Boing Boing 

Did we mention that Target.com sells blowjobs, too?

Listed under "Entertainment" (as if we don't already know), but with no additional product details whatsoever: "blowjob." A steal at $9.99, but they take 4-8 weeks to come -- er, arrive. Link to item, Link to screenshot, and link to previous post about Target.com silliness. (Thanks, Jeff)

Spongebob Swipedpants

Burger King locations around the United States are reporting thefts of inflatable Spongebob Squarepants rooftop icons. The gigantic blow-up-Bobs commemorate the fast food chain's promo effort with a new animated film.
Similar SpongeBobs have disappeared from Burger Kings in at least two other states, including Minnesota, where a "kidnapper" asked for ransom - 10 Crabby Patties, fries and milkshakes. The note was signed by SpongeBob's cartoon nemesis, Plankton.
Link to one news story, and Link to another. (thanks, Stefan Jones)

Target.com sells crack and MDMA

First came the news that Target.com was selling "anal massage," then came their offer of "marijuana" for $25 -- now, they're rolling out the hard stuff. Here, the online retailer beckons you to come hither and buy Crack and MDMA. No wonder Target's spokesdog has those big red circles around his eyes! (thanks Gordon Bird, and Toddville Robins)

Xeni on NPR: gadgets, gadgets, gadgets!

On the NPR program "Day to Day" this week, I hit the streets with Alex Chadwick to try out a few new gadgets, including:

* A hand-held traffic reporting device called TrafficGauge ($80, thanks to Mike Outmesguine for turning me on to this one!)
* A multimedia gizmo called the DVXPod (shown here) that plays music, movies and television shows ($599)
* laptop bags made from spaceship parachutes (which have actually been up in space, $95-195).
* some awesome headphones from Sennheiser -- good noise-canceling headphones are a must for the DVXPod or other handheld media centers. Here's my favorite model, the HD 212Pro (about $90-120).
Link to archived audio for this program, Link to NPR Day to Day home.

Smiling not allowed in US passport photos

The unhappiest passports on earth:
[When taking a [photo of a person applying for a passport] "The subject's expression should be neutral (non-smiling) with both eyes open, and mouth closed. A smile with a closed jaw is allowed but is not preferred," according to the guidelines. ... Smiling "distorts other facial features, for example your eyes, so you're supposed to have a neutral expression. ... The most neutral face is the most desirable standard for any type of identification," said Angela Aggeler, spokeswoman for the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, which handles travel-document guidelines.
Link (Thanks, Maines!)

Sleaze SF paperback covers of yesteryear

Link (via Warren)

CIA funding chat room spy tech research

Over at News.com, Declan McCullagh writes:
The CIA is quietly funding federal research into surveillance of Internet chat rooms as part of an effort to identify possible terrorists, newly released documents reveal.

In April 2003, the CIA agreed to fund a series of research projects that the documents indicate were intended to create "new capabilities to combat terrorism through advanced technology." One of those projects is research at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., devoted to automated monitoring and profiling of the behavior of chat-room users.

Link to story. One of the FOIA'd documents, via EPIC.org (PDF): Link

Proto-pron for sale at Sotheby's

(Updated)
What may be the world's oldest existing piece of printed porn will be auctioned off next month, and is expected to sell for up to 65 thousand dollars.
"Sodom," penned in the mid-1670s, has been attributed to John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester and is described by auction house Sotheby's as a "closet drama rather than for the stage" with pornography "in almost every line." (...) The book centers on the decision made by a lustful King to "set the nation free" by allowing "buggary" to be "used thro' all the land" and then details the dire consequences.
Link to news item (Thanks, Sandy)

Here are the auction item details, including this amazing image, on Sothebys.com: Link. The work is both porn and protest:

Although in every sense, and in almost every line, pornographic (even though its humour sometimes recalls that in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata), the play has two primary purposes: one literary, the other political. One aim is the production of a hilarious burlesque of the then fashionable ‘heroic’ plays... Its other main aim, however, is to satirise uncompromisingly the court of Charles II – not only the notoriously lecherous Charles himself, with all his mistresses (“Thus, in the zenith of my lust I reign”), but also the venality of his courtiers, who are depicted as slavishly imitating him and indulging in the common state of moral and sexual anarchy.

QTVR of Macy's Parade

A QTVR panorama of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade last week in New York City. Link

Alaskan blogger accused of mother's murder

A teen blogger in Alaska has been arrested for her mother's murder.
Rachelle Waterman had posted to an online journal dating back to February. In the journals, which she titled "My crappy life, the inside look of an insane person." She says she lives in Hell, Alaska, details conflicts with her mother and writes about a desire to commit violent acts against herself and others...
Link to copy of one of her final entries, posted Nov. 14 -- hours after law enforcement learned of the mom's reported death. In the entry, Waterman writes about a trip to Anchorage, and buying a new pair of boots. Link to Waterman's blog. Link to related post on glassdog. Link to news coverage. (Thanks, pollenatrix)

Here's Google's cache of contributions to a fantasy art site from the accused teen (now unavailable in original form). Link

1960s sex HOWTO manual from Japan

Scans from "Young People's Sex Manual: From Petting to XX," a mid-1960s era howto doc from Japan. Progresses from the fine art of handholding to paper cutout foreplay demos to an extravaganza of sex positions between a real woman and an artist's male wooden model. Link, also spotted on Fleshbot. (Thanks, Dave)

India's first professional DJ academy

Reader Avi Solomon says,
"Indian DJ Nasha made a splash with his 'Nasha - Flute Fantasy' and continued to create many more great bollywood remixes. He has now opened the first professional DJ academy in India- keep them coming, man!"
Link to news story. Listen to a complete DJ Nasha session here(realplayer): Link. Nasha's set starts around 4:49 into that BBC ram link, after some banter with the show's host. It's a fine, fine session! Interview: Link

Free music via French blog

Chryde says,
I founded a collective french music weblog with a mp3blog page. We made a compilation of musics we discovered on the web, by ourselves or via other mp3blogs. It's called Point D'ecoute (French for Listening post, a reference to a Mark Hansen Installation: Link

. All the tracks are taken from the bands' sites so it's 100% legal, like a mini Wired CD. 23 tracks, a lot from the US, but also Netherlands, France, Belgium, Austria, Sweden... You can download it here: Link We made it free to download, with a cover and all. At an event in Paris celebrating musical webzines, we burned it on demand: Link

Songs of Sickness

Reader Dougal Campbell says,
The BoingBoing post about food safety tunes reminded of of something I heard on NPR a while back. Doctor Helen Davies at the University of Pennsylvania creates songs to help her students remember facts about microbiology. One of my favorite bits (song to the tune of the Beatles' "Yesterday"):

"Leprosy,
Bits and pieces falling off of me,
But it isn't the toxicity,
It's just neglect of injury.

Link to AMA News story, and there's another article here: Link

Smart Cruise Control

A physicist at the University of Michigan has built a computer simulation to model how "adaptive cruise-control" technology in cars may affect traffic flow. The system would use radar to keep vehicles from getting too close to each other. From Science News:
Its advantage is that it can respond much more quickly and precisely than human drivers can to any change in speed. A vehicle using adaptive cruise control typically brakes sooner and more smoothly than one without the system.... Intriguingly, at an average speed of 67 miles per hour, if only one in five vehicles used adaptive cruise control, no traffic jams would form and traffic would generally flow freely. At lower concentrations, however, intermittent episodes of traffic congestion would still be an issue.
Link

Handstanding Pandas

1Some Pandas do handstands to mark their territory. The aim is to piss as high up a tree as possible. The higher the scent, the "more dominant" the signal. A new BBC Wildlife Magazine documentary captures this and other interesting bearhavior using camouflaged cameras and motion sensors. Link

ScienceMatters

story3-2Inside my latest issue of ScienceMatters@Berkeley:
* DNA devices for crime scenes... and Mars

* Chilling News About Glaciers

* The Toughest Shrimp Around
I hope you enjoy it! Link

Funky food safety tunes

BoingBoing reader Vidiot says,
Dr. Carl Winter of the UC-Davis Department of Food Science and Technology has been called the "Sinatra of salmonella" and the "Elvis of E. coli". He makes song parodies about food-safety issues. His website includes RA streams, PowerPoint presentations, and lyrics for such songs as "Fifty Ways to Eat Your Oysters", "I Sprayed It On The Grapevine", "Don't Get Sicky Wit It", and "Beware Of La Vaca Loca."
Link

Target.com sells "marijuana" -- for $25

Following up on an interminable string of previous BoingBoing posts about the fact that Target.com offered an item called "anal massage" for sale -- now, this breaking news flash. Target.com is selling "Marijuana," for $25.25, with free shipping available on orders of $30 or more. Link. In the event that cooler heads at Target prevail, sensibleerection.com saved this screencap: Link (Thanks to many readers who submitted this item, the first of whom was mikel)

BoingBoing reader Tim Windsor says,

On the Target Marijuana page, you can get the ISBN under "More Information." Plugging that into Amazon leads to this product page, where the kids are havin' some fun in the comments section.
Link

Pink Floyd's student choir sues

In one of the oddest music-related lawsuits in recent memory:
A group of former pupils at a London comprehensive school are poised to win thousands of pounds in unpaid royalties for singing on Pink Floyd's classic Another Brick In The Wall 25 years ago. The pupils from the 1979 fourthform music class at Islington Green School secretly recorded vocals after their teacher was approached by the band's management.

Now the 23 ex-pupils are suing for overdue session musician royalties, taking advantage of the Copyright Act 1997 to claim a percentage of the money from broadcasts. Music teacher Alun Renshaw took the 13- to 14-year-old pupils out of lessons by to the nearby Britannia Recording Studios in Islington to record - without the head's permission.

Link (Thanks, Josh, and thanks Glenn)

"Destination Earth" (commie Martian cartoon at archive.org)

Joel sez: "The recent 'Funny old anti-Commie comic book' BB post reminded me of this. The Prelinger Archives at archive.org have quite a few anti-communist/pro-capitalist propaganda films. The most entertaining of these are the surprisingly large number of animated shorts, done in classic 1950s stylized animation. The one with the most amusing premise is 'Destination Earth' (This one is by the great Tom Oreb -- Mark) in which Mars is ruled by an evil communist dictator named Ogg (no relation to the Ogg Vorbis audio format). As if it weren't bad enough, they have another hideous problem -- not knowing anything about the essential technology of ... oil (out of sheer coincidence this film was sponsored by the petroleum industry). However, after sending a space scout to Earth they learn all about the benefits of oil and capitalism (though the economic treatise 'Competition: More for All') and immediately put an end to Ogg's tyranny by running off to the Martian countryside to drill oil wells in the spirit of free enterprise. Link

Funny old anti-Commie comic book update #1

remix1Jose sez: Regarding the comic book entry: Awesome find. Was doing the same thing, substituting things in my head, and I had to remix some panels. With fairly obvious references, as well as to a story Xeni posted earlier. (click on thumbnails for enlargment.)
remix2

Funny old anti-Commie comic book

commiecomic Olli sez: "Just found this link to some really interesting anti-communist propaganda from the 1960's. It's a comic book that looks at what *COULD* happen to *YOU* if those evil commies get their hands on the USA. Endorsed by none other than J. Edgar Hoover himself!" Link (When I read it, I mentally swapped every instance of "communists" with "red-state republicans" and it was even more enjoyable -- Mark)

Tree of Death

Cerbera odollam, a plant that grows in India and southeast Asia, is also known as the "suicide tree" because people munch it to kill themselves. Apparently, it's also used to rub out young wives who aren't well-liked by their in-laws. From New Scientist:
Although the kernels of the tree have a bitter taste, this can be disguised if they are crushed and mixed with spicy food. They contain a potent heart toxin called cerberin, similar in structure to digoxin, found in the foxglove.

Digoxin kills by blocking calcium ion channels in heart muscles, which disrupts the heartbeat. But while foxglove poisoning is well known to western toxicologists, (researcher Yvan) Gaillard says pathologists would not be able to identify Cerbera poisoning unless there is evidence the victim had eaten the plant. “It is the perfect murder,” he says.
Link

Automatons in the NY Times

Today's New York Times has an article about the Murtogh D. Guinness Collection, four-hundred years of music boxes, proto-robots, and mechanical musical instruments recently acquired by the Morris Museum in New Jersey.
"Our sense of wonder is tweaked when we see, for example, a two-and-a-half-foot-high early-20th-century automaton with a little boy reaching for a jar of marmalade for his biscuit. As he reaches up, a door opens and the jar revolves, revealing the animated face of his scolding grandmother. A fly buzzes in the cabinet while a tiny mouse emerges from an apple.

In addition to the craft of it, this object, like virtually everything in the collection, is a piece of theater, an authentic historical performance: a time machine, if you will, visiting from the past."
Link (free site reg. required)

UPDATE: As BB reader Rob Iracane so kindly points out, the Morris Museum Web site has nice multimedia clips of the various machines in action. Link

Tiny Humans update #7: battling palaeontologists

An Indonesian paleontologist is keeping the remains of the tiny humans away from other paleontologists. Let the paleontologist war begin!
They may be tiny, but the hobbits -- the extinct one-metre-high human species whose discovery rocked the palaeontology world last month - are provoking a giant barney among Australian and Indonesian scientists.

One of Indonesia's leading palaeontologists, Professor Teuku Jacob of Gadjah Mada University in Jakarta, has grabbed the hobbit remains and locked them away in his safe, refusing to let other scientists study them.

In addition, he rejected the widespread view that the hobbits are a separate human species, claiming they are a pygmy form of modern humans who suffered microcephaly, a disorder that produces a small brain.

The Australian scientists who dug up the bones of the hobbits, officially dubbed Homo floresiensis, have pleaded with Professor Jacob to return the bones as they may contain vital DNA clues as to their exact ancestry. The seven skeletons were found last year in a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores by an Australian and Indonesian team.

Link (Previous tiny humans updates here.)

Fluctuat's Excuse My French

Boing Boing's Paris liaison Alexandre Boucherot and his co-conspirators at Fluctuat.net have launched an English counterpart to their excellent AEIOU arts and culture blog. I for one am most grateful. Link

Xeni on ABC World News Tonight Friday: Firefox

Friday evening's edition of ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings includes a feature about Firefox and the open source movement, in which I'm a participant. Details and local air times: Link. Note: If you're on the east coast, the show may be pre-empted by football. And football has nothing to do with browsers.

Jesus H Defy

In May, I posted news that Bletchley Park codebreakers had been called to an historic monument in Central England. Their mission was to crack an 18th century puzzle--the carved letters "D OUOSVAVV M"--that some believe contains a clue to the location of the Holy Grail. On Thursday, the codebreakers announced their preliminary findings. Right this way, please. Dan Brown will be signing autographs at the exit... Link (Thanks, Kev!)

Electronic Concubine

What's headless, limbless, vaguely turkey-shaped, has two breasts, three speeds, one vagina, and runs on a pair of double A batteries? The worst fucking laudanum-induced nightmare EVER, or the Concubine Masturbator sex gadget. Snip from website: "This multi-speed toy has it all! Made from a soft, realistic material, the concubine masturbator has perky breasts, hard nipples, and a ready and willing vagina." Visualize a decapitated (but stacked) quadruple amputee after multiple rounds of kitten bonsai, and you get what this looks like. Or, click here. Link Warning: NSFW and may induce goatse-like retina scarring. (Thanks Jonno)