Sahrawi Snapshot in the Sahara

A Sahrawi woman takes a picture with her mobile phone during the 35th anniversary celebrations of their independence movement for Western Sahara from Morocco, in Tifariti, southwestern Algeria February 27, 2011. (REUTERS/Juan Medina) Read the rest

North Korea to South: stop with the hate-balloons or we will shoot you

"A massive propaganda campaign by the South Korean military drew an ominous warning from North Korea on Sunday, with Pyongyang saying that it would fire across the border at anyone sending helium balloons carrying anti-North Korean messages into the country." Read the rest

Frank Buckles, last living U.S. World War I vet, dies at 110

The last U.S. World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, died this Sunday at age 110. Buckles "died peacefully in his home of natural causes," according to a family statement. Read the rest

Hollywood: snow and rainbows

Photographer Anthony Citrano captured this shot of the Hollywood sign, with bands of snow visible in the sky above, as a rainbow shines in the foreground. Snow and small hail fell in Los Angeles this weekend, with some of the lowest temperatures we've experienced here in recorded history. Oh my god so intense. Follow the photographer on Twitter. Read the rest

Charlie Sheen rant gets Taiwanese animated TV news treatment

Here is the video. But you don't need to watch the video, even, just meditate upon this still. Read the rest

AT-AT meets Mystery Machine

"Mystery Machine AT-AT" is one in a series of pop-culture AT-AT redesigns from Seven_Hundred; others in the series include the Dukes of Hazzard's General Lee and Quentin Tarantino's "Pussy Wagon."

Mystery Machine AT-AT (via Boing Boing Flickr Pool)  Boing Boing: Todd Lappin's mystery machine Zombie/Scooby Doo mashup illo - Boing Boing Imperial Scott Walker, the worker-hating AT-AT Destroyer - Boing Boing Secret lives of AT-ATs - Boing Boing Star Wars: Evolution of the AT-AT t-shirt - Boing Boing AT-AT walker made from scrap computer parts - Boing Boing AT-AT jungle gym from a lost and golden age - Boing Boing Read the rest

Coffee Common: roasters roast one other at TED

Last week I was excited to announce the birth of Coffee Common, a project of coffee enthusiasts (one of them being me) coming together to improve the experience of coffee for both industry and consumers. I mentioned that to kick off the launch, the project organizers and a handful of baristas from around the world will be spending this week in conjunction with the TED conference talking about (and serving) a few noteworthy selections from a select group of roasters.

We narrowed our list to the roasters we know have beautiful coffees with clarity and balance on their offering menus—and, who would be able to produce, roast and ship enough coffee to meet the needs of the thirsty TED attendees, at their own expense.

Normally, these roasters would consider each others competition, but the Coffee Common project is about collaboration. So we had an idea. We could write a short introduction for each included roaster, or we could assign each participating roaster the task of writing the intro for one of the others - knowing very well that one of the others would be writing theirs as well. This sounded much more interesting to us. After all, your fans can gush about you, but what your competition says may be more telling. So with that in mind...

Intelligentsia - introduced by James Hoffman of Square Mile Coffee Stumptown - Introduced by Benjamin Kaminsky of Ritual Roasters Has Bean - Introduced by Peter Giuliano of Counter Culture Coffee Square Mile - Introduced by Trevor Corlett of Madcap Coffee Ritual Roasters - Intriduced by George Howell of Terroir Coffee Terroir Coffee - Introduced by Steve Leighton of Has Bean

More introductions will be posted soon. Read the rest

Piracy is the Future of TV: commercial TV sucks relative to illicit services

"Piracy is the Future of Television" is Abigail De Kosnik's Convergence Culture Consortium paper on the many ways in which piracy is preferable to buying legitimate online TV options. None of these advantages are related to price -- it may be hard to compete with free, but it's impossible to compete with free when you offer something worse than the free option. De Kosnik finishes the paper with a series of incredibly sensible recommendations for producing a commercial marketplace that's as good or better than the illicit one. Alas, I fear that TV broadcasters would rather demand special online censorship powers and moan about piracy than fix their products:
Standardize A single interface, a single mode of searching, a single way of listing new TV content, and a single file format that plays on a single media player and works on every OS and can be ported to any mobile device: this should be the goal of all legal services. Uniformity in each of these areas across services will make all services of this kind - will make TV viewing on the Internet as a practice - more appealing to all potential users. Once watching TV online can match the simplicity of clicking through channels on a TV set, a larger percentage of the TV viewing population will be interested in using the Internet as their primary interface for television content. And TV pirates will not migrate to legal services unless they are at least as straightforward as pirate protocols. In fact, legal services can model their protocols directly on established pirate standards, as they are hardly secret.7

Offer a Premium Service for Personal Archivists At the moment, piracy provides the best means for individuals to build personal libraries of television content, for all of the reasons given above.

Read the rest

Inspiring manifesto from China's Jasmine revolution

As Bruce Sterling notes, this manifesto of the Chinese Jasmine revolution (translated by Human Rights in China), "sounds almost identical to the gripes that the impoverished American populace might make to their own leaders. There's nothing specifically Chinese about these demands."
Every good and honest Chinese person, please think: So much public housing has been sold to individuals, so many state-owned enterprises and so much land have been sold, and nearly all state-owned property has been sold off. But where has all the money from these sales gone? It goes without saying that state-owned property belongs to the entire people. But what did the people get? Led by an authoritarian regime, the opaque process of privatization has made a small number of people rich, but what did the vast number of ordinary people get? Every good and honest Chinese person, please think: When Japan, Korea, and Taiwan were in the process of industrializing, they were able to make the overwhelming majority of their people prosperous. Why is it that during China's industrialization the ordinary people are becoming poorer? Why is it that in just the last few decades China has gone from being a country with the smallest gap between the rich and the poor to one with the largest? It is because the unfair system has made a small number of people incredibly wealthy, and the vast majority of people remain poor.
Chinese Jasmine Rallies: Beijing to Wuhan, since Feb. 20, 2011 (via Beyond the Beyond)

(Image: The square in front of the McDonald's restaurant during the peak of the rally, Voice of America/Wikimedia Commons)  China's internet censors don't like the smell of "Jasmine" - Boing ... Read the rest

Telephone ad extolling the virtues of interrupted suppers

An early ad for extra landlines pimps the miracle of talking on the phone during the family dinner, and advises that Junior will love a "portable" phone that he can carry down to the living room when he's done with it.

"It's for you, we don't mind the phone cord in the dinner soup" Read the rest

Update from Wisconsin

I'm watching the live feed from the Wisconsin Capitol Building, and getting messages from friends inside. No arrests so far, the police are hanging back. Despite orders to close the doors, 100 new people were recently let inside from the thousands standing outdoors. WORT public radio has live coverage, as does Andrew Kroll of Mother Jones. Last I heard, CNN was talking about turtles. UPDATE: Live feed has lost their Internet connection. Situation hasn't changed much, though. Follow Andrew Kroll on Twitter for regular updates. He's in there. UPDATE AGAIN: There's not much going on right now. It looks like rumors that police would refuse to arrest or clear the building might be true. People have been confined to second floor. Otherwise, no arrests. No change. Read the rest

Articulated cardboard Cthulhu

Eddbagenal sez, "Students at Strode College in the UK staged a 'cardboard costume' catwalk show including this awesome articulated Cthulhu headpiece made entirely from old box cartons." Technically, the description calls it an octopus, but if that's not a great old one, I'm not a damned soul

Internet Archive cache

Cardboard Catwalk (Thanks, eddbagenal, via Submitterator!)  Cthulhu mask on eBay - Boing Boing Cthulhu ski mask - Boing Boing Cthulhu mask -- the sequel - Boing Boing Leather Cthuhlu mask from steampunk gas-mask artist - Boing Boing HOWTO Make a sock Cthulhu - Boing Boing Cthulhu sex-toys! - Boing Boing Cthulhu: the neck-tie edition - Boing Boing Read the rest

Alan Dean Foster: Predators I Have Known - orb weaver spider

Humans are such visual creatures. Take away big eyes (baby seals) and fur (most mammals) and often what is left is the ick factor.

Not many creatures have a bigger ick factor than the spider. It seems like the more legs an animal has, the more alien it appears to humans. In that regard the centipede and the millipede have spiders beat. But spiders also have multiple eyes, and poison fangs: the words "poison" and "fangs" being enough to send any creature to the top of most folks' ick list.

Inhabitants of the U.S. and Western Europe have enough issues dealing with spiders of modest size. Those of us who dwell in the American Southwest can speak of silk-spinners boasting considerably more impressive dimensions. You have to go to the tropics of the world, though, to find the size champions of the spider world. Spiders whose legspan easily exceeds that of your open, spread palm. In contrast to the majority of popular feelings they regretfully inspire, these rainforest denizens are often startlingly beautiful. Read the rest

Infographic on the relationship between the Koch Bros and Scott Walker

SalJake sez, "Nifty infographic outlining the money path from the Koch brothers to Wisconsin's 'never negotiate, never surrender' governor and Tea Party darling Scott Walker. The blogger who successfully prank called to Da Gov was impersonating billionaire David Koch. Thanks to this prank, we have him recorded as asking Fake David Koch to finance advertisements in the home districts of GOP senators, because people there are PISSED OFF. And rightly so, I might add."

Koch Bros Present: Monopoly (Thanks, SalJake, via Submitterator!)  Scott Walker tricked into spilling his guts to fake Koch brother ... Madison police chief wants to know why governor considered using ... Wisconsin cops for the win - Boing Boing Voices and pictures from Madison, Wisconsin, protests - Boing Boing Midwestern Tahrir: Workers refuse to leave Wisconsin capital over ... Egyptian orders a pizza for the Wisconsin demonstrators - Boing Boing Read the rest

Libya revolts against Gaddafi's personality cult: it's ROFL time

"In a burned-out Benghazi government building, anti-Gaddafi activists produce one cartoon after another before pasting them up on the walls. Graffiti in Benghazi's courthouse urged Gaddafi to 'have shame' and surrender himself to the 'national council of hairdressers'." Read the rest

Wisconsin update: More to come later today

My friends in Madison say they've been told that the Capitol Building will be cleared of protesters today around 4:00 pm. Passive resistance—"Gandhi-style"—is planned. It's my hope that the protests will remain as peaceful and spirited as they've been so far, and that the people tasked with removing protesters will respond to that peacefulness. In the meantime, check out this Forbes article debunking one of the biggest myths to come out of this situation. The truth: Wisconsin public employees pay for their own retirement plans. Read the rest

Why are America's largest corporations paying no tax?

Inspired by the UK Uncut movement, Americans are taking to the street, asking why they're being asked to tighten their belts when the largest corporations in the country are paying no tax at all:
- BANK OF AMERICA: In 2009, Bank of America didn't pay a single penny in federal income taxes, exploiting the tax code so as to avoid paying its fair share. "Oh, yeah, this happens all the time," said Robert Willens, a tax accounting expert interviewed by McClatchy. "If you go out and try to make money and you don't do it, why should the government pay you for your losses?" asked Bob McIntyre of Citizens for Tax Justice. The same year, the mega-bank's top executives received pay "ranging from $6 million to nearly $30 million."

- BOEING: Despite receiving billions of dollars from the federal government every single year in taxpayer subsidies from the U.S. government, Boeing didn't "pay a dime of U.S. federal corporate income taxes" between 2008 and 2010.

- CITIGROUP: Citigroup's deferred income taxes for the third quarter of 2010 amounted to a grand total of $0.00. At the same time, Citigroup has continued to pay its staff lavishly. "John Havens, the head of Citigroup's investment bank, is expected to be the bank's highest paid executive for the second year in a row, with a compensation package worth $9.5 million."

REPORT: You Have More Money In Your Wallet Than Bank Of America Pays In Federal Taxes (via Reddit)  Life Inc: a book against corporatism, published by a corporation ... Read the rest

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