Boing Boing 

Tokyo dog-rental service

Lisa at TokyoMango's spotted a disturbing dog-rental service in Tokyo:
Puppy the World is a dog rental store. You can choose small, medium, or large breeds and rent them for $19/hr, or $100 a night. They have everything from chihuahuas to labs to border collies to papillons–and you get a 5% discount at the cafe if you rent one! You can't lose....

Every day, they have about 10-15 dogs in circulation. The dogs rotate in and out of service every few days. The ones in service stay on-site in a kennel, and the rest are all kept in nearby facility on their days off. The average dog works for about 5-6 years before they retire. Once they retire, they go to a facility in Chiba where they "rest." I wasn't exactly sure what they meant by rest, but I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it means they get to romp in huge meadows with other retirees.


Lawsuit about risk of CERN and parallel universe

BB pal Vann Hall spotted this great headline at The Register. It's no joke, either. Walter L Wagner and Luis Sancho fear that firing up the new Large Hadron Collider could create a black hole that might suck the Earth into a parallel universe. So they've sued to delay the LHC from being switched on. "And people claim we live in a too-litigious society!" says Vann. Link

1972 Ideal "Bing Bang Boing" commercial

Picture 1-61 There are many things to like about this 1972 Ideal toy commercial:

1. The Jean-Jacques Perrey background music.

2. The black set.

3. The announcer's voice.

4. The name of the toy: Bing Bang Boing.

5. The toy itself, which is a brightly-colorted DIY Rube Goldberg kit with lots of fun parts that you can set up in different configurations.

It's got to be a Marvin Glass creation. (Thanks, Richard!)

Creepily lifelike CGI woman

I've got no idea what the story is with this awesome CGI Flash woman, except that she appears to have been created by a Brazilian design firm, and that she has made every person I've shown her to say, "Oh. My. God." Link (via Kottke)

Al Jaffee profile in NY Times

The New York Times has a loving profile of Mad magazine idiot gang member, Al Jaffee, who at age 87, recently completed his 400th Mad Fold-in!
200803300903“When he brings in fold-ins now, a lot of times, it’s, ‘Geez, this guy’s painting better than ever,’ ” said John Ficarra, Mad’s editor.

And Sam Viviano, the art director, seems in awe of Mr. Jaffee’s old-school technique. “I think part of the brilliance of the fold-in is lost on younger generations who are so used to Photoshop and being able to do stuff like that on the computer,” he said. “It’s matching the colors and keeping the sense of what exists at two levels, the original image and the folded-in image. We’ve never actually known anyone else who could do that.”

Mr. Jaffee does have a computer, but its main benefit, he said, has been to make the typographic tricks in the fold-in easier to create. He doesn’t draw with it, which leads to another surprise: the master of the fold-in never actually folds.

“I’m working on a hard, flat board,” he said. “I cannot fold it. That’s why my planning has to be so correct.”

“The computer would make it so much simpler,” he added. “But I think I’m going to remain a dinosaur.”

Link | Interactive Fold-In gallery (Thanks, Coop!)

Anime characters based on Afghanistan and neighbors

Porsupah, "You might recall the 'OS-tan' series of manga style characters depicting various operating systems. Here's a similar concept, portraying the various countries surrounding Afghanistan similarly cutely: meet Afuganisu-tan, Kyrgyz-tan, Pakisu-tan, Meriken, and more. Each strip offers a little adventure for the characters, whilst the accompanying text explains some more of the history of the region's countries, rulers, would-be conquerors, and myriad factions." Link (Thanks, Porsupah!)

Oldest (nearly!) TV sign-off, featuring Henry Mancini

Mike sends us this: "YouTube video of the oldest TV station sign-offs in existence: KTUL-TV in Tulsa, Oklahoma, February 18, 1979. Backing music is the jazz/lounge classic, 'Dreamsville,' from Henry Mancini's 'Music from Peter Gunn' soundtrack album." Link (Thanks, Mike!)

Omnisio: string together multiple youtubes in playlists

Jake sez, "Omnisio allows you to string together any number of YouTube videos, with arbitrary start and end points. This is great for making funny mashups, etc, but to me it's true potential lies in the fact that it obsoletes forever the aggravating hunt through the related links for the next part of a multipart youtube. Just upload them, string them together in Omnisio, and post a link in the first part's description." Link (Thanks, Jake!)

Steampunk photoshopping contest

Today on the Worth1000 photoshopping contest: Steampunk mixes! Link

Incredible Epcot concept painting

 Gimages Epcot
Someone posted this magnificent concept painting of Epcot in the Boing Boing Gadgets Flickr pool. More details and links at BBG. Link

Unusually-named toy doll sets

I was in a children's store today and my friend pointed out these doll sets from Plan Toys, a company that actually makes very good toys. The choices are "Asian Family," um, "Ethnic Family," and, er, "Doll Family." According to the Plan Toys site, there's also a "Modern Doll Family" available of oddly-dressed white folk. Link to Plan Toys, Link to larger photo (Thanks, Mike Messinger!)

British Airways loses 15-20,000 bags since Thursday at supremely b0rked Heathrow Terminal 5

The much-ballyhooed opening of Heathrow's £4 billion Terminal 5 has been a debacle. British Airways has canceled 208 flights since Thursday, and has "stranded" between 15,000 and 20,000 bags. Area hotels are crammed with stuck BA passengers and are gouging on pricing, prompting BA to lift its stingy (and possibly illegal) £100 limit on hotels for stuck passengers. This is the terminal with the that just cancelled its crackpot fingerprinting procedure -- passengers are fingerprinted at check-in and at boarding.

And lest you think you might try to get there with a change of underwear by going hand-baggage only, think again. BA's baggage-checkers are being serious rules-lawyers about hand-luggage limits, forcing passengers to check hand-bags that are less than an inch oversize, dooming the luggage to the nonfunctional baggage system at T5.

On one of the delayed planes, passengers on flight BA0662 to Larnaca were held on the tarmac for some four hours before leaving at 1205 GMT.

One, Elizabeth Drury, told the BBC the captain said they would be leaving without any luggage.

They had been told this was because some of the bags initially put on the plane had not been screened properly.

"The whole experience has been meltdown," she said.

A group of school pupils on flight BA285 to San Francisco also said they were told by the airline that their bags were not on board and they could choose whether or not to travel. They were bound for a skiing trip.

"It could ruin it because we are scheduled to start skiing tomorrow," said one schoolgirl, Natalie Bakhurst.


See also:
Heathrow Terminal 5 to fingerprint domestic passengers
Heathrow Terminal 5: Electricity-free no-laptop zone?

Cartoon explains the difference between causality and covariation

Espen sez, "I thought you would appreciate this cartoon that explains the difference between covariation and causality. In English, the caption is 'During a convivial gathering there is talk of the unhygienic aspect of using galoshes. One of those present chips in: "Yes, I've also noticed this. Every time I've woken up with my galoshes on, I've had a headache."'" Link (Thanks, appliedabstractions)

Monster-trucking on the moon in a newfangled $2 million buggy

New York Times writer John Schwartz took a joyride in a new NASA lunar vehicle that sounds like it ought to come with a Garth Brooks CD:

IT turns on a dime and parallel-parks like a dream. On the downside, it’s a little pricey (at $2 million or so) and its top speed is a pokey 15 miles an hour. Still, there’s a lot to like about the concept car taking shape here at the Johnson Space Center.

Did I say car? The new moon buggy conceived by space center engineers is anything but a car or a buggy. Its official name is Chariot, and this, my friends, is a truck. A heavy duty workhorse of a truck.

“America basically created the truck,” said Lucien Junkin, the chief engineer on the project. And so, he says, why not take a truck to the moon if NASA, as planned, takes humans back, as early as 2020?

It is a beguiling idea, especially as realized in a vehicle infused with the lessons learned from the Apollo-era moon missions and the subsequent success of the Spirit and Opportunity robotic rovers on Mars. This model took a year to build. It looks kind of like what you’d get if a monster truck had a ménage à trois with a flatbed trailer and a medieval siege engine....

Link to full story, with more great photos, and additional links. Image: Erin Trieb for The New York Times

Elephant paints an elephant

In this video, an elephant is led to an easel, picks up a paintbrush, and paints a picture of an elephant holding a flower. Or at least, that's what appears to happen -- there are lots of cuts in the video and it's hard to say what's really going on. Fake or real, it's a great way to spend 8 minutes. Link

See also: Elephant artists

Colombians: action needed to keep copyright curriculum sane

Carolina Botero of the Colombian Creative Commons project writes in to tell us about a new, rush-rush project to change the Colombian school curriculum to emphasise, a one-sided, protectionist view of copyright, without reference to the values to Columbian society arising from sharing, fair use, and the public domain. The clock is ticking, and Colombians need to get involved now before this becomes policy:
A comprehensive reading of the document suggests that the Colombian state is focusing its efforts and resources into developing our own version of "Captain Copyright" that will give educational recommendations for children, academics and public officials and will likely produce a surveillance state.

The document's main argument is that our country's intellectual property development relies solely on "protection and enforcement". Such a conclusion is based on the fact that the revenue for intellectual property related industries is higher in developed countries than in ours. The document has absolutely no references or background research, achievements and implications of recent approaches such as Free Software, Open Access, Open Educational Resources, Open Business, etc.

Link (Thanks, Carolina!)

Who is the real Joey Chaos?

In this week's CBC Search Engine podcast, there's a hilarious interview with "Joey Chaos," a teenaged new-wave goth rocker who's upset that some roboticists in Texas "stole" his name and look for their robot. The Search Engine folks point out that there are plenty of other Joey Chaoses, even bringing one on the line. Link, MP3 Link

(Disclosure: I am a paid columnist for Search Engine)

Chase Mortgage leaked memo shows "cheats and tricks" used to give out unqualified mortgages

Chase caught with hand in the cookie jar:
An internal memo, explaining how to beat the Mortgage Loan Computer System (Zippy) at JPM Chase was leaked to the Portland Oregonian.

The memo gives advice for fooling the system to get otherwise unqualified borrowers approved for mortgages:

3 "handy steps" for getting a questionable loan approved by JPM Chase's automatic system:

1. Lump all of an applicant's compensation as the applicant's base income, rather than breaking out commissions, bonuses and tips.

2. Do not disclose use of gifts for down payments.

3. If all else fails, simply inflate the applicant's income. "Inch it up $500 to see if you can get the findings you want. Do the same for assets.

Link, Link to leaked memo, Link to Barry's analysis (Thanks, Barry!)

Clockwork photoshopping contest

Today on the Worth1000 photoshopping contest: everyday objects underpinned with clockwork. Link

Dope-smuggler's Bible from 1928

This dope-smuggling Bible from the November 1928 issue of Modern Mechanix illustrates the perpetual ingenuity of dope fiends:

Mechanical ingenuity of narcotic smugglers is constantly being tested in devising new methods of bringing their contraband goods safely into the country. The picture shows a Bible which has been hollowed out in the center to provide a hiding place for thousands of dollars worth of morphine and other opiates. The book was confiscated by Internal Revenue inspectors.

Tin-robot-inspired concept watch

I'm head-over-heels in lust with this "Mr Roboto" prototype watch from Azimuth, inspired by vintage tin robots.

The design of Mr Roboto was inspired by the Lantern Robot of the 1950s. Azimuth’s designers show that a timepiece’s practical functionality does not have to take a back seat to aesthetic visual designs. Witness the perfect marriage of ingenious design and user-friendly functions, this good-looker is set to be a head-turner at this year’s Basel show. A unique timepiece that transcends time, Mr Roboto aims to revive the passion of the tin robot generation of enthusiasts and enduring science fiction lovers.

Nipple-less pro wrestlers of Florida

Over on the Sociological Images blog, a post entitled "The Male Gaze Does Not Allow for Boy Nipples" notes that the men in this giant wrestling billboard have all had their nipples removed.

They were photoshopped out because of a law in Florida that prohibits the display of nipples. Since men's nipples are not sexualized in the same way that women's are, the authors of the law were likely thinking of women's bodies as they penned this ban. Thus, it illustrates that it is women's bodies that we think of when we think of bodies on display because of the adoption (by men and women alike in this culture) of a (heteronormative) male gaze.

Sarah Milstein, the newest Happy Mutant!

Headshot2 We at Boing Boing are delighted to welcome the latest addition to the Happy Mutants family, Sarah Milstein! Sarah joins us as our first-ever Operations Manager and Chief Loop Closer! We've had concentric orbits with Sarah for years and she's the perfect person to help us focus on what needs to be done in the short term, get our heads around what's possible in the long term, and grow thoughtfully.

Sarah was a longtime managing editor at O'Reilly Media, co-wrote Google: The Missing Manual, and co-created the O'Reilly Tools of Change Conference for Publishing. Sarah is also part of the extended MAKE: and CRAFT cabal. After leaving O'Reilly, she worked with Metaweb on its community efforts. And now with Tony Stubblebine of CrowdVine, Sarah's co-organizing the Web2Open unconference accompanying the Web 2.0 Expo next month in San Francisco.

We feel incredibly fortunate that Sarah is bringing her expertise to Happy Mutants so we can get busy on a slew of fun and exciting new ideas. And as always, we appreciate the continued support of you, our community, with the ongoing expansion, evolution, and, of course, mutation of Boing Boing. Welcome, Sarah!

(Thanks, Dale Dougherty, executive recruiter-at-large!)

Furry Couture at Tokyo Fashion Week

Among the designs on display at Tokyo Fashion Week earlier this month -- bunnies and furries. If I'm not mistaken, the image above was taken from the runway show for Né-net, the line designed by Kazuaki Takashima. (Spotted on Tokyomango, thanks Marianne Shaneen!)

China wants sun on demand for Beijing Olympics

In Plenty magazine, this feature about the Chinese government's high-tech "weather modification" efforts for this summer’s Beijing Olympics. The big idea: keep the sun shining, through all that smog. Snip:

One thing worth considering when you tamper with nature is what sort of nature you’re tampering with. Nature is not kind to the city of Beijing. China’s capital is arid, nearly a desert, and its natural weather patterns are fickle and harsh. Winter is marked by howling Siberian winds; summer, by sweltering monsoon heat. In lieu of showers, springtime is best known for seasonal dust storms that sweep down from Central Asia. Fall is parched and gusty too, but the dust settles down. This basic brutality is overlaid with levels of pollution like those of England’s Industrial Revolution. Many things blot out the sunshine, and most have nothing to do with rain: factory and power plant emissions, construction dust, smoke from stoves burning scrap wood or pressed coal. There are more than 3 million cars on the streets–and the count is said to be growing by 400,000 vehicles annually. It is not unusual to check the AccuWeather international forecast on the New York Times website and find that while other cities’ weather is “mostly sunny” or “overcast,” Beijing’s is “smoky.” In February 2007, authorities finally abandoned a longstanding policy in which haze was referred to as wu, Mandarin for fog, and just called it what it is–mai, or haze.
Link to article. (Thanks, Choire Sicha, you gorgeous creature, you.)

Image: "Sun through the smog in Beijing," by ~diP.

Previously on BB:
* Weather modification for the Beijing Olympics

Jacob Holdt: American Pictures 1970-1975

Above, two of the images from photographer Jacob Holdt currently on display at CNA gallery in Luxembourg.

[Holdt] was 24 years old when he decided in 1971, like many of his Danish compatriots, to travel across the American continent. He landed in Canada with the aim of rapidly crossing through the United States to get to the true destination of his travels: South America. But from the moment he crossed the Canadian border, Jacob Holdt was struck by an America characterised by poverty and the exclusion of the socially disadvantaged. In his outrage, he described the misery he was witnessing in letters to his parents who, for their part, remained incredulous. His father nevertheless sent him a small camera so that he could back up his accounts with tangible proof. And this is how the long voyage of the young Dane through the United States started, not to be completed until five years and several thousand snapshots later, with a deeply moving work: 'American Pictures 1970-1975', published as a book in 1978.

Jacob Holdt, who was nominated for this year's DeutscheBorse Photography Prize, has remained a key figure in Danish activist circles, despite having in the meantime more or less given up photography. His images of the America of the destitute of the seventies had great repercussions and to a large extent inspired the movies Dogville and Manderlay by Lars van Trier."

Link (thanks, Clayton James Cubitt!)

Science project smolders on subway, panic ensues

29-year-old Gregory Kats says he's sorry his science project (a model of an elevator) short circuited in his backpack and started smoldering in a NYC subway car.
Kats said he tried to reassure his fellow passengers that it was a school project -- not a bomb -- but people scrambled for the exits nonetheless. The box he was holding had a small battery, wires and a motor.

"They were panicking, and I realized their fear," an apologetic Kats said.

He said he tried to disassemble the contraption on the platform even as he reassured riders, "Don't worry. This is my science project."


Device remotely destroys hard drive data

The Washington Post's Security Fix blog has a story about an alleged Ukrainian cybercrime boss named Dmitry Ivanovich Golubov. The story itself is interesting, but the part that stuck out was this gadget, called a "raskat" device, which comes with a wireless keychain fob that can remotely trigger the destruction of data on a computer hard drive.
 Securityfix Raskat-Thumb Golubov doesn't dispute that he owned a Raskat at the time, but he says he purchased it online to resell it at a local market for a tidy profit.

"In the past in Ukraine it was risky to keep all company contract and clients data on computers," Golubov said. "At first -- tax inspection can confiscate computers, at second -- competitors can stole them and take over businesses."

Golubov said it was members of the law enforcement task force who used the Raskat to fry the data on his hard drive.

"Regarding information from the hard drive -- it was not me who destroyed it. But it was employee of task force who conducted a search," Golubov wrote to Security Fix. "This officer has found Raskat system remote control. He decided that it is remote from my car alarm and started to push on it in order to find which one of parked nearby car it was. I have no car and it was remote from the system Raskat, and I have clearly said this to him, but he has not listened to me, and told me to be silent. And he pushed this button several time. It can be possible he has erased all information on purpose, in order to say that all evidences are all wiped off, or more likely due to stupidity."

Link (Via the day they tried to kill me)

Short documentary on Rev. Moon

ill lich says: "Quick and incisive documentary on the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and the breadth and depth of his influence in Washington. I'm sure most people don't know just how influential and rich he is. (I sure didn't)."

Picture 4-78 In 2004, journalist John Gorenfeld scooped the Washington press corps when he exposed a scandalous party on Capitol Hill, in which members of Congress watched as Moon held a ritual coronation for himself as the "King of Peace." Wearing a majestic cape and coronet, the publisher declared himself the Messiah. The New York Times editors compared the event, sponsored by a U.S. senator, to an act of the Roman emperor Caligula.

That, as you might imagine, was just the tip of the iceberg.

Bad Moon Rising takes you into the underbelly of the Religious Right. Which is surprisingly, scandalously entwined with Moon and his business empire--an untold chapter in American political history.


Threat Level proposes new spring colors for Homeland threat level

200803281611 Enjoy the new spring colors for the Homeland Security Advisory System. It's always cantaloupe in Cheneyville! Link