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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

A science joke for your Saturday morning

As told by Mr. Karl Sinfield in the comments section of a Tom Chivers blog post at the Telegraph:

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A geneticist, a physiologist and a physicist were summoned to meet a wealthy racehorse magnate. He told them he would give a million pounds to the one who could accurately identify race-winning horses. After six months of hard work, they returned to present their results to the expectant millionaire.

The geneticist said, "I've looked into all the current genetic research, checked blood-lines going back decades, but there are just too many behavioural and environmental factors. I can't help."

The physiologist said, "I've looked at muscle mass, bone volume and density, and all the other factors I can think of, but the problem's too complex. There's just no guarantee of predicting a winner."

Finally, the physicist calmly walks up to the millionaire and gives him an index card. "Here you go," he says "I've found an equation that solves the problem for you."

"Wow," said the millionaire, "That's impressive...I'll get my cheque book."

"Great. But there's one thing you should know," said the physicist. "It only works for a spherically symmetric horse travelling in a vacuum."

(Via Martin Robbins)

Image:Some rights reserved by Tambako the Jaguar

Google-eye view of a nuclear test site


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Yucca Flat was the site of 739 nuclear tests between 1951 and 1992. Once an anonymous stretch of desert, it's now pockmarked with subsidence craters left behind by underground nuclear detonations. Among them is the Sedan Crater, a massive, 1200-feet-wide, 320-feet-deep pit, created as part of "plowshare" experiments—tests meant to demonstrate whether nuclear bombs could be used for peaceful purposes, like excavating new lakes or deep bays.

(Via Sean Carroll)

Protest sign calls for nuance, not pithy slogans


Jeremy S made this spiffy protest sign to carry to today's Stewart/Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity. I think it needs to be continued on several more signs.

(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

TSA demands testicular fondling as an alternative to naked scanners

The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg has been experimenting with declining the whole-body TSA scanners at US airports -- and now things have gotten more intimate. The TSA has initiated a new, more humiliating pat-down procedure for people who refuse to show screeners their genitals on the naked scanners -- one that involves testicular cupping:
At BWI, I told the officer who directed me to the back-scatter that I preferred a pat-down. I did this in order to see how effective the manual search would be. When I made this request, a number of TSA officers, to my surprise, began laughing. I asked why. One of them -- the one who would eventually conduct my pat-down -- said that the rules were changing shortly, and that I would soon understand why the back-scatter was preferable to the manual search. I asked him if the new guidelines included a cavity search. "No way. You think Congress would allow that?"

I answered, "If you're a terrorist, you're going to hide your weapons in your anus or your vagina." He blushed when I said "vagina."

"Yes, but starting tomorrow, we're going to start searching your crotchal area" -- this is the word he used, "crotchal" -- and you're not going to like it."

"What am I not going to like?" I asked.

"We have to search up your thighs and between your legs until we meet resistance," he explained.

"Resistance?" I asked.

"Your testicles," he explained.

'That's funny," I said, "because 'The Resistance' is the actual name I've given to my testicles..."

The pat-down at BWI was fairly vigorous, by the usual tame standards of the TSA, but it was nothing like the one I received the next day at T.F. Green in Providence. Apparently, I was the very first passenger to ask to opt-out of back-scatter imaging. Several TSA officers heard me choose the pat-down, and they reacted in a way meant to make the ordinary passenger feel very badly about his decision. One officer said to a colleague who was obviously going to be assigned to me, "Get new gloves, man, you're going to need them where you're going."

For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance (via Kottke)

(Image: In Your Face, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from nyc_xmas's photostream)