Boing Boing 

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)


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.

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. Slowly but surely, surrender to the guru requires you to reject pretty much everything that doesn't fit whatever model of the world he's offering you.

But, honestly, that's what the devotee was after in the first place. An excuse to do or not do all that other confusing stuff in life like encounter people with different ideas, wrestle with the questions of existence, and accept that nobody really knows what happens when we die.
Link to Rushkoff's column excerpt, Link to Guruphiliac

Nice illustrations from old papercraft book

 19522835 7D16447B0CNo one at Wardomatic is sure who drew these illustrations for a kids' craft book, but everyone agrees that they are very good.

The art of Dan Krall

 Images Paintings 600Px Paint 022I don't remember how I stumbled onto Dan Krall's website, but his work is wonderful. He's the art director of Samurai Jack.

Woman doesn't clean up her dog's mess – blog infamy ensues

In Korea, a woman's dog crapped on the train. When people on the train asked her to clean up the mess, she became belligerent.
Picture 5-4 Within hours, she was labeled gae-ttong-nyue (dog-shit-girl) and her pictures and parodies were everywhere. Within days, her identity and her past were revealed. Request for information about her parents and relatives started popping up and people started to recognize her by the dog and the bag she was carrying as well as her watch, clearly visible in the original picture.


Xeni on CNN Int'l: Grokster postmortem, Google vidplay

I'll be host Eunice Yoon's guest on CNN International at 740pm ET / 440pm ET today, for a segment on the Supreme Court filesharing decision and the news this week surrounding Google's open source video player. Link

Lil' Markie: bizarre religious LP

Joe says he heard about this creepy LP on Howard Stern. There's one "song" available as an MP3, "Diary of an Unborn Child".
 Images Galleries Gallery-L Lilmarkie As far as bizarre Christian LPs, I gotta say, this is this most extreme thing I've ever heard. It's some full grown man with a munchkin voice, singing terrifying songs about drug use, abortion and being a fat kid and each fill me with a profound sense of dread, horror, and disgust.

Link (thanks, Joe!)

 Images Galleries Gallery-L Mrbat-1 Update: I nosed around this site a little more and learned that it is chock full of nightmare-inducing religious LP covers. Highly recommended.

Reader comment: Clara says: "the post about the lil markie record reminded me of little marcy. little marcy was an incredibly weird evangelical christian ventriloquist. there's a page of MP3s here.

the creepiest song is "devil, devil, go away" and the most unintentionally hilarious is "i love little pussy."

Google Maps API released

Boing Boing reader Ben Metcalfe says,
Google have just launched their API to the fantastic Google Maps. There's some excellent thing people produced by hacking with pre-API Google Maps code. Let's hope the launch of the API opens the flood gates...

Jeffrey Warren adds, "Following the release of the Google Maps API, we spent an hour or so and put together this map depicting Star Wars Imperial ATAT attack on Palo Alto. Yay for remixing." Link

Continental customer's letter lamenting Toilet Class seating

"I constructed a stink-shield by shoving one end of a blanket into the overhead compartment - while effective in blocking at least some of the smell, and offering a small bit of privacy, the ass-on-my-body factor increased, as without my evil glare, passengers feel free to lean up against what they think is some kind of blanketed wall. The next ass that touches my shoulder will be the last!" Link (Thanks, Susannah Breslin!)

Reader comment: Erik says,

Snopes has this listed as "Undetermined" as to whether it's a hoax or not, but outlines some interesting corraborative info.

Bill Simmon says:

My girlfriend Emily's dad gave us a copy of the note the other day. He's a pilot for Continental, based in Houston. He says he pulled it off of an internal Continental site. I thought for sure I had myself a metablog exclusive and quickly posted it to my own site (and sent in a BB suggest-a-site note), only to find that you had it up on BB hours earlier. I don't know if a pilot at Continental claiming the note is the real deal adds weight to the veracity of the claim, but there you go.

HOWTO make your Mac Y10K compliant

Snipped from Kevin Kelly's COOL TOOLS:
Reader Michael Hohl figured out this wonderful way to make your computer Y10K compliant. That is, how to set your computer so that it displays the 5-digit date it will need when we reach the years after 9999: that is 10000 and beyond. In anticipation of that time, you can set this year's date to 02005 if you have Mac OSX Tiger. Here are step-by-step directions. Be first in your neighborhood to have all your documents and files future-proofed.

Reader comment: Patrick Gaskill says,

Maybe someone smarter than me can correct this, but I'm not so sure that this tip futureproofs anything -- think of that leading 0 as being hard-coded in. If your copy of Tiger makes it to the year 10000, it will just display 010000.

Sean Duffy says:

I read this article and Patrick Gaskill is correct. All this does is add a leading 0 to the Year, so if it were year 0, then the year would display as '00' instead of '0'. This does not prove whether your computer is Y10K compliant or not. Here is a short explanation about how the whole compliant thing works.

What makes a computer compliant is the number of bits the computer is running at. A 32-bit computer can calculate time (in seconds) of 2^31 (one bit remains for the return signal) or 2147483648 seconds or 68.04965 years. This means that a 32-bit computer can calculate time in seconds from its birth for about 68 years before this byte has to reset. Back when computers were first being programmed in 32-bit, programmers figured that by the time the year 2000 rolled around computers would be well past 32-bit and hopefully past 64-bits. So they set the computer's birth date to about 1932, therefore ending its life in the year 2000. So what did we do to fix this Y2K problem; well all we did was changed the computer's birth date to the year 1970 (since no digital data existed before this point in time). So therefore all we did was delay the inevitable with 32-bit computers. So in the year 2038 32-bit computers will believe the date is not 2038 but 1970. So what are we doing to fix this problem?

64-bit computers, as before 64-bit computers can calculate time in 2^63 (one bit remains for the return signal) or 9223372036854775808 or 292271023045 years. About 292 billion years after 1970 the byte will reset (as long as computers calculate system time in seconds). So if you have a 64-bit computer there is no doubt that it will be Y292271023.045K compliant.

Boing Boing reader Dan says,
Not to be a pedant, but I think Sean Duffy is conflating two issues. Y2K really *was* about the base-10 representation of the year, since programmers were using two integer fields to represent the year, rather than a single combined binary value as is done for Unix timestamps (seconds since epoch). In other words, it was just as the news described--YY rather than YYYY, where Y is a single 0-9 value. The *other* problem, the so-called 2038 problem, is what Sean is referring to with respect to seconds since a starting point ("epoch"). The problem there is pretty much just as he said, though I've never heard the terminology "return signal;" the 32nd bit is reserved for a sign bit (the bit is 0 for positive numbers and 1 for negative). As far as I know, but I may be wrong, there was never a prior "epoch" in UNIX timestampts of 1932.

So, in short, there are two distinct problems, and some of the trivia in Sean's explanation is slightly off. But the gist is right.

Josh says,
Adding a digit to your year is in line with the efforts of the Long Now Foundation [Ed. Note: the creation of Applied Minds co-founder Danny Hillis]. They count Brian Eno as a boardmember... and hope to creatively foster responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years.

'70s wallpaper

This German company sells groovy reproductions of 1970s-era wallpaper.
Link (Thanks, skg)

Ad-stripped versions of Page Six and Gawker -- this'll last, oh, five minutes


Minor Threat vs. Nike

Earlier this month, Nike released a promotional poster (right) for their a skateboarding demo tour that appropriated text and imagery from seminal Washington DC punk band Minor Threat's 1981 self-titled album's cover art (left). Minor Threat front-man Ian MacKaye, proprietor of the Dischord record label, was none-too-thrilled. (Link to background at Sublimited blog.) From the Dischord Web site:
"To longtime fans and supporters of Minor Threat and Dischord, this must seem like just another familiar example of mainstream corporations attempting to assimilate underground culture to turn a buck. However, it is more disheartening to us to think that Nike may be successful in using this imagery to fool kids, just beginning to become familiar with skate culture, underground music and D.I.Y. ideals, into thinking that the general ethos of this label, and Minor Threat in particular, can somehow be linked to Nike's mission." Link
Yesterday, Nike issued a formal apology. (Could they have posted the apology letter as a JPEG as an attempt to discourage reposting?) From the letter:
Minor Threat's music and iconographic album cover have been an inspiration to countless skateboarders since the album came out in 1984 (sic). And for the members of the Nike Skateboarding staff, this is no different. Because of the album's strong imagery and because our East Coast tour ends in Washington DC, we felt that it was a perfect fit. This was a poor judgement call and should not have been executed without consulting Minor Threat and Dischord Records. Link
Dischord Records spokesperson Alec Bourgeois told that MacKaye and the other members of Minor Threat are still planning to meet to consider their legal options. Link (Thanks, Dave Gill and Meri Brin!)

DJ Carlito's roots freedom radio

My kid brother Carlito is a deejay, and he's posting podcasts of his sets. I'm biased, but I think they're awesome.
What you might hear -- reggae influenced punk (The Clash play Toots and the Maytals), a soul version of a rock and roll song (Wilson Pickett sings "Hey Joe"), a jazz rendition of a Spanish folk melody (Miles Davis' "Sketches of Spain") -- they're all connected! Plus Japanese bluegrass, African salsa, French hip-hop, German reggae, Cambodian disco, and Colombian rock!
Link to download for the most recent show (which is kickass), Link to archives of some other recent sets.

Link to his blog, with playlist info. link to info on one of his regular gigs in Richmond, VA, link to his radio show on WRIR in the same town, Sundays from 7-9pm EST (streamed online too).

Craig Venter's new company to engineer life

Famed gene jockey J. Craig Venter, whose company Celera Genomics completed a shotgun sequence of the human genome in 2000, will now use his deep DNA knowledge to build new organisms. Synthetic Genomics, launching today, aims to engineer modular genetic components that can be snapped together to build biological systems that don't exist in nature. (More about synthetic biology can be found in articles I've written here and here. Previous posts on the subject here and here.) The company's first applications will be in ethanol and hydrogen production. From the press release:
A host cell that has reduced and reoriented metabolic needs can generate biological energy applicable to a broad range of industrial fields including energy, industrial organic compounds, pharmaceuticals, CO2 sequestration, fine chemicals, and environmental remediation. "We are in an era of rapid advances in science and are beginning the transition from being able to not only read genetic code, but are now moving to the early stages of being able to write code," said Dr. Venter.
Link to press release, Link to Synthetic Genomics (Thanks, Xeni!)

Kids book about computers from 1971 scanned and posted

Liz sez, "This is a scan of an entire Ladybird kids' book on the wonders of computers from 1971 (alongside the 1979 edition for comparison). Ladybird were (and are) a fantastic publisher of slim childrens' books in the UK; thirty years ago, many of us were taught to read by Ladybird, and most of my childish impressions about Vikings, submarines and the baby Jesus were formed by them.

"How It Works . . . The Computer is really charming. Ladies with anachronistic hairstyles and elegant manicures are furiously inputting data and slotting tapes into readers, while men in suits and glasses hack, hack, hack the night away on machines you would need a small cottage to house." Link (Thanks, Liz!)

Anti-DRM badges

Here's a gallery of antipixel 80x15 badges on an anti-DRM theme. Link

Journalist's blog documents DEA's war on California

My friend Ann Harrison is covering the ongoing skirmishes in the drug war in California. The state of California has legalized growing and distributing pot to people who have medical marijuana prescriptions, but the DEA has begun to arrest these people on federal charges (despite the fact that federal laws only have jurisdiction over interstate matters, so pot grown and distributed in California is outside the DEA's jurisdiction).

The DEA is conducting this war like a guerrilla attack on the people of California. Private citizens who record their busts from public sidewalks are assaulted by DEA agents who try to erase their camera-memory. The press-conferences are closed to the public. The dispensary raids concentrate on computer records of patients and growers, and many of those arrested face ten-year minimum sentences.

Ann is bent on blowing the lid off of this. While the stories she files with newspapers get trimmed to "news haiku," on her blog she's publishing transcripts of the secret press-conferences, information on the use of local law to do the Feds' bidding, and the myriad ways that the DEA is cooking the process to wage its war on Americans.

Q: Does the California law that permits patients to use medical cannabis have any bearing at all on protecting the medical cannabis dispensaries?

Pena: Before I answer that question, one thing, and I think it is really important that I forgot to mention and I think it's a public concern. On these three grow locations that we visited, they all had illegal wires tapping into PG&E the outlets all over the houses, very unsafe. I'm sure that you have heard of the situations were houses have been burning down, this causes a great deal of concern for us.

Like I said once you see that CD which we are handing out you will see the wiring system which is what causes the fires that were all contained in the three different areas that we went to. So this is how some of our houses are getting burned down.

What is your question again?


Apple adds DRM to podcasting -- UPDATED

With all the fooforaw about yesterday's update to iTunes, which incorporates podcasting, Ross Mayfield has pointed out that which everyone has missed: Apple has added DRM to podcasts for the first time:
Isn't anybody else concerned that Apple has introduced DRM into Podcasting? Adam Curry's headline PodFinder show is in ACC format! (and I can't link to it).

Update: Kirk sez, "I just checked my copy of Adam Curry's podcast from iTunes. It's standard AAC -- m4a. It's not the secure m4p format, and it lists no FairPlay information anywhere in the metadata for the file. Unless the simple fact that it's AAC is "DRM," there's no DRM here.

"In fact, several of the podcasts are in AAC (m4a) format -- it seems that all the ones made on Macs are AAC, as would be expected. Since Apple is linking to the original source servers for these files, not hosting them in house, unless the original producers of the podcasts are adding DRM, there's not going to be DRM on these podcast files."

Papercraft Enigma machine to assemble at home

The Nazis went to great lengths to encipher their secret messages, building mechanical scramblers. The most famous of these was the Enigma machine, which was secretly cracked by Alan Turing and his team of Bletchley Park codebreakers. Here is a functional papercraft Enigma Machine to print, fold and assemble. Link (Thanks, Zed!)

Update: Teece sez, "In reality, most of the credit for cracking Enigma goes to a Polish man named Marian Rejewski (Wikipedia article).

"He led the Polish team that cracked the early Enigma machine, using machines they called bombes. It's a fascinating story. The Polish shared their intelligence with the British when the German switched to a beefed up system, which they didn't have the resources to crack, as it required a bigger machine. And then, of course, Poland was invaded (which is another reason the Poles shared their info -- they knew it was coming, as they had been reading German messages)."

Wil Wheaton's Slashdot interview

Wil Wheaton has done an excellent Slashdot interview that's pure Wil -- funny, savvy, and insightful:
It's tough to answer your question without coming off like a total douche, but I'll try: I think you see most celebrities carefully choosing who they talk to and what they talk about because a lot of their value is based on the mystique their publicists can create for them. In other words, some actors play a role when they're on the set, and another when they're talking to Oprah. I prefer to keep my acting limited to the set, and because I have a blog, I can speak for myself, so I don't really need or want to participate in the Mainstream Entertainment Media.

In real life (like, not on The Internets) I'm a very shy and private person. When I'm out with my wife, I really just want to be left alone, and I feel pretty uncomfortable when I get into big crowds and stuff. But I think I'd feel that way whether I was an actor, or not. I don't think of myself as a celebrity, either. When I hear someone called a celebrity, I think of someone who gets special treatment, never waits in line, and has had sex with Paris Hilton. And I wish my blog wasn't constantly framed as a "celebrity blog."


DVD Jon cracks Google Video in <24h UPDATED

Boing Boing reader A.V. sez:
'DVD Jon" [Jon Lech Johansen] (known for his work on decrypting DVD security codes) has created a patch for the Google Video Viewer -- less than 24 hours after the search giant shipped the video playback plug-in, a tool based on the open-source VideoLAN media player. The patch, released on Johansen's 'So Sue Me' blog, effectively disables a modification Google made to the VideoLAN code to prevent users from playing videos that are not hosted on Google's servers.

Previously on BB: DVD Jon creates DRM-free iTunes interface "PyMusique", Airport Express crypto broken by DVD Jon, Li'l Jon meets DVD Jon (OKAYYYYYY!)

Update: "Modifies" might be a better word here than "cracks." Let us not lose sight of what was "cracked" -- a version of the VLC open source player, released by Googlefolk who believe strongly in the value of free access to information. IMHO the original product was not fundamentally eeevil.

There are any number of reasons why the company might find it wise to restrict their in-browser player offering to videos hosted on their own servers. IANAL, and IANAE (I'm not an engineer), but what was "cracked" here is not a DRM scheme or something that limits enjoyment of the content offered. Nor did DVD Jon imply any of that himself.

Chris Wells says,

Hey Xeni, An interesting spin on this was pointed out in this slashdot comment: Link. Basically noting that all Jon really did was modify open source code put out by Google. Now, Yahoo (arguably Google's biggest competitor) has posted a news bit making it sound like some grand achievement and throwing in references to DeCSS, Apple's DRM and the AE encryption crack.
Only... no such "news bit" exists. There are news articles, none of which were written by Yahoo employees. I think some of the slashdot readers mistook news articles such as this one appearing on Yahoo News with press releases. Yahoo didn't do anything icky here.

An anonymous reader says,

The PC Magazine author didn't quite put this into the proper perspective. In fact, this is by far the simplest "crack" yet for DVD Jon. The source code to VLC (the basis for the Google video player) is already available online and Google had published their changes to it on (Link). All that has to be done to remove the "feature" in question is to search for "" and delete the block of code that surrounds it.

Read the rest

Old timey banjo instruction books released under a Creative Commons license

I promised myself not to buy a banjo, since I already have five ukuleles in the house, but these books could break my willpower.

Darel Snodgrass says: "Old-time music is a fast-growing segment of the folk music performance hobby (mostly because it's actually pretty easy to play, unlike, say, bluegrass). Old-time banjo enthusiasts often start with two modern seminal teaching works, "The How and the Tao of Old-Time Banjo" and "A Book of Five Strings" (check any book-sales site for rave reviews). These are best-selling, in-demand books, admittedly within the small world of old-time banjo instruction works. The author, Patrick Costello, has just released both books under a Creative Commons license, and made web versions of both available for free on the ezfolk web site." Link

Group proposes to build hotel on Justice Souter's house property

Following the Supreme Court ruling allowing private companies to seize people's houses and develop the land for business purposes, a private developer has asked the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire "to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road." That's the address of Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter's home.
The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."

Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.

"This is not a prank" said Clements, "The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development."

Link (thanks, davee!)

Computer key car mosaic maker speaks out!

Responding to some flickr and BoingBoing posts I did last week about a wacky car I saw covered with a mosaic of computer keys, flickr user jennybra says:
Computer key car This is my car. For anyone wondering, it's a 1993 Subaru Impreza covered with around 100lbs of colored keys designed for old Telex (teletype) machines.

The keys were attached with silicon caulk over a period of 4 years, off and on (mainly off). Later, we had enough left over to do the much-improved D'Oh Mobile [ed note: the Homer Simpson car] that belongs to a friend of mine. That one sports several mosaic designs laid out thru Tile Creator software.

You can see other artcars at

Feel free to e-mail me with other questions or if you have a computer key car idea (and available car)--- we have lots of pink and white keys left.


Previously on Boing Boing: Homer Simpson Computer Key Car, phonecammed in LA: car covered in computer keys, Computer key stool

Bypass school web filter, become a felon

Thirteen high school students in Pennsylvania are up against felony charges for having tinkered with school-issued laptops.
According to parent testimony and confirmed by an otherwise vaguely-worded letter from the Kutztown Police Department, students got hold of the system's secret administrative password and reconfigured their computers to achieve greater Internet and network access. Some students used the newfound freedom to download music and inappropriate images from the Internet.

James Shrawder spoke on behalf of a group of parents of six of the accused at a June 20 school board meeting. He said the administration may have railroaded the process by not providing authorities with the whole story.

"That's absurd," Superintendent Brenda S. Winkler said after the board meeting, in response to Shrawder's allegations that the administration withheld information until the end of the school year.

Link (via Declan McCullagh / politech)

Reader comment: Genie Ogden says:

The article on the high school "felons" really made me angry. I went to the newspaper site and sent them a comment. Kids are really being charged with ridiculous stuff these days! Arrested for pointing fingers at other kids (in kindergarten), etc., - it's not like they're planning Columbine type actions. And there are adults doing much worse things and getting away with it - Enron, a war in Iraq based on lies, etc.

My middle school daughter was doing a report about slavery and couldn't get to the book she needed on the internet because it had the word "bondage" in the title. She could have used a password like these kids -- but now she'd be in jail.

VoIP-in-a-can: Sysco IP Phone Model TC-04 by BubbaTel

eBay auction snip:
This model has the following features and capabilities:

* State of The Art Security - Almost Impossible To "Listen Into Encrypted Conversations"
* Optional On Hold System Can Be Utilized By Simply Hanging The Unit On A Nail In The Wall (Nail Not Included).
* Waiting On Hold Music Is Available By Placing Unit Near Radio or Other Audio Source (Radio Not Included).
* Beveled Edges To Prevent Harmful Cuts While Speaking Or Listening.
* Caller ID Could Be Possible, If Holes Were Drilled Into Each Side Of the Unit.

Link to BubbaTel (TM) auction. (Thanks, Oxblood Ruffin!)

WSJ profile's inventor of mass bird-killing machine

Harm Kiezebrink, the inventor of a bird killing machine, has been hired by Asian countries that want to combat bird flu.
He has brought them some of his bird-slaughtering machines, such as the AED-100, which kills about 10,000 birds per hour, catching them by the feet and dragging their heads through an electrified pool of water.

Moment of recursive movie - game - book adaptation zen

My NPR "Day to Day" colleague Nihar Patel says, "This is the weirdest adaptation…a movie adaptation of a video game based on a famous book. I can’t wait to read the paperback novelization of the movie."
Former BUFFY star SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR has moved on from slaying vampires to becoming the Queen of Hearts in a new movie adaptation of ALICE IN WONDERLAND. The actress will star in ALICE, a big-screen adaptation of a video game based on LEWIS CARROLL's classic tales, according to the trade publication HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The popular electronic game, AMERICAN McGEE'S ALICE, has the famous fictional character returning to Wonderland as a troubled adult, seeking to confront her childhood fears and cope with her parents' tragic death.