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Downloadable calendar features retro sci-fi women

The Website at the End of the Universe is offering its yearly PDF calendar featuring vintage science fiction magazine covers of women in bikini spacesuits and other practical garments.
Picture 4-17 Decades before Princess Leia ever wore her metal bikini in Return of the Jedi, women frequently modeled fine metallic swimwear on the covers of pulp science fiction magazines to excite the imaginations of impressionable, young readers.

Relive those days by downloading the Website at the End of the Universe’s free 2007 calendar. Each month features a different bathing beauty from the future as illustrated on a vintage science fiction magazine cover.

No religious or secular holidays are indicated on the calendar, but the birthdays of different science fiction authors, editors and artists are there for you to start new holidays. Tell your boss that you’re taking January 2nd off because it’s Isaac Asimov’s birthday.

Link

Painting: Angelina Jolie as the Virgin, Wal-Mart as Hell.

By Kate Kretz. Link, and here's a larger size: JPEG Link.

"Blessed Art Thou", 2006, 88' x 60", oil & acrylic on linen.

Bangkok: 7 bombs explode amid New Year's celebrations

BoingBoing reader Lulu J. says,
Seven grenade/bombs (accounts differ) exploded almost simultaneously a little while ago... No one is sure who is responsible, whether the insurgency in the South has come to the nations capital, or if it is supporters of the recently ousted PM (Shinawatra)or those against the military government that quietly installed itself more permanently than what they implied they would do when the tanks rolled in a few months ago. So far I think at least 2 are dead and 30 injured, also, my ears are ringing.
Link. More "citizen journalist" photos here: Link, and Link. More at Bangkok metblogs: Link (thanks, Sean).

World's Worst - $2

200612310858 My book, World's Worst: A Guide to the Most Disgusting, Hideous, Inept, and Dangerous People, Places and things on Earth, is on sale at Barnes and Noble's online star for $2. At this bargain price, it's jumped to 15 position 1 on the sales charts at bn.com. (Update: bn.com ran out of stock, but it is on sale at Amazon.com for $4.95) Link

Previously on Boing Boing:
World's Worst Excerpt -- The Maddest Mad Scientist: The CIA’s Dr. Sidney Gottlieb
World's Worst Excerpt -- The Least Adorable Pet: Miracle Mike The Headless Chicken
World's Worst Excerpt -- The Least Healthy Diet: Breatharianism

Cali Rezo's digital paintings

Artist Cali Rezo's portraits are not digitally-manipulated photographs but rather tablet/pen illustrations drawn from reference photos. Amazing. From the "How do I work" section of her mostly-French language site:
 Blog Images Decembre2006 022 Kashou I work with a tablet and a pen directly on the computer. Besides, my crafting is quiet "traditionnal":

I use photographics references (I shoot everything that moves... and everything that does not also, haha !). I start with a sketch (with my electronic pen, huh, not on paper, no, no, no !)( and I don't draw ON the photo). Then I paint the light and dark flat tints. And I tune the color tints and the finess of the strokes.
Link (via Drawn!)

Grand Canyon bookstore still selling Creationist myth

There's a book for sale at the Grand Canyon National Park claiming that the canyon was a result of Noah's Flood. According to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), park superintendent Joe Alston in 2003 lobbied to keep the book, titled Grand Canyon: A Different View, by Tom Vail, out of the park's bookstores; the National Park Service responded by promising a "high-level policy review" of the matter. PEER claims that three years later, a Freedom of Information Act request shows that the review wasn't even "requested, let along conducted or completed." From PEER:
Park officials have defended the decision to approve the sale of Grand Canyon: A Different View, claiming that park bookstores are like libraries, where the broadest range of views are displayed. In fact, however, both law and park policies make it clear that the park bookstores are more like schoolrooms rather than libraries. As such, materials are only to reflect the highest quality science and are supposed to closely support approved interpretive themes. Moreover, unlike a library the approval process is very selective. Records released to PEER show that during 2003, Grand Canyon officials rejected 22 books and other products for bookstore placement while approving only one new sale item – the creationist book...

Ironically, in 2005, two years after the Grand Canyon creationist controversy erupted, NPS approved a new directive on “Interpretation and Education (Director’s Order #6) which reinforces the posture that materials on the “history of the Earth must be based on the best scientific evidence available, as found in scholarly sources that have stood the test of scientific peer review and criticism [and] Interpretive and educational programs must refrain from appearing to endorse religious beliefs explaining natural processes.”

“As one park geologist said, this is equivalent of Yellowstone National Park selling a book entitled Geysers of Old Faithful: Nostrils of Satan,” (said PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch.)
Link to PEER press release, Link to a review of the book at the National Center for Science Education (Thanks, Paul Saffo!)

Previously on BB:
• The Grand Canyon is only a few thousand years old! Link
• Profile of Creation Museum founder Link
• Creationist theme park Link


UPDATE: BB reader Joseph Francis points out that the National Park Service FAQ on the Grand Canyon includes the following question and answer:
How old is the Canyon?

That's a tricky question. Although rocks exposed in the walls of the canyon are geologically quite old, the Canyon itself is a fairly young feature. The oldest rocks at the canyon bottom are close to 2000 million years old. The Canyon itself - an erosional feature - has formed only in the past five or six million years. Geologically speaking, Grand Canyon is very young. Link

Doll packed with pot

When a young girl in China Grove, North Carolina, opened a Bratz doll on Christmas morning to play with it, she discovered three pounds of pot in the box. According to WSOC-TV, the girl's mother bought the doll on eBay and thought it had never been opened. After seeing the grass hidden behind the doll's head, she called the cops who have since turned the case over to postal inspectors. No word on whether the mom left the seller positive feedback. Link

Saddam Hussein has been executed (and now it's on youTube)


At least two Arab-language television networks (Alhurra, US-based; and Al Arabiya, Dubai-based) are now reporting that Saddam Hussein was hanged in Baghdad at 10:05 PM Eastern Time. Reports say he was executed with two co-defendants.

Update, 1035PM ET: Iraqi state television (Al-Iraqiya) is now reporting the same, as are other Iraqi TV networks and Al Jazeera. CNN now reports that a senior US military official has confirmed.

Link to CNN's coverage, Wikinews here, evolving Wikipedia article here, New York Times coverage here.

Related: in the New York Times, a report on debate at television networks today over whether and how to broadcast images and video of the execution. In the age of abundant online video, it seems inevitable that explicit footage will soon show up on the internet. How does that -- or should that -- influence editorial decisions at television networks? Will they show greater restraint on-air than online? Link. Poynter is running a related column about the ethics of coverage: Link. Editor&Publisher has a similar item here: Link.

Update, Dec. 30, 11AM ET: Online and on-air, CNN is running stills and video of Hussein at the gallows just up to the execution, and "video captured by cell phone" of his corpse wrapped in a shroud, with the face visible. The NYT online is running similar video and stills, and the BBC seems to be running the same footage (with stills of the shrouded corpse). As I understand it, the footage comes from Iraqi state TV (Al Iraqiya -- screengrab of their website below), which did not broadcast the actual moment of death. It would be interesting to see a roundup of exactly what editorial choices the big Western media companies made, and whether any of them went with different boundaries on-air than online.

Nice to see Fox News staying classy: JPEG Link (Thanks Krolls)

Explicit images of Hussein's corpse and "unedited" cellphone video of the hanging (which includes the moment of death) have already shown up online in other places. A quick search on Google Video, YouTube, and other popular video services for "Saddam," "saddam hanging," or "saddam execution" yields abundant copies of both the phonecam and Al Iraqiya footage. The metadata some uploaders have added for the more explicit cellphone video is macabre: "Includes the drop!" (examples -- video links: 1, 2, 3, 4)

IMAGE below: screengrab of Al Iraqiya (Iraqi state TV) website (cropped): Link to full image.


Reader comment: Alf LaMont says,

The images of Saddam, and the notion that our country had a hand in such medieval barbarism were so disturbing, that I immediately sought solace in Matt Stone and Trey Parker's endlessly more amusing end for Saddam as a "Sandy Little Butthole" /Satan's consort. Link.
Omar says,
The BBC News 24 posted to their blog on their editorial choices: Link
Update, Dec. 30, 930PM ET: Defensetech has more about the state videographer who shot the official tape at the gallows: Link.

Update, Dec 31: BBC is running a story on the fact that the phonecam video differs significantly from the "official" Al Iraqiya footage, which seemed to depict a quiet, dignified procedure. In contrast, the "unofficial" phonecam video shows Hussein being taunted and cursed at his death, and him taunting back, while camera flashes go off: Link, and here's their translation, though I understand that others would translate some of the nuances differently. The phonecam video would also appear to contradict some details of previous reports. Al Jazeera's English-language site is running a story on the footage here: Link. We don't know who shot it.

BoingBoing's most-trafficked posts of 2006 (and all time)


What were the most-clicked posts on BoingBoing this year? Ken Snider, BoingBoing's sysadmin extraordinaire, dug into the stats to find out. Between that and our keyword logs, one thing is clear -- we really need to be doing more posts about britney spears' naked mesothelioma ipod video lesbian kissing torrents.

While we don't currently have a reliable way to determine which items were in fact most read by human eyeballs (or cyclops kitten eyball, for that matter), Ken did calculate which permalink urls received the most traffic. Here they are:

Top visited permalinks in 2006 (Stories from 2006 only):

(1) StarForce threatens to sue Cory: Link (669,311)
(2) Adorable cyclops kitten: Link (305,773)
(3) NBC nastygrams YouTube over "Lazy Sunday": Link (191,513)
(4) Facebook prank on police: Link (165,773)
(5) Anti-copying malware installs itself with dozens of games: Link (154,139)
(6) Coldplay's new CD has rules: No MP3s, no DVD players, no car stereos: Link (147,720)
(7) Diet Coke + Mentos = Rapid Carbonic Geyser: Link (141,649)
(8) Rumsfeld resignation summarized in Mac OSX screenshot: Link (139,487)
(9) Stephen Colbert kicks ass at White House press corps dinner: Link (136,691)
(10) SNL Natalie Portman gangsta video, braindead NBC: "viral" = "borrowed": Link (122,316)

Top visited permalinks in 2006 (Stories from all years):

(1) Microsoft "Genuine Advantage" cracked in 24 hours: Link (1,176,966)
(2) StarForce threatens to sue Cory: Link (669,311)
(3) HOWTO get something posted to Boing Boing: Link (371,114)
(4) Five years' worth of Boing Boing posts in one file!: Link (315,143)
(5) Adorable cyclops kitten: Link (305,773)
(6) BoingBoing traffic stats are back: Link (304,182)
(7) NBC nastygrams YouTube over "Lazy Sunday": Link (191,513)
(8) Solving and creating captchas with free porn: Link (173,134)
(9) Facebook prank on police: Link (165,773)
(10) Boing Boing has a linking policy: Link (155,332)

Ken adds,

Some other interesting stats for 2006:

  • There were 53,356,288 requests for the main page
  • The various RSS/Atom feeds were served 144,949,688 times
  • There were 385,629 views of BB's "Defeating Censorware" page
  • Reader comments: Michael Mason says,

    Below are a list of some early posts I found while perusing the archives:

  • Somebody is launching an encyclopedia: Link
  • First mention of Cory: Link
  • Mark disses Hunter S. Thompson: Link
  • Cory's first post: Link
  • Cory's First Haunted Mansion mention: Link
  • 400 Visitors a day: Link
  • Pesco's First Post: Link
  • Welcome Xeni: Link
  • Giant arctic ice shelf liberated by climate change

    Iceberg liberation activists, rejoice! Scientists reported yesterday that an enormous ice shelf the size of 11,000 football fields has finally broken free from Canada's Arctic:
    The mass of ice broke clear 16 months ago from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 800 kilometers (497 miles) south of the North Pole, but no one was present to see it in Canada's remote north. Scientists using satellite images later noticed that it became a newly formed ice island in just an hour and left a trail of icy boulders floating in its wake.
    Link to AP story, here's a related CNET post, here's a related item about how such changes may help rid the world of notoriously unfriendly polar bears, who aren't all that much fun at parties because their breath smells like blubber: Link.

    Reader comment: Madeleine Begun Kane responds:

    Ode To A Former Canadian Ice Shelf
    By Madeleine Begun Kane

    An ice shelf’s collapsed in the ocean.
    Global warming’s far more than a notion
    Dreamed up by Al Gore,
    Though some wish to ignore
    All the changes that greed’s set in motion.

    Link

    A tale of two social newsfilter sites: Digg and Newstrust

    Howard Rheingold says, "This San Jose Mercury News story compares the well-known and for-profit Digg with the lesser-known and probably far more important not-for-profit Newstrust." Excerpt:

    Two years ago, the inspiration for creating a Web site for news junkies hit two men with vastly different ambitions. One hoped to make boat-loads of money. The other dreamed of enriching American democracy by identifying trusted news sources hidden in the deluge of information available online. The latter turned out to be the tougher task.

    Fabrice Florin, a successful technologist and a veteran of Apple Computer, launched the beta version of NewsTrust.net last month after turning 50 and deciding it was time to give something back to society.

    Florin had founded three for-profit companies, but feared that if he focused on profits with NewsTrust "the public interest would get cheated.'' So he raised a small amount of money from donors and funded the rest himself.

    Meanwhile, Kevin Rose, 27-year-old host of an obscure cable TV tech show, lost no time in launching Digg.com in October 2004. Rose's site lets people give a thumb's up or a thumb's down to stories other users had found on the Web and submitted to Digg.

    Link. Image: Newstrust founder Fabrice Florin (Joanne Ho-Young Lee / Mercury News)

    In defense of Noka: a monkey argues for fine chocolate


    Internet celebrity monkey ("i'm small, i'm terry cloth, and i think i have a nice personality!") weighs in on the internet fistfight over luxury chocolate brand Noka (Previous BB post: Link). There's an interesting thread on this over at food forum "chocolateandzucchini" today: Link. Monkey's rebuttal after the jump.

    Read the rest

    DIY centrifuge weapon from 1963 Popular Mechanics


    BoingBoing reader Ted read our post yesterday on the Dubious Centrifuge Weapon, and says,

    It immediately made me race down to the basement to my pile of old Popular Mechanics, specifically the November 1963 issue. I scanned it am sharing it here for BoingBoing readers. Now we can all build our own little electric centrifuge cannons! ;)
    JPEG Link to complete scan (cropped, downsized image shown in this post)

    Previously on BB:

  • Silent but deadly: DREAD centrifuge-powered weapon
  • Centrifuge as a weapon (2005)

    Reader comment: anonymous says,

    That reminded me of this site, with a How-To on building a BB machine gun that uses a centrifugal chamber to accelerate the BBs: Link.
  • More on Google and the case of the disappearing sexblogs

    Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land has published a detailed, thoroughly researched analysis of technical factors behind this week's case of the missing sex blogs.

    Link to his post, which is very instructive reading for any blogger or website owner -- not just "adult" -- who wants to ensure their site is properly ranked in Google and other search engines. Background for the story on BoingBoing here and here.

    Antique Denver blizzard photos


    BB reader Mike says,

    I like the pictures of a 1913 Denver blizzard that Flickr user etching has posted in his stream. (Just in his stream, not grouped, unfortunately.) It's a kind of silent editorial on the thousands and thousands of pics of the current mess. I didn't know that the buried car shot was actually a hundred years old, but I suspected as much. And I wish people still sledded down 8th Ave.
    Link

    Previously on BB:

  • Snowed-in Denver airport viewed from above (photo)
  • Great roadside signs of Denver
  • Guide to suburban Denver subdivision names
  • Defensetech's top 20 posts of 2006

    Noah Shachtman at Defensetech rounds up 20 of the year's most memorable posts about military technology:
    (1) Clowns Sabotage Nuke Missile
    On Tuesday morning, a retired Catholic priest and two veterans put on clown suits, busted into a nuclear missile launch facility, and began beating the silo cover with hammers, in an attempt to take the Minuteman III missile off-line. Seriously.

    (2) Look Out, Pyongyang? Rail Gun in the Works
    One of the big selling points of the Navy's new destroyer is that it can rain a whole lot of hell -- 20 rocket-propelled artillery shells, in less than a minute -- on targets up to 63 nautical miles away... But really, that's the start. The ship's real power will come when it moves away from chemical powders to shoot its projectiles -- and starts relying on electromagnetic fields to shoot projectiles almost six kilometers/second, instead.

    Link to full list.

    Web Zen: New Year's Eve music zen

  • interweb medley
  • brooklynradio
  • cover songs
  • stairway to heaven
  • etherbeat
  • hawaiian warchant special
  • zoe radio
  • on the download
  • 90hz
  • tim westwoood soundboard
  • exopolis mixtape
  • designer mixtape
  • tunefind

    Web Zen Home, Store (Thanks Frank!)

  • HOWTO make Green Eggs and Ham


    I do not like them on a website.
    I do not like them day or night.
    I do not like green eggs and ham.
    I do not like them, Sam-I-am.
    Link, and background here: Link. (Thanks, Michale)

    Previously on BoingBoing:

  • Green-glowing pigs
  • Dr. Seuss taxidermy
  • Dr Seuss's anti-malaria GI comic
  • Dr. Seuss' "Gerald McBoing Boing" on MP3
  • More BB posts on Dr. Seuss and Theodor Geisel

    Reader comment: Mike says,

    As a side note, it is somewhat interesting to note that green eggs can be made without the use of food coloring. A little grape jelly will have the same effect (although not as profound).

    Grape juice (and a number of other fruits and vegetables) contain molecules that act as a sort of litmus test. The molecules change pigment based on the PH of their environment. In the case of egg whites, it turns green (indicating a PH > 7). Link to New Scientist article.

    Nick says,
    Bob (The Surreal Gourmet) Blumer made a slightly more appetising 'Green Eggs and Ham' with prosciutto and 'Eggs' made from cantaloupe (for the green 'white') and honeydew (for the 'yolk'). Not a very literal interpretation, but one I'd rather see on my breakfast plate. Link.
    Michelle says,
    There was a fantastic cafe in Mt Eden (Auckland, New Zealand) called Solla Sollew that offered green eggs and ham. Their version was 'green' simply by covering it a fresh herb pesto. It was absolutely delicious and I haven't tasted anything quite as good since.

    The cafe itself was delightful, large artworks of Seuss characters around the walls, trippy murals on the toilet walls and on the outside of the building, Seuss books available to read, kids and dogs welcome. A real community-minded cafe which was closed by the new owners after 1 month and turned into yet another boring textbook cafe. The one thing that remains is the exterior mural (link). It makes me smile every time I see it. Link.

  • World's largest superconducting magnet

     Press Pressreleases Releases2006 Images Pr17.06
    Located at CERN in Switzerland, this superconducting magnet will generate the magnetic field for a particle detector at the Large Hadron Collider, the shiny new particle accelerator slated to switch on next November. Among other experiments, the Collider may enable scientists to finally observe the Higgs boson, aka the "God Particle," the long-theorized particle thought to give all other particles their masses.
    Link (via Scientific American)

    Previously on BB:
    • QTVR of Large Hadron Collider at CERN Link
    • Betting on the big questions of physics Link
    • Math proves you can stop table-wobbling by rotating Link
    • Antihydrogen created at CERN Link

    Vintage articles about living dinosaur hunts

    Mkole At Cryptomundo, Loren Coleman has posted scans of beautiful 1910s-1920s newspaper lay outs about the Mokele-mbembe, a dinosaur-like creature thought by some to still be alive in Africa.
    Link

    Previously on BB:
    • New search for living dinosaurs Link
    • Creationist Dr. Dino goes to jail Link

    UPDATE: Loren has now posted readable PDFs of the articles plus others. Link

    Berlin hacker fest talks include Apple FileVault analysis


    Jacob Appelbaum updates us on what's happening at the annual Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin this week:

    Ralf-Philipp Weinmann and I (with special guest hacker David Hulton) will be giving our talk "Unlocking FileVault - An analysis of Apple's encrypted disk storage system" ( Link )

    Stream the video from Saal 1 at 11:30AM CET on December 29th (today!) in mp4, wmv, ogg video and ogg audio format.

    Check out the CCC wiki for general streaming information at the 23c3.

    If you're interested in FileVault ( Link ) this talk will present information never previously discussed.

    A code release with slides will be available here after the talk is finished: Link.

    I also wanted to send some other links of talks that are coming up at the congress... These are going to be amazing!

    * Amit Singh - Software Protection and the TPM ( Link )
    * Thierry Zoller & Kevin Finistere - Bluetooth Hacking Revisited ( Link )
    * George Danezis - An Introduction to Traffic Analysis ( Link )
    * Lawrence Lessig - On Free, and the Differences between Culture and Code ( Link )
    * Luis Miras - Automated Exploit Detection in Binaries ( Link )
    * Tina Lorenz - Pornography and Technology ( Link )
    * Johannes Grenzfurthner - "We are great together, the liberal society and its enemies!" ( Link )
    * Mitch Altman - TV-B-Gone ( Link )
    * Fox Magrathea & Autumn Tyr-Salvia - Culture Jamming & Discordianism ( Link )

    Image: Jacob Appelbaum.

    Previously on BB:
    To do in Berlin: 23rd Chaos Communication Congress
    Hacker-con videos: "150 hours of hardcode nerd education."
    Chaos Computer Club hacker con in Berlin (2005)

    Report: HD-DVD copy protection defeated

    BoingBoing reader Gunther says,
    On the doom9 forums there is news of a new tool to decrypt HDDVD's. How you get the key is not yet clear but there is a promise to have a tool to get the needed key later. (check the #9 post in the thread): Link, and related coverage at the Inquirer UK.
    Here is the instructional video posted by muslix64, the person who claims credit: Link. muslix64 says,
    I was not aware of anyone having done that, so I did. Have a look. The AACS copy protection system is realy Unbreakable! The program is a simple implementation of the aacs crypto protocol freely available on the net. No reverse engineering! Stay tuned for source code soon! Merry Christmas everyone!

    Snip from Reuters coverage:

    A hacker known as Muslix64 posted on the Internet details of how he unlocked the encryption, known as the Advanced Access Content System, which prevents high-definition discs from illegal copying by restricting which devices can play them.

    The AACS system was developed by companies including Walt Disney Co., Intel Corp., Microsoft Corp., Toshiba Corp. and Sony Corp. to protect high-definition formats, including Toshiba's HD-DVD and Sony's Blu-ray.

    Muslix64 posted a video and decryption codes showing how to copy several films, including Warner Bros' "Full Metal Jacket" and Universal Studios' "Van Helsing," on a popular hacker Internet blog and a video-sharing site.

    The hacker also promised to post more source code on January 2 that will allow users to copy a wider range of titles.

    Link.

    Reader comment: A.V. points out that the HD-DVD DRM crack is not a crack -- but a hack that will stop working pretty soon:

    Note that AACS has not been broken. All they did was copy the key from memory off WinDVD's software. Yes, this will let you copy HD-DVD for now, until the manufacturers revoke the key in the next batch of HD-DVD pressings. WinDVD will either have to get a new key or might get their licence canceled entirely, ending the product.

    Of course if they get a new key, then it can be copied from memory again unless they start encrypting it in memory and then this program is useless.

    So "backup" your HD-DVD's while you can, in a few months this program will be useless on newer releases.

    Fake moon dirt

    Short on real moondust to study, NASA scientists are planning to manufacture huge amounts of fake moon dirt. Apparently, the now-dwindling samples acquired during the Apollo missions aren't nearly enough to test how machinery will act on the lunar surface. As a result, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has contracted with aerospace R&D firm ORBITEC to manufacture 16 tonnes of three varieties of simulated moon dirt. From NASA Express Science News:
     Headlines Y2006 Images Truefake Agglutinate "We need tons of it, mainly for working on technologies for diggers and wheels and machinery on the surface," adds David S. McKay, chief scientist for astrobiology at the Johnson Space Center (JSC)...

    Source materials used to produce the three simulants will potentially come from locations as diverse as Montana, Arizona, Virginia, Florida, Hawaii, and even some international sites.

    Initial lots will weigh just tens of pounds to ensure that the simulant is made correctly. "Eventually we will scale up to larger quantities when we can make sure that there is little variation from batch to batch," (NASA program manager Carole) McLemore said.

    Once NASA understands how to make the various simulants, plans are to farm the work out to companies to produce larger batches. "We will have certification procedures in place for vendors to follow so users know that the simulants meet the NASA standards," McLemore said.
    Link (Thanks, Paul Saffo!)

    Japan's dogs by design: cute mutants with genetic disorders

    Snip from New York Times article by Martin Fackler on the downsides of extreme inbreeding of pets in Japan:
    Rare dogs are highly prized here, and can set buyers back more than $10,000. But the real problem is what often arrives in the same litter: genetically defective sister and brother puppies born with missing paws or faces lacking eyes and a nose.

    There have been dogs with brain disorders so severe that they spent all day running in circles, and others with bones so frail they dissolved in their bodies. Many carry hidden diseases that crop up years later, veterinarians and breeders say.

    reg-free Link to story. Above, a mutant Japanese chihuahua bred so that its fur will have a blue hue. Eh, whatever. But how do they taste?

    Second Life: Shirky pokes more holes in sloppy press coverage

    Clay Shirky tells BoingBoing,
    Earlier this month, I wrote something about the uncritical reception Linden Labs was getting for its Total Residents figure. Turns out even I was not skeptical enough, and I put up a second piece digging a bit deeper.

    The term Residents is even more inflated than I first thought, as something like 20% of the most recent million Residents have never been counted logging in.

    The press reaction to Second Life was also more credulous than I knew. Linden is guilty of promoting a misleading figure, but the reporters covering Second Life are guilty of converting that figure into an outright falsehood:

    Like a push-up bra, Linden's trick is as effective as it is because the press really, really wants to believe...

  • "It has a population of a million." -- Richard Siklos, New York Times
  • "In the Internet-based virtual world known as Second Life, for instance, more than 1 million citizens have created representations of themselves known as avatars..." -- Michael Yessis, USA TODAY
  • "Since it started about three years ago, the population of Second Life has grown to 1.2 million users." -- Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN
  • "So far, it's signed up 1.3 million members." -- David Kirkpatrick, Fortune

    Professional journalists wrote those sentences. They work for newspapers and magazines that employ (or used to employ) fact-checkers. Yet here they are, supplementing Linden's meager PR budget by telling their readers that Residents measures something it actually doesn't.

  • Link to Clay's coverage at Valleywag, and read also "Give Me Laser Guns" -- brilliant: Link.

    MSFT PR-donated Vista laptop on eBay, proceeds go to EFF

    Microsoft sent a bunch of laptops running Vista to bloggers, resulting in much debate on the internets (oh, hell, what doesn't result in much debate on the internets?). Anyway, Scott Beale, one of the recipients, says:
    Laughing Squid is auctioning off the controversial Acer Ferrari 1000 Windows Visa laptop that was sent to Laughing Squid by Microsoft, AMD and Edelman. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to EFF.
    Link, and here's background on the brouhaha: Link.

    Nerdcore shows in Vegas, January 8-9


    Above, the lovely Miss MC Router (alternate link). Doesn't look like she's on the lineup, but she rocks.

    MC Plus+ tells BoingBoing,

    Bring in the year 2007 with performances from your favorite Nerdcore artists. It's happening January 9th and 10th in Las Vegas. Check out this link for details. The super nerdy lineup includes but is not limited to MCeeP, Fanatical, High-C, YTCracker, and of course your boy, MC Plus+ (along with Plus+'s most sworn nemesis, Monzy).
    And here are a bunch of videos featuring those artists and others: Link.

    Previously on BB:

    Nerdcore for Life documentary - trailer
    Response to SNL video "Christmas Box" = "Boobs in a Box"
    Windows Vista: Suicide notes, nerdcore rap MP3
    New MC Plus+ album of nerdcore rapping
    Nerdcore rap: Attack of the Clonefucker
    Nerdcore artists to release nerd-rap compilation disc
    Fuck the MPAA - nerdcore gangsta rap song
    MC Frontalot: Nerdcore rapper

    Reader comment: Doctor Popular says,

    Nerdcore artist Beefy has recently released his new album "Tube Technology" -- Link. Although Beefy won't be performing at any of the Vegas shows, the album features artists such as Drown Radio and MC Router (pictured with her "g33k L1f3" tattoo). Beefy will also be headlining a nerdcore show in Portland the week following CES with TG, Drown Radio and more nerdy rappers.

    Also, there will be a sneak preview of the new Nerdcore For Life documentary at the Consumer Electronics Show as well as performances by several other nerdcore luminaries on the DIVX stage.

    Internet crime predictions for 2007

    Brian Krebs at the Washington Post rounds up assessments from computer security experts about the year ahead in internet-enabled crime:
    Internet users witnessed yet another wave of spam, worms, viruses and other online attacks in 2005, and experts predict the online world will grow even more dangerous this year. Few believe 2007 will be any brighter for consumers, who already are struggling to avoid the clever scams they encounter while banking, shopping or just surfing online. Experts say online criminals are growing smarter about hiding personal data they have stolen on the Internet and are using new methods for attacking computers that are harder to detect.

    "Criminals have gone from trying to hit as many machines as possible to focusing on techniques that allow them to remain undetected on infected machines longer," said Vincent Weafer, director of security response at Symantec, an Internet security firm in Cuptertino, Calif.

    One of the best measures of the rise in cybercrime is junk e-mail, or spam, because much of it is relayed by computers controlled by Internet criminals, experts said. More than 90 percent of all e-mail sent online in October was unsolicited junk mail, according to Postini, an e-mail security firm in San Carlos, Calif. Spam volumes monitored by Postini rose 73 percent in the past two months as spammers began embedding their messages in images to evade junk e-mail filters that search for particular words and phrases. In November, Postini's spam filters, used by many large companies, blocked 22 billion junk-mail messages, up from about 12 billion in September.

    Link to article, and Krebs posts more on this topic in this blog post: Link.

    HOWTO disable your new, RFID-laden US passport

    Smash the crap out of it with a hammer. No, seriously. Snip from Wired Magazine tutorial:
    All passports issued by the US State Department after January 1 will have always-on radio frequency identification chips, making it easy for officials – and hackers – to grab your personal stats. Getting paranoid about strangers slurping up your identity? Here’s what you can do about it. But be careful – tampering with a passport is punishable by 25 years in prison. Not to mention the “special” customs search, with rubber gloves. Bon voyage!
    Link (via Bruce Sterling)

    Battelle revisits his own tech predictions for 2006

    Oh, anyone can prognosticate for the year ahead -- but few have the cojones to look back with a straight face on their own predictions from the year past. BB's business manager John Battelle does exactly that, each year, and here's a snip from his self-critique for 2006:
    As you all know by now, each year I prognosticate, and each year I judge how I did. This year, well, I have to say, if the only thing I got right was that Time was going to put Web 2.0 on the cover ("You" was a proxy for that, trust me), I'd be happy. But overall, I think I did OK, though I was a bit early on many things. Here's the rundown.
    Link to "2006 predictions: How'd I do?"

    Image: Bart Nagel.

    Related posts on Battelle'sSearchblog:
    2006 Predictions
    2005 Predictions
    2005 How I Did
    2004 Predictions
    2004 How I Did