Junko Mizuno's illustrations

 ~Mjdotcom Gallery Room02 Pic Room02 2-1 Roq la Rue gallerist Kirsten Anderson just turned me on to the amazing illustrations of Japanese artist Junko Mizuno. As Kirsten says, Mizuno's work is "pretty deranged... in a cute way." Mizuno's new book, Pure Trance, goes on sale tomorrow. Next weekend, she'll be signing books in San Francisco and Berkeley before heading to the Comic-Con in San Diego July 14-17! Link

Crappy restaurant

A new restaurant in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung seats diners not at tables and chairs but rather toilets. Meals at The Martun ("toilet" in Chinese) are presented in toilet bowls of both Western and Asian styles. (Link to Mark's previous post with a close-up photo of the dishware.) From Reuters:
Manager Hung Lin-wen said the original inspiration came from a toilet-shaped spaceship in a Japanese cartoon. The theme has attracted droves of novelty-seeking young people who come to play with their food and gross out their friends...

But no matter how delicious, a few customers still find the combination a little hard to swallow.

"The taste is good, but I still feel disgusted when I look at it," said diner Lin Yu-may.

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 rssonate@sec.state.ri.us.

Link (Thanks, Zack!)

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!)

Mario and Goomba pixellated computer mice

This company sells computer mice shaped like pixellated Mario and Goomba sprites. Not very ergo, but very much teh sexy. Link (Thanks, Sphinx!)

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.

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.

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

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 SandboxAutomatic.com and TurntableLab.com.
Link to MP3 audio snippets at djcappel.com. (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".

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)

Touch-up paint roller is clever way to store paint

These Rubbermaid Paint Buddies are amazingly clever. They're touch-up paint rollers. After you finish painting a room, you store the left-over paint in the roller-body, and when you get a scratch or a smudge, you just whip out the roller and give it a quick swipe over the spot. Link (via A Whole Lotta Nothing)

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!)

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.

Link (Thanks, Zahn!)

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


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)