Boing Boing 

Facebook patents the feed

Facebook was awarded a major patent for "Dynamically providing a news feed about a user of a social network" this week. Details here. (via Dave Winer)

Floppy disc pillow

022510_tf_floppypillow2.jpg I am normally not attracted to pillows that look like gadgets, but there is something very endearing about this smiling floppy disc with rosy cheeks. It's $18.

Link (via Geeksugar)

March 16, 1946 cover of The New Yorker


I like this cover from a 1946 edition of The New Yorker.

RIP: Old-school electro great Chilly B (of '80s "Wikki Wikki" band Newcleus)

Bob "Chilly B" Crafton, founding member of the influential 80's electro/hip-hop band Newcleus, passed away this week from complications associated with a stroke. He died at age 47.

chillybth.jpg The stroke had left him brain dead and in a coma. On Tuesday, February 23rd the decision was made to remove him from life support and he passed on not long after. Chilly B's signature moments were his classic verse from "Jam On It", his funky bass guitar licks from "Jam On Revenge (The Wikki Wikki Song)", and his booming deep vocal and sizzling synthesizer solo from "Computer Age (Push The Button)". In recent years he was involved in independent production, including working on a new Newcleus album, and touring with Newcleus. He is survived by his wife Valerie and his sons Justin, Jason, Joshua and Isaiah.
More: Jam On Productions, CosmicRock, Cold Crush, Amoeba Records, and OldSchoolHipHop (with word from his fellow Newcleus bandmate Cosmo D). A very sad day in hip-hop history (via Steve Nalepa).

Cash graffiti


"Assassination," by Joe D. There's a "Defaced Presidents" Flickr pool, and this website has selected 30 sweet examples of the craft. I am fond of iGeorge. (via Eric Steuer).

Lose your job, lose your life: trauma of being laid off can include health problems

In the NYT, a terribly sad article about a series of deaths among steel mill workers who were laid off, with little hope for gainful re-employment. The trauma of losing your job, studies show, can have a powerful negative effect on your health. The story's all the more tragic when you consider the large and ever-growing numbers of capable but unemployed men and women in the US, just like the men in this story.

Bahrain will expel tens of thousands of undocumented workers

The labor ministry in Bahrain announces it will expel half of the country's 41,000 "illegal workers," in an attempt to stem an overpopulation of foreigners.

California's Pot Wars: a REASON video exploration

Nick Gillespie of Reason hosts "Pot Wars: Battleground California," a 9-minute online mini-documentary about the exploding medical marijuana industry in Los Angeles. By some estimates, there are about 800 dispensaries open for business in LA, and the labyrinthine history of legal conflict is an epic mess.

Light Art Performance Photography

dana maltby 3_Small.jpgdana maltby 2_Small.jpgMinneapolis/St.Paul based artist Dana Maltby uses a open shutter and a slew of colored lights to create some fascinating images that he calls "light art performance photography." All images are straight from the camera, no photoshop, no computer manipulation at all; not even cropping or adjusting.

Here is a link to a video that shows how he makes light paintings

Golden-age computer manual encourages you to break DRM, rants against EULAs

David sez, "I recently found a copy of the computer manual that came with my family's first computer in 1983. Not only is it humorously written, but it also rants against EULAs and recommends circumventing software copy protection to make personal backups of programs you lawfully purchased. I can't imagine a computer manual today that would declare 'Make that copy!'"

What he said. This is awesome computer documentation from a golden and innocent era when Apple computers shipped with schematics so you could modify and improve them, when hobbyists sent code to Byte magazine to be published so other hobbyists could type it in, and when Logo turtles roamed the land, pen-downing innocent floors with geometric patterns.

The Ace 100 manual goes on to describe three categories of crooks in the computer world. The first category is "Them," the computer salespeople who overhype their products with advertising gimmicks. The second category is "You." Franklin isn't actually calling you a crook, but they say that software manufacturers will treat you like one:
They Don't Make Computer Manuals Like They Used To (Thanks, David!)

New Orleans ex-cop pleads guilty to massive coverup in shooting of 6 unarmed citizens

From "Admitting a cover-up of shocking breadth, a former New Orleans police supervisor pleaded guilty to a federal obstruction charge on Wednesday, confessing that he participated in a conspiracy to justify the shooting of six unarmed people after Hurricane Katrina that was hatched not long after police stopped firing their weapons."

Comedy: the people who expect us to fix their computers

This week's Search Engine video podcast: "The Luddite," a brief, comedic monologue about the people who expect us to fix their computers while they patronize us and ignore our explanations.7

JESSE BROWN: The Luddite (Thanks, Jesse!)

False negatives as an advertising tactic

When I come across one of those little "drop card" ads that look like someone has dropped a $100 bill on the ground, I promise myself never to do business with that company. Such false positives are common. Sleestak of "Lady, That's My Skull," discusses the opposite deceptive advertising tactic, the false negative.
One of the tactics to trick the public into noticing an ad or promotion is what I term the False Negative.

The False Negative is becoming more pervasive over the last several years and violates one of my rules when it comes to purchasing: If a lie is needed to get me to purchase a product then I will never, ever buy it.


I initially noticed it a few years ago while gassing up my car. The pump beeps with a descending tone, the opposite of the usual higher-pitching rising and happier sound of a successful transaction, prompting me to investigate by looking at the pump display screen. Where one would expect a message reminding me to choose a grade of gas instead would be an advertisement for refreshments or a car wash. This is a tactic in up-selling I expect that will decrease in effectiveness over time... One could only cry wolf only so many times before it is ignored.

The False Negative

Acoustapus: glowing found-object octopus sculpture

Artist Nemo Gould is selling this stupendous octo-sculpture he made out of a found guitar and other bits: "The sculpture hovers off the wall about six inches allowing the florescent bulbs installed within to bathe the wall with green light."

Acoustapus 2010 (44" x 51" x 20") (via Super Punch)

Multitool in a carabiner

I really like the look of the Guppie multitool, which turns a carabiner into a multidriver, adjustable wrench and utility knife (there's even a pocket-clip that doubles as a money-clip if you want to carry it in a front pocket). Hell, it's even got a flashlight! And a bottle opener! I haven't tried it (I've been scared off of carrying anything with a blade by the fear that it could be used as a pretence for some Orwellian shakedown if I'm stopped by the cops here in London), but I want it.

Columbia River Knife and Tool 9070 Guppie Black and Grey Multitool (via Core 77)

Happy Sesquicentennial: The Chemical History of a Candle

I propose to bring before you, in the course of these lectures, the Chemical History of a Candle. There is no better, there is no more open door by which you can enter into the study of natural philosophy than by considering the physical phenomena of a candle.--Michael Faraday, introduction to lecture 1
This is my all time favorite DIY science book. 150 years ago, the great Faraday (and I do mean great; I don't believe there has been an experimental scientist of his ability since) gave a series of lectures for school children at London's Royal Institution. In six lectures he explained many mysteries of chemistry and physics using a wax candle and some very simple props. The text for all six lectures are available for free online. I am still looking for an online edition that contains the drawings, which are pretty important.IMG_1663_Small.JPG

The Onion gets it right

I laughed at the Onion headline, "Paleontologists: 'We've been looking at dinosaurs upside down'". Then, Marc Abrahams, editor of the Annals of Improbable Research, pointed me toward the true story of the 19th-century paleontologist who really did put a dinosaur together backwards. Hilarity ensues.

Sounds from space


If you've read our feature story up today about NASA's Cassini space probe, then you know about Don Gurnett, a University of Iowa scientists whose research includes recording and analyzing sound waves from space.

You can listen online to some of Gurnett's favorite space sounds—including a Dawn Chorus recorded from Earth's radiation belt—and watch animations that pair the sound with spectrogram visualizations of the waves. Very cool stuff!

Image courtesy Flickr user Gidzy, via CC

ACTA chat tomorrow

I'm doing a live chat tomorrow (Friday) for Internet Evolution about my latest ACTA article at 11AM Eastern/8AM Pacific/4PM UK.

UK petition for ACTA transparency

We, the undersigned, petition the (UK) Prime Minister to Make public the details and text of the ACTA agreement, its our internet, our WWW.

Which supplements really work? An interactive guide to evidence


BoingBoing isn't the only place trying out new design ideas today. Information is Beautiful has given us an exclusive preview of a new interactive infographic, designed to make it easy for anybody to parse the data on dietary supplements.

Each bubble represents a specific use—or group of uses—for a dietary supplement. The bigger the bubble, the more popular the supplement is, as measured in Google hits. The higher on the chart, the more solid the evidence supporting that particular supplement for that particular use.

David from IiB reviewed nearly 1000 studies to put this baby together, using studies with large numbers of subjects or meta analysis of multiple studies whenever possible. You can read more about the methodology on the site. Great work!

Still image version also available.

ACTA leak: Now we know who is against transparency - USA, Korea, Singapore, Denmark

Michael Geist sez, "Throughout the debate over ACTA [ed: a secret, unprecedented copyright treaty that the public isn't able to see or participate in] transparency, many countries have taken public positions that they support release of the actual text, but that other countries do not. Since full transparency requires consensus of all the ACTA partners, the text simply can't be released until everyone is in agreement. Of course, those same countries hasten to add that they can't name who opposes ACTA transparency, since that too is secret. No longer. In an important new leak from the Netherlands, a Dutch memorandum reporting back on the Mexico ACTA negotiation round names names, pointing specifically to which countries support releasing the text and which do not. At the top of the no-transparency list: the U.S., South Korea, Singapore, and Denmark."

Hey, Danes, Koreans and Singaporeans! Get cracking on this -- time to call your elected reps, get all the heavies you know to pull strings, have your press jump on the issue. Why are your governments opposed to public participation in a treaty that will regulate the Internet, and all we do on it, from political participation (OhMyNews Korea, I'm looking at you!) to heath care (hey, Denmark!) to staying in touch with our families around the world (Yo, Singaporean diaspora!).

New ACTA Leak: U.S., Korea, Singapore, Denmark Do Not Support Transparency (Thanks, Michael and Herman!)

Cory speaking at Ignite London, Mar 2

I'm speaking at the next Ignite London, on Mar 2. It's a free event; other speakers include Russell Davies, talking about Newspaper Club, and 16 others presenting on topics as varied as the Hacker/Maker Revolution, The History of Colour and The Journey of a Metal Jew. Lots of other Ignites in the UK: Cardiff, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool; and all over the world as part of Global Ignite Week.

Librivox free audiobook publisher fundraising drive

Hugh sez, "LibriVox, makers of free public domain audiobooks, has launched a fund-raising campaign to help pay for servers and other sundry costs. LibriVox is the most prolific audiobook publisher in the world, putting out 75-100 books a month, all free, all public domain, all volunteer-read. The catalog currently stands at 3,179 books, in 29 languages."

They're after $20K, to pay for the servers, a site redesign, and a new back-end, and they say it'll last them for three years. I love the Librivox catalog, and this sounds like a good investment in its future. I kicked in $100.

We're asking for donations for the following:

  • to cover hosting costs for our website (about $5,000/year)*, which includes:
    • the site you are reading now;
    • the forum;
    • the wiki;
    • the catalog;
    • a whole lot of back-end software to host and process audio before it goes to the Internet Archive
    • but does NOT include hosting audio files which is done by
  • to redesign the site and improve its accessibility
  • to make the LibriVox catalog easier for listeners to use
  • to make the management software easier for admins to use

We expect this fund-raising drive to sustain us for three years at least.

LibriVox Needs Your Help (Thanks, Hugh!)

Giant Google infographic

The Pingdom folks have cooked up a massive infographic of facts and figures pertaining to Google's business, technology and operations.

Google facts and figures (massive infographic) (Thanks, Peter!)

Quake III for Android

Holy awesome, Quake 3 for Android! Did I mention that my wife is an internationally ranked Quake champ (seriously, she played on the first UK team)? I think I just lost my spouse for a week. (via /.)

Nikola Tesla's letterhead, slathered in awesome lightningsauce

(Thanks, Marilyn!)

Juggalo News, from the Insane Clown Posse dimension

Juggalo News is a newscast from an alternate universe in which Insane Clown Posse fans are the mainstream and rule the world. You know what, before this newscast, I would have called that hell on Earth, but now I feel a curious longing for it. The boundless capacity of Juggalos to form portmanteaux using cuss-words, such as "Thugnuts," "Murderbitch" and "Herculeez B Pussyfiend" is unexpectedly and enduringly funny.

Juggalo News (via JWZ)

RIP, Hummer

Having failed to sell the Hummer brand off to a Chinese car manufacturer, GM is shutting it down. This car was like the high-fructose corn syrup of automobiles, something that concentrated everything bad about motoring until it underwent a phase-change and somehow became an object of desire.
"We have since considered a number of possibilities for Hummer along the way and we are disappointed that the deal with Tengzhong could not be completed," said John Smith, GM's vice-president of corporate planning and alliances.

"GM will now work closely with Hummer employees, dealers and suppliers to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner."

Hummer brand to be wound down after sale fails (via Memex 1.1)

(Image: Hummer limousine, a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike image from Franco Folini's photostream)

HackBook Air

Forget bulky netbooks: Gino Punsalan's worked out how to make a HackBook Air that lacks only the mic and multitouch gestures. [Shanzai]