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Recordings of concert intermissions

"Favorite Intermissions: Music Before and Between Beethoven, Stravisnky, Holst" is a collection of the ambient intermission sounds--murmurs, coughs, tuning, musical warm-ups--before and after orchestral performances. John Cage would be proud. The compiler, sound artist Christopher DeLaurenti, bootlegged the recordings while attending concerts for seven years. This is his greatest hits from more than 50 recorded hours, presented in 3D binaural audio. John Cage would be proud. From the New York Times, where you can also hear selections from the CD:
 Images Inter “Every composer, every sound artist, every musician, poses a fundamental question to everyone else,” Mr. DeLaurenti said in an interview. “It’s a request to listen. I have faith that in any sound or collection of sounds, music lies therein.

“It does sound crazy,” he continued. “Craziness is the root of many great musical ideas and the source for new ways of listening and considering the world around us..."

Virtually all concert halls ban photography or recording, and contracts with musicians’ unions strictly govern what can be preserved, so Mr. DeLaurenti had to go under cover. He said he was never caught but occasionally drew suspicious looks from ushers.

He honed a technique of often shifting his posture and moving around. “Most people are not observant and rarely look at one thing for longer than 10 seconds,” he said. He also showed unfailing courtesy when questioned. “People don’t want trouble,” he explained.
Link to New York Times, Link to purchase the disc(Thanks, Vann Hall!)

Amazing mystery of the new AACS key leak

Today I had a remarkable conversation with an anonymous tipster who had a fascinating story to tell about the latest AACS key leak:
The world became a little more magical yesterday with the publication of a new "processing key" that can be used to unlock the AACS copy protection on the latest round of HD-DVD movies. This event is remarkable not only for its timing--barely a week after the release of the discs that the key was intended to secure--but also for the clever way in which the key first appeared on the net. Though this second part of the story hasn't received much attention, it deserves to go down in the annals of hacker lore.

The previous processing key, 09 F9 …, began circulating in February being discovered by a hacker named arnezami. With this 128-bit number, anyone could strip the encryption from every HD-DVD title on the market. The key was reposted on thousands of sites, and quickly made it to the front page of Digg. When Digg tried to censor the key in response to DMCA threats from the AACS authorities, users staged a revolt, reposting it in hundreds of creative ways. The movie studios switched to technological countermeasures, and, starting last week, all new HD-DVD titles were modified so that the key couldn't decrypt them. Hackers began furiously searching for a new key.

In the mean time, Ed Felten of Freedom-to-Tinker satirized the idea that someone could have legal rights to a number. He wrote a blog post, "You Can Own an Integer Too," that gives each reader his or her very own randomly generated 128-bit integer. Hundreds proudly posted their shiny new integers in the comments, some humorously threatening legal action against anyone who would copy them:

BC Says:
5D 4A F0 D9 58 04 3B 06 C8 B2 59 85 A1 5D 6A 88

For the record!! This ones mine. You can look but don't touch.
Anonymous Says:
B8 5C 6D 1E 07 F9 AB 5E 0F 0D 48 A5 3B 1F 6B C7

use it and ill sue! be prepared!
Blending in with the rest was this innocuous looking message from a user named BtCB:
BtCB Says:
Here's mine:
45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B2

What are the odds that this is the new processing key?
(Hint for arnezami: uv=00000047)
Of course, the odds are basically zero if the number was chosen at random. You have a better chance of winning the Powerball jackpot four days in a row. So, for more than a week, everyone who read the comment assumed that it was just another joke. But one thing about it was different: the cryptic hint to arnezami, a "uv" number, a pointer to a specific key within the AACS keyspace.

You can probably guess the rest of the story. Eventually someone tipped off arnezami about the strange comment, and he tried using the 45 5F … number to decrypt the new discs. It worked! It really is the new processing key. As a result, all HD-DVDs are open to the public again, at least until new titles can be updated once more.

The next move belongs to the AACS authorities. They're smart enough to know that they can't take the food coloring out of the pool. So will they send out another round of cease-and-desist letters, possibly sparking another revolt, or will they graciously admit defeat for now?

Steampunk Magazine #2

The new issue of Steampunk Magazine (free download, $3 for hardcopy) is out -- tons of steampunk fiction, interviews, and crafts. I love the piece on the environmental impact of coal, and the history of Thomas Edison's animal-torture electrocution exhibitions. 84 pages in all! The fashion guide is great, too:
Explorers are, by definition “persons who investigate unknown regions”. Take a nod from this when dressing yourself, as well. Think tailored garments, but more military-influenced and less I- bought- this- at- the- suit- shop. Leather, silk, linen, tall boots, pith helmets, flying goggles – the list of explorer gear goes on. Try wearing mid-length skirts with the hems buckled up to reveal breeches or cotton bloomers. Billowing sleeves or bustled skirts with tight leather vests or corsets are a definite. Borrow Middle-Eastern and Indian flair from belly dance fashion or take a nod from pioneer garb. Wrap tons of leather belts about your waist and hips or use a piece of rope to tie up your pants or skirt. Ladies – search Ebay or vintage stores for old-fashioned medical cinchers with fan lacing. Gentlemen – tuck your trousers into the tops of your boots and hang a compass and pocketwatch from your belt or rock a kilt and sporran. Mod your own steampunk ray gun from a water pistol and some aerosol paint and wedge it into your belt or your stockings.
Link (via Warren Ellis)

See also Steampunk magazine

US makes Korea eliminate fair use

Korea has just finished negotiating a free trade agreement with the US that is a complete disaster on copyright. Korea has agreed to give up all fair use to copyrighted works, and has agreed to shut down many of its web-hosting businesses. So much for Korea's power as a global Internet leader. It was nice while it lasted.
In one glaring example, the governments agree to shut down internet sites that permit unauthorized reproduction, distribution, or transmission of copyrighted works-- without reference to exceptions for art, education and critique. If the agreement is ratified, both US and Korean governments will begin shutting down an undisclosed number of peer-to-peer (P2P) and online storage (‘webhard’) services. Korea will also be required to crack down on book copying on university campuses.

The Korea-US FTA could set a dangerous precedent. If ratified, the US is expected to push other countries to accept the similar conditions in their respective FTAs. Much of the ‘piracy’ that the US wants to see cracked down on is of materials copyrighted by large US-based corporations, not individual creators. Since distribution of movies, news, internet software and images is a core area of the US economy, the US government has long been aggressively pushing for stricter copyright and patent regimes in international arenas, including through GATT and WIPO. The Korea-US FTA, represents a new step in this process.

Link (Thanks, Sasha!)

New iTunes steals your ability to turn Apple music into iPod-friendly MP3s

If you're thinking of downgrading to the new iTunes, stop! The new iTunes breaks the ability to convert the music you've bought -- even "DRM-free" songs sold at a 30 percent premium -- into MP3s that will play on your iPod.
While cumbersome, the "buy-burn-rip-to-MP3" workaround has been the primary way to start with a 99 cent iTunes download and end up with an unrestricted MP3 that will play on your Squeezebox, your non-iPod portables, or your MP3-enabled DVD player (it's not about "piracy" -- if that was your bag, you'd have started by downloading the song as an MP3 from the myriad P2P options).

So iTunes users who have an existing library of songs purchased from the iTunes Store may want to consider doing their conversions before they "upgrade" to iTunes 7.2. (Sure, you can "upgrade" some of your DRMd songs to the "DRM-free" higher-quality AAC format for 30 cents each, but remember that this is not currently an option for the vast majority of iTunes tracks.)


Update: Playlist magazine has more on this: "After testing this further, it appears that this problem crops up only when you rip the CD with iTunes. I took the CD made up of protected tracks and ripped it with Amadeus Pro to MP3 format. I brought the resulting tracks into iTunes 7.2 and they transferred to the iPod without a problem."

Update 2: Some people have figured out how to get iTunes to load burned and ripped tracks by rebuilding their libraries. (Thanks, Mark!)

R.U. Sirius interviews B. Duke

The RU Sirius Show recently had a great show where he interviewed a writer/performer who evokes Hunter S. Thompson in a theater piece called "Gonzo: A Brutal Chrysalis." A text version of the interview has now been posted on 10 Zen Monkeys.
200705311646 RU: Is this writing, basically, you trying to do the voice of Hunter S. Thompson? Are you incorporating his stuff? Is it all him? How does it work?

BD: I had originally intended to take certain passages from Fear and Loathing in America : The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist and kind of knit them together. I quickly abandoned that. I knew it wasn't going to work. Also, we would run afoul of copyright issues with the estate and I don't really care for his widow. She's done several stupid things that I really detest. So I didn't want to pour more gasoline on that fire. And unlike Johnny Depp or Bill Murray, I didn't have the luxury of moving into Thompson's house and getting the Hunter experience.

So I did more research and it was the political stuff that he did that really caught my attention. And at that time, I live alone. So I had a great luxury of time to myself to do this. And I really kind of absorbed him through his letters, and went back and re-read things that I had read before, in the context of the letters, to get the complete effect. And I really allowed him to take me over. I spent a lot of time with my eyes closed imagining the world as he would see it.

And it's very easy to translate elements of his frustration -- the Vietnam war to the Iraq war; spineless, useless Democrats to spineless, useless Democrats; vile Republicans to vile Republicans. Oil companies fucking everybody.


How to snoop online

I wrote an article for RADAR about 8 ways to use the Web to snoop on people. It's adapted from my upcoming book, Rule the Web: How To Do Anything and Everything on the Internet -- Better, Faster, Easier.
200705311629 6. How can I find out what political party someone has donated to?

Federal law requires that people who contribute to political campaigns provide their personal information. The Federal Election Commission keeps this data, but its website isn't very easy to use. In fact, it's downright confusing.

That's where Fundrace comes in. Just select "Neighbor Search‚" and type in an address or a name and you'll be presented with a list of the names and addresses of political contributors from the last presidential election, along with how much they contributed.

The searches aren't limited to your neighborhood, of course. I entered "Barbara Bush" in the search field and learned that she contributed $2,000 to the George W. Bush campaign. I clicked on Mrs. Bush's address (10000 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77024), which brought up a list of everyone else in the same area that contributed. Lo and behold, a gentleman named Mr. George H. W. Bush at the same address also donated $2,000 to the George W. Bush campaign.

Beyond satisfying your curiosity about your neighbors' political affiliation, you can use Fundrace to organize a block party to raise funds for your party or favorite presidential candidate.


Stupendous line at Heathrow Airport

Check out this video of an insanely long queue at London's Heathrow Terminal 4. The YouTube user who posted it says it took him 3.5 hours to clear it. This is a line to pass through the security checkpoint while changing flights in London. I feel safer already. Link (Thanks, Mark!)

Did UPA ruin cartoons?

Stephen Worth says:
At John Kricfalusi's blog, All Kinds of Stuff, a recent series of posts on the negative impact of UPA's stylized cartoons on animation has ignited a firestorm of controversy over a graphic revolution in cartoons that occurred over half a century ago.

John K argues that many of the fundamental principles of good animated filmmaking were totally dispensed with at UPA -- design and layout were emphasized at the expense of character animation, timing and entertainment value. He argues convincingly that the cartoons of UPA (Gerald McBoing Boing, Unicorn in the Garden, Mr. Magoo, etc.) were responsible for the downfall of animation.

As a sidebar to John K's posts on the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive blog, I posted a Quicktime of a cartoon that is both stylized AND expressively animated -- a KoolAid commercial from the late fifties directed by the King of Cartoons, Tex Avery.

New York animator, Michael Sporn reacted angrily to these posts on his own "Splog," incensed that UPA's legacy was being besmirched and furious that the artistic accomplishments of UPA were being compared unfavorably to kiddie commercials with none of the artistic aspirations of UPA's own films: Splog: Aaargh!

Amid Amidi, author of "Cartoon Modern", a book on modern design in animation, entered the fray and launched a volley of his own- first in the comments on Sporn's post and then on his own blog: Cartoon Brew: The Great UPA Debate.

The comments from the readers on all of these posts are just as interesting as the posts themselves, with impassioned arguments on both sides of the fence from cartoon fans, animation historians and top industry professionals.

Anyone who loves to really think about cartoons and analyze their impact and importance to the art of filmmaking will find hours of engaging reading by going through all these posts and reading the wide spectrum of opinions presented there. (Folks who like to see dogfights between pig-biting-mad cartoonists will find plenty of entertainment value in here too!)

(It's worth noting that while this Kool Aid commercial contains many admirable elements, its characterization of Native American people would now be widely acknowledged as racist. Like other artifacts of this period, this book reflects the popular culture of its time.) Link

Father and daughter bonding through comics

In his charming essay in the Austin Chronicle, Wayne Alan Brenner writes about how he introduced the Fantastic Four to his daughter and how his daughter introduced Naruto to him.
Picture 3-30By the time I'd finished the third volume, I was hooked. The characters, a group of young adolescents trying to survive the rigors of their renowned village's ninja academy, were so wonderfully fleshed out by mangaka Musashi Kishimoto – in the writing and the drawing. These weren't stock characters with a few choice quirks added for identification's sake. These were kids – Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, Rock Lee, Ino, Shikamaru, et al. – with complex backstories informing their decisions, with choices made based on hard-won personal knowledge and social machinations going back generations. Here were astonishing skills and martial techniques that weren't the result of gamma-ray mishap or genetic cataclysm but, instead, years of dedicated physical training and the study of ancient ways of controlling the body's natural energies. A slapdash junk load of mystical mumbo-jumbo requiring much suspension of disbelief, at times, yes; but compelling nonetheless.

And the drawing! The sharp delineation of the characters and their environment, the pacing, the rhythms of accelerated time arranged in strategic panels. The shorthand depiction of motion and speed and impact, the sheer cinematic direction of the battles fought, ink lines flying like shuriken against the masked background or the panel's stark white. Roll over, Jack Kirby, and tell Steve Ditko the news from Japan.


Google Maps zoom feature inspires neologism

BB reader John says,
Suggested addition of a new word into the language of the web. Screwgle, as in "My wife caught me leaving a strip club on Google Street View, I got screwgled!”
Previous BB posts: 1, 2, 3.

Vending machine game for winning live lobsters

Nick says:
200705311316 I've linked my some photos I loaded on flickr. On my recent backpacking trip through Asia, I came upon this claw game in Osaka, called sub Marine Catcher. For only 200 yen ($2) you can try your hand at winning a live lobster. I'm not really sure how you get the lobster home but there was a pile of newspaper nearby.

Reader comment:

Scott says:

389042882 8Ee7B76D10 M 79348481 66258F6567
Dick's Last Resort in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter has had one of these for years. If you ever ventured down to Comicon you would know that. It's a popular haunt for artists and fanboys alike.

Billboard equates 9/11 with Iraq

200705311314 Here's a billboard in Pennsylvania designed to stimulate the pleasure centers of people who think Saddam Hussein was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. Link (Thanks, Josh!)

Reader comment:

A Boing Boing reader says:

This post reminded me of a painting in a similar naïve style, painted on plywood, that hung in the cafeteria in the US embassy -- formerly Saddam's Palace -- in Baghdad. It showed the Twin Towers, with a plane crashing into them, and the logos of both the NYPD and NYFD, and then Marine and Army logos and an inscription like, "They did not die in vain, we continue their fight." It was slapped on a wall of tilework and Koranic inscriptions.

Feel free to post this comment. Maybe someone who was in Baghdad has a picture. But since this was all work related, please do not print my name or identification.

Hollow Earthers' favorite experiment analyzed

Picture 1-59
In 1901 a mining engineer named J.B. Watson was said to have dropped plumb bobs down two 4250 foot mine shafts spaced 3200 feet apart. His measurements indicated that the plumb lines were farther apart at the bottom than than they were at the top. In other words, they diverged as they descended. Common sense would tell you that the lines would converge as they descended, because the lines should point towards the center of the Earth.

For the last century, some people like to point to the Tamarack Mines experiment as proof that the Earth is hollow.

Donald E. Simanek, who writes for MAKE magazine about curious physics (here's his article about perpetual motion that appeared in Vol 9), has an excellent article on his website that recounts the history of the alleged experiment, and examines the different frequently-offered reasons why plumb lines might diverge like this. Link

Reader comment:

Charles says:

It's not just the Hollow Earthers who have a problem with the prevailing theories. Here is an article I posted a while ago people who thought the earth was flat, or perhaps wavy. There's 5,000 bucks in it if you can prove them wrong. Pity we didn't have satellite photos in 1931. Link

Is this Nessie on video?

Gordon Holmes, a technician at Bradford University and Loch Ness Monster researcher, claims that he has caught Nessie on video. He was at the Loch ttempting to listen for Nessie using hydrophone equipment when he noticed something unusual moving in the water and grabbed his video camera. If you have a comment on the video, please post it to Cryptomundo at the link below. From the Yorkshire Post News:
 Wp-Content Uploads Holmes Loch Ness1 (Holmes said:) "It wasn't a wave because it was going in the opposite direction to the waves that I could see and the top half of it seemed to be black.

"My camcorder was on a black and white setting and it took me a while to find it again in the water, but I've got two-and-half-minutes of footage which I have shown to experts and they think it is definitely a living creature."

Mr Holmes arranged for the footage to be played on a TV at a shop in Inverness and he has also shown it to biologist Adrian Shine and Dick Raynor, of the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre.
Link to Cryptomundo post, Link to YouTube video, Link to Yorkshire Post News

UPDATE: Cryptomundo has posted stabilizations, including one at half-speed, of the video. Link

Fisherman catches coelacanth

Fisherman Yustinus Lahama hooked this coelacanth off Sulawesi island, Indonesia. A favorite of cryptozoologists, the coelacanth was thought to have been extinct for 65 million years until one was found in 1938 off the coast of Africa. For most of the century, scientists believed that the coelacanth only lived in that region, but then in 1998 a different species of the fish was discovered near Indonesia. From National Geographic:
 News 2007 05 Images 070522-Coelacanth Big(This) four-foot (1.2-meter), 110-pound (50-kilogram) specimen lived for 17 hours in a quarantine pool, an "extraordinary" feat considering the cold, deep-sea habitat of the fish, marine biologist Lucky Lumingas of the local Sam Ratulangi University told the Associated Press. Lumingas plans to study the carcass.

Previously on BB:
• Coelacanth in danger Link
• Coelacanth caught on video Link
• Video: Indonesian coelacanth Link

Battle at Ham's Deep: Helm's Deep made with Muppet figures

Evil sez, "Silver Snail Comics, The Canadian Online Comic and Action Figure Store has published pictures of their bricks-and-mortar storefront art, a rendition of the battle at Helm's Deep, featuring Jim Henson's Muppets." Link (Thanks, Evil!)

Google Maps zoom: here's the device and vehicle behind it

A new street-level zoom feature on Google Maps debuted recently, to much freakout and fanfare (previous BB posts: 1, 2). The company One company performing some of the drive-by surveillance and image capture services for Google is Immersive Media, and here's a blog post from Peter Shankman, the PR guy who reps them. What a scary/cool little 11-sided camera that is on the "Street Level View-Mobile."

As for the resulting map details, I don't know whether I'm more terrified or delighted. Mostly delighted, because my house hasn't shown up in a close-up yet. (posted from the road in Central America / Xeni)

Reader comment: Rich Gibson says,

I was talking with one of the Google Guys who worked on Street View at Where 2.0 Tuesday. Immersive Media is doing work for Google, but Google also has their own van(s) cruising the streets. The Google van has higher resolution than Immersive Media's system.

Compare this image of New York with this one of San Francisco.

Morphing history of female portraiture

Artface This beautiful video morphs through 500 years of female portraits in western art.

EFF finds HUGE block of hidden info in new iTunes tracks

Apple's new DRM-free tracks from the iTunes store not only contain your email address and password name in hidden fields, but in at least one case, more than 360k of hidden information. EFF's technologists have found a hidden block of data in the new iTunes tracks:
We compared two DRM-free copies of the track Daftendirekt by Daft Punk. When decoded to PCM/WAV data, both copies produced an identical audio signal (the MD5sum is e40b006497f9b417760ca5015c3fa937). So there is no audio watermark. But one of the .m4a files is almost 360K larger than the other!

We haven't finished examining these differences yet, and we don't have in-house expertise on MPEG codecs, but some of them have an intriguing amount of structure. There's a region (see around offset 0x11470 in the Daft Punk track for example) where the files contain what look like tables with sequential indices but different data in the table.

We'll post again if we learn more about what's going on here. In the mean time, some pure speculation: it may be that large amounts of iTunes library data are present in each file. It's also possible that Apple has found a way to watermark the AAC encoding itself, such that users would need to either crack the watermark or transcode the audio signal in order to produce a file that does not identify them as the source.


Malformed spam-fax ignites bomb panic at Boston bank

OK. Because that whole Mike Figgis terror scare story was bogus, I feel like I owe you at least one true life internet terror funny. This one's better, too, 'cause it's Boston. Cue Keystone Kops music. Aaaaand, snip:

In a scene reminiscent of the Cartoon Network bomb scare that paralyzed the Boston area in January, police shut down a strip mall yesterday in this small western suburb after employees at a Bank of America branch mistook a botched fax for a bomb threat.

Frustrated shop owners said the branch overreacted to the strange fax, which turned out to be an in-house marketing document sent by the bank's corporate office.

"The women at the bank should have handled it a little better," said Nick Markos, owner of Townhouse Pizza and Roast Beef, who estimated that he had lost $1,000 to $1,200 because of the lunch-hour evacuation. "She blew it all out of proportion, and all of us business owners had to pay for it."

Link (thanks, alxrosen)

Previously on BoingBoing:

  • Boston drops charges against Mooninite terror cell leaders
  • LED ad campaign ignites terrorism scare in Boston
  • Boston Mooninite installer arrested
  • Boston Channel photoshops Mooninite LED signs
  • Video of Mooninite menaces
  • Mark on ABC news about Mooninite devices
  • Boston LED terror scare: a message to the media
  • Mooninite response explained in an old Peanuts comic
  • Mooninite on the Haunted Mansion
  • ATHF invades Boston -- the game
  • Public game involves hidden blinking LED signs

  • Mike Figgis: that TSA "shoot a pilot" thing was bogus

    Jonathan Mitchell from Public Radio International tells BoingBoing,
    Regarding the Mike Figgis LAX story, it's not true.

    We were thinking of reporting this story on a radio show I work on, so we did a little fact checking. We contacted Figgis' publicist, and got this email from Mike Figgis himself:

    the story is a complete exageration of something I said in an interview, namely...I was being questioned in toronto airport by the US immigration officer who said "purpose of your visit?" and I was about to reply "I'm here to shoot a pilot" when I thought better of it and said

    "I'm here to film the 1st episode of a potential series for Fox/Sony"

    This was exactly as I said it to the journalist and the next I knew of it was phone calls wishing me deepest sympathies etc and the venue had moved to LAX and I had been arrested etc etc.

    I've had distortion before in interviews but never fiction. If it had been true it would have been a good story - sorry to dissappoint All the best - mike figgis

    The fake news broke on either Moviefone / AOL or Cinematical, I'm not sure. But someone has some 'splainin' to do.


  • TSA detains director Mike Figgis for threatening to "shoot a pilot"

    Update: Dear christ, must everything be LOLcatted now? Link.

    Karina Longworth, the founding editor of Cinematical (she is no longer associated with the site), says:

    I saw your post this morning in follow-up to the Mike Figgis non-story. Just wanted to note two things. You wrote, "The fake news broke on either Moviefone / AOL or Cinematical, I'm not sure. But someone has some 'splainin' to do."

    First, Cinematical is now owned by AOL and is operated essentially as a subsidiary of Moviefone, so it's all the same gang. Second, the Cinematical blog post linked to an AOL/Moviefone news story which in turn based its information on this Guardian blurb.

    Aha. If the timeline is what it appears to be, then one Jason Solomons of the Guardian/Observer UK is he who has the 'splainin' to do.
  • Zombie spammer nabbed, inboxes around the world smile

    27-year old Robert Alan Soloway, whom authorities consider one of the world's top spammers, has been arrested.
    [He] is accused of using networks of compromised "zombie" computers to send out millions upon millions of spam e-mails.

    "He's one of the top 10 spammers in the world," said Tim Cranton, a Microsoft Corp. lawyer who is senior director of the company's Worldwide Internet Safety Programs. "He's a huge problem for our customers. This is a very good day."

    A federal grand jury last week returned a 35-count indictment against Soloway charging him with mail fraud, wire fraud, e-mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

    Link (thanks, Darrell Cadwallader)

    LJ purge drama: Who are "Warriors for Innocence"?"

    BB reader Leighton Cowart says,
    I’ve been watching your series on the LiveJournal purges with interest. It turns out that the registrant for the domain matches those for the old front company Coastal Management, which listed a bunch of fraudulent positions on job-hunting sites like CareerBuilder back in ’05–presumably for datamining purposes. Both WfI and Coastal list their address as

    15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
    Scottsdale, AZ 85260

    …and their phone/fax as 480-624-2599

    Here’s the info on, and for Coastal Management (need to scroll down just a bit).

    With all the complaints about’s spyware, I wonder if they cooked up the LJ pedophilia scandal in order to get hits on their website from older and badly secured browsers in hopes of collecting data from interested parties. Perhaps some of your readers would be in a position to find out more about this connection?

    Previously on BB:

  • LiveJournal/6A re: mass strikethrough - "we screwed up."
  • LJ purges incest, slash fic under pressure from self-appointed "warriors"

    Reader comment: Sounds like the answer may not be as sinister. Vann Hall says,

    Hey, the reason that and Coastal Management both have the same registration info is that both domains were registered using GoDaddy's "private" domain feature. All such domains are really registered to Domains by Proxy, Inc.; they "map" to the actual registrant only within GoDaddy's internal database...
    Sam says,
    The WHOIS information for the "Warriors For Innocence" that was posted about here is in fact the address and phone number for All of the domains they register have that listed address and phone number. Their whole business model is based on obfuscating WHOIS information. The fact that WFI and Coastal Management (and a bazillion other domains) both share this registrar doesn't imply any connection between them. (Nor does it preclude one, of course.)

    Since shady/dishonest websites have a strong incentive to keep their information anonymous MANY of the clients of have e-reps that could only charitably be described as "abysmal".

    If you want to know who these WFI schmucks are, deeper digging will be required.

    Long time reader, Sam Walker

    sistercoyote says,
    This website discusses who Warriors for Innocence are and their ties to dominionism, and "Christian Patriot" militias
    Duo says,
    Well, it could be as insidious as you think.

    The folks are Warriors for Innocence have been getting a lot of scrutiny, and as such, a few survivors of harsh Christian Reconstructionism have found that these folks are linked to some hardcore dominionist groups. (see also: Link)

    No mistake should be made here: these people are not so much about stopping pedo's, they are about erecting and establishing a hate filled theocratic society by any means necessary. They are all about control. And they are firmly entrenched in the belief that they are "more right" than anyone else.

    Thats why they have the distinction of being referred to as "Talibangelicals". Link.

  • LiveJournal/6A re: mass strikethrough - "we screwed up."

    BoingBoing reader Madeline says,
    Barak Berkowitz, Chairman and CEO of Six Apart, has released an admission that "For reasons we are still trying to figure out what was supposed to be a well planned attempt to clean up a few journals that were violating LiveJournal's policies that protect minors turned into a total mess. I can only say I’m sorry, explain what we did wrong and what we are doing to correct these problems and explain what we were trying to do but messed up so completely."

    Explaining LJ's intentions, Berkowitz also says: "Another issue we needed to deal with was journals that used a thin veneer of fictional or academic interest in events and storylines that include child rape, pedophilia, and similar themes in order to actually promote these activities. While there are stories, essays, and discussions that include discussion of these issues in an effort to understand and prevent them, others use a pretext to promote these activities. It’s often very hard to tell the difference."

    His formal statement concludes with: "One could say that no matter what we did we would either be accused of opposing free speech or endangering children but I am sure we should and could have done this much better. I hope you can forgive us and we can regain your trust." He has since added notes about specific questions, although the 76 pages of comments after this entry alone suggests that some users do not think his answers were thorough enough.


    Previously on BB:

  • LJ purges incest, slash fic under pressure from self-appointed "warriors"

    Reader comment: Dan Wineman says,

    I just wanted to comment on this quote from the Six Apart CEO:
    While there are stories, essays, and discussions that include discussion of these issues in an effort to understand and prevent them, others use a pretext to promote these activities. It’s often very hard to tell the difference.
    Well, yeah. That's the entire reason ideals like freedom of speech exist: because it's not just *hard* to tell the difference between good and bad speech -- it's *impossible* to set an objective standard that everyone agrees on. So the only policy that's safe from turning into tyranny is to allow all speech, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you. Yes, people could be harmed; yes, even children. Freedom is more important.

    LiveJournal wouldn't be in this situation if it hadn't tried to regulate the content of its users' speech. End of story. The lesson to be learned isn't "regulate better" or "police more carefully" -- it's "don't even try." Most likely, the law (and the Constitution definitely) will be on your side.

    In the US, anyway.

    Julie Richardson says,
    Thanks for posting LJ's response to the erroneous purging of legit child sex abuse survivor sites and fanfic sites not actually promoting paedophilia. I just wanted to respond to the reader's comment you included at the end. LJ was not trying to censor anyone, just enforcing it's own TOS that stated "You agree to NOT use the Service to: Upload, post or otherwise transmit any Content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortuous, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, …" . The true paedophile and paedo-advocacy sites are in violation of this TOS as they promote actions that are unlawful, harmful, and abusvie to children. As Six Apart is a private company, they are under no obligation to publish any speech, particularly that in violation of their TOS.
    Elizabeth says,
    I am mother to two children whose lives have been decimated by their father, a man who was/is deeply involved with child porn and incest-style writing. People like me hope that LiveJournal, etc. err on the side of protecting children. Whenever I read an article like this on Boing Boing, I wish you would also occasionally link to sites where people can learn about protecting children from predators, pornographers, etc. Free speech is important; it’s also vitally important to protect children from people who want to hurt them.
    Dan Wineman chimes in again,
    Julie Richardson is absolutely correct that 6A is a private company and has no obligation toward free speech. They are within their rights to block or remove whatever speech they care to -- I never said anything to the contrary. But they also enjoy the freedom NOT to block anything, at least in the United States. By choosing to enforce these content restrictions on a minority (and thereby calling attention to the prior restraints in their TOS), they risk alienating the entire community. In fact, judging by the hundreds of angry comments on Berkowitz's journal entry and elsewhere, that has already happened.

    Elizabeth, there is no doubt that what happened to your children is tragic and regrettable. I'm certainly not suggesting that we shouldn't try to protect children. It just isn't LiveJournal's responsibility to do that -- in fact, they can't do it without damaging their community, as we've just seen, and the content would simply reappear elsewhere. The only solution that works is to allow as much discourse as possible, and let the marketplace of ideas (link) sort out the good from the bad.

    It's a cliche, but it bears repeating: The cure for bad speech is more speech.

  • Cory speaking at UC Irvine next Wednesday

    I'm speaking at UC Irvine next Wednesday, giving a variant on my copyright and trade-policy talk, called "Happy Meal Toys versus Copyright: How America Chose Hollywood and Wal-Mart--and why it's doomed us, and how we might survive anyway." It's free and open to the public, though space is limited, so they want you to RSVP. See you there!
    Wednesday, June 6, 2007
    3:00-4:20 PM
    100 Humanities Instructional Building

    Copyright's Authorship Policy: how to make an art-neutral copyright

    My friend Tim Wu, a legal scholar at Columbia U, has finally posted his paper "Copyright's Authorship Policy," which I read some years ago in draft. I've been assigning drafts of this paper to my students all year, because I think that Tim's captured something here that I'd never heard articulated before in all the papers about copyright I've read.

    Tim's point is that copyright ends up choosing what kind of authors are allowed to make art, and which ones aren't. For example, extending copyright over sampling -- but not over reproducing distinctive licks or melodic snippets -- means that mashup artists' music is illegal, but the white skiffle and R&B artists who adapted black music for their own (the Rolling Stones, Elvis and the Beatles, for example) get to make all the music they want.

    Tim goes on to suggest a simple and cunning mechanism for minimizing copyright's impact on authorship, a method that will allow the largest variety in art and expression. This is great stuff, and has been the basis of some great discussions in my classes.

    For that reason, the paper introduces a new justification for authorial ownership of copyright–both the vesting of the initial copyright in authors, and for providing ways for the right to find its way back to authors.1 The argument relies on the concept of authors as agents of decentralization in the copyright system. Vesting rights in authors, the argument goes, provides new ways to seed the development of both new forms of distribution, and also support for changing modes and forms of creation. Centuries ago in England, authorial copyright helped introduce competition into bookselling, beyond an centralized publisher’s cartel. Today, there are lessons for copyright’s authorship policy in the more than five million items under Creative Commons licenses,2 the proliferation of Open Access licensing in academia, and the use of open source licenses by commercial entities like IBM and Apple. These experiments show the potential of a decentralized copyright system for promoting a full range of production modes.

    See also:
    Why wireless carriers should be forced into neutrality
    Jack Valenti says stupid things -- really, really stupid things
    Searchable index of Judge Posner's decisions - law for the people
    Network neutrality - why it matters, and how do we fix it?
    A simple prescription for keeping Google's records out of government hands.
    Understanding broadband regulation
    Killer audio file of killer lawyers talking Grokster


    Goddammit. Every time I swear I'm gonna put a kibosh on any plural noun that begins with LOL, someone reboots the meme in a genuinely funny way. And so it is with LOLbots, which was created by Dieselsweeties' R. Stevens.

    I hate myself for blogging you. LOLS. ROFL. NSFW. LMAO.

    Incidentally, I hear Scott Beale's working on a dissertation-sized über-düper post of every LOL variant evar. I promise not to blog that, either. (posted from the road, in central america / xeni)

    Update: The LOLbots site got Boingdotted, and is not working too well as of Thursday AM. "my durn admin thinks getting email and business related traffic out is more important than LOL," says R. Stevens. Stay tuned. Here's something to tide you over.

    Church to (heh) organist: quit selling sex toys, or quit church

    Cory Silverberg, the "sexuality" guide for, tells BoingBoing:
    The Associated Press is reporting on a story about a Catholic priest in New Franken, Wisconsin, who gave his church organist of thirty-five years a surprising ultimatum; quit her sex toy home party job or quit the church.

    Apparently after meeting with Linette Servais, who is 50 and apparently does most of her work for no pay, to express his dissatisfaction with her other work (you know the work that pays), Rev. Dean Dombroski sent a letter to his congregation explaining that "Linette is a consultant for a firm which sells products of a sexual nature that are not consistent with Church teachings" and that she would have to make a decision. Linette, who says she started selling sex toys after treatment for a tumor left her experiencing sexual dysfunction, says the decision was easy; she’s still selling sex toys.

    Linette is not the only woman of faith who has made sex toy sales her ministry. And while part of me is wondering where in the Church teachings it says Thou Shall Not Sell Sex Toys, knowing the kind of poor quality merchandise her company carries, I have to wonder, as the kids say, WWJD.


    Reader comment: Pete Duniho says,

    Reading the quote from the letter by Rev. Dean Dombroski, "Linette is a consultant for a firm which sells products of a sexual nature that are not consistent with Church teachings", it seems entirely plausible that the reason that the "products of a sexual nature" are not "consistent with Church teachings" is that they are of sub-standard quality. Perhaps Servais could have resolved the conflict simply by switching to a different supplier of products, rather than quitting her church job. :)
    The Lizardman says,
    As you postulated about the organist fired for seeling sex toys WWJD, I think its almost obvious he would opt for biblically inspired sex toys.

    Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo on the Gong Show

    Here's a fantastic 1976 Gong Show appearance of The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo who later shortened their name and shifted their musical style from pure cabaret insanity to New Wave.
    From their Wikipedia entry:
    The name ("The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo") was inspired by a fictional secret society on the Amos 'n' Andy TV series called "The Mystic Knights of the Sea." Most of the members performed in whiteface and clown makeup; a typical show would contain music ranging from the 1890s to the 1950s, in addition to original material. This version of the band employed as many as fifteen musicians at any given time, playing over thirty instruments, including some instruments built by band members...

    Various reasons for the band's transformation from musical theatre troupe to rock band were given, including cutting costs and increasing mobility, exploring new musical directions (such as Danny {Elfman}'s interest in Ska and New Wave), and a desire to perform music that didn't need theatrics to support it. Although there was some confusion about what name this new venture would operate under (in the 1980 short subject "Face Like A Frog", the band is credited simply as The Mystic Knights), the name was eventually and permanently shortened to Oingo Boingo for the Rhino Records "Los Angeles Rock And New Wave Band" compilation, L.A. In, featuring their song "I'm Afraid."
    Link (Thanks, Gil Kaufman!)

    Previously on BB:
    • Roald Dahl's Oompah Loompah song lyrics cut from movie by Elfman Link
    • Three Day Stubble's 25th Anniversary Link