Today at Boing Boing Gadgets

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets, we ran the ultimate Top List, The Top 10 "Top 10 iPhone Flaws" lists; gazed upon true horror; and gaped at Rubik's Mirror. The big news of the day was, of course, the T-Mobile G1 cell phone, decked out with Google's Android operating system, which totally stole OpenMoko's thunder. Our liveblog coverage has the bullet points, but Joel's hands-on review is where it's at. Will that 1GB monthly data allowance be enough? Rob demanded a Sony netbook after slobbering over its small-but-pricey Vaio TT; saw that HD movie cam-maker Red is starting the Scarlet over from scratch; tapped his feet on a Webble; and stacked Atom-touting miniature motherboards. John sat on Hercules' face; wondered if any publicity is good publicity for Vista; grabbed µTorrent for Mac; and spotted earbuds for ladies. Check out his review of Acer's Aspire X3200 mini-desktop PC. Prost!

Why I love Wilco, part umptybillion


Fleet Foxes and Wilco covered Bob Dylan's "I Shall be Released" at a recent live show, and they're giving it away online if you promise to vote. Wilcoworld (via James Home on Twitter; photo of guitar rack on-stage at Wilco's set during Outside Lands via Crowdfire; image by John Battelle).

Pinhole skull-camera

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets, our John has word of artist artist Wayne Martin Belger's sculpture, "Third Eye," a pinhole camera in a human skull:

Wayne Martin Belger makes pinhole cameras using a variety of materials including precious stones, metals, human organs, and bone. This piece, entitled Third Eye, features many of these materials, all constructed around the 150 year-old skull of a 13 year-old girl. The film is exposed to light through titular ocular cavity making a Polaroid momento mori. The photos taken with this camera (one of which is after the jump) stay with the theme, their blurriness and patina making them look as if they were snatched from the memories of the dead.

Pinhole Camera Fashioned From 150 Year-Old Skull Discuss this on Boing Boing Gadgets)

Games are recession-proof earners?

Convincing work from consumer research groups suggests that video games are recession-proof earners:
Gaming fans shopping recently at a Best Buy in San Francisco echoed Riley's words; Malou Taylor says she's more likely to play a game than go to a movie.

"I might as well use the money on a game that I can have for a longer time," she says...

Though video games initially earned a bad rap for being something of a loner activity, gaming has become an increasingly sociable event. Some couples, like Benjamin Gerald and Char Williams, say they stay home together and play.

"Last night, we spent, like, six hours," Gerald says. "Char was playing the game, and I'm sitting on the couch next to her ... I'm totally involved, even though I'm not even playing the thing."

Um, yah -- and then there's this little thing called "massively multiplayer games" you guys mighta heard of? In Tough Economic Times, Video Games Console (via Guardian Games)

Open Source Everything

I'm getting deluged with email from people who are involved in projects resonant with some of the "open source" posts I've done so far. Some of them are really cool.

Open Source Democracy: Check out this book, Rebooting America, put together by the folks who did the Personal Democracy Forum this summer. It's a collection of essays offering ideas of how to energize democracy in the age of the Internet. My contribution is atypical and maybe less useful than the others, because I argue that the behavior we learn on the Internet is best a metaphor for participatory democracy than its ultimate realizations. But there are entirely more practical and immediate strategies offered by politics and net luminaries from Craig Newmark (Craigslist), Howard Rheingold (Smart Mobs) and Scott Heifferman (Meetup.com) to Newt Gingrich and Clay Shirky (Here Comes Everybody). Best yet, the entire book is available online here.

Open Source Groceries. At least that's what Open Produce looks like to me. A new grocery store in Chicago that promises sustainable practices, community involvement, and total transparency. "We focus on sustainable food production, whether that be organic growing methods, local production, or efficient transportation. Our company also strives to set new standards of transparency and accountability to the community; everything about our operation, from our financial data to where our produce was grown, will be available on this website or in our store."

Open Source Money There's a lot of books emerging on the use of complementary and local currencies. I got a ton of email on this subject already, from people concerned that I'm referring to scrip or the kinds of currencies used in the US prior to the 1930's. If the brilliant and free Bernard Latier text I recommended was too involved, there's a book I've just been made aware of that looks at some of the more practical implications of creating a community money supply called Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender, by Thomas H. Greco. If you don't have five bucks for the paperback, there's an abridged PDF here.

Creepy fingers in Sports Illustrated photo

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Sports Illustrated is running this photo of the amazingly talented gymnast Shawn Johnson. She's standing on a balance beam in a corn field. The creepy fingers coming out of the corn in the lower left make the photo seem like an ad for a scary movie. Creepy fingers in Sports Illustrated photo (via Photoshop Disasters)

Photos from Austin Dorkbot

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Looks like the last Dorkbot-Austin meeting was bloody fantastic. Here's a nice photo gallery of the attendees, shot by David Weaver. (It's not real blood -- it's just a gore cannon.) The A-List: Dorkbot at Cafe Mundi

Hugh Hefner toy by eBoy

Ev 7337 Jackhammer Jill's intelligent designers eBoy teamed up with KidRobot to create this wonderful Hugh Hefner PEECOL. The Hef PEECOL is 3 inches tall and will sell for $9.95.
Hugh Hefner PEECOL (KidRobot)

Previously on BB:
New eBoy PEECOL figures
Laptop skins from eBoy and other artists

George Dyson on the mortgage meltdown: are we on the surface of a balloon or in the saddle of a dynamic equilibrium?

In MAKE Vol. 15, George Dyson, who writes the Retrospect column, looked at the mortgage meltdown.
200809231435.jpg The roots of the current financial meltdown can be found in John von Neumann’s model of general economic equilibrium, first developed in 1932. Von Neumann elucidated the behavior of an expanding, autocatalytic economy where “goods are produced not only from ‘natural factors of production,’ but ... from each other,” and he proved the coexistence of equilibrium and expansion using the saddle-point topology of convex sets. Some of his assumptions – such as that “the natural factors of production, including labour, can be expanded in unlimited quantities” and that “all income in excess of necessities of life will be reinvested” – appeared unrealistic to others at the time, less so now that Moore’s Law and the zero-cost replication of information are driving the economy of today. Other assumptions, such as an invariant financial clock cycle, are conservative under the conditions now in play.

Von Neumann, who made seminal contributions to digital computing, left a number of distinct monuments to his abbreviated career, among them his Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (with Oskar Morgenstern) and his Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata (with Arthur Burks). Synthesis between these two regimes is now advancing so quickly that no unified theory of the economics of self-reproducing systems has been able to keep up. Periodic instability should come as no surprise. We may be on the surface of a balloon. Or in the saddle of a dynamic equilibrium – we hope.

Can you have your house and spend it too?

U.S. Army releases doctored photographs

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The US Army released photos of two soldiers who were killed by another soldier at a base in Iraq. Apart from the heads of the soldiers, the photos are identical.

Bob Owen, chief photographer of the San Antonio Express-News, noticed that the photos were almost identical. All details were the same except for the soldiers' face, name, and rank. It appeared that Dawson's head had been pasted onto Durbin's body, though it was also possible that the heads of both men had been pasted onto someone else's body.
U.S. Army releases doctored photographs

Fart Party Interview

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I did a really fun interview with (my favorite indie comic) Fart Party creator Julia Wertz this week, and she posted it on her blog simultaneously with its publication in Vice Magazine. I'm linking to it because the interview ends up addressing a whole lot of the issues brought up in the comments sections here over the past couple of days.

Wertz: Last year, Bush said the following about America's economy: "A future of hope and opportunity begins with a growing economy – and that is what we have. … This economy is on the move, and our job is to keep it that way, not with more government, but with more enterprise.." – President George W. Bush, State Of The Union Address, 1/23/07

A quick glance of the White House's official economic overview creates a vision of America with a strong economy. It purports that "American workers are finding more jobs and taking home more pay" and that the unemployment rate was dropping. However, we all know that's bullshit. Since Bush took office, our national debt has soared to over 3 trillion, unemployment rates are up, and college tuition, energy, healthcare, rent, fuel costs, etc are raping our wallets on a daily basis. I can barely afford bagels and coffee these days. What the fuck?

Rushkoff: Well, there's two big fallacies on which the pro-market faction is operating, here. The first is that the metrics we use to measure economic growth have something to do with how well people are doing. Economic growth is measured with what they call the GNP, or Gross National Product. This stands for all the economic activity. So if I shoot you and you (or your insurance company) have to pay someone to put your brains back in, that's economic activity and makes the GNP go up.

If a factory comes to a town, puts three small local firms out of business, hires most of the town, pollutes the groundwater making the land unusable for agriculture and then goes out of business putting the entire town out of work, it can still be measured as a positive for GNP. The money spent on mental health, environmental cleanup, and shipping in frozen food all goes into the metrics for growth.

Death is growth.

(Douglas Rushkoff is a guestblogger)

New media formats revealed by the Internet

My new Internet Evolution column is up: "Don't Judge New Media by Old Rules" considers the amazing hidden media formats that have been revealed by the Internet's loosening of formal strictures:
Isn't it amazing that there's always exactly 60 minutes' worth of news everyday, and that, when transcribed, it fills exactly one newspaper?

Have you ever stopped to think how utterly fortuitous it is that every televisual story worth telling can be neatly broken into segments of exactly 22 minutes (plus commercials) or 48 minutes (ditto)? That every story that makes a good subject for a film takes somewhere between 90 minutes and two hours to tell? That all albums fit conveniently on one or sometimes two CDs, except for best-of compilations? That all books are exactly long enough to bind within a single set of covers and not so short as to allow those covers to touch in the middle?

These are all technological norms that represent technological hangovers: We now assume that certain distributors will carry a particular sort of carton, and its contents will go onto a certain kind of shelf; 10-foot-tall photography books don't fit in those cartons, and the trucks are already fitted for those cartons, and the shelves have been screwed into the walls of the bookstores.

Don't Judge New Media by Old Rules

DHS invests in mind-reading anti-terrorist technology -- and staff phrenologists to interpret the results

Hurrah -- the DHS is buying mind-reading machines that can tell you're a terrorist by examining the terrorist-thought-center of your brain. People with failing brains will be sent for corrective surgery.

MALINTENT, the brainchild of the cutting-edge Human Factors division in Homeland Security's directorate for Science and Technology, searches your body for non-verbal cues that predict whether you mean harm to your fellow passengers.

It has a series of sensors and imagers that read your body temperature, heart rate and respiration for unconscious tells invisible to the naked eye – signals terrorists and criminals may display in advance of an attack.

Homeland Security Detects Terrorist Threats by Reading Your Mind

BBtv: Andy Gould, rock band manager, dances on the labels' graves.


Today on Boing Boing tv, our UK-based music correspondent Russell Porter sits down with legendary rock band manager Andy Gould for a chat about crazy, historic rocknroll hijinks he's witnessed in his decades in the biz. We caught up with Gould at the Outside Lands Music and Arts festival, near the Crowdfire tent.

Gould is presently the manager for Primus, Morrissey, and other acts; present and past clients include Linkin Park, Lionel Ritchie, Rob Zombie, Pantera, Kool and the Gang, Damien Marley. Together with Irving Azoff, he manages Guns and Roses. He explains that he was there during the early days of "fur coat and cricket bat," band managers, tough guys who "walked around with suitcases full of hundreds of thousands of dollars when the band walked offstage."

"What's really really great now is that the record companies have gone out of business," he says -- why would a music manager be dancing on the labels' graves? And how is a pilfered pre-release MP3 like a box of Chicken McNuggets? Watch and learn, grasshoppers.


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


If you dig this, check out our previous BBtv episodes from Outside Lands. And there's tons of fan-made footage and photos of Primus on Crowdfire.net (they're a BBtv sponsor).

(special thanks to Jason McHugh; to Virgin America for air travel, and to Wayneco for the magic bus)

Related Boing Boing tv episodes from Outside Lands:
* Primus: Xeni interviews Les and Ler (music)
* Kaki King, guitar hero: performance, interview with Xeni (music)
* BB Gadgets' Joel at Outside Lands: Crowdfire deconstructed
* Carney at Outside Lands - a "Boing Boing tv Bus Session." (music)
* Steel Pulse founder David Hinds at Outside Lands (music)
* Boing Boing tv backstage at Outside Lands: (Xeni + Russell Porter)

Photos of a very messy house

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Houston-Imports says: "We had a resident who had an outstanding balance for over a month and no one could get ahold of her. The bookkeeper went inside after so many tries to leave a note and this is what we found."

Link (via Weekly Teinou Woman)