It late November. An unseasonably muggy wind had blown all evening. Humid clouds swelled overhead. People too near a brazier were damp with sweat, wishing they could remove their coats. And now the sun was setting. Iwa-san left work and wound through the alleys of the Gyōgan temple grounds to the longhouse where he lived with his family. But once he got there, he seemed agitated by something and in a great hurry. Without even making his usual visit to the bath-house, he wolfed down his rice and tea, said that he was going to visit a friend, and left the house.Link (Thanks, Bill!)
While he was gone, the wind grew ever fiercer. The doors and shoji screens rattled. The dark mouths of the shutters yawned and slammed. The skies, despite all this, were clear, stars still and twinkling even as the gale grew wild. Gray clouds like piles of cotton swelled into view from time to time, shedding a few drops of rain. But just when it seemed about to pour, the wind would grow wild and blow the skies clear.
The Participatory Culture Foundation has published a compelling chart comparing the free, open Miro video player to Joost, a closed and proprietary system that's crippled with DRM and only carries content from those few producers lucky enough to get a deal with Joost. By contrast, Miro has done extensive outreach to indie creators, has no privacy-invading tracking of your viewing habits, delivers HD video, and is built on free software and open standards.
Using Miro is as easy as using a TiVo. Download the free software, pick the channels you want (over 2,500 of them at present, and anyone can publish new channels), and Miro will subscribe to your favorite net-shows, checking their RSS feeds for new episodes and downloading them with BitTorrent, so that the folks who make your shows don't go bankrupt on bandwidth bills. As a bonus, BitTorrent means that the more popular a show gets, the faster you'll get it -- no more sites being clobbered because too many people are using them at once. It doesn't matter what video format the shows are in, because Miro includes VLC, the open video player that can play pretty much every file-format on the net.
Miro is produced by a nonprofit, the Participatory Culture Foundation, who pay a staff of 11 (mostly hackers) to continuously improve and enhance the free/open Miro codebase. Miro is available for the Mac, Windows and Linux, with all versions being released simultaneously.
I'm proud to volunteer on the Foundation's board, and delighted to see how well we stack up against Joost, a company with more than 100 employees and a gigantic marketing budget (Miro's marketing budget is zero). Joost is a pretty nightmarish vision for the future of Internet video: a DRM-crippled, locked up future where video producers and viewers are beholden to a single company that chooses what does and does not get shown. This is the Internet, after all, not cable TV. Let's keep it that way! Link, Link to download today's new Public Release 3 of the Miro software for Mac, Windows and Linux
(Disclosure: I am proud to volunteer on the Board of Directors for the nonprofit Participatory Culture Foundation, which produces Miro)
Today however, the Chemistry Set is toast. Current instantiations are embarrassing. There are no chemicals except those which react at low energy to produce color changes. No glass tubes or beakers, certainly no Bunsen burners or alcohol burners (remember the clear blue flames when the alcohol spilled out over the table). Today’s sets cover perfume mixing and creation of luminol (the ‘CSI effect’ I suppose).Link (via /.)
In some States, you need a FBI criminal background check to purchase chemicals. Some metals, like lithium, red phosphorus, sodium and potassium, are almost impossible to purchase in elemental form. This is thanks to their use in manufacturing methamphetamine. Sulphur and potassium nitrate, both useful chemicals, are being classified as class C fireworks (here is a good precursor link). Mail order suppliers of science products are raided. Many over-the-counter compounds now require what is essentially a (poor) background check. Even fertilizer (ammonium nitrate) is under intense scrutiny. Where does this trend end? Ten years from now, will the list include table salt, seawater and natural gas – precursors to many industrical chemicals?
(Photo credit: Ancient Chemistry Set, a Creative Commons Attribution-License photo from Vortistic's Flickr stream)
(Screenshot from Sunbelt Software)
A malicious Trojan Horse has been found on several pornography web sites, claiming to install a video codec necessary to view free pornographic videos on Macs. A great deal of spam has been posted to many Mac forums, in an attempt to lead users to these sites. When the users arrive on one of the web sites, they see still photos from reputed porn videos, and if they click on the stills, thinking they can view the videos, they arrive on a web page that says the following:Link
Quicktime Player is unable to play movie file.
Please click here to download new version of codec.
After the page loads, a disk image (.dmg) file automatically downloads to the user’s Mac. If the user has checked Open “Safe” Files After Downloading in Safari’s General preferences (or similar settings in other browsers), the disk image will mount, and the installer package it contains will launch Installer. If not, and the user wishes to install this codec, they double-click the disk image to mount it, then double-click the package file, named install.pkg.
If the user then proceeds with installation, the Trojan horse installs; installation requires an administrator’s password, which grants the Trojan horse full root privileges. No video codec is installed, and if the user returns to the web site, they will simply come to the same page and receive a new download.
Marco says: "Paul Rand left a huge mark on American graphic design thanks to his corporate logo designs you've all probably seen. It was only recently that the UPS logo was redesigned from his original look.
"Here is a 4 minute Quicktime film tributing Paul's work, a delicious animated journey through very familiar shapes and colors as Paul explains graphic design. In short, it looks really great.
"Paul Rand was inducted to the One Show Creative Hall of Fame this week." Link
Occasionally, he comes across notes and sketches placed between the pages of the books. He scans these and posts them to his Flickr site. Link (Thanks, Seán in Seattle!)
Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger's press secretary, said the governor made the comments in a lighthearted context, noting his interviewer was Piers Morgan, one of the judges on "America's Got Talent." Morgan is a former British newspaper editor.Link
"The governor was doing an interview with the host of 'America's Got Talent,' the newest version of the gong show," McLear said. "I think it's important to keep that quote in the context of the environment where it was said."
Today's Boing Boing tv episode:
The invite said "Bring a Yoga Mat - Dress Like a Zombie." When filmmaker and Boing Boing pal Jason Wishnow set out to create a trailer for Scott Kenemore's new book "The Zen of Zombie : Better Living Through the Undead" (yes, people make video trailers for books!) a vision came to his brrraiiiiinns. Why not gather 100 people in a Brooklyn park, dress them as zombies, and film them all doing yoga? There's no inner peace like undead inner peace.Link to video. Happy Halloween from Boing Boing! Zombies are forever.
So today on Boing Boing tv, in honor of Halloween, we've produced a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Jason's Zombie Yoga trailer (we'll share his actual trailer tomorrow!). Oh, and -- watch out for flying guts when they do "downward decapitated dog" or "corpse pose." (Music by T.bias.)
The new owner? "Donna Blue Aircraft" a corporation recently registered in South Florida to two Brazilians.Link | Link to MP3
[Reporter Kevin] HALL: one of these mailboxes-are-us type of business.
Donnablueaircraft dot com was registered just ten days before they bought the plane So is this just a Front Company? Investigative journalist Daniel Hopsicker visited Donna Blue’s listed address… He found an empty office suite, a blank sign, and six unmarked police cruisers parked in front.
[Investigative journalist Daniel] HOPSICKER: It’s a phony front company.
Exactly who these Brazilians are is a whole 'nuther story.
HOPSICKER: Non-US citizens are not allowed to own N-Numbered Planes…and…neither one of these guys appears to be a US Citizen.
HALL: he didn’t check either box as to whether he was a US citizen.
After just two weeks, the plane was sold again in another mysterious transaction. The only evidence for this is an anomalous bill of sale with the name of the new owner: “Clyde O’Connor” He’s a well-known guy around Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport.
HALL: I had the sense they seemed to have known more about him than they were letting on, he seems to be a veteran around that area, who’s got a bit of a checkered past.
O’Connor’s been involved in at least two plane crashes and he was cited for Criminal Air Safety Violations in 2001.
[Florida reporter Bob] NORMAN: He’d gone through bankruptcies, a divorce, he’s a chronic traffic offender.
Florida reporter [and Blogger @ the Broward Palm Beach New Times] Bob Norman tried to track down O’Connor.
NORMAN: He’s a slippery guy, … and where the money’s coming from, I think that’s a big question.
Kevin Hall was wondering about O’Connor’s money too.
HALL: …seems to own a $450,000 house, so he seems to be doin pretty well even though his businesses are going bad
He has two corporations registered in his name, but they’re run out of Post Office Boxes and their phones are disconnected. Bob went looking for O’Connor at Ft. Lauderdale executive airport. He just missed him.
NORMAN: I don’t know why he was there but it was the talk of the airport.
So Bob reported he had been seen around the Ft Lauderdale airport days after the crash. The same day his story came out, O’Connor left the country in a hurry. He flew to Canada and was arrested right away for lying about the guns in his bag. Then, he paid several thousand dollars to get his plane back and then flew it to the Azores. He still doesn’t appear to be under investigation for any wrongdoing, despite being the cocaine plane’s owner of record. This really gets Bob Norman’s goat…
NORMAN: This is a trail that needs to be investigated, Clyde O’Connor needs to be investigated.
And according to the bill of sale… He was the lawful owner of the plane.
SLACK: Even though the paperwork may not be on record and filed, presumptive ownership transfers on the date of sale.
There’s another big question about Clyde…
ROOT: Who actually piloted the plane out of the US was it Mr. O’Connor, who wasn’t certified?…
So did he fly it illegally or did someone else fly it? And also: who gave O’Connor the money to buy the plane? According to the Brazilian owner, O’Connor was buying the plane on behalf of someone else… Then who’s he buying it for? There was another name on the bill of Sale: Greg Smith, the only person involved in the deal not to have left the country. So Dan Hopsicker tried to get his side of the story,
HOPSICKER: The pilots aren’t talking to the press so I asked someone who I know does business with the two pilots to call and Greg Smith blurted out ‘it was Don’s money’…
That’s Don Whittington, a convicted drug smuggler, tax evader and champion race car driver.
Several of his planes were named in investigations of the CIA rendition program but we’ll get back to him later. So What do we know so far…Weve got a crashed drug plane in Mexico…It’s got a history of government use…It changes hands twice in a couple weeks before crashing…
UPDATE: In the Discussion, Ed G. kindly points out that the Times Herald-Record has a much more detailed story about the PistolCam. Link
The details of his study of negotiation options with Iran are classified, but Bueno de Mesquita says that the broad outline is that there is nothing the United States can do to prevent Iran from pursuing nuclear energy for civilian power generation. The more aggressively the U.S. responds to Iran, he says, the more likely it is that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. The upshot of the study, Bueno de Mesquita argues, is that the international community needs to find out if there is a way to monitor civilian nuclear energy projects in Iran thoroughly enough to ensure that Iran is not developing weapons.Link to Science News, Link to GOOD Magazine
One of his most famous past predictions also concerned Iran. In 1984, the model predicted that when Ayatollah Khomeini died, an ayatollah named Hojatolislam Khameini and a little-known cleric named Hasheimi Rafsanjani would rise to succeed Khomeini as leaders of Iran. At the time, most experts considered that outcome exceedingly unlikely, since Khomeini had designated a different person as his successor. But in fact, when Khomeini died five years later, Rafsanjani and Khameini succeeded him.
Bueno de Mesquita says he also predicted that Andropov would succeed Brezhnev long before experts considered it likely. He foresaw that China would reclaim Hong Kong 12 years before it happened, and he predicted that France would narrowly pass the European Union's Maastricht Treaty.
Former CIA analyst Stanley Feder says that he has used Bueno de Mesquita's model well over a thousand times since the early 1980s to make predictions about specific policies. Like others, he has found it to be more than 90 percent accurate.
Previously on BB:
• Failed futuristic predictions Link
• Gladwell on mysteries vs. puzzles Link
• Problems with predictions Link
A first aid team called to the scene soon cleared up the confusion. Police told the man to remove his make-up after which he was allowed to continue his journey.Link (via Fortean Times)
Evil Mad Scientist Labs have improved on their classic design for a bat-wing costume made from old umbrellas with a new design that is even more anatomically correct! Link (via Craft)
MP4 Link, Inside the Magic podcast (Thanks, Kirby!)
Ricky at Inside the Magic has a video of Disney's Haunted Halloween Parade at Tokyo Disneyland.
All of the floats have Haunted Mansion themes - even obscure stuff like the Rolly Crump designed overstuffed easy chair with the face worked into the design. Another float has the Ballroom's Organ as the major design element. The Knight from just outside the endless hallway is represented by 4 cast members. The bride is a chipmunk character. Another float has a giant representation of the skeletal arm with a trowel bricking himself into his own tomb.
A phalanx of Haunted Mansion maids leads the parade. Ghosts from the Mickey Mouse cartoon "Lonesome Ghosts" pepper the entire parade.
The song that accompanies the parade is called "One More Ghost" in reference to the need to find that 1000th ghost that the Mansion needs.
The show stop at the end of the parade features the Japanese Ghost Host voice with various riffs off of the Grim Grinning Ghosts theme.
Lauren sez, "Our kick-ass South African sci-fi kids' show, URBO: The Adventures of Pax Afrika has a special episode about the music industry and DRM technology, only in our universe, 'DRM' stands for the Don't Rip Monsters, who really do bite you on the ass if you dare to file-share." Link (Thanks, Lauren!)
Tim K sez, "I thought you'd enjoy seeing this set of Flickr pix I took at a Hollywood Day of the Dead festival: Bugs and the gang as Looney Tunes skeletons." Link (Thanks, Tim K!)
I just found out that Chris Anderson, Wired's editor-in-chief, has been doing the same thing.
He's also published his long, long list of banned flacks. Good for him.
I've had it. I get more than 300 emails a day and my problem isn't spam (Cloudmark Desktop solves that nicely), it's PR people. Lazy flacks send press releases to the Editor in Chief of Wired because they can't be bothered to find out who on my staff, if anyone, might actually be interested in what they're pitching.Link (Thanks, Barry!)
Everything else gets banned on first abuse. The following is just the last month's list of people and companies who have been added to my Outlook blocked list. All of them have sent me something inappropriate at some point in the past 30 days. Many of them sent press releases; others just added me to a distribution list without asking. If their address gets harvested by spammers by being published here, so be it--turnabout is fair play.
There is no getting off this list. If you're on it and have something appropriate to say to me, use a different email address.
"The Maharishi told me during that 1968 visit that I should build a university in Edinburgh. I went to my room and drew a beautiful dome-shaped place of learning," he said Friday...Link (Thanks, Jess Hemerly!)
Donovan and Lynch, Oscar-nominated director of "Blue Velvet," "Mullholland Dr." and "The Elephant Man," are part of a tour to promote transcendental meditation as a means of reducing violence, crime and stress in schools and colleges...
"For a country the size of Scotland it would take only 250 students meditating to protect Scotland from its enemies and to bring peace, to stop violence and drug abuse," Lynch said. "That is just a byproduct of the students meditating together."
Link to Total Dick-Head, Link to buy the book Radio Free Albemuth
Unfortunately, the internet is bloated with the hot air of these amateur journalists. Despite the size of their readership, even the A-List bloggers have no formal journalistic training. And, in fact, much of the real news their blogs contain has been lifted from (or aggregated from) the very news organizations they aim to replace.
It is not surprising then that these prominent bloggers have no professional training in the collection of news. After all, who needs a degree in journalism to post a hyperlink on a Web site? Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, for example, the founder of Daily Kos, a left-leaning site, came to political blogging via the technology industry and the military.
Kos responds by listing his education and professional background as a journalist, which anyone with access to the Internet can easily discover for themselves.
Moulitsas earned two bachelor degrees at Northern Illinois University (1992-96), with majors in Philosophy, Journalism, and Political Science and a minor in German.Link (Thanks, Gary!)
After a hitch serving as an artillery fire director at the headquarters for a missile battery, he attended Northern Illinois University, winning dual degrees and majoring in philosophy, political science and journalism and minoring in German.
From there, it was on to Boston University, where he earned his law degree.
“I knew in law school that I never wanted to be a lawyer. It was a way to kill three years of my life,” he offered with a smile.
He could have become a reporter–there was a job offer from the Associated Press–and he did freelance for three years for the Chicago Tribune, “but I decided I didn’t want to live vicariously through other people’s lives.”