Boing Boing 

Bush disassembles English language, again

When asked at today's press conference about Amnesty International's report criticizing America's treatment of detainees, President Bush called the claims "absurd." According to the White House transcript, he also said:
"It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of -- and the allegations -- by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble -- that means not tell the truth."
My brother Bob Pescovitz comments, "I always thought 'disassemble' meant 'to take apart,' but maybe that's 'dissemble.' But his wife is a librarian so I guess I'm wrong."

Even more ridiculous than Bush using the wrong word is the fact that the Chicago Tribune had the nerve to kindly correct his mistake when quoting him! Link to White House transcript, Link to Chicago Tribune article (republished at KansasCity.com, BugMeNot's login worked for me. Email: icantkick@mailinator.com, Password: oregon1)

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who pointed out that "dissemble" was yesterday's Dictionary.com "Word of the Day." Link

Bob Baker Marionettes

Picture 4-4 Kim Cooper says: "Bob Baker's Marionette theater in downtown LA has a fantastic new Mexican-themed show called 'Allegre!' that the Bubblegum Queen and I caught this morning, along with a busload of Head Start kiddies from Pomona. 'Allegre!' is a little mature for this audience, but they seemed to dig it.

"The show's centerpiece is a black light extravaganza featuring an all-skeleton cast grooving to 'Hernando's Hideaway.' There are painted ladies, a terrifying bony clown who juggles a skull, monsters playing vibes on a dinosaur's ribs and, unbelievably, a pair of fleshless burlesque beauties with tassles where their tatas should be. One does a classic Sally Rand fan dance!

"'Allegre!' is $10, plus you get free ice cream in the party room after the show. Highly recommended.
Link (More from Boing Boing on Bob Baker Marionettes here)

Creepy products from "Best Children's Products"

Picture 3-5 Picture 2-4 Here are my picks for the two creepiest products on this page of "best children's products." The O'Pair is a rope to attach a kid to an adult and was "designed to be a more socially acceptable and safe alternative to a child's leash or harness."

The Take-Out-Time-Out is a mat you are supposed to make your kids sit on when they've misbehaved. Bonus creepiness: "TAKE-OUT-TIME-OUT can be used anywhere anytime (home, store, restaurant, playground, etc.)." Imagine the psychological scars you'll inflict on your child by making him sit on this pad in a restaurant.
Link (Thanks, Peggy!)

Photobooth enthusiasm

 Artists Photography Costa Images Hc 4 Grid Man Small VersionMark Pike, co-creator of the Duke Photobooth Project, sent in a link to the 7th International Photobooth Convention in St. Louis. Unfortunately, today is the last day of the convention, but some of the organizers also maintain an excellent clearinghouse for deep photobooth knowledge, including an active blog, list of locations around the country, and photobooth art. Seen here: Herman Costa's "Grid man (Small version)," 1986, 4 uncut black & white photobooth strips Link

Deep Throat revealed?

W. Mark Felt was Deep Throat, claims Vanity Fair. In 2003, students at the University of Illinois presented a convincing case that Fred Fielding was Woodward and Bernstein's key source when they broke the Watergate story in the Washington Post. But Felt, formerly the #2 spook in the FBI, says he really was the guy. Link

UPDATE: The identity of Deep Throat has been confirmed as W. Mark Felt. From CNN:
"W. Mark Felt was 'Deep Throat' and helped us immeasurably in our Watergate coverage," according to a statement issued by Woodward and Bernstein.

"However, as the record shows, many other sources and officials assisted us and other reporters for the hundreds of stories that were written in The Washington Post about Watergate."
Link

America's supersized asses demand supersized toilet seats

Boing Boing reader Caines says,
This is in response to Xeni's "Obesity in America leads to boom in sales of larger chairs" post -- The Great John Toilet Co. is cashing in on the obesity problem as well. Their "Size Friendly" toilet is wider and a bit taller than a normal toilet. They even have a nice flash comparison movie of the "Extra-Elongated Ergonomic Seat".
Link

Gallery of home-built bikes

 Scooterdon  Highlander 3 Bikeforest has a nice photograph gallery of homemade bikes, scooters, and tricycles.
Link

Uncle Neptune's old timey music

I just discovered the music of Uncle Neptune. You can download three CDs worth of pleasant 1920s and 1930a era ukulele ditties from his site.
Link

Video-casting for the PSP: pspdrive.com

Julian Bleecker says,
Some pals recently hacked together this vidcasting site designed for the PSP. Collectively, we knew this sort of thing would happen, and now it's happening. The content isn't there, but the framework is awfully compelling. Next, I suspect, will be direct to PSP downloads over WiFi or, even better, a video aggregator that lives right on the device, allowing one to browse indy channels of Vidcasts.
Link

Profile of iRobot co-founder Helen Greiner

The Associated Press profiles Helen Greiner, the co-founder of robotics firm iRobot, maker of the Roomba vacuum cleaner and the military PackBot (seen in this AP photo). From the article:
For the 37-year-old Greiner, the success of the Roomba and of iRobot's military machines validates the transformation of robots from the stuff of fantasy to practical tools.

"I think in the old days, robots had a perception of being kind of scary, and more science fiction than science fact," Greiner said in a recent interview. "These robots are on a mission, and so are we: to bring robots into the mainstream. ... We can make robots do a better job than humans in some cases...."

...For her part, Greiner has said she doesn't believe robots should be empowered to decide on their own whether to take a human life.

None of iRobot's current military robots have autonomous capabilities; all are directly controlled by humans. And while iRobot is developing the PackBot's abilities to carry payloads -- including the possibility of transporting weapons -- none of the company's current robots is armed.
Link

Star Wars: The Science of Consistency

An interesting essay on (messy) fictional universes and the fans who rationalize them.
The fictional universes depicted in movies like the Star Wars or Star Trek series tend to get very complex (...) That complexity means that–inevitably–the occasional “continuity error” occurs. In normal movie parlance, a continuity error means one of those embarrassing moments when, say, the bandage on an actor moves from the right hand to the left hand between scenes due to a mistake by the makeup department. For science fiction fans, though, continuity refers to the overall logical and historical coherence of our beloved fictional universes.

If Scotty witnesses Captain Kirk’s death at the beginning of Star Trek VII, it is extremely troubling to some of us–those who care, those who have intellectual integrity and the discipline of logic!–if Scotty is awakened from suspended animation approximately seventy years later in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and asks whether Captain Kirk is still alive. Scotty should know that Kirk isn’t! Something is wrong! It doesn’t add up–yet it must! It must!

For you see, any story must have a certain amount of internal coherence if we are to achieve suspension of disbelief. And we must achieve suspension of disbelief.

Link to "Star Wars: The Science of Consistency" (Thanks, Jason Schultz)

Swallowable robot

A Carnegie Mellon engineer is in the early stages of adding legs to a camera-in-a-pill that doctors currently use to see inside the intestine. Metin Sitti, director of the NanoRobotics Lab, is putting a three-footed system through its paces in pig intestines. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
 Images3 20050530Smscisitti01 230In the simplest scheme, the capsule could deploy three legs, creating a tripod that could stop the capsule's movement through the intestine, giving doctors a chance to take a closer look at something.

Polymer pads on the leg tips, mimicking the adhesive foot pads of the palmetto beetle, would stick to the intestinal walls. The adhesive foot pads require very little pressure, yet enable the beetle to withstand forces of more than 200 times its body weight.

A more elaborate, telescoping capsule, featuring a set of three legs on either end, would enable it to crawl as if it were inchworm. The capsule could thus go rapidly to a point of interest or, if sufficient power was available, move upstream to give doctors a second look at a suspicious lesion.
Link (via Howard Lovy's NanoBot)

No Privacy in Your Cubicle? Try an Electronic Silencer

An article by John Markoff in this weekend's New York Times about an amazing creation from two of the world's most amazing minds -- Danny Hillis and Bran Ferren.
Maxwell Smart's "cone of silence" is finally a reality.

Two people in an office here were having a tête-à-tête, but it was impossible for a listener standing nearby to understand what they were saying. The conversation sounded like a waterfall of voices, both tantalizingly familiar and yet incomprehensible.

The cone of silence, called Babble, is actually a device composed of a sound processor and several speakers that multiply and scramble voices that come within its range. About the size of a clock radio, the first model is designed for a person using a phone, but other models will work in open office space.

The voice scrambling technology used in Babble was developed by Applied Minds, a research and consulting firm founded by Danny Hillis, a distinguished computer architect, and Bran Ferren, an industrial designer and Hollywood special effects wizard.

Link

RIP: Oscar Brown, Jr.

Music legend, writer, and revered civil rights activist Oscar Brown, Jr. has passed away at the age of 78. Link. This was one of his most popular compositions, and was recently remixed for a Verve collection.

Other Things Besides Downloading the RIAA Doesn't Care For


An online comic drawn by BoringBoring co-creator Francis (who is a dude).

Link

Last word (we hope) on odd Star Trek/pedo connection

Ernest Miller says, "Last week venerable Canadian publication Maclean's published a story that had as its hook the Star Trek/Pedophilia connection found by the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit (The Star Trek Connection). And what a connection it is."
The first thing detectives from the Toronto police sex crimes unit saw when they entered Roderick Cowan's apartment was an autographed picture of William Shatner. Along with the photos on the computer of Scott Faichnie, also busted for possessing child porn, they found a snapshot of the pediatric nurse and Boy Scout leader wearing a dress "Federation" uniform. Another suspect had a TV remote control shaped like a phaser. Yet another had a Star Trek credit card in his wallet. One was using "Picard" as his screen name. In the 3 1/2 years since police in Canada's biggest city established a special unit to tackle child pornography, investigators have been through so many dwellings packed with sci-fi books, DVDs, toys and collectibles like Klingon swords and sashes that it's become a dark squadroom joke. "We always say there are two types of pedophiles: Star Trek and Star Wars," says Det. Ian Lamond, the unit's second-in-command. "But it's mostly Star Trek."

It's the type of oddball coincidence that's difficult to ignore. Even more so when you realize there's virtually nothing else, beyond their shared perversion, that links the new generation of child sex offenders.

Link to complete post. Previously on Boing Boing: LA Times: Pedophilia Linked with Star Trek?, and James Spader says William Shatner smells like lamb sausage. Whoah, those two archive links really don't mix well, do they. Excuse me while my blog vomits.

Ibrahim Ferrer on billboard in Cuba protesting US antiterror policies


Click thumbnail for larger image. Ned Sublette says:
"A friend forwarded me yesterday this photo of a billboard in Cuba. I don't know who took it or when. It says: "... and now they say that we're terrorists!" -- Ibrahim Ferrer, member of the Buena Vista Social Club.

The background is that Ibrahim Ferrer, when nominated for a Grammy, was refused admission to the US to attend the award ceremony on grounds of -- get this -- national security. This in spite of his having previously performed successful US concert tours, he, and all Cuban musicians across the board (except for those involved in the anomalous case of "Havana Night," which played at a casino in Las Vegas), have been denied entrance into the US for the last two years.

While the US did not actually apply the word "terrorist" to Mr. Ferrer as an individual, the perennial inclusion of Cuba on the United States' list of "state-sponsors of terrorism" (dating back to the Reagan administration) at present serves as the bottom-line justification for excluding all Cuban musicians from entering the US, effectively lumping Mr. Ferrer in with terrorists.

And here's a link to an amazing book Ned wrote called Cuba And Its Music: From The First Drums To The Mambo.

Reader comment: Laurent Haug says:

Just a quick note to let you know this: a friend of mine is a photographer currently working with Ibrahim Ferrer in Cuba. He told me on numerous occasions that the government is using M. Ferrer's image without his consent and for political purpose, just what you would expect from these people. So I think this display should be taken for what it is: government propaganda, not a personnal message from the jedi-old singer.

Adam Garcia says,

The picture used in that billboard was actually the photo of Ibrahim on the cover of his solo album. Link to image.