On today's XKCD, Stephenie "teen superstar author" Meyer takes on 4chan, home of Anoymous and the Internet's most prolific trolls. And wins.
If so much of our personal history is getting compressed into data, and digital imaging, cloud computing, and streaming media have become an integral part of daily experience, being sensitive to the physical presence of these devices is an important responsibility. Creating distinctive, engaging objects that help people manage and understand the nature of data--an imperceptible property that is at once fragmented, modular and flowing--is a new and challenging opportunity. Data-management devices such as routers, hard drives and modems--previously relegated to back corners and spaces under desks--are now front and center, featuring prominently in people's living rooms, desktops and front pockets. Once the exclusive domain of the cable guy and corporate IT manager, they are now mainstream products that moms and dads will buy to place front and center in a living room, veritable shrines to the data that is contained within or flowing through them. Once designed to look benign, apologetic and clumsily invisible, they are now becoming sculptural pieces that warrant a strong presence in the domestic landscape. Though it may often seem like the industrial designer's job is to create a "black box" around circuit boards, the ability to take the complex nature of data and translate it into meaningful form is more important than ever before. More than mere shells for electronic components, they play a totemic role in the home and act as the threshold for rich, emotionally-laden content and timely personal communication.Atoms For Bits: Designing physical embodiments for virtual content - Core77 (via Beyond the Beyond
Wired's Charles Graeber has an astounding piece up about master lockpicker Marc Weber Tobias, who challenged Medeco's claim that its locks are "bump-proof" (that is, that they can't be simply broken by filing down a key, inserting it, and tapping it, sending a shock down the metal that makes the pins jump). Medeco launched an aggressive campaign to market its products to people who were worried about bump keys, but Tobias shows that their locks aren't substantially harder to bump than cheaper models from competitors. Medeco sent Wired a note that said Tobias's claims weren't true and implied that Wired might be sued for publishing them, so Wired set up a test, and then Medeco raised a flurry of vague, lame objections to the test. But the test speaks for itself -- the Medecos fly open at Tobias's caress.
More interesting is Graeber's look at the motives, personality and technology of lockpickers -- a fine trick of the tech journalist, blending culture and gadgets into a seamless whole.
The problem, if you're a safe company or a lock maker, is that Tobias makes it all public through hacker confabs, posts on his Security.org site, and tech blogs like Engadget. He views this glasnost as a public service. Others see a hacker how-to that makes The Anarchist Cookbook read like Betty Crocker. And where Tobias sees a splendid expression of First Amendment rights, locksmiths and security companies see a criminal finishing school. Tobias isn't just exposing problems, they say. He is the problem.The Ultimate Lock Picker Hacks Pentagon, Beats Corporate Security for Fun and Profit
But forget bike locks and hotel room safes: These days, Tobias is attacking the lock famous for protecting places like military installations and the homes of American presidents and British royals.
Between stabs at his salad, Tobias hands me his latest idea of fun: nearly 300 pages of self-published hacker-porn detailing his attack on the allegedly uncrackable Medeco high-security lock. "Trust me, this will cause a goddamned riot!" he says, dabbing at tears of joy with a paper napkin. "Oh yeah, this is way, way bigger than the liquid explosives thing!" And he's right, it is bigger--and with way, way bigger consequences.
- Working Medeco high-security keys can be whittled out of plastic ...
- Medeco "unpickable" locks picked and pwned - Boing Boing
- Homebrew "lockpick" slides under door and turns handle - Boing Boing
- HOWTO convert an Oral B flosser into a vibrating lockpick - Boing ...
- HOWTO force a padlock with a tin-can shim - Boing Boing
- Diebold voting machine key copied from pic on Diebold site - Boing ...
- Videos of how to open things - Boing Boing
- How RFID hackers can steal gas, cars, and office access - Boing Boing
Collants/Bas veines et artères (Thanks, Tara McGinley!)
Tentacle-horror Victorian engraving remixer Dan Hillier's got a couple of new t-shirts out; I got one today and it's stupendous! (he's also got a series of new engravings)
The joke circles back to croydevenishphibbs.co.uk, a site seemingly maintained by a cranky "silver surfer" who is offering rewards for information about his family's many plaques. When Time Out contacted him, he stayed in character (if, indeed, it is a character) perfectly: "As I explain on my home page I'm appealing for information about any of the hundreds of Devenish-Phibbs around Great Britain and sending out rewards for people who pass on details and photographs. Winter is beginning to take its toll and three residents have died in recent weeks. There's a rather macabre sense that The Bingo of Eternity is in session - whose number will be called next? With warm regards, Croy Devenish-Phibbs."
This has been an exciting---and exhausting---two weeks, guestblogging for Boing. I don't see how the regular Boing bloggers get anything else done.
As a parting offering, I'd like to share some of my reminiscenses about Silicon Valley as I found it when I moved here in 1986.
[Me in 1985, photo by David Abrams. I don't remember exactly why I drew the line on the photo...something about distinguishing between the two halves of the brain, that is, the writer side vs. the programmer side.]
A little background. Over the last year I've been working on a memoir called Nested Scrolls, and I'm hoping to find a publisher for it soon.
The memoir's title has to do with two things: (a) my favorite kinds of cellular automata rules make seething scroll-like patterns that nest together like layers of scrolls, and (b) you can think of writings as being scrolls, and to the extent that a multilevel written work refers to other works, it's a nested scroll.
What I'm posting here is Chapter 10 of Nested Scrolls, called "Hacker"---and this particular chapter is about diving into the Bay Areas scene of yore. Here's an excerpt:
In 1987 I attended an annual event called the Hackers Conference. Remember—hacker was still a good word, so these guys were Silicon Valley programmers and hardware tweakers. Some of them were even fans of my books. The fact that I’d written a science fiction novel called Software had put me on the hackers’ radar.
I brought my computer with its CA axe [that is, its hand-made cellular automata accelerator card from Systems Concepts labs], and I stayed up all night with the hackers, drinking beer, smoking pot, and admiring our weird screens. Although Hollywood often depicts hackers as nerdy, inhibited types, that’s not generally accurate. It’s more common that hackers are like hippies or acid freaks or mad scientists or car mechanics.
And with that I'm outta here. Rock on, y'all, and, if you liked my posts, come see me at Rudy's Blog.
Wandering through east London today, I happened upon a damned good shoutin' R&B duo busking on the street. They're called Dead Plants, and the act I saw consisted of one guy slapping the everlasting hell out of a bass while the other guy beat out hillbilly blues on an acoustic guitar; they stamped out time on the cobblestones and hollered out insane lyrics about Johnny Cash. I was hooked. The baby was hooked. I bought their CD, Streetsongs, and it's spinning right now in the baby's room CD player (the only CD player left in the house!) and we're both rockin' out.
So there you have it.
Sarah's Smash Shack in San Diego rents out soundproof rooms full of thrift-store crockery for you to smash. They supply sharpies so you can write the names of the things you're smashing in effigy on the plates first, and the rooms have loud speakers you can play your angry music through.
Temple University School of Medicine Skull Yearbook
Here's a prediction: in five years, a UN convention will enshrine network access as a human right (preemptive strike against naysayers: "Human rights" aren't only water, food and shelter, they include such "nonessentials" as free speech, education, and privacy). In ten years, we won't understand how anyone thought it wasn't a human right.
And even then, there will be destitute former music execs, living rough on the streets, using their laptops to argue that no, it's not a human right: you should be deprived of your Internet access if you're accused of copyright infringement, because the Internet is just a machine for making copies of trivial, copyrighted entertainment products.
On the Street and On Facebook: The Homeless Stay Wired (via Isen)
"You don't need a TV. You don't need a radio. You don't even need a newspaper," says Mr. Pitts, an aspiring poet in a purple cap and yellow fleece jacket, who says he has been homeless for two years. "But you need the Internet..."
Shelter attendants say the number of laptop-toting overnight visitors, while small, is growing. SF Homeless, a two-year-old Internet forum, has 140 members. It posts schedules for public-housing meetings and news from similar groups in New Mexico, Arizona and Connecticut. And it has a blog with online polls about shelter life...
Aspiring computer programmer Paul Weston, 29, says his Macintosh PowerBook has been a "lifeboat" since he was laid off from his job as a hotel clerk in December and moved to a shelter. Sitting in a Whole Foods store with free wireless access, Mr. Weston searches for work and writes a computer program he hopes to sell eventually. He has emailed city officials to press for better shelter conditions...
Robert Livingston, 49, has carried his Asus netbook everywhere since losing his apartment in December. A meticulous man who spends some of his $59 monthly welfare check on haircuts, Mr. Livingston says he quit a security-guard job late last year, then couldn't find another when the economy tanked.
When he realized he would be homeless, Mr. Livingston bought a sturdy backpack to store his gear, a padlock for his footlocker at the shelter and a $25 annual premium Flickr account to display the digital photos he takes.
If there's a Left 4 Dead one, I'm doomed -- it's all the wife can talk about these days; we'd end up with one in ever room, and Alice running around making pew-pew noises at them.
One of Valve's most renowned character design theories, evident in all recent multiplayer games from Team Fortress to Left 4 Dead, is in creating each figure as a shape so distinct that they're instantly recognizable from nearly any distance, in any light.
And, taking that idea to its logical extreme, Etsy seller SaltyandSweet has given life to the unofficial official Team Fortress 2 mobile, laser cut and "extremely lightweight [to stay] in motion with even the slightest breeze," and perfect for toddler-training tomorrow's jarate-tossing champs today.
Here are two videos of the amazing physicist Richard Feynman tearing it up on the bongos drums.
My friends from Youth Radio were at the Maker Faire Bay Area today, creating a live soundscape. Students roamed the fairgrounds collecting audio samples on flash recorders. As the roving reporters brought back their "tape" to the Youth Radio booth, others used Peak and Reason software to cut-up, loop, and collage the audio into a sick soundscape. The young people on the scene were Kenyon Colvin-Williams, Skyler Brynat, Luis Florez, Derrick Underwood, Khadejhia Kassenbrock, and Austin DeRubira. Production support came from Ben Frost, Charlie Foster, and Rachel Krantz.
Mixing Maker Faire
- Thursday evening: Youth Radio and Pesco at California Academy of ...
- Youth Radio "Brains and Beakers": Tom Zimmerman and Pesco - Boing ...
- Youth Radio "Brains and Beakers": Eric "Instructables" Wilhelm and ...
- Youth Radio: Condomless sex is new "engagement ring"? - Boing Boing
- Columbine anniversary and videogames - Boing Boing
Looking back over the advance of physics over the last two hundred years, it's staggering to realize how much our world view has changed. As a science fiction writer, I'm always trying to imagine how much more things might change in the coming two centuries. The really hard thing to anticipate is the completely game-changing advances that occur every so often.
My sense is that, for one thing, we won't be using chip-based computers in two hundred years---any more than we use mechanical calculators now. That's why, in my recent novels Postsingular and Hylozoic, I've been speculating about a world in which our computations escape from our machines and filter into our ordinary matter.
Nick Herbert is one of my favorite offbeat physicists. One of his papers in particular is something I've thought about a lot over the years: "Holistic Physics, or, An Introduction to Quantum Tantra." Here Nick argues that our conscious minds display some of the same features as quantum mechanics. When we're not thinking about anything in particular, our thoughts evolve in a continuous, multi-universe kind of way---but when we focus on something, we carry out something like the quantum collapse that characterizes the process of measurement.
[Brain models from the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments at Harvard University.]
As I've been saying, I think it's at least in principle possible that the quantum computations in ordinary matter might be capable of carrying out these same kinds of processes---which we normally associate with living, conscious minds. And Nick's paper helps you to think about this idea.
David Deutsch wrote a deep and technical paper about the topic of computation in arbitrary pieces of matter, called "Quantum theory, the Church-Turing principle and the universal quantum computer."
The basic idea is that quantum mechanical systems can act as universal computers, and it's generally believed that any universal computer can emulate a human mind (given the right program, and, aye, there's the rub).
One of our big problems is that we still have such an imperfect notion of how to build a software system that's like a human mind. The best idea along these lines that I've seen in the last few years is in the book On Intelligence, by Jeff Hawkins and Sandra Blakeslee.
Two more rich sources for futuristic ideas.
(1) The arXiv.org site---for instance look at their New Papers on Cosmology and Extragalactic Physics page. It blows my mind that you can so easily access all these wild new papers, easily readable in PDF form. Even if, for the average person, a lot of the writing is incomprehensible gibberish (like the backwards neon sign shown above), you can skate through and pick up some great concepts and buzzwords.
(2) The physicist John Baez's pages. Baez is a deep thinker and a gifted popularizer, adept at imparting the true strangeness of this world.
It's liberating to realize that, as always, we're very much on the edge of knowing what's really going on.
Staff at the theatre were searching customers' bags for video equipment that could be used for movie piracy.Cinema ordered to pay $10K in damages for search (Thanks, Patrick!)
Security guards didn't find any video equipment in the family's bags, but did turn up a large selection of snack food, which they asked the family to take back to their vehicle, Lurie said.
"They did so willingly. But they continued the search of the bags and while searching they also uncovered some birth control pills belonging to the older daughter," Lurie said.
"Needless to say the mother was not pleased to find out in this manner that her daughter had those pills in her possession."
When Michael was just a kid, Uncle Evan made a movie of Grandfather. He used an old eight-millimeter camera that wound up with a key and had three narrow lenses that rotated on a plate. Michael remembered holding the camera. It was supposedly light-weight for its time, but in his six-year-old hands, it seemed like it weighed a ton. Uncle Evan had told him to be careful with it; the camera was a precision instrument, and it needed to be in good working order if the movie was going to be of any scientific value.
The movie was of Grandfather doing his flying thing -- flapping his arms with a slow grace as he shut his eyes and turned his long, beak-ish nose to the sky. Most of the movie was only that: a thin, middle-aged man, flapping his arms, shutting his eyes, craning his neck. Grandfather's apparent foolishness was compounded by the face of young Michael flashing in front of the lens; blocking the scene, and waving like an idiot himself. Then the camera moved, and Michael was gone -
And so was Grandfather.
Dave's got a new short story collection coming soon, available for pre-order: Monstrous Affections.
In this short video, sneering rappers from the young conservative movement bust rhymes about drilling in Alaska, forcing women to bear foetuses to term, eliminating social programs and merging Church and State. Lines include: "Three things taught me conservative love: Jesus, Ronald Reagan, plus Atlas Shrugged;" and "Everyone can succeed because our soldiers bleed."
It's (apparently) not a parody.
Ali Soufan, a former FBI interrogator, revealed in an article being released in June that Osama Bin Laden's bodyguard opened up about the 9/11 terror attacks only after being offered -- sugar free cookies.Cookies, not torture, convinced al Qaeda suspect to talk, FBI interrogator says (Thanks, Mark!)
Bin Laden lieutenant Abu Jandal is a diabetic, Soufan said, and wouldn't eat sugar cookies he'd been offered.
"Soufan noticed that he didn't touch any of the cookies that had been served with tea: 'He was a diabetic and couldn't eat anything with sugar in it,' Time's Bobby Ghosh wrote. "At their next meeting, the Americans brought him some sugar-free cookies, a gesture that took the edge off Abu Jandal's angry demeanor.
"We had showed him respect, and we had done this nice thing for him," Soufan told Ghosh. "So he started talking to us instead of giving us lectures..."
"It took more questioning, and some interrogators' sleight of hand, before the Yemeni gave up a wealth of information about al-Qaeda -- including the identities of seven of the 9/11 bombers -- but the cookies were the turning point," Ghosh writes.
"After that, he could no longer think of us as evil Americans," Soufan said. "Now he was thinking of us as human beings."
Ben sez, "A film from the 1939 World's Fair showing a Chrysler being built in Stop Action animation. Originally filmed in 'Three-Dimensional Polaroid Film.'"
Man, this thing has got it all: golden age World's Fair, that fantastic chipper music, dancing brightly colored machine-parts... I want to crawl in and nestle among the sparkplugs.
Exclusive: Chrysler Builds a Car (Thanks, Ben!)
Hang Ten aka US Navy Pacific Fleet Rock Band"Battle of the Battle Bands"
Based at: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Official Description: “An extensive repertoire encompassing popular music from the 1960's to today's latest hits…everything from rock and pop to disco and light jazz”
Playlist: Guns N’ Roses, Gwen Stefani, Bob Marley
Original Songs: None listed
Bonus: Navy publicity requested control and approval over this story!
What is interesting is that at its best, tinkering has an almost Zen-like sense of the present: its 'now' is timeless. It is neither heedless of the past or future, nor is it in headlong pursuit of immediate gratification. Tinkering offers a way of engaging with today's needs while also keeping an eye on the future consequences of our choices. And the same technological and social trends that have made tinkering appealing seem poised to make it even more pervasive and powerful in the future. Today we tinker with things; tomorrow, we will tinker with the world."Tinkering to the future"
What is tinkering? Discovering that certain snack tins can be used to make an antenna that extends the range of your wi-fi network, using electric toothbrush motors to power small robots, building a high-altitude balloon that takes video of the edge of space, are all examples of tinkering. It is technical work and a cultural attitude. Tinkering is customizing software and stuff; making new combinations of things that work better than their parts; and discovering new capabilities in or uses for existing products. Despite its fascination with things and bits, it is resolutely human-focused: you don't make things 'better' in some dry technical sense, you make them work better for you. Tinkerers modify everything from cars, computers, and cellphones, to virtual worlds and computer code. They are driven by a desire to experiment, to make existing technologies more useful, and to customize them to better suit users' needs.
According to MIT professor Mitch Resnick, tinkering might look at first like traditional engineering, but it is very different. Both are about designing and making things; but engineering tends to be top-down, linear, structured, abstract and rules-based - a highly formal, organized activity, meant to be carried out in (and in the service of) large organizations. Tinkering, in contrast, is bottom-up, iterative, experimental, practical and improvisational: informal and disorganized, accessible to anyone who is willing to learn (and fail) and it doesn't follow any plan too closely.
valentine for perfect strangers
kittens in shells
papercraft ceiling cat
lolcats art show
castle cat 2: the miami invasion
this movie is about flying cats
five cats that look like wilford brimley
and the classics...
going to a gay bar
smoking in paris
and for a limited time...
something for cat
(this will disappear on 06.05.09)
Sorry I'm Late is a fantastic stop-motion short film by Tomas Mankovsky. It was shot from above using a still camera. (Thanks, Carrie!)
@hellobigfoot. Usually, him one does following, but now it is your turn.
If you don't have any of the books already, do yourself a favor. If nothing else, you can use one as a shield when he sneaks into your tent and tries to make off with all your granola and bullets. Here they are:
* In Me Own Words: The Autobiography of Bigfoot
* Me Write Book: It Bigfoot Memoir
* Bigfoot: I Not Dead
- Me Write Book: It Bigfoot Memoir, new from Graham Roumieu - Boing ...
- A comic from Graham Roumieu: Robot hide and seek - Boing Boing
- BoingBoing exclusive: latest comic from Graham Roumieu - Boing Boing
- Bigfoot press release, by Graham Roumieu - Boing Boing
- A cartoon by Graham Roumieu: Cowboy Optometrist - Boing Boing
- A comic from Graham Roumieu: Robot hide and seek - Boing Boing
- Graham Roumieu: how movie theaters suck - Boing Boing
- Latest in Graham Roumieu's BIGFOOT comic-art series - Boing Boing
Pick The Perp is a fun site where the aim is pick the perpetrator of a crime from a line up.
"Booking mug shots and related information is gathered from arrest records from open sheriff's web sites in the United States of America. Those appearing here have not been convicted of the arrest charge and are presumed innocent. Do not rely on this site to determine any person's actual criminal record. "Pick The Perp (Thanks, Steven Leckart!)