Life-sized human statue made of bread, popular with pigeons

Constanza Puente, a Chilean artist, has installed a life-sized statue of herself made of bread in a park in Santiago de Chile. The statue is popular with pigeons -- Puente says "I chose bread to celebrate the fragility of the human beings." Link (via Neatorama) Read the rest

Astroturf site from telcos' PR company against Net Neutrality

Neil found a site called "HandsOff.org" that seems to be a grass-roots campaign from "a nationwide coalition of Internet users" against Internet regulation. On closer inspection, though: "it's nothing more than a front for business interests that was set up by a PR company called the Mercury Group. If you've ever wondered why government seems so far removed from the will of the people, the existence of 'astroturf' campaigns like this go some way to explaining why." Read the rest

Science fictional rubber fetish-wear

This rubber/latex-fetish sites carries the most science-fictionally squicky gear I've ever seen, like this "urinal mask" -- it's kind of HR Giger meets alt.binaries.fetish. Link (via JWZ) Read the rest

Snogging cures hay-fever

Kissing can alleviate hay-fever, according to a Japanese hospital's study. The theory is that kissing relaxes you and therefore slows histamine production:
The researchers asked a total of 24 couples, where both partners suffered from hay fever, to spend 30 minutes kissing.

Blood samples were taken before and after to compare levels of histamine, and results showed that after the kissing session levels of the chemical were significantly reduced.

This was not found to be the case, however, when the experiment was repeated with cuddling but no kissing, with no change in histamine levels found.

Link (via JWZ) Read the rest

Spotting spam is hard for humans

A blog entry from the creator of SpamOrHam? (a site that asks users to teach a computer what is and isn't spam by voting on messages) reveals humans' extreme difficulty in distinguishing spam from not-spam. Some of the messages that his users have mistaken for legitimate are the crudest phishing scams, while some of the messages that people often rated as spam are legit, including jokes and discussion-threads from a sales-team. Link (via /.) Read the rest

Console prices in real dollars, 1976-2006

CurmudgeonGamer has produced a fascinating chart of inflation-adjusted game console prices starting with 1976's Fairchild Channel F to the PS3. Lots of interesting stuff here including Wes Felter's observation that in real dollars, every Nintendo console has been cheaper than the last one. Link (via Hack the Planet) Read the rest

History of human migration

The History of International Migration Site from the Netherlands' Leiden University has a simple index of migration batters from prehistory to present-daytracking who went where, when. It'd be great to be able to cross-reference this by country of origin and destination, too -- but it's still utterly fascinating reading.
Migration to Latin America, 1750-1914

Spain * 1600-1900: Southern Spain - Andalusia (especially Seville and its hinterland) - consistently provided the largest number of emigrants of any single region.)

* 1600-1900: Spanish society in the Indies reflect a wide socio-economic representation in the settlement of the New World: only the extremes of Spanish society - the highest nobles who commanded great wealth and resources, and the true paupers scarcely participated in the movement.

* 1850-1920: Spaniards moving to Argentina were poor, rural and looking for a permanent place for resettlement. (Survey, 216)

* 19th- 20th century: Especially emigrants from Spain went to South America. Portugal

* 1850-1900: The first group Portuguese (8-11%) composed of adolescents and young adults who went to join relatives or 'friends' to work in trade activities. This group departed almost exclusively from the northern regions of Portugal. The second group (ca. 10%) is relatively older, and is formed by those that had some sort of property or skill, and could easily find a niche in the expanding Brazilian urban economy. The third group (ca. 80%) is made up of those with no skills, who entered the Brazilian unskilled labour market. * 19th- 20th century: Especially emigrants from Portugal went to South America.

Read the rest

Venom extractor review

The latest edition of Cool Tools has a nice review of vaccuum pump to extract venom from bites and stings.
A friend was bitten by a flying bug. Her arm immediately began to swell up. She was in intense, burning pain. We attached The Extractor over the bite, with its largest cup...Several drops of foul brown liquid were drawn from her arm. Almost immediately her pain dissipated. I have used this tool many times since then on simple bee stings on my children -- their pain leaves almost immediately.
Link Read the rest

Mister Jalopy on the Von Dutch auction

There's a mom at my daughter's school that I don't like. She's arrogant, ill-mannered, ostentatious, and obnoxious. One morning when I was on the school campus, I saw the mom wearing a Von Dutch hat and a Von Dutch T-shirt. I asked her who Von Dutch was. "He's a fashion designer," she sneered. I told her that wasn't correct. I told her that he was a car customizer and an artist, and was no longer living. "That's someone else, idiot," she said. (The "idiot" was silent, but her mind spoke it.)

I remembered that conversation when I read today's entry at Jalopy Junktown, where he wrote about an auction where Von Dutch's pinstriping box was sold for $270,000.

Luckily, the ghost of Von Dutch already suffered the gross indignity of his name being licensed to sell overpriced trucker hats. An injustice that great assures Von Dutch will be not coming back from the dead to rattle around Beverly Hills mansions looking to reclaim his hammers or pick-up truck tailgate.

"Everything you love, everything meaningful with depth and history, all passionate authentic experiences will be appropriated, mishandled, watered down, cheapened, repackaged, marketed and sold to the people you hate."

Link Read the rest

Fractal nanomolecule

Scientists have used self-assembly to create a nanoscale molecule that, like snowflakes and coastlines, has a self-similar fractal form. The hexagonal gasket is composed of of six rings, which are made up of six rings, and so on. The University of Akron and Clemson University researchers presented their creation in the journal Science. From Ohio University Research News:
“This man-made structure is one of the first nanoscale, non-branched fractal molecules ever produced,” said (George) Newkome, who is lead author on the Science paper and also serves as dean of the Graduate School and the James and Vanita Oelschlager Professor of Science and Technology at the University of Akron. “Blending mathematics, art and science, these nanoscopic hexagonal-shaped materials can be self-assembled and resemble a fine bead necklace. These precise polymers – the first example of a molecule possessing a ‘Star of David’ motif – may provide an entrée into novel new types of photoelectric cells, molecular batteries and energy storage.”
Link Read the rest

Photos from Epcot Center's construction

Kirby sez, "Von W. Johnson's Slide Show of images of Epcot while it was under construction in 1981-82. (The page title needs to be updated as it is now 25 years since the earliest of these images was taken!) Von was manufacturing scheduler for the China, Germany and Japan pavilions and took some fantastic shots of the park while it was being built. The second image is interesting as it is the standard view every visitor has from the parking lot, but of a partly built Spaceship Earth. The first 42 images are of Epcot under construction. The rest are from the MAPO offices (now known as Imagineering) (in Glendale CA, I presume) on Epcot Opening day."

I was there the month Epcot Center opened and man, was it in trouble. It seemed like nothing works. I got stuck at the top of Spaceship Earth (the giant golf-ball) for the better part of an hour (after waiting several hours to board) and eventually we were all led off via a backstage staircase.

Link

(Thanks, Kirby!) Read the rest

Design Creative Commons bag, win trip to iSummit Rio!

Next month, iCommons, the international Creative Commons movement, will host its first-ever summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (I'm going!). They're holding a competition to design the conference bag, and the winner gets free airfare and expenses to attend the summit:
Entries will be judged based on the following criteria:

* Relevance to iCommons Summit theme (45% of overall grade); * Creativity (45% of overall grade); and * Suitability for bag design (10% of overall grade).

Link (Thanks, Heather!) Read the rest

Free Bruce Sterling talk in London Tuesday night - ADDRESS UPDATE

Bruce Sterling is giving a free talk in London tomorrow night (note updated address below):
On Tuesday, May 16^th , come and hear Bruce Sterling, author, journalist, editor and critic, rant about RFID, the future of design and technology and whatever else is on his mind...

SPACE Place, 43 Dace Road, Fish Island, London E3 2NR

129 -131 Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 3RH. (Tube: Bethnal Green, bus 103 and 254 or Old Street, bus 55)?

For more information, please contact Heather Corcoran at heather@spacestudios.org.uk or by telephone at 0208 525 4339...

Link (Thanks, Tristan!) Read the rest

Gmail downgraded, no longer cracks PDFs

Google has downgraded Gmail so that it no longer cracks PDFs with the no-copy-bit set.
Gmail has crippled its "View as HTML" functionality so as to comply with Adobe's PDF copy-control scheme. In case an email attachment is a DRMed PDF file (= a PDF with copying and/or printing restrictions), clicking on the "View as HTML" link returns the message displayed in the screenshot.
Link (Thanks, Andreas!)

Update: Perrin sez, "Adobe's own Macromedia Flashpaper 2, will convert a DRM-ed PDF into a PDF with all the DRM stripped. I just tried it on an ebook I purchased from Amazon and it worked flawlessly." Read the rest

Australia puts out for Hollywood with new copyright law

Australia is finally reforming its backwards copyright law, which made it illegal to record shows off the TV and radio, and to rip CDs for personal playback. However, in the process, they proposed a new law that is even more backwards -- one that prohibits watching your recorded shows more than once, one that doesn't allow you to make backups of your CDs, and that doesn't let you loan them to friends.

Australia's digital TV standards come from the DVB, a standards-setting body that is in the midst of creating one of the worst, most restrictive crippleware DRMs ever conceived of. With this new law in place, the "super-broadcast-flag" envisioned by DVB will be a slam dunk in Australia.

It's funny: the Hollywood cartel couldn't get the US to adopt the Broadcast Flag, so they went and sold this bill of dubious goods to Australians. You'd think Australia would be smarter than that: it's pretty sad to be the easy-lay nation that Hollywood turns to when it can't convince America to put out.

Does this mean I can record my favourite television or radio program to enjoy later?

Yes. For the first time you will be able to record most television or radio program at home to enjoy at a later time. This will allow you to watch or listen to a program as it was made available to the public at the time of the original broadcast.

How long can I keep the recording?

The recording must be deleted after one use.

Read the rest

Wall-safe disguised as electrical outlet

This "safe" -- really a cache -- disguised as a wall-socket is pretty clever and goes for a mere $10. Link (via OhGizmo) Read the rest

Boing Boing has a widget

Brian Stucki, creator of the excellent FreeMacWare.com site, has announced the creation of a Boing Boing Widget for Mac Dashboard users. It's very nicely made. Thanks, Brian! Link Read the rest

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