Boing Boing 

Group art show in L.A.: Kawasaki, Sol, Kukula, Milne, and Hultberg

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Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles has a new group show opening this weekend of truly breathtaking work by artists KuKula, Audrey Kawasaki, Amy Sol, Brandi Milne, and Stella Im Hultberg, who created the magnificent piece seen here. The opening reception is Friday evening from 7pm-11pm and all five artists will be in attendance. The exhibit is titled "Smitten." And I am. The gallery has posted a behind the scenes photo set on Flickr of some of the artwork and the artist's studios. Link to Flickr set, Link to ThinkSpace (via Juxtapoz)

Previously on BB:
• Stella Im Hultberg's beautiful drawings Link
• Amy Sol in Juxtapoz Link
• Audrey Kawasaki interview on MacTribe Link
• Audrey Kawasaki at Roq La Rue Link

Boston-centric Punk video archive (late '70s - early '80s)

Here's a video archive of about 40-odd vintage punk (and post-punk, power pop, and new wave, and I don't want to argue about it) music performances. Most of them appear to have been taped between 1979 and 1983, in fine old dive bars in and around Boston. Link, link 2. Bands both famous and obscure: Buzzcocks, Clash, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Specials, Mission of Burma, Gang of Four, Dead Kennedys, Stranglers, Stiff Little Fingers, XTC... (thanks, Oz)

Fark's Drew Curtis profiled on NPR's All Things Considered

NPR's All Things Considered profiled founder Drew Curtis today. During the segment, Curtis shares some of the financial nuts-and-bolts behind Fark the business -- for example, he only pays himself $60K a year, and ferrets away a significant amount for legal protection, should a rainy day of lawyergrams befall him. Why would any attorneys get a bug up their ass about such an awesome weird-news aggregator site, you ask? Well, I asked Drew over IM, and he illustrated this in the form of an actual email exchange with a Fark submitter earlier today:
upcoming Fark tagline:
Boss must pay $32,300 to employee after forcing her to go drinking with fellow employees.

"Better get lawyered up, Drew, there's legal precedent now."

"If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying"

Link to archived audio for " Making Money Off of Goofy News" [Ed. Note: So goofy!] on All Things Considered.

Drew Curtis also has a book coming out soon -- can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

Link to pre-order "It's Not News It's Fark: How Mass Media Tries to Pass Off Crap as News" (which comes out on May 31).

Spinal Tap smells the planet

BoingBoing buddy extraordinaire Gareth Branwyn says,

When my wife and I first saw Spinal Tap, we laughed so hard, several people around us got up and moved. We laughed pretty much from the moment that Marty DeBergi entered the first scene, in his USS Ooral Sea cap, till the credits rolled. We'd both been involved in rock and roll and it was just too spot on for its own good. So, seeing that there was a new Spinal Tap short, a sort of "where are they now?," in advance of their reunion at the Live Earth Concerts, I was hoping for similar dumb-funny fits of giddiness.

It didn't disappoint. The vid opens on the set of Marty DeBergi's new film, "The Hills Have Eyes with Macular Degeneration." Hoping to get the band back together for Live Earth, Marty seeks out the members, now not talking to each other. Nigel is a ranch hand on a miniature horse farm, David runs a hip-hop production company, called Back Alley, in a former colonic irrigation clinic. Derek talks to Marty from a rehab center, via webcam, where he's being treated for Internet addiction. Marty, the affable lunk, manages to get the band talking again and to agree to reunite for the benefit.

If you're a Tap fan, you'll likely get as big a kick out of this as I did. Wonder who the drummer will be at Live Earth? Too bad Mick Fleetwood has thus far defied the band's drummer curse. He's still with us (as far as anyone can tell), but no word if he'll mount the exploding drum stool for the upcoming shows.


Previously on BoingBoing:

  • Boing Boing Boing podcast #3 -- Gareth Branwyn
  • Simians, Cyborgs, and Gareth Branwyn
  • Read a free excerpt from Gareth Branwyn's new robot book!
  • Gareth Branwyn blogging about robots for LEGO
  • Cory's new story podcast: "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow"

    I've just started podcasting a new story, a novella-in-progress called "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow/Now is the Best Time of Your LIfe." It's a long, weird adventure story about the failure of futurism and the difference between "progress" and "change," all about immortal children stalking the bones of ruined cities in lethal mechas. Disney fans will recognize the title as coming from the amazing, weird, awful and wonderful Carousel of Progress ride that Disney built for GE at the 1964 World's Fair in NYC, and subsequently moved to Disneyland, then Walt Disney World.

    I'm presently about 18,000 words into this -- final length is probably somewhere north of 30,000 words -- and I'm planning on reading about 30 minutes' worth of audio every week.

    I piloted the mecha through the streets of Detroit, hunting wumpuses. The mecha was a relic of the Mecha Wars, when the nation tore itself to shreds with lethal robots, and it had the weird, swirling lines of all evolutionary tech, channelled and chopped and counterweighted like some freak dinosaur or a racecar.

    I loved the mecha. It wasn't fast, but it had a fantastic ride, a kind of wobbly strut that was surprisingly comfortable and let me keep the big fore and aft guns on any target I chose, the sights gliding along on a perfect level even as the neck rocked from side to side.

    The pack loved the mecha too. All six of them, three aerial bots shaped like bats, two ground-cover streaks that nipped around my heels, and a flea that bounded over buildings, bouncing off the walls and leaping from monorail track to rusting hover-bus to balcony and back. The pack's brains were back in dad's house, in the old Comerica Park site. When I found them, they'd been a pack of sick dogs, dragging themselves through the ruined city, poisoned by some old materiel. I had done them the mercy of extracting their brains and connecting them up to the house network. Now they were immortal, just like me, and they knew that I was their alpha dog. They loved to go for walks with me.

    MP3 Link, Link to podcast feed

    Tiki Mickey sheets and lamp

    I just bought a set of Disney's new "Mickey Tiki" sheets and a matching lamp -- it's totally bad-ass freaky screaming tiki-riffic. Link

    Nonsense words from Cory's Overclocked

    Verbotomy, an online game that challenges people to invent words, create definitions for them, and use them in sentences, is using my short story collection Overclocked for its raw material this week -- they've come up with some great words already!
    Created by: toadstool57
    Pronunciation: mim-ee-oh-path
    Sentence: Jill did a mimeopath of herself in her prom dress, handing it out to everyone she knew and didn't know.
    Etymology: mimeograph, psychopath

    ONE MORE DAY to stop REAL ID and keep Big Brother out of the US

    Guilherme sez, We have less than a day to comment on REAL ID! This is the next step in the surveillance society, and it passed Congress without hearings. We're encouraging people to comment with sample comments like: 'The plan will create a massive national identification system without adequate privacy and security safeguards. It will also make it more difficult for people to get driver's licenses. And it will make it too easy for identity thieves, stalkers, and corrupt government officials to get access to such personal information as a home address, age, and Social Security number.'" Link (Thanks, Guilherme!)

    HOWTO own a 128-bit number!

    Would you like to be the exclusive owner of a number, with the right to sue other people for knowing your number or telling other people what it is? Now you can.

    Last week, the AACS consortium made history by issuing legal threats against the 1.8 million web-pages (and counting) that mentioned its secret code for preventing HD-DVD discs from being copied.

    In effect, AACS-LA (the AACS Licensing Authority) claimed that it owned a randomly chosen 128-bit number, and that anyone who possessed or transmitted that number was breaking the law. Moreover, it claimed to own millions more random numbers -- claimed that the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which criminalises telling people how to break anti-copying software, gave it exclusive dominion over its many keys.

    Why should the AACS get all the fun? Princeton prof Ed Felten has come up with a great way of giving out legally protected 128-bit numbers to anyone who wants them. If he gives out 2^128 of these, then all 128-bit numbers will be owned and no one will ever be able to use a 128-bit key without breaking the law. Good times.

    Here’s how we do it. First, we generate a fresh pseudorandom integer, just for you. Then we use your integer to encrypt a copyrighted haiku, thereby transforming your integer into a circumvention device capable of decrypting the haiku without your permission. We then give you all of our rights to decrypt the haiku using your integer. The DMCA does the rest.

    The haiku is copyright 2007 by Edward W. Felten:

    We own integers,
    Says AACS LA.
    You can own one too.

    My number is AF BC 9C 5D DA 6B 7A A8 7C 33 A1 2B E7 D3 EA 11. You aren't allowed to know this number. I also reloaded the page and generated a few more numbers. I'm not telling you what they are, but I'll be setting up a Google alert for them and if I catch you using them, I'm gonna take your house away. Link

    See also:
    AACS vows to fight people who publish the key
    AACS DRM body censors Cory's class blog
    Digg users revolt over AACS key
    Secret AACS numbers, the photoshopped edition
    Side effect of AACS turmoil: MSM turns on Web 2.0? UPDATED
    Blu-Ray AND HD-DVD broken - processing keys extracted
    EFF explains the law on AACS keys
    More AACS spoofs: WOW protest, and PSA vid: Think Before You Post
    HD-DVD/Blu-Ray cracker muslix64 interviewed
    Web-page aggregates links to "forbidden numbers" used to break HD-DVD

    Update: Bo sez, "I figured I might need a 128-bit number someday and was afraid that mean-spirited jerks like Cory would take them all and threaten to sue me if I used one. So I decided that I'd grab my own before they were all gone. I figured other people might be in a situation like me, so I decided to publish my number as a line of text and offer it to the world with a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license. So even if all the other numbers are gone, anyone wants to use "C6 8C 14 E1 9F 29 2A 6B 9E 6C C7 38 D2 80 9E 27" to encrypt something is welcome to do so. Just be sure you give me credit! (That means you, too, AACS-LA! Don't get any funny ideas!)"

    BBC Trustees agree to let BBC infect Britain with DRM

    The BBC Trust -- the organisation that oversees the BBC's operations -- has driven another nail into the BBC's relevancy for the 21st century today by giving the broadcaster permission to use DRM on its online offerings.

    The BBC has turned its back on its promise to deliver a remixable, DRM-free archive of its video materials to the British public, citing lame excuses like, "It will cost a lot to negotiate rights," and "It might make us less effective at selling DVDs to Americans." Instead, it has opted for the "iPlayer," a crippling technology that infects PCs and makes them incapable of saving and using some of the files on their hard-drives. At the core of this is a Microsoft technology, the WMV file-format. It's illegal for British entrepreneurs to build devices that play WMV without permission and a license from Microsoft, and Microsoft specifies what features WMV players must and must not have.

    The upshot is that British TV -- when recorded over the air -- can be stored forever, shared, re-used, and recorded using anyone's tools. British entrepreneurs can make recorders for it. British people can save it and use it as they see fit within the law.

    But British TV -- when delivered over the Internet -- infects your computer. It deletes itself after a set period. It can't be used for any purpose other than watching it. And no one is allowed to make a player for it without Microsoft's permission.

    The Trustees heard that 80 percent of the respondents didn't want DRM and especially didn't want Microsoft DRM. But rather than giving the BBC orders to deliver its free-to-air video in free-to-net formats, they gave it permission to sell out the license-fee payers who are required by law to support the BBC.

    Look: the BBC radiates its TV offerings in all directions at the speed of light from its broadcast towers. DRM doesn't stop copying (and it never has, and it never will). But even if it did -- if I can record my BBC TV over the air and make it available, the presence of DRM on the iPlayer just discriminates against the least technically literate Brits, who don't know about UKNova, which is filled with every BBC show aired, without DRM.

    It also turns license payers who watch TV on their computers without restrictions into criminals. It criminalises the act of watching the TV that, by law, you are required to pay for.

    They also instructed the BBC to stop making MP3s of public-domain classical music available, because the classical music industry is "precarious." That's smart -- we'll improve the health of the classical music industry by making sure that no one under 35 with an iPod can listen to it. Nice one, Trustees.

    Indeed, if the goal of this report was to ensure that the BBC has no relevance to the 21st century, then mission accomplished. Who needs a "public service broadcaster" that criminalises its viewers, privileges monopolistic foreign software giants, and takes every measure to stop its audience watching telly in the way they see fit?

    Link to Trustees report, Link to ArsTechnica coverage (via Copyfight)

    See also: BBC techies talk DRM
    BBC tries DRM-free distribution
    BBC Creative Archive launches, without DRM

    Mickey Mouse pirate tee pays tribute to Dali

    I love this Mickey Mouse/Salvador Dali skull mashup tee -- just ordered mine so I could be sure I'd get one before you all got your orders in (the run was limited to 120). Link (Thanks, Integer Poet!)

    Amazing 1/6th-scale military dioramas

    Photo gallery of super-realistic WWII military scenes. Link (Thanks, Andy!)

    Juggling monkey makes ape out of AACS

    It is forbidden to attempt to solve ApeLad's puzzle, or write down the answer. You have been warned. Link

    Previously on Boing Boing:
    Digg users revolt over AACS key
    Secret AACS numbers, the photoshopped edition
    Ed Felten explains the AACS revolt
    EFF explains the law on AACS keys
    AACS DRM body censors Cory's class blog
    New AACS crack "can't be revoked"
    AACS vows to fight people who publish the key

    McRaw McChicken McServed at McMcDonalds

    Fanny Brown Rice took a photo of an uncooked chicken sandwich that a McDonald's restaurant in Windsor, Connecticut served her.

    David Herman says: "Noticed this on SlashFood today, really gross. Original story is here."

    Picture 24-1 This was roughly my 3rd time ever going to a McDonalds... and my last. I ate some raw chicken before noticing and spitting it out in horror, I didn't expect good food, but I did expect cooked food. FYI, I did look at it before eating it, as raking the great blobs of mayo off took some effort. I can't even think of chicken now without feeling like I'm adrift on a choppy sea.

    Interview with Dale Dougherty

    In anticipation of the upcoming Maker Faire, The Santa Rosa Press Democrat ran a nice interview with Dale Dougherty, founder of MAKE.
    200705071230 PRESS DEMOCRAT: In 1993, you developed the first commercial Web site -- known as the Global Network Navigator. How did you come up with the idea?

    DOUGHERTY: Late in 1991, I saw a demonstration of the Web from Tim Berners-Lee, its founder, and I became a believer. I began showing it to others and watched as they were amazed by its power -- that you could use a single program to access information on servers around the world. I remember saying: "That page just came from Italy. Just like that." You'd have to remind everyone that it wasn't coming from a local hard disk. I knew this was the future for publishing. I set out to organize a team to build a site but it was never clear how we could make money on it. Before Yahoo, GNN was an early attempt to create a directory of links to what you could find on the World Wide Web; it was also a magazine with some articles on how to explore this new world. We sold GNN to AOL in 1995 for millions, although AOL didn't deliver on the promise to scale it up. (Editor's note: the site is viewable at


    Army's new regulations may restrict soldiers' blogs (NPR Xeni Tech)

    For today's edition of the NPR program "Day to Day," I filed a report on new US Army regulations for military bloggers. I first heard about the new regulations from Noah Shachtman (post 1 | post 2), who weighs in for the NPR segment. I also spoke with milbloggers Matthew Burden (author of "The Blog of War," and editor, and John Noonan (active duty Air Force member, and co-editor of

    - - - - - -

    "U.S. Army May Restrict Soldiers' Blogs" Link to archived audio (Real/Win). Here's an MP3 Link. Or, listen to this report as an MP3 in the "Xeni Tech" podcast (subscribe via iTunes here). NPR "Xeni Tech" archives here.

    - - - - - -

    Snip from radio transcript:

    Some fear the new rules could end up silencing first-person web journals published from combat zones. The uproar circles around an Army regulation issued April 19 which updates earlier language about operational security (or "OPSEC") and blogs.

    Paragraph 2-1g says Army personnel must "consult with their immediate supervisor and their OPSEC Officer for an OPSEC review prior to publishing or posting information in a public forum."

    The regulation applies to e-mail, blogs, message board, and other forms of digital communication.

    The new orders were a hot topic over the past weekend, when milbloggers gathered in Arlington, Va., for the second annual Milblog Conference.

    In a taped message played during the event , President Bush thanked military bloggers for their contributions; but the president's upbeat message felt to some like a contradiction with the actual regulations.

    Adding to that confusion was a follow-up press release from the Army that appeared after the regulations were widely criticized online. The underlying message was that the regulations were intended as guidelines and may not be strictly enforced.

    "This is very much an honor system," said Paul Boyce, a public affairs specialist with the Army. "You as a soldier have a vested interest in operational security, because you don't want to get yourself killed, or others killed."

    "No one wants a chilling effect for milblogs," says Boyce, "But we also don't want the ultimate chilling effect of death."

    Wired News defense technology reporter Noah Shachtman says the Army's more recent statements could be considered a comfort, but that "those regulations are the equivalent of a military order – they have the force of law. The press release doesn't have the force of anything."

    Shachtman says, "Even though these regulations apply to family, contractors, and others, these folks couldn't actually read the regulations at first, because they were only available behind a password-protected, semi-secret network firewall."

    Link to full transcript, and related material online. (Image borrowed from Wired News.)

    Reader comment: Brad Levinson says,

    I wanted to share with you a documentary that I produced last year at the first milblogger conference.

    While I'm on the other side of the issue, I was struck by how vitally important the practice is -- both psychologically for the soldiers and their friends and family, and culturally -- media-wise, and blogging-wise. It's all very fascinating.

    I've uploaded the video onto YouTube, and I'm hoping that it's one of those things that spreads. I hate to see any kind of blogging practice become limited.

    Video Link.

    Lousy test question for fourth graders

    My fourth-grade daughter is taking a series of standardized tests in school this week, called the ERB tests. Her teachers handed out a practice test last week, and when I was going over it, I came across a question in the math section that I think has several possible correct answers:
    Picture 19-2 Sara wants to measure how much applesauce she made this fall. If she uses metric, which unit should she use?

    A) gram
    B) liter
    C) kilogram
    D) centimeter

    I've shown this question to a movie director, a screenwriter, and a magazine editor, and they think its a lousy question, too. I've even heard a decent argument for d).

    What do you think? Weigh in here: Link to PDF file of discussion (read from bottom up) (At request of QuickTopics's owner, who said his server load meter is pegged, I have removed the conversation link.)