WorldWideWeb: 18 years in the public domain

Eighteen years ago today, CERN released the source code of WorldWideWeb -- the first Web browser and editor -- into the public domain. Tim Berners-Lee has some screen shots of the browser at his CERN page.
CERN's intention in this is to further compatibility, common practices and standards in networking and computer supported collaboration.
WorldWideWeb (Wikipedia, via Imaginary Foundation)

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Badger attack!

Lucky for him they aren't honey badgers. (Via Subtropic Bob) Crab attack! Read the rest

HOWTO Make a Portal Sentry Turret egg-cup

If you enjoyed markt022002's Portal Easter Egg, you'll love Supernewby's "Make your own Portal Sentry Turret Egg Cup" Instructable:

Make your own Portal Sentry Turret Egg Cup

Portal 2 (Amazon)

(via Craft) Read the rest

Anonymous dumps huge torrent of Chamber of Commerce docs

SDZion sez, "Anonymous has released a 1.2GB document dump consisting of thousands of documents. The torrent mostly contains information regarding the US Chamber of Commerce, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), over which the Koch brothers are said to exercise considerable influence." Read the rest

RIP, Joanna Russ

Legendary feminist science fiction author Joanna Russ died yesterday after a series of strokes. She was 74. Russ was the author of The Female Man and many other science fiction classics. Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden remember Russ in their own way; Patrick with a long quote from The Female Man; Teresa with this lovely remembrance of the time she spent with her:

We got into the habit of going grocery shopping together because she had two things I didn't: a car, and a back injury that made it impossible for her to lift anything heavier than a medium zucchini. We'd go shopping after work, then go to her house and put her groceries away, then sit down at the kitchen table and talk until Patrick phoned to ask where the hell I was. I'd tell him we were nearly finished putting the groceries away, and Joanna would drive me home.

We got buzzed on conversation.

I was nonplussed when she found out about slash fiction, and borrowed a stack of it from a local fan who shall remain nameless unless she outs herself. One night not long after that we were at the Continental (a Greek restaurant on University Avenue), and she started talking about Kirk and Spock fanfic in terms of images and patterns and literary theory.

You can learn more about Russ and her contribution to the field and to feminist thought in On Joanna Russ, the scholarly volume edited by Farah Mendelsohn.

Joanna Russ, 1937-2011 Read the rest

Cool Tools Quick Fix Contest

When things break down it's not likely you'll have the tools needed to make a perfect fix. That's why for this week's contest we are looking for quick fixes. These aren't meant to be perfect, but rather stop-gaps that will let you get by until you have the resources needed for a longer term solution. We want you to send us your tools, tips, and accumulated know-how that allow for quick fixes when things break down. For this contest we have a special prize pack graciously contributed by Jane ni Dhulchaointigh, inventor of the quick-fix wonder-material Sugru. The winner of the Quick Fix Contest will receive three Smart Hacks Super Packs of Sugru, and a special Maker themed T-Shirt. Runner up will receive their own Sugru Super Pack. Be sure to check out Sugru's gallery of uses for inspiration. Read the rest

PR stunts of the literary greats

Tony Perrottet's "How Writers Build the Brand" for the New York Times Sunday Book Review is a fascinating look at the ways that great writers through the ages have sought to present themselves to the public through the press, from Stendhal's admitted "shamelesness [and] out-and-out charlatanism" to Hemingway's carefully staged hyper-macho photo ops. Even Herodotus did a self-funded book-tour in 440BC that climaxed with a recitation of "Histories" to the Olympic Games.
Such pioneering gestures pale, however, before the promotional stunts of the 19th century. In "Crescendo of the Virtuoso: Spectacle, Skill, and Self-Promotion in Paris During the Age of Revolution," the historian Paul Metzner notes that new technology led to an explosion in the number of newspapers in Paris, creating an array of publicity options. In "Lost Illusions," Balzac observes that it was standard practice in Paris to bribe editors and critics with cash and lavish dinners to secure review space, while the city was plastered with loud posters advertising new releases. In 1887, Guy de Maupassant sent up a hot-air balloon over the Seine with the name of his latest short story, "Le Horla," painted on its side. In 1884, Maurice Barrès hired men to wear sandwich boards promoting his literary review, Les Taches d'Encre. In 1932, Colette created her own line of cosmetics sold through a Paris store. (This first venture into literary name-licensing was, tragically, a flop).
It goes on and on. Whitman astroturfed anonymous reviews of his own books; Nabokov asked photo editors to "feature him as a lepidopterist prancing about the forests in cap, shorts and long socks" and Virginia Woolf had British Vogue's fashion editor take her on a fashion remake in the boutiques of Paris. Read the rest

Troubletwisters: Garth Nix and Sean Williams' action-packed new kids' fantasy

Troubletwisters is the first volume in a collaborative series from Australian YA superstars Garth Nix and Sean Williams, and it's as marvellous as its pedigree suggests.

The titular troubletwisters are a pair of adolescent twins who find themselves moving from their family home the city to the remote town of Portland, where they are to live with their mysterious Grandma X. On arrival, young Jaide and Jack quickly discover that their father's family isn't quite like any other, and that the stern and weird Grandma X may or may not be looking out for their best interests. There's magic afoot, and it's the wild, untamed magic that threatens to devour them.

From what Jack and Jaide can gather, their family expects them to come into some powers of their own, through a series of tests and trials, but they can't be sure whether the tribulations they face while exploring Portland are trials set by their grandmother or attacks from some force working against them (and Grandma X isn't saying, but it's pretty clear that she's not being entirely forthright with them -- would clouds of cockroaches really swarm the twins and nearly drag them to the ground just because they'd used some kind of perfumed soap?).

Though the device of young magicians coming into their powers is a timeworn one, Nix and Williams are the kind of clever, fleet-of-foot YA writers who can make it really dance. The story kept me guessing right up to the end, and the progression of imaginative gross and grisly confrontations between the twins and their magical enemies are sure to delight and fascinate both older and younger readers. Read the rest

Ad agency to radicals: "We own radical media(TM)"

Jim from the Open Rights Group sez, "Activists in the UK organising a 'Radical media conference' have been told by ad agency @radicalmedia that they cannot organise a 'radical media' conference. The agency claims trademark infringement. As the activists say, 'We Make Radical Media, You Make Adverts'." Read the rest

3D printed Strandbeests for sale

I've written here before about Theo Jansen's marvellous walking mechanical Strandbeests (and the glorious hamster-powered version). Now Jansen's set up shop on Shapeways, the 3D printing place, and he's selling 3D printed versions of the eerie walkers for $105.

Designing the Beests this way proved quite the challenge. They consist of at least 76 separate moving interlocking parts. Multiple prototypes were used to come to the first viable solution, "Animaris Geneticus Parvus" #5. But the evolution process continues with evolutions #6 with lightweight bone structure and #7 with pointy feet.

Theo Jansen's 3D Printed Strandbeests Read the rest

Facebook celebrates royal wedding by nuking 50 protest groups

What better way to honor a royal wedding than to crack down on free speech? Facebook celebrated the William and Kate wedding by nuking 50 groups that were created to protest the ongoing sweetheart deal in the UK for bankers and companies that get away with paying hardly any tax, and the cuts to services for tax-paying normal people that result from these posh tax-cheats.

Facebook is not suited to the purpose of organizing political causes. It may be an easy place to mobilize people, but between it capricious management and the ease of mining it for social graphs, it is an authoritarian secret policeman's best friend and a censor's bosom buddy.

FACEBOOK PAGES THAT HAVE BEEN DELETED IN THE LAST 12 HOURS: Open Birkbeck, UWE Occupation, Chesterfield Stopthecuts, Camberwell AntiCuts, IVA Womensrevolution, Tower Hamlets Greens, No Cuts, ArtsAgainst Cuts, London Student Assembly, Beat'n Streets, Roscoe 'Manchester' Occupation, Bristol Bookfair, Newcastle Occupation, Socialist Unity, Whospeaks Forus, Ourland FreeLand, Bristol Ukuncut, Teampalestina Shaf, Notts-Uncut Part-of UKUncut, No Quarter Cutthewar, Bootle Labour, Claimants Fightback, Ecosocialists Unite, Comrade George Orwell, Jason Derrick, Anarchista Rebellionist, BigSociety Leeds, Slade Occupation, Anti-Cuts Across Wigan, Firstof Mayband, Don't Break Britain United, Cockneyreject, SWP Cork, Westiminster Trades Council, York Anarchists, Rock War, Sheffield Occupation, Central London SWP, North London Solidarity, Southwark Sos, Save NHS, Rochdale Law Centre, Goldsmiths Fights Back

Of course, it wasn't just Facebook. London's cops were out in force, ensuring that pensioners were prevented from staging harmless street theatre that mocked the royal family.

Political Facebook Groups Deleted On Royal Wedding Day (Thanks, Maggie and Ross! Read the rest

Wookie the Chew: Star Wars meets Winnie-the-Pooh

"Wookiee the Chew" is James Hance's inspired Winnie-the-Pooh/Star Wars mashup, a series of prints depicting the silly old wookiee and his pal Chrisolo Robin, "in a world where AT-AT's lose their tails and bobaberries are ripe for the picking, join the adventures of the biped of very little brain." It's for sale as a kid's book ("The House at Chew Corner") and a series of prints.

Wookiee the Chew (via Neatorama) Read the rest

How Goldman Sachs created the food crisis

Frederick Kaufman's piece for Foreign Policy examines how the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI) is responsible for the increase in food prices.

[T]he boom in new speculative opportunities in global grain, edible oil, and livestock markets has created a vicious cycle. The more the price of food commodities increases, the more money pours into the sector, and the higher prices rise. Indeed, from 2003 to 2008, the volume of index fund speculation increased by 1,900 percent. "What we are experiencing is a demand shock coming from a new category of participant in the commodities futures markets," hedge fund Michael Masters testified before Congress in the midst of the 2008 food crisis.

The result of Wall Street's venture into grain and feed and livestock has been a shock to the global food production and delivery system. Not only does the world's food supply have to contend with constricted supply and increased demand for real grain, but investment bankers have engineered an artificial upward pull on the price of grain futures. The result: Imaginary wheat dominates the price of real wheat, as speculators (traditionally one-fifth of the market) now outnumber bona-fide hedgers four-to-one.

Today, bankers and traders sit at the top of the food chain -- the carnivores of the system, devouring everyone and everything below. Near the bottom toils the farmer. For him, the rising price of grain should have been a windfall, but speculation has also created spikes in everything the farmer must buy to grow his grain -- from seed to fertilizer to diesel fuel.

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TomTom admits police used data for speed traps

"We never foresaw this kind of use and many of our clients are not happy about it." -- TomTom navigation device maker CEO Harold Goddijn plays dumb about selling user data to police so they can set up speed traps. Read the rest

Donald "China is raping this country" Trump's line of hideously ugly clothes are made in China

"China is raping this country," Mr. Trump said, adding that the United States has fallen short on technology and innovation. (Via Andrew Sullivan) Read the rest

Hipster to-do list

According to Mission Mission, this to-do list was found in a San Francisco bar. Click to see it larger. Mission Mission's headline is "Busy hipsters have epic to-do lists." (Thanks, Jess Hemerly!) Read the rest

Police medic wields magic wellness stick

"Primum non nocere." Unless you have a cool-looking baton and you just can't help yourself. Read the rest

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