Boing Boing 

Video, MP3: More Raumpatrouille kitschtastic '66 German sfTV

Following an earlier BoingBoing post with clips from the 1966 German TV space-opera "Raumpatrouille" (Space Patrol) -- well, here are more clips. The show pre-dates Star Trek, and this quick B/W intro excerpt includes deliciously low-tech special effects: clothes irons, shower heads, and dissolving aspirin tablets create the illusion of spaceships gone wild, and planets in distress. Here's the same intro in color, sans English subtitles. Here's another clip in which the ship's commander is strongarmed against better judgement into admitting a science fiction author on board -- and another clip, "Never Trust a Robot." Here's a bunch more clips. Here's the show's IMDB listing. This fan-site for the show states:
The adventures of the Starship Orion were the first- and to date, only space opera project on German TV. There have apparently been several proposals to revive, continue or sequelize the series in the years since the series aired; all of these, sadly, have fallen through, but hope springs eternal. The last try were made by Roland Emmerich in 1996, but was dropped a year later.
This is so awesome. I grew up the child of a trekkie, and have a genetically-ingrained fondness for scifi teevee of this era -- but I'd never heard of "Raumpatroille" before this week. Update: Slip on your go-go boots and grab your laser gun, here's the highly fruggable "Raumpatrouille" theme song! Link to 2.8MB MP3. Coop sez, "The composer, Peter Thomas, did a lot of cool soundtracks for 60s & 70 Euro films." (thanks, Coop!) Reader comment: Nate says,
If you're so inclined, there's a link to PDF instructions on how to make a paper model of the ship featured in Raumpatrouille.
Link

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Mark interviewed on Digital Village, Saturday 10am, KPFK Los Angeles, 90.7 FM

200606301921 I'll be interviewed tomorrow on KPFK Los Angeles, 90.7 FM. Doran and Ric and I will talk about the origins of Boing Boing and Make magazine. I hope you tune it. Link

Update: Textamerica won't kill old free accounts after all

Following up on earlier news that photo-blog service Textamerica planned to delete old, free accounts for longtime users who didn't want to be forcibly upgraded to a $99/year paid membership, BoingBoing reader (and former enthusiastic Textamerica user) Caines says,
Now on the log in page it reads like this:

- - - -
"We are pleased to announce: In light of recent changes and the outpour of positive support, textamerica will continue provide free memberships to users. In celebration of our existing users that have recently upgraded, all accounts upgraded on or before 7/15/06 will hold “Founding Memberships” with special VIP privileges not available to other users. We are currently finalizing stipulations to new & existing memberships, terms and conditions to be announced 7/8/06. In honor of your greatly appreciated enthusiasm and participation in helping to keep the community strong, the “lifetime membership” contest will continue until the new TA is finalized (contest.textamerica.com). Thank You."
- - - -

"In light of recent changes and the outpour of positive support" my ass. We're having a grand time at the exTAmerica Flickr group.

Illos of celebrity-animal cryptozoological hybrid monstrosities


The latest issue of NYC-based art & lifestyle mag ANIMAL includes a series of celebrity-animal hybrids called CELEBIMALS. Here's a preview, and you can download the whole mag as a PDF. Shown above, left to right: Paris Hilton Ass Ostrich (Shamelesseae Hussius), Britneyroo (Careerisoverum) and Freeloading Federline Lizard (Paraciticus Africus Wannabe Reptilia), and Bug-eyed Star Fish (Gastrica Bypassus Denialus) with Reynolds Rainbow Trout (Homosexus Closeta). While you're there, check out the article on...

Anarchy interior design by author and “Punk Shuist” Josh Amatore Hughes who cuts his couches in half and sprinkles glass on the floor.
(thanks, Bucky) hugh says,
the celebimal portraits are the work of ["14, "the same person behind] illustration/celebrity/satire blog, "gallery of the absurd".
Hugh is correct, and 14's collaborator on this project was "sex, drugs, and gossip" blogger Michael K.

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What did Brazil look like in 1822?

200606301347
200606301348
Brazil in 1822: people walked around with monkeys sloths on their shoulders (why is the monkey sloth holding a stick in his mouth like that?) and kids ran around squirting some kind of liquid on well-dressed women carrying overloaded fruit baskets on their head (what kind of fluid and why did they squirt it?). See more engravings from the same series at the always-wonderful BibliOdyssey. Link

Reader comments: Jackson Pritt says:

Sloth, not Monkey! That's a sloth, not a monkey. Also the stick appears to be a truss being used to keep the sloth from clawing the man carrying. Given the way the other animals are presented in that engraving it seems pretty apparent that they're taking exotic animals to market for slaughter.
Bernardo Carvalho says:
The liquid the kid is squirting is water, and the tube is called a 'bisnaga'. It was a common carnival prank until the early 20th century. This PDF talks a little bit about it on the first paragraph, also about the works of Jean Baptiste Debret.

Grant Berger says:

These pictures are actually examples of traveler artists whose commissions from colonial governments sent them to Latin America in order to produce elaborate pictures depicting native life, flora, and fauna. Obviously, these were made before the advent of photography, and were the only way the colony's mother government would see the place. Most western stereotypes are derived from these paintings.

William Silva says:

The fluid is perfumed water, squirted for fun, in the carnival.

Axt von Feld says:

Well Jackson, you are right, that is a sloth in a truss. Those slim arms end with three very sharp, branch grasping talons (ouch!) hence the name ‘three toed sloth’.

But the part about taking them for slaughter, I must disagree. The others are carrying exotic birds and butterflies, which were probably be sold as specimens. The print’s description “Le retour des nègres d'un naturaliste” (The return of a naturalist’s negroes) also corroborates that.

It wouldn’t be kept alive if it were to be slaughtered.

About the other print: The well dressed woman is carrying various fruits in her basket, the only ones I can discern are a pumpkin and a pineapple (BTW not a Hawaiian fruit, it was discovered in Brazil). Her fancy clothing is part of a early “carnival” scene, take a look at the other figures, they are all masqueraded or painted! The kid is squirting a “bisnaga” which was probably full of scented water, a typical 1820´s Brazilian carnaval prank. For a fascinating discovery of Imperial Brazil, please take a (very pleasant) read at Patrick Wilcken's Empire Adrift, about the mind boggling escapade of the whole of Portugal royalty to Brazil (my beloved country), driven from Europe by Napoleon’s army in the 1808.

Irene Delse says:

Here's the translation from French in the pictures shown in that entry:

1) "Negro hunters coming back to town. A naturalist's Negros return."

The hunters are in fact the black servants of a naturalist bringing him rare animals and plants (birds, lizards, butterflies, a sloth...) to be studied and preserved or sometimes, like the sloth, kept alive in menageries.

2) "Scenes from the carnival" (above) "Cobblers. A seller of Atacaça" (below)

It's carnaval or mardi-gras. The prettily-dressed woman is selling fruit to the revellers (see the basket on her head). A man is caressing her face and taking off her mantle. The child squirting a liquid (probably water?) is playing tricks at the adults. Note that everybody has the face partly painted in yellow or white or is wearing a mask.

The game theory of penalty kicks

David Goldenberg says: I heard from In Front Sports & Media how interested you are in the World Cup, so I thought I'd share a recent interview Gelf did with an economist at Brown who studies risk and reward on the soccer field.
There are several cool things about his research--most recently on how game theory applies to penalty kicks--but I thout this weird nugget on info he shared might be most interesting to BB readers.

Gelf Magazine: Sports Jones suggested in a 1998 article on this topic that the reason more players don't shoot to the center on PKs is because it would be embarrassing to get such a kick blocked. Do you agree?

Ignacio Palacios-Huerta: No, I do not. One can readily make exactly the opposite argument, namely that it is a great honor to score shooting to the middle, and not a big deal to have it stopped (rather than an embarrassment to have it stopped and not a big deal to score).

In fact, I think that in some sense it is a great honor. The most famous penalty shot (and I think the first one) to the middle was taken by Panenka in 1976 (YouTube). It is so famous that it has a name: when a penalty is shot softly to middle, say, 1 meter or 1.5 meters above the ground (like the second Ukrainian kicker did on Monday in the penalty shoot-out against Switzerland), it is said that the penalty was shot a la Panenka. [Editor's note: You can see the PK here on YouTube (it starts at the one-minute mark; the Supersport announcer describes the kick as "cheeky").]) Well, Panenka shot it like this in the last and decisive kick of the European final Germany-Czechoslovakia in 1976, and got totally famous for it. It is very risky but the fame payoffs is [great].

Link

Voicemails from guy wants $50 for dinner date

Gonzo Rangers has opened the doors to a mob shamefest on some guy who left voicemail for a woman he met through a dating service, demanding that she pay him $50 for dinner and drinks after she told him she didn't want a second date. The entry includes emails and voicemail recordings. This kind of thing -- publicly shaming a person for rude behavior by posting voice recordings, video, and photos on the Web -- is becoming very common -- sidekick thief, subway flasher, camera thief, subway puppy poo girl. Who needs law enforcement when you have a globally distributed mob ready to pounce on people who are accused of behaving badly? (Note: I was being sarcastic in this last sentence) Link

Reader comment: Adam says:

You forgot the "The Broken Laptop I sold on eBay Blog"
James says
Privacy should be a concern for everyone. My main concern when I see articles like these about mobs using public shaming and ostracism as a form of punishment for social misdemeanors makes me cringe. I can't help but think that at some point, someone will be wrongly victimized by one of these mobs and there will be no protection for them.

I speak from real-world experience with mob-mentality from when I was in high-school. I was constantly ostracized, threatened, and involved in altercations that landed me in the hospital or near death on several occassions. My only social crime? Being a punk in a sea of kids who were into hip-hop and gangs.

Already there are many victims of online shaming. This usually happens under the title of "cyber-bullying" to teenagers and I've yet to hear misplaced shamings in the adult world. However, as the Internet becomes more common place I believe it could become inevitable.

I can't imagine for what, but what if in the future you fell victim to one of these public shamings merely for behaving outside the accepted mob norm? Maybe you get drunk at a party with some co-workers and someone decides to initiate a public shaming of you for flirting with a colleague. Suddenly a personal situation that could be resolved between the parties actually involved becomes a public event and maybe it costs you your job. How could a person protect themselves from such an invasion of privacy?

Giant aluminum rectifier purchased for $1

John bid $1 on a "large rectifier" on eBay. He won, and when he went to pick it up, it was four times bigger than he expected it to be (see soda can in lower right of image). It contains about 100 lbs of aluminum. Now, he wonders what he can do with it.
200606301214 So, the question is: I have no earthly use for the thing, and while turning a $1 ebay lot into $58 at the aluminium scrap yard is an attractive option, I'd hate to see the thing melted down when there may be someone out there that could use it.
Link (thanks, Terrie!)

In South Bronx: "Free Technical School in basement"

John Young says:
200606301104 My company in NYC was doing a community service day in the South Bronx. On the way there, I got waylaid on the street by a short older man who said in a thick Jackie Mason accent: "Young man! Do you want to learn electrical engineering?"

I was so intrigued that I followed him a few blocks away, past a whole bunch of disquieting, Wile E. Coyote-style "Free Technical School in basement: GO RIGHT IN! RIGHT THIS WAY!" signs, and found, basically, an underground maker's lair consisting of a big unimproved basement filled with chairs, boilers, and homemade electrical diagnostic devices. Plus LCD monitors mounted on the wall, CAT6 cable, and dry-erase boards filled with math. All the ingredients of a supervillain's lair. Except used in the service of creating more geeks.

I was terrified the whole time (South Bronx! Three stories underground! Genial elderly man who's spouting theories about biodiesel to passers-by!), but it turns out that he's teaching a highly employable skill, for free, to anyone with a clean police record in a depressed neighborhood.

There are some pictures here, if you want to see the "Free elec. school in basement go right in" signs for yourself.

Link

Scott Beale reviews Kyocera KR1 Mobile EV-DO Router

Scott Beale of Laughing Squid loves his Kyocera KR1 EV-DO router, which uses a high speed wireless EV-DO connection for sharable Internet WiFi.
200606301043 Now my portable broadband network is ready to go. I just show up with it, plug it in and in a minute or so the wireless network is live. That’s all there is to it. All I need is power and Verizon EV-DO coverage. Have an old laptop without a wi-fi card? No problem, just plug it into one of the 4 ethernet ports.

I’m going to bring the EV-DO router up to Gnomedex this week and see if I can get it to work at the conference and maybe do some testing with distance and number of users.

Link

Reader comment: Vinny says:

I have to say the Kyocera EVDO Router is one of the best things ever. In our company, we were paying almost $500 a month in one of our stores in NYC that couldn't get anything beyond a 144k down ADSL. Even at 1XRTT speed, we get 160 down in that location, and in another location in Ohio, we get almost 400k down, which is cool because we couldn't get anything at all there. Laptops weren't an option but this allowed us to hook the EVDO card up, leave it out where it could get a good signal, and even let the managers of those locations use their laptops with the included WiFi.

Awesome device and HIGHLY recommended.

Update: Scott Beale says:

200606301428 I'm using it at Gnomdex right now and it works great. In fact I'm posting photos live from the event using my personal EV-DO network (including photos of guest speaker Senator John Edwards)

Video: Fantastic Planet with electronica soundtrack

Fantasticplanet
The musical trainspotters at everyone.doesntexist.com mixed a new soundtrack for La Planète Sauvage (Fantastic Planet), the 1973 surrealist SF animation by René Laloux and Roland Topor. It's a strange film made even more psychedelic with the sounds of Aphex Twin, Matmos, Venetian Snares, and other composers.
Link (via Aeiou blog: excuse my French!)

Whale meat sold by the can in Japan

According to Tokyo Times blog, there's a glut in the whale meat market.
Whale Meat With the prospect of Japan getting the go-ahead to resume commercial whaling in the not so necessarily distant future, the people in power are desperately trying to get rid of the nation’s growing stock of scientific research by-products – or whale meat as it’s more commonly known. School children in certain prefectures are being served it for lunch, one restaurant chain is offering whale burgers, and, in a rather desperate measure, dogs are allegedly being fed the stuff, whether they like it or not.
Link

Hirst's shark in tank needs replacing

The subject of artist Damien Hirst's famous 1991 work "The physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living" needs to be replaced. Apparently, the shark suspended in formaldehyde isn't aging well. Hirst has said that he will happily refurbish the piece, purchased in 2004 from the Saatchi Gallery by US hedge fund manager Steve Cohen for a reported £6.5m. From The Art Newspaper:
 Tmp  Imgart Junehirst Oliver Crimmen, curator of fish at the Natural History Museum who advised Hirst on the necessary measures to be taken for the conservation of the shark in 1991, said the long-term preservation of large specimens for scientific purposes requires an alcohol-based solution rather than formaldehyde...

Mr Crimmen said that Hirst “did not inject the deep tissues of the shark with formaldehyde and this has caused it to undergo some changes in shape.” He believes the tissue of the shark could be shrinking and put the cloudiness of the formaldehyde down to the chemical composition of the solution used by the artist.

Speaking to critic Stuart Morgan in 1996, Hirst said: “I did an interview about conservation and they told me formaldehyde is not a perfect form of preservation... They actually thought I was using formaldehyde to preserve an artwork for posterity, when in reality I use it to communicate an idea.”
Link (via Fortean Times)

Doctors remove lightbulb from man's ass

On Wednesday, Fateh Mohammad of Multan, Pakistan underwent surgery to have a lightbulb removed from his rectum. The prison inmate says he has no idea how it ended up there. From Reuters:
Mohammad, who is serving a four-year sentence for making liquor, prohibited for Muslims, said he was shocked when he was first told the cause of his discomfort. He swears he didn't know the bulb was there.

"When I woke up I felt a pain in my lower abdomen, but later in hospital, they told me this," Mohammad said.

"I don't know who did this to me. Police or other prisoners."
Link to Reuters article, Link to the classic Rectal Foreign Bodies page

Using Nomadic Furniture book to make doll furniture

Over at Swapatorium, poopscape writes about using the plans in a neat-looking hippie DIY book called Nomadic Furniture to make doll-sized furniture.
Nomadic Furniture Nomadic Furniture gives instructions on how to build lightweight furniture that folds, knocks down, stacks or is disposable and can be recycled. Despite the hippy-ish hand-drawn illustrations, this book offers some interesting and rather modern furniture designs. Design Within Reach isn't exactly within mine, but if I can diy my own reasonable facsimile, I'm pretty happy.
Link

Reader comment: Jim says:

The Nomadic Furniture book was by Victor Papenek, an architect and designer that headed the School of Design at the Kansas City Art Institute just prior to my time there (he moved a few miles west to chair the department of architecture at the University of Kanasas in Lawrence).

Papanek was an amazing visionary designer, who saw the importance of designing for the real world and real human needs long before the rest of the design world began to get it. He introduced a set of values into design that are only now beginning to see wider interest and adoption.

An excellent book to read is his 1995 book, The Green Imperative: Natural Design For The Real World. In one of my favorite chapters, he talks about the design and adaptive genius of the Inuit people of the Arctic, describing many of their ingenious inventions, such as floating tactile coastline maps and goggles which utilized a slit to cut down on snowblinding glare.

I just wanted to point out that Papanek was a true revolutionary genius in the design world.

Video: Indonesian coelacanth

Coela A month ago, I posted that an Indonesian coelacanth had been caught on video by Japanese researchers. Thought to have been extinct for 65 million years, the coelacanth was "rediscovered" in 1938. It was thought that they only lived off the coast of Africa, but in 1998, an entirely different species of coelacanth was discovered swimming around near Indonesia. (More background from cryptozoologist Loren Coleman in this Cryptomundo post.) A team from Aquamarine Fukushima videotaped one just four weeks ago using an underwater robot. The video is now available on YouTube. What a beautiful beastie! Link (via Planet Timbotron)

Bengali science fiction of the 1880s

Amardeep Singh has posted a brief and fascinating essay on early Bengali science fiction literature of the 1880s:
The first [rocket] that he had built was unsuccessful and had come down on his neighbour Abinashbabu's radish patch. Abinashbabu had no sympathy for Shanku; science and scientists made him yawn. He would come up to Shanku and urge him to set off the rocket for Diwali so that the neighbourhood children could be suitably entertained. Shanku wants to punish this levity and drops his latest invention in his guest's tea. This is a small pill, made after the fashion of the Jimbhranastra described in the Mahabharata. This pill does not only make one yawn, it makes one see nightmares. Before giving a dose to his neighbour, Shanku had tried a quarter bit on himself. In the morning, half of his beard had turned grey from the effect of his dreams. Shanku's world is a real world, a human world. In his preparations for the space journey he has decided to take his cat Newton with him. For that he has invented a fish-pill. "Today I tested the fish-pill by leaving it next to a piece of fish. Newton ate the pill. No more problems! Now all I have to do is make his suit and helmet."
Link (via Making Light)

Deadline for World Fantasy Award nominations

Brandon sez, "Friday, June 30th is the deadline for making World Fantasy Award Nominations. You have to have been an attendee of the WFC either in 2004 or 2005 to nominate. There's still plenty of time to send in your nominations. They're accepting votes via email; nominations can be sent to Roger Turner at rturner@cyberus.ca." Link (Thanks, Brandon!)

Google launches "predatory" Paypal rival Checkout, much is prohibited

With what some have described as a "predatory pricing model" and rates lower than credit card processing fees, Google's new online payment service Checkout officially launched today. The competitive rates sound like good news for consumers. Update: Like Paypal, you can't use the service to pay for adult products or services. But as a number of BB readers wrote in to point out (comments after the jump), some of the categories of prohibited content are described in ways that seem remarkably broad:
Pornography and other sexually suggestive materials (including literature, imagery and other media); escort or prostitution services
"And other sexually suggestive materials"? Meaning Nabokov's Lolita, or other classic literary works that include erotic content? With language that loose, perhaps a copy of Harpers with naked Britney Spears on the cover would be verboten -- not to mention fine art nude prints, or any number of popular music CDs or movie DVDs not regarded as pr0n. A ban on "occult goods" ("Materials, goods or paraphernalia for use in satanic, sacrificial, or related practices") seems similarly troublesome. Would that apply to Coop's dark-lord-lovin' "devil babe" stickers? Or a hardcore black metal CD ("Music to eat babies by")? How about incense? Snip from NYT story by Saul Hansell:
Google is charging merchants 20 cents plus 2 percent of the purchase price to process card transactions, less than most businesses pay for credit card processing. Banking industry executives say that credit card processors typically pay MasterCard and Visa a fee of 30 cents and 1.95 percent for every purchase, so Google will be subsidizing many transactions.
Link to NYT article, and link to an analysis by Donna Bogatin at Zdnet.

Reader comments: Chris Smith says,

Don't know that 'predatory' is appropriate here. Google can maintain this pricing as long as the adwords return the value. Usually, predatory pricing is there to change the market conditions so that you can raise prices later. Your quote hints at this - it talks about 'cost the predator' more during the low price phase. But if Google makes its money back on adwords, it can maintain this pricing forever. This is not predatory pricing - it's tied selling.
Phillip K. says,
The shocker is not really Google Checkout predatory pricing, but the "content policy," or what you can't buy (or more specifically sell). There is the standard exclusion of nasty stuff that you will see anywhere, but in numerous places it is deliberately ambiguous and broad, and would seem to promote an agenda.

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PDF of Oudemans' The Great Sea-Serpent

Tinselman says:
200606291859 As of yet, only 2% of the ocean has been explored. And last year alone, over 13,000 previously undiscoverd new species were discovered. So what does one call an undiscovered species?

In 1892 Dr. Anthonid Cornelis Oudemans, director of the Dutch Royal Zoological Gardens at the Hague, published his definitive work on cryptozoology – long before cryptozoology was even a popular idea. Titled The Great Sea-Serpent, this comprehensive work not only describes some 150 sightings (dating back to the 16th century) but also presents various hoaxes and alternative theories.

(Remember, to sound like a salty sea dog, you say "sarpent," not "serpent.") Link

Pentagon funding research on data harvesting from Myspace, social networks

Snip from New Scientist article:
New Scientist has discovered that Pentagon's National Security Agency, which specialises in eavesdropping and code-breaking, is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks. And it could harness advances in internet technology - specifically the forthcoming "semantic web" championed by the web standards organisation W3C - to combine data from social networking websites with details such as banking, retail and property records, allowing the NSA to build extensive, all-embracing personal profiles of individuals.
Link to story.

UPDATE: Janet Daly of W3C says:

The New Scientist article is correct in describing what Semantic Web technologies are and how they work. However, the accuracies are outweighed the failures of the article.
[Her rebuttal continues after the jump.]

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Net censorship: HOWTO bypass China's Great Firewall

Richard Clayton, a computer security researcher at the University of Cambridge, has been poking around at the technical structure of China's "great firewall." On the lightbluetouchpaper collective blog, he says he's come up with a way to penetrate that "wall" by ignoring the reset TCP packet returned by Chinese routers to maintain connection. As he explains it, if those packets are discarded instead of being dutifully returned as expected, then -- poof, the firewall becomes utterly ineffective. Clayton acknowledges that Internet filtering in China involves other methods, too, but this still seems significant:
The Great Firewall of China is an important tool for the Chinese Government in their efforts to censor the Internet. It works, in part, by inspecting web traffic to determine whether or not particular words are present. If the Chinese Government does not approve of one of the words in a web page (or a web request), perhaps it says “f” “a” “l” “u” “n”, then the connection is closed and the web page will be unavailable — it has been censored.

This user-level effect has been known for some time… but up until now, no-one seems to have looked more closely into what is actually happening (or when they have, they have misunderstood the packet level events).

It turns out [caveat: in the specific cases we’ve closely examined, YMMV] that the keyword detection is not actually being done in large routers on the borders of the Chinese networks, but in nearby subsidiary machines. When these machines detect the keyword, they do not actually prevent the packet containing the keyword from passing through the main router (this would be horribly complicated to achieve and still allow the router to run at the necessary speed). Instead, these subsiduary machines generate a series of TCP reset packets, which are sent to each end of the connection. When the resets arrive, the end-points assume they are genuine requests from the other end to close the connection — and obey. Hence the censorship occurs.

However, because the original packets are passed through the firewall unscathed, if both of the endpoints were to completely ignore the firewall’s reset packets, then the connection will proceed unhindered! We’ve done some real experiments on this — and it works just fine!! Think of it as the Harry Potter approach to the Great Firewall — just shut your eyes and walk onto Platform 9¾.

Link. Clayton is presenting a paper on this topic (PDF link to paper) at the 6th Workshop on Privacy Enhancing Technologies being held in Cambridge this week. (Thanks, Mike Liebhold)

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Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex

An article in today's San Francisco Chronicle about the physics of Superman, reminded my pal Vann Hall of the classically hokey 1971 essay "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" by SF author Larry Niven. It's all about the physiological difficulties that must make it difficult for Kal-El to father a child here on Earth. From the essay:
Assume a mating between Superman and a human woman designated LL for convenience.

Either Superman has gone completely schizo and believes himself to be Clark Kent; or he knows what he's doing, but no longer gives a damn. Thirty-one years is a long time. For Superman it has been even longer. He has X-ray vision; he knows just what he's missing. (*One should not think of Superman as a Peeping Tom. A biological ability must be used. As a child Superman may never have known that things had surfaces, until he learned to suppress his X-ray vision. If millions of people tend shamelessly to wear clothing with no lead in the weave, that is hardly Superman's fault.*)

The problem is this. Electroencephalograms taken of men and women during sexual intercourse show that orgasm resembles "a kind of pleasurable epileptic attack." One loses control over one's muscles.

Superman has been known to leave his fingerprints in steel and in hardened concrete, accidentally. What would he do to the woman in his arms during what amounts to an epileptic fit?
Link

Video: Crazy '60s German TV robots und dance moves

Video clip from the sixties German TV show Raumpatrouille. Episode 3: The Keepers of the Law. "The computer can malfunction... the tracks are a bit mixed up. I call it a cybernetic neurosis." Link. Another vintage clip from the same TV program, mit futuristic frugging auf Deutsch: Link. (Danke schoen, Coop!)

Reader comment: Anselm Lingnau says,

The "Raumpatrouille" (Space Patrol) series is really something of a classic. The robots and dance scenes are only scratching the surface; watch for the clothes irons and shower heads as well as the special effect when the spaceship launches from its submarine base (which was produced by filming the bubbles produced by an Aspirin tablet and turning the footage upside down). The sets and special effects make the original Star Trek look downright sophisticated, but then again "Raumpatrouille" does predate ST by a couple of years.

The series has been available on DVD for some time, and a couple of years back bits from the various shows were strung together to form a feature film. Some of the original actors are also still around and occasionally seen on TV.


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Bizarre toy from Taiwan: Benign Girl

Benign Girl is a Barbie knockoff from Taiwan. The name must be due to a weird translation hiccup, like maybe they were looking for a synonym for "sweet" or "kind."
200606291529I was standing near the register looking at the assorted things when all of a sudden I spotted "Benign Girl" and suddenly I heard the mermaids singing. Two Latina women were looking at Benign Girl and reaching forward as if to grab it and in a flash I knew this was something extremely precious and rare and that I needed to act fast!

So I reached around the women and snatched BG. And before they knew what happened I had paid and fled the scene, adrenalining all the way.

On the side of the package were the bullet points:

*BATTERY
*OPERATED
*CREATIVE
*VARIOUS MUSIC

The instructions on the package:
"Beautiful girl, press any button!"

Link

Reader comment: Moon Custafer says:

My local drugstore/post office has a number of odd imported toys whose packaging bears the results of too thorough a search through the translation dictionary. My favourite is the mechanical tortoise labelled "Magical Chelonian."

Wang Guangyi's propaganda posters hawk capitalist wares

Chinese artist Wang Guangyi creates satirical works of art touting iconic Western brands like Coke and Disney -- but in the visual tradition of Chinese propaganda posters. Link

HOWTO send feedback to the BB editors

If you'd like to comment on a post, suggest a related site, or just give us feedback on BoingBoing.net, we've created a form to make that much easier for you. And, as always, the only way to suggest an item for BoingBoing is by following the directions here. We really appreciate your feedback and suggestions, but please use those forms and not our personal email addresses. Using the forms will automatically send your comment or suggestion to all of the editors at once. The links are at the top of the page. Also, please don't add us to any email lists without our permission. Thanks so much! Link (Thanks, Chris Smith!)

Supreme court blocks Guantanamo tribunals

In a 5-to-3 ruling, the US Supreme Court ruled today that the military tribunals at Guantanamo violated both US military law and the Geneva Conventions. Link to NYT story, and here is the decision via Findlaw.

In related news, Salon.com ran a report on a document found in the ACLU's FOIA archives that says instructors from the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape school at Fort Bragg, NC (where elite troops learn how to survive extreme enemy interrogation measures) were shipped to Guantanamo to teach interrogators there. Link.

An anonymous BB reader says,

So basically, instructors who taught American military troops to deal with torture (by, effectively, torturing them) were sent to Guantanamo to teach interrogators there how torture -- excuse me, *interrogate* -- detainees.

Movie opening: Who Killed the Electric Car?


Chris Paine's new documentary feature "Who Killed the Electric Car" opens at theaters throughout the US this week, and I'm looking forward to seeing it. Snip from the NYT review by Manohla Dargis:

Like Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" and the better nonfiction inquiries into the war in Iraq, this information-packed history about the effort to introduce ˜ and keep ˜ electric vehicles on the road wasn't made to soothe your brow. For the film's director, Chris Paine, the evidence is too appalling and our air too dirty for palliatives.

Fast and furious, "Who Killed the Electric Car?" is, in brief, the sad tale of yet one more attempt by a heroic group of civic-minded souls to save the browning, warming planet. The story mostly unfolds during the 1990's, when a few automobile manufacturers, including General Motors, were prodded to pursue ˜ only to sabotage covertly ˜ a cleaner future. In 1990 the state's smog-busting California Air Resources Board adopted the Zero-Emission Vehicle mandate in a bid to force auto companies to produce exhaust-free vehicles. The idea was simple: we were choking to death on our own waste. The goals were seemingly modest: by 1998, 2 percent of all new cars sold in the biggest vehicle market in the country would be exhaust-free, making California's bumper-to-bumper lifestyle a touch less hellish.

Link to review, and Link to movie website. (Thanks, David Newsom)

Audrey Kawasaki at Roq La Rue

Roqla-Octo-Sml-1 Roqla-Horns-Sml-1
Kirsten Anderson, curatrix of Seattle's Roq La Rue Gallery, says, "These are from the next show, by artist Audrey Kawasaki. My jaw hit the floor when I opened these up." Mine too. The show also features the gorgeous work of Myna Sonou and Scott Altmann. The opening party is Friday, July 7. Link