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Man plays doctor with dead deer in stolen ambulance

Leon Holliman Jr., 37, of Jacksonville, Florida was reported missing from the River Region Human Services facility last month. On Sunday, he was found in North Carolina dressed like a doctor and driving a stolen ambulance with a dead deer in the back. The police had to shoot out the ambulance's tires to catch him. He's now undergoing psychiatric evaluation. From the Associated Press:
 Artman Uploads Ambo-Deer-Nc092905"I don't know how the man got it up in there," said Sgt. Robert Pearson. "It was a six point buck."

It wasn't known where Holliman got the deer, which had been dead for some time, Pearson said.
Link

Apparently, Holliman was nabbed and released earlier in the weekend for other unusual behavior. From EMS Network:
Lieutenant Scott Nanney says officers saw the man with a wheelchair near the hospital.

"Actually he was in the wheelchair riding it in the middle of the road and intoxicated. So, that's when officers decided to take him into jail for four hours."

Police say the man wasn't charged with anything in the wheelchair incident.

He was only taken to jail for his safety, until he was sober enough to leave.
Link (Thanks, Paul Saffo!)

Sledgehammer keyboard

Taylorkeyboard Chicago artist Taylor Hokanson constructed a massive computer keyboard that you type on with a sledgehammer. Temporary Services, the art group behind the amazing Prisoners' Inventions project from a few years ago, is exhibiting the Sledgehammer Keyboard at their Chicago experimental art/culture space Mess Hall on Saturday and Sunday. Temporary Services member Salem Collo-Julin says: "Users will be able to try it out for the first time this coming weekend during a street fair that's happening outside of Mess Hall. You slam your message into the keys, and your message is projected into our space."
Link to Taylor Hokanson's site, Link to Mess Hall

Beautiful flowers losing their scent

It seems that the breeding behind the huge variety of roses and other ornamental flowers now available has also inadvertently diminished the flowers' scents. In an excellent Science News article, Ivan Amato examines why today's ornamentals don't smell as good as they once did. He also discusses how flower scientists are looking at ways to resurrect lost scents and even engineer new ones. From the article:
"Pigment compounds are derived from the same biochemical precursors [as scent compounds are], so it makes sense that if you make more of one you get less of the other," notes floral-scent biochemist and geneticist Eran Pichersky of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Floral scent may be dwindling because breeders for the $30 billion ornamental-flower industry pay scant attention to this most emblematic attribute of flowers. "In order of [commercial] priority, color is number 1 through 10," says Alan Blowers, head of flower biotechnology for Ball Helix, a biotech company in West Chicago, Ill., devoted to the ornamental-plant industry. Beyond color, breeders have been targeting improvements in flower longevity, shape, size, disease resistance, and other traits likely to improve the growers' bottom lines.

Fragrance is different. It's invisible, and its sensory impression is as subjective as taste.
Link

Apple ][ on the PlayStation Portable

 Pyae Logo Small Team Xboxopensource hacked together an Apple ][ emulator for the PSP. (Only works on PSP firmware 1.50. Don't upgrade. If you did, MAKE: Blog points to a downgrader. Link) Time to bust out those classic Karateka chops!
Link

Haptic athletic outfits

This is a haptic sports garment developed by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research. Laden with actuators, the vest is programmed to push on specific muscle groups to improve the technique of rowers, skaters, soccer players, and other athletes. From New Scientist:
 Yyy WwwnoEventually, sensors in the garments will measure the speed at which the rower moves and how they coordinate their leg and body movements. If the rower deviates from the optimum speed or rhythm, pads worn at the ankle and waist start vibrating at the correct stroke intervals to help the rower recapture the winning action.

"The feedback can be understood by the person much more quickly than if they are getting shouts from a human trainer," says Hendrik-Jan van Veen of the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research in Soesterberg.
Link (via We Make Money Not Art)

Thirty buck "toy" amp kicking all kinds of ass

A stereophile friend of mine with $25,000 worth of sound-reproduction equipment in his house just went spontaneously gaga over the Sonic Impact T-Amp, a $30 15-Watt amplifier that "easily outperforms amplifiers that cost 100 times more." Apparently, audiophile reviewers (like this guy) (Google cache of previous link) took what was meant as a gimmick cheap battery-powered amp and have turned it into an overnight sensation, shipping thousands of units to a modder audience that are hacking their own aluminium enclosures and the like.
This amplifier is STUNNING. And the review could stop here. Considering shipping, customs fees, VAT etc you can pay 25-30 € max for this item (non-EU Countries, make your conversions). This means the T-Amp costs more or less than a Music CD. At this price, it should deliver a multimedia-like kind of sound and shouldn't even be considered on a HiFi mag like this one. I understand you can find it hard to believe but I can assure you I found it harder, being the skeptic and investigative guy I am.

Warning: this has been the most thrilling and incredible experience I've had with a component in, say, 25 years of HiFi listening. This website has existed since 1995, I've reviewed hundreds of HiFi components, inexpensive and ridiculously overpriced ones. I never - repeat - NEVER came across such a stunning piece of gear in all of these years.

Link

Canadian copyfight: the CC-licensed book!

Legendary Canadian copyfighter Michael Geist has just published a ground-breaking anthology on the future of Canadian copyright law, with contributions by 19 Canadian copyright experts. You can buy the book between covers at finer bookstores across the land, but of course he's released the whole book under a Creative Commons license, so you can download it for free too. All the royalties from the print edition are to be donated to Creative Commons.
As Canadians consider the anti-circumvention provisions contained in Bill C-60, several lessons learned elsewhere bear repeating. First, anti-circumvention represents an entirely new approach to copyright law. while copyright law seeks to balance creator and user rights by identifying the rights and limitations on rights holders, tPMs, supported by anti-circum- vention legislation, creates new layers of protection that do not correlate with traditional copyright law.

As noted above, Justice Binnie stated in Theberge that "once an autho- rized copy of a work is sold to a member of the public, it is generally for the purchaser, not the author, to determine what happens to it."6 Cases such as Streambox serve as an important reminder that this is not always the case, since activity that is lawful under traditional copyright law, may be unlawful under certain anti-circumvention legislation. This change in the law should resonate with the Competition Bureau since it challenges its longstanding position that a hands-off approach to intellectual property is warranted given its characterization of IP as pro-competitive.

Second, there is considerable flexibility in how a country implements its anti-circumvention obligations into national law. while the US DMCA is the best-known implementation, the approaches in several European countries, as well as those in the developing world, indicate that a country can seek to maintain the copyright balance, avoid regulating technologies, and foster a pro-competitive marketplace within the WIPO framework.

Third, the US DMCA experience illustrates that the fears raised by critics of the US approach have come to fruition. In only seven years, the DMCA has become a heavily litigated statute used by rights holders and non-rights holders to restrict innovation, stifle competition, and curtail fair use. This has occurred in large measure due to the US decision to strictly regulate anti-circumvention devices and to downplay the connec- tion between TPM [DRM] protection and copyright.

Link (Thanks, Michael!)

Archive of penny-dreadful artwork

Diane Duane sez, "Searchable history and timeline of 'penny dreadfuls,' with thousands of images online. Text search too, though it seems to be misbehaving at the moment. Really cool!" I agree. These are wild. Link (Thanks, Diane)

iPod baby costumes

These iPod baby-costumes are infringeariffic and so sweet, I needed insulin -- still, if you want to display your nerd pride through your offspring, this is a good way to do it. Or you could invest in somee child-sized cyber-goth gear from London's Cyberdog. Link (via Gizmodo)

Update: Greg sez, "When I posted about the addition of a black Nano onesie to the ipodmybaby lineup, it inspired another dad to whip up a DIY iPod onesie iron-on graphic that's actually funnier: the controls now say 'nap, poop, eat, play'"

Trailer with 36,416lbs of candy stolen

A trailer filled with $69,000 worth of candy was stolen from a Michigan truck-stop. There's a reward for the safe return of the junk-food. Happy Hallowe'en!
The company is willing to pay up to $10,000 to find a semi trailer load of Bazooka, jelly beans and assorted candy that was boosted near Cambridge City.

McCain wants the sweets, not revenge. The offer is for locating the loot, not convicting the criminal.

There were 36,416 pounds of confections in a McCain trailer that went missing from Crazy D's Truck Plaza at Indiana 1 and Interstate 70 on Aug. 22.

Link (Thanks, Brian!)

Anti-MMORPG ads from D&D

This anti-MMORPG ad from Dungeons and Dragons is STONE BRILLIANT. It reads "If you're going to sit in your basement pretending to be an elf, you should at least have some friends over to help. Dungeons and Dragons: Get together. Roll some Dice. Have Fun." Way to play to your core strength. 188k JPEG Link (Thanks, Steeltoe!)

High Power Rocketry in the Black Rock Desert

Picture 1-39 Last weekend, amateur high power rocket makers went to Nevada's Black Rock desert and launched rockets with "motors leave a crater in the clay at takeoff." Here's a great photoset with comments. (Shown here: rocket through windshield of an SUV).
Link (thanks, Travis F. Smith!)

Phone unlockers versus the DMCA

A mobile phone company is arguing that companies that unlock their handsets violates the DMCA. They argue that the software on the phone is a copyrighted work, and the unlocker is breaking DRM in a way that violates the statutory prohibition on circumvention. Nice try -- but the courts already rejected that theory when Lexmark tried to apply it to people who refilled printer cartridges (copyrighted printer cartridges! What chutzpah!)
Last week, I was contacted by a small company that I'll call Unlocko. Unlocko sells software that "unlocks" mobile phones so owners can select different cellular providers on the same handset. The company had received a cease-and-desist letter from a large mobile phone provider, which I'll call CellPhoneCo.

Like most U.S. cellular providers, CellPhoneCo electronically locks the handsets it sells so the phones can only be used with CellPhoneCo's service. CellPhoneCo claims that the sale of unlocking software is illegal.

The financial motive behind this claim is obvious. Companies have been using the razor blade business model to guarantee a steady stream of revenue ever since, well, the razor blade. Cell phone companies sell you a phone at a discount, and then make up the difference by requiring you to sign a multi-year contract promising to pay monthly fees for mobile phone service or to fork over a hefty termination penalty if you break the deal.

Link

Suicide Girls: rumor-debunking time

Disclaimer: Suicide Girls is a Boing Boing sponsor.

Punk rock pinup site Suicide Girls has been the subject of much internet rumorage recently, on two fronts. First, problems between management and models; second, rumors that an FBI porn squad "cracked down" on SG, ordering the to take down certain images. Let's take these one at a time.

Wired News publishes this account today of claims that about 30 models have quit SG in recent weeks:

A group of angry ex-models is bashing the SuicideGirls alt-porn empire, saying its embrace of the tattoo and nipple-ring set hides a world of exploitation and male domination. The women are spreading their allegations through the blogosphere, raising the hackles of the SuicideGirls company, which has until now enjoyed a reputation as porn even feminists can love. It offers burlesque tours, clothes and DVDs in addition to a sprawling online library of naked punk and goth women.

"The recent accusations are a little upsetting," said "Missy," the co-founder of SuicideGirls. "We think they're all pretty much unfounded."

Link.

Now, about that porn squad. As blogged previously on Boing Boing, this August the FBI's Washington, DC office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad tasked with gathering evidence about "manufacturers and purveyors of pornography" -- not child porn, not bestiality, not porn already illegal under US law. This time, the target is sexually explicit material depicting consenting adults, marketed to adults. Four days after the Washington Post published that news, Suicide Girls model and web engineer Olivia posted this item on the Suicide Girls blog which stated, in part:

SG Removing Pictures, You Can Thank Bush

I just wanted to let you know that, thanks to the "War on Porn," SG will be taking down a bunch of photosets and individual photos today. Even the FBI agents paid to surf for porn find this ridiculous, but apparently sending people to jail for pictures of two consenting adults enjoying a little rope bondage is more fucking important than.... I dunno, pick any one of the million of better causes out there that the government could be focusing on.

So, I apologise heartily for having to do this, both to the SuicideGirls whose art is being fucked over and the members who are being treated like babies, but we really don't want to get shut down and sent to jail. As soon as legally possible, the photosets and pictures about to be taken down will come back.

The language of this post led many to assume the FBI must have contacted SG to order that they take down images. That didn't happen. It would seem unlikely that a still-in-formation antismut force would pick SG as its first target, anyway, given the abundance of far more hardcore sites on the internet -- SG doesn't feature penetration or actual sex acts, just cute goth girls frolicking about in nothing but their tattoos. Despite this, rumors continued to proliferate on blogs and mailing list ("feds shut down suicide girls!!!", "FBI fscks SG!", "Bush bones goth erotica site!").

But today, SG's Missy explains that the image takedown wasn't the result of contact by the FBI or any other authorities -- the site's management chose to pre-emptively remove certain photos. Missy tells Boing Boing:

While we do not believe any of our images are illegal, SG has removed a number of images in order to ensure that we are not targeted by the U.S. Government's new "War on Porn."

We have received no formal government notice to remove these images, however, in the course of our involvement, as witnesses, in a federal criminal prosecution that does not target SG, we have been made aware of the risks posting such content poses the owners of the company.

Given the U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' new war on porn task force and it's intent to bring obscenity charges against their loosely defined "Deviant" imagery, we have removed any images with fake blood and any images we felt could be wrongfully construed as sadist or masochist.

Given the natural disasters in Louisiana and Texas, the U.S. Government's numerous foreign war's and the growing U.S. deficit, we feel there are far better uses of government resources then pursuing the legality of imagery created by consenting adults, but as is usually the case, our opinions are not shared by the Current U.S. Administration. Also, we really miss Bill Clinton.

Update: [redacted] says,
The criminal trial in question involves a dispute between Suicide Girls and Chad Grant of "Deviant Nation." There's a whole 'nother pot of internet rumors around the substance of that dispute, which both sides presumably haven't addressed in public because of the ongoing legal action. The trial was yesterday, Wed. Sep. 28., in LA.
The criminal case in progress is United States vs Chad Grant.

And BMEZine's Shannon Larratt posts his thoughts on the matter(s) here: Link

Lunchbox art show

Picture 4-11La-La Land gallery in LA had a neat lunchbox art show over the weekend, and a lot of the lunchboxes are still available. Shown here: Amanda Visell's "A Robot Wants My Lunchbox."
Link

Kirsten Ulve show in Tokyo

Picture 3-23 The incredible Kirtsen Ulve (who did an illustration for the print edition of Boing Boing for a true story of a girl who went to a nudist camp on a dare) has a drawing show in Tokyo opening October 9.
Link (thanks, Gary!)

Billion-dollar Robinson Crusoe treasure discovered by robot

BiscuitBarrel sez, "A Chilean salvage company has located a famed buried treasure on the island that inspired Robinson Crusoe. The treasure is said to contain 600 barrels of gold looted from the Incan empire in the 16th century."
A robotic treasure hunter has laid claim to the find of the century, on the very archipelago that inspired the novel Robinson Crusoe...

By some estimates the haul would include 800 barrels of gold ingots, silver pieces, gems and other riches worth up to $10 billion. Naturally, the promise of such fabulous wealth has attracted scores or treasure hunters to the island in the past.

Link (Thanks, BiscuitBarrel!)

Robot feet turn cribs into rockers

Lullabubs are rocking robotic feet that fit under the legs of most baby-prisons, playpens, cribs, etc, and then synchronistically rock your proto-human back and forth without the need for boring adult intervention. Link (via Gizmodo)

Harvey Danger's new album: DRM-free torrent!

Jordan sez, "The band Harvey Danger just released its new album Little by Little via direct download and Bittorrent. Rationale:"
In preparing to self-release our new album, we thought long and hard about how best to use the internet. Given our unusual history, and a long-held sense that the practice now being demonized by the music biz as "illegal" file sharing can be a friend to the independent musician, we have decided to embrace the indisputable fact of music in the 21st century, put our money where our mouth is, and make our record, Little By Little..., available for download via Bittorrent, and at our website. We're not streaming, or offering 30-second song samples, or annoying you with digital rights management software; we're putting up the whole record, for free, forever. Full stop. Please help yourself; if you like it, please share with friends.
Link (Thanks, Jordan and Jeff!)

Photos of a man walking his pet tortoise

I like these pictures of a man taking his pet tortoise for a walk on a warm fall day in Canada.
 Blogimages Ddm Tortoisewalking02Though, he wasn't a cheap purchase, Jeff and his family consider 'Franklin' to be an excellent value for a pet, who will probably live longer than most of us. Apparently, Tortoises can live an average of 60-80 years, with some living over the ripe age of 100! Astoundingly, he already weighs in at around 25 pounds but can grow up to 200!

Purchased at a city pet store, Franklin is a treasured member of the family, attracting interest from all who see the pair. Jeff said he doesn't mind the company of strangers when he's taking Franklin for a walk, and educates the guests on the difference between a tortoise and a turtle. He finds it relaxing to take Franklin for a walk after a tough day at work.

Link

Pixar artist describes hassle of recovering stolen vehicle

Pixar artist Ronnie Del Carmen's car was stolen in Oakland. His story and photos of the tedious and costly ordeal involved in having to get it back from the police make me happy that the two cars I've had stolen in my life were never found.
 27 45233935 Fd84B02828"There's your car." The Accord seemed to be in good shape from the outside. I peer in and I see that they tore out the wires under the steering column and dug out the ignition, seeming like the hotwire jobs one sees in movies. We attached the battery and the electrical system kicked in. The car still won't turn over. "You're not going to be able to fix that here." Great. Now I'm almost out of time. I have to run out of here without the car.

"I have a friend who can help," this man informs me. Time's up, I take this option and have the car towed to this guy's friend's place. $40 to move the car and $250 to fix the ignition and broken park lights--make it run. Made a decision under stress about matters I know little about. More stress. I had to leave.

While at the ceremony I start to worry if I didn't just open myself up yet another scam. Likely, eh? But I caught a break it seems that this man who said he'd take care of it seems to actually be doing the right thing. I ask him about the cars inside that lot where my car was and were they all stolen cars. "Most of them."

(thanks, John Frost!) .

Knock Out Uke Out in SF, Oct 14

Uke Out Poster4X6 (Click on thumbnail for enlargement) Don't miss the Knock Out Uke Out, a ukulele festival in San Franciso, on Friday, Oct 14.
Link

Kirsten Anderson interview

Roq La Rue gallery owner Kirsten Anderson was interviewed this summer in Traffic magazine.
Picture 1-38TRAFFIC: Can you speak a little bit to that? It's like there's this invisible wall between this genre of art and the high art world. Is this art too juvenile, too sexual, what?

KA: Yeah, I think some people might see it as juvenile. And sexual, and cartoony. And maybe too light hearted, in a lot of ways. But it is what it is. It's people painting what they like, and what their world is about - what they think is beautiful. So whether it's giant tikis or giant devil heads and Day of the Dead skeletons – these images speak to these people. It almost comes down to the term "cool." It's what they think is cool, what they want to look at, what makes them feel good.

Link

iGRID2005: Xeni's notes


I've been at the iGRID2005 conference in La Jolla, California today -- an International Grid event intended to accelerate the use of multi-10Gb international and national networks.

There is a lot of mindblowing work on display here, much of particular interest to scientists, gov/mil, and entertainment industry. Demos so far have included:


* Distribution of mass cosmic data ray data from Tibet
* super-hi-def transglobal telepresence demos
* Real-time transatlantic dead cat xray analysis!
* High-definition streaming video from volcanoes on the Pacific ocean floor.
* A 55-panel tiled display showing extremely hi-res zoomable satellite images of New Orleans, post-Katrina.
The conference staff behind the iGRID2005 blog have been doing a terrific job of chronicling the event, so here are a couple of links:
* 20,000 terabits beneath the sea

* First-Ever Live HD Images from Seafloor to Land Available as IP-Based Feed

* More snapshots of iGrid activity

* Nortel Demonstrates World’s First Integrated Data Encryption for 10 Gbps Networks

Whups, gotta go -- there's a 4K digital cinema demo beginning at 430, and CalIT2 director Larry Smarr says "It's gonna be AWESOME." At left, he's showing me another demo which was -- well, awesome. Dan Sandin’s personal varrier, an immersive stereoscopic environment that doesn’t require special 3-D glasses.
Link to iGRID2005 blog.

Rollyo -- personal search engine

Blogger Dave Pell has created an interesting new search engine tool call Rollyo. It lets you make a search engine that indexes up to 25 websites of your choice. I made one called Pop Surrealism, including many of my favorite blogs. Link

Cory's DRM talk to HP research

I've just come from giving a talk on DRM to HP's research group in Corvallis, Oregon -- a kind of sequel to last year's Microsoft DRM talk. The text of the talk is dedicated to the public domain, and live on the web.
* Privacy

In privacy scenarios, there is a sender, a receiver and an attacker. For example, you want to send your credit-card to an online store. An attacker wants to capture the number. Your security here concerns itself with protecting the integrity and secrecy of a message in transit. It makes no attempt to restrict the disposition of your credit-card number after it is received by the store.

* Use-restriction

In DRM use-restriction scenarios, there is only a sender and an attacker, *who is also the intended recipient of the message*. I transmit a song to you so that you can listen to it, but try to stop you from copying it. This requires that your terminal obey my commands, even when you want it to obey *your* commands.

Understood this way, use-restriction and privacy are antithetical. As is often the case in security, increasing the security on one axis weakens the security on another. A terminal that is capable of being remotely controlled by a third party who is adversarial to its owner is a terminal that is capable of betraying its owner's privacy in numerous ways without the owner's consent or knowledge. A terminal that can *never* be used to override its owner's wishes is by definition a terminal that is better at protecting its owner's privacy.

Link

Gaiman/McKean/Henson film opens this Friday!

Neil Gaiman is one of the most talented writers working in science fiction, fantasy and comics today (and he works in all three, as well as kids-lit and other fields).

His latest project is an extraordinary film called Mirrormask, lavishly illustrated by towering graphic genius Dave McKean (who did the cover for my most recent book), and brought to life by the Jim Henson Creature Shop (Neil's other cinematic endeavors include the English script for Princess Monanoke -- how freaking cool is that?).

Mirrormask, a twisted, pure-Gaiman fairy tale, opens this Friday, and the opening weekend will determine whether the film sticks around to get the audience it deserves. I know I'll be making time to see it.

MirrorMask is a wonderfully demented fairy tale filled with fanged cats out of Escher sketches and prickly spiral staircases to nowhere, but at its core is simply a girl wishing her sick mother would get better. This is the genius of Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman: to create twisted, gorgeous worlds, breathtaking in their elaborate detail, yet never lose the ability to tell a compelling story.

In the opening credits, strips of paper come alive to form a circus. Spangled performers wander among the tents. Sock puppets discuss an evil queen. It is a thoroughly surreal scene, a circus by Salvador Dali come to life, until the very ordinary-looking woman at the ticket booth asks a mute clown to take over for her while she searches for someone who turns out to be her teenaged daughter. Helena (Stephanie Leonidas), the owner of the feet animating the sock puppets, has a very typical teenage argument with her mother and threatens, rather untypically, to run away from the circus.

What follows is a lovely journey through a fantastical landscape. Helena's mother falls sick, and Helena herself, wishing to join the real world, finds herself instead in the Dark Lands, a twisted world where fish fly in schools through the air, insulted books return to the library of their own volition, and everyone wears a mask. It is a quirkily charming place, and there are flashes of Monty Pythonesque humor in Helena's encounter with the Prime Minister (Rob Brydon, who also plays Helena's father). Yet it is also dangerous, as Helena is threatened by savage sphinxes and a creeping dark rot which turns out to be the result of the slow death of the Queen of Light (Gina McKee, who also plays Helena's mother). In this world of masks, it is Helena, with Leonidas' wonderfully expressive, mobile face, who is seen as strange and powerful, and the Prime Minister begs Helena to find the MirrorMask, an item of great power that will both restore the queen to health and allow Helena to return home.

Link (Thanks, Neil!)

DRM system designed to encourage identity-theft -- UPDATED

Update: Memletics has responded to public criticism of this system and replaced it with one that is much, much better. See here for more.

A textbook publisher's DRM system is designed to encourage the identity theft of its customers who loan out their books:

Memletics is one of those dime-a-dozen companies selling a product it promises will teach "accelerated learning" and how to "remember more." What makes Memletics remarkable is the digital rights management (DRM) scheme it uses on its books. The company's main product is a training manual that explains the "Memletics advanced learning system" -- and if you loan it to a friend, you do so at considerable personal risk. You see, Mimletic prints out your "name, address, telephone number, credit card number, and other information" on every tenth page of the e-book. The truly amazing part is that the company does this with its printed manuals too.

The obvious subtext here is that if you share your valuable Memletics manual, you open yourself up to identity theft or worse, since the company includes your address and phone number. This is one of the only examples we've seen of DRM that works by intimidation rather than technical measures. It does have one thing in common with good old fashioned copy protection schemes like DVD CSS, however: people can't make fair use copies of the books. Readers are also threatened with identity theft even if they never make a single copy. Somebody glancing over a Memletics fan's shoulder on the subway could jot down her credit card information and start buying crates of Scientology books with it, or maybe just show up at her home. And what if your child uses Memletics? We work hard to teach kids that it's not safe to give away identifying information to strangers and here Memletics is doing it to them as punishment for violating a $32 contract.

Adding insult to injury, Memletics offers "incentives" to people who report violations of their copyright. These include, according to the company's website, "A discount, up to the full purchase price, of a valid Memletics product. Up to 5% of any net proceeds resulting from legal action against the parties involved. Other incentives as we see appropriate."

Link

Update: Annalee, who wrote the above piece, has posted the following update: "UPDATE: Someone named Sean from Memletics contacted us to let us know that this entry is "factually incorrect" because Memletics does not include addresses or full phone numbers in the personal information that's inscribed in their books. Indeed, that is what the site says today, but the Wayback machine comes to the rescue again, providing us with yesterday's page that we wrote about. Quick work on the part of Memletics' webmaster, but still not so swift for consumers, who are left with their credit card information printed inside their books."

Sean also wrote to me to say, "The publisher of Memletics.com highly recommends other publishers do not follow the original path we took to protect ebooks."

Katamari Damacy fan-cake of extraordinary coolth

By Crom, this is the coolest fan-cake I've ever seen -- an incredibly realistic sculpted Katamari and Little Prince from the brilliant, addictive game Katamari Damacy. Link (Thanks, Emi!)

Sword swallowing extravagnza

To The Hilt is an amazingly comprehensive resource about sword swallowing: history, x-rays, videos, music, cartoons, terminology, and much more. There's even information about the Sword Swallowers Association International, "an elite private organization dedicated to networking existing sword swallowers around the world, promoting dialogue between sword swallowers, encouraging safe swordswallowing practices and techniques, and preserving and promoting the art of swordswallowing worldwide." From the history page:
 Indianswsw80S Sword swallowing originated thousands of years ago in India by fakirs and shaman priests who developed it, along with fire-walking on hot coals, snake handling, and other ascetic religious practices, as demonstration of their invulnerability, power, and connection with their gods. Sword swallowing is still popular in certain parts of India, and there is said to be a tribe of sword swallowers in the state of Andhra Pradesh who pass down the art of sword swallowing from father to son.
Link (via We Make Money Not Art)