Boing Boing 

Simnuke art show in SF Thursday 28th

The Simnuke project's art show opens tomorrow in San Francisco, promising "two powerful evenings of art and activism commemorating the 60th anniversary of the atomic bomb." Rx Gallery, July 28th - Aug 25. Link to event details.

While you're at it, check out cellist Zoe Keating's website (and CDs). She performed a song called "The Legions" (QuickTime video link) during the recent Simnuke event in the Nevada desert at which 400 gallons of recycled restaurant grease exploded in 20 seconds to create a simulated nuclear mushroom cloud. The song was lovely. Zoe says, "I layer the natural sound of the cello to create rhythmically dense musical structures. Other than sampling and repetition, I do not manipulate the sound of my acoustic cello in any way."

And Boing Boing reader Rick Abruzzo, who also participated in the desert event, says, "Here are PDFs of the posters I made for Simnuke 'cheerleaders.' If anyone wants high-resolution PDFs suitable for framing, let me know [rick at thoughtpolice dot com]." One of these graphics is shown at the top of this post. Links: PDF 1, and PDF 2.

(Thanks, Camron Assadi)

Previously on Boing Boing:
Xeni headed to Simnuke
Simnuke: snapshots
Xeni on NPR -- SIMNUKE: Having a Blast in the Nevada Desert

Reader comment: Darin says,

When I was in the US Army (mostly during the 80s and early 90s), they used a nuke simulator composed of 20 lbs of C4 and a 55 gallon drum of smoke oil. The resulting mushroom cloud accurately represented the size of a tactical nuclear weapon. Supposedly it had a real-world kill radius of a quarter mile. Not any fire, but a huge cloud of grey and white smoke. Very impressive to see. I was a casualty of this type of 'simnuke' at Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas and Ft. Irwin, California.

Shuttle makes spooky-cool Prandtl-Glauert condensation cloud

Reports say Space Shuttle Discovery's July 25 liftoff generated a Prandtl-Glauert condensation cloud (the mysterious "now-you-see-it-now-you-don't" formations sometimes observed in relation to jets in transonic flight). Link
Shown here, one such cloud on a transonic F-18A aircraft (image: US Navy, details on photo here).

Online auction for brain mapping gizmos

Positively electroencephalicious! A St. Louis-based cosignment shop is selling an electroencephalograph and a BEAM (Brain Electrical Activity Mapping) system on e-Bay. Bidding starts at $9.95, and at post time, there have been no bids for either.
Link (Thanks, Vann Hall)

Young man allowed to keep his amputated foot

Doran says: "You know someone with a name like Ezekiel Rubottom is a person to watch. Described in an E&P article as a "21-year-old artist, occasional hip-hop emcee, and recovering methamphetamine addict", Mr. Rubottom was born with a club foot.

"This summer, upon advice from his doctor, he had the foot amputated. But instead of letting the hospital dispose of the body part, he took it home and stuck it (along with a can of beer and a porcelain horse!) in a bucket of formaldehyde on his front porch.

"When a neighborhood kid told one of his parents about seeing the foot, they called the police, who in turn confiscated the foot pending an investigation. As it turns out, it's perfectly legal to keep your own body parts, so the foot was returned to Mr. Rubottom, who's already planning on giving a couple toes to friends."
Link (Link to original story)

Reader comment: Fannie says: "I wouldn’t necessarily call this a custom amongst sane people, but in some areas of the South it’s not uncommon to keep various parts that have been removed from the body.  My Aunt Sara, for instance, has an entire medicine cabinet set aside for such items as her teeth, my uncle’s teeth, his gall stones, and some other bizarre bodily items that have been around since before he died in 1984.  And I know loads of other people who do it, too, who have no history of mental illness, so I can’t just chalk it up to one kooky aunt.  No amputated parts are cruising around the family homes that I’m aware of, but it really isn’t so bad to keep a jar full of your own teeth for the kids to find and yell 'gross!' at, is it?"

62 year old woman found guilty of assaulting a federal aviation security staff member

Traveling Salesman says: "62 year old ex-school teacher and member of the community in a sleepy Wisconsin town, Phyllis Dintenfass was just found guilty of assaulting a federal aviation security staff member. She squeezed the breast of the security person after she claims the security person had done the same to her.

"She claims that she had made repeated verbal efforts to tell the security person that she didn't want to be felt up. When the security person said that she wasn't feeling Phyllis up, Phyllis responded, "My husband has been feeling me up for 40 years, I know what its like to be felt up".

"But...maybe the security person was right. Lets consider the other possibilities:

"1.) Phyllis was horny. she likes breasts. We all do. She saw the opportunity and she went for it.

"2.) Phyllis is a terrorist. This really seems to be the most likely scenario. The homeland is now secure thanks to the fine judgement of our people in airport security.

"I'm sure the federal prison inmates are quite worried about the threat Phyllis will pose to their safety."

[F]ederal policy required that Phyllis Dintenfass undergo a body search. As a result, she now faces imprisonment and financial ruin because of her understandable reaction. This does nothing to protect the public from terrorism, but a great deal to reinforce the idea of illimitable federal power – which is, apparently, the entire point of the "war on terrorism."

Charles Platt in

Charles Platt is one of my favorite writers (Do a search on his name in the Wired magazine archives for some excellent articles he's written over the years). For Make Vol 3, Charles visited the home laboratory of Ed Storms, a retired Los Alamos scientist who is conducting cold fusion experiments in his garage. For Make's website, Charles wrote a wonderful essay about his fascination of extreme science. (Disclaimer: I'm editor-in-chief of Make)
 Images Covers 03 I have an interest in "extreme science," by which I mean research at the edges of plausibility. Of course, there's a lot of self-deception and wishful thinking among researchers who are serious about, say, human cryopreservation or unconventional energy sources. On the other hand, I don't think it's wise to refuse to examine anything that stretches or violates our ideas about the way the universe works. The chance of finding a new Einstein may be as small as the chance of winning the lottery; but if you don't play, you can't win.

When MAKE asked me to write a profile, I immediately thought of a man named Ed Storms, a chemist who worked at Los Alamos for several decades before taking early retirement and setting up a garage workshop in which to study low-energy nuclear reactions, or LENR – a generic term for the field that began with so-called "cold fusion." I wondered what Ed was doing now, so I gave him a call.


Logos desafortunados

 Images Amadeus Reven says: I've found a very unfortunate logo! I've published it on my blog. It's a "Frankfurt" bar (you know, like german hotdogs...) logotype. Or is it really? Enjoy.
Link Picture 11-1

Reader comment: Alex S. says: "Reading your post on the unfortunate logo for Amadeus frankfurters, I thought I'd point out an unfortunate road sign I came across yesterday while searching Google images for a suitable background design for a website I'm trying to piece together...looks kind of like a jugglr who fell out of a plane over the ocean and is crapping a brick before he hits the water."

New way to read on Mobile Devices

My latest column for Mobile magazine is about "rapid serial visual presentation" (RSVP for short, which displays text one word at a time on a phone or handheld screen.

When I first tried RSVP reading, I felt overwhelmed. The words flashed on the screen to the beat of an unheard drum. I felt out of control. I couldn't pause and reflect after reading a sentence. But after five minutes or so, I got used to the ocular assault, and my mind seemed to shift into a different gear. By letting go, the words started flowing smoothly into my head. Because my eyes weren't shifting back and forth as they normally do when reading, everything but the words themselves faded away, and I found that I was actually enjoying the experience.

Reader comment: Chris says: "Saw your posting regarding RSVP reading on BB and thought you might find this interesting.  RSVP is a standard type of presentation used by cognitive psychologists (I'm at UCLA doing work like this).  One interesting phenomenon revealed by RSVP is repetition blindness: decreased memory for a second presentation of a repeated item (e.g., in the sentence: They wanted to play sports but sports were not allowed) in an RSVP stream at rapid rates (usually about 150 ms/word or faster).  I don't know the rates in the messaging systems, but it seems that this type of presentation creates interesting possibilities for miscommunication."

RIAA: We didn't take down

Regarding this post, RIAA Director of Communications Jenni Engebretsen sez, "The RIAA has not initiated any communication or legal action against RPG Films. It appears as though someone may have found and copied an old RIAA notice and filled it in with RPG Film web site information -- regardless, the link included in this posting is not an authentic RIAA notice."

I called Jenni and asked her a few questions about this:

Q: Are forgeries like this common occurrences?

A: I can't really say -- I'd have to speak to our folks to see if this happens with any frequency. As I stated in my email, we haven't initiated any legal action of any kind.

Q: Do you plan to pursue the forgers who sent out the bogus takedown in your name?

A: I need to check into that, that's all the information I have at this point.

Q: Will you pursue a claim against RPG Films for the use of your member-companies' copyright music in the films they host?

A: We have not initiated any communication or legal action against them. Forecasting future actions is not something we do.

Q: Do you have an institutional policy on the use of your member companies' music in noncommercial fan-films made from video-games?

A: I need to check on that.

Q: That's great, thanks. I'll post this and update the post when you get back to me. Link

Transsexual Shaving Cream

Todd Lappin recently bought a travel-sized can of Gillette shaving gel. "Being a discriminating consumer, I was drawn to the product by its burly packaging and subtle-yet-masculine scent," he writes. Imagine his shock when the label came off the can a few weeks later, revealing the true nature of the product. See the photos for yourself. Link

Excellent papercraft blog

Paper Forest is an excellent blog devoted to papercraft models and automata. Shown here, a working paper pipe organ that reads piano-roll-style punch-tapes. Link (Thanks, Jaime!)

Fastfictions -- stories based on illustrations sent in

Kevin Spenst asks people to send him illustrations and he's write a short stories inspired by them. Last week he asked me to send him one of my drawings and he wrote a story titled "Decapitated Daydreams."
 27708257 41A279Bc08 "I mean we put up these ads with little robotic armed kids holding hands with Sue the Tooth or Gee-Whiz I Don't Have a Body Giraffe, but the root of all this is suffering. When I saw the Godfather and there was the scene with the decapitated horse I almost pooped my pants. I knew that I could have a whole line of animals without bodies. You zoom onto stuff like that and you'll strike it rich."

Doll can be changed from "very slim to obese"

Designer Cristina Bisland invented an inflatable polyurethane doll called the GO-DO. Kids can inject the doll with a liquid to change the doll's body shape and size.
 Corehome Uploaded Images Adolll-714219Today, even though they are larger than their counterparts in the 50s, children are still given 50s shaped Barbie dolls to play with. If given the opportunity to decide whether their doll was to be slim or fat, which would they choose? Would they want their doll to look like them? Should we give a child that choice?

The doll is manipulated through the injection of a liquid into its hollow body, which changes its shape from very slim to obese (and vice-versa).


Reader comment: Conor says: "The linked text refers to the 50s Barbie body shape -- in fact, Barbie had a major re-do in 2000 (and thus the body is called "B2K") and today the doll is proportioned like a tall, slender woman vs. 50's bullet-boobed fembot."

Photo caption contest at World of Wonder

dolls on cots World of Wonder is asking for readers to submit a caption for this photograph of life sized Asian dolls stacked on shelves. Note the human peeking through the shelves on the left.

In-car pizza-oven

This in-car pizza oven is probably intended for camping trips (mmm, outdoor pizza), but I prefer to think of it being used on cross-country road-trips, as the passenger/navigator kneads, throws, dresses, and cooks a fresh, hot pizza while the driver keeps the car's nose pointed at the horizon. Link (via Red Ferret)

Hello Kitty chess

Sanrio is selling an official Hello Kitty chess-set, for those of you who can't get enough kee-yoot in your intellectual pursuits. Link (via Shiny Shiny)

Fan documentaries on classic theme-park rides

The Extinct Attractions Club makes fan-documentaries about classic and extinct theme-park attractions and sells them on DVD:
America Sings
historical DVD featuring interviews with Alice Davis, Marc Davis, and Jeff Burke. (History of America Sings with interviews and a look at Carousel of Progress)

The Haunted Mansion Story Vol. 1
historical DVD featuring interviews with Disney legends: X Atencio, Thurl Ravenscroft, Alice Davis and Rolly Crump on this DOUBLE DVD

Natures Wonderland (Mine Train) -Big Thunder MTN. DVD
featuring a interview with the voice of Natures Wonderland and Big Thunder as well as Alice Davis discussing the never built Western River ride and Tony Baxter on Thunder Mountain.

Mission To Mars / Flight to the Moon DVD
ride history and ride through with Alien Encounter! Plus bonus audio and more!

Link (Thanks, Patrick!)

File-sharers buy more music than non-swappers

A British research outfit has determined that music file-swappers buy more music than their non-infringing peers:
Digital music research firm The Leading Question found that they spent four and a half times more on paid-for music downloads than average fans.

Rather than taking legal action against downloaders, the music industry needs to entice them to use legal alternatives, the report said.

According to the music industry, legal downloads have tripled during 2005.


Steven "Everything Bad" Johnson on GTA/Hot Coffee

Steven Johnson, author of the book Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter, has an open letter to Hilary Clinton about the whole GTA controversy in today's LA Times. Snip:
Dear Senator Clinton:

I'm writing to commend you for calling for a $90-million study on the effects of video games on children, and in particular the courageous stand you have taken in recent weeks against the notorious "Grand Theft Auto" series.

I'd like to draw your attention to another game whose nonstop violence and hostility has captured the attention of millions of kids — a game that instills aggressive thoughts in the minds of its players, some of whom have gone on to commit real-world acts of violence and sexual assault after playing.

I'm talking, of course, about high school football."


Manhattan's rugged wilderness

Brandon sez, "This blog entry from Brooklynite Charles Star details his recent adventure hiking along the rugged terrain of NYC's abandoned High Line elevated freight train line along the west side of Manhattan. The blog entry includes a link to a Flickr photoset of the views along the hike."
The current High Line is a remnant of a much larger elevated freight rail system, and it has been out of use since 1980. The trackbed provides a glimpse of what New York would look like if it were abandoned and turned over to nature.

The High Line starts at 33d Street and 12th Avenue near the MTA's Hudson Yards and runs to Gansevoort Street and Washington Avenue in the Meatpacking District. I have wanted to walk the line for years and it was exactly as much fun as I thought it would be.

Link (Thanks, Brandon!)

Digital cowbell -- HOAX? HOAX.

The Rad Monkey VLC800 is a digital cowbell that simulates the sounds of 12 popular analog cowbells through a high-quality digital signal processor. Link (via Red Ferret)

Update: A couple people have written in to claim that this is a hoax. Certainly the dealers page is suspiciously blank. (Thanks, Alex and others!)

Update 2: FZ sez, "It's indeed a hoax. It's hilarious, if you get the joke. The page with the detailed description of the modeled cowbells is a clever parody of the user manuals of Line6 products, a company that produces digital guitar amplifiers. They're downloadable at if you're curious, and double as pretty great primers of the history of electric guitar amplification."

Drawing on kerbside trash

This UK artist is tagging and doddling on kerbside garbage, creating impromptu, ephemeral illustration exhibits. Link (via We Make Money Not Art)

Santorum on the Daily Show

Here's a Windows Media Video file of Senator Rick "Wingnut Homophobe" Santorum getting a remarkably cushy treatment on The Daily Show.
Santorum: No, no. Again, what's society's purpose in marriage? Society's purpose - the reasons civilizations have held up marriage is because they want to establish and support and secure the relationship that is in the best interest of the future of the society, which is, a man and a woman having children and providing the stability for those children to be raised in the future.

Stewart: Wouldn't you say though and with that same thing and I completely agree, although I always thought the purpose of marriage was a bachelor party but that's beside the point. (laughter) But wouldn't you say that society has an interest in understanding that the homosexual community also wants to form those same bonds and raise children and wouldn't a monogamous, good-hearted, virtuous homosexual couple be in society's best interest raising a child rather than a heterosexual couple with adultery, with alcohol issues, with other things, and by the way, I don't even need to make that sound as though a gay couple can only raise a child given failures in other couples.

Link (via Salon)

Canadian telco that blocked union websites is breaking all kinds of laws

Following up on our post about one of Canada's largest telco/ISPs blocking access to sites put up by its striking/locked-out (depends on who you ask) union, Michael Geist has posted an excellent legal analysis of all the different rules, regs and laws that Telus -- the telco/ISP in question -- is breaking by cutting off access to websites that criticize it:
The Telecommunications Act contains at least two provisions that appear relevant. Section 27(2) provides that "No Canadian carrier shall, in relation to the provision of a telecommunications service or the charging of a rate for it, unjustly discriminate or give an undue or unreasonable preference toward any person, including itself, or subject any person to an undue or unreasonable disadvantage." It seems to me that a compelling case could be made that Telus is unjustly discriminating against this particular website, which puts the site at a disadvantage. In fact, Telus argued that this is precisely what the provision does during the CRTC's VoIP hearings. As part of the CRTC analysis on whether it should prohibit packet preferencing, it notes that Telus argued against a prohibition, submitting to the CRTC that it "retained the subsection 27(2) prohibition on unjust discrimination." Moreover, Telus "submitted that it had committed not to do anything to deliberately degrade the service experienced by an end-user of any access-independent VoIP service."

Section 36 is even more on point. It provides that "except where the Commission approves otherwise, a Canadian carrier shall not control the content or influence the meaning or purpose of telecommunications carried by it for the public." This appears to directly address the current situation as Telus is in fact controlling the content carried by it for the public.

Link (Thanks, Michael!)

Citizen's guide to refusing NYC subway-searches

Chris242 sez, "With the heightened paranoia-- er I mean security in NYC, people with large bags or packages are now being told to submit to random searches in order to use the MTA public transit system. This site has a flyer which tells you what your rights are, and gives advice on how to refuse a search safely."
Again, it is illegal for police to search, detain, or question you just because you refuse a search. But if the police proceed to detain, search, or arrest you despite your wishes -- do not physically resist. You may state clearly but non-confrontationally: "Officer, I am not resisting and I do not consent to any searches."
Link (Thanks, Chris242!)

Damning Sony payola memos: "I'm a whore this week"

Paul sez, "60-page PDF of letters and emails among major labels and stations negotiating pay-for-play deals of the sort for which Sony agreed to pay a $10M settlement yesterday. Highlights: Epic lists exact payouts for 75 spins based on size of market. Quotes: 'I'm a whore this week, what can I say?' 'Get a power rotation commitment before we commit.' 'Don't want to position Duran Duran with an 80's club ... they are still just as relevant in 2004.' And of course the inevitable 'Sent from my Blackberry Wireless Handheld.'" It's awesome: this lists DJ after DJ who accepting paltry little tchotchkes in exchange for their integrity and mortal souls. They're not just whores, they're cheap whores. 1.1MB PDF Link (Thanks, Paul!)

RIAA shuts down machinima site -- UPDATED

Update: The RIAA claims that the takedown notice was forged.

RPGFilms was a website that hosted tons of machinima videos made with video-game engines. One popular machinima genre is the music video, in which a machinima artist synchs action recorded from a game to a piece of popular music.

Now the Recording Industry Association of America has had RPGFlims shut down because they argue that these "songs files" (not MP3s you understand, but humorous videos made by fans who in no way substitute for purchasing the songs) infringe their members' copyrights.

Under the US fair use doctrine, a court can find a use fair if it can be shown that the use doesn't interfere with the rightsholder's income. I think that's pretty clearly the case here: no one who downloads a machinima video of a bunch of Wookies getting down to "Surfin' Bird" is going to say, "Well, hell, now that I've got this, no need to buy the CD."

The use of music in fan-films can only be beneficial to the rightsholder's interests, and permitting that use can only be beneficial to society. Watching the RIAA commit slow, spectacular suicide by taking down the fan art that celebrates, advertises and raises awareness of its members' products, well, it's flabbergasting.

What a bunch of tools. Link (Thanks, Nick!)

Update: Michelle sez, "An MMORPG player has started a petition against the RIAA for shutting down rpgfilms. 451 people have signed it so far."

Phil Zimmerman to debut VOIP encryption tech Thursday

At the Black Hat Briefings event in Vegas this Thursday, PGP godfather Phil Zimmerman is expected to present a prototype system for encrypting VOIP phone calls:
Like PGP and PGPfone, which he created as human rights tools for people around the world to communicate without fear of government eavesdropping, Zimmermann hopes his new program will restore some of the civil liberties that have been lost in recent years and help businesses shield themselves against corporate espionage.
Here's the Wired News story, Here's the CNET piece.

Shoot someone? Not Smith & Wesson's fault. Copy a movie? Grokster's fault

Good stuff from Daily Koz.

Regarding Grokster:

"We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties," Justice Souter wrote.

Regarding guns:

Senate Republicans on Tuesday moved the National Rifle Association's top priority ahead of a $491 billion defense bill, setting up a vote on legislation to shield firearms manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits over gun crimes.

"The president believes that the manufacturer of a legal product should not be held liable for the criminal misuse of that product by others," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

[Senator Larry] Craig said such lawsuits are "predatory and aimed at bankrupting the firearms industry," unfairly blaming dealers and manufacturers for the crimes of gun users.

Link (thanks, Earl!)

Reader comment: Paul says: "I have to point out that: The actual point in the Supreme Court decision quoted in the recent post 'Shoot someone? Not Smith & Wesson’s fault. Copy a movie? Grokster’s fault' is in fact the text that isn’t highlighted with a bold typeface.

"It would be tragic to give people the impression that what was quoted is in any way negative by using ctrl + b on two sections of text, because the classy way to do such a thing, and the usual way to detect purposeful neglect, is to simply remove what you don’t like with an ellipsis.

"The ignored and obviously overlooked part reads 'with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement.' Relate that to gun manufacturers and we would hope, and pray, that anyone who sells a gun that is advertised (promoted) as '… well suited for killing your cheating spouse…' would be liable for any one using it for the purpose of killing some one, and if Ford advertised a F150 as 'Great for getting away from the cops after robbing a bank' they would be liable as well. We could add such obviousness to nearly anything: 'our pillows are designed to be 25% more efficient in smothering some one!' or 'Our toilet paper is much better for toilet papering some one’s house!'"

Cory replies: Paul's comments on the Inducement doctrine for Grokster are a little incomplete. The inducement doctrine handed down by the court attaches liability to someone who advertises a technology for a purpose that is later to be held infringing. There's no way to know, a priori, whether a use will be held to be infringing. Therefore, any technology that is advertised for a use that has not previously been litigated has massive liability under Grokster. For example, Sony advertised the VCR as useful for both time-shifting and librarying: the court only found that time-shifting was legal. If librarying is found to be illegal -- say, in a case that's litigated next year -- it makes Sony and everyone else who's advertised librarying as a feature liable under Grokster. Current technologies that advertise uses that haven't been found to be noninfringing include the Slingbox ("space- shifting"), the Promise TV (capturing the entire multiplex and buffering it for 30 days), mythtv (commercial skipping), iTunes/ WinAmp/Windows Media Player (ripping CDs), and many others.

New photos of kids from 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Orin says: "The link included is to a weblog of my friend Jason:"
 Blog Img Wonkakids I came across a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory fan site today which featured scans of polaroids taken of the five children from the 1971 film, all grown up.