I'm a photographer for the [New York City] DA's office and there is a women there who makes these models (trains, apts, buildings, etc) for court cases, as a visual aid for the jury. The train is perfectly hamster sized so I brought my super tame hamster into work yesterday for a little photo shoot. They came out better than expected. I'm really excited about them.(newyorkshitty.com, alternate link for partial gallery is here)
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Man, I am all over these $45 space-marine "Bertie" robots from Tenacious Toys -- rusted and beat up and full of character, designed by Ashley Wood.
- Junk robot sculptures - Boing Boing
- Junk robot sculptures from Guy Robot - Boing Boing
- Junk robot sculptures -- Boing Boing Gadgets - Boing Boing
- Junk robot sculptures from Jason Lane - Boing Boing
- Small robot sculptures made from junk - Boing Boing
- Homemade R2D2 steampunk junkbot - Boing Boing
- Vietnamese junkbot builder - Boing Boing
- Kitchen appliance junkbot - Boing Boing
- Nerdbots: found-object junkbots - Boing Boing
Quantifying human group dynamics represents a unique challenge. Unlike animals and other biological systems, humans form groups in both real (offline) and virtual (online) spaces--from potentially dangerous street gangs populated mostly by disaffected male youths to the massive global guilds in online role-playing games for which membership currently exceeds tens of millions of people from all possible backgrounds, age groups, and genders. We have compiled and analyzed data for these two seemingly unrelated offline and online human activities and have uncovered an unexpected quantitative link between them. Although their overall dynamics differ visibly, we find that a common team-based model can accurately reproduce the quantitative features of each simply by adjusting the average tolerance level and attribute range for each population. By contrast, we find no evidence to support a version of the model based on like-seeking-like (i.e., kinship or "homophily").Human group formation in online guilds and offline gangs driven by a common team dynamic (via /.)
(Image: Guild Wars, a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike photo from dalvenjah's Flickr stream)
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- Secret super-copyright treaty MEMO leaked - Boing Boing
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Evgeny sez, "The Turkish government has a very disturbing Internet plan, which includes 1) creating a new search engine that would reflect 'Turkish sensibilities' (i.e. filter out certain results) 2) supply each of 70 million Turkish citizens with a 10 GB email account that would be linked to their national ID numbers (in fact, they will be provided with an email account from birth). This is all done under the pretense of strengthening national security, as the government doesn't want communications data to 'leave Turkey and then come back'."
(Image: CAMERA ISTANBUL, a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike photo from Material Boy's Flickr stream)
Guatemala's Lake Atitlán, surrounded by volcanoes and Maya settlements, has been taken over by a massive bloom of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). I'll be traveling to a K'iche' Maya village not far from this place in a couple of weeks. The image comes from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite.
It's no shock to realize that decades of environmental damage have led to this, but it is still very weird to see an image that shows this huge, seemingly pristine body of water transformed into a big pool of slime, with growing "dead zones" where fish and other critters can no longer survive. Guatemala is facing a widespread hunger crisis already -- so, for the at-risk human populations around the lake who live off a subsistence farmer/fisher lifestyle, this means more hunger, more death.
Cyanobacteria are a serious problem both because they are toxic to humans and other animals and because they create dead zones. As the bacteria multiply, they form a thick mat that blocks sunlight. Dense blooms can also consume all of the oxygen in the water, leaving a dead zone where other plants and animals cannot survive. The density of the bloom also affects the cyanobacteria. Since only the top layer of the bloom receives life-sustaining light, the bacteria in the rest of the bloom die and decay, releasing toxins into the water. These highly toxic harmful algal blooms cause illness in people and other animals.
From the "Cute Animals Devouring Other Cute Animals" file, I bring you this BBC video showing a mob of starfish ravaging the carcass of a seal pup. (That starfish covered mound in the picture? Seal pup.) Granted, they do this very, very slowly. The video speeds things up with time-lapse photography, which only adds to the alien creepiness as you watch thousands of starfish (plus sea urchins and giant meat-eating worms) damn-near gallop across the ocean floor.
How do starfish eat a seal? Glad you asked. Turns out, they latch onto the seal's side, pop their stomachs out through their mouths, dump digestive juices onto the seal flesh and then slurp up the dissolved "soup". Happy Monday.
Oh, and beware the scene at about 1:50 into the clip. It's a little, erm, not cute. Nature, red in tooth and claw, and all that. Fair warning.
Understanding scam victims: seven principles for systems security (via Schneier)
This illustrates something important. Many people feel that they are wise to certain scams or take steps to protect their property; but, often, these steps don't go far enough. A con artist can easily answer people's concerns or provide all sorts of proof to put minds at ease. In order to protect oneself, it's essential to remove all possibility of compromise. There's no point parking your own car if you then give the valet your keys. Despite this, the mark felt more secure when, in actual fact, he had made the hustler's job easier....
...Much of systems security boils down to "allowing certain principals to perform certain actions on the system while disallowing anyone else from doing them"; as such, it relies implicitly on some form of authentication--recognizing which principals should be authorized and which ones shouldn't. The lesson for the security engineer is that the security of the whole system often relies on the users also performing some authentication, and that they may be deceived too, in ways that are qualitatively differ- ent from those in which computer systems can be deceived. In online banking, for example, the role of verifier is not just for the web site (which clearly must authenticate its customers): to some extent, the customers themselves should also authenticate the web site before entering their credentials, otherwise they might be phished. However it is not enough just to make it "technically possible"18 : it must also be humanly doable by non-techies. How many banking customers check (or even understand the meaning of) the https padlock?19
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- How to Cheat at Everything - Boing Boing
- Kids' how-to-cheat videos - Boing Boing
The Wolverton Bible (Basil Wolverton):
Wolverton wasn't just a funnybooks illustrator: he was also a member of a millenarian evangelical church called the Worldwide Church of God, a sect that believed in obeying Old Testament lifestyle laws and the literal truth of Revelations. So it was natural that Wolverton ended up with a regular, paid gig illustrating a series of Bible stories for kids and adults published in the Church's magazines like Plain Truth and in booklets with titles like Prophecy and The Book of Revelations, overseen by Church leader Herbert Armstrong, who had converted Wolverton to his faith.
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Norman Saunders was a
prominent illustrator for Captain Billy's Whiz Bang,
Modern Mechanics, pulp detective, western, war, and science
fiction magazines, men's adventure magazines, and bubblegum cards and
stickers, including Wacky Packages and Mars Attacks. Anyone interested
in 20th century magazine illustration pretty much has to have this
book in his or her library. I devoured the 368 technicolor pages
filled with examples of his work from the 1920s to the 1980s.
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