Boing Boing 

Today Is a Good Day to Edit


I know that when I need to post updates to my latest regressions of Shakespeare back into his native Klingon, I turn to the exolinguist's best friend: the Mac coding tool BBEdit*. I fire it up, and select File > New > HTML Document, then choose Klingon from the Language pop-up menu.

I'd better make sure I haven't dishonored my family unto the severalth generation, consigning myself and them to Gre'Thor, by checking that the page is well formed (Markup > Check > Document Syntax).

Our users will know fear and cower before our software! Ship it! Ship it and let them flee like the targs they are!

Debugging? Klingons do not debug. Our software does not coddle the weak.

This code is a piece of gagh! You have no honor!

Perfect. Publish.

*Version 9.6 still doesn't suck.

Image by via Creative Commons license.

DIY Hallowe'en: The Grayscales


From the Boing Boing DIY costume thread, an anonymous reader says,

"For halloween last year we were in black and white (grayscale). It was AMAZING and everyone loved it."

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DIY Hallowe'en: Father and Son Robots



From the Boing Boing DIY costume thread, BB reader "PrettyBoyTim" says,

"My son and I went as robots today; it was a lot of fun, although it made it very difficult to do anything. I also did the puppy up with some bat wings. All the teenage girls who came round trick-or-treating went absolutely *crazy* over her.

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DIY Hallowe'en: Tetrominos (Tetris pieces)


From the Boing Boing DIY costume thread, an anonymous BB reader says,

"We went as Tetrominos (Tetris pieces). The best part was trying on boxes in Staples and being given very strange looks by the other customers. The worst part was the complete lack of peripheral awareness and frequent bashing-into-things."

Photos are here.

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DIY Hallowe'en: His and hers N64 Mariocart (Toad + Bowser)


From the Boing Boing DIY costume thread, BB reader Voluntas says, "This year my wife and I were N64 Mariocart characters (Toad and Bowser). Clearly, we're playing battle mode."

Image one, Image two.

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DIY Hallowe'en: Mac and PC

74865_676850040120_18909600_38473796_7892302_n.jpg From the Boing Boing DIY costume thread, BB reader NightBrigade says,
My girlfriend and I went out as a Mac and a PC! We actually swapped our preferences so that I could include the "Fatal Error" joke on the PC screen.

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DIY Hallowe'en: His and Hers Tardis and Dalek


From the Boing Boing DIY costume thread, Anonymous says, "We went as a TARDIS and a Dalek!"

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Pastafarians Represented at Sanity/Fear Rally


A smorgasbord of signs that resembled T-shirt slogans popped up at the Stewart/Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity/Fear. Buzzfeed assembled a top 100 list from Flickr, many of which involve mild visual jokes, such as "Spelling C(o)unts," and "Obama Is Not the Devil, I Am" (carried by a man in a devil suit). Our lord and pasta, the great noodly appendaged one, had his followers present. I wonder how many signs were paraphrased from BustedTees, and how many will wind up on such shirts in the next few days?

Image by Rick Webb, used with permission.

DIY Hallowe'en: Skeleton

From the Boing Boing DIY costume thread, gammablog points us to this gorgeous skeleton costume and explains,

The arms are operated by a lever at the shoulder joint. The elbows and hands are made springy with piano wire. The lower body is a skeleton grabbed from Google images, applied to 1/4 inch plywood and jointed with bicycle inner tube rubber. The jaw is operated similarly to the arms. All for the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade tonight.

Skeleton Costume and Video Link. (

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DIY Hallowe'en: Disco Ball


From the Boing Boing DIY costume thread, says,

Here's a quick set of pictures of my latest Disco Ball costume, Disco Ball 5.0 - every few years I make a better version & this is the best yet :-)

I made the whole thing and have an iPod powered sound system in it. The videos give you a sense of that.

I'll have full 'making of' details on my website soon, but if you poke around the link here you'll find older versions and some of my other costumes.

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DIY Halowe'en: Lego Vampire


From the Boing Boing DIY costume thread, Anonymous says,

"This year I decided to build a Lego Figurine Vampire costume. It took me about a week and 50EUR. Quite happy with the result."

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DIY Hallowe'en: Chilean Miner with Rescue Pod

miner1.jpgFrom the Boing Boing DIY costume thread, Boing Boing reader planettom says,

"I went as a Chilean Miner, complete with Rescue Pod."

"Made from 2 32-gallon plastic trashcans. Except, though I could contort to fit in it, I realized I couldn't with the hardhat/headlamp, so I had to add 12" of a 3rd 32-gallon plastic trashcan. The mesh in the window is made from the bag that oranges come in."

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DIY Hallowe'en: Che T-Shirt



From the Boing Boing DIY costume thread, a get-up rich with hipster irony.

Boing Boing reader and dad William Dikel writes in to tell us,

"Gabe Dikel is a creative artist/painter/filmmaker living in Brooklyn. In a sudden flash of creativity, he saw himself as a Che T-shirt, and with the help of his brother, a piece of cardboard and some orange and black paint: Voila! Everyone wanted to wear him, as is illustrated in these pics."

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Ministry: "(Everyday Is) Halloween"

1985: Pesco wore copious amounts of black eyeliner, Ministry's Al Jourgensen cultivated a faux English accent, and everyday was Halloween.

Dirty debt collectors frightened victims with fake "sheriffs," "courtroom," "judges"

The Pennsylvania Attorney General has brought suit against the Unicredit Debt Resolution Center in Erie, PA. According to the suit, Unicredit dressed its employees in fake sheriff's deputies uniforms to lure debtors out of their homes with unenforceable orders, and took them to a fake courtroom where another employee pretending to be a judge told them they could go to jail if they didn't pay up.
"Can I look at your fake courtroom?" Parsons asked.

"First of all, that's an allegation that supposedly someone said, so talk to the attorneys," Covatto said. "You guys have a nice day. That's all I got to say."

The Attorney General's Office told Team 4 that Unicredit lured debtors to the building by sending employees who appeared to be sheriff's deputies to their homes, implying that they would be taken into custody if they failed to appear at the phony court hearings.

"It really galls me that someone would stoop that low," Erie County Sheriff Robert Merski said. "This certainly seems to be a scam, and it upsets me that they are trying to play on the integrity of this office, the office of sheriff. We've been here since the beginning of the United States."

The lawsuit accuses Unicredit of intimidating debtors into revealing their bank account numbers, even turning over the titles to their cars once they got them inside the building.

Team 4: Debt Collectors Accused Of Fake Courtroom, Judge

Erie debt collection company sued; accused of using bogus "hearings" and fake "courtroom" to collect from consumers (PA Attorney General)

(Thanks, Anthony I!)

Mechanical mustache will make you look like a dandy robotnik

This swell mechanical mustache would be the pride of any lip, but it belongs to John Kit, who sported it at the first anniversary celebration of HeatSync Labs in Chandler, AZ.

Mechanical Mustache Project (via Make)

Automatyperwriter: Arduino-controlled typewriter is both input and output device

Jonathan Guberman from the Site 3 coLaboratory in Toronto made the "Automatypewriter," an Arduino-controlled typewriter that acts as both input and output device. He's rigged it to play Zork!

Each key is attached by fishing line to a solenoid, an electromechanical device that pulls down when electric current is passed through it. The solenoids sit behind and underneath the typewriter in a multi-layer structure. The solenoids are connected to a MOSFET, which allows the lower-power parts of the circuit to control the high-power solenoids.

The MOSFETs are connected in sets of eight to shift registers (integrated circuits that can, amongst other things, expand the number of outputs on a microcontroller). The shift registers are connected to an Arduino, which is connected to a computer via USB. When the computer sends a character to the Arduino, the Arduino chooses which solenoid to fire and sends that information to the shift registers.

The Automatypewriter is a typewriter that can type by itself: (via Make)

DIY Hallowe'en: Minecraft Creeper

Christine sez, "One of my friends has made himself a Creeper costume for this Hallowe'en."

Olde timey gloomy public domain music

Lucas Gonze sez, "I have posted a mix mp3 of 21st c./ olden days sounds, including scratchy ancient recordings like the Edison Talking Doll and my own new recordings of gloomy and sweet 19th century tunes, all in the public domain under a Creative Commons Zero license."

DIY Hallowe'en: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and alleged source Bradley Manning


Gentlemen, start your slashfic engines. Yes, the theme of this DIY costume in Boing Boing's ongoing series is— Sexy Wikileaks.

Above, Philip Neustrom and friend Ron Baker last night at DNA Lounge in San Francisco. Philip, at left, is dressed as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Baker, at right, is Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier believed to have leaked secret documents to the whistleblower website (he is currently in military jail, awaiting trial.)

Too soon? Eh, not for me to say. These two figures are nothing if not folk heroes. But don't ask, don't tell indeed. Philip tells Boing Boing,

DADT.jpgSome totally unrelated and somewhat-drunkely-typed backstory: When we were getting the Manning outfit supplies from a military surplus store in Berkeley, the guy ringing us up asked, "Hey, what are you dressing up as?"

We showed him a picture of Manning and gave a little explanation. He got it immediately and then told us this story, with the preface that we were probably "far too young to get it"--

So a few weeks back, an older woman walks into the store and says something like, "Do you folks have any goggles? My grandson is going to burning man.."

The guy helps her find some goggles, and as he's ringing her up he looks down at her credit card. "Ellsberg..any relation to Daniel Ellsberg?" "Oh..well, he's my husband!"

Not exactly the types I'd expect to be running a military surplus store. Regardless, the guy hooked us up and we got like $150 worth of stuff for $20!

(thanks for the photo, @philipn and thanks for the heads up, @iamsusannah!)

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You Can't Tell Your USB from a Hole in the Wall


Aram Bartholl is mortaring USB drives into walls, curbs, and buildings around New York. These dead drops, as he terms them, are peer-to-peer file transfer points with true anonymity. Bartholl has a residency with EYEBEAM, a truly fascinating incubator of and studio for new ideas in technology and art.

The project has five initial locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, with more to come. Bartholl has posted a photo gallery of the installations, too.

The furtiveness of squeezing your laptop or mobile against a wall is rather intimate--these may be dead drops, but they're also data glory holes. And one more thing, too. The concept pricked at my memory, until I remembered the Finn from William Gibson's Neuromancer universe. In Mona Lisa Overdrive, the Finn has lost his corporeal form, but Molly seeks out his advice in a disreputable alley.

A tight beam of very bright light...descended until it found the thing at the base of the wall, dull metal, an upright rounded fixture that Kumiko mistook for another ventilator...

Sally stepped forward, the beam held steady, and Kimiko saw that the armored thing was bolted into the brickwork with massive rivets. "Finn?"...

"Moll." A grating quality, as if through a broken speaker. "What's with the flash?"

Image by Aram Bartholl via Creative Commons.

$1,000 fine for Silly String possession in Los Angeles


Don't even think about hiding a can in your crotchal area *. They will find it.

Silly String ban

Stoners say yes to Prop. 19

(Video Link) As Allen Ginsberg said 50 years ago, "Pot is Fun." (The folks here were cast via a Craigslist ad.)

Plan A: impress the Scottish by insulting redheads!

How to lose a reputation for "po-faced political correctness" fast: mock a rival's red hair during a speech, in Scotland, concerning political "mutants" that need to be "got rid of." [Telegraph]

DIY Halowe'en: Laika come home


In the ever-expanding Boing Boing DIY Hallowe'en Costume thread, an anonymous Boing Boing reader points us to this wonderful Sputnik 2 and Laika costume by vietnamted. Alternate view here.

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DIY Hallowe'en: Bender

5128289682_5b17cea27c_b.jpg In the Boing Boing DIY Hallowe'en Costume thread, Boing Boing reader stefrobb says,
I made a Bender costume for my eldest, who is 8 years old. He sees it as a great excuse to run around shouting "Bite my shiny metal ass!" Aww...

The cigar is stuck on with a magnet, so is detachable. Took a couple of weeks all in. We've been distracting drivers and causing accidents today. Fun!

Flickr set is here.

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DIY Hallowe'en: Astronaut


In the Boing Boing DIY Hallowe'en Costume thread which could not possibly be any more awesome, Boing Boing reader Joonce says,

I made an Astronaut Costume this year. My Spacesuit includes a working movable visor, in-helmet lighting, magnetically attached "air-hoses", and a spacepack with built in speakers for my iPod to play some spacejams.

Here's a good photo. And a link to the rest of the set.

The helmet is made of papier mache, bondo, and an old wetsuit. The spacepack is made of cardboard and includes an old boombox I took apart to fit inside. The rest is a painter's suit, some gloves, and custom shoes.

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DIY Hallowe'en: Swedish Chef cooks family dog

In the still-growing Boing Boing DIY Hallowe'en Costume thread, Boing Boing reader Fumbata says,

Fleece, felt, foam, fake fur, and a hell of a lot of hot glue = Swedish Chef. It turned out pretty good, so I made a video. Have a great Halloween!

Cutest doggie ever.

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God hates figs

No, really: "Mark 11:12-14 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14Then he said to the tree, 'May no one ever eat fruit from you again.' And his disciples heard him say it."

God hates figs

Natural genes can't be patented says U.S. government

In a reversal of long-standing policy, the U.S. Justice Department announced on Friday that naturally occurring genes—human or otherwise—could not be patented. This ruling does not include manipulated or altered genes. So, for instance, you can still patent the specific, fiddled-with genes behind a GM crop. But, this is still a very big deal. Right now the genes associated with increased risk of breast cancer are patented and, thus, there is only one, very expensive, test available to look for them. In March, a judge ruled those patents invalid. And now it looks like the federal government is backing up that ruling.