Boing Boing 

Random ham radio trollfight audio (explicit)

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AUDIO EMBED ABOVE: Two trolls on ham radio, one identified as "G-K," the other as "Robert" or "R-J" overheard accidentally on August 29, 2009, while surfing first responder frequencies during the August 2009 Los Angeles wildfires. The two men argued with each other about various technical subjects of interest to radio ops, then discussed drugs and past jail time, then notes on an Andy Griffith show marathon, then torture they'd like to perform on each other in great detail because they hate each other so much. Stay with it.

Technical note: sorry about the audible LOLs -- a friend held the scanner in their lap, and I held my iPhone 3Gs above the scanner, using "voice memo" app to record the audio. None of us could contain ourselves.

Archive.org: Random Ham Radio Trollfight: August 29, 2009, Los Angeles CA (thanks, Chief Fulfiller of Needs + fam!)

Tiny pinfire guns



These tiny Austrian 2mm pinfire guns look to be exquisitely engineered. From the video description:
Originally made by Austrian watchmakers as decorative pocket watch chain fobs or as cufflinks, these miniature pinfire pistols are now prized collector's items. These are some from my own collection dating from 1904 to the 1970's. All of them fire 2mm blank pinfire cartridges. The revolvers are the world's smallest working double action blank firing pistols. They measure just 38mm in length and are smaller than the famous Swiss Mini Gun which measures 55mm.
(via MAKE)

Lightning fast robot hand



Researchers from the Ishikawa Komuro Laboratory at the University of Tokyo presented this incredible video of a high-speed robotic hand at the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. The laboratory's Web site has many more videos related to this project, called Sensor Fusion. Sensor Fusion: High Speed Robots

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Anyone who can deliver an *11 minute* monologue on "fevah," donuts, divas + bitches is a true performer. Link

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Dramatic reading of a break-up letter

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"And now, a dramatic reading of a real break up letter from a real person."

Dramatic reading of a break-up letter (via Sean Bonner)

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God bless Terry Techno, he can find anything to rave to Link

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Production notes from new Kids in the Hall series

Kids in the Hall superfan Tavie sez,
The Kids in the Hall are shooting their new miniseries for CBC, Death Comes to Town, in North Bay, Ontario.

As their official online presence cheerleader and resident of the US with no access to CBC, I thought it important that they get their asses online and use social media to its fullest. If the show has no buzz, how will a US network pick it up and let ME see it? It's all about me.

After some poking and prodding by his most annoying fan, Mark McKinney has at last started posting production notes at their Facebook page. The page was originally set up by a fan, but has been handed over to the guys to post official photos, videos and hilarious status updates,

Their willingness to let their fans drag them to the 21st century, kicking-and-screaming, makes me love them long time. I'm co-admin along with a fan named Jen. Any status updates by one of us will have our names in front - otherwise, it comes directly from the keyboard and fevered brain of Mark McKinney, the Chicken Lady herself. Check out the photo he posted of himself in full feathered regalia, it's fucking sweet.

Kids in the Hall (Thanks, Tavie!)

American copyright lobby attacks Canadian politicians for supporting balanced copyright

Canadian Member of Parliament for the New Democratic Party and former frontman for the awesome punk band L'Etranger Charlie Angus sez,
I saw your comments on the Toronto town hall copyright forum [ed: in which the NDP was threatened with expulsion for handing out fliers calling for a moderate new copyright law that balanced public rights with the rights of copyright holders]. The fallout has been very bizarre. A copyright lobbyist with the American federation of Musicians is circulating an online e-mail demanding the NDP apologize for our "disgusting" position on balanced copyright.

The attack was caused by Olivia Chow handing out an interview I did with EXCLAIM Magazine on how copyright changes could benefit independent Canadian bands. Exclaim did the interview with me because of my background with DIY bands.

Seems to me the interview is consistent with what the NDP have always said on this file -- we want artists to be able to benefit from the massive stream of information being traded but we don't want average citizens turned into criminals. Here's Michael Geist's blog on the attack on us.

I was elected to participate in discussions about public policy. I have never heard of a lobbyist group demand an apology for speaking out about a totally botched piece of legislation like Bill C-61. If they spent less time running e-mail attacks and more time speaking with the various players they might realize that the NDP position has been balanced and consistent from the beginning.

As for a public recanting to satisfy the C-61 lobby ? Sorry, dude....it ain't happening.

Copyright Town Hall security threatened MP, students with ejection for handing out flyers

At last week's Canadian copyright town hall meeting in Toronto -- the one where the speaker-roster was overwhelming stacked with representatives from giant entertainment conglomerates -- security guards prevented the Canadian Federation of Students from distributing literature by the doors that advocated for more liberal copyright rules. They also stopped a Member of Parliament from one of the opposition parties from distributing flyers.
The Canadian Federation of Students has issued a press release disclosing a disturbing incident just prior to last night's townhall in Toronto. CFS says that students attempted to distribute a flyer outlining the organization's position on fair copyright outside the townhall. The students involved were approached by private security guards who threatened to remove them from the hotel if they continued to do so. The CFS decided to distribute the flyers specifically because of the limited number of speaking slots and the fear that they would not be called upon to speak (they were not). It is hard to understand how distributing relevant materials outside a public, government-run townhall is viewed as grounds for ejection. As the chair of CFS-Ontario notes, "it is ironic that while students are concerned that new legislation may allow copyright owners to lock up information, the government is locking up its own consultations."

Update: NDP MP Olivia Chow reports that she faced the same threats when she tried to distribute documents outlining Charlie Angus' position on copyright.

Why Did Security Guards Stop CFS From Distributing Flyers at the Copyright Town Hall?

David Byrne: Kindle DRM means "you are f*cked"

David Byrne describes his experiences using the Kindle DX while on tour: nice device, crappy DRM, not worth it.
Here's where the rub is. This machine only reads Kindle files and PDFs. And nothing else out there reads Kindle files. It can read other types of files -- Word DOCs, MOBI, TXT etc. -- but you have to go through Amazon via email, where they're converted for a small charge, then sent directly to your Kindle. And, you can't share a book with your friends, even if they too have a Kindle. No doubt, as with MP3 and iTunes, book publishers would only agree to this system if people couldn't share their purchases. As we know, Apple has relented on this, and has taken DRM off many of their music files. But which ones? How do you know? Years from now, having gone through a few computers, your music collection is unplayable except for the files without DRM. Well, same with these books -- if you migrate to a different tablet (the forthcoming Apple one we hear so much about, for example), you are fucked. All the unread books in your Kindle library are stuck on what will eventually become antiquated technology.

There are other e-book formats out there (EPub is being touted as a cross-platform format, but still, ugh, with DRM)...We're linked now, which is how we use these things that represent our inner selves -- as social connectors. Take that ability away, the ability to exchange stuff that represents us, and I'll bet some of the "value" of these kinds of e-books goes too... the social interconnectedness value, not the dollar value.

08.25.09: The Kindle Experience

Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 launch (Update: it was a real winner.)

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Space Shuttle Discovery's STS-128 mission is set to lift off within minutes of the time of this blog post. My suggestion: space out to Soma FM's Mission Control channel in one browser tab (or on iTunes or your player of choice) while you watch Miles O'Brien hosting live coverage of the launch on SpaceFlightNow.com, embedded after the jump. Follow Miles on Twitter here, and SpaceFlightNow here. I'll also be following @Astro_Jose = Mexican-American astronaut José Hernández, who tweets from space en Español (!!!).

Image (via NASA): "Seated are Commander Rick Sturckow (right) and Pilot Kevin Ford. From the left (standing) are mission specialists José Hernández, John "Danny" Olivas, Nicole Stott, European Space Agency's Christer Fuglesang and Patrick Forrester." Godspeed, all.

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@BBVBOX: recent guest-tweeted web video picks (boingboingvideo.com)


(Ed. Note: The Boing Boing Video site includes a guest-curated microblog: the "BBVBOX." Here, folks whose taste in web video we admire tweet the latest clips they find. We'll post roundups here on the motherBoing.)


More @BBVBOX: boingboingvideo.com

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Discovery lifts off in 1 hour, science willing. Rev up with Boards of Canada video for "Dayvan Cowboy." Link

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two girls one cup... of hot chocolate! about 3 minutes of '70s chocolate food porn. Scat-free. Link

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Jonathan Winters improv Link + http://tinyurl.com/2spgdu + http://tinyurl.com/c636q9 dedicated 2 @rich_fulcher

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Lawless Surveillance, Warrantless Rationales (a critique of Obama continuation of Bush policies)

Over at The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy website, Electronic Frontier Foundation Legal Director Cindy Cohn writes about the so-called Presidential Surveillance Program, the "still-shadowy set of programs that spy on Americans in America without any probable cause or warrant." The EFF, as regular BB readers know, has fought this program for several years now -- in 2006, it filed suit against AT&T for providing the NSA with direct access to its database of communications records. Snip from Cohn's essay:
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While the details are unknown, credible evidence indicates that billions of everyday communications of ordinary Americans are swept up by government computers and run through a process that includes both data-mining and review of content, to try to figure out whether any of us were involved in illegal or terrorist-related activity. That means that even the most personal and private of our electronic communications - between doctors and patients, between husbands and wives, or between children and parents - are subject to review by computer algorithms programmed by government bureaucrats or by the bureaucrats themselves.

It's a bizarre turn of events, these unwarranted general searches. Our country was founded on the rejection of "general warrants" - pieces of paper that gave the Executive (then the King) unchecked power to search colonial Americans without cause. The Fourth Amendment was adopted in part to stop these "hated writs" and to make sure that searches of the papers of Americans required a probable cause showing to a court. The warrantless surveillance program returns us to the policies of King George III only with a digital boost. It subjects a huge number our daily digital papers to threshold surveillance, then adding subsequent, more intrusive warrantless surveillance if faceless government computers and bureaucrats determine that our communications or communications patterns merit further scrutiny.

Both Yoo and Hayden draw from a similar bag of tricks to defend the surveillance programs, including claims that there was a "gap" between our domestic surveillance and our foreign intelligence surveillance.

Lawless Surveillance, Warrantless Rationales (via Rebecca McKinnon)

A kinder, gentler rendition under Obama

This week, we learned that the Obama administration will continue the Bush administration's practice of relocating war-on-terror detainees to other countries for offshore imprisonment and interrogation, with promises that their treatment will now be more closely monitored to ensure that they are not tortured. Human rights advocates condemn the decision as an extension of a program that creates conditions in which abuse is likely to flourish with impunity. U.S. Says Rendition to Continue, but With More Oversight (NYT).

The news came on the same day the ACLU released documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request which detail acts of torture committed against detainees held by the United States, domestically and in overseas "black sites."

In related news, the ACLU is protesting an agreement between the US and Britain which may lead to hacker Gary McKinnon being extradited to the US, after he penetrated the defenses of poorly secured US Government computers. According to reports, McKinnon suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, and has testified that he was searching for evidence of extra-terrestrials and UFO activity.

Robocalls become crime punishable by $16K per call fine

Rejoice! Automated and unsolicited phone calls in which businesses try to push products on consumers will soon be punishable by fines of up to $16,000 per call, according to the US Federal Trade Commission.
Calls from politicians, public service announcements and "informational" calls will be exempt from the new rule. A call alerting a traveler that his or her flight has been delayed would still be allowed, for example. Banks, telephone carriers and most charitable organizations are also excluded from the ban, the FTC says. The FTC asks people to report questionable robocalls by visiting its complaint Web site or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.
(thanks, Chief Fulfiller of Needs)

US Senate cyber security bill sparks debate, "internet takeover" fears

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Well, this little viral number didn't take long to become the stuff of screaming Drudge sirens. So, over at CNET, Declan McCullagh wrote about an update to a cybersecurity bill that first circulated this spring. In his interpretation of the bill (which I haven't read in entirety, full disclosure), Declan says the bill gives the White House new power to unplug private-sector computers from the Internet in the case of national emergency. Snip:
[Critics of the earlier bill are] not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

The new version would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for "cybersecurity professionals," and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

Bill would give president emergency control of Internet (CNET).

Commenting on this article, ZDNET's Sam Diaz argues that the White House is not equipped to hold the keys (where are these magical keys, btw?). "The argument that the government is ill-equipped and shouldn't be trusted with the such far-reaching power is no joke."

At the Atlantic, Mark Armbinder counters that Skepticism [is] Warranted -- But Nuance Needed.

A few things to keep in mind. One: the president already has the authority to shut down parts of the Internet in emergencies.

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Profile of Make columnist Tim Anderson, a 'Do-It-Yourself Guru who Makes Treasures From Trash'

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I enjoyed this NPR profile of extreme DIYer Tim Anderson, who writes our "Heirloom Technology" column for Make.

Do-It-Yourself Guru who Makes Treasures From Trash

Men Who Stare At Goats movie coming soon



The Men Who Stare At Goats is UK journalist Jon Ronson's terrific, absurd, scary, and funny nonfiction book about the United States military's weird experiments with psychic spying, "Jedi" powers, subliminal sound weapons, and, er, the ability to kill an animal just by looking at it (hence the title). The book is coming to the big screen November 6 in the form of a dark comedy starring Ewan McGregor, George Clooney, and Jeff Bridges. What fun!

"The Men Who Stare At Goats" movie trailer (Thanks, Jason Tester!)
Buy "The Men Who Stare At Goats" book

The blog of Philip Garrido, serial rapist and kidnapper: "sound control" gadget hallucinations.

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In 1991, after having been paroled, convicted kidnapper and rapist Phillip Garrido snatched an 11 year old girl named Jaycee Dugard off the street. He kept her captive for 18 years, repeatedly raped her, and fathered two children from those rapes. Jaycee gave birth to the first child when she was 14. There may be additional child victims. And investigators are now also looking for clues that could link Garrido with a series of 10 unsolved murders nearby, in which prostitutes were sexually violated before they were killed.

Garrido maintained a blogspot blog which amounts to a disturbing look inside the internal thought process of a monster. That blog includes numerous postings about an electronic invention he wished to patent, that allowed him to "control sound" using his "mental powers." Snip:

This document is to affirm that I Phillip Garrido have clearly demonstrated the ability to control sound with my mind and have developed a device for others to witness this phenomena. by using a sound generator to provide the sound, and a headphone amplification system, ( a device to focuc your hearing so as to increase the sensitivity of what one is listening to) I have produced a set of voices by effectively controlling the sound to pronounce words through my own mental powers.
His brother told the press today that Garrido did a lot of LSD when younger. Phillip Garrido believes that having children with the child he abducted and raped cured him of pedophilia. Blogging under the user name THEMANWHOSPOKEWITHHISMIND, Garrido wrote,
This all began by God removing a problem from my shoulders that behavioral scientist believe is not possible to remove. since then my life has seen major improvements allowing me to stand here today a free man.
His crazy hallucinations about controlling sound and controlling human thought and will are not at all unrelated to his crimes. Garrido housed his victims in a series of makeshift tents and soundproofed shelters in his back yard, in such a way that neighbors, according to several reports, "never heard a thing."

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Despite Garrido's careful schemes to "control sound" and control the behavior and visibility of his captives, at least one neighbor did suspect something, and contacted authorities. The police came to Garrido's property, and didn't go in the back yard to check.

The deputy determined that no crime had been committed even though he did not enter or ask to enter the backyard, the sheriff said.
I wonder how many other opportunities were missed before an unnamed female campus security officer at UC Berkeley started the chain of events that would lead to Dugard's freedom, and that of her two children. Update: The officer's name is Ally Jacobs.

Here's the Megan's Law database entry for Phillip Garrido. (Tip: want to totally creep yourself out, and/or protect your family? Search the database for entries located near your home or place of work).

Yesterday, he gave a lengthy, rambling phone interview with a local TV station. You can listen to the whole interview with Garrido here. It is chilling. Snip from transcript:

"It's a disgusting thing that took place with me in the beginning. But I turned my life completely around (...) What's kept me busy the last several years is I've completely turned my life around. And you're going to find the most powerful story coming from the witness, the victim - you wait.

If you take this a step at a time, you're going to fall over backwards and in the end, you're going to find the most powerful heart-warming story."

May he rot in hell.

BB commenter Mojave adds,

An interesting little side note to this story is that [his] van was captured on googlestreetview as it left the house of horrors. I think even calling the guy a monster is too nice. Gives monsters a bad name.
And other BB commenters note that related images taken by the Google Street View van on that same day seem to show that Garrido's van may have followed the Google van with interest.

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Autotuned Cats Link (via half my twitter stream)

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These look like some of the most practical iPhone apps yet Link

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Cartoon review of documentary about show posters, "Died Young, Stayed Pretty"

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Poster artist Ward Sutton did a great 12-panel comic strip review of the film Died Young, Stayed Pretty, a documentary film by Eileen Yaghoobian about show posters that opened at the IFC Film Center in NYC July 17. (Here's a trailer for the film.)

Tour dates for screenings can be found here.

Ward Sutton Makes the Case for Posters as Art (Or Junk)

Video of Maker Faire Africa


I wish I could have gone to Maker Faire Africa! It was held in Ghana's capital, Accra a couple of weeks ago. Paul Karikari's "electric cream heater" is interesting -- you stir aluminum shavings and aluminum powder into some kind of cream and it heats up. (Thanks, Daniel!)

Musée Mécanique animated gifs

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One of my favorite San Francisco attractions is the Musée Mécanique, a delightful old-timey penny arcade packed with arcade machines, automatons, mechanical musicboxes, and other fantastic contraptions of yesteryear. Morbid Anatomy's Joanna Ebenstein digs the place too. She's taken a great series of photos there and created terrific animated gifs from some of them. Morbid Anatomy: Musée Mécanique

Shane Speal's cigar box guitar lessons


Cigar Box Nation founder Shane Speal has posted four great videos to teach you how to play your 3-string cigar box guitar. Above, how to play leads (blues and Middle Eastern) on one string.

Shane Speal's cigar box guitar lessons

Policeman busted for feeding Pop-Tarts to gorillas

A police office in St. Paul, Minnesota is under investigation for feeding Pop-Tarts to gorillas during an unauthorized after-hours tour of the Como Zoo. The cop was caught on CCTV. From MyFox Twin Cities:
Gorillapoppp Surveillance video captured the incident last January, around 2 a.m., when two zoo security guards snuck four to eight people into the zoo. Among the unauthorized visitors, was an off-duty St. Paul Cop.

The Como Zoo isn't sure if the gorillas actually ate the Pop-Tarts or not. Regardless, the gorillas appear to be doing just fine.
"Cop Investigated for Feeding Gorillas Pop-Tarts?"

Robot fish



MIT researchers are designing a school small robotic fish that could be used to explore underwater spots difficult for humans to reach. For example, they could act as remote sensors, traveling through oil pipes or shipwrecks, or collecting environmental data. The 5 to 8-inch long prototypes, made from soft polymers, mimic real fish that swim by tensing and relaxing muscles to produce a vibration in their bodies. From MIT News Office:
"With these polymers, you can specify stiffness in different sections, rather than building a robot with discrete sections," says (mechanical engineering professor Kamal) Youcef-Toumi. "This philosophy can be used for more than just fish" - for example, in robotic prosthetic limbs... Later this fall, the researchers plan to expand their research to more complex locomotion and test some new prototype robotic salamanders and manta rays. "The fish were a proof of concept application, but we are hoping to apply this idea to other forms of locomotion, so the methodology will be useful for mobile robotics research - land, air and underwater - as well," said (grad student Pablo) Valdivia Y Alvarado.
"Robots swim with the fishes"