Boing Boing 

Palin believes dinosaurs and men once coexisted

The vice presidential candidate of a major political party in America apparently believes dinosaurs and men once walked the earth at the same time:
After conducting a college band and watching Palin deliver a commencement address to a small group of home-schooled students in June 1997, Wasilla resident Philip Munger said, he asked the young mayor about her religious beliefs.

Palin told him that "dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time," Munger said. When he asked her about prehistoric fossils and tracks dating back millions of years, Palin said "she had seen pictures of human footprints inside the tracks," recalled Munger, who teaches music at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and has regularly criticized Palin in recent years on his liberal political blog, called Progressive Alaska.

Palin treads carefully between fundamentalist beliefs and public policy (Los Angeles Times)

Adventurer's Club at Disney World closes

The Adventurer's Club at Walt Disney World -- a cabaret show/bar augmented with puppeteered robotic masks, stone idols, and random junque -- has shut its doors, as part of the shuttering of Pleasure Island (an otherwise lacklustre adult entertainment area with crummy discos and clubs). This was my second-favorite Disney artifact of all time (after the Haunted Mansion ride), and my favorite club in the world. I'm so bummed to hear they shut it down -- I hope it re-opens somewhere else soon!

Three UCF students showed up dressed as Pamelia Perkins, Hathaway Browne, and the Colonel. “It’s the final night,” said Pamelia look-alike Beth Phillips. “We had to do something big.” Nathan Kohlun said choosing to dress like Hathaway was easy. “Everyone loves this character, especially the women. It’s just all really fun.”

About an hour before the doors opened, many of the actors came out in their street clothes to loud cheers. They posed for photos, answered questions, received gifts, and thanked as many fans as they could for their support over the years.

Cassie Cameron, who wore a hand-made Hathaway shirt, brought a snapshot to give to the cast showing her at age 9 in the Mask Room. The now 24-year-old said she’s just sad she won’t get the chance to bring her own daughter to the Club. “She’s three and can already sing the Adventurer’s Song and even Toast! I had really hoped to share this with her some day.”

Huge Crowd Gives Heartfelt Send-off to Adventurer’s Club (Thanks, Heath!)

Roman siege engine for sale

Ever wanted to own a full-scale Roman siege engine? Now you can!

The ballista was successfully built and managed to fire a very heavy stone ball some 127 yards. (Remember, these things used to successfully lay siege to entire cities.)

The ballista, dissembled, has been in our Scotland timber yard since then, so we have decided to make some room (quite a bit of room, actually) and sell it on eBay.

The ballista has aged gracefully and needs a little restoration work to get it back into shape again – though as a demonstration piece rather than as a fireable weapon. We’ve decided to sell the ballista ‘as seen’ for those who fancy constructing it themselves – though we are very happy to provide construction as an additional service. (To be fair, we recommend it – it will take people with timber expertise to do the required work.)

Our full-size Roman siege catapult for sale on eBay (Thanks, Uncle Wilco!)

MPAA spokeslawyers insist that they not be identified by name in reports from press-conference

The MPAA is suing RealNetworks for making a product that will rip a DVD, crap it up with DRM, and store it on your hard-drive. The MPAA says that only their stupid DRM, and not RealNetworks' stupid DRM, can be used to cripple DVDs. My take? A pox on both their houses.

Except this:

Lawyers for the MPAA, in a teleconference with reporters, said Kaleidesape and RealDVD are circumventing "technology designed to prevent copying."

The lawyers, who asked that their names not be published, said they were concerned "Consumers will think this is a legal product...when in fact it is totally illegal."

Wait wait wait wait: what? These unnamed lawyers are on a press-call with the media, as spokespeople for their company, and they "asked that their names not be published?" And journalists complied?

Truly, this is a new low in chickenshittery that has me scraping my jaw off my chest. These lawyers aren't deep-throat whistle-blowers sneaking information out of their employers' filing cabinets: they're the official spokespeople for the firm. And they get anonymity?

So what happens in the future -- after the MPAA gets its ass handed to it by the court -- if we want to argue that the MPAA's lawyers have a long history of going around saying that software is "totally illegal"? Do the MPAA get to deny it, because no one can name the spokesperson who said it?

And why on earth would the journalists honor such a request? "Unnamed MPAA lawyer says stupid thing" fails one of the important Ws of reporting: Who said it? MPAA, RealNetworks Wage Court Battle Over DVD-Copying Software

Steampunk for engineers in IEEE Spectrum

This month's IEEE Spectrum magazine has a lush photo-spread aimed at explaining to engineers the appeal of steampunk:

STEAMY STEPS: California artist and animator I-Wei Huang, known as Crab Fu, has built a legion of remote-controlled steaming creatures out of scale-model tanks and boats, electronics kits, and “a bunch of junk parts I’ve collected.” The Steam Walker, one of his favorite creations, uses a Wilesco D14 miniature steam engine and a system of sprockets and chains to move its feet.
Slideshow: Steampunk Sensation

(Image: Jonathan Sprague/Redux)

Facebook hires key defender of Bush's attack on American civil liberties

Facebook's recently-beefed-up management team includes former White House lawyer Ted Ullyot, who...
... helped coordinate the response to the investigation into the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity and serv[ed] as chief of staff to former U.S. Atty. General Alberto Gonzales. [He] will join Facebook as its vice president and general counsel next month. Ullyot, who also has had major private sector stints including as a top lawyer for AOL Time Warner Europe, is leaving a partnership with law firm Kirkland & Ellis and will relocate to the Bay Area, he said in an interview Friday.
Facebook hires general counsel as it continues to grow (LA Times, thanks @jameshome)

Eclectic Methodology and their New Toy

Bob Marley - Eclectic Method vMIX - Imeem Exclusive -

Video remix artists Eclectic Method cut and paste music videos, movies, current events, and video games into a danceable stream of sound and heady stretch of images. It's fun to watch them "scratch" DVD's live, and their recorded work makes for great YouTube fare.

Here's my favorite examples of their video mashup:
BOB MARLEY - (an official video mix for the Marley Family)
ENTOURAGE HBO: Ari Gold says F*%K
ZEITGHOST #2 - Eclectic Method's Signature Music Video Remixtape
TONY SOPRANO's Video Remix
KILL BILL - Movie Fight Remix

But it's even more fun to play with this stuff oneself. In true DIY fashion, they've created a super-easy video remixer that lets the least experienced or most stoned computer users to play mash-up with images from their last video.

(All you do is click on the image, and then use your number keys to jam.)

It may not be the most deeply creative computer experience available, but it is kinda fun - and accessible to all. Even my 3-year-old.

Douglas Rushkoff is a guest blogger.

No Money Down


Because of current events, Arthur magazine just posted the column I wrote for their upcoming issue, written a month or so ago, about what's happening right now. I figured I'd share it with you here:

I poked my head up from writing my book a couple of months ago to engage with Arthur readers about the subject I was working on: the credit crunch and what to do about it [see “Riding Out the Credit Crisis” in Arthur No. 29/May 2008]. I got more email about that piece than anything I have written since a column threatening to defect from the Mac community back in the Quadra days.

Many readers thought I was hinting at something under the surface–a conspiracy, of sorts, to take money from the poor and give it to the rich. It sounded to many like I was describing an economic system actually designed–planned–to redistribute income in the worst possible ways.

I guess I’d have to agree with that premise. Only it’s not a secret conspiracy. It’s an overt one, and playing out in full view of anyone who has time (time is money, after all) to observe it.

The mortgage and credit crisis wasn’t merely predictable; it was predicted. And not by a market bear or conspiracy theorist, but by the people and institutions responsible. The record number of foreclosures, credit defaults, and, now, institutional collapses is not the result of the churn of random market forces, but rather a series of highly lobbied changes to law, highly promoted ideologies of wealth and home ownership, and monetary policies highly biased toward corporate greed.

It all started to make sense to me when I attended Learning Annex’s Wealth Expo earlier this year–a seminar where teachers of The Secret, the hosts of Flip This House, George Foreman, Tony Robbins and former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan [pictured above in banner from Learning Annex website] purportedly taught the thousands in attendance how to take advantage of the current foreclosure boom....

or if that's overwhelmed

Douglas Rushkoff is a guest blogger.

Punching bag changes color when hit

Artist Stefan Gross says: "Love Hate Punch is a punching bag that gives light if you hit it and if you do your best it changes color from dark red to bright red to yellow to white." Love Hate Punch

The House of Death: An Interview with DEA Whistleblower Sandy Gonzalez

Radley Balko, senior editor of Reason magazine, says: "Federal agents looked the other way while one of their drug informants [Guillermo Ramirez Peyro, also known as "Lalo"] participated in a series of gruesome murders. They knew about the murders, but refused to call off the drug investigation. When an outraged DEA agent [Sandy Gonzalez] blew the whistle, the DEA, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), and DOJ forced him into early retirement. The government is now trying to deport the informant they've paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to over the years. They want to send him to Mexico, where he'll almost certainly be killed."
Reason: The DEA administrator at the time, Karen Tandy, has admitted in court testimony that she gave you the only poor performance review of your career because of your letter calling for an investigation into the murders. That led to your retirement. Have any of the ICE officers who handled the Lalo case been held accountable --criminally, professionally, or otherwise?

Gonzalez: Not to my knowledge. I doubt it. I would have heard about it.

Reason: Have you had any indication that Congress might step in? Have you talked to anyone on Capitol Hill?

Gonzalez: Back in 2005 I went and briefed the senior staff of two senators.

Reason: Which ones?

Gonzalez: [Iowa Sen. Charles] Grassley and [Vermont Sen. Patrick] Leahy. I think what happened is one of the members of Leahy’s staff was a Justice Department officer who was on loan on a detail to the senator’s staff. I think she knew [U.S. Attorney] Johnny Sutton. She worked out of the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys. She knew Sutton personally and throughout the whole interview she was antagonistic. My guess is that she railroaded the whole thing.

An Interview with DEA Whistleblower Sandy Gonzalez

Woman Dressed as Cow Gets a Month in Jail


32-year-old Michele Allen received a one-month sentence for disorderly conduct after police received complaints that she was dressed in a cow costume and chasing children, blocking traffic, and urinating on a neighbor's porch.

She wore the costume again when she appeared for sentencing. One Month in Corral for Disorderly Woman

The Great Schlep

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.

Here's an easy way to help Obama and progressive Judaism at the same time! The Great Schlep, brainchild of my good friend Ari Wallach, "aims to have Jewish grandchildren visit their grandparents in Florida, educate them about Obama, and therefore swing the crucial Florida vote in his favor. Don’t have grandparents in Florida? Not Jewish? No problem! You can still become a schlepper and make change happen in 2008, simply by talking to your relatives about Obama."

Whether or not one supports Obama, it's probably a good idea to dispel the myths (one group I spoke with at an Upper East Side New York synagogue believed that Obama had already committed to placing Farrakhan in his cabinet), and at least make sure Floridians understand exactly who and what they're voting for.

Douglas Rushkoff is a guest blogger.

Reuters sues academic for making a Firefox plugin that lets you annotate and reference articles

Espen sez, "In a move leading me to suspect they have hired laid-off lawyers from RIAA, Endnote (owned by Reuters) has sued GMU and Dan Cohen for the latest version of Zotero (a Firefox plugin that lets you save, annotate and academically reference articles you find online). This is an amazingly stupid market move: Suing an academic for making software for other academics because the software allows you to convert styles (which in turn were freely contributed by other academics) - when your main market is academics."
For my part, I’m going to refuse to use Reuters’ software in future, strongly discourage graduate students from buying EndNote, and try to get this message out to my colleagues too (at least those of them who aren’t using Zotero or some BibTex client already). If I taught any classes where Thomson printed relevant textbooks, I would be strongly inclined not to use these texts either. I encourage you to do the same (and, if you’re so minded, to suggest other possible ways of making it clear to Reuters that this kind of behaviour is intolerable in the comments). People have argued that the music industry has screwed up badly by suing its customers – whether that’s true or not, makers of academic bibliography software should be told that suing universities for what appear to be entirely legitimate actions is not likely to do their reputations any good.
GMU sued for Zotero (Thanks, Espen!)

BBtv: Galactic's "Modern New Orleans Funk" with Xeni and Russell (music)

New Orleans is a lot of things to a lot of people, but to the guys in the band Galactic, it's the motherland of funk. In today's Boing Boing tv episode, Xeni and Russell catch Galactic's Crescent City Soul Crewe live at the Outside Lands festival, and speak to them about the band's homage to this birthplace of jazz and its ancestral influence on many other forms of modern music. The band's newest release, From the Corner to the Block, is potent stuff, and pulling in rave reviews all over.

( Sponsor note: Crowdfire is sponsoring this series of music features on BBtv, and you can find crowdsourced snapshots, audio, and video about this band at )

Link to BBtv blog post with downloadable video and instructions on how to subscribe to the daily BBtv video podcast.

You May Be Synaesthetic And Not Know It

We post often about synaesthesia, a strange neurological condition characterized by a link between two or more senses. (A particular musical note "sounds" red, etc.) New research suggests that many more people may have synaesthesia than realize it. In one experiment at McMaster University in Canada, self-described non-synaesthetes associated the smell of certain foods with certain colors and textures. From New Scientist:
When the researchers analysed the results, along with some obvious associations – lemon with yellow and peppermint with smooth, hard and sticky – they found some odd ones.

Significantly more people than chance, for instance, associated the smell of mushrooms with the colours blue or yellow. Lavender elicited the colour green and the texture of sticky liquid, while ginger was perceived as black and sharp.

"The influence of learning is there," (researcher Ferrinne) Spector told a meeting of the American Synesthesia Association in Hamilton on 27 September, "but it cannot explain all associations."
Do we all have some synaesthetic ability?

Previously on BB:
Many more synaesthesia posts

Daphne Oram: electronic music pioneer

 Guardian Music Gallery 2008 Aug 04 1 Do6-2266-1
Daphne Oram (1925-2003) was a pioneering electronic musician and sound engineer at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. She established a workshop to develop experimental techniques for composing radio soundtracks. Oram is best known for her invention of Oramics, a system of converting drawings on 35mm film into sound textures. You can hear samples of her her music here. As part of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop's 50th anniversary, The Guardian recently profiled Oram and included a slide show of terrific vintage photographs. From The Guardian:
Oram was one of the first British composers to produce electronic sound, a pioneer of what became "musique concrete" – music made with sounds recorded on tape, the ancestor of today's electronic music. Her story makes for fascinating reading. She was born in 1925 when Britain was between two world wars. She was extremely bright, and studied music and electronics – unusual at the time not only because electronics was an exciting new industry, but also because it was a man's world.

She went on to join the BBC, and, while many of the corporation's male staff were away fighting in the second world war, she became a balancing engineer, mixing the sounds captured by microphones at classical music concerts. In those days, nearly all programmes went out live because recording was extremely cumbersome and expensive. Tape hadn't been invented, and cheap computers were half a century away.

Yet when tape did come along, in the early 1950s, Oram was quick to realise that it could be used not simply for recording existing sounds, but for composing a new kind of music. Not the music of instruments, notes and tunes, but the music of ordinary, everyday sound.
Daphne Oram profile, Daphne Oram slideshow (via Further: Strange Attractor and Beyond)

Vote Bear

Canadian illustrator Graham Roumieu, who has chronicled the life of Bigfoot, writes

If you were looking for a little something disgustingly cute to get you through disgusting political and economic times, well here you go. This was for last weekend's Globe and Mail.

May all your melt downs be ice cream related, -- Graham

Spicy chili kills amateur chef

Andrew Lee, 33, apparently died after making and eating an intensely spicy chili. Lee was apparently in good health and toxicologists are running tests to figure out exactly what killed him. From the Sydney Morning Herald:
The forklift driver from Edlington, West Yorkshire in England, made a tomato sauce with red chillies grown by his father, but after eating it suffered intense discomfort and itching.

Mr Lee went to bed and asked his girlfriend, Samantha Bailey, to scratch his back until he fell asleep.

When she woke in the morning he was dead, possibly after suffering a heart attack, The Guardian said.
Chef dies after eating 'super hot' chili

HOWTO Make a dollhouse out of a gourd

Now this is a handsome and useful redeployment of a gourd: a house for the little people!

I use inexpensive acrylic craft paint because it had great colors and covers very well. Also you can just squirt it right inside the gourd and spread it around.

Decorate your gourd with "curtains". I have used eyelet, fringe and pompoms for my curtains. All are cute. Hang with hot glue or other adhesive.

My rug is a felted sweater scrap, trimmed with scallop shears, and also glued in place. The fluffy rug helps mitigate the uneven floor of the gourd.

Gourd Dollhouse Tutorial (via Craft)

Lost in America as Metaphor for Mortgage Meltdown

Shawn Wolfe says:

This is what happens when an annoying asshole (Wall Street) loses everything in a casino (the stock market) and desperately begs the house (Congress) to "correct" their little mistake (massive bail out), and the house (Gary Marshall) ain't havin' it.

I think it is also instructive here that this scene takes place at 4am. Albert Brooks is in his bathrobe. His pants are basically down. The owner of the Desert Inn is granting him a sit-down and happens to be dressed in a suit and tie and oak desk.

"The Desert Inn has heart... The Desert Inn has heart... The Desert Inn has heart..."

"We're through talking."

Lego-like snap-together bedside lamp

Beingblease's powered aluminum bedside lamp lets kids (and others) customize their lighting with modular, snap-together pieces.

A modular magnetic lamp that is customized through the building of different coloured and shaped pieces. Bedside lamp is universally enjoyed by all ages, is forever changing, playful, and made to stand the test of time.
Bedside lamp

TED Prize for photojournalist James Nachtwey

Laura Galloway says:
The TED Prize, an initiative of the TED Conference granting recipients one world changing wish – is asking bloggers around the world to help in making photojournalist and 2007 Prize winner James Nachtwey's wish come true this Friday, October 3.

Nachtwey wished for help in breaking a news story in a way that demonstrates the power of news photography in the digital age. Nachtwey's work will be simultaneously revealed online, disseminated through numerous media channels, and projected on public buildings throughout the world. The TED Prize organizers have created a blogger page where bloggers can download a badge for their blogs in advance of Oct. 3, find event live event locations, or embed Nachtwey's wish video. On October 3, the site will redirect to reveal the story.

TED Prize for photojournalist James Nachtwey

Crab rides a jellyfish

Crabjellyyyyyy Here's a fun video of a crab hitching a ride on a jellyfish. (Thanks, Kirsten Anderson!)

Mark Jenkins: homeless polar bears art prank

 Img 2007 World 1709 Hobobear Sp
A Washington DC train station was shut down for a couple hours recently as a bomb squad investigated this "hobo polo bear" standing near a trash can. Turns out, the stuffed animal was part of a collaboration between Greenpeace and prankster artist Mark Jenkins. From an email Mark sent me:
 3241 2881288478 039Ec129Be O We made a series of human-like homeless polar bears and installed them around DC to get people to think about the issue (of melting arctic ice) with more empathy. it seemed people liked them a lot and took pictures of their kids in front of them, etc. but most were removed pretty quickly by the authorities. the last image is one that was met with ill-fate after being deemed a "suspicious package." so the whole thing ended up have a touch of irony to it when compared to the actual situation.
"'Hobo polar bear causes panic in US'" (National Nine News) Greenpeace project page (, Mark Jenkins project page (

Previously on BB:
Mark Jenkins: Fake 'living statue' prank
Mark Jenkins: cafeteria pranks
Mark Jenkins: Traffic-Go-Round
Mark Jenkins: Meter Pops
Mark Jenkins casts a human head in packing tape
Mark Jenkins: Tape Babies
Mark Jenkins: Fake People

Apartments Designed to Challenge Residents


Pink Tentacle has photos and a video of the "Reversible Destiny Lofts" in Japan, designed to physically and mentally challenge people in order to keep them healthy.

To NY-based architect-poets and “reversible destiny” philosophers Arakawa & Gins, comfort deserves only a limited role in the home. In their vision, a home that keeps its inhabitants young and healthy should provide perpetual challenges. A tentative relationship with your environment, they argue, is key to “reversing the downhill course of human life.”

Designed to stimulate the senses and force inhabitants to use balance, physical strength and imagination, the lofts feature uneven floors, oddly positioned power switches and outlets, walls and surfaces painted a dizzying array of colors, a tiny exit to the balcony, a transparent shower room, irregularly shaped curtainless windows, and more.

For rent: Reversible Destiny Lofts (w/ video)

Computer-Generated Sarah Palin Interview

Here's a program that'll generate realistic Palin-style answers for different questions.
Q: What is your foreign policy experience?

I think if you ask that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the people of America are not fully satisfied with all the answers. It's going to be considered also. But again, it's got to put government and it's about putting government back on the verbiage that Senator McCain chose to use them. So we have opportunities for good in the war. You can't blink. You have to be allowed in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be provided the hope that all Americans have, instilled in us, because we're a democratic, we are today with so much collapse on Wall Street, affecting Main Street.

Interview Sarah Palin

(Via Panopticist)

George Hart's Sculptural Barn Raising


George Hart has a photos of the construction of a "sculptural barn raising" for his Comet! artwork at Albion College on Saturday September 13, 2008.

George Hart's Sculptural Barn Raising

Mister Jalopy Scores a Stingray Bike at a Garage Sale, and Comes to an Interesting Realization


What Mister Jalopy learned when he found a Stingray bike at a garage sale after looking for one for 20 years:

For all the years of garage saling, I have always wanted, but never found, a Schwinn Stingray. Previously, I have encountered only three. One was being wheeled away from a sale as I approached, another was a pile of parts that a fella was carrying to his car in a laundry basket and the third was a sand blasted frame which I purchased. So, this week, I found the assortment of parts shown in the top photograph. This is not a treasured Stingray rescued from the rafters of grandma's house, but rather a stalled project that somebody had put together over a couple evenings of drunken Ebaying.

Recently, I have figured out that we are in an odd secondary era for this stuff. During the 1970's and 1980s, garage sales were probably lousy with Schwinn Stingrays, but, those virgin bicycles have long been sold, garage saled, garbage dumped or reclaimed by the original owner. Now, when we find novelty bowling statuary, Apple IIs or strike front matchbooks, they are being sold by somebody that paid through the nose on eBay only to get tired of it for the second time.

Garage Sale Report - September 29, 2008

Last Supper Menu revealed: mmm, delicious eels.

New research on Da Vinci's Last Supper suggests that the meal being consumed in this painting was not bread or lamb, as previously believed. "Instead, [John Varriano] writes in a new article in Gastronomica that the 1997 cleaning and restoration of the fresco revealed plates of grilled eel garnished with orange slices." Yeah, if someone fed me that, it'd be my last supper, too. {rimshot} I'll be here all week! Try the eels. Article: The Last Supper Menu: Revealed! (The Food Section / Josh Friedland)

Daphne Guinness Sets Supermodels Ablaze

Above: Thumbnails from a fashion shoot featuring beer heiress (beirhess?) Daphne Guinness in the current issue of Vogue Italia. The spread, titled "The Honourable Daphne Guinness," was shot by Stephen Klein. IMAGES: Part one, Part two. I like the one where she sets the chick on fire. And the other one with the stormtrooper-alien-dudes with crystal laser guns. Here's an interview where she discusses the Surrealist origins of her "weird obsession with armour." (thanks Susannah Breslin!)