Petition to make clean water a human right

The Article 31 petition is trying to get the UN to add a new article to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, one that recognizes a fundamental right to water. It comes from the people who made the amazing documentary on water rights, Flow.
In 1948, the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were ratified by all the nations of the world. These 30 articles guaranteed a broad sweep of human rights across many human endeavors, from Life to Liberty to Freedom of Thought.

Now, sixty years later, recognizing that over a billion people across the planet lack access to clean and potable water and that millions die each year as a result, it is imperative to add one more article to this historic declaration, the Right to Water.

We, the undersigned, respectfully call upon the United Nations to add a 31st article to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, establishing access to clean and potable water as a fundamental human right.

We believe the world will be a better place when the Right To Water is acknowledged by all nations as a fundamental human right, and that this addition to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights represents a major step toward the goal of water for all.

Please join us. Water is a right, not a privilege.

Article 31 (Thanks, Steven!)

I Dream of CES: Your Input Requested, With or Without Kitteh Assistance.

Boing Boing TV will be traveling to Vegas for CES (Jan 8-11, 2009) with our colleagues over at Boing Boing Gadgets to do video reports from the show floor. Possibly with the assistance of hard-working investigative journalists like the guy you see above (who could frankly use a shave).

Our video crew will be joining Joel, John, Rob to walk through the maze of consumer electronics offerings, separating the junk from the gems, and trying to parse what's worth separating you from your heard-earned samoleans.

To get us started on the road to CES, and in planning our coverage on the blog in text, photos, and in video, I thought it might be cool to hear from you.

What are you expecting to see? What are you expecting to see more of, or less of? What devices and/or services would make computers, laptops, smartphones, or gaming devices for more fun, more productive, more -- whatever it is you want?

CES is historically the largest electronics trade show in the world. Why do so many people travel across the globe to um -- pounce on Las Vegas once a year for this, and what do we expect to be different this time? Extra points if you type in LOLcatese. We might read your comments out in a special BBtv episode we're planning to air tomorrow about our CES prep.

(A sponsorship note: BBtv's "Road to CES" episodes will be sponsored by Intel and Asus, who recently launched, a project to build the world's first "community-designed laptop.")

PHOTO: Something crashed on my computer! by Simon Davison, a CC-licensed photo on Flickr.

Petition to "Get a Secretary of Real Food appointed" in Obama Administration

Bonnie Powell, who covers the ethics and politics of foodover at the marvelous blog Ethicurean, says:

Obama still hasn't named a Secretary of Agriculture, which is one of the most important appointments in the Cabinet, overseeing a $94 billion budget that directly affects not just farmers, but public health, the environment, animal welfare, and so much more. For years this post has been held by shills for "Big Farma" and pandered to those corporations like Cargill, Smithfield, Monsanto, and Archer Daniels Midland with massive lobbying clout. As Nicholas Kristof wrote in his NY Times column "Obama's Secretary of Food?", appointing a reformer to head the USDA would send a "powerful signal" that U.S. food policy was finally about to become more palatable.

Kristof linked to a petition at that asks Obama's transition team to consider six candidates – all experienced, viable names of people who are ready and willing to serve – for Secretary of Agriculture who could potentially mend our broken food system. Already, after only six days, 36,000 people have signed the petition, including Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, and Bill Niman, and the Obama transition team appears to be paying attention. But for some reason, the current names still being floated in the media are not those of reformers at all.

Dave Murphy, a sixth-generation Iowan and the petition's organizer, tells me that he thinks if we can get the number of signers to 100,000 over the next few days, the pressure to choose someone from the sustainable agriculture and food community – not Big Farma – would be too immense to ignore.

Please consider signing the petition, blogging it, and/or forwarding this message to your personal networks and any list-servs you are on. Visit now to sign.

Sign this Ag Sec petition: It’s worth a shot (Ethicurean)

Weird blank wallet ID card


This blank ID card came with a wallet made in Japan. (Card was printed in China).

Weird blank wallet ID card

Web Zen: Winter Zen

catmas cheer
tuba christmas
34 diy gifts
christmas stickers
snowy kitten
winter cranberry cupcakes
santastic 4
cute animal christmas song

previously on web zen:
chaoskitties in snowsuits
winter zen 2007

Permalink for this edition. Web Zen is created and curated by Frank Davis, and re-posted here on Boing Boing with his kind permission. Web Zen Home and Archives, Store (Thanks Frank!)

Xeni's Movie reviews on Fancast, ct'd: KOYAANISQATSI

As blogged here previously, I'm contributing reviews and "appreciations" to of various TV and movies you can watch there, in entirety, for free (after sitting through some ads). As disclosed previously, I'm being paid to write the posts, but no one's telling me what to write about, or editing my content.

With that out of the way, here's a snip from my latest contribution to the project -- a post about one of my favorite movies ever, Koyaanisqatsi, directed by Godfrey Reggio and scored by Philip Glass. Snip:

Power plants, Nevada nuke detonations in the desert, and a spiderweb of powerlines follow, drawing us in to the awareness of human presence, and showing just how broken our own design of human experience has become. People do eventually appear in the movie, but they’re not so much thinking beings. They’re blurry, busy, insect-like clusters; humming and buzzing through life in a timelapse haze.

The "Microchips" chapter juxtaposes images of tiny computer chips (remember when those images were new to us?) with satellite photos of big cities (and these too, before Google Maps?). The microchips and the aerial city layouts are reflections of each other, and we are shown as captives of a chaotic, conflicted realm we have constructed for ourselves.

The film ends as it began, a long arc that reveals itself to be a circle. We return to the same melancholy prophecy with which the film began: a life out of balance is a life destined to disintegrate. The film, its score, and its message, were intended to be timeless – and they are.

An audio note: That Glass soundtrack was re-recorded and re-released in 1998, fifteen years after the film came out. It’s really wonderful music, and worth picking up on Amazon. Snip from the original New York Times review:

The range of instrumental colors is astonishing. If one particular timbre has come to characterize "Koyaanisqatsi," it is the dark, subterranean growl that opens and closes the score.

Read the whole thing, and do comment over there, would you please? Koyaanisqatsi (1983): Xeni's review on Fancast.You can watch the entire movie here with a few brief commercial interruptions. Here's a link to all of my contributions to Fancast's review blog so far.

Captain Nemo of the cocaine trade

Darkside maker Enrique Portocarrero of Colombia is alleged to have designed and built up to 20 fiberglass submarines for transporting cocaine.
"He had a marvelous criminal vision," Colombian navy Capt. Luis German Borrero said. "He introduced innovations such as a bow that produced very little wake, a conning tower that rises only a foot above the water and a valve system that enables the crew to scuttle the sub in 10 minutes. He is very ingenious."


Portocarrero was living well. Police, who reported finding $200,000 hidden in the spare tire of his car, say he had invested his reputed $1-million-per-vessel fees in the purchase of five shrimp boats.

Administrative Security officials allege that Portocarrero helped invent "semi-submersibles," as the narco-vessels are called, because they don't dive and resurface like true submarines, but cruise just below the surface.

Portocarrero's craft are difficult for counter-narcotics officials to detect on the open seas because their tiny wake creates a negligible radar "footprint." Also, authorities say, the exhaust is released through tubing below the surface, frustrating patrol aircraft's heat-sensing equipment.

In Colombia, they call him Captain Nemo

Band Aid for the banking industry: "Bleed the World"

From Arbroath: "At Christmas time we should always spare a thought for those less fortunate than us. After 20 years of bleeding the world, the global financial community has fallen on hard times. These people desperately need our thoughts, prayers and lots of our money. If you have any investments or savings left, or any money left over at the end of the month please, please give generously."

Bike parking system in Japan

Automated bike parking system accepts your bike and sends it into the 7th dimension. Returns it to our world at your command.

Daily tracking of 40 things about yourself


Over at Kevin Kelly and Gary Wolf's Quantified Self blog ("Tools for knowing your own mind and body") guest blogger Alexandra Carmichael explains how she keeps a record of 40 different things in her life every day, and what she's learned about herself from studying the data.

I track these things about my health and personal patterns every day:

- sleep (bed time, wake time, sleep quality, naps)
- morning weight
- daily caloric intake (each meal, total calculated at end of day)
- mealtimes

- mood (average of 3 positive and 3 negative factors on 0-5 scale)
- day of menstrual cycle
- sex (quantity, quality)
- exercise (duration, type)

- supplements I take (time, dosage)
- treatments for vulvodynia (a chronic pain condition)
- pain of administering the vulvodynia treatment I take (0-5)
- vulvodynia-related pain (0-5)
- headache,nausea (0-5)

- time spent working, time with kids
- number of nursings and night wakings (I'm a mom)
- weather
- unusual events (text)

The mood factors I measure every day are:

1. Happiness
2. Irritability
3. Calmness
4. Sadness
5. Feeling beautiful / self-love
6. Feeling fat / ate too much

She's come to the realization that her mood is much better on days she exercises, and on days when her mood rating is low, she overeats.
I hadn't expected my tracking to unearth such deep, emotionally charged issues. I did expect the optimization which often accompanies tracking, but when striving for an optimized ideal, the question becomes how to decide what "ideal" means. I just don't have an intuitive sense of what the data "should" look like. Are such wild swings in caloric intake normal? What do other people's patterns of mood, sleep, and exercise look like? I'd love to see some kind of comparable, to get some sense of where my patterns fit on the distribution curve. Part of my motivation in sharing my data is to encourage others to do the same. Let's learn from each other!
It's fascinating stuff, and it will be even more fascinating when people start sharing this data and analyzing it in various ways. Quantifying Myself

Skillful gum bubble blower

Amy Crehore found this video of a girl blowing a gum bubble in a bubble in a bubble in a bubble.

Sundman's The Pains, a novel about decent people bearing up under unending misery

Sf writer John Sundman's latest novel, "The Pains" is up for free download and purchase as a physical object. It's "the story of a perfectly decent person upon whom God, or the Universe, or Random Chance, or Chaos, or Whatever, decides to dump unending physical misery--and of how that perfectly decent person bears up with extraordinary grace under the onslaught."
Mr Norman Lux, nSF, woke up with a pain in his body that felt as if it might have been a soul gone bad.

He first perceived the pain as a toothache in the general area of the upper right quadrant of his mouth. But as he fixed on it and tried to determine which tooth it might be that was hurting, he experienced a swift vague transfer of pain from the upper portion of his mouth–by way of the right side of his neck, down the right side of his body, traversing his torso near his belt line–to a region just north and to the left of his scrotum, where it briefly ceased. Two seconds later he felt the sharp ingrowing of the pinky toenail on his right foot. That pain stopped after about five seconds and was almost immediately replaced by the crushing weight of the white linen sheet under which, exhausted from prayer, Mr. Lux had drifted to sleep only a few hours ago. By faint dawn light, the sheet, where it pressed upon the bad toenail, showed a small bloodstain.

Read THE PAINS or I will shoot you in the face (Thanks, John!)

Idiotic British tourists acting like jerks in Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market

Here's video of drunken idiot British tourists disgracing themselves in Tokyo's legendary Tsukiji Fish Market -- licking and fondling fish, joyriding in the forklifts, and so on. Tsukiji is one of the most interesting places I've ever visited, and these dorks are behaving in a way that's dangerous, disrespectful and, well, embarrassing. Our pal Lisa Katayama adds, "The Japanese guy interviewed makes a valid point: he says they allowed tourists here because they thought it would be an interesting learning experience to see how the fish market operated; but at the point where they are blatantly disrupting operations, its time for an intervention."

Video of tourists licking fish at Tsukiji

Retro-gamer cat toys

Etsy seller GEEKitty makes handmade, retro-gaming-themed catnip-filled cat-toys. They'll even do custom plush dope-filled dice, Game Boys, NES controllers and related gamer kipple.

GEEKitty Gear (Thanks, Absinthetic!)

Guest blogger: Susie Bright!


I'm really excited to welcome our new guest blogger to Boing Boing: Susie Bright! I've been a fan of Susie's for over 20 years. She's a brilliant feminist sex writer, erotic forensics expert, and political activist with a big fountain pen instead of a sword.

She's been called: "#23 out of 62 Reasons to Love America," (behind Tofu Pups) -- and "a national treasure right up there with the Grand Canyon, the battlefield at Gettysburg, the Okefenokee Swamp, and the Smithsonian Nancy Reagan Memorial Dress Collection."

Lesser-known details include:

1958 - Born in Arlington, VA, conceived in Jakarta in by expat linguists. Raised all over California, and Edmonton, Alberta, attending eleven schools before dropping out in 1975, and moving to Detroit.

1966 - Wrote first political pamphlet in Crayola Orange-Red, begging neighbors to vote against Reagan in California gubernatorial race.

1974 - Joined notorious high school underground newspaper, The Red Tide, and sued the L.A. School Board for the right to distribute without prior censorship or approval- a struggle not without sit-downs, walkouts, and overturned police cars.

1975 - Co-founded the rank-and-file activist group, Teamsters for a Democratic Union.

1984 - Co-founded On Our Backs, the first sex journal by and for women, the first entirely-out-of-the-closet lesbian magazine, and the first print publication about anything produced with Macintosh Desktop Publishing.

1987 - Began publishing the first "real" film criticism of porn movies. Named the "Pauline Kael of Porn" by Alice Kahn.

1986 - Taught first university class on porn, "How To Read a Dirty Movie" at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California.

1990 - Baby Aretha born; perfect happiness. Writes "Egg Sex."

1993 - Founded The Best American Erotica series; published ~400 short stories of literary erotic fiction.

1995 - Made everyone cry in The Celluloid Closet.

1996 - Inspired the lesbian lovers for the Wachowski Brothers' Bound and wrote the sex scenes.

2004 - Blog debut: Susie Bright's Journal. First Post: Moral Values I'd Like to Revive

2001 - Bought rental fleet Prius from disgusted dealer for $7,000. Still driving it. Started first audio program about sex that was FCC-free: In Bed With Susie Bright. Interviews with Betty Dodson, Erica Jong, and the last candid conversation with the late Jeane Palfrey, "The DC Madam."

2006 - Bong-Wrangler and Cameo on Six Feet Under

This appearance was the delayed result of a telling a talented writer to shut up. Jill Soloway wrote an early script where Susie's name was mentioned in an offhand remark by "Brenda."

A exec at HBO banned the line out from the script, vowing that Bright's name would never be allowed on the show. (Paging Andrea Dworkin!) Three years later, Soloway wrote her final season episode without censorship. Viewers may have wondered about the recurring joke, where every major character repeated the line: "Do you know Susie Bright? She's the feminist sex writer."

Now you know.

2007 - Chief Sewing Columnist at Craft magazine. Writes: The Case of the Missing Curve.

2008 - "Got my first mountain bike. Asked to guest-blog at Boing Boing; my Work is Done. Supposed to finishing memoir, but this timeline was easier.

Susie says: "I read Boing Boing every day, and would love to get tips from you on any of my favorite topics, which include: Sexual politics, writing and editing, cooking, sewing, labor, movies, drugs, pop culture queerities, photography, feminism, fooling around outside, raising teenagers, and words of all kinds. I'll try anything once. Email:

Please give her a warm welcome!