Lost steampunk coaster of Disneyland Paris

Former Disney Imagineer Thom Shillinger has posted tantalizing details of a never-built steampunk rollercoaster that he helped design for Disneyland Paris:
These sketches reflected a way to clad up the coaster to look like it was made by the natives. I also had a few variation on themes. I have a Jules Verne look with button tuffed pillows, as well as a Wright Brothers space frame seat look along with ones built from wreaked ship parts. FUN project that never was produced.
e-Ticket Paris 1997

Project "Meadow" WDI (via The Disney Blog)

Sugar Information explains how sugar won't make you fat

The good folks at Sugar Information want you to know the facts: Sugar is GOOD FOOD! After all, if sugar was bad for you, then all those kids who eat all that sugar would be getting obese! That'll never happen.

If sugar is fattening, how come so many kids are thin?

Fox News advocates shutting down public libraries

When I give talks to library groups, I always finish by reminding librarians that they're powerful advocates for fair use and privacy, because "you look like a total jerk when you criticize librarians."

Case in point: this Fox Chicago piece proposing that Illinois shut down its library system:

But keeping libraries running costs big money. In Chicago, the city pumps $120 million a year into them. In fact, a full 2.5 percent of our yearly property taxes go to fund them.

That's money that could go elsewhere - like for schools, the CTA, police or pensions

One of the nation's biggest and busiest libraries is the $144-million Harold Washington Library in the Loop. It boasts a staggering 5,000 visitors a day!.

I also always open my library talks with a joke: "You know, with library budgets on the chopping block and Wall Street thriving, there's only one answer: securitize bonds based on library fines!"

Once again, Fox comes through:

We know we spend a lot on them. But libraries do bring in some revenue: more than $2 million in fines is collected annually by Chicago public libraries.
Are Libraries Necessary, or a Waste of Tax Money? (Thanks, Scott!)

(Image: St. Thomas Public Library, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from bluefootedbooby's photostream)

Crocheted R2D2 Hat

Etsy seller Craftandcrochet has crocheted R2D2 beanies, made to order. I wonder if you can get a yarmulke version?

Crochet Robot Droid Hat (Thanks, JMD!)

Russian super-spies sucked at IT

Those Russky superspies they busted? Turns out they were total IT noobs, and their helpdesk was staffed by a grumpy bastard who just kept repeating, "Have you turned it off and on again?"

The spy ring had numerous technical problems, including file transfers that hung and wouldn't go through and difficulty replacing laptops when necessary. In one case, an agent was so frustrated by laptop issues that she unwittingly turned it over to an undercover FBI agent.

In another case, replacing a laptop took more than two months. A suspect bought an Asus Eee PC 1005HA-P netbook, flew with it to Rome, picked up a passport in another name, flew on to Moscow and returned with it -- a process that took from January this year to March. Presumably Moscow headquarters configured the device.

When the courier spy delivered it to another suspect, he described what to do if the laptop had problems. "...if this doesn't work we can meet again in six months," one suspect was overheard saying to another, "they don't understand what we go through over here."

Pironti says spies try to use off-the-shelf hardware and software so they don't have to rely on their spymasters for replacements, and with the possible exception of the steganography application, this ring could have done that.

One of the technical issues the ring faced was described by one suspect in a message to Moscow reporting on a meeting between two spies "A" and "M": "Meeting with M went as planned ... A passed to M laptop, two flash drives, and $9K in cash. From what M described, the problem with his equipment is due to his laptop "hanging"/"freezing" before completion of the normal program run."

Russian spy ring needed some serious IT help (via /.)

Apple is hiring iPhone antenna engineers. I wonder why.

apple-job-search-antenna-engineers.jpg Engadget reported this morning that Apple is hiring iPhone/iPad antenna engineers. Now Gizmodo has posted images from the first class action lawsuit against Apple and AT&T for general negligence and design defects, among other things. I just got the new iPhone4 last week after five years with a non-smart T-mobile handset; even though I'd heard of dropped calls and bad reception before, it's really something else to experience it first-hand. Calls really just drop! And it's ridiculous that I have to try not to hold the phone a certain way when I'm using it.

Twilight Eclipse as 8-bit interactive YouTube video game

Here's an 8-bit, Nintendo-esque homage to the Twilight Saga movie, Eclipse, which opened today to relatively lousy reviews. I think this interactive YouTube game might be more entertaining than the film. Watch the video, and choose which action the character should take by clicking on the option you want. Then, a new video loads with the next step in the interactive narrative. It's pretty neat.

Video Link, for part 1 of the story.

(thanks, Mark Day!).

Steampunk Ghostbusters tribute: "Whom Shall You Telegram?"

This olde-tyme silent movie steampunk homage to Ghostbusters is spectacular.

It's a commercial of sorts for a Victorian-themed ghost removal service known as League of STEAM (Supernatural and Troublesome Ectoplasmic Apparition Management). You gotta love the tinkly piano tribute to the 1984 film's theme. What fun.

(thanks, Porkchop!)

Oh my God look at these giant balls! Of hail, which fell in Bozeman, MT, today.


Boing Boing reader Andy Meehan sent us this amazing photograph of hail that fell in Bozeman, MT today. Yuks aside, that's an amazing hail storm. Andy says there was a huge amount of property damage and lots of broken windows, which I am sorry to hear. Hope everyone's doing okay.

Foursquare cared a lot more about $20M than your privacy


Ryan Singel at Wired News has been covering the story of reported breaches of privacy for Foursquare users, and the company's horrible (and horribly slow) response to the matter. It all started on June 20, when the startup received an unsolicited message from a white-hat hacker: it was leaking user data on a massive scale, and violating its own privacy policy:

The company asked the white hat, Jesper Andersen, to give it nine days to deal with the problem that it was publishing all users’ location data to the entire web despite its privacy-policy promise to users that “You can opt out of such broadcasts through your privacy settings.”

At the same time, the company was wrapping up a protracted and very public finance round that stalled for a while as the company reportedly almost sold itself to Facebook.

So when the nine days were up, the company told Andersen in a private e-mail Tuesday morning that it had fixed the “privacy leak” (the company’s own words) by modifying how an existing privacy setting worked, and that it had no solution yet for two other privacy holes that Andersen also reported, saying it was trying to figure out how to balance usability with privacy.

As for its blog, the only thing the company disclosed Tuesday was that it had closed a monster round of financing: $20 million in venture capital from some of the hottest investors in the country. Nor did the company contact users to tell them that it had found and sort-of fixed a hole in its service that violated the promises it had made to users.

Foursquare Puts Money Before Privacy (Wired News)

Woot CEO's note on Amazon acquisition may be best "We Got Bought!" email ever


"I know I say this every time I find a picture of an adorable kitten, but please set aside 20 minutes to carefully read this entire email."

The news is out that Amazon will be acquiring Woot.com. CEO Matt Rutledge wrote what may be the funniest "our company has been purchased" mass-email ever in the history of such emails. (via Nat Torkington)

Image: Apelad's Pac Man Twitter avatar


It's not the first or even the second time he's done a gaming themed take on the default twitter-bird, but it is the most interpretive and therefore kind of the best. Pac Man Twitter Avatar [Adam 'Apelad' Koford]

Image: Nintendo of Japan's Mario tease

clubnintendomariotees.jpg Andriasang has closeups of a line of wicked customizable Mario Ts (that chain-chomped heart!) meant solely for members of Japan's official Club Nintendo, and on the same day Tiny Cartridge spots a new ltd. ed. line of Super Nintendo shirts from King of Games/editmode, which have a far better chance of showing up in their English store.

Shadow play: Sony enters the shadow-game ring with echochrome ii

It all started -- it should be noted -- with Steve Swink and Scott Anderson's Shadow Physics, revealed at the Game Developers Conference's Experimental Gameplay Sessions in 2009, and still in production at their upstart studio Enemy Airship (as yet offline, but already with this amazing logo designed by Phil Fish). After that came Lost in Shadow, Hudson's own upcoming fantasy/storybook platforming take on shadow-play. And now, spotted very briefly at E3 in Sony's PlayStation Network reel, but now shining in a stronger light on their PlayStation.Blog, is echochrome ii, an upcoming downloadable that'll use the PlayStation Move motion controls as a flashlight to modify the game's cast shadows to solve yet more puzzle/platforming levels. Sony's take does, to be fair, appear to be a logical next step from their original optical-illusion puzzler echochrome, but it is a curious case of Hundredth Monkey game design, and will be interesting to see how each makes its own mark as they all come to market.

Vuvuzela symphony planned at BP headquarters


This might be the best Kickstarter project ever.

BP is not feeling the pain they are causing in the Gulf. BP is spending millions on PR. In order to put a bit of public pressure on them, we plan to buy 100 vuvuzelas and hire 100 vuvuzela players off Craigslist to play in front of BP's International Headquarters in London for an entire work day. Ideally, the players will keep coming back every day until they fix the gusher.

1 St James's Square
London, SW1Y 4PD

Budget: $2,000 = $1,000 for the vuvuzela protest ; $1,000 for the Gulf Disaster Fund

Budget is set at $2000 for now, which will be enough to buy 100 vuvuzelas at $6.50 a pop (plus shipping), and leave some left for hiring some people to manage the crowds. Hopefully (and likely) we can find people to play for free (plus they get a free vuvuzela). In which case, we'll use the remaining funds to buy more vuvuzelas and find even more players.

Vuvuzelas for BP (Thanks, Shawn!)