Literal video version of White Wedding by Billy Idol


I love these literal versions of 80s music videos. Here's one for Billy Idol's "White Wedding."

UPDATE: I like the literal version of the Red Hot Chili Pepper's "Under the Bridge" even more. (Thanks, Antinous!)

Slow motion video of grid of magnets lining up after being disturbed


Here's a 600 frames-per-second video showing what happens when you drop a magnet onto a grid of 90 small magnets.

Magnetic self-assembly in slow motion

Researchers develop handy phrasebook for people who travel in time to the Stone Age

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Historically accurate illustration of cave people and dinosaurs, both domesticated and feral, from BibliOdyssey.

Mark Henderson of the London Times reports that researchers at the University of Reading have developed a phrasebook that "could allow basic communication between modern English speakers and Stone Age cavemen."

“If a time traveller wanted to go back in time to a specific date, we could probably draw up a little phrasebook of the modern words that are likely to have sounded similar back then,” [Mark Pagel] told The Times. “You wouldn’t be able to discuss anything very complicated, but it might be enough to get you out of a tight spot.”

Dr Pagel’s research also predicts which parts of modern vocabulary are likely to survive into English as it will be spoken 1,000 years in the future, and which will die out.

By the year 3000, words such as “throw”, “stick”, “dirty”, “guts” and “squeeze” could easily be gone. These already differ greatly between related languages, such as English and German, and are good candidates to evolve into new forms.

A handy little guide to small talk in the Stone Age

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles at the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum has mounted a display of unmanned aerial vehicles, essentially model airplanes outfitted with GPS, microprocessors, and surveillance tech for battlefield reconnaissance. Seen here is a prototype of the 5 pound, 45-inch AeroVironment Dragon Eye. It was launched by hand or slingshot style with a bungee cord. From Smithsonian:
 Images Unmanned-Aerial-Vehicle-Dragon-Eye-2 Unmanned and remote-controlled aircraft have a surprisingly long history. "The technology that goes into a UAV has been around for 100 years," (museum curator Dik) Daso says, "since before World War I." Henry Ford and other top engineers helped to design both full-size and scale planes that were radio-controlled. The Great War ended before any of them could go into action. Now, Daso adds, "there are so many UAVs in the air, it's hard to keep track of them all..."

So why did (Dragon Eye co-developer Rob Colbow) decide to include this duct-taped veteran in the UAV display? "I wanted it for all the kids who, like me, have built things like this."
Under the Radar with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Merck releases gigantic hunk of expensive pharma data into public domain

John Wilbanks from Science Commons sez, "Merck just pledged a ton of high-resolution, very expensive data to the public domain, along with some software and other resources to make it work. It's going into a new non profit org (disclosure - I am a Board member) called Sage. This stuff isn't going to be open on day one - it takes a while to figure out how to give things like this away, and more time to make them *useful* - but it's on the road."
Sage resulted from the realization that the needs and potentials of clinical and molecular data to inform drug development are greater than the resources or capacity of any one company or institute. Sage is a legacy of successful proof of principle work accomplished at Rosetta Inpharmatics, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. in Seattle. Core human and intellectual property resources from this effort are seeding Sage’s growth. The primary output from Sage will be an open access platform available in the public domain. An incubation period of three to five years is anticipated in which new project data are generated, critical tools for building and mining disease models are developed and governing rules for sharing, accessing, and contributing to the platform are established.

Sage is a distributed research organization with nodes embedded within core academic partner facilities. Collaborating scientists from both the nonprofit and commercial sectors will contribute to projects building and using innovative new databases and tools. More detailed information will be available soon.

Sage (Thanks, John!)

Large, Luscious QTVR Panoramas of Compact Muon Solenoid (and other "big science" scenes at CERN, Switzerland)

Still from QTVR of Large Hadron Collider, photog: Pete McCready

I've featured interactive QuickTime VR panoramas from photographer Peter McCready previously on Boing Boing, and it looks like he has some lovely new work up. QTVRs aren't good for everything, but they're great for "big science" sites like the ones at CERN, featured here -- places best appreciated with all directions visible. Pete sends these links and says,

Whilst we ‘Big Science Porn’ (thank you for the term!) aficionados eagerly await the relaunch of the Large Hadron Collider this September, thought I’d share a few new Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) Experiment VR panoramas with you that were taken days before ‘first beam’ last year from numerous locations within Underground Experimental Cavern UXC55.
Here are the panoramas: (one, two, three, four, five, six) and there's another up from the CMS Centre (where data quality monitoring, detector calibration, data analysis and computing operations take place).
Previously on BB:
Excellent new CERN Hadron collider QTVR
CERN photos in Nat'l. Geo: The God Particle

Seven-bladed jaw harp



The experimental instrument played in this video is a variation on the kou xiang (a Chinese jaw harp). This one has seven blades though and is well tempered, referring to a common type of tuning in 20th century Western music. The sound reminds me a bit of Frampton on a talk box.

UPDATE: You can buy one here!

Strange new fish: H. psychedelica

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This trippy fish that has been confirmed as a new species and named, appropriately enough, Histiophryne psychedelica. Scuba divers discovered it off Indonesia and University of Washington researcher Ted Pietsch tested its DNA. From the Associated Press:
Like other frogfish – a subset of anglerfish – H. psychedelica has leglike fins on both sides of its body.

But it has several traits not previously known among frogfish, wrote Pietsch, of the University of Washington.

Each time the fish strike the seabed, for instance, they push off with their fins and expel water from tiny gill openings to jet themselves forward. That and an off-centered tail cause them to bounce around in a bizarre, chaotic manner.

The fish, which has a gelatinous, fist-size body covered with thick folds of skin that protect it from sharp-edged corals, also has a flat face with eyes directed forward, like humans, and a huge, yawning mouth.
"PSYCHEDELIC" FISH PICTURE: New Species Bounces on Reef

Final Nebula ballot

The Nebula Ballot for best sf/f book of 2008 is up -- and I'm on it!
Little Brother - Doctorow, Cory (Tor, Apr08)
Powers - Le Guin, Ursula K. (Harcourt, Sep07)
Cauldron - McDevitt, Jack (Ace, Nov07)
Brasyl - McDonald, Ian (Pyr, May07)
Making Money - Pratchett, Terry (Harper, Sep07)
Superpowers - Schwartz, David J. (Three Rivers Press, Jun08)
Nebula Awards® 2008 Final Ballot

I think it's time for another baby/synthesizer video.


A happy baby making some sweet synth music with stubby lil fingers on a big funky keyboard.

Midas Delight (YouTube, thanks to the person who submitted this but is too ashamed to admit they're obsessed with videos of babies playing synthesizers)

Previously on Boing Boing:
* Naked Baby Plays a Synthesizer (video)
* Yet Another Baby Playing a Synthesizer (video, this time with pants)

Groove Armada / BB Video contest - extended through March 5

GROOVE ARMADA A quick note of update on a previously-announced contest that Boing Boing Video is running with the band Groove Armada and their "record label"/digital music distributor, Bacardi: details on the contest are here in a previous BB post, the news is that we're extending the contest through March 5 with winners to be announced shortly thereafter. How it works: you sign up to download DRM-free MP3s and share with other folks, and by doing so you're entered to win an Apple iPod Touch, courtesy of Boing Boing Video. If you'd like to participate, here's the magic link, and again, all the details on how it works and some notes on privacy/rights issues are in this previous BB post. As for the music: I've signed up to participate, and I've downloaded a number of tracks from the new EP this content is intended to promote. I am digging them mightily. Enjoy.

Browser plugin detects and reports net-censorship

David sez, "On a decentralized network it's much harder to map blockages than to create them. Herdict.org takes a crowdsourcing approach. Install the add-on and click the button when you encounter a site that's down. Herdict aggregates this information, including your geographic location, to draw a map of the Internet's potholes, including the ones intentionally dug by frightened governments. If you have a few spare minutes, you can check sites others have reported as down, determining whether they're blocked in your part of the world as well. (www.AmIBlockedOrNot.org will take you to that part of the Herdict site.) Herdict is a project of Harvard's Berkman Center (sponsored by Jonathan Zittrain) and obeys all the appropriate privacy rules of the road."

Herdict (Thanks, David!)

Recently on Offworld

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Recently on Offworld, we've launched a new contest with Phenomic/EA's upcoming PC collectible card strategy game BattleForge to write a story based on one of its cards (right) that'll land in the final game, early beta keys for the first 1000 readers, and ATI Radeon HD 4800 graphics cards for the top three winners. Check the post for more details, and good luck! Elsewhere, Ragdoll Metaphysics columnist Jim Rossignol has a lengthy chat with Quake Wars designer Ed Stern on whether or not games are weird enough, someone creates an amazing 1080p HD digital pinball cabinet, and the creator of the real-world Portal gun strikes back with a jaw-dropping reproduction of BioShock's Little Sister Adam syringe. We also saw Cooking Mama come to the iPhone, King Hippo and Soda Popinski speak out in a new Mike Tyson biopic, an interesting looking new rhythm/action indie PC game, and MF Doom/Ghostface Killah pop up with a new track for the DS's Grand Theft Auto. Finally, we rounded up the best of the incoming Wii/DS games for the remainder of spring, watched an illuminating David Lynch-namedropping speech by Rolando creator Simon Oliver, and a new hardware mashup that does Ben Heck proud: a Dreamcast crossed with a G3 iMac.

Sita Sings the Blues in full online

Robin sez, "You can watch the animated movie 'Sita Sings the Blues', IN FULL online. It will be broadcast in the NYC area at 10:45pm on Saturday, March 7. Feel free to write your local PBS station to see if they will broadcast 'Sita'."
Sita is a goddess separated from her beloved Lord and husband Rama. Nina is an animator whose husband moves to India, then dumps her by e-mail. Three hilarious shadow puppets narrate both ancient tragedy and modern comedy in this beautifully animated interpretation of the Indian epic Ramayana. Set to the 1920’s jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw, Sita Sings the Blues earns its tagline as “The Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told.”
Watch “Sita Sings the Blues” online (Thanks, Robin!)

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets

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• Mat Honan finds a bedazzlingly ridiculous thread about ... well, you should just go and see it.
• Joel greeted you from outside Denver.
• In an unused ad, a BlackBerry destroys an Apple.
• There was a secret gathering of the Order of the Lamp
• We hid our spare keys in a sprinkler head.
• Big Dog, the military pack-bot, is back for more creepy robot ballet.
Electrically-heated pants prove snowboarding is the new golf.
• You can buy tiny models of classic Sega arcade games.
• Behold! The world's smallest escalator.
• The iPhone is now free in Japan.
• Some Circuit City liquidators are being nice about testing stuff you've bought before you leave the store.
• Details emerge of Sony's Playstation Portable 2. CEO Stringer got a promotion, and a free hand to restructure the company.
• Small British ISPs declined to work with the self-appointed censors who blocked Wikipedia and The Internet Archive.
• Motorola "launched" a cellphone. Into a field.
• Google banned "Netbook" ads at Psion's behest.
• Would you like a Steampunk empire? Build one out of Lego!
• Datel made a NES-style Wii controller. Cheap!
• Verizon announced the LG Versa.