A US senator said the new legislation was a step towards removing the "shame of dishonouring this great leader".Link (Thanks, NelsonC!)
Under the legislation, members of the ANC could travel to the United Nations headquarters in New York but not to Washington DC or other parts of the United States.
The Open Rights Group's report into e-counting of votes cast in the London Elections is out today. The report finds that:Link (Thanks, Glyn!) Read the rest
"there is insufficient evidence available to allow independent observers to state reliably whether the results declared in the May 2008 elections for the Mayor of London and the London Assembly are an accurate representation of voters' intentions."
Votes for London Mayor and the 25 member London Assembly were counted electronically, and overall the election was well-managed by the independent body set up to run elections in London, London Elects.
However, transparency around the recording of valid votes was a major issue, leading many of our team of 27 official observers to conclude that they were unable to observe votes being counted. And while hundreds of screens set up by vote scanners showed almost meaningless data to observers, London Elects admit that the system was likely to be recording blank ballots as valid votes.
The report also details how London Elects are unable to publish an audit, commissioned from KPMG, of some of the software used to count the London vote, because of disputes over commercial confidentiality. The situation highlights the problems that arise when the very public function of running elections is mixed with issues of commercial confidentiality and proprietary software. In the context of a public election, it is unacceptable that these issues should preclude the publication of the KPMG audit.
Here's how Prentice's version of the CDMCA spin works: "The Canadian DMCA is a balance. It guarantees a whole bunch of consumer rights, like time-shifting and format-shifting." But you also criminalize breaking DRM, even when it takes away those "guaranteed" rights. "Yes, but no one would use DRM to take those away." But people have. "The market will solve it."
Minister Prentice has apparently never heard of what economists call Moral Hazard: "the prospect that a party insulated from risk may behave differently from the way it would behave if it were fully exposed to the risk." In other words: if you give the entertainment industry a tool by which they can ban time-shifting, format-shifting, etc, and charge extra for the "privilege" of exercising those "rights," then they probably will.
Are you near Calgary? Planning on going to the Stampede? Maybe you could find Minister Prentice -- preferably while holding a video camera -- and ask him about this. Link (Thanks, RajSmith!) Read the rest
What the guillotine is to the French, the mouse trap is to unhygienic Americans. A spring-loaded mousetrap is (usually) a clean way to kill a mouse. But spring for a non-lethal trap out of the kindness of your heart and when you release that mouse, you'll see it poking out of your Cheerios the next morning. Try a glue trap, and you'll hate yourself for years as you torture a cute, fuzzy animal to death. And poison is a painful crapshoot. Oh, sure. It's a cruel gizmo. But it is perfectly designed: "build the better mousetrap" has become an ironic cultural shorthand for "waste of time."Ten Perfectly Pure Gadgets (BB Gadgets) Read the rest
The two reports follow a 2006 study published in another journal, Psychopharmacology, in which 60 percent of a group of 36 healthy, well-educated volunteers with active spiritual lives reported having a "full mystical experience" after taking psilocybin... Fourteen months later, (Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Roland) Griffiths re-administered the questionnaires used in the first study -- along with a specially designed set of follow up questions -- to all 36 subjects. Results showed that about the same proportion of the volunteers ranked their experience in the study as the single most, or one of the five most, personally meaningful or spiritually significant events of their lives and regarded it as having increased their sense of well-being or life satisfaction. "This is a truly remarkable finding," Griffiths says. "Rarely in psychological research do we see such persistently positive reports from a single event in the laboratory. This gives credence to the claims that the mystical-type experiences some people have during hallucinogen sessions may help patients suffering from cancer-related anxiety or depression and may serve as a potential treatment for drug dependence. We're eager to move ahead with that research."Spiritual effects of hallucinogens persist (Physorg.org, thanks Nick Philip!) Read the rest
This catalog hosts the entire collection of Mexican Wrestling Robot toy prototypes called Lucha Robots. My goal is to include simple programmable electronics in the figures so they can talk to each other, and to you. They are currently all out on tour at a variety of shows and stores, or living la vida loca in their new homes after being snatched up by a keen eye for fun.Lucha Robots on Flickr, Amy's Cozy Rampage blog Read the rest
Things supposedly started innocently enough. Kashasha, near Lake Victoria in Tanzania in 1962: One girl in a boarding school there told another girl a joke. Maybe, "Have you heard the one about?" or "A Jew, an Indian, and Herbert Hoover walk into a bar …" or "Take my wife, please … " Whatever the setup, the delivery, or punch line, the result was laughter. Whether it was a giggle, a guffaw, a chortle, a snort is irrelevant. The listener found it funny. But then things went dark, weird, and creepy: one girl laughed, but then so did another, and then another, and then another, and then another.Weirdest Examples of Mass Hysteria (Dark Roasted Blend) Read the rest
(Utah State University psychologist Kerry) Jordan and colleague Elizabeth Brannon, of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, US, trained two eight-year-old female macaques to equate beeps to dots on a computer screen. So if a monkey heard seven beeps, it knew to tap a square on the screen displaying seven dots. Next, the researchers tested the monkeys’ training in adding dots and beeps together. The animals were presented dots of different sizes flash onto a screen. At the same time they heard a series of short tones. To determine if the monkeys could combine the two, Jordan and Brannon showed the animals a screen with two numerical choices, represented as dots – one the correct sum, one incorrect. Both monkeys did better than 50:50 – one added the sights and sounds correctly 72% of the time, the other 66% of the time.Monkeys can count (New Scientist) Read the rest
Speaking for all the Boingers--
Boing Boing has been caught in the middle of a real internet shitstorm and pile-on over the last few days. A blogger named Violet Blue noticed that we unpublished some posts related to her. Some people wanted to know why.
Bottom line is that those posts (not "more than 100 posts," as erroneously claimed elsewhere) were removed from public view a year ago. Violet behaved in a way that made us reconsider whether we wanted to lend her any credibility or associate with her. It's our blog and so we made an editorial decision, like we do every single day. We didn't attempt to silence Violet. We unpublished our own work. There's a big difference between that and censorship.
We hope you'll respect our choice to keep the reasons behind this private. We do understand the confusion this caused for some, especially since we fight hard for openness and transparency. We were trying to do the right thing quietly and respectfully, without embarrassing the parties involved.
Clearly, that didn't work out. In attempting to defuse drama, we inadvertently ignited more. Mind you, we weren't the ones splashing gasoline around; but we did make the fire possible. We're sorry about that. In the meantime, Boing Boing's past content is indexed on the Wayback Machine, a basic Internet resource; so the material should still be available for those who would like to read it. Read the rest
Back in the day, Linksys slipped GPL software into its routers and was obliged to open-source the firmware as a consequence. The result was the much-loved, much-hacked WRT series, into which was added all sorts of fancy features usually reserved for business-class machinery. Netgear's getting in on this enthusiast-friendly game with the WGR614L, which is designed to be to tinkered with from the rubber feet-up.Link, Discuss this on Boing Boing Gadgets Read the rest
Matt is a 31-year-old deadbeat from Connecticut who used to think that all he ever wanted to do in life was make and play videogames. Matt achieved this goal pretty early and enjoyed it for a while, but eventually realized there might be other stuff he was missing out on. In February of 2003, he quit his job in Brisbane, Australia and used the money he'd saved to wander around Asia until it ran out. He made this site so he could keep his family and friends updated about where he is.Read the rest
A few months into his trip, a travel buddy gave Matt an idea. They were standing around taking pictures in Hanoi, and his friend said "Hey, why don't you stand over there and do that dance. I'll record it." He was referring to a particular dance Matt does. It's actually the only dance Matt does. He does it badly. Anyway, this turned out to be a very good idea.
A couple years later, someone found the video online and passed it to someone else, who passed it to someone else, and so on. Now Matt is quasi-famous as "That guy who dances on the internet.