Boing Boing 

Halloween li'l baby squid costume

Scott Beale says, "This showed up at squid.us today. Happy Halloween!" Link.

BoingBoing reader Erik Johnson, of the Charles S. Anderson Design Co. says:


We saw your BoingBoing posting on the squid costume and thought we'd send this one along... a few years back Target hired us to design their Halloween campaign, including a some new low-cost costume ideas. This is one that got produced, we called it "lil' squirt." Of course, it was only produced that year. Thanks-- we love BoingBoing!
Leontine Greenberg says,
You should give props to BabyStyle.com for the blue octopus costume - It's not on their site any more (I guess they sold out, due to the awesomeness?), but that's who makes them. Our baby and one of her baby friends wore them last night as well. They were excellent little octopi.

Spring Maxfield says,

"Here's another squid costume! This one was made by my brilliant friend Anna Costa of SF. This is her son Atom: Link."

Vomit Barrel -- Halloween prop

200610311932Anybody willing to spend $2,750 on an animatronic robot zombie puking into a barrel deserves this. Enjoy the video. Link (Thanks, Spluch!)

Airport screeners at Newark fail to find 20 of 22 "weapons"

So frightening, it merits a unicorn chaser: The Newark Star-Ledger reports that security screeners at Newark airport flunked 20 of 22 security tests operated by undercover federal agents last week. They failed to spot items including concealed bombs and guns at checkpoints throughout the international airport's three terminals, according to federal officials. Clearly, the undercover testers failed to include more common explosives such as lip gloss, insulin, or bottled water. Link (Thanks, Ben / Consumerist)

China official: What 'net censorship? What jailed journalists?

Speaking today at a United Nations internet summit in Athens, a Chinese government official claimed that the PRC does not practice any form of internet censorship.
[Yang Xiaoqun]: I don't think we should be using different standards to judge China. In China, we don't have software blocking Internet sites. Sometimes we have trouble accessing them. But that's a different problem. I know that some colleagues listen to the BBC in their offices from the Webcast. And I've heard people say that the BBC is not available in China or that it's blocked. I'm sure I don't know why people say this kind of thing. We do not have restrictions at all.

Nick Gowing, BBC anchor and session moderator: Would you like to elaborate on that?

[Yang Xiaoqun]: How can I elaborate on it if we don't have any restrictions?

Some people say that there are journalists in China that have been arrested. We have hundreds of journalists in China, and some of them have legal problems. It has nothing to do with freedom of expression.

Link to article by Declan McCullagh at CNET (thanks, Jim)

Reader comment: Dave says,

The Chinese official not named in the CNET article is Yang Xiaoqun. He is "First Secretary, Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva" according to ICANN wiki.
John Cashman says,
I live in Shanghai. I have never been able to access a BBC website in the 11 months I've been here. Until last month, wikipedia was completely blocked. One day in October/ late September it was suddenly available. I'm waiting for it to be nixed again. Blogspot was also momentarily freed up at the same time, but I noticed blogspot is blocked again -- even with mild censorware workarounds like the .nyud.net:8090 suggestions from Boingboing that used to work in the past. Technorati is and always has been similarly inaccessible. The official speaking at the conference should clearly be given a job in the Bush administration should things not work out for him in China. Ceci n'est pas un pipe, indeed.

Aronofsky's "The Fountain", and outer space sans CGI


Steve Silberman has an article in the November issue of Wired Magazine on the challenges faced by director Darren Aronofsky ("Pi," "Requiem for a Dream") in creating "The Fountain," his latest science fiction feature which opens in the US on November 22. Steve tells BoingBoing,

One of Aronofsky's primary ambitions was to create outer-space environments without using CGI, and he succeeded brilliantly with the help of a microphotographer in England named Peter Parks who lives in a 400-year-old cowshed and created luminous, Blake-like visions of exploding nebulae for "The Fountain" using curry powder, baby oil, shrimp larvae, and other wacky substances, magnifying them with a device called the microzoom optical bench that employs both Victorian prisms and state-of-the-art digital cameras. (The Parks stuff is near the end of my article).
Link

Omakaseween: Cylons, pumpkins, phantoms of lost liberties.


* Link to Battlestar Galactica-themed greenhorncomic.com funny.

* The Mac-o-Lantern: Link.

* Scare the bejeezus out of people, and dress up as the Patriot Act: Link.

* This pumpkin carves itself: Link

* HOWTO cook a realistic, bloody brain: Link. No advice for HOWTO eat it.

* Marshmallow mummy and monster cupcakes: Link

* Suicide Girls comix-themed Halloween photoset (for adults only): Link

* For one day, today, this child has transformed into a fearsome samurai: Link.

* Zombie Clown Haikus:

Split them wide open
Entrails look like sausages
Go get the ShopVac
Link.

* Stop sending me links to goatse jackolanterns. Stop. All of you. Because I won't post them, I say, not one single link. No. So played out.

(Thanks, Sean Kennedy, Steve, Scott Fuller, Damon, Jesse Thorn, Alec Muffett, Matthew Harris, Helen @ SuicideGirls)

Previous Omakase linkdumps:
- Omakase linkdump: Trick or 1337
- Dem belly full
- I wanna tear you apart
- Sexy taco, space gun, deli flesh.
- Arabic smokes, Norway bimbo, Danish BB ringtone
- Post-holiday bluesnixer roundup

MySpace will block uploads of copyrighted music

MySpace.com announces it will attempt to prevent uploads of unauthorized, copyrighted songs by using database and monitoring technology from Gracenote:
The move comes amid pressure from major studios and record labels against popular online sites like MySpace and YouTube, which they accuse of infringing the copyrights of their artists' music and videos.

MySpace, one of the most popular sites on the internet, licensed technology from privately-held Gracenote allowing it to review music recordings uploaded by community members to their profiles.

The technology compares those filed with Gracenote's database of copyrighted material and can block uploads without proper rights. Terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.

Link (Reuters), Link (BBC) (Thanks, Lisbeth, Phil)

Reader comment: Aaron Newton says,

So, what if you're the owner of the copyrighted work? I built/launched Download.com Music which is host to thousands of mp3s from indie and labels alike. When we spot a file that looks like a pirated file, we contact the uploader and seek credentials, but we can't always spot everything. The DMCA protects us in the event that a user uploads something illegally (not that I'm stumping for that terrible piece of legislation). If Myspace blocked every upload based on the gracenote db, how would all the bands that happen to be in there upload their own music? It's moves like this, which aren't necessary due to the way the DMCA works, that makes sites like this less socially relevant. MySpace is a haven for bands because it gives them these tools and doesn't make them really work hard to get their stuff online.

Relatedly, there's got to be an irony that the gracenote db was contributed to by all the people who used it before it was walled off. I bet you an RIAA lawyer could come up with a way to sue them for using that metadata commercially, if they wanted to.

Andrew McLester says,
I recently came out of the studio having recorded 4 original songs that were entirely written by me and a friend. I created a new page (www.myspace.com/tinystar) to showcase our work and after downloading our songs one of the main pieces (Festival Of The Seagoat) I recieved a "copyright infringement" notice next to the song on the edit page and consequently all the songs on my page are frozen. Frustrating to say the least! I've emailed support numerous times with no response....I cannot fathom how Gracenote technology can at all be accurate, as evidenced by this caper, and in the meantime I'm stuck with a frozen page and a piece of software telling me that my hardfought creative output is not mine after all! Thanks for reading and in advance for any help!

George "macaca" Allen's staff beats up blogger at campaign rally


Wonkette reports that blogger Mike Stark (of dailykos.com) was physically attacked by people presumed to be staffers for Sen. George Allen (R-VA) during a campaign rally today, after the blogger asked Allen, "why did you spit on your first wife." Link, includes video. Stark has written a letter about the incident, and why he asked that question, here. (Thanks, Craig)

Reader comment: Unholy Moses sez

Mike Stark may crosspost at DailyKos, but he is better known for running the Web site "Calling All Wingnuts" (callingallwingnuts.com), where he chronicles his attempts to call into right-wing radio shows and take the host(s) to task. Oh, and he'll be filing a lawsuit, per his letter to the Richmond Times Dispatch: Link.

Diabetic flyer comatose after he's denied a scary liquid: insulin

A chef from New Zealand was not allowed to take his clearly-labelled meds on board by Qantas check-in staff, who cited the War on Moisture. The New Zealand Herald reports that 43-year old Tui Russell later had a severe diabetic attack mid-flight, fell into a coma, and was hospitalized for two weeks. Link (thanks, noizyboy and Nik Coughlin)

Reader comment: Chris Town says,

As a Type 1 diabetic, I can assure you, a lack of insulin will not send you into a comatose.

Type 1 diabetes is a condition where your body no longer produces insulin, and it has to be injected several times a day. An overdose of insulin, which can happen if you don't get food to match the insulin you intake, or you don't balance food intake with exercise with insulin intake, can send you into a "coma" called hypoglycemia. Having experienced my fair share of these throughout my life, I can also assure you, 2 weeks in hospital would never be required. A day at most for older people, a few hours for people in the 20s like me.

Not taking insulin will not send you into a coma, you'll just be very uncomfortable as your blood sugar rises and rises, which will cause minor organ damage, but will not send you into a coma. Type 1 Diabetics denied insulin will live for months and months, but will eventually go blind, experience kidney and other organ failure and die a long and painful death.

Here's the wikipedia links for type 1 diabetes and hypoglycemia.

There's plenty of misconceptions about insulin-dependant diabetes around, so keeping people informed could save lives. After all, if I'm experiencing hypoglycemia the very last thing I need is for someone to give me insulin.

Will Loker says,
I'm writing in regards to your reader's comment on Type I diabetes. As a medical student I know that a lack of access to insulin for a long enough time can send a type I diabetic into a coma.

Chris is right in that too much insulin will cause hypoglycemia. What he doesn't mention is that without insulin the diabetic's body thinks that there isn't any glucose in the blood even when there is an excess. Without insulin the body can't take the glucose into the cells and since glucose is necessary for cells to generate energy the body attempts to correct the perceived lack of glucose. At a certain point the body enters starvation mode and starts to generate ketone bodies which can led to a life threatening condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis or DKA. DKA can led to coma, hospitalization and, if it persists long enough, death.

It worries me that a diabetic would be so misinformed about the consequences of type I diabetic without access to insulin and the DKA that can result.

Here are the wikipedia and eMedicine links for DKA.

MD Ken Walton concurs:
I can see what reader Chris Town is saying about this not being a hypoglycemic episode, and that if you were hypoglycemic you wouldn't need a couple week stay at the Hotel Hospital. I'm sure what they meant was he went into Diabetic Ketoacidosis, otherwise known as DKA ( Link), a scary situation if a type I diabetic doesn't get any insulin.

As a physician, I can't count the number of times people have forgotten or otherwise been denied insulin and required an ICU stay for a week or two. Just to clear some things up.

p.s. - boingboing makes life worth living on call

Read the rest

NPR "Xeni Tech": update on FBI raids fake boarding pass website


It was a dark and stormy night, when agents pounded on the door of Christopher Soghoian's apartment and shouted, "boo!"

OK, it's not a Halloween story at all. But for today's edition of the NPR News program "Day to Day," I spoke with host Alex Chadwick about the recent online controversy surrounding the "The Northwest Airlines Boarding Pass Generator" (cache link) website, and the late-night federal raid that followed. For the segment, I spoke with:

* the office of Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), who called for Soghoian to be apprehended, and the website killed -- then changed his mind
* Bruce Schneier, author of "Beyond Fear" and computer security researcher who first wrote about the airline security flaw in 2003
* Avi Rubin, author of "Brave New Ballot" and Johns Hopkins professor for whom Soghoian briefly served as teaching assistant
* FBI Special Agent Wendy Osborne, who explains where the investigation is now, and whether charges will be filed.
Link to archived audio.

PREVIOUSLY:
* Ceci n'est pas un fake boarding pass (10-29-06)
* Congressman on Boarding Pass Generator guy: Uh... oops? (10-29-06)
* Fake Boarding Pass Generator guy and FBI: what about the law? (10-28-06)
* FBI returns to "Fake Boarding Pass" guy's home, seizes computers (10-28-06)
* Fake boarding pass guy reports he was visited by FBI (10-27-06)
* Congressman wants fake boarding pass guy arrested (10-27-06)
* Website generates fake boarding passes (10-26-06)
* Slate's Andy Bowers on airline security loopholes (02-07-05)

ELSEWHERE TODAY: There's a good roundup of the latest on this story at Wired News here.

Reader comment: Anonymous flyer says,

Just an addendum to your "boarding pass" story as it relates to terrible airline security in the US. I've been telling this story to people since getting back to Australia from the USA. When I was travelling in the US in September, I experienced first hand how bad the system is.

I had one of the boarding passes with an "SSSS" on it, and unbeknownst to me, on my way through the x-ray section, the screeners flat out didn't even read my boarding pass - so I walked right through after being x-rayed.

At the time I didn't know anything about what the SSSS was but naturally, I later was told I could not board the plane, and a screener had to come down to the boarding gate and give me a "thorough" search (right in front of all the other passengers). He was a supervisor, extremely apologetic, very professional and polite, and I complied with all his instructions. Nonetheless, it was pretty confronting to be frisked in full 'vitruvian man' position in front of hundreds of nervous looking passengers.

The thing that stunned me at the time, was that earlier, before I went through the x-ray part while waiting in line with other passengers, we could see through the glass to the actual x-ray screens. Myself and one other passenger watched in horror as what was quite clearly a gun went right past her face on the screen and she didn't even flinch.

At the last second she kind of broke her trance and 'rewound' the screen and after a long hard look, pressed a big red button - presumably the offending item was examined and found to be a lighter or something, but to this day I remember the terrified glances all the people in the queue were giving eachother. The funny thing is as soon as I saw her I remember thinking "She must be about 16, and on minimum wage" - then literally seconds later I saw her nearly miss a gun.

On the whole the entire experience was most decidely NOT "secure" or "safe". It was a relief to get back on an international flight on my way home.

Oh by the way... This was on September 5th, in LAX flying out to Austin TX on American Airlines flight 1182.

Anonymous says,
Australian readers will know this happened a little while ago, but your recent post about boarding passes reminded me of a prank pulled off by Australian political satire "The Chaser War on Everything". They took advantage of discount airline Virgin Blue's Online ticket purchse and self check-in service which amazingly fails to check for ID at any point before boarding the plane. The prank ended when the Chaser crew elected to not turn up to the final boarding call forcing airline staff to make announcements asking for "Mr Al Kyder" and "Mr Terry Wrist" to immeadiately make thier way to the departure lounge.

(yes, the title is making fun of "war on terrorism" and this excellent show tends to focus on ridiculous attempts at making us all safer).

Link

Wired acquires social news aggregator Reddit

Story here: Link.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Reddit, which has four full-time employees, will move from Boston to Wired Digital's headquarters in San Francisco. It will operate under the Wired Digital umbrella along with Wired News, the daily technology news publication.

(...) "We're thrilled to become a home for this young company that has grown to more than 1 million unique users a month by building such an open and democratic community for the social filtering of news," said Kourosh Karimkhany, general manager of Wired Digital. "Our goal will be to build Reddit as an independent company by collaborating with Wired through the integration of its core technology, and by offering partnerships to allow others to do the same."

(Thanks / congrats, Kourosh Karimkhany!)

Reader comment: Frank Hicinbothem says,

I saw your entry on BoingBoing about Wired acquiring Reddit. While I'm happy for them and all, it's not all good. As of the news this morning, they've seen fit to pull the plug on their most excellent NSFW aggregator: nsfw.reddit.com. That's a bummer, because it was a nice, low key aggregator for adult topics, in a world where such things are hard to find. Oh well, c'est la vie.

Fantagraphics bookstore in Seattle

My favorite book publisher, Fantagraphics, opened its first bookstore on October 21. I'm going to check it out when I attend my art opening at Roq La Rue on November 10.
 News Bookstore Store2The store will contain everything Fantagraphics has in print (as well as Eros Comix), and will also house our soon-to-be-legendary DAMAGED ROOM, featuring heavily discounted and often out-of-print books unavailable anywhere else.

The space also has room for art exhibitions, which we'll have more news about very soon.

Be sure to check out FLOG!: The Fantagraphics Blog for more information, including pictures. And then stay tuned for a lot of great shows and events to come in 2007. In other words, start making your Seattle vacation plans NOW, and if you have friends in Seattle that might be interested, please pass on the news. Here's the 911: FANTAGRAPHIC BOOKS 1201 South Vale Street Seattle, WA 98108 Mon. - Sat 11:30 - 8 Sun 11:30 - 5 206-658-0110

Link

Halloween cover from 1958 Saturday Evening Post

This is the best Halloween-themed illustration I've seen this year. It's from a 1958 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Lief Peng's commentary about it on his blog, Today's Inspiration, is wonderful:
 112 283508344 Eb1D708A3F B When I look at this illustration by John Falter, I'm reminded of the stripped-down environments Charles Schultz used to draw his Peanuts characters into during the early years of his strip: the shoebox houses, inconsequential trees and indoor/outdoor carpet lawns, devoid of landscaping, that represented 50's suburbia. Here Falter presents us with a more fully realized version of Charlie Brown's world.

John Falter(1910-1982) has never been one of the illustrators of the 50's that I really get worked up about. But here he has captured a quality of typical childhood experience that is so astute and understated that it is spectacular in its mundanity.

Link

Jack Black Tenacious D video directed by John K

200610311128 My favorite animator, John Kricfalusi, directed an animated video for Jack Black's band, Tenacious D. It's for grown-ups only, and is definitely not safe for work.
Link | Pencil test and screen shots here

Lights and Shadows of New York Life -- neat old book

200610311106 Thank goodness Mickey Mouse wasn't created in 1872. For if he had, Congress would have certainly passed a law preventing all creative works from that year forward from entering the public domain.

And that would be a shame, because then fewer people would be able to read "Lights and Shadows of New York Life, or, the Sights and Sensations of the Great City," by James D. McCabe, Jr.

Fortunately, books published in 1872 are in the public domain, so you can download this fantastic book about life in New York in the late 19th century for free from Project Gutenberg or Manybooks.net.

This is the world of Scorsese's Gangs of New York, one of my favorite movies. The table of contents include intriguing chapters, such as:

IMPOSTORS, STREET MUSICIANS, MINOR AMUSEMENTS, BOARDING-HOUSE LIFE, THE CHEAP LODGING HOUSES, PROFESSIONAL CRIMINALS, THE THIEVES, THE PICKPOCKETS, FEMALE THIEVES, THE RIVER THIEVES, THE FENCES, THE ROUGHS, THE PAWNBROKERS, THE SOCIAL EVIL, THE LOST SISTERHOOD, THE STREET WALKERS, CHILD MURDER, BLACK-MAILING, FEMALE SHARPERS, FORTUNE TELLERS AND CLAIRVOYANTS, THE BUMMERS, TENEMENT HOUSE LIFE, DRUNKENNESS, WHAT IT COSTS TO LIVE IN NEW YORK, GAMBLING, FARO BANKS, LOTTERIES, THE "HEATHEN CHINEE," STREET CHILDREN, SWINDLERS, THE POOR OF NEW YORK, THE DESERVING POOR, THE BEGGARS, QUACK DOCTORS, WORKING WOMEN, STREET VENDERS

From the section on Street Children:

In spite of the labors of the Missions and the Reformatory Institutions, there are ten thousand children living on the streets of New York, gaining their bread by blacking boots, by selling newspapers, watches, pins, etc., and by stealing. Some are thrust into the streets by dissolute parents, some are orphans, some are voluntary outcasts, and others drift here from the surrounding country. Wherever they may come from, or however they may get here, they are here, and they are nearly all leading a vagrant life which will ripen into crime or pauperism.

The newsboys constitute an important division of this army of homeless children. You see them everywhere, in all parts of the city, but they are most numerous in and about Printing House Square, near the offices of the great dailies. They rend the air and deafen you with their shrill cries. They surround you on the sidewalk, and almost force you to buy their papers. They climb up the steps of the stage, thrust their grim little faces into the windows, and bring nervous passengers to their feet with their shrill yells; or, scrambling into a street car, at the risk of being kicked into the street by a brutal conductor, they will offer you their papers in such an earnest, appealing way, that, nine times out of ten, you buy from sheer pity for the child.

Link | Amazon has some used copies for sale.

Time-lapse drawing of a wasp

Picture 4-13 It's fun watching this time-lapse video of JW drawing a wasp. Link

Moscow film from 1908

Picture 3-17 Here's a seven-minute movie of Moscow filmed on a snowy, windy day in 1908. Brrr. Link

Anti-laptop-mist for $45

French cosmetics company Clarins is selling an "anti electromagnetic radiation mist" that costs about $45 and protects you from the supposed aging effects of your laptop screen:
Apparently, electro magnetic radiation is now a real cause of skin ageing, or so say Clarins. But before you cower away into a technology-free cave, rest assured that lo and behold, Clarins will be releasing an anti-electro magnetic radiation mist to protect you. It'll be available in January at a cost of €39, but I think this is one risk I'm happy to live with.
Link (via Shiny Shiny)

Evolutionary basis for self-delusion?

David Byrne posted a thought-provoking rumination on the evolutionary basis for religion and other forms of self-delusion -- it may help us live longer if we can fool ourselves into thinking that life has a point:
The truth may set you free, but you might not be as carefree and happy. It will eat away at you – what hurts you does not necessarily make you stronger.

I would maintain that a healthy (i.e. substantial) amount of denial is therefore genetically heritable, that it allows us to blithely go on (despite reading Beckett) and to ignore the basic sadness and desperation of life. We can live in an illusion – in fact we are genetically predisposed to do so. These illusions can be small – I am just as good at catching game as Bob, my rival, for example – or they can be very large – that death is not the end and that I will be rewarded for my faith and Bob, the apostate, will rot in Hell.

Either way, they allow me to go on, to persevere in the face of unlikely odds or limited chance of success. We have evolved to be less rational that one might think, and to be slightly more delusional and even stupid.

Link

Linux music player will sell DRM-free music from Magnatune

Amarok, an excellent free music player for GNU/Linux (Mark Pilgrim: "It’s just like iTunes except it automatically fetches lyrics from Argentina, automatically looks up bands on Wikipedia, automatically identifies songs with MusicBrainz, and its developers are actively working on features that don’t involve pushing DRM-infected crap down my throat.") is shipping a new version that includes a music-store selling DRM-free music, including tunes from the CC-friendly, non-evil music label Magnatune.
Amarok continues to blast ahead with release 1.4.4. We're thrilled to be able to take our long association with Magnatune to new heights with the addition of an integrated DRM-free music store with full-length mp3 previews. Magnatune's "we are not evil" attitude guarantees that you can purchase awesome tunes and the artist receives half of the purchase price.

With 1.4.4 comes basic support for the Rio Karma. Many bug fixes and additions for the other media device plugins have also been made. Now Amarok is truly your "one-stop-media-device" shop, supporting nearly all the major media device's on the market.

Amarok 1.4.4 may very well be our closest to being bug free release ever! Over 100 bugs have been closed for this release, thanks in no small part to the tireless effort of our development team. Martin Aumueller and Alexandre Oliveira in particular have been on a bug squashing craze for this release, and first-time contributor, Ovidiu Gheorghioiu, has submitted a large bundle of patches and fixes to improve Amarok's efficiency and response.

On another note, we still need artists! If YOU are interested in creating artwork for the Amarok project, please mail amarok@kde.org with your proposal, or for more information about what is required.

Link (Thanks to everyone who suggested this link!)

eMusic bones subscribers with downgrade

Pete sez,
I received an email from eMusic today saying that, after November 21, all new subscriptions will cost the same, BUT GIVE YOU LESS.

The Basic plan is currently 40 tracks per month, but will soon drop to 30. Similarly, the Plus and Premium plans are dropping from 65 and 90 to 50 and 75 downloads per month respectively.

By default, the plans of existing subscribers (i.e., me) will not change. Furthermore, if I act quickly, and upgrade my subscription RIGHT NOW, I'll be able to "lock in at the lowest price per download available" (!)

The email does not explain why they're reducing the value of new subscriptions, and I'm unable to find any mention of these inpending changes on the eMusic website.

To be honest, the whole thing is filling me with a growing sense of injustice. Logic (along with my limited understanding of economies-of-scale type stuff) would suggest that as eMusic gets bigger they'd be able to offer BETTER (not worse) deals. But this does not seem to be happening.

I agree. I stopped my Emusic subscription when they went from unlimited downloads to a max of 40 a month. Most months I didn't download any music from Emusic, but I was willing to pay in those months against the months when I'd discover a new artist or genre and download a hundred or more tracks. Charging by the click is a dumb business model -- when AOL gave it up for flat-rate pricing, they made more money, not less. After all, when you're selling something inherently experimental (like new music, or new electronic services), it makes sense to keep the cost of experimentation as low as possible.

Prison built to house Pitcairn rapists

Half the men on Pitcairn Island, a remote British colony in the middle of the Pacific, are to be imprisoned in a new on-island jail being built to house them. The men were convicted of rape after a woman left the island to attend school in New Zealand and reported on systematic, society-wide rape of virtually every woman on the island. The convicted men were the only people capable of operating the long-boats that were the only way on and off of the island. The islanders are the descendants of the mutineers on Captain Bligh's Bounty, who took Tahitian wives.
A British Foreign Office spokesman said seven New Zealand prison officers would be dispatched to establish a new prison, Her Majesty's Prison Pitcairn, on the remote South Pacific island. Britain will pay the bill, expected to total about £500,000 ($1.2 million) a year.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said on Monday the six men had lost their appeal to the Privy Council, which rejected their argument that English law had not been promulgated on the island and it was not under British sovereignty.

Link (Thanks, Cyrus!)

See also:
Half the men on small island charged with rape
Pitcairn rapists convicted but not jailed

Adopt a microbe - parasites personified

Dani sez, "This creative, insightful and deciededly funny blog is written by Australian medical student Emma Lurie. She draws cute personifications of different bacteria microbes. With each drawing comes different facts associated with what the bacteria is, what is does, how you catch it and how it affects the human body. Educational and fun!"
Hola. I'm C. jejuni.
I am a curved Gram Negative rod.

You can find me in lots of domestic animals.
I am part of the normal bacterial flora of poultry and cattle.
I get into people through dirty drinking water or undercooked meat, especialy chicken.
I cause food poisoning, with a self limiting bloody diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and fever.

Link (Thanks, Dani!)

Neil Gaiman's HOWTO create a literary will

Neil Gaiman has published a free template for writers to use for creating a literary estate. He was inspired by the death of his friend Mike Ford, whose lack of a proper will meant a lot of expense and hardship for the people who loved him. Making a literary will is simple and fast, and every writer should do so:
Others make wills, but don't think to take into account what happens to our literary estate as a separate thing from the disposition of their second-best beds, which means unqualified or uninterested relatives can find themselves in control of everything the author's written. Some of us are just cheap.

All this bothered me, and still bothers me.

Shortly after Mike Ford's death, I spoke to Les Klinger about it. Les is a lawyer, and a very good one, and also an author. I met him through Michael Dirda, and the Baker Street Irregulars (here's Les's Sherlockian webpage).

Les immediately saw my point, understood my crusade and went off and made a document for authors. Especially the lazy sort of authors, or just the ones who haven't quite got around to seeing a lawyer, or who figure that one day it'll all sort itself out, or even the ones to whom it has never occurred that they need to think about this stuff.

Link (Thanks, Mike!)

Miami Zoo mounts giant shit exhibition

The Miami Zoo's "Scoop on Poop" exhibit exposes visitors to a football-field-sized arcade of shit, featuring photos of animals en flagrante, samples of turds great and small, and lots of other shit:

The Scoop on Poop is a traveling exhibition based on the popular book by Dr. Wayne Lynch. The exhibition leads visitors on an investigation of what poop is and how animals and humans use it. The Scoop on Poop treats the subject with a tactful blend of good science and fun.

The Scoop on Poop features large colorful graphic panels, three-dimensional models, and fun interactive components. Visitors are invited to listen in on an animal’s digestive system, learn the language of poop in countries around the world, examine fecal samples in a veterinarian’s lab, compete in dung beetle races, track wild animals by clues left in scat, see how long it takes an elephant to poop their body weight, improve their #2 IQ in stool school, and meet a dinosaur dung detective.

Link (Thanks, Michael!)

Last minute changes snuck into Aussie DMCA

Australia is fast-tracking its own version of the US's disastrous Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) -- the country became obliged to impose this when PM John Howard signed the Aussie-US free trade agreement into law. The worst part of the legislation is undoubtedly the "anti-circumvention" provisions that ban breaking software locks, even if you own the material they lock away. Anti-circumvention lets any company impose any terms it wants on you, like Apple: "you can only play the music we sell you on the players we make or authorize." Anti-circumvention creates anti-competitive lock-in situations, takes away fair dealing rights, and punishes people who buy their media instead of getting infringing copies.

A last minute change has been introduced into the new bill and it's so arcane that legal experts differ strongly on what the effect will be. But with the bill fast-tracking through Parliament, it's likely that this mystery clause will be passed unless the brakes are put on the process. EFF has information on the changes and how Australians can get involved:

While the new version’s TPM ban is broader, the Bill does contain two carve-outs: First, there’s no legal protection for region-coding access control technologies on video games and DVDs. That is likely to avoid some of the potentially anti-competitive impacts of geographic market segmentation via TPMs – a practice that involves no copyright right. The carve-out is presumably designed to preserve the 2005 Australian High Court ruling in the Sony v. Stevens PlayStation modchip case, but unfortunately, does so in the narrowest possible way. Second, there’s an attempt to exclude misuses of TPM provisions on embodied computer programs like the printer cartridge and garage door opener cases invoking the DMCA.

How bad is the last minute change in language? Even Australia's top legal minds are unsure of the precise impact. Unless the bill is delayed there will be no opportunity to assess that before the highly complex bill is pushed to a speedy vote.

But that’s not the only problem with the bill. It also creates new criminal penalties for copyright infringement. It introduces new summary and strict liability offences and criminal penalties for non-commercial infringement. These rules would apply to children as young as 14, and could make everyday Australians criminals for uploading lip-synched videos to YouTube and other commonplace activities.

Link

Update: David Cake of Electronic Frontiers Australia sez, "Yes, the government is trying to push through this bill disgracefully fast - the senate committee has been allotted only 4 hours of public hearings for a 213 page bill, including major changes to the bill that have been introduced between public drafts and the introduction of legislation. Electronic Frontiers Australia has been able to lodge a submission to the senate committee objecting to these changes, but the time frame before the bill is due to be voted on is very short, and reversing these changes will be difficult."

Haunted Mansion tribute from a young filmmaker

A young filmmaker produced a stop-motion animation short film based on Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, ingeniously blending construction paper backgroups, doll-house props, plastercine figures and artwork from the original ride. This is great fan-art, and as a dyed-in-the-wool Haunted Mansion lunatic, it gives me quite unseemly pleasure.

This is a movie I made a long time ago. It's the same as the Haunted mansion ride at Disneyland. I made the sets out of construction paper and paper bags. I redid the audio because my high little kid voice doing the Ghost Host just sounded stupid.
Link (Thanks, Stephen!)

Rotting Soviet-era Ministry of Transportation building

Regine from We Make Money Not Art visted a show called Spectacular City at Netherlands Institute of Architecture that features giant photos of "spectacular" buildings. She's featuring the best of them in a series on her blog. Today's entry really caught me -- a rotting ex-Soviet Ministry of Transportation in Tbilisi, Georgia:
The image for today is the Ministry of Transportation. Shot in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, the photography brings out the conflict between a symbol of progress and its current state of decay.

By Antwerp-based photographer Geert Joiris.

Link (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Stanford panel on Whole Earth Catalog influence, 11/9

Copyfighting video archivist Rick Prelinger sez, "The WholeEartharati are convening for a public panel on 11/9 at Stanford. The event's going to be moderated by Fred Turner, author of the new book From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Catalog, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism, and the eminent panelists will be Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly and Howard Rheingold. Like many others, the Catalog and its successors played a major role in my development -- I'll definitely be there."

Count me among those who were heavily influenced by the Catalogs. I have a complete set in a storage locker in Toronto. I used to pore through them for hours on rainy days, marvelling at the flowering of the mission of "access to tools and ideas." And when a friend slipped me the "Is the Body Obsolete?" issue of the Whole Earth Review in the 80s, I knew I'd found something special, a publication about something that I had always hoped was out there, but had never found. Even now, I have a WELL account! Link (Thanks, Rick!)

FairGame cracks iTunes using iMovie

Matthias sez, "This script package takes an Apple-DRM-protected song (.m4p), and converts it *using iMovieHD* into an unprotected .mp3 file. I've tried this with six songs now and it works great, though you have to be careful to not actually, like, do anything else with your computer while it's running as it tends to make the script throw up and die. So you might want to run it overnight if you've got a lot of protected files to free from your Apple shackles. Does this mean Apple will be forced to file a DMCA C&D against the publishers of iMovie?" I've done this with regular iMovie before and it worked pretty well.

The holy grail of Apple DRM for me is opening up the audiobooks. These files cost a fortune, can't be easily burned and re-ripped (and some even come flagged as "non-burnable" -- showing that there are crippleware modes in iTunes that aren't widely known). Cracking them through the analog hole using Audio Hijack is time-consuming (I spent six weeks this year running two PowerBooks 24/7 to convert all my iTunes audiobooks to MP3s using this method). Link (Thanks, Matthias!)