The annual celebration of space travel known as the "Yuri's Night World Space Parties" happens this year on Saturday April 4, 2009.
The events, which take place in cities around the world each April, celebrate humanity's achievements in space. The parties mark the anniversary of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's orbital spaceflight, which was the human race's first foray into space (on April 12, 1961) and the first space Shuttle flight (on April 12, 1981). More than 150 events will take place this year on planet Earth.
I co-hosted one of the parties in Dallas, Texas, once, as the pic at left documents. Drunken cosmomauts (no, they were not drinking cosmopolitans) branded me with the head of Yuri Gagarin.
More about the Washington, DC edition of this event, from Yuri's Night global organizer Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides, the lovely and brilliant space diva who will be hosting that particular location's festivities:
The party this year at Goddard features live music from regional music stars Middle Distance Runner. Listen to multi-layered, indie-pop sounds through exploded views of galaxies and NASA exhibits. Dance next to the rocket garden to beats infused by DJ Scientific. A series of activities are guaranteed to entertain including NASA heavy hitters guiding you though space in the Science on a Sphere theater. Galactic attire is encouraged, silver, antennae, glow in the dark, sci-fi. Participants must be at least 21 years old and bring a valid ID. Beer, wine, and refreshments will be available for purchase and water, soda and chips provided.More info on events in all of the participating cities (I believe admission is $10 or less at each) is right here.
Food Network will also feature a 2.5 ft high Hubble Space Telescope cake made for the occasion on their TV show 'Ace of Cakes' about Baltimore's own Charm City Cakes bakery and 500 lucky guests will get to sample Charm City's finest as we celebrate Goddard Space Flight Center's 50th Anniversary.
- Yuri's Night Bay Area: photos and video - Boing Boing
- Yuri’s Night Bay Area 2008 call for artists, scientists - Boing Boing
- Yuri's Night: spacemen branded me with Yuri Gagarin's head ...
- Yuri's Night "space raves" around the world on April 12 - Boing Boing
- Yuri's night: Houston, we have contact. - Boing Boing
Good Ol' Charlie Brown Timothy Geithner, as illustrated by the inimitable Drew Friedman for the New Republic.
Although the chip has a fraction of the number of neurons or connections found in a brain, its design allows it to be scaled up, says Karlheinz Meier, a physicist at Heidelberg University, in Germany, who has coordinated the Fast Analog Computing with Emergent Transient States project, or FACETS.Building A Brain On A Silicon Chip (Thanks, Marina Gorbis!)
The hope is that recreating the structure of the brain in computer form may help to further our understanding of how to develop massively parallel, powerful new computers, says Meier...
FACETS has been tapping into the same databases. "But rather than simulating neurons," says Karlheinz, "we are building them." Using a standard eight-inch silicon wafer, the researchers recreate the neurons and synapses as circuits of transistors and capacitors, designed to produce the same sort of electrical activity as their biological counterparts.
In a five part New York Times online series, documentary filmmaker and blogger Errol Morris tackles the fascinating mystery of this Civil War-era photograph. From the article, titled "Whose Father Was He?:
No name – but a soldier brave, he fell.Whose Father Was He? (Part One)
We shall find her, without a name;
This picture, sometime, will tell whence he came.
– Emily Latimer, “The Unknown”
The soldier’s body was found near the center of Gettysburg with no identification – no regimental numbers on his cap, no corps badge on his jacket, no letters, no diary. Nothing save for an ambrotype (an early type of photograph popular in the late 1850s and 1860s) of three small children clutched in his hand. Within a few days the ambrotype came into the possession of Benjamin Schriver, a tavern keeper in the small town of Graeffenburg, about 13 miles west of Gettysburg. The details of how Schriver came into possession of the ambrotype have been lost to history. But the rest of the story survives, a story in which this photograph of three small children was used for both good and wicked purposes.
Charts In Action Contest 2009
BB pal Ken Goldberg, UC Berkeley engineering professor and artist, curates a fantastic free lecture series called the Art, Technology, & Culture Colloquium. At a recent event, Ken interviewed multimedia art pioneer Laurie Anderson. The audio of the interview is now available online:
This event was held in conjunction with Anderson’s newest performance, “Homeland,” which includes songs and stories that create a poetic and political portrait of contemporary American culture. Conceived as one long piece of music, “Homeland” moves through many worlds, from Greek tragedy to American business models, addressing the current obsession with fear, violence, and security.Laurie Anderson in conversation with Ken Goldberg
The Quiet Coup (via Making Light)
Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason–the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit–and, most of the time, genteel–oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders. When a country like Indonesia or South Korea or Russia grows, so do the ambitions of its captains of industry. As masters of their mini-universe, these people make some investments that clearly benefit the broader economy, but they also start making bigger and riskier bets. They reckon–correctly, in most cases–that their political connections will allow them to push onto the government any substantial problems that arise...
The government needs to inspect the balance sheets and identify the banks that cannot survive a severe recession. These banks should face a choice: write down your assets to their true value and raise private capital within 30 days, or be taken over by the government. The government would write down the toxic assets of banks taken into receivership–recognizing reality–and transfer those assets to a separate government entity, which would attempt to salvage whatever value is possible for the taxpayer (as the Resolution Trust Corporation did after the savings-and-loan debacle of the 1980s). The rump banks–cleansed and able to lend safely, and hence trusted again by other lenders and investors–could then be sold off.
Cleaning up the megabanks will be complex. And it will be expensive for the taxpayer; according to the latest IMF numbers, the cleanup of the banking system would probably cost close to $1.5trillion (or 10percent of our GDP) in the long term. But only decisive government action–exposing the full extent of the financial rot and restoring some set of banks to publicly verifiable health–can cure the financial sector as a whole.
This may seem like strong medicine. But in fact, while necessary, it is insufficient. The second problem the U.S. faces–the power of the oligarchy–is just as important as the immediate crisis of lending. And the advice from the IMF on this front would again be simple: break the oligarchy.
PEOPLE OF AMERICA, LISTEN UP: From the fine folks who brought you "Tim and Eric Awesome Show -great job!," "Superjail" and "Look Around You," at long last, "The Mighty Boosh" have a berth at Adult Swim!!! Thrill to the psychedelic adventures of Vince Noir, "rockstar" --raised in a forest by Bryan Ferry, can talk to animals, a big Gary Numan freak-- and Howard Moon, "generic-looking" unpublished novelist and delusional "intellectual." The Boosh have landed in the US of A!!!! It's next to impossible to describe the riotous bubble gum confection of the audio-visual strangeness that is The Mighty Boosh, but, in brief, Howard and Vince, along with their friends Naboo the Enigma, mystical shaman and pot dealer, and Bolo the gorilla go on various surreal journeys. Along the way they meet meet killer kangaroos, violent hitchhikers, "mod wolves," and a hermaphroditic "merman" (with a "mangina"). Many of the episodes erupt into bizarre and elaborate music videos with inventive dance choreography. If any of this is starting to sound like something you might enjoy, grab yourself some herbal "entertainment insurance" (if you know what I am talking about, and I think you do --The Boosh are God's gift to stoners) and start watching The Mighty Boosh, Sunday nights on Adult Swim. I have two favorite episodes: "The Priest and The Beast" (series 2, ep 2) where the boys go on a mystical journey to find "the New Sound"-- a comedic "Holy Mountain" meets a Carlos Santana concept album from 1973 (If that statement makes no sense, don't worry about it) and the series two closer (ep 6) "The Nightmare of Milky Joe," of which, my wife Tara remarked "There is 'Eraserhead' and then beyond 'Eraserhead' there is but 'Milky Joe.'" (Another friend said "These guys certainly carried that through to the end with the utmost conviction!" which is too true about this one, 'nuff said).
"1981 Atari Ring"
Mark sez, "This printed linomation (hand carved animation using Linoleum prints), was done using 296 individual pieces of carved linoleum which are 10 cm square each. This is a project for The Art of Lost Words. It's all about words in the English language and artists' interpretations of words that are not used so much anymore, and there are some pretty strange ones. I chose the word dehisce from a list of .ost words. 'Dehisce' means 'release of material by splitting open of an organ or tissue; the natural bursting open at maturity of a fruit or other reproductive body to release seeds or spores or the bursting open of a surgically closed wound.' It's made to a loop so it can go on forever! For YouTube I decided to loop it three times to show the gist of the looping. My friend Adam Dedman created the sound for the linomation."
Unfortunately for Lipman, the patent would later be revoked, when the U.S. Supreme Court rules in 1875 that a pencil with an eraser is just a pencil with an eraser and not a new invention.Hymen L. Lipman makes his mark in pencil history
For more than you ever wanted to know about the history of the pencil, don't miss Henry Petroski's book The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstances.
Norman Cousins, the storied journalist, author and editor, found no pain reliever better than clips of the Marx Brothers. For years, Cousins suffered from inflammatory arthritis, and he swore that 10 minutes of uproarious laughing at the hilarious team bought him two hours of pain-free sleep."How Humor Makes You Friendlier, Sexier"
In his book Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient (W. W. Norton, 1979), Cousins described his self-prescribed laughing cure, which seemed to ameliorate his inflammation as well as his pain. He eventually was able to return to work, landing a job as an adjunct professor at the School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he investigated the effects of emotions on biological states and health.
The community of patients inspired by such miracle treatments believes not only that humor is psychologically beneficial but that it actually cures disease. In reality, only a smattering of scientific evidence exists to support the latter idea–but laughter and humor do seem to have significant effects on the psyche, even influencing our perception of pain. What is more, psychological well-being has an impact on overall wellness, including our risk of disease.
Laughter relaxes us and improves our mood, and hearing jokes may ease anxiety. Amusement’s ability to counteract physical agony is well documented, and as Cousins’s experience suggests, humor’s analgesic effect lasts after the smile has faded.
Cheerfulness, a trait that makes people respond more readily to laugh lines, is linked to emotional resilience–the ability to keep a level head in difficult circumstances–and to close relationships, studies show. Science also indicates that a sense of humor is sexy; women are attracted to men who have one. Thus, in various ways, life satisfaction may increase with the ability to laugh.
Even the most hardcore rock snob has probably never heard of the female punk band, Snatch. If they have it's usually in connection with Brian Eno, who they recorded a song about the Red Army Faction with in 1978 ("RAF" is the b-side of "King's Lead Hat"). I discovered them when the elaborate picture sleeve of "All I Want" jumped out at me as I flipped through 45s at my friend Nate Cimmino's apartment in the East Village in the early 1980s. The cover, reproduced poorly here, was really something, gold-gilded text and faux silk portraits of hottie punkettes Patti Palladin on one side and Judy Nylon on the other. "They sound like The Shangri-las if they'd have been crack smokers, I think you'll really like them!" he said. He certainly knew my taste in music! I promptly spent the next few years searching in vain for their ultra rare records. Eventually I found them all. And now I've found them on the Internet and you can check them out for yourself. There is not a whole lot written about them that I can find. They were two ex-pat American girls living in London. Judy Nylon was probably Brian Eno's girlfriend (I assume that "Back in Judy's Jungle" is about her) at some point and Patti Palladin later recorded an incredible duets album with ex-New York Doll Johnny Thunders. It's one of my top favorite albums. Listen to their Elvis cover "Crawfish" (from "King Creole") on the MySpace page for the "Copy Cats" album, it's a song I always put on mixed CDs for friends. "Copy Cats" MySpace page "All I Want" download "IRT" and "Stanley" mp3s Second source for "All I Want" single
When (Blanchett) fled, Comparetto and some colleagues chased him. They arrested (the) 19-year-old... of Harrisburg as he was trying to leave in a taxi."'Dumbest criminal in Pennsylvania' arrested"
When a reporter asked Blanchett for comment as he was led out of court, he said, "I'm smooth."
4. Pitch it with factsHOWTO Negotiate a Creative Commons License: Ten Steps (via O'Reilly Radar)
Use case studies to argue with facts. It also helps for them to see that other reputable publishers have licensed books Creative Commons. O’Reilly has some a study on an Asterisk book that we used very effectively.
The Asterisk book sold 19k copies over two years (about what comparable books from O’Reilly were selling), but was downloaded 180,000 times from *one* of the 5 sites that mirrored it.
Also consider google as arbiter:
Results from google search breakdown of references to the two books in the oreilly case study (at the time of negotiation, early 2008): asterisk: 139,000 references in 2 years (2005-2007), or 70,000 per year
understanding the linux kernel, 42,000 references in 7 years (2000-2007), 6,000 per year
So there was 10x the press/blog/reference/hits for the CC licensed book.
Here's an animated trailer for the anime series "Cat Shit One." Production: Studio Anima, Director: Kazuya Sasahara. Original Manga (released in the USA as "Apocalypse Meow"): Motofumi Kobayashi. Our pal Danny Choo has a related post here, and describes it as "Metal Gear Solid meets fluffy animals."
Video Link (Thanks, Jeremy Bornstein!)
Unidentified '80s radio jingle singers are the new girls-playing-ukeleles on Boing Boing! Andrew Swant says,
Bobby Ciraldo and I made the "What What In the Butt" video and Leslie Hall's "Zombie Killer" video. A friend just came across this video and it made us laugh out loud. I figured I should send it to Boing Boing in case you have any slow news days coming up. Or maybe this wouldn't be funny to most people and we just have a weird sense of humor? It's pretty long, but luckily the best stuff is at the beginning.Rainbow Bread (YouTube). You can see where they've identified the singer in the comments, the story's pretty neat.
• The wonderful Steve Wozniak autographed a hackintosh.
• Lego's business cards aren't like anyone else's.
• There was a Super-Secret Spy Lens for DSLRs from Photojojo.
• 15 Vintage Household ads in which women are not entirely condescended to were uncovered.
• Recently reviewed were Sony's Vaio P (Verdict: spectacular but slow), Asus' Eee Top PC (Verdict: Suprisingly good), and the Moto Tundra cellphone (Verdict: Well-armored but very basic for the price.)
• Guess what the Big Ass Fans corporation manufactures?
• Joel wondered How best to turn fruit into shot glasses without a specialized tool? and wished this tiny trackball was available in North America.
• Hyungkoo Lee objectified the human form. It's art.
• Netflix needs even more new features.
• Concord's C1 Quantum Gravity watch looks the bomb.
• Purisme milked the rich with a $600-ish carbon fiber bangle.
• Ulysse Nardin's extravagant Chairman cellphone shows off its angles.
• The gaming computer you dreamed of in 1983 is finally available. And it runs NES carts, too!
• There were emanations.
• Microsoft's best anti-Apple ad yet got 'em hopping.
• The brakes on a new Jet-Ski let it stop and turn on a dime.
• The "Geek Aquad" will help you with your new camera, but not your English paper.
• The Legend of Zelda theme was played on Tesla coils.
• Peek Pronto adds push email and a 50% speed increase to the messaging handheld's feature list.
Rufus is motivated in her scavenging less by any environmental ideal than by a deep abhorrence of waste: "I hate it when I see really good stuff in garbage cans. Just chucking stuff away? Junking it? That makes me really mad. It's going to go to a landfill, and some person, poor or not poor, could have had it." In their book, the couple outline a scavenger code of ethics, which includes the admonishments to "obey the law" and "don't eat gross things."Taking in the trash
But Rufus and Lawson are acutely aware that scavenging is by definition a fringe activity feeding off the fat of the consumer culture it depends upon. After all, if everyone did it, there would be nothing but scraps left to fight over. But they're confident there's enough to go around for many more people who could be converted to their never-pay-retail mentality. Still, they recognize that the idea of wearing, eating or living with someone else's castoffs is not for everyone, which is OK, too. "We're not saying we're better than regular consumers. We're simply trying to remove the stigma from being scavengers. If you want to be wasteful, be wasteful, and I'll scavenge," says Lawson.
At the end of our afternoon of scavenging, we go just a few blocks past Lawson and Rufus' house to an oak-lined field in Tilden Park, a more than 2,000-acre oasis in the hills. The field is carpeted with so-called Miner's lettuce, a leafy native plant, which is the object of our urban foraging.
Steampunk Chronulator (Thanks, Emmanuel!)
My Chronulator was made of a tea box, some pieces of brass curtain rod ends ( not sure of the translation ) then a piece of amarante wood, patiently cutted and varnished.
For the meters, I made the design on Illustrator, then a friend of me made the engraving on a numeric milling machine. ( Thanks, Pierre ! )
As you imagine, it was a piece of art to disassemble, cut, paint, and reassemble the vu-meters in a new shape... Very thin and fragile pieces !
In front of it you can see two "code morse manipulators", made of brass drawer handles, which push on two stems, to go down to the pushers on the mainboard.
1. Currently, under Korea's copyright law, there are broad classroom exemptions for educational use of material, without compensation to rightsholders. (Chapter 2, Section 4, Subsection 2, Article 25 ) Look for universities and other public schools to become hotbeds of exemption challenges.Three Strikes, Movie Copyright and The Mad Cow Coming Home to Roost (Thanks, Joe!)
2. PC Bangs (internet cafes) might try to put each other out of business using the new laws. This could result in some cafes using advanced black-box anonymizing services to protect themselves and their customers (not necessarily a bad thing).
3. Korean "netizens" might otherwise protest the new system by seeding government BBS and official websites with infringing links and material, and then use the reporting process to overwhelm the system.
4. This proposed law will push internet services into greater black-market criminal activity. Pirated software can be found everywhere, including software commonly-used by government employees. 99% of Korean software is Windows-based. Korea uses active-X controls for practically everything, meaning the entire country is already prone to security problems.
5. Additionally, the use of the internet for organizing civil protest in Korea has been highly effective: the recent Mad-cow Disease protests (while factually incorrect) reached hysterical proportions, delaying implementation of the US-Korea Free-Trade Agreement. Korea still has national security laws against criticizing the government. Online K-blogger Minerva was arrested because he brought to light the Korean government's economic manipulations. With an unstable currency and an undercurrent of restlessness among its populace, the government has been greatly embarrassed. Look for this law to be the perfect tool for Korea to once-again shoot itself in the foot.
Flickr user Monkeyjen has uploaded a short video of a surprisingly entertaining and simple gag: stick a Darth Vader action-figure top on a dashboard hula-girl bottom, and voila, mesmerizing video gold!
Watch Darth Vader Hula (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
Update: Here's a tutorial for making your own Hulavader!
Here's what I wrote about Brain Rules when the hardcover came out:
Brain Rules in paperback
John Medina's Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School pulls off a terrific trick: combining popular science with touching personal memoir and a bunch of practical conclusions for improving work, education and personal life.
Brain Rules takes the brain's mysteries apart into twelve pieces: Exercise, survival, wiring, attention, short-term memory, long-term memory, sleep, stress, multisensory perception, vision, gender, and exploration. He discusses the best, most current science describing what drives each one, delving into psychology, neurology, evolutionary biology, and practical disciplines like behavioural economics, organizational science, and pedagogy.
Woven into the science are a series of vivid anaecdotes from Medina's life and from case histories gathered across the scientific literature, and emerging naturally from that are a series of eminently practical recommendations for reforming the workplace and the education system, and for improving the way that we interact with ourselves and others.
Medina's approach to the subject combines the best aspects of Oliver Sacks and Getting Things Done, making the book into something that's part manifesto and part education. The BrainRules.net site features a ton of audio and video about the book's subject (Medina's descriptions of the value of multisensory learning are very compelling) and other supplementary material, and the book comes bundled with a DVD containing much of this material as well.
"Frame inline displays the VbV authentication page in the merchant’s main window with the merchant’s header. Therefore, VbV is seen as a natural part of the purchase process. It is recommended that the top frame include the merchant’s standard branding in a short and concise manner and keep the cardholder within the same look and feel of the checkout process."More Banking Stupidity: Phished by Visa
Or, in other words: Please ensure that there is absolutely no way for your customer to know whether we are showing the form or you are. In fact, please train your customer to give their “Verified by Visa” password to anyone who asks for it.
Craziness. But it gets better - obviously not everyone is pre-enrolled in this stupid scheme, so they also allow for enrolment using the same inline scheme. Now the phishers have the opportunity to also get information that will allow them to identify themselves to the bank as you. Yes, Visa have provided a very nicely tailored and packaged identity theft scheme. But, best of all, rather like Chip and PIN, they push all blame for their failures on to the customer