Boing Boing 

Chocolate Christ art exhibit cancelled

Artist Cosimo Cavallaro's 200 pound, milk chocolate sculpture of Christ was to be exhibited next week at Manhattan's Lab Gallery but the Roger Smith Hotel that houses the exhibition space cancelled the show today. After hotel officials bowed to pressure from pissed off Catholics, Gallery director Matt Semler resigned. From the Associated Press (image from Cavallaro's Web site):
 Pics Full ChristfrontpageThe 6-foot sculpture was the victim of "a strong-arming from people who haven't seen the show, seen what we're doing," Semler said. "They jumped to conclusions completely contrary to our intentions."

"In this situation, the hotel couldn't continue to be supportive because of a fear for their own safety," Semler said.

Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon Dailies

Picture 1-52
Stephen Worth, director of ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive says:
Today at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive, video producer John Ellis stopped by with a portfolio case full of original artwork he discovered in a box of memorabilia belonging to the estate of cartoonist Milton Caniff. Unseen for decades, these jaw-droppingly beautiful ink sketches stand as a testament to the genius of Caniff, whose 100th birthday would have been celebrated this year. Caniff drew "Terry & the Pirates" and "Steve Canyon" every day for 54 years, and his draftsmanship was the envy of his peers. But most of all, he was a masterful storyteller. We posted a dozen high resolution scans of original "Steve Canyon" strips, and we''ll be posting more dailies and Sunday pages soon, along with rare photographs that have never been published before.

Alan Graham's life recounted one computer at a time

On Alan Graham's new blog MedHed, he posts photos of every personal computer he's owned over time along with anecdotes that occurred at the time he owen them.
200703301706 Macintosh IIvx

After dropping out of college and spending two years flying airplanes and helicopters (while managing a pizza place), I got a bee in my bonnet to buy a computer. I walked into a store that sold Macintosh computers and walked out $5,000 poorer with an Apple Mac IIvx. It was a pretty big deal because it was the first Mac built to house an internal CD-ROM drive, and the first time I had even seen one.

Through a chance encounter I ended up starting a computer repair and consulting company. In the early days I would often secretly peek into my repair bag at David Pogue's Mac for Dummies book to diagnose my clients problems.

"Ah yes...I think this is a problem with an moment while I look into my bag here....uh huh...yes definitely an extention."

[Note: many years later I had the great privilege to do R&D for the first two versions of David's Missing Manual: OS X book. How funny is that story arc?]

Within a year I was a Mac authorized VAR and Apple Authorized repair technician. And not long after that I was one of the leading digital video experts in the country.


Photos of Burbank fire

200703301616 People are posting their photos of the fire in Burbank, CA on Flickr. This one is by crza. Link

Uri Geller misusing DMCA to remove critical YouTube videos?

According to Brian Flemming of, Uri Geller, who claims to be psychic, has been using the DMCA to force YouTube to remove videos that debunk his stunts (which include bending spoons and locating hidden objects.) By law, only the copyright holder of a video can make a Web site owner remove a video.
The only bright spot is that Geller's actions to suppress criticism may expose him to legal liability (provided that one of his victims has the resources and will to fight this litigious spoon-bender).

His liability? Geller does not apparently own the copyrights to the videos that he demanded YouTube remove.

The DMCA allows copyright owners to file a "takedown notice" with a service provider such as YouTube, provided that the copyright owner swears under penalty of perjury that he or she owns the copyright in question ("I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner of an exclusive right that is infringed").

It appears that on March 23, Geller or his representative filed with YouTube a series of these DMCA takedown notices, which should have included swearing to the stated facts under penalty of perjury. When internet griefer Michael Crook tried this method of critic suppression, it didn't work out too well for him.

You can see one of the videos pulled from YouTube here. Link

Peanut butter disproves evolution

Picture 7-10 MJ Kelly says: "A (serious) Creationist clip showing how peanut butter disproves the theory of evolution. (Query whether it makes a difference if its creamy or with nuts...)"

The video explains that evolutionists claim that energy plus matter sometimes results in the creation of life. But since no one has ever found spontaneously-generated life in a jar of peanut butter, that means that matter plus energy from the sun couldn't have caused life on Earth. That's a grand piece of thinking! Link

Making of Snow White from Pop Sci, 1938

Today on the Modern Mechanix blog, an incredible, five-page spread about the making of Snow White, from the January 1938 issue of Popular Science. Modern Mechanix scans old science mags and posts them in high-res, along with transcripts of the articles, so that they're machine searchable. It's my favorite old-magazine blog ever. Link

Papercraft R2-D2 mailboxen

Bonnie sez, "With R2-D2 mailboxes popping up across America, thanks to the U.S Postal Service and Lucasfilm, fans can celebrate 30 years of Star Wars and mail letters at the same time. But if you can't find a R2-D2 mailbox near you, make this cool papercraft 3-D model of the mailbox for your action figures. Just print out this handy PDF on sturdy paperstock and follow the directions to make your very own mini R2-D2 mailbox!" Link (Thanks, Bonnie!)

See also: R2D2 mailboxes from the US Postal Service

1950s outfit knit from old grocery bags

Craft blog has a great feature on the work of Cathy Kasdan, who has knit an entire 1950s ensemble out of old grocery shopping bags:
The dress is all hand knit from grocery bags that were the result of actual trips to the grocery store. As soon as I told people I could use their old bags for a project they brought them in by the bag full, I received thousands! The plastic grocery bag came about in the 1950's along with futuristic optimisim about America, so I made a "typical" 1950's ensemble complete with pillbox hat and purse, not pictured. I am going to have my pieces in an art show on recycled art at the School of Art Gallery in downtown Kent along with a group of other people beginning April 19th.

NYT changes, back-dates article after Wikipedia fact-checkers find error

JFarber sez,
On 3/27, someone submitted a question to the Wikipedia Reference Desks (where I volunteer) asking about what seemed like a silly claim in a NYT health article published that same day.

The article, which summarized a recent panel study on the health benefits of beverages, claimed that it was illegal to fortify soy milk with Vitamin D, and, because soy milk did not contain calcium, that the soy milk was not recommended as a substitute for cow's milk.

The NYT reported that claim as true, and used it to close their article.

Over the next 24 hours, the ref desk volunteers (including myself) followied the info back to its source, dicovered that the error was due to the original study's citation of a 1971 article on this point (which seems like pretty bad science, given how much nutritional laws have changed in that time)...and further tracked down plenty of evidence on both the public online documents of the Federal Register and on our own shelves which showed this claim to be absolutely false.

Wednesday night, I sent a letter to the NYT.

Sometime yesterday, the entire last section of the NYT article, which (according to the NYT website) was NYT's most emailed article for the last two days, was changed to the following sentence:

Read the rest

TSA missed 90% of bombs at Denver airport

Undercover agents were able to slip bombs and IEDs past the Transport Security Agency checkpoint at Denver airport 90 percent of the time. Last time I was in Denver, the eagle-eyed agent was able to spot and confiscate my toothpaste, and of course, my suitcase arrived damaged, contents filthy, having been pawed at by a TSA goon and then improperly closed. These eagle-eyed guardians of freedom are so obsessed with making sure that we're all sharing our foot-funguses with each other on while our shoes go through the X-ray machine that they can't actually find actual bombs.

It's great that the TSA devotes all its energies to stopping the kind of ridiculous terrorist attacks that don't work, like shoe bombs and moisture bombs. Makes me feel much safer. I sleep better knowing that four-year-olds whose names sound vaguely like some terrorist's possible alias are kept off our planes.

In one test, sources told 9NEWS an agent taped an IED to her leg and told the screener it was a bandage from surgery. Even though alarms sounded on the walk-through metal detector, the agent was able to bluff her way past the screener...

Dzakovic was a Red Team leader from 1995 until September 11, 2001. After the terrorist attacks, Dzakovic became a federally protected whistleblower and alleged that thousands of people died needlessly. He testified before the 9/11 Commission and the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the US that the Red Team "breached security with ridiculous ease up to 90 percent of the time," and said the FAA "knew how vulnerable aviation security was."

Dzakovic, who is currently a TSA inspector, said security is no better today.

"It's worse now. The terrorists can pretty much do what they want when they want to do it," he said.

Link (Thanks, Bolder X!)

Open Rights Group party in London, 11 April

On April 11, the Open Rights Group is having a party/raffle in London. ORG is a group I co-founded that works to preserve online freedom in the United Kingdom, and they've done amazing work since (I can't take any credit for that -- it's all down to ORG's incredible volunteers and supporters, as well as its executive directors, Suw Charman and Becky Hogge) -- they were instrumental in slaying the proposal to extend copyright on phonorecords by another 45 years. That's the first time (that I know of) that a proposal to extend copyright has been defeated!

The ORG party is a chance for people who care about this stuff to get to know each other, and there are some great items up for raffle. I'm selling off naming rights to a character in Little Brother, my forthcoming young adult novel about hacker kids who fight the American Department of Homeland Security.

It’s less than two weeks until Support ORG! (and Party) - the ORG supporter event on the evening of 11 April at Bar Kick, London. To recap - SO!(aP) is a chance for ORG supporters to meet one another, and we’re asking each ORG supporter to bring at least one friend who they think would like to support ORG if they knew more about our work. The event will feature “public domain” music, remixed visuals and free culture goodie bags - truly an evening not to be missed.

And I’m pleased to announce that our very special guest speaker will be ORG’s pledge founder - Danny O’Brien - who is flying in to the UK from his EFF outpost in San Francisco. What’s more, we’ve got even more treats to add to the ORG raffle - a signed copy of Code 2.0 from Lawrence Lessig, £150 in O’Reilly book vouchers and… wait for it… a signed copy of the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property! But remember, you don’t get a chance to win anything, if you don’t buy a ticket (£2.50 each - available now via Paypal or on the night for cold, hard cash).

We want as many people as possible to come and join us for this event, so please spread the word. See you there!


Canada's copyright czar's boomerang tantrum at Museum Assoc meeting

On Thursday, Bev Oda (Canada's besieged Heritage Minister) disgraced herself by storming out of a Canadian Museums Association lunch where she was the speaker. After her talk, the group's president gave her a boomerang and delivered a little speech about how her campaign promises would always come back to her. She refused to accept the boomerang and left without comment.

Bev Oda is the Heritage Minister -- that means that her job is to provide support for Canada's cultural institutions, like museums. It's completely unacceptable for her to storm out of the room when these people (whom she is paid to keep happy) tell her that she needs to do a better job. What is she, a six year old?

This is just the latest in a string of shameful Oda incidents. When she was running for election, she financed her campaign by soliciting donations from multinational and American entertainment companies -- the same companies it would be her job to regulate, should she be elected. Then she got caught taking money from those same companies after she was elected, and was forced to give it back. She's granted entertainment companies extraordinary access while shunning actual artists' groups. Most recently, she spent thousands of tax-dollars on a fleet of limos to chauffeur her and her staffers around (the small, walkable city of) Halifax during an awards show.

As a politician, Oda is a disgrace. Of course we'll fire her during the next election -- but it seems a sure thing that her buddies from the entertainment industry will give her a cushy job once she's kicked out of office. Like Jabba the Hutt once said, she's their kind of scum.

So, to hammer home the association's impatience, the group's president, Calvin White, tried to present a boomerang to the minister to show that her election promise has come back to haunt her and must now be honoured.

Oda refused to accept the boomerang. The atmosphere grew tense...

Oda left, without comment, immediately after the boomerang incident.

Link (via Michael Geist)

See also:
Youtube vid sends up Bev Oda, Canadian copyright czar
Canada's copyright czar and the taxpayer-funded limos Canadian copyright czar forced to turn away industry bribes
Can. Heritage Minister's election was funded by entertainment co's
Canada's about to have a copyright disaster
Canadian Heritage Minister Oda in the pocket of recording execs
Hollywood's Canadian Member of Parliament
Canadian copyright minister caught lining pockets


Diodesex: macro-focus photos of electrical diodes bent into tiny pornographic scenes. NSFW Link (ZOMG you got me fired from my job in the diode secks factory!) (via Monochrom)

Update: Jake sez, "While the heads are Light Emitting Diodes, the ecstatic bodies are in fact resistors."

Pencils made from cremated humans

Artist Nadine Jarvis can fabricate pencils from carbon left over by incinerating human remains -- it's part of a larger "research project into post mortem." She notes that "240 pencils can be made from an average body of ash - a lifetime supply of pencils for those left behind." Link (via Cribcandy)

Doctor Who meets the Beatles, 1965

The Beatles had a guest appearance on Doctor Who in 1965 -- singing "Ticket to Ride." Afterwards, a traveller from the future remarks that she's heard of the Beatles, having visited their memorial in Liverpool, but that she didn't realize that the Beatles also performed "classical music." This is black-and-white Doctor Who comedy gold. Link (via Making Light)

Update: David sez, "The original recording of that particular Beatles performance has been lost along with a lot of the BBC library which was tragically thrown out in a great video tape purge in the 1970s. That Doctor Who footage is now the only visual record of that performance."

Otters holding hands

Otterhands Here's a video of sea otters holding hands that will make your teeth hurt.
Awwww (Thanks, Lindasy Tiemeyer!)

History of the Light Bulb photo exhibit

 Exhibitions 2007 2007 04 Images The Lamps Of 1900
Photographer Catherine Wagner spent two years in residence at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. While there she photographed selections from the museum's collection of more than 50,000 historic light bulbs. The resulting series, titled A Narrative History of the Light Bulb, opened yesterday at San Francisco's Stephen Wirtz Gallery and runs through April 28. A reception for the artist is scheduled for Thursday, April 5, 5:30-7:30pm. The beautifully minimalist and sculptural photographs are also viewable online. Seen here, The Lamps of 1900 (Lambda Print, 33.9 x 18.4 inches, 2006).
Link (Thanks, John Tarrant!)

Floppy drive bound into a book

Jim sez, "I am a book conservator, book artist, and author. In 1993, I made a 'book' using a floppy drive from my first computer (circa 1983 Leading Edge), binding the drive with the printed text of a short essay on the topic, the same text on the floppy in the disk drive" Link (Thanks, Jim!)

RU Sirius interviews psychedelic researcher

10 Zen Monkeys has a highly informative interview with Jag Davies from MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies). Davies runs through all the latest information on legal psychedelic studies and experimentation. (Those Monkeys also toss out some really funny stoner jokes.) The interview, covering pot, ecstasy, psilocybin, ibogaine, ketamine, and LSD, ran first on the RU Sirius Show.
RU: So a while back, MAPS got approval for a study in MDMA (ecstasy) assisted psychotherapy. Where are we at with that?

JAG: It's almost over. They've treated 15 out of 20 patients. It's very slow. There are lots of pre-conditions for the study because it's such a controversial substance. But the results are ridiculous. Their CAPS score—(CAPS is the Clinician Administered PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] Scale) is about five times higher than in treating chronic treatment-resistant patients with Zoloft... And there are a whole other slew of studies that are sort of copying this one that we're doing in a bunch of other places like Switzerland, and Israel, just to be sure.

JEFF: So does it look like MDMA is going to become something that's used pharmaceutically?

JAG: After careful analysis, we decided that MDMA is probably the most likely of any psychedelic drug to get approved. First of all, it has a very gentle sort of pharmacological profile.

But the other reason is… because it was so demonized by the government in the 1980s and 1990s, there has been hundreds of millions of dollars of research done into its risks. So they've done all the work for us!

RU: You mentioned a comparison to Zoloft, the implication being that MDMA could be an effective anti-depressant.

JAG: The difference is that MDMA is not used on a daily basis…

JEFF: What kind of dosage did they use? Was it comparable to a street hit?

JAG: Actually, it's a bit larger than a street hit. It's 125 milligrams pure. And then we actually got approval about halfway through the study to make a couple of changes. One of them was to take a booster dose, basically, although we call it a "supplemental" dose. They take another 60 milligrams about an hour and half into it.

JEFF: You're not calling it "a bump"? (laughter)


Guide Horse sneakers designed by blind people

Don sez, "I'm a volunteer for the Guide Horse foundation, and our blind guide horse users have been very creative in choosing shoes for their ponies, creating sneakers, boots and dress shoes. Since our users are blind, they cannot see how they look to sighted people, but they have lots of fun crafting shoes!" Link (Thanks, Don!)

Melting North Pole sends buried watch to Denmark

Axlrosen sez, "A wristwatch buried in the ice at the North Pole three years ago was found by a boy more than 1,800 miles away after it floated ashore on the Faeroe Islands."
Niels Jakup Mortensen, 11, spotted a black box near his home on Suduroy, the Faeroes' southernmost island, his mother Anna Jacobsen said. Inside, she said, was a watch that had been buried at the North Pole by Joergen Amundsen, a descendant of Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen.

Jacobsen said the watch discovered by her son earlier this month was still working, and was accompanied by a letter from Joergen Amundsen. "It was so unbelievable," she said. "It had been buried in the North Pole."

Link (Thanks, Axlrosen)

How the RIAA decides whom to sue

Brian from the comedy site BBSpot sez, "Since the RIAA seems to sue everyone, I created a flowchart which shows how they make their decisions. Or at least how I imagine it to be." This is some funny (and plausible) stuff! Link (Thanks, Brian!)

RSS-I - an RSS feed for your decisions

Matt Webb gave the morning keynote today at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology conference in San Diego. His talk (From Pixels to Plastic) was a whirlwind tour through amazing and funny ideas (he opened by seeing how long he could stare at us, smiling, without cracking up).

But the wow moment for me was when he talked about a notional kind of RSS reader -- an "RSS-I" reader, for interactive RSS. The idea is to take all the little decisions that all the services you use have asked you to make (Amazon recommends a book, your mailing list wants you to approve a post, Flickr wants you to add a buddy, your blog wants you to approve some comments) and stream them into a special reader, so that they're all in one place, and you can keep track of your decisions, make them in one go, and not have to run all over the Web.

This hasn't been built, but the second Matt mentioned it, I had that galvanic feeling, that feeling of, "I need this, I didn't know it, but I need this. I really, really need this."

Webb said a lot of fantastic stuff this morning (he demoed a little plastic robot that falls over when your friends go off IM and stands up when they come back online), but this one really floored me.

Update: Here's some more links: Matt's slides, The RSS-I slide, Matt's blog post on RSS-I

See also:
Boing Boing audio interview with Mind Hacks editor Matt Webb
Brain Hacks: Overclock your amygdala
Ruminations on a bee
Futurism, fictional and science fictional - rambling and inspiring

Marijuana isn't kosher for Passover

Israel's pro-marijuana party has just announced that it believes that pot isn't kosher for Passover:
Biblical laws prohibit eating leavened foods during Passover, replacing bread with flat crackers called matza. Later injunctions by European rabbis extended those rules to forbid other foods like beans and corn, and more recent rulings have further expanded the ban to include hemp seeds, which today are found in some health oils _ and in marijuana.

Green Leaf is a small political party that supports the legalization of marijuana. Although it is by no means a Jewish religious authority, the group decided to warn its observant supporters away from the drug on Passover.

Link (Thanks, WizardMi!)

Update: Carl sez, "students are giving up MySpace for Lent."

Goldfish live in a deep-fat fryer

A Japanese restaurant has combined a deep-fat fryer with a functional goldfish tank -- the boiling oil floats on the surface of the cool water, and the fish get to eat all the crumbs of batter that dribble down.
Because oil floats on water, despite the massive heat (163 degrees Celsius) the goldfish simply stay away from the surface and all is well. They eat the crumbs of croquettes and other fried foods that fall to the bottom, and can live in there for 5-10 years as they happily clean away, ignorant to the fact that certain death awaits any potential escapees.
Link (via Kottke)

Update: Tamyu sez, "The actual video isn`t about the fish - in fact, they are only temporarily in the tank to demonstrate that it is really water. I assume they were removed after the segment. The real topic is the new design for an industrial deep fryer. By putting water in the bottom of the fryer and suspending the heating element above, the oil lasts longer. The crumbs are not sinking down and being burnt as with an oil only fryer. It also prevents the sort of explosion that normally happens when water and hot oil are combined. The water sinks down past the heating element and into the cooler vat before it has the chance to explosively boil. The goal is to reduce oil spending and make the deep fryer safer for employees."

Cory's signing tonight in San Diego at Mysterious Galaxy

A reminder to those in San Diego: I'm doing a drop-in signing and meet-and-greet tonight at 6:30PM at the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore. They've got a stack of copies of Overclocked (my new short story collection) in stock. I hope to see you there!
When: Thursday, March 29: 6:30-7PM
Where: Mysterious Galaxy Books, 7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite #302, San Diego, CA 92111, 858.268.4747

Google's driving direx from New York to Dublin, Ireland

Hilarious: ask Google Maps for driving directions from New York to Dublin, Ireland and they'll give them to you, including this step, "Swim across the Atlantic Ocean 3,462 mi." Weirdly, they instruct you to swim to France, drive the Chunnel to England, then take a ferry back to Ireland. Surely there's a more efficient totally impossible route? Link (via Kottke)

Update: Dave sez, "Of course, you'd have to swim about 4.9mph for 29 continuous days to achieve this time. Considering that the worlds fastest swimming records (in a 50-meter race) are just over 5mph... your mileage may vary!"

Musicians Rock the Net for Net Neutrality

The Rock the Net campaign has rallied rock stars to speak out in support of Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality is the idea that the phone company should just pass along the web-pages, videos and emails you request (which seems like an obviously good idea). The alternative, Net Discrimination, would allow phone companies to hold back or slow down the stuff you ask for, unless the company who's serving it to you has paid them a bribe for "premium service."

A good explanation of this idea comes from Craig "craigslist" Newmark: "Let's say you call Joe's Pizza and the first thing you hear is a message saying you'll be connected in a minute or two, but if you want, you can be connected to Pizza Hut right away."

The Rock the Net campaign, made up mostly of musicians who are on smaller record labels or none at all, said they are fearful that if the so-called "Net neutrality" principle is abandoned their music may not be heard because they do not have the financial means to pay for preferential treatment...

Former musician Jenny Toomey, who is now executive director of the Future of Music Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group for independent musicians, said this issue is so important that it has even attracted some big name artists, such as R.E.M., Sarah McLachlan and even Kronos Quartet, a classical musical string ensemble.

Link (via /.)

Evolutionary computer improves its hardware with genetic algorithms

Techies at the University of Oslo have built an evolutionary computer that changes its design using genetic algorithms to improve performance:
What their hardware does is par up “genes” in the hardware to find the hardware design that is the most effective to accomplish the tasks at hand. Just like in the real world it can take 20 to 30 thousand generations before the system finds the perfect design to solve the problem, but this will happen in just a few seconds compared to the 8-900.000 years it took humans to go through the same number of generations.
Link (via Futurismic)