Boing Boing 

Old: cow-tipping. New: smart-car-tipping

Someone identified as the Canadian owner of a smart car has posted details in an online forum about the terrifying ordeal his "smarty" endured. And lo, "smart-car-tipping" is born. $1000.00 reward for the culprits.
Link (thanks, sine~language)

Psychedelic Japanese armpit-hair-removal ad

Here's a scan of an armpit-hair-removal brochure found in Tokyo taxis. Snip from loose translation (or so I'm told -- I can't read Japanese and do not speak armpit):

"Do not fuck with us! We will make you stinky and appear to have Brillo pads attached to your body!" they shout.

All hope is lost, is it not? No. Fortunately for you, there is a force they fear.

"You are no match for my powerful happy armpit hair death ray, which I can utilize for only 8,000 yen!" cries your savior, who rides to your rescue on a white coat and sporting a porno mustache. The happy armpit hairs quickly become sad, shaking in fear at what the stranger might pull out of his pocket.

It's only a flashlight, but for some mystical reason unknown to mankind when he turns it on, then utters the words "Let's love armpit happy" the legion of armpit hairs scream in agony then disappear, living your pit smooth and sparkling clean.

Link (Thanks, sid)

Ceci n'est pas un PSP

Boing Boing reader zhi yang says:
I was walking around Si-Meng-Ding in Taipei when I came across this shop. I saw that they were selling the Gameking 2 (a PSP ripoff). When the sales girl came over, I asked her whether this was the PSP even though I knew the answer but instead of trying to explain the uncanny resemblance. She said "No, this one is different, not produced by Sony. Our Gameking 2 has better games and is also much more cheaper than theirs."

Reader comment: mrbrown says,

I spotted one of these in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, in February 2005. The price tag on the one I saw said RM899, which is about USD236. A lot of money for something that doesn't play PSP games at all. But the box of the Gameking 2 also says "Fashionable Science & Technology Outlook" and "High-Brightness function and Super-Glare Imitate Color Screen". If you are into portable gaming, you will know that is really important.
Link to blog post

Official issue Illuminati leather jacket

 Graphics Product Images Pg01-1720822 Wilsons1 V380AFor sale from.... Wilsons Leather! Just $49.99. As mentioned in Bruce Sterling's Hacker Crackdown, notorious Legion of Doomer and former BB guest blogger "Frank Drake" painted a similar design on his leather jacket in the 1980s. Link (Thanks David Fox and Dr. Maz!)

"More people are killed every year by pigs than by sharks" -- MP3 interview with Bruce Schneier

ITConversations is a terrific source of audio interviews with tech folks. In the latest ITC email newsletter, producer Doug Kaye said that his interview last year with security consultant and author Bruce Schneier is one of his all-time favorites.
This is the one interview I hope everyone will hear. Security guru Bruce Schneier goes beyond cryptography and network security to challenge our post-9/11 national security practices.

* "Homeland security measures are an enormous waste of money."
* "If the goal of security is to protect against yesterday's attacks, we're really good at it."
* "More people are killed every year by pigs than by sharks, which shows you how good we are at evaluating risk."
* "...people make bad security trade-offs when they're scared."

Recorded a year ago, our listeners agree: This is one of our best.


Locus Poll wants your favorite sf of 2004

Locus Magazine is the best-read trade-rag in science fiction. Every year they conduct the "Locus Poll" to pick the winners of the Locus Award (I won this last year in the best first novel category, for Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom) and to gather demographics on the changing readership for science fiction, fantasy and horror. The Locus Poll draws more voters than the Hugos, making it the largest popular vote on sf in the field.

The Locus Poll is now available online for all and sundry (though subscribers get an extra issue if they participate). There are a lot of sf readers in internetland who don't read Locus or self-identify as fans or industry people -- getting their input to the poll will be really useful and valuable. Link (via Making Light)

Ltd edn cartridge with homebrew GameBoy games on it

On Makeblog, PT writes, "GBADev has an annual competition to create home brewed GameBoy games. Instead of giving out cash and flash cartridges the aim is to manufacture a batch of 500 cartridges with the top entries (a 'multi-cart') complete with cart sticker, manual and box. The cartridges will be manufactured by an "independent party" (not Nintendo). The cartridges are in, you can order them now. The games look great." Link (via Make Blog)

Share one PC among many users and put a billion-plus online

Some friends of mine in Cambridge have gone public with a new nonprofit project called Ndiyo, which builds on the old AT&T free VNC project to radically increase the number of users per PC. The way it works is that you take a single high-powered PC and a whack of cheap little network boxes that have keyboards, mice and monitors connected to them, then use free software to share resources on the server across all the users. If you can only afford one sixth of the cost of a PC (a position that some billion-plus people around the world are it), you and five friends can club together to share a single machine for browsing, document authoring, email and the like.
The Nivo unit itself measures around 12 by eight by two centimetres. It has no moving parts, but it has ports for ethernet, power, keyboard, mouse and a monitor.

It comes with two megabytes of RAM. The next version currently under development will have a USB port, soundcard, local storage capacity, and will be even smaller.

"Essentially, it is about sending pixels over the net," explained Dr Wills.

"With modern ethernet connections, you can get enough performance by sending through compressed pixels."


Jetpack add-on for MSFT Flight Sim

Clive sez, "A division of Spalab has announced that it will soon release JetpakNG -- an add-on pack that will allow you to fly a jetpack in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004. It's modelled on the original commissioned by the army and flown for the first time back in 1961!" Link (Thanks, Clive!)

Why Dutch iPod levy is futile

On the heels of the news that the Dutch government is going a proposal in the Dutch government to charge iPod owners more than a hundred Euros to compensate artists for the copying of music from CDs to their mobile players, Wendy Grossman writes about the futility of the move.
First of all, levies don't achieve their stated purpose. Let's say you've just forked out a couple of hundred Euros extra on an MP3 player over and above what folks in other countries pay. What would you think? You would think, "I've paid all this money to recompense the music industry for piracy. Therefore, I'm bloody well going to download every damn thing I can, because I've already paid for it." That's just great for the collection societies, whose revenues and importance increase, and the artists who show up on their radar are perfectly happy to be paid extra money they weren't expecting. Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, and Elvis Presley's heirs don't have a problem. Our friend David Mallett is lucky if he gets two more cents. And the many artists whose music is released onto the Net but who aren't members of the collection societies...get nothing.

Danny O'Brien goes to work at EFF!

Now it can be told: my pal Danny O'Brien -- co-editor of NTK and agitator for FaxYourMP, creator of Life Hacks and other fantastic projects -- is the latest Electronic Frontier Foundation hire. He's our new Activism Coordinator!
One thing we definitely learnt is that even the smallest bit of new information, or the tiniest of tweaks - in user interface, responsiveness, outreach - can have big effects. So if you have any suggestions about any part of the EFF, or you're running something that you think the EFF should know about, let me know.

Oh, and become a member! That way you can boss me around with impunity.


Photos: Tokyo Anime Fair 2005

Boing Boing reader Tamu of FPS Magazine says:

My co-workers from Toon Boom Animation went to the Tokyo International Anime Fair (TAF). While there, Steven took these fun photos around TAF 2005 and gave fps permission to put them up on the site. Check out the 3D sculpture of Hayao Miyazaki's (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke) Howl's Moving Castle (adapted from the Diana Wynne-Jones book) at the Studio Ghibli booth.
Link to photos by Stephen Chu.

Burrito of Mass Destruction

A call about a suspected lethal weapon at a middle school caused police to place armed officers on rooftops, shut off nearby streets, and lock down the school. The culprit: a giant burrito. A suspicious onlooker phoned authorities yesterday after seeing a boy carry something long and foil-wrapped into Marshall Junior High.
Two hours later, drama ended when item was identified as a 30-inch burrito filled with steak, guacamole, lettuce, salsa, and jalapenos, wrapped inside tin foil and a white T-shirt.
Link (thanks, caines)

The President sings "Imagine" and "A Walk On The Wild Side"

Someone remixed a bunch of President Bush speeches and rearranged his words so that it sounds like he's singing "Imagine" and "A Walk On The Wild Side." Link (More funny remixes here) (via WFMU's Beware of the Blog)

UPDATE: Jon Wiley points out that this song is part of an entire album called The Party Party. Download it here.

Photograph gallery of abandoned buildings in Japan

 Spiral Newfiles Ainori01 This Japanese language site has lots of interior and exterior photos of abandoned buildings in Japan.

Link (via i like)

Excellent found photos and ephemera at One Man Safari

 Img 180 1916 400 Toss1 It's always a treat to visit the One Man Safari blog and see what the mysterious "one man" has on display -- old home photos, bizarre movie stills, postcards, album cover art, product wrappers, etc. Where does he get all this stuff?

How do digital music sellers know what religion you are?

Following up on this post about reports of digital music vendors reselling customer data to marketers, many BB readers including Robert asked:
What I want to know is how in the hell can they know your religion ( "The "datacard" says that the company has race, age, gender, religion, and income information on the subscribers." ) when you buy an iPod or use eMusic?
First, Robert, mind your language. Faith-based downloading initiatives frown on indiscriminate use of the word "hell." I don't know the answer to your question, but maybe better-informed readers do -- or perhaps a representative of the data resellers in question would like to reply?

Perhaps the "religion" tag results from probability analysis based on song purchases. My beloved iPod contains music I've bought from iTunes, eMusic, and other sources. Among the many files stored: Hell (James Brown), Don't Fear the Reaper (BOC), Gwine Dig a Hole to Put the Devil In (Leadbelly), Devil's Pickney (Sugar Minott), and Sympathy for the Devil (Ozzy). If my hypothesis is proven correct, you'd find my customer data in the "Consort of Satan" column, which would explain all of the "L:@@K! Sell your s0ul for C*h*e*ap* beachfr0nt purgat0ry T1M3sh4res!!!" spams I've been getting lately.

Boing Boing reader Greg was upset about the possibility that his customer data might be resold, and he tells us:

When I cancelled my [eMusic] account and asked them to remove my information from their servers, I got the following:

"Hello: Thank you for contacting eMusic Customer Support. We are sorry to hear of your frustration. Your privacy preferences have been recorded. Please be assured that eMusic has never rented or sold its membership list to any third-party organization. eMusic has no plans to do so in the future. Also please note that your e-mail address and account information are kept secure on our servers. We understand your concerns regarding your account information and apologize for+any frustrations you have encountered.

eMusic Customer Support Team"

So, if that's true (and I don't trust that it is), then maybe it's a different service?

Boing Boing reader Joe and others wrote in to say they'd received the same reply from eMusic.

Previously: EPIC asks: which digital music service is selling your data? (UPDATED)

Update: Reader Luca says:

I am sure that eMusic does not sell their membership list, i.e. the names and email addresses of their subscribers. But that does not mean that they do not sell data on the song downloaded by their members, each with anonymous information about the member who downloaded it (such as race, age, gender, religion and income).

Jenn Shreve, not a "real" journalist?

Former BB guestblogger Jenn Shreve, a former editor at Salon and a longtime contributor to Wired, Slate, and many other publications, is not a "real" journalist. At least that's what she says the USC Annenberg School for Communication implied when she inquired about a media fellowship. From the f blog:
I was preparing my application for a USC Annenberg School for Communication media fellowship, which paid tuition for a weekend seminar on "Covering Entertainment in the Digital Age." I noticed that the application required a lot of information to come from my "supervisor," so I called them up to ask how I as a freelancer should handle this. I'd already obtained a letter of recommendation from my editor of six years at Photo District News, for whom I've written dozens of features about how digital technology was transforming the visual arts. Several years ago when I was awarded two media fellowships from CASE, including one on art and technology, they were extremely accommodating, so I was not prepared to hear that while USC would accept applications from people like me, I might as well not bother because they really couldn't prove I was a "real journalist." When I listed all the publications I've written for over the years, they said it didn't matter. If I didn't work in a newsroom, I apparently wasn't a real journalist in their book.

Postcard confessional

 Images  Img 296 2612 1024 Igot PostSecret is a mail art project where you're invited to send in an anonymous postcard with a "secret" written on it. The submissions are then shared on a blog. This is even more engaging than the old classic Not Proud! After just four months, the organizers have posted lots of heavy, funny, creepy, interesting, and real secrets. Directions to contribute are in the 1/1/2005 post.
Link (via the f blog)

Car smashes into second floor of house

Last night, a car flew from the street into the top floor of a house in Basingstoke, Hants, England and dropped back to the ground. The driver and passenger were seriously injured but are in stable condition. Police say the car hit a curb and "launched through the air."
 Media Images 41086000 Jpg  41086775 Carinhouse203Joyce Harman told BBC News how she and her husband Joe were woken by the crash.

"It was just horrendous," she said.

"My husband thought the dog had knocked something over downstairs but as he got to the bedroom door he could see the hole in the wall and all the furniture moved.

"That's when we came downstairs and saw the car there."

EPIC asks: which digital music service is selling your data? (UPDATED)

Update at end of post.

Boing Boing reader Chris Hoofnagle of EPIC says:

As part of my work at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, I scan direct marketing publications to see how companies are selling your personal information. This data sale appeared today in Direct Marketing News. It proposes to sell the personal information of those who subscribe to "an online digital music community...These consumers pay anywhere from $9.00 to $19.99 a month to gain access to a diverse catalog of over 500,000 music downloads in a variety of genres from top independent labels." The "datacard" says that the company has race, age, gender, religion, and income information on the subscribers. I'm wondering what music subscription site is selling their members' data! Would anyone at the in the Boing Boing community know what company it is?

BB reader thegrubbykid was the first to say:

I did a google search for "500,000 music downloads $19.99" and came up with a cnet review of eMusic. [3] Relevant quotes which match the data sale info are:

users are still rewarded with unlimited playing, burning, and transferring of files provided in the nearly universally supported MP3 format.
You must subscribe to one of three plans: choose 40 downloads for $9.99, 65 downloads for $14.99, or 90 downloads for $19.99. Though eMusic's per-song price works out to be a comparatively cheap 22 to 25 cents, those who prefer the freedom of a la carte downloading (and more mainstream music) are better off with open-handed stores such as iTunes and Wal-Mart Music Downloads.
eMusic carried 500,000 high-quality MP3 files from 1,200 independent music labels, many of which cannot be found at competing online music stores

This is pretty circumstantial, but this could be a healthy lead. Use the google query "500,000 music downloads $19.99 $9.99" and all you get are eMusic links/reviews and spam links.

Many other BB readers wrote in with exactly the same conclusion. Reader Patita points us to this ToS excerpt from the eMusic site:
Our Disclosure of Your Information
We may make your information available to others:

[a few bullets down:] Who are trusted third parties (e.g., promotional partners and advertisers) so that they can promote their products and services and those of their affiliates and partners based on your preferences and interests. You may "opt out" of such disclosure(s) to the extent they include your personally identifiable information by sending an email at any time to indicating your intent to do so. If you consent to share your personally identifiable information with such trusted third parties, their use of such information is subject to their own privacy policies;


Update: Et tu, iPod? Chris Hoofnagle points us to this listing: iPod Generation List Service Direct Inc.

New List
Description: This file contains individuals who have purchased an iPod MP3 player. Selects: more than 2.1 million total file, 3-month hotline, geography, income, age, gender, marital status, mail order buyer, magazine subscriber, computer owner, donor, ethnicity, religion, book buyer, credit card holder, homeowner, length of residence and age of child present
Contact: your list broker or List Service Direct Inc., 2 Christie Heights Street, Leonia, NJ 07605
Phone: 201/585-1447;
Fax: 201/585-1732

Thread continued here, with denial of data reselling by eMusic.

Baby, you are, like, so kawaii

Anime-inspired cosmetics for creating a "supercute" look. If there was ever a good reason for a reality makeover show, this is it. I'm imagining four gender-ambiguous cosplay co-hosts ambushing an unsuspecting woman on the street -- "Congratulations! You're getting a Sailor Moon makeover!" I'd totally volunteer for that shit -- always wondered what it would be like to wander around with giant black inkblobs where my irises used to be. Snipped from Style:
Japanese brands like Shu Uemura, plus such trendy Americans as Stila and Goldie, are jumping aboard the sweet-seeking trend to produce Sailor Moon-ish products and accoutrements–from cleansers in adorable packaging to cosmetics with cartoon-inspired pigments to ice-cream-flavor lip gloss. With black contact lenses, now turning Tokyo teens into walking manga characters, poised to hit the States, artists, manufacturers, and style makers show no signs of coming down from their collective sugar high.
Link (Thanks, Susannah).

Reader comment: Ian Irving adds,

To aid you in your anime dreams, the current (May) issue of Wired Magazine has a brief piece on new contact lenses to give you that gigantic monochromatic pupil look -- under the PLAY| japanese schoolgirl watch section, of course. Link

Mystery ship likely monitoring Titan launch

As several BB readers speculated, the mystery ship, named The Sage, in Portland Harbor (previous post) is apparently in the area to track a giant Titan rocket scheduled for launch tonight. (Link for live coverage.) The Titan will deliver a military satellite into orbit. Neither the Air Force or Lockheed Martin, contractor for the Titan, will confirm or deny that the Sage is monitoring the launch, but all signs point to yes. From the Portland Press Herlad:
 Images  Images  Photos 050423DomeshipThe offshore supply ship is equipped with an antenna to monitor boosters during launches, said Doug Sayers, a spokesman for Lockheed Martin, which made the Titan's two boosters. The defense contractor is leasing the Sage...

Roger Guillemette, a correspondent for the Cape Canaveral bureau of, a Web site that covers space-related news, said he has no doubt about the vessel's mission.

"It's there to track the Titan for the Air Force and the National Reconnaissance Office," he said.

Brown said the Sage's departure Wednesday has confirmed that it is here to track the Titan. He said NASA is not preparing any other launches in the near future for this flight path.
Link (Thanks, Loren Coleman!)

web zen: generator zen

prior art
text blocks
the surrealist link
dionne warwick's cosmic peephole
they fight crime
vin diesel facts

web zen home, web zen store, (Thanks, Frank).

Girl Scouts sue non-paying customers

Girl Scouts from Waukesha, Wisconsin are filing lawsuits in small claims court against customers who didn't pay for cookies they ordered. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Christine Slowinski, communications director for council, said the lawsuits, which this year concern amounts ranging from $301.42 to $1,485.68 for 2003 and 2004 orders, are an unfortunate annual undertaking...

Slowinski said the delinquents each year are a mix of parents who owe money for their daughters' cookies and people who pay for cookies with rubber checks.
Link (Thanks, Carlo Longino!)

Jailtime for Chong's Bongs lead to dispute over Marijuana-logues

Brian Braiker of Newsweek says,
You may know Tommy Chong is just out of jail for selling bongs online (not drugs, mind you, glass water pipes). Now he says he's been forced by the terms of his parole to quit a stage production called "The Marijuana-Logues." Uncomfortable with rejoining the cast even after his parole is over in July, Chong is now being sued by the show's producers for breach of contract. Dude can't catch a break, man!

Life-size X-Wing fighter for sale

This life-size X-Wing fighter (built as an authorized promo by a Lucasfilm contractor) is on eBay, bidding starting at $40K Link (via Wonderland)

7m-high electrical garbage statue made from one Briton's lifetime's waste

The Weee Man is a 7m-high, 3.3-tonne sculptural humaniod gracing London's South Bank, made entirely from waste electrical and electronic products (hence "weee"). The 3.3 tonne weight represents the total mass of WEEE that the average Briton junks in her or his lifetime, so it's not just pretty and awesome: it's also thought-provoking. Link

Designer prefab houses coming to Germany

German housing is built to be "fortress-like" -- which is expensive, slow and enviromentally wasteful The solution may be prefab housing, which is efficient and fast to throw up. But Germans hate prefab. Now various German housing outfits have commissioned star architects to procduct designer "off the rack" prefab houses that are really lovely in the hopes that it will eliminate the prefab stigma. Link (via A Whole Lotta Nothing)

Blind woman who sees with sound

CBC radio's Quirks and Quarks science show has a fascinating piece on a woman who uses a technology called vOICe to replace the vision she lost when her eyes were damaged in an industrial accident. vOICe uses stereo cameras in a pair of cycling goggles to convert visual data into audio signals played through headphones, producing a lo-res version of her visual surroundings. One of the more fascinating elements of the program is the stuff on brain-function, and the new theories being engendered by this about the way that what we think of as the "visual cortex" is actually a general-purpose tool for processing sensory data about one's surroundings regardless of whether or not it arrives visuallly. Link (Thanks, Darren!)