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Video: Motion-tracking 3D with the DSi camera

Due for downloadable release next week (unfortunately, in Japan only), Rittai Kakushi e Attakoreda (which, via Tiny Cartridge, roughly translates to Hidden 3D Image: There It Is!) probably comes as close as anything we've seen so far to answering that long-burning question, "What're the cameras on the DSi really for?" Augmented reality games haven't quite flourished, "print club" distractions don't hold much sway in the West -- but achieving good Johnny Lee-style 3D by motion tracking via the DSi's front-mounted camera is something we can all get on board for, even if it's just for the simple paper-cut hidden object minigame Attakoreda offers. Rittai Kakushi e Attakoreda is out next Wednesday, March 3rd -- I'll update then with a report on just how well it works.

Criminal clown

This gentleman is Tony Alexander Pete, 43, aka "Happy." Police in Ogden, Utah are seeking Happy who is a suspect in a burglary that took place Wednesday evening. Happy, a career criminal, is easily identified due to his unique facial tattoos. From the Salt Lake Tribune:
 Live Media Site297 2010 0225 20100225  Clownburglar 022610~P1 200The victim told police that he was asleep about 7:30 p.m. when he was awakened to find the pair standing over him. At first, the men yelled that they were cops, then threw the blanket over him.

"The guy said he could still see from under the blanket though, and he described one of them as having 'clown eyes.' "[The victim] said he knew him as 'Happy,' because he had been staying there with him until recently," Sangberg said.

"Ogden cops have out clown posse - literally"

Bill Barol on the Hipstamatic

(The following essay was written by my pal, writer Bill Barol. Look for more from him on Boing Boing in the future! -- Mark)

Even if the Hipstamatic were just another iPhone app it'd be worth your two bucks. What's not to like? The Hipstamatic 110 (the next-gen 150 is in review at the App Store) is a great little photo app that attempts to replicate the experience of shooting with a cut-rate '80s snapshot camera, right down to the leatherette "skin" and the big clunky shutter button. But the app isn't aping just any cheap camera; it's the reincarnation of the mysterious, beloved Hipstamatic 100, and right there is where the story takes a turn.

The original Hipstamatic was the invention of two Wisconsin brothers, Bruce and Winston Dorbowski. In the winter of 1982 they came up with what their big brother Richard later called "a million dollar idea for bringing photographic art to the masses cheaply" -- a camera inspired by the popular Kodak Instamatic (and probably by the Russian Lomo) but made entirely of plastic, right down to the lens. The brothers set up a fabricating shop in a tiny cabin on the banks of the Wisconsin River and got to work. Over the next 18 months they produced just 157 cameras, at $8.25 retail apiece. In the summer of 1984 they were on their way home from signing the lease on a new production facility when they were killed by a drunk driver. Nine years later the family lost most of the brothers' photos and work archives in a fire, and the Hipstamatic slipped into the half-light of photo history.

The story would have ended there, except for Richard Dorbowski.

Read the rest

RIP: Bob "The Bullet" Biniak, legendary skater and original Z-Boy


Photographer Glen E. Friedman remembers Bob "The Bullet" Biniak, a hero in the early days of skate culture who was a member of the original "Z-Boys" team. Biniak suffered a massive cardiac arrest on Sunday, and passed away Thursday at 12:51pm EST in Florida. From Glen's blog post:

Back in DogTown's heyday Biniak was known as one of the toughest, hardest skating dudes out there. Few could match his skills skating the infamous pipes out in Arizona or on the vertical flat wall of Mt. Baldy. In pool skating he was a clear innovator as witnessed by my lens, and Craig Stecyk's even earlier when he was interviewed in SkateBoarder magazine's first ever "Pool Riding Symposium." Bob early on received the coveted "Who's Hot" bio, and later, only for the most respected riders, a full length interview in SkateBoarder. He was also voted as one of the top ten Skateboarders of the year in SkateBoarder magazine's first annual poll held in 1977.
Bob "The Bullet" Biniak, original Z-Boy, Bad Ass Mother Fucker, R.I.P. (Idealist Propaganda)

Related: DogTown: The Legend of the Z-Boys, a book documenting Biniak and fellow skate pioneers, co-created by Friedman and C.R. Stecyk III.

Biniak's passing follows the recent loss of fellow early Dogtown greats Baby Paul and Dennis "Polar Bear" Agnew. There will be a memorial skate for Biniak at the Venice Skate Park (named for Agnew) this Sunday, according to Yo Venice.

Telerobotic searchlight art installation

 Images Vectorialelevationvancouver
Vectorial Elevation is a telerobotic art installation in Vancouver, Canada that enables you to aim 20 searchlights around the English Bay via the Web. Four cameras around the city then photograph your design and the system creates a Web page for it. I'm into the ability to change the environment remotely at this scale, but having to wait in line to have a go reminds me of the first Web telerobot, Ken Goldberg's Mercury Project from 1994. (Ken didn't like the idea of Web users having to queue up either, which is why he went on to develop methods for collaborative telerobotics.) Rafael Lozano-Hemmer created Vectorial Elevation in 1999 for Mexico City's Zócalo Square. The installation will be online in Vancouver through February 28. From the project's concept page:
This website includes a virtual model of Vancouver where you are able to design "light sculptures" with 20 robotic searchlights located along English Bay. Once you are happy with your design you submit it together with your name, location and dedication or comments. Every night from dusk to dawn new designs are quietly rendered sequentially as they are added to a queue. The project automatically creates a personal webpage for each participant, documenting his or her contribution with views from 4 project webcams. With a 15 Km visibility radius, the installation intends to blend the virtual space of the Internet with one of the most emblematic public spaces in Vancouver.
Vectorial Elevation

Funky Friday: Springtime in Bollywood (Holi He!)

DJ Carlito, aka my brother Carl, who has become the go-to deejay for Indian weddings in Virginia (I am absolutely not kidding), shares the links and images in this post and explains:

Holi, the yearly festival celebrating the return of color to the world, will start on Sunday Feb 28, 2010 and continue for 2 days until Monday March 1st. Holi is celebrated on the Phalgun Purnima (or Pooranmashi, Full Moon) according to the Hindu Calendar. Holi is a festival of radiance (teja) in the universe. The celebrations officially usher in spring, the celebrated season of love. There are several stories of the origin of Holi -- and several various deities are involved in this holiday.
holi.jpg More about the celebration here. Video above: Rang Barse. Another goodie: Holi Aai Re," from the Bollywood classic Mashaal. Another gem from one of the biggest Bollywood blockbusters ever: Holi ke Din. And here's another Holi-themed video you may dig.

More about DJ Carlito (aka Xeni's kid brother, available for all your Indian wedding DJ needs): blog, Myspace. Listen to his weekly radio show "If Music Could Talk" Sundays 7-9pm EST online or on-air at WRIR in Virginia, and dig his show archive here online.

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Messenger bags made from old life vests

ehrensache-bag-to-life-rescue-vest-rettungsweste-1.jpg It would be neat if the life vests were still functional; then I'd actually consider taking this bag with me on an airplane ride.

Link (via NotCot)

Talented bread flinger in south India

This fellow seems to know what he's doing. (Via Arbroath)

Shoes made out of recycled TVs

olsenhaus-fall-winter-2010-4.jpg These kinda-cute pumps by vegan shoemaker Olsenhaus are made from polyester microfiber extracted from old analog TVs.

(via Ecouterre)

Make your own Pong-clock: MONOCHRON

MONOCHRON - open source retro clock from adafruit industries on Vimeo.

Phil Torrone sez, "Hardware hacker 'Ladyada' has released an open source retro arcade style table tennis for two clock called the MONOCHRON. According to MONCHRON project page they 'wanted to make a clock that was ultra-hackable, from adding a separate battery-backed RTC to designing the enclosure so you could program the clock once its assembled.' It includes a ATmega328 processor (with'Arduino' stk500 bootloader for easy hacking). It's completely open source hardware, all firmware, layout and CAD files are yours to mess with."

MONOCHRON (Thanks, Phil!)

Luxembourg-sized icebreak breaks off Antarctica

From Times Online: An iceberg the size of Luxembourg has split off from the Antarctic continent and could disrupt global ocean patterns and weather systems for decades, according to scientists.

The Fashion of Taxidermied Vermin

taxidermy rp2.jpg taxidermy rp1.jpg

Avant-garde artist Reid Peppard has a line of bold fashion accessories for men and women. Actually, bold is putting it mildly. The fashion accessories are pieces of fashioned taxidermy crafted from road kill and pest controlled vermin. The mouse bow tie is a particularly powerful statement, I'd say.

Pages from Jim Woodring's Moleskine sketchbook

201002260853 Visit Jim Woodring's site for a close up look at his Moleskine sketchbook.


Taste Test: Umeboshi

4348125943_1d5780e9cf_o.jpg It's so sour that just looking at it makes you salivate. At least that's how the saying about umeboshi, or sour plum, goes. There's some truth in it, too — umeboshi has double the citric acid content of a lemon, so when you stick it in your mouth you can feel your cheeks suck into themselves. Nevertheless, Japanese people consume umeboshi often, not just to add flavor to things but straight up as a condiment with rice. Maybe it's because we believe that umeboshi has health benefits, like improving blood flow, helping digestion, and fighting bacteria. Or maybe because, when the red fruit is placed in the middle of a bento box full of white rice, it kind of looks like the Japanese flag.

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The brain and intelligence

You know what they say about people with big brains ... Or, actually, maybe you don't.

Despite being a major concept underlying of the neurobiology of intelligence for the last 150 years or so, the connection between brain size and smarts isn't well-understood by Joe and Jane Average.

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Road Trip Stop 3: Lowbrow Art Galleries, Los Angeles, California.

Ishkur, by Martin Wittfooth, 30" x 30", oil on panel. On exhibit at CoproGallery, Santa Monica, CA

I'm taking a road trip to points of interest in Southern California!

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UV-glowing skulls stamped onto thousands of pounds' worth of UK bank-notes

Shardcore sez, "For the last two years I've been stamping UV skulls on the Queen's face on all the money that I get out of the ATM. There's now thousands of pounds worth floating around the UK economy, visible only to bees and humans with a blacklight. Given the events in the world's economy over the last couple of years, it seems all the more (im)pertinent."

UK shopkeepers often keep a UV light by the till to check notes to ensure they're not counterfeit.


Schneier: CCTVs don't make us safer

Bruce Schneier has written an outstanding essay for CNN on why sticking CCTV cameras on every corner doesn't make us safer, and can make us less safe by opening us up to abuse, and by causing police resources to be misallocated. This is required reading for the twenty-first century. Bruce points out that where there's a specific threat in a specific place -- casinos worried about cheats, shops worried about shoplifters, parking garages worried about skulking muggers -- CCTVs have some use. But as a catch-all solution to crime, they just don't work well enough to justify their expense in resources and liberty.
Pervasive security cameras don't substantially reduce crime. This fact has been demonstrated repeatedly: in San Francisco, California, public housing; in a New York apartment complex; in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; in Washington; in study after study in both the U.S. and the U.K. Nor are they instrumental in solving many crimes after the fact.

There are exceptions, of course, and proponents of cameras can always cherry-pick examples to bolster their argument. These success stories are what convince us; our brains are wired to respond more strongly to anecdotes than to data. But the data are clear: CCTV cameras have minimal value in the fight against crime.

Although it's comforting to imagine vigilant police monitoring every camera, the truth is very different, for a variety of reasons: technological limitations of cameras, organizational limitations of police and the adaptive abilities of criminals. No one looks at most CCTV footage until well after a crime is committed. And when the police do look at the recordings, it's very common for them to be unable to identify suspects. Criminals don't often stare helpfully at the lens and -- unlike the Dubai assassins -- tend to wear sunglasses and hats. Cameras break far too often.

Spy cameras won't make us safer

Bruce Sterling explains "atemporality for artists"

Here's Bruce Sterling's speech at Transmediale, a talk on "atemporality for the creative artist," which explains what the net and technology have done to the idea of the history and the future. It's chunky stuff, exciting, and weird:

Now let me tell you how the atemporal Richard Feynman approaches this. The atemporal Richard Feynman is not very paper-friendly, because he lives in a network culture. So it occurs to the atemporal Feynman that he may, or may not, have a problem.

'Step one - write problem in a search engine, see if somebody else has solved it already. Step two - write problem in my blog; study the commentory cross-linked to other guys. Step three - write my problem in Twitter in a hundred and forty characters. See if I can get it that small. See if it gets retweeted. Step four - open source the problem; supply some instructables to get me as far as I've been able to get, see if the community takes it any further. Step five - start a Ning social network about my problem, name the network after my problem, see if anybody accumulates around my problem. Step six - make a video of my problem. Youtube my video, see if it spreads virally, see if any media convergence accumulates around my problem. Step seven - create a design fiction that pretends that my problem has already been solved. Create some gadget or application or product that has some relevance to my problem and see if anybody builds it. Step eight - exacerbate or intensify my problem with a work of interventionist tactical media. And step nine - find some kind of pretty illustrations from the Flickr 'Looking into the Past' photo pool.'

Atemporality for the Creative Artist (Thanks, p0dde)

Australia's chief censor redacts official website to downplay his role in censorship

Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy -- who has been responsible for pushing through Australia's national Internet censorship program -- has been caught censoring his own website: the script that creates a tag cloud of topics covered on his site had been modified to ignore any references to his censorship initiatives. This means that visitors to his site would not have an easy means of reading the Minister's statements in support of censorship, and anyone who relied on the tag-cloud to understand the Minister's agenda would have no way of knowing he'd been involved in the censorship initiative.
It was revealed today a script within the minister's homepage deliberately removes references to internet filtering from the list.

In the function that creates the list, or "tag cloud", there is a condition that if the words "ISP filtering" appear they should be skipped and not displayed.

The discovery is unlikely to do any favours for Senator Conroy's web filtering policy, which has been criticised for its secrecy.

Conroy's website removes references to filter (via /.)

Pentagon fesses up to 800 pages' worth of potentially illegal spying, including peace groups and Planned Parenthood

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has forced the Pentagon to release over 800 pages of classified material documenting "possibly illegal" spying during the Bush administration. The heavily redacted documents include details of a spying program against Planned Parenthood and white supremacist groups in the runup to the Atlanta Olympics, as well as spying on Alaskans for Peace and Justice, an anti-recruiting group, civilian cell phone conversations, and other breaches of spying laws.

The rubric of spying is that it needs to take place to stop people who are acting illegally or may act illegally. When spies break the law, they commit the infraction that they claim to have dedicated themselves to preventing.

Pertaining to the Planned Parenthood members, for example, the oversight report provides no explanation about how the information was collected. Nor does it indicate why the information was collected and notes only that military intelligence is not allowed to collect and disseminate information on U.S. persons unless the information constitutes "foreign intelligence." The report indicates that the collection was therefore "clearly outside the purview of military intelligence" and should have been handled by law enforcement.

Another oversight document discusses an incident involving the interception of civilian cellphone conversations of U.S. persons in April 2007. During a field exercise at Fort Polk, Louisiana, a Signals Intelligence noncommissioned officer operating a SIGINT collection system intercepted the cell phone calls, though the document doesn't indicate if they were intercepted on U.S. soil or outside U.S. borders.

Initial reports indicated that the officer listened to the conversations for entertainment purposes, and the incident was reported to the National Security Agency. But the inspector-general document indicates that the officer never admitted to this and indicates only that he may have listened to some conversations "longer than necessary to do his job."

Military Monitored Planned Parenthood, Supremacists

Pentagon Discloses Hundreds of Reports of Possibly Illegal Intelligence Activities

(Image: Planned Parenthood Fan Page Profile Photo, a Creative Commons Attribution photo from cambodia4kidsorg's photostream)

Bollywood music video set in Walt Disney World, 1977

Avi sez, "The 1977 Bollywood hit 'Dreamgirl' featured a song shot in Walt Disney World. Hema Malini plays the surreal scenes with stately aplomb."

Z.O.M.F.G. What a video! Vintage WDW footage (my first visit was in 1977), including lost loves like the Skybuckets, along with beautiful Bollywood crooning. Heaven.

Dream Girl - Duniya Ke Log (Thanks, Avi!)

Massive Arduino-and-solenoid percussion array controlled by a Wiimote

Patrick Flanagan is a one-man band who performs under the name "Jazari," with a giant, elaborate, solenoid-and-Arduino-driven percussion range that's controlled by Wiimote, letting him conduct it like a mad wizard as it whirls and thunders. And the music is fully rockin'.

JAZARI (via Beyond the Beyond)

School administrator boasts to PBS about his laptop spying

Scott sez,

A few weeks ago, Frontline premiered a documentary called "Digital Nation". In one segment, the vice-principle of Intermediate School 339, Bronx, NY, Dan Ackerman, demonstrates how he "remotely monitors" the students' laptops for "inappropriate use". (his demonstration begins at 4:36)

He says "They don't even realize we are watching," "I always like to mess with them and take a picture," and "9 times out of 10, THEY DUCK OUT OF THE WAY."

He says the students "use it like it's a mirror" and he watches. He says 6th and 7th graders have their cameras activated. It looks like the same software used by the Pennsylvania school that is being investigated for covertly spying on students through their webcams.

The shocking thing about this is that the privacy concerns were not even mentioned in the Frontline documentary!

This is pretty amazing footage -- especially (as Scott notes) the absence of any questions about student privacy from the interviewer. I keep trying to imagine what my education would have been like if all my conversations, reading, doodling, writing, etc, had been monitored, in real time, by my teachers. I had great teachers, and I trusted them and confided in them and they taught me well. But if they had had this degree of oversight into my every personal detail, I think it would have killed any intellectual curiosity, any trust, any real learning. What kind of educator thinks that this is a good practice? Certainly no teacher's union I know would put up with principals and administrators putting this kind of surveillance into their lives.

I don't know for sure, but I have a suspicion that being a kid today would absolutely suck.

How Google Saved A School (Thanks, Scott!)

Disney stop-motion post-it animation

This little stop-motion video from Walt Disney World (promoting a volunteerism campaign for their employees) is adorable -- very nice and snappy use of the post-its beyond the one-minute mark.

'Mickey Notes' - Disney Parks Celebrates Volunteering

Sometimes, I am easily amused That is all. (Thanks Aaron!)

YouTube will not block Amy Greenfield's video art

Kurt Opsahl at the EFF shares good news about those disputed videos by artist Amy Greenfield: "YouTube responded to the letter from EFF and the National Coalition Against Censorship by doing just what we asked. They state: "We have re-reviewed your videos and have reinstated them with an age gate." This is good news, and YouTube is to be commended for correcting its error."

Glorkian Warrior: help James Kochalka (and Pixeljam) make his first game

glorkianWarriorGame01.png Cory mentioned this briefly the other day, but I thought I'd give a longer look (not least with the hi-res concept art James passed on) at Glorkian Warrior, a videogame concept Kochalka -- best known for his daily American Elf strips, as well as his Monster Mii and Superf*ckers Review comics for Offworld -- has had kicking around for several years now. So many years, in fact, that it was originally planned as a homebrew Game Boy Advance release in collaboration with hobbyist coders. Kochalka's recent performance at NYC's monthly chiptune show Pulsewave (where he performed tracks from his latest Game Boy music album Digital Elf) led to a fortuitous meeting with Mark DeNardo, frequent musical collaborator with web-game powerhouse duo Pixeljam, who mentioned that said indie devs might be interested in working with Kochalka to finally realize his space platformer vision -- a vision he's quietly been hinting at with his gallery work, right under your nose (and, more literally, mine).

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Andrew Koenig found dead

The body of Andrew Koenig was found in a park in Vancouver, Canada today. His father (Star Trek's Walter Koenig, "Chekov"), mother, family, and many friends had been searching for him since he went missing on February 14. He suffered from clinical depression. From the bio published on his father's website:
koeniglg.jpg Andrew performs at The Improv and is the video producer for Never Not Funny, and has had roles in the movies NonSeNse, InAlienable, The Theory of Everything, Batman: Dead End, and on television in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine",. "G.I. Joe", "My Two Dads", "21 Jump Street", "My Sister Sam", and "Adam-12". He's edited over a dozen films and directed, produced, and written many others.

Andrew has been an activist his entire life and most recently has been working on behalf of the people of Burma, and was arrested during the 2008 Rose Bowl parade for protesting American involvement in China's Olympics due to China's support of the Burma military regime.

I did not know him personally, but knew his work, and know friends of his who are in agony at his loss. What a beautiful person he was. My condolences to those he leaves behind.

Update: Koenig's family addressed the press shortly after this announcement was made. "My son took his own life," said Walter Koenig.

Update: Jesse Thorn of The Sound of Young America says,

One small correction, which I think has been misreported elsewhere: Andrew performed improv comedy at the Improv Olympic (aka the IO West), not the Improv (the standup club).

Yes, I'll honor the f---ing embargo

embargoth.jpg This internet video captures perfectly what folks like your faithful Boing Boing editors go through many times a day. Hewn of win: "I will honor the embargo for the rest of my life because i have no intention of writing about it."

Embargoes, by London-based tech writer Steve O'Hear.