Boing Boing 

Loren Coleman: No bread, no blog

 Images Coleman As BB readers know, Cryptomundo blogger Loren Coleman has been a generous source of fantastic information on cryptozoology, weird phenomena, copycat violence, and other fascinating topics. Professional cryptozoologists don't make big bucks though, and Loren is now in a tough spot. On a Cryptomundo post yesterday, he announced that he's forced to take a break from blogging due to financial hardship. Last month, Loren's co-blogger at Cryptomundo started a collection to buy Loren a new computer to replace his outdated machine. Now though, Loren writes, "Sorry to sign off folks, but things are not good. Forget about buying a new computer, I’m just struggling to stay online and keep the lights on. I’m serious." This is a bummer. If you'd like to help Loren through donations or by purchasing his books directly, there's more information at his blog. Good luck buddy! We hope to read you online again soon.

Previously on BB:
• Boing Boing Get Illuminated! podcast with Loren Coleman Link
• Loren Coleman profile Link
• Loren Coleman's cryptozoology classics republished Link
• More of Loren Coleman on BB Link

Take a picture in Miami, go to jail

Miami police didn't want a photojournalist named Carlos Miller taking pictures of them, so they arrested him.
200702281859 Miller said that in the next instant, he was surrounded by the officers. One attempted to trip kick him to fall to the ground, but he was concerned about his expensive camera equipment, so he tried not to fall on his face. He heard one officer say “He’s resisting arrest!”

Miller tried to explain he wasn’t, but he’d lost his negotiating leverage a few minutes back. He went down hard on one knee. The officers planted (Miller said slammed) his face into the concrete and twisted his wrists and arms behind him to the point of pain.

“They were treating me like I was uncontrollable, a meth addict or something,” he said. “I tried to explain, but one of them said, ‘If you don’t shut up, I’m going to tase you.’”

Miller, at last, shut up.

Link | Link to more info (Thanks, Thomas!)

1955 Nash commercial features modernistic Mickey and Pluto

Picture 2-33 Excellent highly-stylized Mickey and Pluto (Tom Oreb designed?) in this 1955 commercial for the Nash Ambassador. Link (Thanks, Conor!)

Reader comments:

Josh says:

200702281920 I noticed in the recent Mickey re-imaginings lately no love for Minnie. Here's a pic I took recently of some of the more unusual official Disney offerings to be had here in Japan: a Punk Minnie figure and a Gothloli Minnie. They've also released a figure that looks suspiciously like a Paris Hilton version... they love her here. Sad but true.

Amid says:

Tom Oreb was the designer of this spot, and Victor Haboush did background layout and design. On Cartoon Brew last week I posted a hi-res copy of Oreb's original Mickey model sheet that was used to guide the animators on this commercial.

WaPo editorial on jailed Egyptian blogger, and US responsibility

A popular blogger in Egypt named Kareem was sentenced to four years in jail last week for expressing his opinions online. He was one of several bloggers arrested in that country last year. The others were released after being beaten (one was raped) by police, but Kareem was prosecuted, tried in a kangaroo court, then hauled off to jail this past week.

His imprisonment and America's diplomatic ties with Egypt -- they're one of the largest recipients of US aid, about $2 billion a year -- are the subject of an editorial in today's Washington Post. Snip:

The Bush administration has tolerated Egypt's brutal crackdown on domestic dissent and the broader reversal of its democratic spring of 2005 in part because President Hosni Mubarak argues that his adversaries are dangerous Islamic extremists. It's true that the largest opposition movement in Egypt is the Muslim Brotherhood; how dangerous it is can be debated. But what is overlooked is that Mr. Mubarak reserves his most relentless repression not for the Islamists -- who hold a fifth of the seats in parliament -- but for the secular democrats who fight for free elections, a free press, rights for women and religious tolerance.

The latest case in point is a blogger named Abdel Kareem Nabil Soliman, who was sentenced to four years in prison last week on charges of religious incitement, disrupting public order and "insulting the president." A brave and provocative 22-year-old student, Mr. Soliman first achieved notice with postings that denounced riots in Alexandria directed at Egypt's Christian Copt minority. He said the brutality he witnessed was the result of extremist Islamic teachings, in part by his own university, Al-Azhar, which he called "the other face of al-Qaeda." He compared the prophet Muhammad to Israel's Ariel Sharon. And he said Mr. Mubarak was a "symbol of tyranny."

Link to "Blogger on Ice."

Channel 4 News did a video segment on Kareem and other jailed Egyptian bloggers last week -- and the American government's apparent blind eye to human rights abuses by Mubarak's regime: Link (contains graphic images of torture -- YouTube video clips from Egypt ).

Previously on BB:

  • Egypt: blogger Kareem Amer gets 4 years for insulting Islam
  • Complete New Yorker Magazine on a USB hard drive (DRM crippled)

    Gary Peare says: "Levenger has all 80 years of The New Yorker on a USB hard drive on sale for $150!"
    200702281818Now all 4,164 issues and 500,000+ pages of The New Yorker, from its February 21, 1925 debut to April 2006, are available to Levenger customers on one pocket-sized, USB-powered portable hard drive that's about the size of a PDA. You can take this treasury wherever you take your laptop or use your desktop PC or Mac. Enjoy the fastest, easiest access there is to the complete archives of America's grande dame of literary magazines.

    Find virtually anything you're looking for, in any issue, thanks to an indexing system that's simple but thorough. Browse by cover, by author or department, year or week.


    Reader comments:

    Carol says:

    It might be worth adding a footnote that with this product, you are working with a complete DRM'd thing. You cannot even select a sentence or two to quote in a document. (I personally own the 6 DVD set issued prior to the hard drive offering.) So, it's high-quality page images, including the ads. But certain aspects are indeed disappointing.

    In addition, this is not full-text indexed, rather the index reproduces the manual one used at New Yorker offices.

    Mister Jalopy says:
    Having spent a chunk of my life on writing about the Complete New Yorker [here and here], I keep trying to not get sucked back into this hole. Though I didn't crack it in the Mr. Kracman-style of completely disabling the Macrovision, I was able to get it working on a hard drive with some minor SQL changes.

    To be fair to the New Yorker, it is true you can not do a full text search or clip a sentence, but that really has nothing to do with DRM. The Complete New Yorker is image scans only - it was not OCR'd and, as such, there is no text to clip or search. Given the scope of the project, I can't say I blame them.

    The three primary nasty bits to the DVD Complete New Yorker were:

    1) Couldn't load to a HD.

    Ed Klaris, general counsel and Complete New Yorker project manager, stated in a radio interview that loading onto a hard drive was not necessary. That there was more than enough information on one DVD to satisfy the consumer. That swapping was not arduous.

    Seems Ed changed his mind on this one. Great!

    2) Spyware End User License Agreement

    The EULA said they could record what articles you read, in what order, how long on each page, etc. Then, they reserved the right to tie this data to your name/address/phone number and sell it to third parties.

    In a New York Times article that quoted Ed Klaris and myself, Ed stated that the spyware language was included in the EULA by accident.

    3) Macrovision

    Though the EULA states you are allowed to make a back-up copy, the DVD's are protected with Macrovision.

    Although I should know better, I really want the Complete New Yorker. I returned the DVDs, but I just ordered the Levenger HD version.

    If the EULA is still insidious as fuck, I will return it. Ed said it was a mistake, so, hopefully, it is sorted at this point.

    What about Macrovision? What if it is still copy protected? Well, what can I say? That will suck. But it will suck no worse than the protected movies that I buy.

    Previously on Boing Boing:
    Mr Jalopy's love/hate relationship with the Complete New Yorker

    Documentaries on Google Video

    Picture 1-49 Here's a link to the free documentaries on Google Video -- all 3,713 of them, including a 1978 BBC documentary of a road trip with Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman called Fear and Loathing in Gonzovision and a 40-minute documentary about Richard Feynman called The Pleasure of Finding Things Out.

    These days, there are fewer reasons than ever to turn on the television. Link | RSS feed

    Tadpole limb regeneration, human tissue regeneration?

    Researchers have identified the electrical switch that turns on a tadpole's regeneration system so it can grow a new tail or leg. Someday, a detailed understanding of this phenomena could possibly lead to a way to stimulate human tissue regeneration. Michael Levin and his colleagues at the Forsyth Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology in Boston report that a molecular pump that moves protons across the cell membrane, generating a current, is the "master control to initiate the regeneration response." From News@Nature:
    Researchers have known for decades that an electrical current is created at the site of regenerating limbs. Furthermore, applying an external current speeds up the regeneration process, and drugs that block the current prevent regeneration. The electrical signals help to tell cells what type to grow into, how fast to grow, and where to position themselves in the new limb...

    ...The complex networks needed to construct a complicated organ or appendage are already genetically encoded in all of our (human) cells (too) – we needed them to develop those organs in the first place. "The question is: how do you turn them back on?" Levin says. "When you know the language that these cells use to tell each other what to do, you're a short step away from getting them to do that after an injury."

    "Messages from God" must come down from woman's roof

    Estrella Benavides of San Mateo, CA will face fines or jail if she refuses to cover up signs she painted all over her house describing a government conspiracy and her unusual opinions on a variety of other matters. According to the San Mateo City Council, the signs violate city codes. From a San Francisco Chronicle article published before last week's ruling that the signs have to go:
    Estrella Benavides, a 48-year-old woman who lives alone in her yellow house on Cottage Grove Avenue, began painting the giant messages about a year ago, about the time her husband moved out and she lost custody of her son. Last month, she had two large pins inserted through her lips, to keep her from eating as part of a religious fast. God told her to do that, too...

    The messages are a barely intelligible garble involving cloning, abuse, rape, the Mafia, Castro, Hitler, the Constitution, hurricane Katrina, Watergate and President Bush. Link
    From an Associated Press article on Tuesday:
    Benavides, 47, who also broadcasts the messages from a loudspeaker on her car's roof, has said the messages come to her from God through a statue at her church and from the Bible...

    "They're telling me based on the San Mateo sign code that I'm violating the law," Benavides said. "I'm telling them based on the U.S. Constitution that their sign code violates the law. Link (via Fortean Times)

    Escaped animal drill at zoo

    Zoooran As part of an animal escape drill at a Tokyo zoo, workers surrounded an "orangutan" with nets and also practiced knocking it out with faux tranquilizer darts. Click the link for the full Reuters shot.
    Link (Thanks, Paul Saffo!)

    Are you a college student who's received an RIAA letter?

    If you're a student and you've been accused of illicit downloading by the RIAA, I'm working on a report and I'd like to talk with you -- please email

    Eliot van Buskirk at Wired: Listening Post blog has a good roundup of the story here:

    As part of its new initiative to convince universities to turn over the names of students suspected of copyright infringement (more on that soon), the RIAA has launched its website, which, in a deliciously ironic twist, had previously hosted all sorts of ads for dodgy P2P clients.

    On the site, students whose universities have agreed to turn over student names to the RIAA and users whose ISPs have agreed to turn over subscriber names to the RIAA can apply for a settlement by entering their case number, and even pay their settlement online, which the RIAA promises will be represent "a substantial discount" from what they would have had to settle for before this campaign launched.

    Link to the full text of that post, and here's the AP story on the letters sent to college students by the RIAA this week.

    Scan of old decal sheet

    Coop says:
    I was looking for something in my flat files, and found this old decal sheet. It was from an original AMT "Two in One" kit, and somehow survived 40+ years to find its way into my greasy mitts.

    It is so beautiful, I am almost moved to tears. I immediately threw it on the scanner to share with you, O dear reader.


    Reader comment:

    Coop says:

    Picture 3-25 I'm not entirely sure, but I think that this post says that the monster-driving-hot-rod decal I posted looks like the President Of Brazil!

    Head of WIPO lied about his age for 24 years

    The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization -- the richest UN agency, and the source of practically every bad copyright law in the world -- appears to have lied about his age for 24 years. In so doing, he talked his way into a sweetheart job and could have ended up with early retirement and extra severance pay.
    For 24 years since joining the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Director-General Kamil Idris signed numerous documents giving his birth date as 1945, whereas he was born in 1954, the report states.

    Diplomats said the confidential auditors' report, which was completed in last November, was drawn up at the request of the United Nations' independent watchdog, the Joint Inspection Unit...

    The report, according to sources with knowledge of its contents, questions whether the Sudanese official could claim, given his real age, the 10 years senior experience normally needed for the level of post he took on entering the Geneva-based body in 1982.

    There are also issues related to the amount of severance pay he could receive on leaving his job, given the fact that he is 9 years younger than initially stated and so that much further from retirement age, diplomats said.

    Link (via Deep Link)

    Neo-Mickey Mouse cartoon

    Awesome re-imagining of Mickey Mouse by Matthew Cruickshank and Barry Baker. I'm not sure if Disney hired them to do this, but I betting Disney's lawyers are going to get this video yanked from YouTube in short order.
    200702281330 This was fun. The project is in limbo land at the moment so why not share. I tried to make Mickey a bit more contemporary and dare I say it cool, but people seem to be undecided as to it's age target. Is it the pre-schooler or the pot-smoker? Is it the pot-smoking pre-schooler? Who knows -- I just tried to make it different. Barry Baker did the Animation, I did the designs and the storyboard (what story?!).

    Pop-up porn case update

    We've been covering the unfair conviction of substitute teacher Julie Amero, who faces imprisonment for the crime of being present in a classroom equipped with an adware-infected computer. Here's an interesting development in the ongoing story:
    PC World's Steve Bass made a bit of a miscalculation and outed the partial identity of Fred F., a juror in the Amero trial. The email interview in which the juror's screenname was released was initiated by Fred F,. who failed to follow Lincoln's famous rule, "It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool; Rather than open it and remove all doubt."

    I'll let Fred F.'s own words and lack of punctuation speak the volumes that I dare not say.

    "she was pronounced guilty because she made no effort to hide or stop the porno, not just because she loaded the porno onto the machine. Going to the history pages it was obvious that the paged were clicked on they were not the result of pop-ups."

    That statement is in direct conflict with the testimony on record. Amero did everything short of turning off the computer, which she was instructed by a superior not to do. The children from her class testified -- right in front of this juror -- that she did make every effort to hide what was being displayed. He also seems to have picked up the same in-depth knowledge of Internet Explorer possessed by the Norwich police computer expert, which could be defined as; little to none.

    Fred's obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed but, can you blame him? After all, he's a product of the same Connecticut school system that's teaching kids it's OK to send an innocent woman to jail in order to cover your own incompetence.

    As Steve Bass says: "What I've learned from the Amero case is that if you're a teacher, always carry around a large, black trash bag, just in case you need to quickly cover a monitor. Who knows, it may keep you out of jail." Link

    Previously on Boing Boing:
    Take Action: Julie Amero Porn Case
    Teacher faces 40 years for porn in classroom, blames adware
    Teacher faces jail time over "accidental porn" in classroom (Thanks, Jennifer!)

    Reader comment:

    Zan says:

    The Norwich Bulletin is reporting that sentencing has been postponed in the Julie Amero case until March 29th. Which means that there is still plenty of time to get your emails and letters in.

    Asia food trend: "cannibal banquets" - Bogus?

    Vorephiliacs, rejoice! Chop open the humanoid piñata corpse, rip away her skin, then nosh out on what's inside. The wounds you create "bleed" edible blood. Are the genitals jporn mosaicced like that in real life? Link, via Gadling (thanks, paul).

    Reader comments and debate over whether this is (a) real and (b) Japanese follow after the jump.

    Read the rest

    Dow Jones 500-point drop due to failed computer backup?

    Following up on yesterday's story about the 500 point drop in the Dow Jones Industrials, AP now reports that it was caused by a computer glitch compounded by a failover to a backup computer system:
    Dow Jones & Co., the media company that manages the well-known index of 30 blue chip stocks, said it discovered shortly before 2 p.m. that its computers weren't properly handling the day's huge volume in trades at the New York Stock Exchange. It switched to a backup computer, and the result was a massive swoon in the index as the secondary system took over processing shortly before 3 p.m.
    Link (thanks, Jon)

    Fake Bombs in Mall as PSA

    Picture 1-49 Justin says: "Dummy explosives were placed in transparent bags and kept at different locations inside the shopping mall in clear sight of passing crowd."

    Aren't many shopping mall habitués illiterate? Link

    Reader comment:

    Kate says: "Wouldn't those clear plastic bags be the ideal place to hide a bomb in plain view, if one were terroristically inclined?"