Last night my daughter and I watched the Night Gallery episode about the killer doll from India and it freaked her out (in a good way).
I probably should get her this Living Dead Dolls pencil sharpener, which reminds me of the creepy killer doll from Night Gallery. (Aww shucks -- it's sold out.) Link
In 1971, anthropologist Dr. William Bass (seen above) founded the University of Tennessee's Forensic Anthropology Facility, aka the "Body Farm." On those three acres in Knoxville, dozens of lifeless human bodies lie in various states of decomposition in the name of science and education. Alan Bellows of Damn Interesting paid a visit. From the article, which is not for the squeamish:
From a short distance the male figure almost appeared to be napping among the hummingbirds and squirrels, draped as he was over the pebbled ground. But something about his peculiar pose evoked a sense of grim finality– the body language of the deceased...Link
The students knelt alongside the slumped form, seemingly untroubled by the acrid, syrupy tang of human decay which hung in the air. They remarked on the amount of decomposition that had become evident since their last visit, such as the sloughed skin and distended midsection. The insects which feasted upon the decommissioned man were of specific interest, prompting a number of photographs and note-jottings. After surveying the scene to their satisfaction, the students strolled across the glade to examine a considerably more decayed corpse in the trunk of an abandoned car. Their lack of alarm wasn't altogether surprising, for they were part of the organization responsible for dumping these corpses– along with dozens more– throughout the otherwise serene forest....
As the lifeless subjects are interred into the grisly forest hideaway, each is assigned an anonymous identification number. Some are situated to provide interesting decomposition vectors, while others are used to reconstruct specific circumstances for police investigations. At any given time, several dozen perished persons are scattered around the hillside within automobiles, cement vaults, suitcases, plastic bags, shallow graves, pools of water, or deposited directly upon the earth. Except when clothing is necessary for a particular study, cadavers are disrobed, and frequently certain factors such as fire and chemicals are introduced to measure their effects. Grad students and professors return periodically to check on the subjects' progress, with occasional visits from police officers or FBI agents undergoing training.
Previously on BB:
• Vultures halt "body farms" plans Link
• Forensic anthropology in Glenn and Helen Show podcast Link
Highfield defends the company's DRM in an incoherent way, attacking straw-men ("The rightsholders need DRM to protect their rights" and "we need open source DRM, but that may be a contradiction in terms," "Rightsholders are scary," "We need a fictional technology that will let us insert ads but only when American eyeballs are present") but without addressing the really meaty questions.
The BBC broadcasts the entirety of its programming at the speed of light, in digital form, without DRM, to every corner of the UK. The net is flooded with every single show the BBC transmits. The BBC has previously stood up to rightsholders who insisted DRM (removing DRM from its satellite feeds, despite an entertainment industry boycott that lasted a year). Adding DRM to its downloads just makes the downloads suck, traps Britons into using Microsoft OSes, shuts out one in four license-paying households who don't have the right combination, bans open source -- but it has nothing to do with stopping infringing downloads.
What's more, the fictional technology Highfield cites as a prerequisite for dropping DRM is wildly improbable. It would require every single entity in the video "value chain" -- every player, every hosting site, every hardware company -- to sign on to always follow the BBC's "insert ad here" instruction, and the only way to force them to do that is...to add DRM.
When asked about the iPlayer's P2P system (which you can't switch off, meaning that once you download shows, they're available for other iPlayer users to download from you), Highfield says that the ISPs have sold "unlimited" broadband to their customers without expecting us to actually use the service without limits. They have a dishonest pitch for their technology, and Highfield essentially says, "Well, that's their problem."
I couldn't agree more -- and what's more, there's another group of companies that have made a dishonest pitch for technology: the rightsholders who say that DRM on the BBC's downloads will stop unauthorized distribution of their videos.
I like Highfield -- I know him personally and think he's smarter than this. I'd love to see him interviewed by someone who actually walked him through the real implications of what he's proposing here. Link, Link to Ben Laurie's rebuttal (Thanks, Glyn!)
BBC announces that it may NOT deliver Linux/Mac/older Windows version of iPlayer -- sorry, 25% of UK, no iPlayer for you!
Cory's column on DRM's Potemkin Village for the Guardian
BBC Trustees agree to let BBC infect Britain with DRM
BBC's online media now requires MSFT player, DRM
BBC picketed over use of Microsoft DRM
BBC recruits Microsoft DRM exec
Regulators order BBC Trust to meet with open source consortium over DRM player
The eyesight of many mammals is sensitive to moonlight. The level of adaptation of night vision would be very different without the Moon. Many of these species have evolved in such a way that their night vision could work in even partial lunar illumination, because that’s when they are most active. But they can be more subjected to predators, too, so there is a balance between your ability to see and your ability not to be seen. The Moon has completely changed evolution in that aspect.Link (Via Daily Grail)
Human vision is so sensitive that we are almost able to work by the light of the Milky Way. The full Moon has more light than we need to see at night. For most of our history, we were hunting and fishing or doing agriculture, and we organized our lives by using the Moon. It determined the time for hunting, or the time where we could harvest. That’s why most of our calendars are based on the Moon.
What makes us lucky bipeds human?Link
"The most important way to ask these really hard questions–is human altruism unique, is human spite unique, is human fairness unique–is to ask non-human animals," says Laurie Santos, director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory at Yale University. This behavioral process of elimination defines humans as it progresses.
Since chimpanzees can't speak our language, researchers design experimental scenarios to detect the presence or absence of such traits.
Previously on BB:
• Ape altruism Link
Affixing his signature to federal Net neutrality rules would be high on the list during his first year in the Oval Office, the junior senator from Illinois said during an interactive forum Monday afternoon with the popular contender put on by MTV and MySpace at Coe College in Iowa...Link
He went on to explain the issue briefly: "What you've been seeing is some lobbying that says that the servers and the various portals through which you're getting information over the Internet should be able to be gatekeepers and to charge different rates to different Web sites...so you could get much better quality from the Fox News site and you'd be getting rotten service from the mom and pop sites," he went on. "And that I think destroys one of the best things about the Internet--which is that there is this incredible equality there."
Link (Thanks, Mark!)
The Small World ride now must accommodate adults who frequently weigh north of 200 pounds, which it often cannot do. Increasingly, overweighted boats get to certain points in the ride and bottom out, becoming stuck in the flume.
For author Henry Petroski, the simplest of instruments – be it a pencil or a telephone keypad – can offer fascinating stories of engineering, design and cultural history.Link (Thanks, Partha!)
Even toothpicks don't escape his inquisitive eye. His latest book explores the history of this seemingly mundane tool – and why picking our teeth is among mankind's oldest bad habits.
In The Toothpick, Petroski, who is a professor of civil engineering and history at Duke University, chronicles the instrument's odd and funny history, taking readers back to the time of the Neanderthals. Anthropologists have found evidence of grooves on fossilized teeth that resulted from rough-hewn toothpicks. Later, in ancient Rome, the emperor Nero entered a banquet hall with a silver toothpick lodged in his mouth.
The mollusc, which is thought to have lurked beneath the waves until at least the age of 405, would have been a juvenile when Galileo picked up his first telescope, Hamlet was first staged and the gunpowder plot failed to blow up King James I.Scientists said it was a little tough, but "very tasty fried in butter and garlic." (Not really.) Link
The Arctica islandica clam was plucked from 80m-deep water by researchers at Bangor University in Wales, who were dredging the north Iceland shelf for the creatures. By studying their shells, the scientists hope to learn how the marine environment has changed in recent centuries.
The clam was alive when it was brought to the surface, but at that point, the researchers had no idea how old it was. Only after cutting through the shell and counting annual growth rings under a microscope did they date the mollusc to between 405 to 410 years old.
Incredible sculptor Tessa Farmer collaborated with the London Natural History Museum's Entomology Department to unleash an army of tiny faeries on the museum's mounted insect and animal collection. The exhibition, titled Little Savages, runs until January 28. As part of the exhibit, Farmer, Sean Daniels, and my friend Mark Pilkington made a stop-motion film of the faeries' in the wild. Interesting, Farmer is the great granddaughter of fantastic fiction author Arthur Machen, a fact she only found out after developing her relationship with the faeries.
"They have their roots in Victorian fairies, who were quite mischievous and lived in natural habitats, often torturing animals," Farmer recently told The Guardian. "My fairies are more gory. Their ultimate ambition is to attack humans..."
Link to Mark Pilkington's Strange Attractor post
Link to Natural History Museum
Link to more of Farmer's work in a 2006 exhibit called Miniature Worlds
Section 1: "I've been wronged! What do I do next?"
Section 2: The Consumerist Corporate Executive Directory
Section 3: Success Stories
and each section contains links to excellent articles on everything from timestamping your communications with customer-service lines to "launching an executive email carpet-bomb" to the delightfully named "Underlying Principle For Forcing An Uncaring And Adversarial Company Fix Your Problem." The next time I'm ripped off, I'm starting here. Link
John sez, "Shimmer Magazine just released The Pirate Issue, which was guest-edited by me, John Joseph Adams. In addition to all the bloodthirsty pirate action you would expect to find in an issue labeled "The Pirate Issue," the issue also features a story that should be of particular interest to Boing Boing readers: "Captain Blood's B00ty," a story in which magic is real but every spell has been copyrighted by an RIAA-like organization. In the story, there is a pirate website that lets you download stuff anyway (like The Pirate Bay, but for magic)." Link to site for story, Link to story download page (Thanks, John!)
Christopher Locke makes spider-sculptures out of confiscated scissors bought at TSA auctions ("The larger ones are made from barber scissors, and the smaller ones are made from cuticle scissors.") Link (Thanks, Christopher!)
Link (Thanks, Danny!)
The Invisible Computers: The Untold Story of the ENIAC Programmers is a documentary on one of the first programming teams: Betty Snyder Holberton, Jean Jennings Bartik, Kathleen McNulty Mauchly Antonelli, Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer, Ruth Lichterman Teitelbaum and Frances Bilas Spence.
The six-woman team hardwired code for ballistics trajectory calculations, but were overlooked in the previous accounts of the first US large-scale, electronic, digital computer in 1946.
The documentary is being previewed at Google next Thursday -- they production team are looking for donations to finish it off and show it elsewhere.
Bonnie sez, "Need a cool Star Wars Halloween disguise that you can create yourself? Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy author Matthew Reinhart shows you how to make this simple pop-up mask that changes you from Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader in a flash. Now you can go to the dark side and back again and again!" Link (Thanks, Bonnie!)
On Friday, I got the Twin Peaks Definitive Gold Box Edition -- a 10 DVD set of David Lynch's mind-bendingly creepy/dreamy TV series.
In addition to the remastered versions of all 29 episodes plus the US and European pilots, it's loaded with excellent supplemental material, including lots of making-of documentaries and interviews. It's a terrific package of stuff.
This 10-disc set includes "Greetings from Twin Peaks" collectable postcards and a plethora of special features, including hours of newly-minted bonus content, featuring exclusive cast and crew interviews and rare footage never before released on DVD.
"Secrets from Another Place: Creating Twin Peaks" is a collection of four new documentaries exploring the origins, production and impact of the show. The cast and crew, including co-creator Mark Frost, composer Angelo Badalamenti, singer Julee Cruise, actors Kyle MacLachlan, Joan Chen, Piper Laurie, Ray Wise, Sheryl Lee, Kenneth Welsh, Maedchen Amick, Miguel Ferrer and many others share their memories of creating the show in this in-depth piece covering the sensational and tumultuous evolution of TWIN PEAKS in four parts: "Northwest Passage: Creating the Pilot," "Freshly Squeezed: Creating Season One," "Where We're From: Creating the Music" and "Into the Night: Creating Season Two."
Co-creator and four-time Academy Award(R) nominee David Lynch, Kyle MacLachlan and Maedchen Amick take an amusing look back at the series in "A Slice of Lynch," an all-new get-together of friends over piping hot coffee and sweet cherry pie.
"Return to Twin Peaks" follows a group of devoted fans to the 2006 Twin Peaks Festival, where the show's faithful have been regularly gathering for costume contests, celebrity sightings, trivia games and other wildness in the woods outside of Seattle. And an Interactive Map allows viewers to revisit the show's unforgettable locations as they appear today...and how to find them in real life.
Newly remastered from the original negative and personally approved by David Lynch, the episodes have never looked better. Moreover, viewers will have the option of enjoying the episodes in either new 5.1 Surround Sound or the original 2.0 network television audio.
Kris Kuksi makes fantastical sculptures that are microcosms of a bizarre, grotesque, and surreal world that HR Giger, Hieronymus Bosch, and HP Lovecraft would happily call home. Seen here, "The Macabre Ride" (mixed media, 23" x 18"). Dark Roasted Blend interviewed Kuksi:
DRB How long have you been doing this, and how do you define your genre?Link to Dark Roasted Blend interview, Link to Kris Kuksi's site
Kris I started my first one in 2004 called "Parasite and Host", and from there they have evolved into what I call an appropriated onslaught of shit put together that otherwise shouldn't be together in order to create a physical world of what is in my head...
DRB What kind of "mixed media" do you use in your sculptures?
Kris Mixed media is a very simplified term for what materials I use, but the list would be to long for this interview. I use "things". These things are pre-fabricated, injection-molded, press-molded, mass-produced, kitschy, weird stuff all brought together in a very articulated way that involves imagination, skill, math, craftsmanship, paint, and lastly, magic.
In today's episode of Boing Boing tv:
Here's what happens when you take Halloween too far. A cautionary tale provided courtesy of Danny Diamond and a crew of video guerrillas who say: "We dedicate this to the memory of Tim E Woodsman, 1972 - 2007. We miss you. -- Jason, Jolon, Glasgow, Martha, Brody, Danny & everyone who made CRAPtv possible."Link.
According to Mad Cow Morning News, the plane was once owned by ultra-rich Bush supporter Stephen Adams. (In July, the Federal Election Commission filed suit against Adams on charges that he "failed to report and include proper disclaimers on $1,000,000 in billboard ads during the 2004 Presidential race.")
Not only that, but Mad Cow alleges that Adam's business partner owned the other American drug plane that was found in Mexico with 5.5 tons of cocaine in 2006.
Recently-released FAA records from the Gulfstream II business jet that went down in Mexico a month ago with four tons of cocaine reveal that before it was “parked” in the name of a New York real estate developer with ties to the Russian Mob, the plane was owned by a secretive Midwestern media baron and Republican fund-raiser, who had a business partner who, incredibly, owned the other American drug plane, the DC9, recently busted in Mexico.Link
Adams was in business with Miami attorney Michael Farkas, who founded SkyWay Aircraft, which owned the DC9 busted in Mexico 18 months ago with 5.5 tons of cocaine aboard.
Moreover at the same time the Bush Ranger extraordinaire Stephen Adams owned the Gulfstream (N987SA) in 1999 and 2000, he was personally buying over $1 million of billboard ads for George W. Bush for his 2000 Presidential election bid.
This gent in this video is wearing a Hello Kitty mask while enjoying a cigarette and a beer. He's one of many Japanese and gaijin who attended to last year's "Yamanote Halloween Train Party."
But this year's party, held on October 28th, has "ignited a huge anti-foreign backlash from the Japanese blogosphere," according to Japan Probe.
Here's an interesting letter of complaint about the unruly party:
- There were perhaps 200 to 250 foreigners present, most of them Caucasian. There was also a number of Japanese participants, most of them Japanese women.
- After getting on the train, the party-goers became drunk and loud, shouting in English and becoming aggressive towards a few Japanese.
- At some point, an idiot removed or disabled the lighting in the train car, forcing the train to make an emergency stop at Shinagawa station, where police forced everyone out of the train and tried to see what had gone wrong with the lights. It is unclear whether this put an end to the party, or if it continued afterwards.
The Daily Telegraph reports on a bizarre case in which a man staying at a hostel was surprised by workers with a master key, having sex with a bicycle. He has been placed on the sex offenders register, despite apparently indulging in his practices in private with an inanimate object. I am wondering how this is different from using, say, a vibrator or blow-up doll? Do people in hostels have no right to privacy?Link
The real killer paragraph is the last one - apparently someone was jailed in 1993 for having sex with the pavement - or sidewalk in US English.
I Could Tell You but Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World sounds like a wonderful book. I want T-shirts of every single one.
Shown here for the first time, these seventy-five patches reveal a secret world of military imagery and jargon, where classified projects are known by peculiar names ("Goat Suckers," "None of Your Fucking Business," "Tastes Like Chicken") and illustrated with occult symbols and ridiculous cartoons. Although the actual projects represented here (such as the notorious Area 51) are classified, these patches-which are worn by military units working on classified missions-are precisely photographed, strangely hinting at a world about which little is known.Link (Via Super Punch)
By submitting hundreds of Freedom of Information requests, the author has also assembled an extensive and readable guide to the patches included here, making this volume the best available survey of the military's black world -- a $27 billion industry that has quietly grown by almost 50 percent since 9/11.
From the New York Times feature on Moondog:
A tall blind man with long hair and beard, wearing a handmade Viking helmet and primitive cloak, he regularly stationed himself at Sixth Avenue and 54th Street, which cops and cabbies knew as Moondog’s Corner. Dispensing his poetry, politics, sheet music and recordings (some on boutique labels, some on majors), he was sought out over the years by beats, hippies and foreign tourists, but also by the media and celebrities, from Walter Winchell and “Today” to Marlon Brando, Muhammad Ali and Martin Scorsese.
“Everybody who was anybody met Moondog,” Robert Scotto, author of “Moondog,” a biography published this month by Process Books, said recently. “And everybody had his own Moondog.”
Even after he moved to Germany in 1974, where he remained until his death in 1999 at 83, he was remembered in New York as an emblematic street character, though not as a serious classical composer. As the British music critic Kenneth Ansell observed in the mid-’90s, while jazz greats like Count Basie and Charlie Parker admired Moondog’s idiosyncratic forays into their world, “the classical orthodoxy has not rushed to embrace him.”
Link to Moondog profile, Link to buy Moondog: The Viking of 6th Avenue
From the New York Times blurb on Eye Mind:
Mr. Drummond has talked to sisters and brothers and cousins, and cops who busted the band. He shows you how psychedelic drugs advanced on Austin – first a rumor off in the distance, then flooding the city in 1965. He shows you the band’s controlling philosopher king, Tommy Hall (the guy with the electric jug), and exactly what books he read. At a certain point the story becomes too depressing for words, flattening out into madness with daily LSD ministrations, trial transcripts, religious visitations. But it’s valuable cultural history...
Link to article with 13th Floor Elevators blurb, Link to buy Eye Mind: The Saga of Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators, The Pioneers of Psychedelic Sound
This article in Harvard magazine explains that plants, animals and fungi are just a tiny part of the tree of life.
The modern “tree of life,” based on genetic analysis, shows that the bulk of Earth’s biodiversity resides among the Archaea, Bacteria, and that portion of the Eukarya that does not include plants, animals, and fungi.Link (Thanks, Thomas!)
Scientists had known that there are more microbes in an ounce of soil than humans alive on Earth, but that was just a measure of abundance. Pace’s discovery demonstrated something new, a previously unfathomed repository of biodiversity. Scientists began sequencing DNA from all sorts of environments. After looking at human gut microflora, they learned that each individual has his or her own characteristic set of a thousand species. “These represent three million genes that you carry,” points out Kolter, “as compared to the estimated 18,000 genes of the human genome. So you are living and exchanging [metabolites] constantly with a diverse pool of some three million genes.” Microbiologists continue to find new taxonomic divisions of microbes far faster than they can figure out how to culture them.
Ryan Johnson says: The members of Lännen-Jukka, an Finnish folk band playing finnish-american folk tunes and headed by Finnish pop legend J. Karjalainen were detained in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for suspicion of either sneaking drugs in or attempting to seek work illegally. Bored security agents strip searched one of the members, and refused to actually listen to the band members' own account of why they were there.
From Twin Cities Daily Planet:
Perhaps the most damning comment on the incident was delivered by [J. Karjalainen] who was strip-searched. On a couple of occasions prior to 1991, he was detained by the KGB and interrogated. Compared to the ICE agents here in the Twin Cities, the KGB operatives, he says, "at least acted like human beings. Not a bunch of animals."What's more, their passports now show permanent evidence of "DENIED ENTRY" that was hastily crossed out in pen. Sounds like it will be tough for these folks to travel in the future -- how many times will they have to explain the situation?
"It was almost three hours of screaming, door-slamming and accusations, according to the report I received," said Marianne Wargelin, honorary Finnish consul for the Dakotas and most of Minnesota, which has the second largest Finnish-American population in the nation.Link
Erkki Maattanen, a filmmaker for Finnish Public Television who accompanied the musicians on the September trip, said his questioners seemed to think the entourage was smuggling drugs or intending to work without a permit. "I kept trying to tell them why we were here, but they'd just yell, 'Shut up!"' he said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at the airport declined to comment, referring questions to regional press officer Brett Sturgeon.
Sturgeon said such behavior, if it occurred, would run contrary to the agency's policy that travelers must be treated in a professional manner. The complaint has not yet arrived at the Chicago regional office, but when it does, it will be fully investigated, he said.