Record store rep threatens Prince over free CD giveaway

Mike sez, "Prince is giving away a free CD in a national British newspaper, The Mail. The music retail industry executives are viewing this as an attack and are threatening to 'retaliate'. 'The Artist Formerly Known as Prince should know that with behavior like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores. And I say that to all the other artists who may be tempted to dally with the Mail on Sunday,' said Entertainment Retailers Association spokesman Paul Quirk. Mr Quirk also said it would be 'an insult' to record stores. Obviously the music industry views anything that doesn't result in a sale to be subversive or unfair. I say it's Prince's music and he can bloody well give it away if he wants to." Link (Thanks Mike!) Read the rest

China's humanitarian efforts in Africa

The Christian Science Monitor has a long article on Chinese humanitarian efforts in Africa, including joining the UN Blue Helmets, creating debt relief and financial aid, and other efforts. The Monitor devotes some space to pondering the Chinese motives in Africa: colonialist? Charitable? Strategic?

China is such an enigma, capable engendering such massive change. Watching it work around the world is mind-expanding.

"The Chinese interest in Africa ... their coming into our markets is the best thing that could have happened to us," says small-business contractor Amare Kifle, during a recent meeting with a Chinese investor in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. "We are tired of the condescending American style. True, the American government and American companies have done and do a lot here, but I always feel like they think they are doing us a favor ... telling us how to do things and punishing us when we do it our own way.

"These Chinese are different," he says. "They are about the bottom line and allow us to sort out our side of the business as we see fit. I want to have a business partner and do business. I don't want to have a philosophical debate about Africa's future."...

"China is the most self-conscious rising power in history and is desperate to be seen as a benign force as well as to learn from the mistakes of the existing major powers and previous rising powers," says Andrew Small, a Brussels-based China expert at the German Marshall Fund, a public policy think tank.

Read the rest

Google to HMOs: pay us and we'll defuse "Sicko"

Google's "Health Advertising Team" is trying to sell the health industry on buying ads to be shown opposite searches for "Sicko." The idea is to counter Michael Moore's amazing, enraging, must-see indictment of the health industry's grip on American society by running ads over search results for Sicko.

Another approach would be to reform the practices that Moore criticises in the film -- for example, refusing to pay for an insured individual's surgery because she didn't mention a 15-year-old yeast infection on her application; denying MRIs to patients with brain tumors; and paying medical directors bonuses for denying claims.

But why make your customers healthier -- at shareholder expense -- when you can just give money to Google to FUD and astroturf the issue?

The healthcare industry is no stranger to negative press. A drug may be a blockbuster one day and tolled as a public health concern the next. News reporters may focus on Pharma’s annual sales and its executives’ salaries while failing to share R&D costs. Or, as is often common, the media may use an isolated, heartbreaking, or sensationalist story to paint a picture of healthcare as a whole. With all the coverage, it’s a shame no one focuses on the industry’s numerous prescription programs, charity services, and philanthropy efforts.

Many of our clients face these issues; companies come to us hoping we can help them better manage their reputations through “Get the Facts” or issue management campaigns. Your brand or corporate site may already have these informational assets, but can users easily find them?

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Kyle Baker reimagines Plastic Man by way of MAD, Eisner and Animaniacs

Kyle Baker's reworking of the stretched-out DC hero Plastic Man combines the best of MAD Magazine, Tex Avery cartoons, political satire, and balls-out Animaniacs-style mayhem.

Kyle Baker is one of the most versatile comics creators working in the business today. My gateway to his work was his side-splitting Why I Hate Saturn, a decidedly adult graphic novel. Since then, I've sampled his histories of slave revolts, family comedy collections, and many other works with wildly varying artistic and narrative styles.

In the Plastic Man books, Baker invokes the maddest, wildest spit-takes of comic and cartoon history, with silly plotlines that had me spraying water out my nose -- Plastic Man and his FBI girlfriend borrow Superman's time-machine to take Abraham Lincoln (who turns out to be John Wilkes Booth in clever disguise) back in time, end up bringing a dinosaur to civil-war America, where the maddened saurian squishes a Klan rally -- and that's just the set-up.

The artwork owes a debt to MAD's Sergio Argones and Will Eisner, by way of the Incredibles' stylish palette, dipping into Tex Avery for the spit-takes. Every layout has hidden gags for the attentive reader. This is what underwear pervert funnybooks should be like: self-reflective, over-the-top, and political. Vol 1: Plastic Man: On the Lam, Vol 2: Plastic Man: Rubber Bandits

See also: Graphic novel history of Nat Turner's slave revolt Kyle "Why I Hate Saturn" Baker's new collection Read the rest

First iPhone vivisection now online

From the looks of this teardown, the bulk of iPhone's slender innards is the battery. Shown here: "The screen we're pulling away is a somewhat translucent surface, behind it is the touch screen surface itself." Link to "Apple's iPhone Dissected: We did it, so you don't have to," at

Previously on BoingBoing: Jesusphone: He is Risen Sorry I'm all out of clever iPhone headlines: short links roundup The Passion of the Jesusphone: iPhone short links roundup Eric Mueller video blogs from the NYC iPhone line Working Assets calls for iPhone boycott Read the rest

Wikify the problem of ending corruption

Earlier this month, I wrote about Larry Lessig's announcement that he was switching his focus to fighting corruption. Larry has just left on his annual month-long Internet fast/family retreat (of all his inspirational examples, this might be the most inspirational), but he's left a wiki up for his friends and fellow travellers to start wikifying the problem of overturning institutional corruption.

When I talked to Larry about this move, he blue-skyed a neat little idea that's stuck with me: what if lawmakers were required to abstain from votes over issues in which they had a financial interest? For example, if you take money from the health industry, you can't vote on health-related issues. I serve on a bunch of boards, some for-profit and some non-profit, and it's standard that board members abstain from voting on governance issues in which they have a conflict of interest. It's just common sense -- so why not apply it to Congress? Link Read the rest

Jesusphone: He is Risen

I'm in a cafe in Los Angeles right now with Sean Bonner, kicking the tires on the iPhone we just brought back from the Apple store at the Grove. In two words: totally sweet.

It lives up to the hype. All the rules just changed.

(All photos in this post: Sean Bonner. Link to Flickr set.)

Both of us were skeptical about the lack of a conventional keyboard, but so far, it's awesome. Sean's tapping out a bunch of Twitters and emails, single-fingeredly, and sailing through. iPhone does a remarkable job of sniffing out what you meant to type if you goof a little -- more so than any other mobile interface I've used. It'll take some getting used to, and it's not the same as a conventional keyboard. But it does not suck at all. I can imagine typing two-thumbed pretty soon.

(above: Greg Joswiak from Apple, with Jonathan, the first guy in line at the Apple store at LA's Grove mall.)

This cafe where we are right now has an open WiFi network, so data speed as we're testing this for the first time is fantastically fast. Automatically connects if the network is open.

When you connect to internet using AT&T's 300 kbps EDGE network, it does feel pretty poky. More like sub-dial-up, particularly in places where the signal is weak. Still -- faster than what you may be used to on any number of lamer US smartphones. Faster than I was used to on several models of Treos, and some Windows Mobile smartphones. Read the rest

Report from Haunted Mansion castmember for a day winner

Disney park superfan Ricky Brigante (he of the Inside the Magic podcast) won a slot in the Disney Dream Job Experience contest, and got the incredible opportunity to work at the Disneyland Haunted Mansion for a day. Seriously, I would kill for this.

He produced a great write-up of the experience, with links to video, pics, and a long narrative describing his experience.

He also has this link to a site specializing in photos of top-s33kr1t piccies of the backstage mechanisms at Disneyland. Control-room porn at its finest!

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion Cast Members occasionally have a chance to perform what are called magical moments. These are moments in which the guest experience is enhanced by Cast Members performing in ways that are not regularly seen. The ghost dog walking is one such magical moment. Inside the Mansion, there are two others, both taking place in the changing portrait hallway.

The first was a pair of feather dusters that Mansion Cast Members use up and down the portrait hallway, dusting the walls, portraits, and most importantly, the chains and bat stanchions along the sides of the room.

This proved to be one of the most fun moments of the entire weekend. Guests regularly rest their hands on the stanchions or run their hands along the metal chains. Allison told me that her favorite bit is to walk up to the guests and give them a sinister look, making it clear that you want them to stop touching the chains and stanchions.

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Print your business-card on a peanut

Japan leads the world on bad-ass novelty business-cards, so it's no surprise that they've got access to CO2 lasers that print your contact details on peanut shells.
Taberu Me cards are created using Arigatou’s high-grade CO2 laser engraver nicknamed “Shiawase-kun,” which can etch up to 700 characters per second on hard organic materials like beans, nuts, rice and pasta and which has been optimized to print clean-looking logos, names and telephone numbers on the irregular surfaces of peanut shells.

See also: Business-card punch-out cutlery Business card that sprouts Business-card converts to set of lockpicks Cutlery made out of potato starch Cutlery with wrenches on the end Anti-terror cutlery for airline security theater Moo Cards: Stunning kid-sized custom biz-cards with Flickr pix Read the rest

Giant graffiti typography

These giant olde timey letters painted on shop shutters in the East End of London are reportedly the work of a graffiti artist named Eine. (The layout seen here is mine.) Flickr user Dave Gorman collected them all. Link (via Juxtapoz) UPDATE: BB reader Carl Pappenheim made a neat little program that takes whatever you type and converts it into the Eine "font." Link Read the rest

San Francisco Air Guitar championship

My pal Jess Hemerly attended the US Air Guitar San Francisco Regional Championship. The winner, seen here, was Rick Stinkfingers. Check the SF Jukebox for Jess's videos of the rawk extravaganza. From Jess's post:
Beer was thrown, rock fists raised high in the air, and bad contestants ridiculed. Congratulations to Rick Stinkfingers who will represent the Bay Area at the US Air Guitar Championships in New York City. He will compete against the other regional champs as well as last year's SF winner, Hot "Lixx" Hoolihan.
Link Previously on BB: • Air guitar t-shirt Link Read the rest

Man thinks he is living inside Grand Theft Auto: sent to psychiatric facility

In 2001, the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine reported that a man was imprisoned for stealing cars and assaulting people with weapons, then sent to a psychiatric facility for "acting in a bizarre manner." It turns out he thought he was playing Grand Theft Auto (the article doesn't say it was GTA, but what other game could it be?)
A young man was admitted from prison to a psychiatric facility after reports that he had been acting in a bizarre manner. He had been arrested for stealing motor vehicles and assaults with weapons. At interview he was found to be experiencing the delusion that he was a player inside a computer game (adult-certificate game, widely available) in which points are scored for stealing cars, killing assailants and avoiding police vehicles. Psychotic symptoms had emerged slowly over two years. His family had noticed him becoming increasingly withdrawn and isolated from social activities. He developed delusions that strangers were planning to kill him and also experienced auditory hallucinations, constantly hearing an abusive and derogatory voice. Previously a computer enthusiast, he began to play computer games incessantly. He felt that the games were communicating with him via the headphones. In a complex delusional system he came to believe he was inside one of these games and had to steal a car to start scoring points. He broke into a car and drove off at speed, believing he had `invulnerable' fuel and so could not run out of petrol. To gain points he chose to steal increasingly powerful vehicles, threatening and assaulting the owners with weapons.
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Another outdoor warning note

Mark says:
(Click on thumbnails for enlargement)

I laughed and laughed at the Dick Car note post on Boing Boing. Sometimes writing the right kind of note to get your point across works perfectly.

We live in Amarillo, Texas, home of Hummers, pickups, and Bush love. During the last presidential campaign, we had had three Kerry signs stolen from our yard (one within minutes of us getting home from a soccer game -- it was there when we drove up and seconds later, when I passed the window, it was gone.

So I thought about sticking broken glass on the sign's edges, but then I came up with an even better idea. Attached is a pict of what I did.

No one stole our sign after that.

Previously on Boing Boing: • Passive aggressive notes taped in offices and shared housesBizarre self-referential warning signJapanese warning signsScary Russian warning signStick figure danger sign Flickr poolAtrocious apostrophe's and "quotation" "mark" "abuse" photo galleries Read the rest

List of sf/f writers' blogs

SFSignal maintains a useful and expansive list of science fiction and fantasy writers' blogs. Link (Thanks, Bonnie!) Read the rest

All memes, one comic

Jeremy sez, "Livejournal user gnimmell has fused many of the recent image memes into a single, hilarious comic strip." Link (Thanks, Jeremy!) Read the rest

Sorry I'm all out of clever iPhone headlines: short links roundup

The inevitable iPhone cake: Link. (Thanks, Bonnie!)

Michael Robertson (, Linspire, sipphone founder) has posted an essay with more thoughts on the carrier lockdown issues Cory blogged earlier on BoingBoing: Link to "Battle of the Buttons."

The Pope is stoked about Jesusphone, says Gelf Magazine: Link.

Love will tear it apart: Link.

Live webcast of the NYC launch: Link (thanks, Michael).

Meredith Viera blows an iPhone stunt on live TV: Link.

Snapshots of boxes of iPhones delivered to an Apple store by UPS guys, who are -- shockingly -- not wearing full body armor, or packing handguns and stun lasers: Link (thanks Matt).

iPhone versus Paris Hilton: Link (thanks I'm a PC).

In yesterday's short iPhone links roundup, I got some details wrong on that internal Apple employee giveaway announcement by Steve Jobs. I've since spoken to an Apple source who confirmed correct specifics, so the post is now updated: Link.

E!'s "The Soup" will air this parody ad on tonight's episode: Link.

Friends of BoingBoing in Los Angeles: I'll be soaking up the insanity over at the iPhone launch at the Grove this afternoon/evening. If you're around, come say hi.

Previously on BoingBoing: Working Assets calls for iPhone boycott The Passion of the Jesusphone: iPhone short links roundup

Reader comment: Nathan says,

This is a photo of me and Steve Wozniak. He arrived at the Valley Fair mall apple store on a Segway at around 5am, he has been sitting in front of the store ever since.
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Photos from old sewing and knitting patterns

Threadbared is exactly the kind of blog I love -- tightly focused on a single subject, with obsessive annotation. In this case, there's nothing but unusual photos from vintage sewing and knitting pattern books and envelopes. You can view the photos by decade (from the 40s to the 90s). Link (Via PCL Linkdump) Read the rest

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