Government info APIs from Rhode Island

The State of Rhode Island is publishing large amounts of government data via an API that is easy to hack, and they're looking for feedback from developers on how to improve it.
It is simply unacceptable at this point in history that a citizen can use web services to track the movies he is renting, the weather around his house, and the books he's recently purchased but cannot as easily monitor data regarding the quality of his drinking water, legislation or regulations that will directly impact his work or personal life, what contracts are currently available to bid on for his state, or what crimes have recently occurred on his street.

As a step towards resolving this dissonance, the Rhode Island Office of the Secretary of the State has released GovTracker Services to provide RESTful access to public information. We hope that this set of web services is adopted by the developer community and is a step towards an era of community-developed applications that make it as easy for citizens to interact with their government as it is for them to interact with the rest of the networked world. With input from the developer community we look to add additional services and make the existing ones even better. You can reach us at

Link (Thanks, Zack!) Read the rest

Taiwan intros hip colored rice as cheeseburger alternatives

The Taiwanese government is pushing colored novelty rice as a means of luring teenagers away from burgers and pizza:
Yellow rice gets its hue from curcumin, an herb that's a spice in curries and is believed by some to be an antioxidant that may help prevent cancer. Green rice comes from the nutritious bitter gourd, often used in Asian soups and stir-fried dishes. Pink comes from tomato, and purple from a mixture of vegetables. "We hope to develop up to 14 colors so people can have a different color of rice every day for two weeks," Lo said.
Link (Thanks, Isaac B2!) Read the rest

eBay zen: photos from 19th c. Japan in cool lacquer case

Link to full-size image. Link to auction listing for "19th c. Japanese Lacquered Album w Albumen Photos -- Meiji Period - 50 Large Hand Colored Images of Japan". A blog should be so beautiful. Read the rest

Photos: Abandoned sattelite devoured by earth

Boing Boing reader Josh says, "These are some very eerie photos of an abandoned Earth Satellite Station in Nova Scotia. Photographer Adam Graham shot the dish both before and after it was pulled down. Apparently the whole thing is now up for sale, and there's a lot of abandoned equipment there."

Snip from Graham's blog post:

I am constantly intrigued by the interplay between nature and technology. Which is partly why I love checking back in on the space station. As it falls more and more into abandon the signs of nature reclaiming that area become more evident. Grass encroaches more and more over and through the concrete and pavement, animals have clearly bunked down in some areas of the buildings, birds building their nests under disused walkways. Sometimes when I take a picture I'll try and eliminate the technological just to focus on the nature. Sometimes I'll try to show the interplay between the two. I know it can be a tired theme but it's one that grabs my brain.
Link to one series, Link to another.

Reader Comment: David Calkins says,

Someone posted your Nova Scotia Earth Satellite station for sale.
Link Read the rest

National Security Service created by Bush; surveillance plan endorsed

Declan McCullagh writes:
President Bush on Wednesday announced the "National Security Service," to be organized under the FBI: Link

Also, at the same time, he endorsed this proposal: Link

President Bush supports extending the duration of electronic surveillance in cases involving agents of foreign powers who are not U.S. persons.

More details: Link

The President should seek to have the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) amended to extend the duration of electronic surveillance and "pen registers" in cases involving agents of foreign powers who are not U.S. persons. Extending the duration of FISA orders for non-U.S. person agents of foreign powers will result in a substantial savings of resources and permit the Department of Justice (DOJ) to focus more time and attention on other FISA matters where U.S. persons are involved. DOJ has already proposed legislation that would extend the duration not only for electronic surveillance and pen register orders, but also physical search orders in cases involving agents of foreign powers who are not U.S. persons. This proposed legislation has been shared with appropriate Committees of the House and Senate.

Link. See also: FBI launches regional data sharing system Read the rest

Notorious B.I.G. meets Frank Sinatra

Boing Boing reader John Mathot says,
Hip hop mixtapes are dead -- long live hip hop mixtapes! With the copyright powers-that-be cracking down on unapproved use of music on mixtapes (premier hip hop site Turntable Lab recently took down their mixtape listings), the ones that emerge these days are more brazen. Case in point: "Blue Eyes Meets Bed Stuy" from DJ Cappel -- a mash-up/remix/mixtape created with vocals from Biggie and tunes (breaks?) from Frankie. It's not as brilliant as "A Night at the Hip Hopera" by the Kleptones, but it's very much worth owning (which means get it while you still can). It can purchased at and
Link to MP3 audio snippets at (includes sexually explicit language)

Reader Comment: Andrew Austin says,

Turntable Lab only took down their "Mixtape" section because people aren't doing mixes on cassette anymore - not because of any panic over the unauthorized use of copyrighted music. They still have plenty of mix CD's of all types for sale, they're just in the CD section, under "DJ mixes".
Read the rest

Anti-Japanese WWII propaganda posters

The Pacific University's Asian Studied program has compiled this jaw-dropping gallery of WWII anti-Japanese US propaganda posters. Link (via We Make Money Not Art) Read the rest

Declassified WWII sub manuals

This site hosts copies of WWII US military submarine manuals, now declassified:
Rapid search 1. From the bearing at which the hydrophone was left by the previous watch, sweep through 000 degrees and continue on to 180 degrees.

2. Then, reversing direction, sweep back around the full circle to 180 degrees. If no suspicious sounds are heard, shift to ...

Progressive search Sweep forward two full turns of the handwheel and then one turn back. Continue up the same side, two turns forward and one turn back, until you have crossed the bow. Then train rapidly down the opposite side to 180 degrees. Reverse direction and train two turns forward, one back, two forward, one back, until you have crossed the bow again. Then train rapidly down the other side ... and so on. Continue this procedure for the duration of your watch, unless ordered to do otherwise.

Link (Thanks, MrBigStuff247!) Read the rest

Left Behind Christian sf novels spawn video-game

The Left Behind novels are a series of Christian science fiction books about the coming end-times, when all the saved Christians are whisked away to heaven, leaving the sinners to battle it out on Earth (Charlie Stross and I wrote a short novel in two parts called "Rapture of the Nerds" that's a piss-take on this, where all the geeks have ascended to the Singularity hive-mind, leaving Luddites and fundamentalists stuck on Earth). Now there's an upcoming Left Behind video-game:
Scheduled for release between Christmas 2005 and Easter 2006, Left Behind: Eternal Forces will put players in command of the apocalyptic battles raging in the streets of New York City between the angelic Tribulation Forces and the demonic Global Community Peacekeepers during the End of Days. Gamers will participate in events from the Left Behind book series in single player mode and battle to capture territory from other players in the multi-player online game mode.

The Left Behind game series will allow play in the same End of Days fictional world as the bestselling Left Behind(R) novels, which use the prophecies of the Book of Revelation as a framework. The first title, Left Behind: Eternal Forces, is set in the future when the faithful have been gathered up and ascended to Heaven during the Rapture. In the chaos that follows, the Antichrist has taken the reigns of power at the United Nations and is gathering the countries of the world under his banner. But a small resistance, the Tribulation Forces, have formed to oppose Satan's legions.

Read the rest

Montreal free software/free culture event this Sunday

Next Sunday, the Université du Québec à Montréal is throwing a free software/free culture event with guest speaker Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation and the GNU project, author of the GPL and of emacs. Sounds like a terrific event.

A dozen kiosks hosted by local and not so local Free Culture enthusiasts such as Debian, FreeCulture, KDE, île sans fil, Savoir-faire Linux; a press conference announcing the Semaine québécoise de l'informatique libre, a Free Software week; a Richard Stallman presentation on copyright; and finally, the answers to all your questions with Russell McOrmond (Flora), Daniel Pascot (Laval University) and Marcus Bornfreund (Ottawa University), responsible for the canadian adaptation of the Creative Commons licenses, Cyrille Béraud (Savoir-faire Linux) and Robin Millette (FACIL).

Sunday July 3rd 2005, from 13h until 22h Université du Québec à Montréal 320, Sainte-Catherine east, room DSR 510 Montréal, Québec, Canada Berri-UQAM metro

Link Read the rest

In China, directors now developing films for phones

Snipped from Danwei blog (they cover media trends in China)
Meeting at the Beijing Film Academy yesterday, directors representing several generations of Chinese cinema discussed plans to shoot movies expressly for viewing on mobile phones. They believe that the time is ripe to take advantage of the technology, despite the graininess, high compression, and poor sound quality of most mobile phones. This follows the big cell-phone media story from last year, fiction serialized over SMS.
Link (Thanks, Tian) Read the rest

Street Fighter II Themed Salsa contestants in SoKo

Boing Boing reader j rizzo says,
Footage of a salsa dancing competition in Korea. Hilarious because this couple's theme is Street Fighter II. They incorporate some key moves from the game as well as recognizable soundbytes.
Link (wmv) Read the rest


Boing Boing reader Emmett says,
wickerpedia is a parody of, only with more of an emphasis on wicker (which is terribly represented by wikipedia). The site features a more wickercentric view of history, the news, and common wisdom, as well as a much improved searching engine.
Link Read the rest

Rushkoff on Guruphiliac

In March, I posted about Jody Razik's launch of Guruphiliac, a smart and damn funny blog that rakes all kinds of spiritual scammers leaders over the coals. Now, Douglas Rushkoff, in his new column for freak mag Arthur, uses Guruphiliac as a launch pad to take a high altitude look at some of the reasons we seek gurus and why it's important to be your own leader, and your own devotee. From the column:
The path of devotion offered by gurus is also a natural fit for those of us who are fed up with the relativistic haze of a world where there are no discernible rules, yet equally disillusioned by institutional religions that appear to have sold out to American consumerism. The guru offers absolutism. Certainty. A point of focus. As one slick guru, chronicled on Guruphiliac explains on his website: "When you meet a master, you have two choices. Transform or walk away. You cannot be in his presence and remain the same." Uh, yeah. In other words, conform to his reality or scram. The guru is the starting place from which all other decisions are to be made. You start with the guru as the one perfect point in the universe, and from there everything else can fall into place. If the guru has instructed you to eat a certain food or do a certain practice, then - according to the logic of gurudom - everything else you have to do for this to happen is part of the perfection.
Read the rest

Nice illustrations from old papercraft book

No one at Wardomatic is sure who drew these illustrations for a kids' craft book, but everyone agrees that they are very good. Link Read the rest

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