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Collision on Disneyland's California Screamin' coaster

Yesterday, there was a low-speed collision on the California Screamin' roller-coaster at Disneyland's California Adventure park, hospitalizing 15 of the 48 riders. From The Disney Blog:
The Purple train ran into the back of the red train that sits to the right of the image. They are in a braking zone. The railing on the right of the track is an emergency unloading zone if a train has to stop in a braking area. From what I can tell this is the next to last braking zone before the train enters the station. Trains entering this braking zone would not generally come to a full stop. But they would if there was a train ahead of them waiting to enter the station.
Link

Potemkin East Village coming to Vegas

A Vegas developer is creating a 44-acre East-Village-themed shopping center:
...Las Vegas developer Mark Advent's "East Village" retail complex plan, complete with faux Washington Square and an entertainment zone called the "Meat Packing District." But ever since stumbling across this ultimate show of hubris we've been hungering for more. Other than calling it the East Village, what will make the 44-acre commercial playground identifiable as such (CBGB hasn't packed up for there, yet)? Well, if this promotional electronic pamphlet is to be believed, it's a Ray's Pizza, a traffic cop, a hot dog cart and some roadside banners.
(via Kottke)

American Airlines gets profitable, thanks to its workforce

American Airlines just posted its first profit in five years -- thanks to working with its union to find ways to cut costs. Only a few years ago, its workers (who'd made huge wage concessions) were ready to go on strike over the fact that management had handed itself fat bonuses and protected its pensions from creditors, but now that the old guard was turfed out and replaced with a CEO who works with labor, the company is turning a profit.
Two American Airlines mechanics didn't like having to toss out $200 drill bits once they got dull. So they rigged up some old machine parts - a vacuum-cleaner belt and a motor from a science project - and built "Thumping Ralph." It's essentially a drill-bit sharpener that allows them to get more use out of each bit. The savings, according to the company: as much as $300,000 a year.

And it was a group of pilots who realized that they could taxi just as safely with one engine as with two. That was instituted as policy has helped cut American's fuel consumption even as prices have continued to rise to record levels.

Link (via Kottke)

Toronto's Quick Boy Movers: incompetent and bullying

Back in June, Joey "AccordionGuy" DeVilla got a blog-comment about a moving company in Toronto called Quick Boys Moving, in which the commenter complained about the dreadful service he'd received from them.

Last week, someone from Quick Boys tracked Joey down on his work phone. They tried to intimidate him with legal threats into taking down the comment. At the time, the comment was the second result on Google for "Quick Boys Movers." Joey took the comment down temporarily and contacted the poster, a friend of his, who confirmed the story. Then he reinstated the comment and wrote a long entry explaining that Quick Boys is not only unqualified to help you move house, they're also thugs who try to censor their critics.

Joey's an engaging writer and many people are linking to his post, which has now risen to the number one spot for "Quick Boys Movers" on Google. There's a moral in there, somewhere.

Me: And you say that this comment is not true?

FV: It is a lie. Let me put my boss on the line.

Gruff Male Voice with Eastern European Accent: Remove that comment. That's all I'm going to say. (click)

Link

Michael Lynn's Cisco vulnerabilities presentation taken offline at lawyerpoint


Richard Forno had been hosting the Black Hat presentation on Cisco's massive security vulnerabilities that Michael Lynn had to quit his job at ISS to deliver, since his candyass employer, a "security firm," sold him out to Cisco, who would rather bully researchers than fix their errors.

Now Forno has replaced the presentation with a cease-and-desist letter from the aforementioned candyasses at ISS, in which they whinge about the "misappropriation" of their "intellectual property" (that would be the presentation that they tried to suppress). Please send links to mirrors of Lynn's presentation and I'll put 'em up. 204K PDF Link (via Schneier)

To do in SF: Pirate (arrrr!) ship (arrr!) invasion

A slew of tall sailing ships cruise in to the San Francisco Bay this weekend. Rides, tours, and battle re-enactments will be offered. Stick an eyepatch on, stuff some bootleg DVDs in your pants, and join the pirates here.

Hello, Planet X

NASA announced today that astronomers have found a tenth planet -- which is larger than Pluto -- at the edge of our solar system. Link

A SF Chron article states:

Informally, the astronomers have been calling it "Xena" after the television series about a Greek warrior princess, which was popular when the astronomers began their systematic sweep of the sky in 2000. "Because we always wanted to name something Xena," Brown said...
XENA? <sigh>. Aw, c'mon guys! Where's the love? So close, and yet one vowel away.

Reader comment: John Parres says, "Water ice in crater at Martian north pole! Cool pic, check it out! Where there is H2O there is life." Link

Aki Zeta-Five says,

It's confusing, but they've actually discovered /two/ planets this week: 2003 EL61 and 2003 UB131.Link 1, Link 2. And a moon. And here's some orbital diagrams: Link 1, Link 2.

Nightmarish statue at The National Bowling Stadium in Reno, NV

My friend Dan went to the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, NV and got freaked out by a statue in the lobby depicting a family hell-bent on hitting the lanes.
Picture 1-11It is a statue with a title something like "Family Goes Bowling" and it is a group of 7 foot high family members running at full speed getting ready to bowl. However, in their mad dash to go bowling, the young boy is being left in the dust. The aging dad is being pushed back and looks like he is falling, while his bowling shoes are flying. The mom looks like she partially insane the way she is smiling, running fast and staring into space. And the freakiest one is the little girl who is running ahead of the rest.

She has the horrific look of gleeful uncontrolled frenzy on her face as she runs with her cheek romantically pressed against the bowling ball. Her eyes are fixed straight ahead, I assume at the bowling lane she is running towards, but in her eyes there was a sense of almost possessed evil. It was as if nothing could get in her way of going bowling. She pushes her own dad down out of the way, she leaves her little brother behind, nothing matters to her. All that mattered was that she would bowl and she would use violence if anyone tried to get in her way.

Link

Unicorn urls that require unicorn chasers

There are many bad things in the world. Here are two. Not worksafe, contain explicit material. Don't click, and please don't click this either (Thanks Chris, and others!).


Previously on Boing Boing: Unicorn porn, And now, we pause for a unicorn moment.

Prehistoric woman-targeted gadgets

Here's a great article on the early days of women-targeted gadgets: "From 1928 to 1933, Kodak manufactured several colored and deco-styled cameras that were designed to attract women. Among the camera kits designed was the Vanity Kodak Ensemble outfit, which included a color-coordinated camera, lipstick holder, compact, mirror and change purse in a fitted case." Link (via Shiny Shiny)

Happy sysadmins' day

Today is Systems Administrators' Appreciation Day. A moment for our virtuoso sysadmin, Ken Snider, the kickass geek who fires off emails like this one now and again:
Allow me to geek out for a moment.

Cory's post today on how to disable the Microsoft GA program was the first real slashdotting I believe BB has had since the move to the new server.

The old server could handle 500 simultaneous connections at once, and we only very rarely reached that cap.

I had (somewhat conservatively) set the server to handle 750 connections, and, to date, we'd used about 450 max at any one time.

Before it even left the Subscriber-only status on /., the server was 100% pegged, all 750 slots used. So, I kept raising it until it could meet demand.

It's now running *1500* slots for connections, and the traffic rate is holding steady at about 1200 simultaneous connections at once. This is *three times* what the old server could handle, and guarantees instant page load times on our part (ads notwithstanding, hopefully Indieclick can keep up!).

Anyway, I thought that was mighty impressive, and thought I'd share. :)

Link (via /.)

Update: The Systems Administrator Song from Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie totally kicks ass. (Thanks, Jesse!)

EFF's trusted computing guru sums up MSFT's lockware strategy

Donna sez, "Seth Schoen, EFF's trusted computing guru, attended this year's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) to find out. In a four-part series of updates on Microsoft's security and lockware strategy for Windows, Schoen looks at how the latest developments will affect your ability to stay in the driver's seat of your own PC."
Part 1: Microsoft Trusted Computing Updates

Part 2: The Dangers of Device Authentication

Part 3: Protected Media Path, Component Revocation, Windows Driver Lockdown

Part 4: Microsoft Sells Out the Public on CGMS-A

Link (Thanks, Donna!)

WWBRD?

In light of recent NASA woes regarding the Shuttle program, and new questions about its future, some suggest a "WWBRD" sticker campaign:

What Would Burt Rutan Do?

One Boing Boing reader provides this interpretation.

(Thanks, Lisa Julie/Doug Humphrey)

NYT on HD Radio

Glenn Fleishman said (Ed: yesterday -- I'm a bit slow!),
In today's New York Times, I wrote about the revolution already in progress for AM and FM radio: IBOC (in-band, on-channel) digital radio, known by its trademarked named HD Radio.

With IBOC, the analog signal is undisturbed and digital audio nestles in the protected side bands. It's a surprisingly huge phenomenon--among radio stations. At least 450 stations are already full-time HD Radio broadcasters, and possibly more than 600. The reason? Digital AM sounds good--remarkably good.

But the real excitement is in FM. With digital FM, stations can choose to multicast. Public radio is funding a huge HD Radio supplement so that its member stations could, for instance, have an all Spanish format or serve other niche audiences that they can't offer enough programming to as part of their regular schedule.

There's only a few tens of thousands of receivers out there, but the tabletop boxes are coming. I was told the chips that drive HD Radio cost $65 for the radio makers now, but the price should drop by 2/3rds when quantities pick up, and then we'll see $100 to $150 radios instead of $260 to $600 units.

Link

Reader Comment: Bill Kirkpatrick @wisc.edu says:

"It's worth pointing out that HD radio came largely at the expense of low-powered FM radio. We could have had thousands more LPFM stations, but large broadcasters objected to these microstations being shoe-horned into the spectrum. Why? So that there would be more room for IBOC. Commercial broadcasters effectively double or triple their spectrum, and non-commercial community broadcasting gets shut out.

There's a great article in Social Policy that explains all this in detail. I can't find it on the web, so I have quoted a relevant excerpt below."

From INTERFERENCE AND THE PUBLIC SERVICE: THE HISTORY AND IMPACT OF LOW-POWER FM , By: Spinelli, Martin, Social Policy, Fall 2000, Vol. 31, Issue 1

While arguments about existing station placement and economics are relatively easy to grasp, perhaps the most significant stumbling block for LPFM is more complex. IBOC-DAB (in-band, on-channel digital audio broadcasting) is left out of reports of the LPFM fight as often for its politics as for its difficulty. One could be forgiven for thinking that digital radio, when it happens at some point in the distant future, will be in a different radio spectrum than the one currently used. But "in-band," in fact, means in the existing FM radio frequency band on the same radio channels or stations that we listen to today ("on-channel").

The way IBOC is being promoted and tested by large broadcasters represents a kind of giant squatters' rights movement on the FM band. The current IBOC configuration, described as "saddle-bagging," would have a station broadcast a digital signal in the side channels immediately to the left and to the right of its analog signal. If two-channel separation standards were to be maintained, there would be far less room for other stations like LPFMs. Of course, if LPFMs are shoehorned into the bandwidth before the establishment of IBOC, there will be much less room for IBOC. The NAB, in seeking to stop or slow LPFM by calling for more engineering tests or trial periods, would buy its members enough time to rush the IBOC proposal through the FCC and establish digital broadcasting saddle-bags.

It is not surprising that LPFM opponents would not give prominence to the DAB objection in their complaints against microbroadcasting. If the IBOC saddle-bag system is established, existing stations will be given, in effect, three times the bandwidth for which they paid, while the consuming public, which has not indicated its desires or needs, will have a technology foisted on it--especially if, as it is being currently tested in the Washington, DC, area, it will be simply another means for existing stations to replicate their analog signals.

Incidentally, the existing IBOC saddle-bag tests are showing no interference to the mother channel to which they are immediately adjacent; consequently, the NAB has called for a loosening of the clear channel requirements for IBOC. This is further evidence that interference is not a genuine issue. It can thus be argued that existing commercial broadcasters do not actually object to LPFM because such stations might interfere with any of their existing signals but because their imminent presence would lessen the space available for their future digital broadcasts.

H.W. Duncan in Seattle says,
I'm a former broadcast engineer who has followed IBOC. Several Seattle FM stations use IBOC and I can't tell any difference between the "Spread" of their signal and the spread of the "normal" Seattle FM stations. And because Seattle was an IBOC-FM test market, a lot of people with experienced ears have been listening closely for problems. Many broadcasters are voluntarily investing big dollars in IBOC-FM.

This is not true with IBOC in the AM band, where the digital signal generates sidebands that tend to cover up the stations on the two adjacent channels. The problem is so bad that IBOC-AM cannot be used at night and as far as I know, nobody but Clear Channel stations are rushing to IBOC-AM. And, of course, Clear Channel owns a piece of the IBOC business.

I have been told that IBOC was broadcasting's answer to a European direct digital system, they were opposed because that system gives all area broadcasters an equal voice - power and dial location no longer matter. This was poison to those who want to sell their radio stations for lots and lots of money.

Why do you stay up so late?


A lovely Flash-poem. Link (Thanks, Susannah Breslin)

Geeks: provide technical assistance to lawyers working for freedom

Are you a geek who wants to help keep technological liberties alive? EFF is starting a mailing-list pool for geeks willing to render technical assistance to lawyers working on worthy cases:
Over the years, EFF has connected hundreds of tech-savvy lawyers with potential clients through our Cooperating Attorneys listserv. This has worked so well, we thought we'd provide the same service for those who need technical assistance on litigation and civil liberties issues.

Here's how the Cooperating Techs list will work: Attorneys needing technical assistance on cases will contact us and let us know what kind of help they need and whether they can pay. After we receive the request and determine if it is appropriate for our list, we'll post a note to the list with a basic description of the project. (For example: "CA attorney needs a tech familiar with Microsoft Exchange servers to assist in recovering allegedly deleted email messages needed for lawsuit. Can pay reduced fee.")

If you're on the list and are qualified and interested, you contact us, and we'll connect you to the attorney. That's it. EFF won't investigate or vouch for either side -- we don't have those kinds of resources. We'll simply provide the connection.

Interested in being an Cooperating Tech? Send a note to cooptechs@eff.org, and we'll try to help you find someone.

Link

Hearing aids re-imagined: "hearware"

The V&A museum in London is currently running an exhibition of "hearware" -- hearing aids reimagined by designers and interaction firms from around the world. "The display will show how fashionably designed 'hearwear' can be as desirable and accessible as 'eyewear', and will change the way people think about hearing." Link (via Shiny Shiny)