Boing Boing 

Filial piety: letting your father-in-law nurse at your breast

Today in my ongoing series of photos from my travels over the years, this shot of a statue depicting "filial piety" (a young mother allows her motherfather-in-law to nurse at her breast while her son cheers her on) from the awesomely weird Haw-Par Villa, a Tiger Balm-sponsored statue-garden/Confucianist theme-park in Singapore and Hong Kong. I've heard rumours that it's now defunct, which is a crine shame. Link, Link to more photos of Haw-Par Villa

Peggy: Open source LED-based Mooninite kit

Peggy is an "open source lighted pegboard design" from Evil Mad Scientist Labs, released to coincide with the anniversary of the Great Boston Mooninite Scare of 2007, when law enforcement mistook lite-brites advertising a cartoon for terrorist paraphernalia and spent $2,000,000 running around, flapping their arms, screaming, and pulling their hair.

This is an easy way to drive a lot of LEDs-- up to 625-- in a big matrix. You can make an LED sign for your window, a geeky valentine for your sweetie, one bad-ass birthday card, or freak the holy bejesus out of Boston. Your call. It's a versatile, high-brightness display.

The display can run off an AC adapter or batteries (3 'D' cells), and is designed to run as many green/blue/white/violet LEDs as you care to solder into the holes, all with excellent brightness. The board can accommodate LEDs in several common sizes: 3mm, 5 mm (standard T-1 3/4 size), and 10 mm. A photosensor is provided that can automatically turn off the display in bright daylight or incandescent light.


See also:
Nevar Fergit! 1-31-07.
Deconstructing the Great ATHF Freak Out of 2007
Mooninite on the Haunted Mansion
Stickers: This is engineering, not bomb-making
State of Massachusetts insists on calling ATHF ads "hoax devices"
Boston LED terror scare: a message to the media
Mark on ABC news about Mooninite devices
Fake pipe bombs found in Boston
Video of Mooninite menaces
Boston Mooninite installer arrested
Boston Channel photoshops Mooninite LED signs
Aqua Teen Hunger Force is the Bomb T-Shirts
LED ad campaign ignites terrorism scare in Boston

Rules for life

These ten rules from the Immaculate Heart College Art Department are incredibly good advice for just about everything you do in life:
6. Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make.
7. The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It's the
people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things. 8. Don't try to create and analyse at the same time. They're different processes.
9. Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It's lighter than you think.
Link to image, Link to text (via Kottke)

Update: Karen sez, "These were compiled by students of Sister Corita Kent."

Oldest accurate "road map" of Britain

The Gough Map is a new book that details the fascinating history of the oldest accurate map of Britain, which is amazingly accurate (except for the Scotland bits), especially considering that it was made around 1360. It's also extremely lovely:

"There are 600-odd places and, if you compare it with a modern map, most of them are in pretty much the right spot," says Millea.

"We don't know whether they did the coastline first then filled in the interior, or whether it was done by word of mouth - a verbal map - so they put in London then worked outwards, adding places they knew."

Nick Crane, topographer and presenter of TV series Map Man, thinks they may have used an astrolabe - a highly technical instrument used by classical astronomers, navigators and astrologers which involved checking the horizon, the stars, the sun and all sorts of angles.

"This could be the beginning of mathematical map-making - some of the points of latitude have probably been measured through astronomy," he says.

Michael notes, "As a bonus, there doesn't seem to be a Wikipedia entry about this map yet - a nice little task for someone who feels like getting their cartographic vibe on." Link, The Gough Map: The Earliest Road Map of Britain? on Amazon (Thanks, Michael

Video game death animation re-enactments (to do in LA)

Mark Allen from Machine Project says,

This Saturday from 8-10pm at Machine Project in Los Angeles we have a new performance by Brody Condon (the same artist who staged a medieval battle inside the gallery in 2004). This time 10 performers outfitted in medieval/space/fantasy armor re-create Bruce Nauman’s 1973 work “Tony Sinking into the Floor, Face Up and Face Down”. Performed in slow motion and combined with movements based on computer game death animations, this piece is accompanied by a high volume binaural beats reputed to induce out of body experiences.

Link to the event page with photos, video and more information. Other projects by Brody Condon include his series of "self-playing" modifications of Northern European Late Medieval religious paintings of 15th century using the Unreal game engine, which can be seen on his website.

Shepard Fairey's Obama poster

 Images Obama Shepard Fairey, the artist behind "Andre The Giant Has A Posse," created this poster to show his support of Barack Obama. Apparently, the limited edition prints sold out in moments. It appears that Obama has a posse too.

DIY tractor culture in Poland

We Make Money Not Art has a post up about DIY tractors in rural Poland, photographed by Łukasz SkÄ…pski. Żak Gallery in Berlin is currently showing prints of SkÄ…pski's photos, and there's video of interviews with the farmer-tinkerers circulating somewhere, too. Snip:

In the '60s Poland it was almost impossible to acquire a tractor in Poland. Agricultural machines produced by the country were available mainly for state-owned enterprises. For private farmers these tractors were too expensive and they weren't even robust or efficient enough for the mountain region. Out of necessity they constructed their own machines using spare parts and bits and pieces from whatever machines they could find. Including decommissioned army vehicles and pre-WWI German machines.

New Arbitrary TSA requirement: all electronics out of your bag (cables, too)


I thought it was silly when a TSA agent at the Oakland airport asked me with concern in her voice to remove my thin cotton sweater before walking through the metal detector this afternoon, but it sounds like things are even sillier at San Francisco Airport. Scott Beale reports:

Wow, flying out of SFO just became much worse. While traveling this morning I surprised to find out that TSA is now requiring that you remove all electronic devices from your carry-on bags, including cables etc. and place them in a separate bin to be scanned at the security checkpoints. Along with slowing down the line to a crawl, this will undoubtedly lead to people losing expensive equipment, not to mention the possiblity for your stuff to be accidentally taken by someone else or even stolen.

Of course none of this information is mentioned on either the TSA or SFO websites.

Does anyone know if TSA is requiring this at any other airports?


"Giraffe women" of Burma are trapped in Thailand

A community of 'long-necked' Burmese refugees in Thailand are being denied resettlement in other counties by Thai authorities, according to this BBC article. The women wear traditional, stacked metal neck rings that elongate their necks -- they've become a tourist attraction in Thailand, on display what is described as a 'human zoo'.
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says that for the past two years, the Thai authorities have refused to allow a group of 20 Kayan to leave the country, despite firm offers to resettle them in Finland and New Zealand. The suspicion is that the women are being kept in Thailand because of the central role they play in the local tourism industry.
Link. (thanks, Kendra / image: BBC News)

Top US general says: let my soldiers blog.

Noah Shachtman at Wired's Danger Room blog writes.
A leading general is pleading with the armed services to let troops blog and post to YouTube. Too bad the video site is banned on military nets, and Army rules squeeze military bloggers, hard.

Previously on Boing Boing:

  • Army's new regulations may restrict soldiers' blogs (NPR Xeni Tech)
  • US Army: reporters are "threat," just like Al Qaeda; milblogs = "therapy"
  • Army audits show official sites breach security, not milblogs
  • Under fire, soldiers kill blogs: Pentagon milblog crackdown
  • Pentagon Sued Over Milblog-Monitoring
  • StarShipSofa science fiction podcast


    Tony C Smith says:

    StarShipSofa is a weekly podcast that has started to put out Hugo Winning audio stories for free. Last week we put up David Brin's 1985 Hugo winning story "The Crystal Spheres." This week we put up Bruce Sterling's 1989 story "We See Things Differently." Other narrated stories include 2007 Hugo nominee Peter Watts and Michael Moorcock.

    A host of SF writers have offered to let the StarShipSofa narrate their works. Writers who have already donated their work include Ian Watson, Pat Cadigan, Harry Harrison, Joe Haldeman, Joan D Vinge, Norman Spinrad, Ian MacDonald, J D Nordley, Gweneth Jones, Alastair Reynolds, Jerry Pournelle, Landon Jones, John Varley, Pat Murphy, John Kessel, Laurel Winter, Jeff Vandermeer, Kevin J Anderson, Bradley Denton and Matthew Hughes.


    Organlegging nurse sold diseased corpsemeat for dental implants, knees and disks

    An oral surgeon-turned-nurse-turned-organlegger has been busted in Philadelphia for buying corpses from funeral directors, extracting their valuable tissues, and selling them on to be used in surgery in the US and Canada:

    Mastromarino, a former oral surgeon, paid funeral directors $1,000 per corpse, then sold the parts to tissue banks, Sagel said.

    The body parts fetched up to $10,000 apiece, though tissue banks resold them to hospitals for many times that amount, he said. Mastromarino is believed to have taken in $6 million to $12 million since 2001.

    The body parts were used in disk replacements, knee operations and dental implants performed by unsuspecting doctors across US and Canada.


    (Image: Roll Up for Your Dentures!, a Creative Commons Attribution licensed photo from Meanest Indian's Flickr stream)

    Amazon buys Audible, promises to kill DRM if we complain

    Amazon's just bought audiobook provider Audible, the exclusive provider of audiobooks to iTunes, Amazon's rival for audio downloads. Even though Apple says it prefers that its suppliers deliver non-DRM media (and even though Audible's DRM does nothing to prevent piracy), Audible has a mandatory DRM policy for the books it sells. That is to say, even if they author doesn't want DRM on his or her books, Audible will only deliver those books with DRM on them. As part of the deal, an Amazon spokesman said:
    Audible's audio books are wrapped in a layer of DRM, which Amazon does not plan to remove unless customers start to complain.
    Mike adds, "Audible audio books are the last source of media I purchase that includes DRM I can't easily bypass. Books, of all things, should be open and protected. I shouldn't have to wear special glasses to read a particular novel - nor should I need a special player to listen to a particular novel. What do people recommend we do to show Amazon the advantage of releasing audiobooks without DRM?"

    It's a good question. I'm an audiobook junkie -- I've spent thousands of dollars on Audible books over the years, hoping that the problem of DRM would never bite me in the ass. Of course, it did -- when I switched away from iTunes, I had to spend a solid month, running two Powerbooks, full time, to get the DRM off my Audible audiobooks by playing them back in realtime while capturing the audio with Audio Hijack Pro. Since then, I've learned my lesson: I order my audiobooks on CD and rip them manually, which is a huge pain in the ass, but way more future-proof than Audible's products.

    Let's hope that Amazon does the right thing here, following the DRM-free ethos in its music store -- and the DRM-free ethos in the CD audiobooks it sells (I've diverted all the money I used to spent on Audible audiobooks to buying audiobooks on CD from Amazon anyway). Link (Thanks, Mike!)

    Dopplr's spacetimegeist

    Matt Jones from Dopplr (a social networking site for travelers) sez, "We've been chewing some of the data from our first year of Dopplr, and just spat out some infonuggets about the year in travels, including a socially-generated map of the globe... Google has the zeitgeist (spirit of the times), but we have the Raumzeitgeist (The spirit of Spacetime!)"

    The top ten trips were:

    * London to Paris
    * San Francisco to New York
    * Helsinki to London
    * London to New York
    * San Francisco to Los Angeles
    * New York to San Francisco
    * Boston to New York
    * Los Angeles to San Francisco
    * London to Amsterdam
    * London to San Francisco

    Link (Thanks, Matt!)

    Rio Carnival float depicting Holocaust banned

    A Rio samba group built a Carnival float that is piled with naked mannequins meant to look like Holocaust victims. The group, Viradouro, reportedly also planned for the float to be topped with one or more dancers in Hitler costume. After the Jewish Federation of Rio de Janeiro filed a lawsuit, a judge issued an injunction banning the float as it is now from the parade. From the Associated Press (click image for full photo by Vanderlei Almeida / AFP-Getty Images):
    Holocaustfloattt Reports in the media have said that Viradouro had planned to feature at least one dancer dressed as Adolf Hitler in the parade, using the theme: "It Gives you Goose Bumps."

    Viradouro would neither confirm nor deny those plans...

    According to (Judge Juliana) Kalichszteim's decision, the group would face fines of $113,000 if it ignores her order by parading without removing the mannequins and $28,000 for each dancer dressed as Hitler.

    In her decision, Kalichszteim said carnival "should not be used as a tool for the cult of hate, any form of racism, beside the clear banalization of barbaric events."

    UPDATE: From a BBC News article:
    Viradouro's creative director, Paulo Barros, said the float was a "very respectful" reminder of the Holocaust and a reminder that such an atrocity should never be repeated.

    "This an extremely serious work, and people think we're mocking," said Mr Barros, who was in tears as his team started dismantling the float. Link

    Alan Moore documentary on AlterTube

    Alanmooremind The Mindscape of Alan Moore, a documentary about the creator of such comix masterpieces as Watchmen and V For Vendetta, is now viewable at AlterTube.
    Link to video, Link to Alan Moore titles on Amazon (via Cabinet of Wonders)

    Previously on BB:
    • Alan Moore is a magick man Link
    • Free download: Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, Issue #21 Link
    • More on Alan Moore Link

    Hen lays green eggs (no ham)

    A Mexican hen named Rabanita has become quite an attraction in the village of Cuautitlan since she started laying green eggs last month. Apparently the hen, owned by Elvira Romero, eats a regular diet. From the Associated Press:
    Scientists believe that shell colour - which does not affect the colour or flavour of the yolk or white - is determined by the genes, and say blue or green shells are frequently found in the Araucana chicken strain.

    Green egg layers attract a premium in some parts of South America, where poultry breeders aim to produce chickens, which lay nothing else.

    Isabella Rossellini's bug porn

    200801311044 Todd says: "Isabella Rossellini has made a series of short films in which she dresses up like insects (always the males, for some reason) and acts out bug sex. You'll find a quartet of stills at the link." Link

    The TSA has a blog

    Our favorite federal administration, the TSA, has just launched a blog, called Evolution of Security. It kicks off with a cheerful message from Kip Hawley.

    I applaud his reason for launching the blog:

    One of my major goals of 2008 is to get TSA and passengers back on the same side, working together. We need your help to get the checkpoint to be a better environment for us to do our security job and for you to get through quickly and onto your flight. Seems like the way to get that going is for us to open up and hear your feedback...

    The 270 comments following Hawley's introductory post contain a mix of congratulatory messages (most of these are from proud TSA employees), accounts of bad experiences with the TSA, general and specific questions, and suggestions for improvement.

    Here's a typical comment from a citizen:

    DHS and TSA are fundamentally broken. Disband both immediately and return our civil liberties. Thank goodness Richard Reid did not conceal something in his underpants or these people would be strip-searching every poor grandma from here to Branson. Would someone please explain to these people that putting shoes through an x-ray does not mean they don't contain an explosive? And honestly-- Refusing a valid ID because it is "expired"? Confiscating deodorant and sun block? Does anyone believe that this kabuki security theater really makes us safer? If you guys are serious about your responsibility to protect the country I suggest you start by (1) not cutting off "TSA approved" locks anymore (2) learning and sticking to your own rules and regs especially those pertaining to passengers with medical problems (3) not trying to intimidate anyone who asks for a complaint form and (4) immediately crack down on the threatening screeners who shout "do you want to fly today?" anytime their crazy made-up-on-the-spot orders are questioned by passengers--who in my opinion often know the rules better than the screeners themselves. Oh and by the way your first amendment rights to free speech don't stop when you enter an airport screening area, even at MKE.

    Another citizen:

    Traveling through Chicago I set off the metal detactor. I'm an almost 60 year female. I stopped dead in my tracts, afraid of what I had done. The TSA lady (??) barked at me worse way than how I talk to my large dog. All she kept yelling at me was, "BACK!" I'm not that used to traveling and didn't know what she meant. Why cannot you not talk to us as if we are 'people'? You say that you yourselves are people...I doubt that!

    And here's a typical comment from a TSA employee:

    As a LTSO I have very proud to work for TSA. I understand that some of the passengers do not like taking off their shoes or surrendering their toothpaste, however, there are many passengers that thank us for what we do. We must all remember that 9/11 happened and we are just trying to make the air safe for everyone. Flying is not a right granted under the Bill of Rights and due to the state of the world today, we must all make smart decisions. I am proud of what we do and what we represent. Thank you Mr. Hawley!!
    The comments make for entertaining reading, but I'm skeptical that any positive changes to TSA policies will be made as a result. Link

    Weather modification for the Beijing Olympics

    Meteorologists in China say that that if necessary they will modify the weather on August 8 so it doesn't rain on the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremonies. From the Los Angeles Times:
    Training with the Olympics in mind, the meteorologists have been practicing their "rain mitigation" techniques since 2006. They have had a couple of dry runs, so to speak -- a China-Africa summit and a panda festival in Sichuan province, among others.

    The bureau of weather modification was established in the 1980s and is now believed to be the largest in the world. It has a reserve army of 37,000 people -- most of them sort of weekend warriors who are called to duty during unusual droughts. The bureau has 30 aircraft, 4,000 rocket launchers and 7,000 antiaircraft guns, said Wang Guohe, director of weather modification for the Chinese Academy of Meteorology.

    "We have the largest program in the world with the most people involved and the most equipment, but it is not really the most advanced," Wang said. That honor belongs to the Russians, who he says used sophisticated cloud-seeding in 1986 to prevent radioactive rain from the Chernobyl reactor accident from reaching Moscow.
    Link (Thanks, Sean Ness!)

    Funny mugshot of flexible faced man

     Graphics Art3 0130081Morinmug1 This fellow is named Robert Morin. There's a warrant out for his arrest in Lewiston, Maine, where he's been charged with domestic assault. According to the Smoking Gun, a jail administrator said that when Morin "removed his teeth, he became very flexible." Fortunately, there's another mugshot available where Morin doesn't screw up his face in such a fantastic way.
    Link (Thanks, Vann Hall!)

    Antique anti-masturbation device

    This circa 1880 anti-masturbation device is currently up for auction on eBay. The starting bid is $1500. From the auction listing:
    Link (Thanks, Michael-Anne Rauback!)

    ATHF LEDs all over Boston today

    Over at MAKE, Phil Torrone blogs:

    This is interesting - it seems that a group of artists have celebrated 1-31-07 in their own way and have created a series of political themed LED art sculptures and (you guessed it) placed them all over Boston. Pictured here, Bush & Bin Laden... Click on through to see more images and if you're in Boston the locations are listed to go on an art tour. Get there before the robots do.
    Link (thanks, James P of GRL, who denies any connection to the event)

    Nevar Fergit! 1-31-07.

    A video tribute to the events which occurred on 1-31-07 in Boston, MA involving an Aqua Teen Hunger Force marketing campaign and the chaos that followed. Video by Russ Gooberman, who is now a producer with Boing Boing tv.

    Deconstructing the Great ATHF Freak Out of 2007
    Mooninite on the Haunted Mansion
    Stickers: This is engineering, not bomb-making
    State of Massachusetts insists on calling ATHF ads "hoax devices"
    Boston LED terror scare: a message to the media
    Mark on ABC news about Mooninite devices
    Fake pipe bombs found in Boston
    Video of Mooninite menaces
    Boston Mooninite installer arrested
    Boston Channel photoshops Mooninite LED signs
    Aqua Teen Hunger Force is the Bomb T-Shirts
    LED ad campaign ignites terrorism scare in Boston

    Link to a Google search output that points to dozens more Boing Boing posts around this story in 2007. Good times.

    Blogger and 'net cafe owner arrested in Myanmar (Burma)

    The military junta controlling Myanmar (Burma) has increased surveillance of the Internet, and recently arrested a man who blogged about the crackdown on freedom of expression there:
    The blogger, Nay Myo Latt, was taken into custody in Yangon on Wednesday after writing about the suppression of freedoms following last fall's crushing of pro-democracy demonstrations, Reporters Without Borders said.

    Despite international condemnation and pressure following the demonstrations, there is little evidence that the junta is easing its repressive rule or moving closer to reconciliation with pro-democracy forces led by Suu Kyi.

    The arrested blogger, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, owns three Internet cafes, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said in a release seen Thursday.

    Myanmar authorities have stepped up their surveillance of the Internet since the beginning of the month, pressuring Internet cafe owners to register personal details of all users and to program screen captures every five minutes on each computer, the release said.


    BBtv: Wilderness Information / Pour Nos Jeunes

    Today on Boing Boing tv: Wilderness Information Network, an eco-art installation in the woods of northern New York state. Director Cary Peppermint and the Department of Ecology Art and Technology -- more than 30 artists in all -- contributed to this project using digital technologies, renewable energy, and sound art.

    Next, Pour Nos Jeunes, a surreal and eco-funky animated short by award-winning motion graphics studio PepperMelon, from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Directed by Martin Dasnoy.

    Link to BBtv post with video and discussion.

    Secret safe-words of the Emergency Broadcasting System

    Lou sez, "This is an actual scanned page of a radio station's Emergency Broadcast System authenticator list. A radio station would receive a 'secret word' by teletype and they'd have to use this list to verify that the emergency was real or if it was merely a test. As I look over this list, I can't help but notice the silly ones, and imagine myself as a DJ trying to announce the probable extinction of the human race by nuclear attack, all the while straining to hold back the laughter over the authenticator word being one of the stupider ones on this list, like 'OINTMENT' or 'SPAGHETTI' -- or 'FLAPCAKE' Then there are the creepy ones, like 'UNHOLY', 'TORMENT', 'MALICE', and 'RAISIN'" Link (Thanks, Lou!)

    McDonald's can award A-levels in UK

    The British government has granted McDonald's the right to hand out A-levels, "a qualification ... recognized around the world and ... used as a sort of entrance exam for some universities" on the basis of its training programme. This is the same qualification one gets for sitting exams at Cambridge.

    Fast-food giant McDonald's has become one of the first firms to offer its own nationally recognised qualifications.

    It will offer a "basic shift manager" course, training staff in skills such as human resources and marketing.

    The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said the company had been approved to develop courses up to the equivalent of A-level standard.

    The QCA will also allow Network Rail and Flybe to award qualifications based on their workplace training schemes.

    Link (Thanks, Grey!)

    (Image: Remains of a McDonald's Meal, a Creative Commons Attribution licensed photo from Taekwonweirdo's Flickr stream)

    UN committee-meeting noticeboard, Geneva

    Today in my ongoing series of photos from my travels around the world, this electronic noticeboard from the UN's Palais des Nations in Geneva, advising delegates on which rooms to go to for meetings of the "Working Group on Arbitrary Detention" and "Committee Against Torture." I was at the Palais (which used to be a Rothschild family home and still has their peacocks roaming the grounds -- the home was given to the UN on the condition that the peacocks got to stay) to give a press conference to the UN press corps about the goings-on at WIPO, the copyright treaty body down the street. Link caught spamming social sites

    Andy Baio has caught a "search engine optimizer" working for The Times -- a venerable British newspaper -- posting thousands of spams for to various social sites, including Metafilter, Mahalo,, StumbleUpon, Yahoo! Answers, Ma.gnolia, and Netscape's Propeller. The spammer works for Sitelynx, a contractor to The Times, as "SEO Manager."
    Since 2004, The Times retained the established SEO consulting firm Sitelynx to handle their search engine marketing. Working on behalf of The Times, a Sitelynx employee posted thousands of links to community and social news websites, including Mahalo,, StumbleUpon, Metafilter, Yahoo! Answers, Ma.gnolia, and Netscape's Propeller. His actions were done without any disclosure of his affiliation to Sitelynx or The Times and were, in some cases, posted under the assumed identity of his wife.

    The accounts were all created by Piotr "Peter" Wyspianski, an SEO Manager at Sitelynx since June 2007. (Though his LinkedIn resume says "Executive.")

    Before coming to Sitelynx, Piotr had a history of promoting his own business, an online jewelry store called Signature Gems, by using his profiles on sites like Myspace, Flickr, and Yahoo 360 to manipulate his search engine rankings. After coming to Sitelynx, he continued to use this technique to promote The Times. (A full breakdown of his accounts on each site is below.)