Quinn Norton reports from the O'Reilly Emerging Technology conference, where Rebecca MacKinnon (one of the smartest people in the world on the questions of technology and democracy in China) discusses the state of China's fight against censorship, and what the rest of the world can learn from it.
Rebecca explains the current viral anti-censorship protest video: The song of the grass mud horse. (In this case an alpaca)
It features videos of alpacas while child sing about the grass mud horse, but the difference in tones between "Grass mud horse" and "Fuck your mother" is just a subtle tonal change. Since song tones override speaking tones in Chinese, it's a sweet choir of children singing "Fuck your mother." They sound very sweet. The alpacas are fluffy, but slightly creepy.
Definitely best misheard lyrics since "wrapped up like a douche bag in the middle of the night"
This video is coming to represent the fight against censorship. If you type in obscene or politically sensitive words often the software or the server will bounce you to an error message, so people use puns and slight changes in language to defeat the software, but everyone knows what you're really talking about. This is very like how people got around filtering in Napster oh so long ago now.
There's another older meme about a rivercrab wearing three watches. (Ethan mentioned this last year.) It's another homonym pun. It's a play on two government mottos: the "harmonious society" and the "three represents." Harmonious becomes rivercrab, and three represents becomes wear three watches. A rivercrab wearing three watches seems to be a bit about going along with the government plans.
Studio North was commissioned to refit an old elevator shaft in a converted warehouse loft in Calgary; they built a tall, narrow library with climbable shelves whose hand- and foot-holds retract into the shelving.
Libretaxi is an open source project that lets anyone become a rideshare driver in less than a minute; it has more than 20,000 users worldwide, and is maintained by Roman Pushkin, who started the project in December 2016 and is now planning to quit his job and work on it full time.
Mister Alphabet is an action-figure designed to cleverly bend and contort into every letter of the Latin alphabet; the website is long on trademark warnings and arty Instagram photos, but short on details, like, “Is this an object of commerce?” and “If so, where does one buy it?” (via Kottke)
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What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]