In bringing the world wide web to the whole wide world, [we are] looking for a few volunteers to travel to Africa for four challenging IT projects that are changing the role of information and communication technologies in the developing world.Link to details about Geekcorps' paid volunteer assignments in Mali, Ghana, Senegal, and Kenya. (via DMCA-Discuss listserv) Despite what the BBC reported of Bob "Mr. Bloody Africa" Geldof's comments today, Africa is not neccesarily "boring." (via Warren). Read the rest
Speaking of odd food, here's some Hello Kitty-shaped sushi (thanks numlok), and there is a chocolate cake disguised as a giant head of cabbage. (thanks, heidi). Special thanks to all the readers who submitted that website about people in Japan who carve elaborate designs in the flesh of watermelons -- but I'm kinda holding out for the website about people in Japan who carve elaborate watermelon designs in their own flesh.
Lightwav for PalmOne Treo smartphones has a feature called "CoverUp Sound" where you can trigger sounds to play in the phone conversation.In related news -- last week, San Francisco-based Phonebites nabbed a US$3MM venture round. They, too, offer a service that allows mobile phone users to insert a pre-recorded sound clip into a live conversation - like a radio soundboard, but for your cell phone. Here's a related Engadget post from last October: Link. (thanks, Marc Nathan, via the unwired list)
I hear that this application is popular in Japan with cheating "salary men" husbands. They'll trigger sounds of a train station, a busy office or a bar, while explaining to their wives why they won't be home until later. Single men trigger the sound of a girl in the background saying "come back to bed" to make their male friends jealous.
I use it to insert a bad connection effect: "I can't hear you, you're breaking up on me, I'm losing signal, I'll have to call you back about that. Kshhhh."
Update: BB reader Daniel says,
There's also such an application available for Seiries60 smartphones. The app is called CallCheater. And it works quite nicely.Link Read the rest
I've been doing a tiny bit of research into the German crime of "public incitement" in response to your post about the fake VW ad. This is not simply a copyright infringement issue. The theory here is that this ad could provoke someone to commit a car bombing. Under German law as I read it, even if the ad does not in fact incite someone to commit a car bombing, the two men who produced the phony ad are still subject to a maximum penalty of five years in prison, simply for creating the ad.Link
Update: raging red says:
Some people [in the comments section of my blog] have corrected me. Apparently the translation from German in the Reuters article is a little off. The crime they may be charged with is a different kind of public incitement. It's called "Volksverhetzung," which apparently means agitation of the public or incitement of hatred. It's basically a hate speech statute. The punishment is 3 months to five years. I haven't verified this information myself yet, but the people in my comments sound like they are correct, and one person has given the text of the statute in my comments.Read the rest
Family tags: In a weird confluence of SoCal suburbia and meatspace metadata, people are tagging their cars with stick figure facsimiles of their family. What's next, the corporate version? (Stick figure CEO holds hand of middle manager holding hands with a legion of cube-dwellers...)Link
Update: Boing Boing reader Mario Lopez says:
These stickers started appearing in Mexican cities around 2001 and spread like wildfire. Now they are everywhere and even political candidates have resorted to this kind of advertising. They are sold everywhere and are customizable with the name/nickname of your children and pets and whatnot. It is all pretty abnormal and ugly. I can only guess that this fad was brought to the US by chicanos returning from these last holidays in their hometowns.Read the rest
For once Mexico is not 10 years behind the US, now we are like 3 years ahead in the bizarre family sticker business. When everyone started using these things on their cars, authorities advised to the contrary, they said it was an unnecesary risk to broadcast so much information about your family (names, how many boys, girls, aproximate ages, etc) to potential kidnappers. No one seemed to care.
I will look for some really odd ones on the street and send them if they are really good.
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The Downhill Battle torrents for Eyes on the Prize have gone away, but there is still a mirror of them available. Please consider using the mirror to get your own copies and host a party of your own.
At 8pm on February 8th we will celebrate the struggle and triumph of the civil rights movement with screenings of Eyes on the Prize Part 1: Awakenings. Eyes on the Prize is the most renowned civil rights documentary of all time; for many people, it is how they first learned about the Civil Rights Movement (more about the film). But this film has not been available on video or television for the past 10 years simply because of expired copyright licenses. We cannot allow copyright red tape to keep this film from the public any longer. So today we are making digital versions of the film available for download. Join us in building a new mass audience for this film: organize or attend a screening in your city, town, school or home on February 8th.Read the rest
...When told of the exact text of the First Amendment, more than one in three high school students said it goes "too far" in the rights it guarantees. Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories... Three in four students said flag burning is illegal... About half the students said the government can restrict any indecent material on the Internet.Who is teaching these kids? Link UPDATE: Fortunately at least some students aren't being entirely short-changed by their schools, as this email from BB reader Maxx points out:
"I am a junior (11th grade) at Cocalico High School. Our school has a mandatory course named Principals of Democracy. In this class, we are taught everything about the Constitution including an in depth study of the Bill of Rights. The students must also write a essay about a section of the bill of rights and also conduct a formal debate against fellow classmates. On this essay we must use at least 34 sources and my paper turned out to be 16 pages on the second amendment right to bear arms. So, just to clarify, some of us do know a thing or two about the constitution. Also, as students, we do not have the right to free speech, protection from unreasonable search or seizure, or freedom of assembly."UPDATE: As reader Steve Jones points out, the common "principals" vs. Read the rest