Boing Boing 

Creative Commons 3.0 license drafts published

Creative Commons has published the drafts of its next-generation 3.0 licenses, which refine the widely-used CC licenses (over 160,000,000 works were CC licensed in the first 3.5 years). These new licenses contain a number of improvements:
# Clauses 4(a) & (b) (both licenses) - language has been introduced to clarify that the anti-TPM restriction does not apply to private copying, only when a work is being shared.

# Clause 4(a) (both licenses) - the ShareAlike condition has been clarified to confirm that the other jurisdiction licenses under which an SA-licensed work can be relicensed must be of the same license version or later (consistent with relicensing under the same jurisdiction/generic license).

# Clause 4(e) (new generic) - this clause has been substantially revised since the first draft was circulated on the list. The revisions reflect the ongoing work of the CC Working Group that has been set up to look at the issue of CC licenses and collecting societies and represents the agreed on policy for CC licenses going forward as regards the collection of collecting society royalties by CC licensors. It is designed to take into account the different systems that exist in different countries and will be reflected in the jurisdiction licenses that version to 3.0.

Link (Thanks, Ivo!)

Henry Ford's Detroit suburb in the Brazilian jungle

Michigan History Magazine has an in-depth feature on Fordlandia, Henry Ford's bizarre planned community/company town/rubber plantation deep in the Brazilian jungle. Fordlandia was built to resemble the bucolic Detroit suburbs that hosted Ford's auto-plants, and had social practices that were a combination of corporate policy and local subversion (I've heard that Ford personally outlawed the traditional Caipirinha in favor of the Tom Collins, a more "civilized" drink).
Fenced in by jungle, Fordlandia was transformed into a modern suburb with rows of snug bungalows fed by power lines running to a diesel generator. The main street was paved and its residents collected well water from spigots in front of their homes–except for the U.S. staff and white-collar Brazilians, who had running water in their homes. The North Americans splashed in their outdoor swimming pool and the Brazilians escaped the sun by sliding into another pool designated for their use. “Villa Brasileira,” as one area of the town was known, boasted tailors, shops, restaurants and shoemakers to serve the local workers. The sweet smell of bread wafted from a bakery; the butcher shop offered beef, pork and chicken at subsidized prices. On paper, it sounded like a dream...

“I’m a worker, not a waiter!” a Fordlandia employee reportedly yelled in the food line one day, sparking the plantation’s most notorious riot. Workers armed with machetes joined the protest against the self-serve mid-western cuisine in a country where food traditionally was served at the table. The seringueiros demolished the cafeteria as North American officials scrambled to the dock, jumped into boats and waited in the middle of the river for Brazilian troops to quell the melee...

“A workman’s mess hall was set up but native workers did not like the wholesome Detroit-style cooking and complained bitterly of indigestion. North American fare in the jungle no more pleases the customers than a quick change to Amazon fare would please you or me,” Wilson wrote in a Harpers magazine article titled “Mr. Ford in the Jungle.” Furthermore, the natives did not choose to square dance on the village green or to sing the quaint folk songs of Merrie England or to treasure Longfellow.”

Link (via Beyond the Beyond)

SoL sez, "Here's a Damn Interesting article about Ford's doomed Brazilian experiment with pictures."

Readers panning classic novels on Amazon

Charlie Stross rounds up the best of the worst of Amazon reviews -- readers decrying Marquez for his lack of understanding of supply-side economics, Romeo and Juliet for being "soooo cliched," Robinson Crusoe as being derivative and hackneyed, and The Grapes of Wrath for having too much profanity. I can tell that Charlie just finished a novel -- this is great palette-cleansing activity between deadlines.
1984 by George Orwell:

Caitlyn from Atlanta, GA, wrote: "1984 is the worst book I have ever read. I would advise anyone who is thinking about reading this book to reconcider! George Orwell is not a bad writer, however, this book he does not do evry well on, as some of his others. Prehaps he was getting old and lost his touch. Animal Farm was okay, but 1984 was horrible. It took him forever, it seemed like, to get into the accual book. If someone were to take out all of the useless part of 1984, it would be half as long. Why would he wirte so much about nothing? I havent ever meet someone who could wirte such a boring book about the goverment. I have meet many people who have loved this book, but i dispised it. I am not at all intrested in the goverment. This may be part of the reason that I didnt like it. I would advise you not to read this book."

Link

Update: Aaron sends in an earlier cut at this from Defective Yeti.

Update 2: Cody sez, "There's also the hilarious Amazon World blog, which sadly stopped updating in June of 2004."

Snitch sticker in your phone reports water damage

The excellent Architectures of Control blog tackles the "water damage sticker" in your cellphone, a little reactive sticker that changes color if you soak your phone. This is how your phone company can tell whether you are entitled to warranty service, or whether you've subjected your phone to warranty-voiding water-torture. Link

London Underground maps that are free as in speech

The Wikimedia project has a series of excellent, heavily annotated free maps of the London Underground -- a boon in an era where the London Underground treats riders who remix the transit map as criminals and threatens to sue them.
A PHP script processes the line definitions to create list of stations on the line, calculates coordinates of the control points for bezier curves, and then outputs the graphic as an SVG file. The SVG files are then fine tuned in an SVG editor (text placement, mostly) and rendered as PNGs.
Link (via Plasticbag)

Awesome, impractical, expensive watch

I love practically everything about this limited edition Gauge Mecha 1 BMF "concept watch" from Avant Garde Mecha Complications -- it's got a complicated impractical readout, an awesome color scheme, "tamper resistant" torx screws, a CNC-cut steel chassis, und so weiter. The only downsides? The manufacturer calls it a "man toy" (gag me) and at $2500, it's too pricey to put on my Xmas list. Link (via Watchismo)

NPR: Pentagon scans milblogs for security risks (audio report)


I filed a radio report today for the NPR News program "Day to Day" on news that Pentagon officials are cracking down on "mil-bloggers," military men and women who write blogs about their wartime experiences. The Pentagon is concerned about operational security. The increased scrutiny has quieted some blogs, while driving many to look for ways to follow the new rules.

Link to archived audio.

See also this related story I filed for Wired News: "Under Fire, Soldiers Kill Blogs" (BB post, WN link).

IMAGE: The author of milblog "Midnight Casket" is 25-year old Alabama native Jeff Barnett, shown here. He is a mechanical engineer with the US Marines most recently deployed in Fallujah, Iraq. Jeff is also a huge gamer, and particularly into XBOX360 and Halo. Check out this cool gaming forum he hosts: Link.

More on the milblog story in this Defensetech.org post Link (editor Noah Shachtman has been covering the story for weeks, and first pointed me to it).

My NPR News colleague Steve Proffitt reads an incredibly moving personal account from one soldier's blog in a segment which also aired in today's edition of "Day to Day": Link.

UPDATE: Some of the "milblogs" mentioned in the Wired News item and NPR report are organizing a fund drive to buy voice-operated laptops for Iraq war veterans and other servicemen/women recovering from amputations or injuries to arm or hands. They load these notebooks up with copies of Dragon Naturally Speaking (which I have not used, but heard great things about from reporters who swear by it for transcribing interviews). Snip:

Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone [allows them to] send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the 'Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field without having to press a key or move a mouse. The experience of CPT Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss, a partner in the project who suffered severe hand wounds while serving in Iraq, illustrates how important this voice-controlled software can be to a wounded servicemember's recovery.
Link to one milblog with info on the "Valour IT" project, and here is the project home page: Link, and here's their blog. Looks like donations are tax-deductible, too: they're a 501 (c)(3).

Halloween goth-death sounds on SomaFM stream

The Internet radio mensches behind SomaFM have a channel perfect for your Halloween parties (or candy-filled, blood-soaked cubicle jam sessions): the "Doomed" channel has dark, goth-influenced industrial and other scary music. Click the "Doomed" button at this Link. Now, if they really wanted to scare people, the mix would include this. (Thanks, Rusty Hodge!)

HOWTO ditch your landline but keep your DSL

www.digitalnoir.com Dry-loop DSL is a new service being rolled out by telcos across the USA. It's a DSL line without phone-service, and in an era of mobile phones and VoIP, that sounds like a good idea. Land-line? What land-line

Of course, it's not that easy -- the phone companies don't want you to ditch dino-phone service, so you need a good HOWTO before you embark on your dry-loop odyssey. The Eat Our Brains group-blog has a great post on how to game the system:

It took me almost an hour to reach a live Verizon rep who could talk to me about it. They make it as hard as possible to change over. They charge an extra $5 a month for your DSL connection if you don't have a land-line. You have to put your DSL service on a credit card, rather than pay for it on a phone bill. Tragically, they haven't figured out how to bill you for DSL, I suppose. You have to turn off both services, then start up your DSL service anew, with a two-week gap in between.

Here's how to game their system:

First, since it's technically a new DSL service if you do this, you qualify for promotions and rebates as a new customer. Dell, for instance, offers a $100 rebate if you order Verizon DSL through them. (Similar rebates with other DSL providers, incidentally, and you don't have to buy a computer to get the deal.)

Link (Thanks, Steve!)

Halloween party pics from Industrial Light and Magic

Bonnie says:
200610301337 Since MAKE, CRAFT and BoingBoing are linking to cool DIY costumes spotted at Halloween parties this year, I figured you would all get a kick out of the costumes spotted at the annual ILM-Lucasfilm-LucasArts Halloween Party this weekend. Plenty of cardboard robots and stormtroopers, but the lifesize (as in GIGANTIC) Trojan Rabbit complete with a gaggle of Monty Python Holy Grail knights won for best costume of the night… with Marie Antoinette (all her clothes and wig were handmade) and the gigantic digital camera that took real photos and the Wack-A-Mole with walking mallet, also came in as the night's winners.
Link

Cool tools reviews the Cintq digital drawing tablet

Kevin Kelly loves his new Cintq digital paper tablet.
P476Da84E 8 Based on comics master Scott McCloud's recommendation (below), I bought a Cintiq. It does something I've always wanted to do since I first saw a computer. This thing is a pen-based tablet that doubles as a monitor. In other words you draw directly on the tablet, just like a paper-based drawing, but digitally. In fact the surface of the Cintq monitor/tablet feels like paper under a pen. Synchrony of image with your movements is almost exact, and the micro difference doesn't seem to matter. The result is weirdly like ink, or paint, but with all the control and magic of Photoshop. Of course, as a monitor, it will display whatever's on your computer, whether it's animation software or a spreadsheet. (You could hook it up to a $500 Mac Mini and have a fabulous digital art studio.) It's slowly being adopted by film animators and other high-end graphic professionals. A Cintq is expensive ($2,500), big, thick and bulky (it is too fat to sit on your lap like other tablets, but it can lay flat on a desk), but if you are producing digital images for a living, it speeds up your productivity and eases your hurt. It's fun to use.
Link

Update on girl who pretends to eat her cat

Seth says:
200610301130 Just wanted to give you an update about the post titles Photos of a girl pretending to eat her cat.

Her name is Nakagawa Shoko. She's a Japanese "Talent" who is regularly on TV on variety shows and advertising. I caught a link to those pictures last week and then ended up seeing her on TV just this weekend. Talent's are women (and sometimes men) who don't have any particular skill or talent, but are on TV because they are attractive. During the video segments on variety shows you see their reactions in an inset screen.

She's famous as a prolific blogger in Japan. She updates about 5 or 6 times daily, mostly from her phone I think, with pictures of her face with stuff written on her forehead and also with pictures of cats (hers and maybe other people's, I'm not really sure). You can check her blog out here:

Link

Reader comment:

Kyle says:

There's an interesting video on YouTube (in Japanese) about Otaku culture, where Shoko Nakagawa discusses the reclamation of the word "otaku" ("nerd") by the nerdy crowd, similar to the way "geek" and "nerd" have been in the US (what with iPods, rich computer guys, Lord of the Rings, and nerdcore rap).

YouTube video 1 | YouTube video 2

One thing the otaku have done is change the way they write "otaku" -- the new form uses an older character for the first syllable of "otaku" which is no longer in common use. The goal is to create a new word with different connotations.

Seth dismissed Nakagawa as talentless, but she's sort of a cultural icon for nerds in Japan -- she hangs out on 2ch, a very, very famous Japanese BBS, and, from seeing her interviews, she's extremely knowledgeable about old animation and comics. The fact that she's not ugly is a reason she's become famous -- a geek with good looks.

Cool robot vehicle transports man around Tokyo

jinki says: "Greetings from Tokyo. A bud sent me a phone pic yesterday that has Boing Boing written all over it. His note and the pic say it all. All I will add is that he saw this near the Yoyogi park entrance - the 'bridge of freaks' he mentions is where the gothic lolitas and cosplay folks hang out on weekends."
Sn260110 (Click on thumbnail for enlargement)

Just outside Harajuku station today I saw the craziest/funniest/most dumbfounding thing I've seen in Japan to date. The machine containing this man was fully mobile and powerful enough to get up and down the curbs with ease, not to mention immaculately put together. He rolled right past me in front of the station toward the park, accross the bridge of freaks and over to the crosswalk bridge stairs. Then he waited patiently for a break in traffic and took off down the street away from the crowds. He never once cracked a smile, stopped only when the crowd was too thick to let him by, and seemed at best to not notice all the people staring and trying to talk to him, at worst slightly annoyed that everyone was looking at him and blocking his way (Cripes! You act as thought you've never seen Buzz Lightyear Tetrapodal robot out for a Sunday roll before!).

I'd like to know if anyone knows anything about this...thing...if you've sighted it yourself, or if its been in the news at all (this has foreign media written all over it, a.k.a., stereotype reinforcement)


Update:

Here are a couple of other photos of the same robot, with a different passenger. 105764662 4B957Ebb14 105764682 85A09F19E5

Cory's new USC undergrad course: PWNED

Registration is now open for my next course at USC, an undergrad class about DRM, EULAs, copyright, technology and control in the 21st century, called "Pwned: Is everyone on this campus a copyright criminal?"

It's an undergrad course offered as a COMM499 class, but it's open to any student on campus. I'll be podcasting it if I can figure out a good recording setup, too. The main class assignment is to work through Wikipedia entries on subjects we cover in the class, in groups, identifying weak areas in the Wikipedia sections and improving them, then defending those improvements in the message-boards for the Wikipedia entries.

The class runs Tuesday afternoons from 3:30-6:20PM. Lots of USC undergrads asked me about attending the grad seminar I'm teaching this semester -- here's your chance. Roll up, roll up!

Every garden has a snake: computers aren't just tools for empowering their owners. They're also tools for stripping users of agency, for controlling us individually and en masse.

It starts with "Digital Rights Management" -- the anti-copying measures that computers employ to frustrate their owners desires. These technologies literally attack their owners, treating them as menaces to be thwarted through force majeure, deceit, and cunning. Incredibly, DRM gets special protection under the law, a blanket prohibition on breaking DRM or helping others to do so, even if you have the right to access the work the DRM is walling off.

But DRM's just the tip of the iceberg. Every digital act includes an act of copying, and that means that copyright governs every relationship in the digital realm. Take a conversation to email and it's not just culture, it's copyright -- every volley is bound by the rules set out to govern the interactions between large publishing entities.

Playing a song for a buddy with your stereo is lawful. Stream that song to your buddy's PC and you could be facing expulsion and criminal prosecution.

Every interaction on the Web is now larded over with "agreements" -- terms of service, acceptable use policies, licenses -- that no one reads or negotiates. These non-negotiable terms strip you of your rights the minute you click your mouse. Transactions that would be a traditional purchase in meatspace are complex "license agreements" in cyberspace. As mere licensors, we are as feudal serfs to a lord -- ownership is conferred only on those who are lucky enough to be setting the terms. Our real property interests are secondary to their "intellectual property" claims.

When the computer, the network, publishing platforms, and property can all be magicked away with the Intellectual Property wand, we're all of us pwned, 0wnz0red, punkd. Our tools are turned against us, the law is tipped away from our favor.

Link to course catalog, Link to draft syllabus

Astounding Stories covers, 1930-present

This site has a full (?) run of covers from Astounding/Analog Science Fiction Magazine -- all the way back to 1930. Link (Thanks, Mitch!)

By eating this food, you agree to the following:

Andy Sternberg's "Small Print Project" continues to rack up astounding examples of crummy "user agreements" that you find yourself entering into by buying goods and services. Seems like no one wants to "sell" you anything anymore -- everything comes with a lame-ass "agreement" that you don't get to negotiate.

Small Print's collecting the worst of 'em -- like, when you install Flash Player, you agree to let Adobe audit your PC at any time, and the scam artist who makes you promise you're not from the FTC as a condition of looking at his site. But this one takes the cake: edible paper with a EULA printed on it -- by eating it, you "agree":

Product: A chef in a Chicago restaurant recently perfected a line of edible paper. Customers receive an image of cotton candy printed on a sheet of paper that tastes like cotton candy. Customers who order the treat receive it with the following printed under it: Confidential Property of and © H. Cantu. Patent Pending. No further use or disclosure is permitted without prior approval of H. Cantu.

As seen in: November Food and Wine

Lowpoints: If the treat dissolves on your tongue, does that mean it’s a saliva-wrap license? You eat it, therefore you agree to its terms?

Highpoints: I’m sure the paper is delicious.

Link

See also Small Print Project: collecting the "agreements" shoved down your throat

Update: Steve sez, "Any idea if any friendly lawyer-types have considered putting together a 'counter-EULA'? Ideally, it would be simple form letter that you can mail back to a company that you've recently done business with, that would read "By opening this envelope, you agree to release [name] from the EULA bundled with [product]", and go on from there with the proper legalese. After all, if they believe that opening a product box signals acceptance of a contract, then it's no different the other way around."

EFF's Fred von Lohmann free talk at USC next Tues, Nov 7

Next Tuesday, November 7, EFF senior IP attorney Fred von Lohmann will give a free public talk at USC as part of my ongoing speaker series on digital liberties. Fred is an amazing speaker and a world-famous copyright lawyer. His oral argument in the Ninth Circuit hearing on Grokster inspired a techno remix. Fred previously clerked for a judge and a US senator, and worked under Condi Rice at Stanford. His seminal paper on the DMCA, Unintended Consequences, is one of the most widely cited analyses of the controversial copyright law. Fred is also an ardent music fan, and a tireless proponent of the preservation of fan culture and artist/fan engagement.

His free talk runs from 7-9 PM at the USC Annenberg School on the main campus in room 207. We'll have the podcast up a day or two later. Link

Note: THERE IS NO SPEAKER ON OCT 31. Jamie Love was previously erroneously listed as speaking on Hallowe'en, but he won't be here.

Haunted Mansion themed fireworks wins award - video


Scott sez, "from rec.arts.disney.parks: 'A Haunted Mansion themed fireworks display won this years Pyrotechnics Guild International competition. I thought some of you may be interested in seeing the video.'" Link (Thanks, Scott!

US Copyright Office delays DRM ruling

ShoutingLoudly sez, "With no explanation, the Copyright Office has failed to rule on the slate of proposed triennial exemptions to Section 1201(a)(1). [Ed- that's the section of the US copyright law that makes it illegal to break software locks, aka "circumventing DRM."] Due out on Friday the 27th, this year's ruling will be out in a few weeks. The delay may be related to the fierce debate over two proposed exemptions: one for hacking DRM that compromises your computer's security, and one for hacking CSS [Ed- the DRM in DVDs] for educational purposes." Link (Thanks, ShoutingLoudly!

Kubrick tryout Brian Atene makes a video for YouTube

Scott Beale says:
Picture 1-26  Picture-1-25
I have a follow-up on your post about Brian Atene's audition video for Stanley Kubrick

The actual Brian Atene, featured in the original video, came out of hiding and did a follow-up video.

In addition to that, the Ask A Ninja guys did a mashup of the original.

Link

Under fire, soldiers kill blogs: Pentagon milblog crackdown

Snip from a report I filed for Wired News:

Some of the web's more popular "milblogs" -- blogs maintained by present or former active duty military personnel -- are going quiet following a renewed push by U.S. military officials to scan sites for security risks.

Ten members of a Virginia National Guard unit have been tasked with reviewing both official and unofficial Army websites for potential operational security, or OPSEC, violations. Under the direction of the Army's Web Risk Assessment Cell (AWRAC), the reviewers look for text, photos or videos that may give away sensitive information.

"Loose lips sink ships. That's been around since World War I, and hasn't changed in years," said Lt. Col. Stephen Warnock, team leader and battalion commander of the Manassas-based unit that works with contractors from the tech company CA.

Milblogs offer one of the last direct witnesses to the Iraq war from the point of view of front line soldiers -- a sharp reversal from three years ago, when the U.S.-led invasion was among the most closely-watched military attacks in history. According to Editor and Publisher, the number of reporters embedded in military units has dropped from 770 at the height of the conflict to just nine today.

The recent U.S. pressure on milbloggers, reported by Wired contributing editor Noah Shachtman in his Defense Tech blog, highlights the security risks of blogging by active duty military personel -- including those in Iraq with access to e-mail and the internet.

Link to full text. I'm filing a radio report for the NPR News program Day to Day, and it will air tomorrow, Monday, Oct. 30.

IMAGE: Cav Tanker, shown here, and brother Mike Gulf are 19K M1A2 tankers in the US Army and contributors to the popular milblog Tanker Brothers (image courtesy tankerbrothers.com).

Noah Shachtman has been doing a yeoman's job covering the situation on Defensetech since it surfaced (1 | 2 | 3), and he first pointed me to the story. He, in turn, cited this Army News Service report as one of the earliest sources of news about the Pentagon's current crackdown on milblogs. (Thanks also to Leo Shane, a reporter with Stars and Stripes.)

In related news, Link to this AP item: "The U.S. military's indefinite detention of an Associated Press photographer in Iraq, without charges, is an outrage and should be seen as such by the journalistic community, AP editors said Friday." The story involves a shooter named Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi national, who has been held since April.

Ceci n'est pas un fake boarding pass


Following on the rapidly-evolving saga of Christopher "Fake Boarding Pass Generator Website" Soghoian, BB reader Jason Eppink scrawls the legally dubious item you see above (full-size) and says:

Here's a fake boarding pass for Continental Airlines. Let me be clear in stating that I in no way endorse using the use of this boarding pass to attempt to bypass TSA security screening, or to commit fraud.
Link, mirror. About the name: Link.

Now hey, if someone feels moved to whip up a PHP script to generate these babies on the fly, everything will be totally set.

Don't forget to put out the midnight welcome mat by the door when you're done.

PREVIOUSLY:
* 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)


Reader comment: collapsibletank whipped up the image above and says, "You'll need a generator for Search Warrants, too. I only wish I was able to code a site for these things."

And voilá! BB reader Matt, a former U.S. Marine now working in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor -- and a True American Hero -- says:

I felt inspired by all the recent hullabaloo about the fake boarding passes to create this Fake Warrant Generator Website.

You can enter whatever specifics you want to tailor the warrant to your specific judicial needs. I feel really bad about it, but in the end I pussed-out and added "FAKE" in the background. Sorry :( I am, after all, only a few hundred feet away from the infamous Bagram Prison and I don't need to be disappeared!

All warrants generated are stored on the server with an index so everyone can see the warrants generated by everyone else. It does display your IP, so if you're afraid of that, don't generate any.

Warren Ellis's Desolation Jones - Savage noir spy comic

I just finished the first collection of Warren "Transmetropolitan" Ellis's fantastic new comic, "Desolation Jones" (My new formula for graphic novel goodness: walk into LA's Secret Headquarters, buy any three books on the recommended new release table, go to funnybook heaven).

Desolation Jones, the title character, is an ex-MI6 spook whose problem drinking led to him being usedin a series of searing, mind-destroying medical tests. Now he's disgraced and exiled, living in an underculture LA that is home to an entire village of ex-spies who are imprisoned there by their masters, faced with death should they leave the city limits.

Desolation Jones unfolds like a Hammett novel, like Red Harvest, with a private eye -- Jones -- being recruited by an evil old bastard to retreive some stolen property (in a fit of Ellis-esque genius, the missing prize is a rare reel of Adolph Hitler's homemade pornography).

The violence, anger, and sleaze are pure noir, but the spy-tech and setting are total Ellis. This was a great and savage ride, and its definitely not for the faint of heart. If you like your graphic novels both graphic and novel, Desolation Road is it. Link

Update: Gustavo sez, "your Hammett guess was good, but the plot of the first arc of Desolation Jones is pretty much a straight ripoff/hommage/remix of Chandler's "The Big Sleep" (heavily influenced visually by the 1945/6 movie based on it)."

Proposal for a Free Culture Scouting patch

Liz sends in this "Mel Horan mock-up of a 'Free Culture' activity patch to be offered by the BSA in lieu of the current 'Respect Copyright' patch. Of course, it comes with a much more challenging set of requirements to earn it."
# Appear at the door of a major studio, dressed in your full scout uniform, and try to talk them into allowing educational use of historical films commonly shown in public schools (Amistad, Schindler's List, etc.)

# Raise money with a bakesale to go across the country to CMG Worldwide in Indianapolis or Intellectual Properties Management (IPM) in Atlanta to convince these organizations to free images associated with Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King and release them into the public domain for use in school projects, such as web pages

# Paint a colorful mural on a graffiti covered wall across the street from the headquarters of the RIAA with the 9 Reasons Digital Media Products Are a Bad Deal for Consumers.

# Using your knot-disentangling skills, visit a hospital or nursing home and help the aged with their DRM-hobbled digital products

# Go to an orphanage, battered children's home, or juvenile detention facility and show kids how to use Creative Commons resources

# Put in 100 hours of community service at your local library and see the toll that new legislation against patron privacy and public connectivity takes on your local civil servants. Then imagine what it will be like if they have to deal with RIAA and MPAA lawsuits for circulating audio and video content.

Link (Thanks, Liz!)

See also:
Boy Scouts of America Concerned About Copyright
Boy Scouts shill for MPAA with copyright merit badge

Congressman on Boarding Pass Generator guy: Uh... oops?


Last Friday, Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) called for the arrest of Christopher Soghoian, and the takedown of his "Boarding Pass Generator" website which illustrated an airline security hole documented on the web for several years. Hours after the congressman's statement, Soghoian says FBI agents visited his home, then returned a second time after he'd left -- in the middle of the night -- with a search warrant signed at 2AM, and seized Soghoian's computer(s) and other belongings.

Now, several days too late, Markey issues another pronouncement which backtracks on his earlier statement. It's 250 words, but they boil down to one: "oops." Snip:

“On Friday I urged the Bush Administration to ‘apprehend’ and shut down whoever had created a new website that enabled persons without a plane ticket to easily fake a boarding pass and use it to clear security, gain access to the boarding area and potentially to the cabin of a passenger plane. Subsequently I learned that the person responsible was a student at Indiana University, Christopher Soghoian, who intended no harm but, rather, intended to provide a public service by warning that this long-standing loophole could be easily exploited. The website has now apparently been shut down.

“Under the circumstances, any legal consequences for this student must take into account his intent to perform a public service, to publicize a problem as a way of getting it fixed. He picked a lousy way of doing it, but he should not go to jail for his bad judgment. Better yet, the Department of Homeland Security should put him to work showing public officials how easily our security can be compromised.

“It remains a fact that fake boarding passes can be easily created and the integration of terrorist watch lists with boarding security is still woefully inadequate. The best outcome of Mr. Soghoian’s ill-considered demonstration would be for the Department of Homeland Security to close these loopholes immediately."

Link. (Thanks, Alex Therrien)

Markey describes the website as "a lousy way" to point out the security vulnerability, and it would appear that he is not alone in this opinion.

On Friday, I spoke to Avi Rubin, a computer science professor at Johns Hopkins who previously exposed security vulnerabilities in RFID technology, and Diebold's electronic voting machines. Soghoian lists Rubin on his resume as a reference, and served as his teaching assistant for a semester in 2004 in a "Security and Privacy in Computing" class at Johns Hopkins University. Snip from interview with Rubin:

BOINGBOING: What's your take on the "Boarding Pass Generator" website?

RUBIN: Even if he has a legitimate point, it shows a real lapse in judgement.

BOINGBOING: How would your team at Johns Hopkins approach it? How do you believe something like this might be handled more responsibly?

RUBIN: When we find a security vulnerability, we think about how to publish that information responsibly, and what information we may need to omit. When we find an exploit, the first thing we do is have a meeting about who to tell and how. When we discovered the problems with RFID, we brought the company involved into our lab for several weeks before we released the information.

Reader comment: Adam Fields writes,
Markey said,
"He picked a lousy way of doing it, but he should not go to jail for his bad judgment. Better yet, the Department of Homeland Security should put him to work showing public officials how easily our security can be compromised."
I don't think there's room in the budget for hiring everyone who can point out how easily our security can be compromised.
Ian Varley says,
I'd like to take exception with the idea that Soghoian's web site is a "lousy way of doing it". The fact that he was not the first person to bring the vulnerability to light means that this information--the mere concept that any goof with photoshop skillz and a color printer could waltz onto any flight in the country--was already well known. But no one was doing anything to remedy that. In situations like this, a civil disobedience (which is truly what his web site is) sometimes represents the only ethical way to bring about change. Rep. Markey's retraction is a step in the right direction, but the only thing "lousy" here is the transportation security theater itself.
BACKGROUND POSTS ON BOINGBOING:
* 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)

Foxtrot's scary geek Hallowe'en costume, 2006 edition

Robin sez, "It seems like every year Jason from Foxtrot comes up with a Hallowe'en costume relevant to geeks everywhere. Back in '98, he was an iMac ('I HAVE NO FLOPPY DRIVE!'). I think he was a Blue Screen of Death once as well. This year, he steps it up a notch with a costume that should be relevant to everyone. (SHOULD be, alas.)" Link (Thanks, Robin!)

Remixing the Archive event, USC, Nov 4/5


Perry Hoberman writes in with news of "Remixing the Archive" -- a free conference at USC in Los Angeles on Nov 4/5:
A jam-packed weekend of workshops, screenings, speakers, performances and more.

Remixing the Archive will examine the historical roots and cultural implications of the past decade's exceptionally vibrant remix culture and tap into a growing and dynamic counterculture devoted to creative reuse.

a few highlights:

* keynote by Rick Prelinger

* west coast premiere of Anne McGuire's Adventure Poseidon, The (The Unsinking of my Ship)

* performance by TV Sheriff

Link (Thanks, Perry!)

Anti-Daylight Savings drive-in ad from the 50s


Mike sez, "We are off Daylight Savings Time again as of 2 this morning. Check out this drive-in intermission film from the 1950s. At exactly 2 minutes into the clip is an exhortation to stay off DST. Staying on "natural" time was portrayed as almost a patriotic and religious duty, but the real reason was undoubtedly that it cut into the drive-ins' business."

It is indeed DST day today -- turn back your clocks, change the batteries in your smoke alarms, and don't crash your car from circadian disorientation.

Link (Thanks, Mike!)

Bush legalizes martial law -- what Constitution?

On Oct 17, George Bush quietly signed a bill allowing him to declare martial law. The Toward Freedom website summarizes it:
For the current President, "enforcement of the laws to restore public order" means to commandeer guardsmen from any state, over the objections of local governmental, military and local police entities; ship them off to another state; conscript them in a law enforcement mode; and set them loose against "disorderly" citizenry - protesters, possibly, or those who object to forced vaccinations and quarantines in the event of a bio-terror event.

The law also facilitates militarized police round-ups and detention of protesters, so called "illegal aliens," "potential terrorists" and other "undesirables" for detention in facilities already contracted for and under construction by Halliburton. That's right. Under the cover of a trumped-up "immigration emergency" and the frenzied militarization of the southern border, detention camps are being constructed right under our noses, camps designed for anyone who resists the foreign and domestic agenda of the Bush administration.

It's easy to get scabbed over about the Bush White House's assault on the Bill of Rights, but every now and again, they rip loose with an attack so egregious, it rips the scab right off. Between the right-to-torture bill and this one, it's clear that Bush intends to bring back the pork-politics glory of the Cold War by reinventing the Soviet Union on American soil.

The elections are coming up in a matter of weeks. Vote America. Throw the traitors out. Install some leaders who love the Constitution more than the raging hard-on they get from settling political disagreements by imprisoning their opponents. Link (Thanks to everyone who suggested this link)

No blogging allowed at "consumer generated media" conference

The Nielsen Buzzmetrics conference on "Consumer Generated Media" (e.g., blogs, Flickr streams, youtubes, Wikipedia, etc) has a blanket prohibition on any reporting or blogging. Now, there's nothing wrong with an off-the-record conference, I've attended and even helped run many of them. But the usual practice is to adopt the Chatham House Rule -- no reporting on stuff that the speaker declares off-the-record, and no attributing any remarks without permission of the speaker. It's pretty ironic for a "consumer generated media" conference to prohibit the creation of "consumer generated media."

Of course, the use of the word "consumer" there is telling. The more commonly accepted neologism is "user-created content" -- "user" has more dignity that "consumer," which always reminds me of Gibson's description of "something the size of a baby hippo living in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka, covered with eyes...[with] no mouth, Laney, no genitals, and can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote."

Maybe the organizers style themselves and their attendees as a cut above "consumer," and therefore not susceptible to creating "consumer generated media." But there's an interesting parallel to the standards meetings and UN treaty bodies I've attended on Internet gonvernance -- the less Internet access those meetings had, the more likely it was that the meeting had been called to destroy the Internet. Link (via Memex 1.1)