Punk rock accoutrements for kids

Online shop "The Cradle Rocks" sells punk stuff for angst-ridden toddlers -- like the skull and crossbones kiddie plate set, shown here, plus some crazy two-headed mutant rag dolls and baby's first combat boots. Link

Update: Damon Bacheller says,

I'm the web person for www.thecradlerocks.com. I noticed it appeared on boingboing today. There is an issue with the shared SSL, and getting the host to fix this problem. We're working on it, and hope to have it fixed asap. In the meantime, users can be assured their information is in a safe place, and orders can be placed securely.
Read the rest

Cosplay art in NYC

"Cosplayers," a video by Guangzhou-based photographer, videographer, and performance artist Cao Fei, will be on display from March 4 through April 9 at Lombard-Freid Fine Arts in New York. Shown here, a screengrab from the 8-minute piece. Link to gallery of 18 video stills. Read the rest

"Mac father" Jef Raskin: in memoriam

Personal computing pioneer Jef Raskin passed away this weekend.
Raskin is best known for starting the Macintosh project at Apple in the late seventies, though his later career as an expert in computer interfaces was overshadowed by controversy over who 'fathered' the Macintosh. Though Raskin conceived of the Mac, he was usurped by Steve Jobs, who put his own distinctive mark on the machine we know today.
Link to obit post on CultOfMac.

Update: BoingBoing's founder Mark Frauenfelder says:

This is really sad. I saw Jef last fall, and he seemed to be in good health. Jef wrote many wonderful ideas for me when I was an editor at Wired. He also wrote some really funny (and true) stories for the print edition of bOING bOING under the nom de plume "El Jefe." He was a wonderful artist, musician, and inventor. He'll be missed.
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Funny typo on Air Canada sticker

Are airport security workers putting their no-longer needed pornographic materials in passengers' suitcases? This Air Canada luggage sticker reads: "THIS BAGGAGE HAS BEEN X-RATED AT POINT OF ORIGIN." Link (Thanks, Greg!) Read the rest

New Jim Woodring print: "The Confidence Bird"

Pressure Printing is selling a 12" x 14" print of a Jim Woodring illustration called "The Confidence Bird." It costs $200 and is limited to 100 signed copies. (Tiny detail shown here.) The included frame and corner mounts are beautiful, too. Link (Thanks, Scott!) Read the rest

Python in a toilet

A man in St. Petersburg, Florida lassoed a snake that was poking its head out from his toilet. It turned out that the snake was a six-foot-long African rock python. Link (via Fortean Times) Read the rest

HOWTO curse in Yiddish -- WARNING

Swearasaurus is a directory of curses in languages other than English. The Yiddish curse section is stupendous. I'm taking notes.
He should give it all away to doctors... He should crap blood and pus... He should have a large store, and whatever people ask for he shouldn’t have, and what he does have shouldn’t be requested... All his teeth should fall out except one to make him suffer... I should outlive him long enough to bury him.
Link (via MeFi)

Update: Some readers report that this site trips their anti-spyware software. I use Firefox and OS X, so I am immune. You may not be so lucky. On the other hand, the anti-spyware could just be overzealous. Who knows?

Update 2: Ed Bott sez, "I am the author of the best-selling books Windows XP Inside Out and Windows Security Inside Out. I can tell you for a fact that this site offers to install a known piece of deceptive software (aka spyware) on the computer of anyone who visits. It uses social engineering techniques to trick the visitor into accepting the installation. In my opinion, you should remove this link as a service to your readers." Forewarned is forearmed.

Update 3:Ran Li sez, "The Alternative Dictionaries provides a similar service, with entries sorted alphabetically, PDF versions (the whole thing or for individual languages), and no spyware." Read the rest

Vintage PC magazine ads

1000bit has a jaw-dropping gallery of scanned in vintage magazine ads for old computer systems. Link (Thanks, Olli!) Read the rest

Graffito of a dog humping R2D2

Found via the Flickr graffiti tag RSS --deepwarren's photo of a fantastic stencil of a doggie having its way with R2D2. Link Read the rest

Learn German from Deutsche Welle

Paul sez, "For years Deutsche Welle, Germany's government-run international shortwave radio station, has been broadcasting German language lessons in English, for their worldwide audience. Now, the audio lessons are available for download from their website, along with the accompanying text (pdf). It appears to be quite comprehensive, too. I'd love to see other countries setting up similar courses on the web, for their respective languages." Link (Thanks, Paul!)

Update: Bug sez, "the BBC also does this. They have English, Irish, Welsh, and Scottish Gaelic, along with French, German, Italian and Spanish and a whole bunch of others at a variety of levels." Read the rest

Brain-pacemaker show great success in treating depression

Researchers in Toronto have had success with direct brain stimulation of mood-controlling areas as a means of treating depression -- they liken it to a pacemaker for the brain.
Four women and two men had electrodes planted deep into their brain to stimulate one of the areas involved in mood control.

Each underwent local anaesthetic before doctors drilled two small holes in their skulls. Then, using magnetic resonance imaging to guide them, doctors inserted two thin electrode wires into the brain area. The other ends of the wires were threaded under the scalp down to the lower neck area.

Next, the patients underwent a general anaesthetic to have a pulse generator implant, the "pacemaker", sewn in under the skin of their chest. The wires were hooked up to this to provide constant brain stimulation...

All six volunteers reported acute effects once the current was switched on. These included a sudden brightening of the room and a "disappearing of the void".

Link (via We Make Money Not Art) Read the rest

Does Google complain if you reformat its pages? Nope

Yesterday, I posted a link to Yoz Grahame's rant on Google Toolbar, a service that lets you change the webpages on your screen so that things like ISBNs and addresses are automatically linked to database entries on various services.

One question that arises from this is: how would Google feel if you were to provide a service that reformatted its pages for others to use? As it turns out, Google routinely allows it. Here are three examples: W3C HTML Validator: Scrapes Google and reformats it, commenting on its use of html, linking to relevant elements of the spec Bobby Accessibility Validator: Scrapes Google and reformats it, commenting on its adherence to accessibility guidelines For Me To Poop On: Scrapes Google and reformats it with a large, floating pile of dogshit drawn over the screen

Update: Phil adds, "don't forget GooglePreview, the Firefox extension that adds dinky thumbnail views of websites directly onto the Google search results page."

Update 2: Nearly forgot my favorite: The Internet Archive scrapes Google, reformats it, and replaces all the links with links to cached historical versions of Google's pages.

Update 3: Two more gooduns: Scroogle "scrapes Google, discards the ads, removes cookie, and has access log deleted after 7 days" (Thanks, Philip!); and Gizoogle "scrapes Google entries...and reformats them from Snoop Dogg's internet perspecizzle" (Thanks, J!).

Update 4: Not always, though: George reminds us that "Julian Bond wrote a PHP script to reformat Google News searches as RSS and Google had him take it down. Read the rest

Halle Berry accepts "Razzie" for Catwoman, calls it a "piece of shit"

The Razzies are joke awards given for actors and filmmakers who produce crappy movies. It's rare for a Razzie "winner" to make a personal appearance at the awards, but Halle Berry gets my vote for coolest person in Hollywood for not only showing up to get a Razzie for Catwoman, but also making a very funny speech:
Berry was named worst actress of 2004 by the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation for her performance in "Catwoman" and she showed up to accept her "Razzie" carrying the Oscar she won in 2002 for "Monster's Ball."

"They can't take this away from me, it's got my name on it!" she quipped. A raucous crowd cheered her on as she gave a stirring recreation of her Academy Award acceptance speech, including tears.

She thanked everyone involved in "Catwoman," a film she said took her from the top of her profession to the bottom.

"I want to thank Warner Brothers for casting me in this piece of shit," she said as she dragged her agent on stage and warned him "next time read the script first."

Link (via JWZ) Read the rest

Big Media's anti-pay-TV campaign from 1967

The proponents of the loathsome Broadcast Flag, which seeks to limit your ability to freely manipulate, archive and move the TV shows you record, weren't always opponents of freedom and television. Back in 1967, the TV broadcasters and the movie studios ran a propaganda campaign to defeat the early Pay TV systems. Here's a wonderful old video clip from that era, a bumper that was shown before movies urging Californians to sign a petition against Pay TV.
In 1967, when one of the first pay TV services was preparing to launch in California, Hollywood and the networks helped defeat the service because they didn't want the competition. Theater owners organized a KEEP TV FREE campaign, with PSAs like this one running in movie houses before feature films.

Though this particular campaign was limited to California, the advertising industry and television networks have long argued a similar case. When Vance Packard, Ralph Nader, Peggy Charren, and other critics attacked advertising in the 1950s, 1970s, and 1980s (respectively), defenders of industry often cited a common refrain: "advertising provides free news and entertainment."

In other words, the major networks (in conjunction with the ad industry) have promoted the idea that television is free for decades. Now that viewers have taken their word for it by recording and sharing TV shows freely, the industry only has itself to blame.

Link (Thanks, Carrie!) Read the rest

Why John Gilmore won't show his ID at airports

Pittsburgh's Post-Gazette has an amazing, balanced, in-depth profile on John Gilmore, the guy who Sun hired to write their first code, the guy who co-founded EFF, the guy who won't show ID to get on an airplane:
In post 9/11 America, asking "Why?" when someone from an airline asks for identification can start some interesting arguments. Gilmore, who learned to argue on the debate team in his hometown of Bradford, McKean County, has started an argument that, should it reach its intended target, the U.S. Supreme Court, would turn the rules of national security on end, reach deep into the tug-of-war between private rights and public safety, and play havoc with the Department of Homeland Security.

At the heart of Gilmore's stubbornness is the worry about the thin line between safety and tyranny.

"Are they just basically saying we just can't travel without identity papers? If that's true, then I'd rather see us go through a real debate that says we want to introduce required identity papers in our society rather than trying to legislate it through the back door through regulations that say there's not any other way to get around," Gilmore said. "Basically what they want is a show of obedience."

Link (Thanks, Brad!) Read the rest

Paying Canadian telco an extra $50 makes IRC and ftp secure, somehow

Simon sez, "It was reported in Vancouver that Canadian telecom giant Telus has outlawed home servers for its customers with residential highspeed service. Ports used by such ftp, telnet and IRC servers, among others, have been blocked. According to Telus, 'These security measures are designed to reduce illicit traffic.'

"But if home users upgrade to a business account (for $84.95 a month, rather than $29.95) the blocked ports magically become unstuck. There's no mention, however, of increased security measures in the upgraded business accounts. Interpret this how you like." Link Read the rest

Stanford's anti-diversity agenda: No astrologer professors!

Aaron Swartz's Stanford diaries -- basically, the ruminations of a sharp university student's first year in the hallowed halls -- are tremendous reading. Today, he's posted a response to the talking-point that Stanford anti-intellectual-diversity because 13% of Stanford profs are Republicans, but 51% of voters in the last election swung GOP.
Scary as this is, my preliminary research has discovered some even more shocking facts. I have found that only 1% of Stanford professors believe in telepathy (defined as "communication between minds without using the traditional five senses"), compared with 36% of the general population. And less than half a percent believe "people on this earth are sometimes possessed by the devil", compared with 49% of those outside the ivory tower. And while 25% of Americans believe in astrology ("the position of the stars and planets can affect people's lives"), I could only find one Stanford professor who would agree. (All numbers are from mainstream polls, as reported by Sokal.)

This dreadful lack of intellectual diversity is a serious threat to our nation's youth, who are quietly being propagandized by anti-astrology radicals instead of educated with different points of view. Were I to discover that there were no blacks on the Stanford faculty, the Politically Correct community would be all up in arms. But they have no problem squeezing out prospective faculty members whose views they disagree with.

Link Read the rest

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