of blogging: he put all 1.1 million years worth of posts from his blog,, online as a giant text file and asked his readers to do cool crap with it.

Cool crap they hath wrought: Tom rounds up the tasty visualisations of his posting frequency, verbal tics, and the way that switching from Blogger to Movable Type changed his posting style in a long post today. How cool.

Our first batch of analysis comes from Cal Henderson who has basically used the data at his disposal to take the piss out of me. A few weeks ago I got a bit moody with Matt Jones after he complained that I was starting every post I was writing with the word "So..." (here's the grump in question). So what has Cal done? He's established the horrible truth of the situation - here's a graph of how many posts I've started with the word "So" over time... As you can see - a startling indictment and as Cal said to me on AIM, "evidence that you're getting worse".

Lore Sjöberg on Paper Mario

Lore Sjöberg (whose comedy website The Brunching Shuttlecocks remains the most consistently and uproariously funny site on the Web) is fast becoming my favorite games-reviewer. Today in Wired News, he reviews Paper Mario:
If Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door isn't the most adorable game available for the Nintendo GameCube, it's at least the most adorable game involving blood sport and demonology. If you have a low tolerance for cuteness, you're going to need a Hazmat suit and a complete collection of Cure albums to get you through it...

The mix dusts off the conventions of both RPGs and platformers and makes them feel shiny and fresh. The battles, for example, are turn-based, but pressing a button at the right time can allow your team to do extra damage. Pressing it again with perfect timing adds a flourish to your attacks, impressing the audience and giving you more power for special moves. These touches keep even cakewalk battles from being a dull exercise in menu selection.


Daily Show clips, we got Daily Show clips!

Lisa Rein continues her one-woman quest to post all the funny, political pieces from the Daily Show in QuickTime form. Here are eight more from Oct 27 and 28.
-Arafat's fall
-A Red Sox Moment For Rob
-An Interview with poll taker John Zogby (with some good news :-)
-AN EXCELLENT PIECE where Stewart skillfully uses the Shrub's own words against him (
-A film documenting attitudes toward the election in a small town
-Stephen Colbert's "This Week In God"
-Lewis Black on "the undecideds" (a.k.a. "the idiots")
-Another voting fiasco preview highlighting the Repubs strategy on voter fraud (The Mary Poppins' etc. I mentioned in an earlier post.)
-An interview with Jesse Jackson
Oct 27 Clips Link, Oct 28 Clips Link

iPod Download can work again if you fix what Apple broke

Further to the previous posts on Apple's deliberate breaking of compatibility with iPod Download, a legal and legitimate plugin that Apple's customers freely chose to install on their computers, which Apple disguised in a disingenously named "update":

It turns out that Apple's system for disabling the plugin uses a blacklist of disallowed iTunes additions in the iTunes binary. If you open the binary in a hexadecimal editor, like HexEdit, you can find the area where Apple has inserted the string "iPod Download" in its blacklist and simply replace the text with something else (in fact, I think you could probably just change one character) and your iTunes's original functionality will be restored. Link (Thanks, Laurent, Rob, and Brent!)

Record a solo album in "NaNoWriMo for musicians"

The fifth NaNoWriMo -- the national novel writing month that challenges individuals to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days -- has just kicked off, and good luck to the NaNovelists!

But what of the musically creative? They need not suffer in silence any longer: Lacunae has just floated "NaSoAlMo" -- the national solo album month, for "brave souls who are up for it will write and record an entire solo album in the course of its 30 days."

Q. So, for the purposes of NaSoAlMo, what exactly is a solo album?

A. An album of music you have written, played and recorded entirely by yourself*. The shortest inarguably awesome album I can think of offhand that a lot of people have heard is the first Ramones album, which is 29:09 long, so your solo album must be at least that long. Beyond that, its form and content are up to you.

*Since Ramones includes a cover of "Let's Dance," your NaSoAlMo album may, if you wish, include one cover of somebody else's song.

Link (Thanks, Lalitree!)

Update: album in a single day. It's really not that hard! There's over a 150 of them already."


Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers reminds all eligible BoingBoing readers in the USA to vote tomorrow (apologies to our ineligible felon/space alien demographic). Image: Kiedis shot in LA by photographer and BoingBoing buddy Kiino Villand of RES.

Citicorp ads remixed as political protest posters

Link to Sean Bonner's blog post, and Link to artist website: Copper Greene.

Juan Cole: What's at stake

A series of observations on what tomorrow's election will decide, from University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole.
Bush is not winning the war on terror because he does not understand it. He has used the rise of al-Qaeda as a pretext for settling Washington's scores with old enemies like Saddam. This projection of main American force so far has paid no dividends whatsoever, in increased US security or stability in the world. It has not even made money for US companies, with the possible exception of Halliburton (and even it claims it has been hurt by bad Iraq publicity).

The most frightening thing of all is that the Project for a New American Century group, which has made an internal coup in the Bush administration, ultimately has its sights on China. They want to surround, besiege and break up Communist China, as they imagine the US did to the Soviet Union. In many ways, the Bush administration uses North Korea as a proxy for China, saying things about Pyongyang they really would like to say about Beijing. In fact, China is currently increasingly tied to the US-led world economic order and has every impetus to cooperate with the US on most issues. The Chinese take in $80 billion a year more from the US than we make from them. Picking a fight with Beijing, which is a very attractive option for the American Right, would be disastrous.

The Bush administration is full of revolutionaries. They are shaking up the world by military force. They are playing a role familiar in modern history, pioneered by Napoleon Bonaparte, of using overwhelming military superiority to establish new forms of hegemony by appealing to desires for change among neighboring publics. Bonaparte promised the Italians liberty on the French model, but in fact reduced the Italians to a series of French puppet regimes and then he looted the country. So far Bush's Iraq looks increasingly like Bonaparte's Italy in these regards.

Link (via William Gibson's blog)

Mobile voters lean Kerry in Zogby SMS poll

Polling firm Zogby International teamed up with Rock The Vote to conduct a text-message poll of voters whose primary phone is a mobile:
[The poll] found Massachusetts Senator John Kerry leading President Bush 55% to 40% among 18-29 year-old likely voters in their first joint Rock the Vote Mobile political poll, conducted exclusively on mobile phones October 27 through 30, 2004. Independent Ralph Nader received 1.6%, while 4% remain undecided in the survey of 6,039 likely voters. The poll is centered on subscribers to the Rock the Vote Mobile (RTVMO) platform, a joint initiative of Rock the Vote and Motorola Inc.
Link (Thanks, Cameron)

BB reader Robert Stratton says, "I find it unfathomable that the Rock The Vote Mobile portal asked about people voting for Messrs.Bush, Kerry, or Nader, but didn't include Michael Badnarik the Libertarian candidate. For the record, Mr. Badnarik happens to be on the ballot in more states than Mr. Nader. Just a caution lest we draw too much from sloppily constructed SMS polls."

RIP Bill Liebowitz 1941-2004

billl I was shocked and saddened to learn that my friend, Bill Liebowitz died on Friday. Bill was the owner of Golden Apple Comics on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. He was a huge supporter of bOING bOING (the print zine) when Carla and I moved to LA in 1991. He hosted several bOING bOING events at his store and always had time to talk and share his valuable publishing advice. He was one of the nicest people I've ever known, and I know a lot of other people feel the same way. (He got a huge obit in the LA Times.) Good-bye, Bill, I'm going to miss you. Link

Bananaphone ringtone

Following up on this utterly pointless series of BoingBoing posts (Link 1, Link 2), Ryan Kaldari says, "You asked for it... the Bananaphone ringtone. Only for Sprint phones, BTW." Link

Obscure sex fetish du jour: Inflatable Reindeer

The web is like a big fat dominatrix who greets you with outstretched, sausage-shaped arms. She's always there, ready to embrace even the most infinitely obscure of human sexual proclivities. In the welcoming folds of her porky bosom, there is room for everyone. Everything. Even Inflatable Reindeer Fetish. And just in time for Christmas. Link (via Fleshbot)

Jon Stewart clips galore

Lisa Rein's on a Daily Show clips tear! Here are four more clips from Oct 26: "Interview with Bob Kerrey of the 911 Commission," "The first of several 'Fiasco Previews' of the Upcoming Election," "Another Messopotamia episode" and "A bit featuring The Shrub and Kerry have pandering to the minority vote." Link

Great Pumpkin meets Great Old Ones

On Strange Horizons: What if Charlie Brown's pumpkin patch were designed by HP Lovecraft:
As you are no doubt aware, I am the issue of solid Dutch stock–the prosperous Van Pelt family of St. Paul. Mine was a comfortable and happy childhood, and I spent much of it in the devoted service of the Great Old Pumpkin. For him, I cultivated an annual pumpkin patch–mostly Autumn Gold and Big Max, as I thought he would find the Atlantic Giants tacky. I also evangelized him in the community, relating the tale of how, every year on Hallowmas Eve, the day when the spiritual most strongly encroaches on the substantial, this mightiest of gourds would rise to revel across the world with the most sincere of his adorers. My neighbors were understandably skeptical; after all, not once had this superbeing ever chosen to grace my pumpkin patch or any other place in our town. I vowed that I would coax him into my backyard, and I set out in the manner of a learned man to discover how I might do this.

Shit! Goddamn! Get off your ass and jam (while you vote)!

BoingBoing reader doktorp sez, "My friend geoff performed this set last night at share and blew everyone's mind. Check out some of the gems inside, a great mix to throw on the iPod and get pissed off enough to get up early and vote tomorrow! Hope people enjoy it as much as we did." Link to two-hour live DJ mix of politically-themed reggae, dub, dancehall, hip-hop, jungle, and breakcore.

iPod charger in an Altoids tin gets 10 hours of play

JMG sez, "Instructions on how to make an external iPod battery pack from two 9 volt batteries and two AAs, housed in a playing card box. Claims to get 10 hours of play from it, and looks pretty easy to build. Here is a version in an Altoids tin, with links to US stores for the parts." Link (Thanks, JMG!)

Audio/transcript from BBC Creative Archive talk

DigitalLifestyles has audio of the Q&A from the talk that Paula LeDieu, the co-director of the BBC Creative Archive, gave last week. There's also a partial transcript of the talk, courtesy of RedMonk. 14 MB MP3 Link (Thanks, Alfie!)

Yet another cool iPod costume

BoingBoing reader Gabe wore this crafty get-up on Manhattan streets last night. Nifty! Link, and link to Cory's earlier BB post about another iPod Halloween costume. And here are still more, with hot silhouette chicks galore: Link (Thanks Tim)

Xeni on NPR: Hollywood, government team up for new "war on piracy"

During his recent visit to Hollywood, Attorney General John Ashcroft unveiled federal plans for what he called the "strongest, most aggressive legal assault against intellectual property crime in our nation's history."

He also made a frightening association -- because intellectual property theft can be so lucrative, he said, it "risks becoming a potential source of financing for terrorists." He did not cite specific examples of a link between the two.

Technologists and copyright reform advocates like Stanford University law professor Lawrence Lessig say that's cause for concern.

On today's edition of the NPR program "Day to Day", I speak with Lessig -- and government officials like LA Mayor James Hahn and California congressman Xavier Becerra --about the new "war on piracy" being waged by federal, state, and local agencies in partnership with entertainment industry groups such as the RIAA and MPAA.

Link to archived audio for today's program, Link to NPR Day to Day home. Noah Shachtman suggests an alternate headline: Link

Bananaphone spoken-word Ferlinghettified beatnik remix

Following up on a previous BoingBoing post about a spoken-word interpretation of child music star Raffi's "Bananaphone" song, reader Jack Pate says:
Here's a one-minute mashup with "Peacocks Walked," a track from the Cartwright/Oppenheim album "A Mumbai of the Mind," which is itself a jazz interpretation of some Ferlinghetti poems.
Link to MP3 file. Like, groovy, man.

I stumbled on this streaming radio channel last week for the first time, and have not been able to turn it off since. Holy crap, this stream is so sweet. Deep funk, hip-hop, underground soul, rare grooves. Totally fucking delicious. Individual programs are also offered for download, and the site provides detailed playlist information. In 7 days, I think I've purchased 3 or 4 CDs of material from artists I heard on their shows -- listening to the stream on iTunes, then browsing the show playlist archives, then ordering the song or album in question via the iTunes store or Amazon or whatever. Link

Dilbert does nano

Howard Lovy's NanoBot points to a Dilbert comic lampooning today's hottest R&D buzzwords. Link

Seven-legged calf

calf2Last month, a calf with seven legs was born in Central Trinidad. According to the Trinidad Express, a woman who lives near the amazing creature said that its birth is divine.
"We are living in the dark age which is called (Kalyug), and during this time miracles would happen all over the world, so no one should be surprised," she said.

Friendster Pachinko

A virtual gambling game where networking profiles become a sort of currency. Link (via waxy)

Face off (and on)

The Cleveland Clinic has received a bioethics board's approval to conduct a human facial transplant. (Background on face transplants here.) From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Doctors say that the psychological makeup of the patient - expectations, self-image and the ability to cope with a drastically changed appearance - is critical to the success of transplants.

Conflict about these and other issues has always been part of the transplant frontier. But the face, because it is so tied to identity, generates a particularly emotional reaction.

"It's jolting in a certain sense because it's such a personal thing," Dr. Stuart Youngner, chairman of bioethics at Case Western Reserve University, said in an interview. "It's you more than your kidneys are you. The face and eyes are windows into the soul, the person."

Cobra Commander for President

A paid political advertisement from the "Cobra Commander For President" campaign, by way of Says BoingBoing reader Jason, "He's the only one who can stop TEH TERRAR!" Link to Flash cartoon.

Lawyer/engineer lecture on copyright versus creativity audio

A couple weeks ago, I chaired Dr Andrew A Adams's wonderful "Copyright versus Creativity" lecture at the University of Reading. Adams is an engineering prof who's pursuing a Master's in law -- it gives him a good, interdisciplinary approach to the subject that made for a very insightful and informative evening.

Now Andrew's slides and the audio of his talk are online under a Creative Commons license -- have a listen. Link

Daily Show video ahoy!

Lisa Rein's posted still more Daily Show clips, including "Coverage of The Shrub and Kerry on morning talk shows," "A little movie on the tax burden of winning one of Oprah's free cars," and "A 2 part interview with Madeline Albright."< Link