Boing Boing 

Boing Boing's live coverage of Apple event Wednesday, Sep. 1, 10am PT

Apple is holding an invite-only press event Wednesday, September 1, in San Francisco. Above, a snip from the invitation that went out to journalists. If only we had some clue what this is all about? Look at that guitar. Just look at it. It's trying to tell us something. What does it mean?

Anyway, Boing Boing will be represented, and we'll be providing some sort of live color commentary from the goat rodeo.

Apple is live-streaming this one, for the first time in many years, too—so you can watch along from wherever you are at As long as you aren't using a Windows box or an Android phone:

"Viewing requires either a Mac running Safari on Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard, an iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 3.0 or higher, or an iPad."
Do join us in the morning. I'll be there in person, and Rob will no doubt be lending his acerbic wit and gadget-savvy to make our coverage worth tuning in to.

Nagoya COP10 Primer #3: with a small reference to LOL cats

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(Continuing on from previous primers: 1. Star Wars | 2. Kevin Bacon)

O.K. now on to business... Here are the Convention on Biological Diversity's three basic objectives:

1. The conservation of biological diversity

2. The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity

3. The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources

They also have - or had rather - a goal, a biodiversity target, which was the following:

In April 2002, the Parties to the Convention committed themselves to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.

This was also the reason why 2010 was proclaimed as the International Year of Biodiversity.

Read the rest

Can crowdsourcing produce funny humor pieces? The next step

In case you missed it, here is the set up.

And from the comments from that previous post, there were many great titles. Some lend themselves more to an essay type humour piece, whereas others were just funny as one-liners. It was tough choosing, but I'm going to go with two titles. One is a tweak, but seems to involve a subject matter near and dear to Boing Boing readers, plus should be good for a funny list (from edthehippie). The other seemed to win the popularity contest, and is definitely a title with great potential and hopefully providing some creative space for folks who like to write a little more than one sentence (from artiefx0).

Anyway, without further ado, here are the titles!




Game on! (Note: please use the keyword "unicorn" or "awesome" to let me know which piece your comment is alluding to).

Flying robot hand wants your beer

This flying drone possesses a rubbery hand that can swipe your beer if you're not watchful. (Technology Review via Bruce Sterling)

Frankenmascot: all the cereal mascots in one

Jon sez, "What do you get when you combine just about every breakfast cereal character you know into one magnificent being? Something that's part Cap'n Crunch, part Sugar Bear, and 14 other parts. Can you name them all?"

The creator is selling prints of this frankenmascot, too!

FREE Thing Included! (Thanks, Jon, via Submitterator!)

Pizza oven as hellmouth

From This is Pizza's review of Marcello Pizzeria & Ristorante in Vancouver, BC, this magnificent pizza-oven/hellmouth (thanks to Makeblog for the hellmouth comparison!).

Impressions: Marcello Pizzeria & Ristorante (via Neatorama)

Flurb 10: Rudy Rucker's glorious sf webzine

Hurrah! Rudy Rucker's just posted the Fall/Winter issue of his glorious sf webzine Flurb, with a wicked contributor list: "Armstrong, Ashby, Byrne, Callaway, Goonan, Hendrix, Hogan, Kek, Laidlaw, Metzger, Newitz, Rucker, Saknussemm, Scholz, Shirley, Sterling, Watson."

Flurb 10

As drug violence escalates, entire length of US-Mexico border to be patrolled by unmanned drones

[Image courtesy General Atomics. An artist's rendition of Predator B, the unmanned aerial drone patrolling the US-Mexico border for human and drug trafficking, and other threats.]

Beginning this Wednesday, the entire 2,000 miles of border between the United States and Mexico will be patrolled by unmanned aerial drones. Three drones are already patrolling portions of that border, and a fourth Predator begins operations tomorrow out of Corpus Christi, TX, completing the full stretch of la frontera.

The news came in a Department of Homeland Security announcement yesterday, along with word that 1,200 additional National Guard troops will be deployed "to provide intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, and immediate support to counternarcotics enforcement."

Those Predator B drones are made by military contractor General Atomics. You can read more about the drone specs here at the General Atomics website, and download a PDF here. Snip from Reuters:

They carry equipment including sophisticated day and night vision cameras that operators use to detect drug and human smugglers, and can stay aloft for up to 30 hours at a time.
All of this is part of $600 million legislation signed by President Obama earlier this month to increase border security before midterm elections in November, and in response to the ever-escalating drug war in Mexico. Just today, at least 8 people were killed when attackers hurled Molotov cocktails into a bar in Cancun, a popular tourist destination. The attack is presumed to be cartel-related.

And a major drug kingpin nicknamed "The Barbie" for his light complexion was arrested this week— his takedown is seen as a badly-needed public relations coup for the Mexican government, as successive waves of horrific news hit the country.

Perhaps the most gruesome of those recent revelations was the discovery just last week of a mass grave filled with 72 murdered migrants, including a pregnant woman, who were all executed by a dominant cartel, the Zetas.

The incident took place just 100 miles from the US border.

Read the rest

Brian McCarty's book of art toy photos

 Store Arttoys Full Cover
We've featured Brian McCarty's terrific toy photography many times on Boing Boing. He's a master at setting a perfect scene and using just the right perspective to trick me into thinking that the strange vinyl characters on my shelf come alive when I'm not looking. Brian's photos are now collected in a wonderful hardcover book appropriately titled Art-Toys. The book includes more than 100 photos, each on its own page, featuring toys designed by Mark Ryden, Gama-Go, Frank Kozik, FriendsWithYou, Tim Biskup, Amanda Visell, Attaboy, and dozens of other artists. BB pal Douglas Rushkoff wrote the intro. I really dig the back-of-the-book "behind-the-scenes" snapshots that reveal the time, detail, and love that goes into every one of Brian's photos. Art-Toys by Brian McCarty (Amazon)

Mystery of the Albino Redwoods

KQED's QUEST looks at the ultra-rare albino redwood trees: "Only a few dozen albino redwood trees are known to exist. They are genetic mutants that lack the chlorophyll needed for photosynthesis. But how and why they survive is a scientific mystery." Albino Redwoods, Ghosts of the Forest

Brain surgery c. 2000 BCE

Archaeologists at Ikiztepe, Turkey unearthed two glass obsidian blades they believe were used for neurosurgery 4,000 years ago. Why do they think these were tools for Bronze Age brain surgery? Because they found scarred skulls there too. New Scientist interviewed excavation director Önder Bilgi:
 Data Images Ns Cms Mg20727750.200 Mg20727750.200-1 300 What makes you think they were used for surgery?

We have found traces of cuts on skulls in a nearby graveyard. Out of around 700 skulls, 14 have these marks. They could only have been cut with a very sharp tool. At this time, 4000 years ago or more, it could only have been an obsidian blade. The cut marks show that a blade was used to make a rectangular opening all the way through the skull. We know that patients lived at least two to three years after the surgery, because the skull has tried to close the wound.

Have you uncovered any clues to why this surgery was performed?

There seem to be three main reasons. The first is to relieve the pressure of a brain haemorrhage; we found traces of blood on the inside of some of the skulls. The second is to treat patients with brain cancer, as we can see pressure traces from the cancer inside some of the skulls. And the final reason was to treat head injuries, which seem to have been quite common. The people of Ikiztepe got their copper from mines in the local mountains, and we think they had to fight other local people for access to it.

"Scalpels and skulls point to Bronze Age brain surgery"

My quest to recreate one of the best things I've ever tasted: omusoba

(Click all photos to embiggen)

Behind the gate of this shrine in Kyoto, I ate something delicious.

There was a festival going on at the time.

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More cool rolling shutter effects

Last week, Mark posted a shot of a boy blinking in a photo but with his eyes open in a reflection.

In the comments, several people explained that this was a rolling shutter effect. You can get something similar panning many DLSR cameras too quickly back and forth, causing a "jello" effect on solid objects. Commenter knodi shared a still of his propeller showing the same effect. You can get the same trippy effect in video based on the frame rate, as seen in Steve Talkowski's video above.

Superman's Cleveland roots

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Cleveland, Ohio is slowly starting to honor its most important son. No, not Drew Carey (although BB loves him too). In 1933, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, two boys from Jewish immigrant families who lived in the Glenville neighborhood of Cleveland, created Superman. This month, Smithsonian magazine tells the story behind the superhero, and what some citizens are doing to show their pride. The image above, from Jim Bowers/, is a fence at the address of Joe Shuster's old house. From Smithsonian:
Shortly after Siegel and Shuster died in the 1990s, a... struggle for recognition of Superman’s creators took place in Cleveland. Michael Sangiacomo, a comic books critic and a reporter for Cleveland's The Plain Dealer, called on the city to honor Siegel and Shuster. Nothing came of it. Every few years he would trot the idea out again, writing an article calling on Cleveland to honor the pair. “I pointed out that the Siegel house was here [the home of Joe Shuster had been torn down], and that is the home of Superman, and the city should do something.”

In his will, Siegel asked that half of his ashes be donated to the city of Cleveland; his widow also wanted to donate some of his belongings to the city, such as his typewriter. She visited Cleveland to find a home for them, and Sangiacomo escorted her around town. “Nobody wanted them,” he remembers. “It was a low point. I felt horrible for her and mad at the city...”

Sangiacomo and (comic writer Brad) Meltzer decided to raise money to restore the house. Melzer uploaded a video of himself at the house that went viral. He followed by sponsoring an auction of comics-related art, raising over $100,000 in the process. Sangiacomo and Meltzer formed the nonprofit Siegel and Shuster Society, and asked the Glenville Community Development Corporation to take charge of restoring the house, in partnership with the Grays.

Cleveland, the True Birthplace of Superman

Wikileak-proofing the Pentagon

"By hunting for poker-like "tells" in people's use of Defense Department computer networks, Darpa hopes to find indications of indicate hostile intent or potential removal of sensitive data." Wired reports that Ex-L0phter Peiter "Mudge" Zatko is working for DARPA to "Wikileak-proof" military networks.