Farewell, aughts! Illustration above by David Silverman (Thanks, David!).
According to Chris Elliot, one of the bloggers involved. Link.
No word on whether the TSA has also dropped the subpoena issued to the other blogger, Steven Frischling. Both subpoenas have now been dropped, Frischling's too.
Update, Jan 1: Wired has a story here, Associated Press here. One theory: yes, TSA has dropped the subpoenas against the two bloggers, but only because it already got the information it needed from copying data off Frischling's hard drive (more paranoid folk have also suggested that when the hard drive was in the agents' possession, they may additionally have installed keylogger software or similar surveillance apps). The Gmail account information of the leak source, who is reported to be a person employed by the TSA, plus a possible subpoena issued to Google (which has a good track record of protecting user privacy in these cases, but who knows)? That might have been all the feds needed. So this may well be good news for the bloggers, but not for their source.
Speaking as an attorney, I would advise you not to let this go. Make an ethics complaint against the government attorney that signed the subpoena in DC or the jurisdiction they are licensed to practice law in. You don't subpoena someone, then just "let it drop."
...apropos of bloggers being bullied into parting with their hard drives: check out this nifty doormat, available at Target for 18 bucks and some change.
Bob Self says:
Dr. Sketchy's Los Angeles is alternative figure drawing cabaret for artists who like their naked inspiration to be served up with some theatrical showmanship. To get 2010 off to an epic start, the Los Angeles troupe is producing a Dr. Sketchy's Marathon that will run continuously for 26 hours beginning at 8:00 PM on Saturday, January 2nd and ending at 10:00 PM on Sunday, January 3rd. Over a dozen models will be posing in and out of costume over the course of the event, and a roster of noteworthy contemporary artists will be in attendance (including Michael Hussar, who will be creating an alla prima portrait late Saturday night). As usual for Dr. Sketchy's, there will be prizes and surprises. The event will be hosted at Nucleus in Alhambra. Admission is $26 in advance via Dr Sketchy's LA, or $35 at the door. Attendees will be issued wrist bands that will allow them to come and go as they please.
Update, 3:50pm PT: One of the two bloggers reports that the TSA has dropped its subpoena against him.
An update on the case of the two travel bloggers who received holiday visits by armed TSA agents (with matching Homeland Security subpoenas!) after publishing a leaked copy of the "Christmas Day incident" security directive.
Chris Elliot has an attorney now, and more time to respond to the subpoena.
Steven Frischling got his laptop back from the Special Agents who demanded it, then imaged his hard drive, but the laptop no longer works (paranoid commenters suggest one explanation could be the installation of keylogger software, but that's just one of many possibilities.)
[I found] my answer in a pre-recorded message at the FBI's Detroit Metro Bureau to which press are referred. The message there states that anyone seeking information about "the Christmas Day event at Detroit metro airport" should call the Department of Justice in Washington.
Wait. A Christmas Day "event"? The FBI makes the attack against Northwest Flight 253 sound more like a shopping sale or a rock concert than the terror strike that it was. Trying to kill 298 airline passengers, destroy an airplane, and crash it into the suburbs of Detroit is now called an "event"? Could the jackbooted TSA visit to blogger Steven Frischling's Connecticut home be just another trickle-down result of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano's insistence that terrorist attacks be referred to as "man-caused disasters"?
You see, in the TSA directive which Frischling's posted online, the TSA was caught calling a spade a spade: "INFORMATION: On December 25, 2009, a terrorist attack was attempted against a flight traveling to the United States."
Read the rest
I learned of Chocolate Ammo today through an ad in a relative's copy of the NRA magazine American Rifleman. Talk about target marketing. (sorry!) From the Chocolate Weapons site:
...Several years ago we started a company called [sic] which manufactured and sold high end chocolate fountains to caterers, hotels, casinos, reception centers and other high end event centers. In addition to selling the chocolate fountains we also sold chocolate...and literally TONS and TONS of it. With our connection in the chocolate industry we had virtually a limitless supply of chocolate, and just as many chocolatiers and chocolate factories who could basically make anything and everything we ever wanted to.Chocolate Weapons
While I was growing up we spent a lot of time in the mountains fishing, camping, and hunting. On a recent getaway vaction/hunting trip, we were all piled in the car..dirty, grimy - hadn't bathed in days - and we were discussing our existing business, and ways we could help it grow. Someone blurted out
'We should make chocolate bullets!'
Miles Davis covers Michael Jackson's "Human Nature." Yes, really.
Earlier this week, Southall was getting off a Jet Ski in the ocean when he felt "a small bee-like sting" on his arm. When he later noticed a tingling in his hands and feet, island staff took Southall immediately to the doctor."'Best Job' winner stung by dangerous jellyfish" (AP, thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)
Progressive symptoms of fever, headache, lower back pain, chest tightness and high blood pressure led the doctor to diagnose that Southall had been stung by an Irukandji jellyfish. He was given pain medication and slept off the venom's effects overnight.
"I thought I'd done particularly well at avoiding any contact with any of the dangerous critters that consider this part of the world their home," Southall wrote. "This was not what I'd wanted at all and had caught me little off guard to say the least -- I'm supposed to be relaxing in my last few days on Hamilton Island."
"Ouch! A little incident on the beach..." (Southall's blog)
During the late 1700s and early 1800s, the mail was delivered in and around London up to six times a day. Snail mail was almost Twitteresque, argues O'Reilly Radar's Sarah Milstein. "People today often assume that email, Twitter and other relatively instant communication media have created a slew of brand new communication behaviors. The Jane Austen show at the Morgan suggests just the opposite: our human patterns are surprisingly consistent, and technology evolves to meet us." (Via Tim Maly)
This is the sort of thing that makes me wish I knew more about beer. My usual unit of measurement is the purely subjective, but relatively simple, MPS, or Maggie Preference Scale. (IPAs near the bottom, porters near the top, your mileage may vary.)
Full Chart via Flickr user John602, don't know if that's the original source though.
Took about two weeks to normalize. That is, I felt my hair was greasy and skin oily up to then.The commenters on his blog share similar soap-free experiences.
My skin & hair have never been softer. Never.
If anything, my hair is less "greasy" than ever, yet shampoo hasn't touched it in over six months.
Private parts. Have to address this, of course. This is the biggest benefit of all. Surprised? You'll just have to try it, because I'm not going to elaborate. That's why they call them "private parts." OK, a clue: maybe it's the constant cleansing that's the cause of the sweaty-stinky problem in the first place? If for nothing else, I'm soap free for life on this point alone. I feel as though I've been scammed -- and liberated. I can't explain further. You'll just have to try.
Do you think the bird would peck at the can even if it didn't have a bird on it?
If a bank failed at 9 a.m. one morning and shut its doors, the TSA would announce that all banks henceforth begin their business day at 10 a.m.
And, if a terrorist managed to get on board a plane between Stockholm and Washington, the Fed would increase the number of flights between the cities.
(Via Marginal Revolution)
Applying Earth science to science-fiction scenarios might not be easy (or particularly necessary) but it sure is fun. Here, fans take the cutting-open-a-furry-beast-and-using-its-carcass-as-an-emergency-blanket scene from The Empire Strikes Back and attempt to deduce how long Luke Skywalker could have actually survived on the sweet, sweet warmth provided by Tauntaun entrails.
In a normal environment, a carcass gets cold in 8 to 36 hours losing an average rate of 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit per hour. However, the ice world of Hoth is not an average environment. The Star Wars database lists that Hoth reaches nightly temperatures of -60 F. In a frigid, sub-zero environment, body heat can be lost almost 32 times faster. This means a Tauntaun's body heat could drop almost 51.2 F every hour.
The initial estimate is probably off, as it looks like the author is using human body temperatures to figure how warm the Tauntaun would be when it died and how fast it would lose heat, but some of those issues get hashed out in the comments.
Wolf Gnards blog: How Long Could Luke Survive in a Tauntaun?
(Courtesy of Wired: "TSA Special Agent John Enright, left, speaks to Steven Frischling outside the blogger's home in Niantic, Connecticut, after returning Frischling's laptop Wednesday." Photo: Thomas Cain/Wired.com)
(Update post here, Dec. 31, 2009.)
On Friday, December 25, following the incident in which a Nigerian man attempted to blow up a US-bound flight, the TSA issued an urgent, non-classified security directive to thousands of contacts around the world—airlines, airports, and so on. On Saturday, December 26, airlines and airports around the world further circulated that emailed document and began implementing the procedures described. On Sunday December 27, two bloggers published the content of the TSA directive online (some portions had already been showing up on airline websites). And on Tuesday, December 29, Special Agents from the TSA's Office of Inspection showed up at the homes of bloggers Steven Frischling and Christopher Elliott, and interrogated each on where they obtained the document. Both bloggers received civil subpoenas.
"They came to the door and immediately were asking, 'Who gave you this document?, Why did you publish the document?' and 'I don't think you know how much trouble you're in.' It was very much a hardball tactic," [Frischling] says.Here's Frischling's post. He says he received the document from an anonymous source known to be a TSA employee, who uses a gmail account (will Google be subpoenaed?). "I received it, I read it, I posted it. Why did I post it? Because following the failed terrorist attack on the 25th of December there was a lot of confusion and speculation surrounding changes in airline & airport security procedures."
(...) The agents then said they wanted to take an image of his hard drive. Frischling said they had to go to WalMart to buy a hard drive, but when they returned were unable to get it to work. Frischling said the keyboard on his laptop was no longer working after they tried to copy his files. The agents left around 11 p.m. but came back Wednesday morning and, with Frischling's consent, seized his laptop, which they promised to return after copying the hard drive.
Here is Elliot's post about his visit from a friendly TSA Special Agent named Flaherty. "[T]he TSA wants me to tell them who gave me the security directive. I told Flaherty I'd call my attorney and get back to him. What would you do?"
Here at Boing Boing, I linked to Frischling's leak post on Monday, December 28. Two days earlier, I'd flown home to the US on an international flight during which I personally experienced the procedures detailed in the directive. I tweeted what I experienced of those procedures before, during, and after my flight on the 26th. Thorough physical patdowns and secondary hand luggage screening pre-board, no leaving your seat or electronics or putting anything on your lap during the final hour of flight, and so on. Attendants on my flight explained that the stepped-up procedures came from a just-issued TSA security directive. As soon as airlines and airports began implementing the directive—and that began before the bloggers posted their copies—the contents of the directive were no secret. So why the strong-arm tactics?
Related: Just weeks ago, a TSA contract worker posted an improperly redacted sensitive screening manual on a government website.
The flamingo tongue snail Cyphoma gibbosum appears to have a shell decorated with bright spots (top of image). Amazingly though, the spots aren't actually part of the shell, but rather the animal's flesh! When the animal retracts into its stark white shell, so do the spots (bottom of image). The Cyphoma gibbosum is the star of the latest CreatureCast video from Dr. Casey Dunn's laboratory at Brown University. RISD animator Chris Vamos, who was also a student in Dr. Dunn's invertebrate zoology course, created the video. Watch it after the jump!
Read the rest
A couple of years ago, a reader asked me how she could make her handwriting more "feminine." I had a general sense that in the US, "feminine" handwriting is neater, more loopy, and in its most mockable form has little circles or hearts dotting each letter I. It turns out it's much more complicated than that, and the entire field of inquiry can easily devolve from legitimate forensics into quackery like "graphology" and "evolutionary psychology." The section has become the most popular part on my how-to site for transgender people, as there is considerable general-market interest in the topic, even in our age of texting and IMs. I include 30 handwriting samples (worth reading because they are cute aphorisms). Learn about gradient, structure, concavity, and maybe even make your chicken-scratch a little more legible, no matter what your gender.
AbeBooks has a fantastic virtual Weird Book Room. I was thrilled to discover that I only have three of the books on the page: Mannix's The History of Torture (highly recommended!), The How And Why Wonder Book of Guns (useful!), and the Gangsta Rap Coloring Book (a gift!). Oh, how I love thee, Abe. Abe Weird Book Room (Thanks, Vann Hall!)
You're looking at a water flea, as captured by Dr. Jan Michels of the University of Kiel, Germany. It's the top-prize winner in the 2009 Olympus BioScapes contest—a competition focused on images taken via microscope. The winners gallery is full of gorgeous pictures in striking, day-glo purples, greens and reds. Worth browsing, for both art and science nerds.
Olympus BioScapes 2009 Winners Gallery
Here's MAKE's Collin Cunningham explaining Ohm's Law: Voltage = Current X Resistance.
According to the YouTube description for this video, a guy threw his bicycle at a pair of purse-snatching thieves who were speeding away on a scooter, causing them to crash and become quite upset.
Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com collected the data for this handsome infographic designed by Jesus Diaz of Gizmodo. It shows your odds of becoming an airborne victim of terrorism. Maybe the new TSA rules will decrease the odds of being a terrorism victim from 1 in 10,408,947 to 1 in 10,408,948. Let's hope so!