Boing Boing 

Table with built-in double-secret box

Woodcraft has an article about hidden drawers in furniture. The one shown here has a double-secret box! Link (via Make)

John Conyers wants DEA to stop busting California medical marijuana users

Slate posted a letter from John Conyers Jr., chairman of the House judiciary committee, to the DEA's acting administrator Michele Leonhart about the agency's "dramatically intensified … frequency of paramilitary-style enforcement raids" on legal cannabis users and dispensaries.
Conyers asked for an accounting of the agency's costs for these measures against "individuals who suffer from severe or chronic illness" and for its rationale for threatening landlords of licensed dispensaries with "arrest and forfeiture of their property." Meanwhile, the California State Legislature is considering a measure that would allow state and local law enforcement agencies to refuse cooperation with the DEA.

Electronic noise maker in a pill bottle

I like the look of this electronic noise maker built inside a pill bottle.
I found this pill capsule because someone in my house needs horse pills, evidently. I basically drilled the holes, used Epoxy to secure the battery holder to the speaker, and crammed everything in there. I love one night projects.

Sharon Stone suggests earthquake in China caused by "karma"

Sharon Stone pulled a Pat Robertson / Jerry Falwell by suggesting that the earthquake in China was the result of "karma."
"And then all this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and I thought, is that karma -- when you're not nice -- that the bad things happen to you?"
Now China is boycotting all things Sharon Stone.
Theaters are dropping her movies, department stores are taking down her image, and cosmetics brand Christian Dior has been scrambling to distance itself from the actress, who since 2005 has been the face of one of its skin products.
It makes me wonder what bad thing Phil Bronstein (formerly Mr. Sharon Stone) did to get his big toe nearly bitten off by a Komodo dragon in 2001? Link

Photos of chicken forming in egg


Here's one photo of a series of about 20 photos showing a chicken developing in an egg. Before I saw these photos I had always thought that the yolk turned into a chicken, but it looks like the chicken forms outside of the yolk and absorbs the yolk as it develops. Link

Los Simpson: live action Marge and Homer

Los Simpson is an incredibly creepy live action Simpsons spoof in Spanish. Link

Ghost in a bottle

For $20, John Deese of Decatur County, Georgia, will sell you a bottle with a ghost in it. It's not entirely clear if he is serious about what he's selling or not. He says that he doesn't collect the spirits personally but relies on professional, er, ghostbusters. From WKMG:
Bottleghosssssst“Some people will open the bottle and say they don’t get results and it’s just a fun conversation piece. Others say, ‘There’s strange things happening in my house. Where're my car keys? Where's the remote to the TV?” Deese said. “The ghost in the bottle is more toward Casper the Friendly Ghost than the Exorcist. We're kind of in the middle.”
Link to WKMG story, Link to A Ghost In A Bottle (via Cabinet of Wonders)

"Now the Hell Will Start" by Brendan I. Koerner

Brendan I. Koerner's "Now the Hell Will Start" follows the true-life story of Herman Perry, a young black playboy from Washington, D.C., drafted into the Army and shipped to the Indo-Burmese jungles to build the Ledo Road, a Sisyphean attempt to connect Allied supply depots with China during World War II. Years of nigh-on-forced labor in the sweltering, tiger- and headhunter-infested slog caused many of the soldiers to clutch consolation in cheap drugs, getting high in dark, wet tents while their uniforms literally rotted off. Perry succumbed. Worse, his drug use provoked insubordinance against the white officers who commanded the predominantly black recruits, awarding him multiple visits to the brig. Horribly, after a year of hard work, incessant rain, flippant officers and cheap opium, Perry — provoked — killed a superior officer. He escaped into the jungle, certain he'd be captured within hours. Instead, he became the focus of one of the most notorious manhunts of the war, living with the mountain tribes of headhunters and becoming a folk hero some called "The Jungle King." Koerner's an amazing reporter — my first mentor, along with Choire Sicha, to drum into my head how effective informed, dense writing could be — and has a knack for transmuting reams of research into taut narrative. (He was one of's excellent "Explainer" columnists for years.) It doesn't hurt that Perry's story cuts a path through subjects with which I am endlessly entranced: racism, drugs, survival, war, sorrow, and death — all wrapped in one man's outrageous, tragic adventure. It should be implicit since I'm writing this in the first place, but "Now the Hell Will Start" is recommended! If all goes to plan, we'll get Brendan online soon for a Q&A session on the #boingboing IRC channel. Link

Random mug turns out to be ancient artifact

In 1945, John Webber's grandfather, a scrap metal dealer, gave his son a random mug to play with that he had picked up along the way. John always thought it was brass and kept it with a bunch of other random stuff in a shoebox under his bed. Then when John, now 70, was moving out of his home, he decided to have the mug appraised. Turns out, the mug is gold and was made in the third or fourth century BC. It's expected to sell at auction for nearly a million bucks. Antiques Roadshow, eat your heart out! From AFP:
 Us.Yimg.Com P Afp 20080528 Capt.Cps.Mod51.280508142749.Photo00.Photo.Default-512X390 Webber... told The Guardian newspaper that his grandfather had a "good eye" for antiques and picked up "all sorts" as he plied his trade in the town of Taunton in south-west England.

"Heaven knows where he got this, he never said," he added, revealing that as a child, he used the cup for target practice with his air gun.
Link (via Fortean Times)

MediaDefender attacks and cripples Revision3 for locking out its spy-bots

MediaDefender, the thugs paid by the entertainment industry to spy on file-sharers and attempt to cripple file-sharing networks, attacked a legitimate Internet TV company called Revision3 over the weekend, launching a massive denial-of-service attack in retaliation for having their spy-bots locked out of R3's BitTorrent trackers:
Revision3 runs a tracker expressly designed to coordinate the sharing and downloading of our shows. It’s a completely legitimate business practice, similar to how ESPN puts out a guide that tells viewers how to tune into its network on DirecTV, Dish, Comcast and Time Warner, or a mall might publish a map of its stores...

A bit of address translation, and we’d discovered our nemesis. But instead of some shadowy underground criminal syndicate, the packets were coming from right in our home state of California. In fact, we traced the vast majority of those packets to a public company called Artistdirect (ARTD.OB). Once we were able to get their internet provider on the line, they verified that yes, indeed, that internet address belonged to a subsidiary of Artist Direct, called MediaDefender.

Who pays MediaDefender to disrupt peer to peer networks? I don’t know who’s ponying up today, but in the past their clients have included Sony, Universal Music, and the central industry groups for both music and movies – the RIAA and MPAA. According to an article by Ars Technica, the company uses “its array of 2,000 servers and a 9GBps dedicated connection to propagate fake files and launch denial of service attacks against distributors.” Another Ars Technica story claims that MediaDefender used a similar denial of service attack to bring down a group critical of its actions...

“Media Defender did not do anything specific, targeted at Revision3″, claims Grodsky. “We didn’t do anything to increase the traffic” – beyond what they’d normally be sending us due to the fact that Revision3 was hosting thousands of MediaDefender torrents improperly injected into our corporate server. His claim: that once we turned off MediaDefender’s back-door access to the server, “traffic piled up (to Revision3 from MediaDefender servers because) it didn’t get any acknowledgment back.”

Putting aside the company’s outrageous use of our servers for their own profit, and the large difference between one connection every three hours and 8,000 packets a second, I’m still left to wonder why they didn’t just tell us our basement window was unlocked. A quick call or email and we’d have locked it up tighter than a drum. ..

If it can happen to Revision3, it could happen to your business too. We’re simply in the business of delivering entertainment and information – that’s not life or death stuff. But what if MediaDefender discovers a tracker inside a hospital, fire department or 911 center? If it happened to us, it could happen to them too. In my opinion, Media Defender practices risky business, and needs to overhaul how it operates. Because in this country, as far as I know, we’re still innocent until proven guilty – not drawn, quartered and executed simply because someone thinks you’re an outlaw.

Link (Thanks, Burris!)

Astronauts wanted

The Canadian Space Agency has, er, launched a recruitment campaign for astronauts. Two lucky applicants will be chosen to join the Canadian Space Agency Astronaut corps and a "pool of qualified candidates will also be created for future needs." From the job description:
 Asc Img Astronaute Recrutement The Canadian Space Agency is seeking outstanding scientists, engineers and/or medical doctors with a wide variety of backgrounds. Creativity, diversity, teamwork, and a probing mind are qualities required to join the Canadian Space Agency's Astronaut Corps. To withstand the physical demands of training and space flight, candidates must also demonstrate a high level of fitness and a clean bill of health.

Astronaut trainees will train for tours of duty on the International Space Station (ISS), the largest human spacecraft ever built...

Long-duration missions aboard the ISS generally last from three to six months. Training for long-duration missions is very arduous and takes two to three years. This follows basic training of about one year. This training requires extensive travelling, and includes assimilation of the ISS assembly sequence and its on-orbit operations.
Link (Thanks, Douglas Rushkoff!)

Boris Artzybasheff's Machinalia illustrations

The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive has just posted a gallery of terrific illustrations from the 1950s by illustrator Boris Artzybasheff.
In his introduction to the section titled "Machinalia" in his book As I See, Boris Artzybasheff says, "I am thrilled by machinery's force, precision and willingness to work at any task, no matter how arduous or monotonous it may be. I would rather watch a thousand ton dredge dig a canal than see it done by a thousand spent slaves lashed into submission. I like machines."

Little Brother art: UK cover, limited edition poster -- UPDATED

Yesterday, I got two really awesome new graphics related to my young adult novel Little Brother (now in its third week on the bestseller lists!). The first, seen above, was a side-project by Tor Books's Pablo Defendini, a poster design that started out as concept art for the paperback of Little Brother. Pablo actually gave me one of the very small number of prints he made of this and now I can't wait to get it framed and hung up -- I love every little thing about it, from the RFID tag to the hidden message in the binary around the border. Oh, and Pablo does great hands.

Next up is this:

It's the artwork (not yet final) for the UK edition of Little Brother, which will be published in November by HarperCollins UK. It's a little less upbeat than the US cover, but I like the stencil-graffiti look, which hearkens to all the political movements (starting with early Christianity) that were bound together by illegal writing on walls. (If you'd like to get a notice when the UK edition is available, mail me).

Link to Pablo Defendini's print

Update: The initial print run for Little Brother is almost completely shipped, so my publisher has just ordered a new batch of hardcovers. Those books on the shelf now? They're the last of the first edition -- get 'em while they last!

Ghost Goblets -- hollow goblet liners inside tumblers

These "Ghost Goblets" ($75 for 4 at Cocktail Vibe) achieve a nice effect with a double-chambered tumbler in which the inner chamber is shaped like a traditional goblet. You could really go to town with this idea, making the inner chamber resemble pretty much anything -- I'm thinking of a giraffe... Link (via OhGizmo)

Louis Armstrong's collages

 Images Armstrong1  Images Armstrong2
Legendary horn player Louis Armstrong was also a collage artist! He collaged the fronts and backs of his personal collection of reel-to-reel recordings, more than 500 total. The Paris Review posted several examples and the story behind Armstrong's other medium for improvisation:
Only occasionally do the collages indicate the musical content within; usually there is no correlation. Armstrong made generous use of various kinds of adhesive tape not only to attach images to each box but also to laminate, frame, or highlight them. The works are untitled and undated, but he was making them as early as the 1950s; in a letter from 1953 he wrote, “Well, you know, my hobbie (one of them anyway) is using a lot of scotch tape . . . My hobbie is to pick out the different things during what I read and piece them together and [make] a little story of my own.”
Link (via Michael Leddy's Orange Crate Art)

Bioscientists photoshop their cultures to fake results

Jeff sez, "Researchers often use Photoshop to clean up the images they produce in the laboratory. If the experiment didn't go quite right, a bit of tampering can make a gel look like things did work. Editors at Science, Nature, and other journals are turning into detectives, using new tools to hunt for fraudulent images."

And the level of tampering they find is alarming. "The magnitude of the fraud is phenomenal," says Hany Farid, a computer-science professor at Dartmouth College who has been working with journal editors to help them detect image manipulation. Doctored images are troubling because they can mislead scientists and even derail a search for the causes and cures of disease.

Ten to 20 of the articles accepted by The Journal of Clinical Investigation each year show some evidence of tampering, and about five to 10 of those papers warrant a thorough investigation, says Ms. Neill. (The journal publishes about 300 to 350 articles per year.)

Link (Thanks, Jeff!)

Canadian airport security screener confiscates blocks tiny gun-shaped necklace charm

The Unusual Suspect writes, "blogTO writes of a Canadian PhD student studying Social Political Thought who was intercepted by Kelowna Airport screeners when they spotted her necklace, which has a charm in the shape of a gun. (Article includes a photo of the actual necklace.) The charm is less than 2" in size, and has no moving parts."

"How do you know it wasn't a real gun?" asked Guy, a security agent with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, who also declined to provide his last name.

"Who knows if there is a gun that small that can shoot bullets? You don't know that. They followed the rules."

Hey, Guy? If I could make a miniature gun that was 1.7" long and contained no moving parts and could still fire bullets, I could also make it in shapes other than gun. If your security seriously contemplates defending against that level of technology (firing bullets out of a solid object less than 2" long), then you'd better confiscate all metal objects, period. Also, what are you doing about other conceivable -- but technically impossible -- threats, like telekinesis, voodoo, and directed sunspot radiation? Link

Wearable Tech fashion show: Second Skin

Xeni goes backstage at a wearable technology fashion show held at the San Francisco Exploratorium, and tries digital and analog clothing on for size.

Link to Boing Boing tv post with discussion and downloadable video.

(Still photographs that appear in this episode by Amy Snyder, used with kind permission of the Exploratorium)

Sugary cereal light-fixture

Over on Boing Boing Gadgets, our John has spotted a delicious "Refined Cereal Light Fixture":

The Refined Cereal Light Fixture turns a row of fluorescent-colored, sugary cereal boxes into a wall mountable light fixture. The omission of Apple Jacks from the design seems like a weakness in the design: everyone is familiar with the eerie sight of a box of Apple Jacks radioactively pulsating in the dark by dint of super-charged sweetness alone.
Link, Discuss this on Boing Boing Gadgets

Net Neutrality bill in Canada

Canadian Member of Parliament Charlie Angus (late of one of my favorite punk acts, L'Etranger) has introduced a private member's bill on Net Neutrality in Canada:
Charlie Angus, who represents Timmins and James Bay, launched his bill one day after 300 people showed up in Ottawa to protest the issue. "You are citizens of a digital realm and you have rights," Angus told the crowd, according to the CBC. The crowd then chanted, "Whose net? Our net!" As a slogan, this leaves something to be desired, but it does get the point across.

Angus wants Parliament to debate the topic, and his brief bill amends Canada's Telecommunications Act to prohibit various forms of discrimination. P2Pnet hosts a copy of the text, which outlaws "network management practices that favour, degrade or prioritise any content, application or service is transmitted over a broadband network based on its source, ownership or destination." Reasonable network management is still allowed, and ISPs are explicitly allowed to charge different prices for different levels of bandwidth.


Steal This Film 2 footage: free, indexed and remixable

Jamie sez, "The League of Noble Peers have been hard at work transcribing STEAL THIS FILM II [a great, remixable documentary about file-sharing and copyright] footage over the last six months, and we're now proud to announce this fully searchable index of the base material from which we made the film. As well as streaming previews, the material is available in HD format under CC-by-SA and we're encouraging people to use it in their own projects. One other thing to note is the cool underlying search technology, which is based on and"

Steal This Film 2 involved extensive research and numerous interviews. Due to time constraints, every documentary uses of only a small portion of the materials collected. Some interviewees, having been so generous in giving us their time, didn't appear at all in the final cut. In most cases this was simply a problem of being forced to focus in on the points we thought most crucial, and the need to arrange many voices into one argument.

This archive is intended to fulfill three objectives. We want to allow those interviewed the time to elaborate their perspectives in more detail, and to return the segments we selected to the context from which they emanated. We hope that these materials can be useful to those in search of greater detail.

Finally, in the spirit of cooperation and sharing, and by agreement with our interviewees, we are making this footage available to others who want to make films on this subject, and who may not have the resources to travel to and meet these exceptional individuals. We hope the HDV Torrents we have provided are of sufficient quality. If you have any issues, please contact us.

Steal This Film is a work in progress, incomplete, open to contradiction and response. The task of talking back to our point of view is one we leave at the feet of you, the viewers, users and produsers of the film.

Link (Thanks, Jamie!)

See also: Steal This Film, Part II: the Internet makes us into copiers

HOWTO make a fanciful "futuresque" handgun prop

BouncingBall's been building himself a fanciful fake handgun, and has documented the process on Instructables with a good HOWTO:

This is a project I've been working on for a few weeks now. I basically wanted a cool hand gun. I didn't fancy any replica movie props, and the law makes it hard to buy normal replica guns. so i made my own.

What does the inside of a TSA x-ray conveyor look like? Ask a Flip.

Brevity is the soul of Flip. I've been enjoying the proliferation of short, sweet video clips taken with the ultracompact and low-cost digital camcorder. NYC-based PR terrorist Peter Shankman sneakily turned his Flip on while passing it through the TSA flight screening machine, and the resulting footage is above. Link. It's simple, but I like the sparkly parts where the poor little camera gets nuked. Pre-emptive note to actual nuclear scientists who will correct my semantics in the comments: shut up.

Sit-down-and-shut-up "Christian" Ford dealership is run by a non-church attendee who is sorry about the ad

Remember the Ford dealership that ran a radio ad telling non-Christians to "sit down and shut up?"

"JW Horne," who claims he works for the dealership writing the ads posted to his blog, defending his decision, telling "non-believers" and "plain doubters" that we are "in the minority and as loud as you yell and protest, you will always be in the minority."

But today, Rick Kieffe, owner of Kieffe and Sons Ford in Mojave and Rosamond, publicly apologized for the ad, saying that a) he doesn't actually attend church, and b) he didn't approve the ad.

“It’s just something that went by us,” said Kieffe, who does not attend church but considers himself “a Christian spirit.” “We’re obviously sorry that it offends a given segment who identifies themselves as atheist.”
Link to "You Will Always Be in the Minority" post, Link to apology (via Consumerist)

See also: Ford dealership uses bigoted radio ads to sell cars

Papercraft steak dinner

steak-dinner.jpg Here's a papercraft steak dinner to download, print out and make. Link

Recently on Boing Boing Gadgets

DC1M4.jpgRecently on Boing Boing Gadgets we saw suits made from recycled bottles; heard that Apple is toying with solar power; and felt the MacBook Air cut to the bone. Rob wondered who would like a text-based portable gaming console; Joel tinkled on Yamaha's Disklavier IV WiFi Piano; and John, when he wasn't microwaving cellphones, pondered the creation of a floating libertarian utopia. As for reviews, there wasn't much to hear from Koss' new Sparkplug headphones. Last week, we invited Mrs. Buttermer to take her teacher's red pen to the worst "top 10 worst things" Diggbait list of all time. Today, however, all we want to know is this: what the hell is this strange knob that we found in Rob's back yard?

Cassette-styled watch

 Cassette Watch
Over at Boing Boing Gadgets, John posts about this sharp cassette-face watch. Link

Real dogs teased with toy dog

The uncanny valley even creeps dogs out. (via Arbroath)

Bionic monkeys eat

For the first time, monkeys have successfully fed themselves with a robotic arm jacked directly into their brains. Neuro-control of robots isn't new, but apparently performing tasks as complicated as eating is a huge challenge. Conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, the demo was captured on video that's now on YouTube. Of course, the research itself may not sit well with people who are against all animal testing. From New Scientist:
200805281229 Most people who become paralysed or lose limbs retain the mental dexterity to perform physical actions. And by tapping into a region of the brain responsible for movement – the motor cortex – researchers can decode a person's intentions and translate them into action with a prosthetic.

This had been done mostly with monkeys and in virtual worlds or with simple movements, such as reaching out a hand. But two years ago, an American team hacked into the brain of a patient with no control over his arms to direct a computer cursor and a simple robotic arm.

Schwarz's team extracted even more complicated information from the brains of two rhesus macaques by reading the electrical pulses of about 100 brain cells. Normally, millions of neurons fire when we lift an arm or grab a snack, but the signals from a handful of cells are enough to capture the basics, (neurological engineer Andrew) Schwarz says.
Link to New Scientist article, Link to video

Paramount silencing portions of Indiana Jones in theaters?

Adrian McCarthy says:
While at the cinema yesterday, I read a notice posted by the box office that Paramount has intentionally silenced bits of the soundtrack of _Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull_ in order to deter and track piracy. The notice acknowledged that the momentary silences were annoying but that it was out of their control. Basically it said, please don't bug the manager if the sound drops out, unless it lasts more than a minute.

I searched this morning, but I can't find any mention of this on the web. I was going to snap a picture of the notice to post on my blog, but my cell phone battery had died--and I probably would have been chased off by a security guard.

Blanking out chunks of audio seems a rather crude way of watermarking the film. Once again, it's the paying customers who suffer.

For reference, it was the Regal Cinema at Hacienda Crossing in Dublin, California. I was there to see Speed Racer in IMAX, so I didn't directly witness tampering with Indiana Jones.