Boing Boing 

Jewschool Hit With Nastygram for Jesus Tee

Mobuis sez: "I run a popular Jewish blog called Jewschool to which Douglas Rushkoff is an infrequent contributor.

"I've recently found myself enmeshed in an IP controversy surrounding a parody I was hawking on Cafepress of the uber-trendy "Jesus Is My Homeboy" t-shirt, and am currently debating the issue with the original shirt manufacturer's lawyer. Check out the link for the legal hijinks." Link

Sony forced to rethink Librié concept

Andreas Bovens sez: On July 2, 2004, Boing Boing reported about the Sony Librie e-book reader, which sports an awesome e-ink display, but is full of restrictive DRM bloat. In a desperate (?) attempt to boost sales of the Librié, Sony recently started offering downloads for converting your own documents to the Librié's BBeB format, meaning that you now can read Project Gutenberg or Aozora Bunko books on your Librie! (As far as I know, reports so far are only in Japanese, hence a link to my own blog entry about it.)"

Now all it needs is a backlight and the capability to sync with a Mac, and I'll buy one no matter how much it costs. Link

More parking hijinks

The folks at LAist purposely parked a car in ways that inconvenienced others, just to find out what kind of angry notes people would slip under the windshield wiper.
At Virgin Megastore (Sunset Boulevard), parked in two spaces because said car was so precious, we couldn't risk being near any car at all: "Take your head out of your ass and realize there are other people who need to park -- asshole! If I had time to wait for you I would then I'd kick your ass for being so greedy!!!!

Bedford drive, in Beverly Hills neighborhood: "Don't ever park in front of my driveway again or I will call the police. The police will be notified. The police will tow your car. Don't ever do this again!!

Link (Thanks, cathy!)

ELLEJAE is naughty car parker

ELLEJAEMy friend and editor Chris Null snapped this photograph of a car occupying two handicapped spaces. Why should its owner care if someone dinged it? It's one of the ugliest cars I've ever seen. A scratch or ding would only improve its appearance.

I hope Santa doesn't bring you any presents, ELLEJAE. Link

Dunk mug

Handy hot drink mug with a shelf beneath for storing snackables. Link (via Gizmodo)

Year in Cryptozoology

Noted cryptozoologist Loren Coleman provides his list of 2004's top stories in the field of mysterious or "hidden animals." His top pick is no stranger to regular Boing Boing readers.
The Discovery of Homo floresiensis
The story is as remarkable as the finding of the first coelacanth, the 65 million year extinct "living fossil" found off Africa in 1938. The biggest story in anthropology for 2004 may become the event of the decade within cryptozoology. The editor of Nature, Henry Gee, in an editorial entitled "Flores, God and Cryptozoology," wrote: "The discovery that Homo floresiensis survived until so very recently, in geological terms, makes it more likely that stories of other mythical, human-like creatures such as Yetis are founded on grains of truth....Now, cryptozoology, the study of such fabulous creatures, can come in from the cold."

Nerdy-craftsy Xmas projects

This blog-post rounds up some amazing, craftsy-nerdy Xmas decor and sweet novelties, like this gingerbread motherboard.
Also on offer, this gingerbread laptop,
and this tree decorated with motherboards. Link (via Engadget)

Update: Juan sez, "The PCBs depicted are NOT motherboards as cory states, but are in fact memory modules, and a CPU as star."

Geeking out over Gehry Organ at LA's Disney Hall

Last night, I crawled out from behind my laptop to go hear Handel's Messiah at the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, with a few friends. The performance was beautiful, the architecture of the space was beautiful, but the coolest part of the evening by far? Geeking out over the awesome, gigantomongous, french-fry-esque pipe organ at the back of the hall. It's comprised of more than 6,000 pipes, only a portion of which are visible. Some are conical and made of metal, others are shaped like long, slender boxes and are made of wood. The pipes range in size from ballpoint pens to palm trees.

The organ wasn't played last night, but I'm told that when it debuted privately to a group of pipe organ professionals earlier this year -- they all removed their shoes so they could feel the deep bass vibrations in the floor. A couple friends mentioned that when the LA Phil played Richard Strauss's "Also Sprach Zarathustra" (opening theme to 2001: A Space Odyssey) a while back, this thing emitted gut-liquefying bass notes that remind you why that piece of music was selected to open a sci-fi film in the first place. That uber-low opening note doesn't kick you in the innards on a recording the way it does from a huge pipe organ in an acoustically rich venue.

Oh, also, it even smells cool! Many different fine woods were used to construct the pipes, so it emits a magical, cedary sort of fragrance that reminded me of incense in a Catholic mass.

Image: a phonecam snapshot I took of the organ, while standing beneath its tall, sonic stalagmites: Link to full-size.

Here are some wonderful photos, Link, and an Organ FAQ, from the LA Phil's website: Link. NPR did a cool segment about the organ's construction and sound, here: Link. And Link to a San Diego Union-Trib article. Here are upcoming organ performances at the WDCH: Link (thanks tons, Shawn Sites, and Michael and Cynthia Perry!)

Update: BoingBoing reader Bill B. says,

"I live in the Kansas City area, and have been to a concert at the huge Latter Day Saints Church in Independence, Missouri. The organ is unbelievable there as well but not designed like the one you reported on. I have been an afficiondo ever since seminary when I was a radio host for the 'Organ Hour'. One note: with organs like the one you described, you don't just feel it in your feet but all through your body. The harmonics will literally vibrate your insides when the proper notes are played. Now I must make plans to come and hear the one out in LA."

Wired News hiring a new Ed-in-Chief

The fine folks at Wired News have an immediate opening for Editor in Chief in San Francisco. Wired News, not Wired Magazine as some misunderstood upon first glance. Details here: Link

Desk and chair from one sheet of plywood

Ingenious plan for making a computer desk and chair from a single sheet of plywood -- geometry rules! Link (via Making Light)

Mailing list goes away

The Boing Boing mailblog has always been a humongous pain to manage and run, and we spend an awful lot of time tinkering with it. As a result, we're gonna kill it (for now, anyway -- maybe in the future we'll have the bandwidth to take it up again). Thanks -- and sorry -- to all the subscribers who hung in there while we tried to make it work!

Web Zen: Holiday Zen

a wonderful life in 30 seconds | xmas weebl | xmas beatles | holiday saw music | santa mosh | hooray for santy claus | christmas remixed | holiday 2004 sampler | beckham nativity | smores nativity | advert calendar | 10 least successful holiday specials | holiplay | polar rescue | snowball fight nyc | unsilent night | alek's christmas lights | harbin snow and ice festival | 12 leaves of festivus | how to dispel the myths of hanukkah | and from the archives: holiday zen 2003 | holiday leftover zen 2003 | winter zen 2002
Image: still from "It's a Wonderful Life in 30 Seconds re-enacted by bunnies." web zen home, web zen store, (Thanks, Frank).

Cuba places torture billboards in front of US diplomatic HQ

Rough translation from the Spanish language original:
HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba unfolded two gigantic billboards on Friday in front of the United States diplomatic headquarters in the island, with photographs of the tortures in the Abu Ghraib prison of Iraq and the word "Fascistas" together with a Nazi swastika.

The images were put up after Cuba demanded that the United States Interests Section in Cuba take down a Christmas billboard with a shining ornament that says "75," in allusion to the dissidents imprisoned by the Cuban government in 2003. The billboards unfolded by Cuba show Iraqi prisoners bleeding and hooded during torture by soldiers in Abu Ghraib with a caption that says "Made in Usa" in the middle of the high-traffic Malecón of Havana.

Three days ago, James Cason, chief of the US Interests Section in Havana, declared that president Fidel Castro was threatening the diplomatic office with reprisals by saying that "there would be consequences" if they did not take down the billboard referring to the imprisoned dissidents. Reuters observed on Friday morning the work of unfolding the billboards in front of the North American Special Interests section

Link (Thanks, Ned Sublette)

Update: More info in English: Link

IE + Moz/Firefox use tied among BoingBoing readers

BoingBoing's sysadmin extraordinare Ken Snider says, "IE has only a 1.6% lead on Moz/Firefox for BB readers now on Check out the stats: Link. Add up Moz and Firefox. And if you include the 1.6% from netscape, which also uses the Gecko rendering engine (so is the same as Moz/FF really), they're exactly tied."
November: IE 38%, FF 30.6%, Moz 5%, Netscape 1.8%
October: IE 38.2%, FF 28.6%, Moz 5.6%, Netscape, 1.9%
Going back 6 months (June): IE: 41%, FF 12.7%, Moz: 7.4%, Netscape: 2.2%
Reader Frank Hecker says,
Two points re your post regarding Mozilla/Firefox use by BoingBoing readers. First, "Netscape" in your statistics may include Netscape Navigator 4.x (or earlier). If so, then it's not strictly speaking correct to count all of the 1.6% Netscape share toward the total percentage share for Gecko-based browser; you should count only the Netscape 6 and 7 share.

Second, note that Camino is also a Gecko-based browser, so its 0.2% share should be added to the figures for Firefox, Mozilla, and Netscape 6/7.

With these corrections, the Gecko-based browser share based on the current statistics (Link) is something between 35.9% and 37.5% depending on the relative breakdown of Netscape Navigator 4.x or earlier vs. Netscape 6 and 7. (31.1% Firefox + 4.6% Mozilla + 0.2% Camino + 0-1.6% Netscape.) Given that MSIE is at 36.9% I think it's fair to call this a virtual tie.

BB Sysadmin Ken sez: "This page shows the full breakdown, by browser version: Link."

Journey Thru Innerspace CGI recreation DVD

Ernie Miller sez, "As mentioned a year ago (Recreating Gone Disney, the Atom Mobiles fan site has been recreating a 3D version of the famous "Adventures Through Inner Space" ride that used to grace Tomorrowland. Well, they've finished it and it is now available for purchase on DVD (though they can't guarantee Christmas shipping). Kevin Yee of Miceage says, " words are too cold to fully capture the magic on this DVD. The ride-through was a transcendent experience for me. I found myself exclaiming 'Ohmygosh! I forgot all about that!' constantly while watching the video. I cannot possibly imagine a single theme park collectible, video, or book ever encapsulating the Disneyland experience as much as this one DVD." If anyone wants to send me one as a belated Christmas present ..." Link

Revolving condos

Mr Jalopy sez, "The revolving restaurant is the pinnacle of civic achievement. I am a sucker for overpriced drinks, terrible appetizers and the line of stationary/rotating demarkation as long as I get a full 360 degrees with never a decent view. But a rotating apartment? Kick ass." Link (Thanks, Mr Jalopy!)

Why false security is bad

A frequent defense proffered for feel-good, nonsensical, expensive "security theater" (like taking away air travellers' nail clippers) is that it can help us all to "feel secure." Bruce Schneier just blogged these thoughts on "feeling secure" from Bill Mason, a jewel thief.
Nothing works more in a thief's favor than people feeling secure. That's why places that are heavily alarmed and guarded can sometimes be the easiest targets. The single most important factor in security -- more than locks, alarms, sensors, or armed guards -- is attitude. A building protected by nothing more than a cheap combination lock but inhabited by people who are alert and risk-aware is much safer than one with the world's most sophisticated alarm system whose tenants assume they're living in an impregnable fortress.

Vibrateroid women's razor products from Gillette

Gillette announced yesterday the launch of two new products in its "Venus" line, including "The Venus Vibrance," a (cough, cough) round, pink, battery-powered women's shaver.
The company will roll out a battery-powered Venus Vibrance shaver, similar to its men's M3Power, that sends little vibrations to the skin to raise the hair for a closer shave. It also will add Venus disposables. In a product category where women's products generally are priced higher than men's -- on the assumption women will pay more for personal care -- the suggested retail prices for the Venus Vibrance will be $9.99 to $11.99, equal to the new lower price the M3Power gets next month
Just like women's clothing, personal care consumables like shampoo, and -- heck, car repair services often cost more than the equivalent for men, because there's a (correct) assumption that women will bear a higher price burden than men for each. Hey, feel fucked in more ways than one! Link (via pell thanks Jbat!)

Reader Adam Fields says

Two things:

1) You missed that the story indicates that the women's line won't be priced higher because Gillette is giving up on the "women will pay more for nothing" attitude. Commendable!

2) You also missed (or at least didn't mention) the unfortunate turn of phrase 'Our testing indicated that there is an upside potential to penetrate more razors at a slightly reduced price.' Ya gotta love that.


Donate to EFF, send a lump of coal to MPAA and RIAA

A reader writes, "Downhill Battle made this page to encourage people to donate to copyfighters over the holidays. They're going to one lump of coal to the RIAA and MPAA for every $100 donated to EFF, Public Knowledge, and IPac."
For every $100 given to these groups in the month of December, Downhill Battle will send one lump of coal to the RIAA and MPAA. This is not a joke-- we are literally going to look up their addresses and send them coal.

65MB of vintage random numbers from 1965

Dano sez, "In 1955 the RAND Corporation published a book of computer generated random numbers that is again in print and available as a downloadable PDF. (Beware, it's over 65MB.) They needed it for their research when using Monte Carlo simulations, and like most all of their research it is freely available to the public." Link (Thanks, Dano!)

Trunk Show

Make love to the camera, my ten-ton baby. A fashion shoot comprised of pouting, prancing, pachyderm models photographed by Bruce Weber for Complete spread appears in the January 2005 issue of W magazine. Link (thanks, Susannah)

Kids like to listen more than look

Cognitive scientists at Ohio State University report that infants and young kids, unlike adults, are attracted more to sound than visuals in their environment:
(Vladimir) Sloutsky, who is also associate dean of research for the university’s College of Human Ecology, said children probably pay more attention to sounds because of their temporary nature.

“If you don’t pay attention to sounds, they disappear,” he said. “On the other hand, many visual stimuli are stable and stationary. This preference for sounds makes sense in the case of learning language. If infants and young children didn’t favor sounds, it is difficult to explain how they could pick up language.”

Madness and genius

New Scientist interviews John Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician and subject of the film A Beautiful Mind. Nash discusses his research, the film, insanity, and his son's schizophrenia.
Do you still hear voices?
I was a long way into mental illness before I heard any voices. Ultimately I realised I am generating these voices in my own mind: this is dreaming, this is not communication. This is coming from an internal source, not from the cosmos. And simply to understand that is to escape from the thing in principle. After understanding that, the voices died out. My son hears voices, but I haven't heard any for a long time.

So was there an element of rational decision-making involved in dealing with your symptoms?
There's a lot of choice in this, I think. I know this is not the standard point of view. The standard doctrine is that we are supposed to be non-stigmatic in terms of these people: they are constitutionally, necessarily, schizophrenic. But I think there is an element of choice. A person doesn't pass into insanity when their situations are good. If their personal life is successful, people don't become insane. When they're not so happy, when things aren't so good, then they may become clinically depressed, and then maybe schizophrenic. Wealthy people are less likely to become schizophrenic than people who are not wealthy.

Barlow's trial blogged

My cow-orker Seth attended John Perry Barlow's trial this week -- Barlow was arrested for possession of drugs after they were allegedly discovered during an airport security search; Barlow argues that security screeners don't have any remit to be searching passengers for drugs, which are not a security risk to airplanes. Seth's commentary on the proceedings are a must-read, a really eloquent and learned dissection of the absurdity in the courtroom.
The Federal government lawyer sat right behind the People's lawyer and objected every single time that the defense asked anything about screeners' training or procedures, or about statistics, history, trends, equipment, techniques, or anything substantive about the roles of different law enforcement agencies. And the judge essentially always granted the objections on "relevance" even when they were made on "privilege". For example, the defense asked things like whether x-ray machines beep and whether they have two-dimensional displays, and the United States objected. The United States does not want you to know whether x-ray machines beep, or whether they have two-dimensional displays.

Intermittently, I found this hilarious, because much of the alleged "SSI" could be discovered immediately by a passenger or a journalist. (I am still working on a piece that will describe vulnerabilities in vastly more detail than almost all of the information the United States objected to at the People v. Barlow hearing. I intend to describe not only the security procedures used by specific airports and airlines, but a good deal of detail about how they can be circumvented, in the hope of showing that many of these measures cause privacy harm for no benefit. All of those descriptions derive solely from my experiences as a passenger on a single recent commercial aviation trip. That does not prove that the government is legally wrong to say that people within the system are forbidden to talk about equivalent things, but it suggests that there's not much true security benefit at stake in forbidding them.) The security culture is reflexive, or, one might say, knee-jerk -- the Feds are totally dedicated to idea that it is never appropriate to permit anyone within the system to disclose SSI to the public. It would be bad for national security, the theory goes, if screeners could tell people whether x-ray machines beep. Never mind that Federal law enforcement agencies themselves publish detailed information about how to conceal weapons to carry them aboard aircraft, what various kinds of concealed weapons look like under x-ray, which ones appear more suspicious than others, and where you can buy them!


Richard Stallman will record an answering machine message for you

If you sign up three people to donate to and join the Free Software Foundation, geek hero/Free Software inventor Richard Stallman or FSF copyfight lawyer superstar Eben Moglen will record an answering machine message for you to use:
After we agree on the text for the message, Stallman or Moglen will record it in a free digital format that you can play as a whole on your preferred media, be it your voice mail, web site, blog, VOIP system, answering machine---you'll have the file, so you can move it around as you please. We can personalize them for whomever you like, so you can make them gifts for friends and family.
Link (via JWZ)

1959: When random numbers were cool

This paper from 1959 describes a method for constructing an electronic random-number generator. 2.1MB PDF Link (via Schneier on Security)

WiFi detector shows name, WEP and strength of discovered networks

The Canary Wireless Hotspotter is a $50 WiFi detector with an LCD readout that shows the name, WEP status and signal strength of the 802.11g and 802.11b networks it finds. This is what's been missing from traditional WiFi detectors (which only light up to indicate the presence of 2.4GHz radio emissions, which can also come from microwave ovens, cordless phones and walkie talkies). I'm not sure how sensitive the antenna is in this thing -- antenna sensitivity is key: you don't want an overly sensitive device that shows you networks that are not in range of your laptop's WiFi, but neither do you want an weak antenna that misses networks your WiFi card could use. Link (via Red Ferret Journal)

Chow Yun Fat in next two Pirates of the Caribbean movies

Chow Yun Fat will star in the next two sequels to Pirates of the Caribbean, playing "the famous 19th century Chinese pirate Cheung Po Tsai."
Chan said both the movie's producer and director contacted Chow's management company in the U.S. two months ago and director Gore Verbinski flew to Hong Kong last week to discuss the screenplay with Chow. "The director was very sincere about it and specially flew to Hong Kong and discuss the script with Fat Gor (Chow's nickname) ... but we cannot talk about the details until we sign the contract," Chan was quoted as saying.
Link (via The Disney Blog)

Olympus camera laid bare and annotated

Steve Jurveston has just posted this astounding photo of a caseless Olympus camera to Flickr. Already, Flickr users have begun to use the photo-annotation tool to mark up the pic with technical details on the exposed components. Link