Boing Boing 

WorldWideWeb: 18 years in the public domain

 Fckimages Cern 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)

Badger attack!

badger-attack.jpg Lucky for him they aren't honey badgers. (Via Subtropic Bob)

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)

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."

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

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.

How Writers Build the Brand (via The Awl)

(Image: Ernest_Hemingway_on_safari,_1934, Wikimedia Commons/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.)

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.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'."

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

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!)

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)

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. At the very bottom lies the consumer. The average American, who spends roughly 8 to 12 percent of her weekly paycheck on food, did not immediately feel the crunch of rising costs. But for the roughly 2-billion people across the world who spend more than 50 percent of their income on food, the effects have been staggering: 250 million people joined the ranks of the hungry in 2008, bringing the total of the world's "food insecure" to a peak of 1 billion -- a number never seen before.

At least the Goldman Sachs vampires have plenty of money to buy guns to shoot starving peasants who will be trying to steal heirloom tomatoes from their manor gardens. Don't blame American appetites, rising oil prices, or genetically modified crops for rising food prices. Wall Street's at fault for the spiraling cost of food.

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.

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

trump-china-clothes.jpg

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

Hipster to-do list

 Wp-Content Uploads 2011 04 Checklist 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!)

Police medic wields magic wellness stick

Police_Medic_-_Hell_Beat_You_Well_With_His_Magic_Wellness_Stick.jpg "Primum non nocere." Unless you have a cool-looking baton and you just can't help yourself.

Stolen Camera Finder

stolded-camera.jpg
Matt Burns created this website to help you find your stolen camera. It looks on the web for other photos with the same EXIF ID.

Stolen Camera Finder

Friday Freak-Out: The Rolling Stones' "2,000 Light Years From Home" (1967)


[video link]

Friday Freak-Out: The Rolling Stones perform "2,000 Light Years From Home," from Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967).

Jay Rosen: What I Think I Know About Journalism

Jay Rosen's "What I Think I Know About Journalism" is a four-point mini-manifesto for the future of reporting and newsgathering. Rosen indicts the current notion of reporting with the "View from Nowhere" which Peter Goodman describes as "the routine of laundering my own views [by] dinging someone at some think tank to say what you want to tell the reader." Rosen also celebrates public participation in newsgathering, and decries commodity factual accounts of current events, calling instead for "narratives" that provide frame and context for the facts.
The more people involved in flying the airplane, or moving the surgeon's scalpel during a brain operation, the worse off we are. But this is not true in journalism. It benefits from participation, as with Investigate your MP's expenses, also called crowd sourcing, or this invitation from the Los Angeles Times: share public documents. A far simpler example is sources. If sources won't participate, there often is no story. Witnesses contribute when they pull out their cameras and record what is happening in front of them. The news system is stronger for it...

To feel informed, we also need background knowledge, a framework into which the relevant facts can be put. Or, as I put it in 2008, "There are some stories--and the mortgage crisis is a great example--where until I grasp the whole I am unable to make sense of any part. Not only am I not a customer for news reports prior to that moment, but the very frequency of the updates alienates me from the providers of those updates because the news stream is adding daily to my feeling of being ill-informed, overwhelmed, out of the loop."

What I Think I Know About Journalism (via Memex 1.1)

Scratch-built "freedom press"


Artist Shawn HibmaCronan scratch-built this beautiful printing press for San Francisco International Airport's Terminal 2, working in steel, bamboo, oak, cork, and rope.
I cut the bamboo gears with a CNC router. A few of the steel parts -- namely the counter weight and head arms, as well as the FREEDOM text -- I waterjet cut from 3D SolidWorks files. (I like SolidWorks because it lets me run the gears and get the tolerances perfect.) The steel frame is made out of 3" I-beam that I cut and welded together in my studio. I had to buy a bigger saw and a nice welder for it.

This build was great. Problem solving and finessing things into place for months = happiness. One of the toughest things was keeping all of the components aligned, greased, and square with all of the welding I was doing. Welding and heat makes steel move and do weird things. There are so many tight tolerances and chunky pieces of steel that had to be spot on. It made for lots of fun moments with a big mallet.

The Press (Shawn HibmaCronan)

Building the Freedom Press (Craft)

Pocket Fresnel Lens

Wallet Magnifier Twin Pack.jpeg I'm a maintenance electrician and sometimes need to read tiny serial numbers in dark dirty places, or the color code of a resistor or some other value or rating that is difficult to accurately read with the naked eye, and for the past six months I have found that this wallet lens to be the perfect solution. Outside of magnifying small text, I have even used this to start a fire. The pocket Fresnel makes a brilliant addition to my kit of tools at my job but also is a useful survival tool when I'm outdoors. It fits in my wallet which I'm never without. Even when my kids play with my keys and I can't find them afterwards (or use the tools on my keyring) I know I've still got one tool tucked away. Best part of this lightweight super practical EDC? It's super cheap! I got mine in a 6-pack from Lee Valley, but you can get similar ones elsewhere online. --John Love Wallet Fresnel Lens $2 Don't forget to comment over at Cool Tools. And remember to submit a tool!

Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-134 launch: snapshots from media camp

Some iPhone snapshots by Xeni.

Giddy delight at technological progress

My Make column "Memento Mori" talks about the giddy, delightful vertigo I experience when I realize how fast and how far technology has come, and how fast it's moving:
I'm often puzzled by how satisfying older technology is. What a treat it is to muscle around an ancient teletype, feeding it new-old paper-tape or rolls of industrial paper with the weight of a bygone era. What pleasure I take from the length of piano roll I've hung like a banner from a high place in every office I've had since 2000.

How much satisfaction I derive from the racing works of the 1965 mechanical watch I received as a Father's Day present this year, audible in rare moments of ambient silence or when my hand strays near my ear, going tick-tick-tick-tick like the pattering heart of a pet mouse held loosely in my hand.

The standard explanation for the attractiveness of this old stuff is simply that They Made It Better In The Old Days. But this isn't necessarily or even usually true. Some of my favorite old technologies are as poorly made as today's throwaway products from China's Pearl River Delta sweatshops.

Take that piano roll, for example: a flimsy entertainment, hardly made to be appreciated as an artifact in itself. And those rattling machine-gun teletypes and caterpillar-feed printers -- they have all the elegance of a plastic cap gun that falls apart after the first roll of caps has run through it.

Memento Mori

Untouchable blood-camera goes to Africa for HIV portrait series

Wayne Martin Belger created the blood camera, which incorporates HIV-infected blood that acts as a red filter for portraits of HIV+ people. Now he's taking the project, which is called "Untouchable," to Africa:

I'm taking the untouchable to Sierra Leona, Liberia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Calcutta and 5 locations in Cambodia to do portraits of people living with HIV. I'm working with a major international HIV Health organization to make it all happen and they are really excited about the possibility of this project creating a new view of the global HIV community. So far, I've photographed about 60 people all over the US. With the Africa/Asia photos it will give a world contrast on how your geo location makes all the difference in your well-being and how major pharmaceutical profits need are at the heart of life and death.

I have a publisher that wants to do a book on the project and two major venues that are excited about exhibiting the finale work next year.

Bloodworks: Africa (Thanks, Wayne!)

Poop into power

"If you look at fecal matter, what is it? It's carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and minerals -it's a great source of stuff for doing this." — Ian Gates, associate professor in chemical engineering at the University of Calgary. He's working on a method to turn human poop into a source of renewable energy. (Submitterated by hughadam)

Great Moments in Pedantry: Parsing the language of porn

pornmouth.jpg

In a post that would be horribly NSFW were it not all just a block of text, linguist Arnold Zwicky blogs about how the vagaries of English allow you to interpret the same line from a gay porn in multiple ways.

The story begins with a young man crying out, (1) "Oh yeah, shoot my ass!," at the climactic moment of a segment in the gay porn compilation video A Bronco Named Brad (on the video, see here). The speaker is asking his partner to (2) "shoot [your cum] on my ass, ejaculate on my buttocks" [ONTO reading].

In other contexts, (1) could convey (3) "shoot [your cum] in(to) my ass, ejaculate in(to) my anus" [INTO reading]. Note the two different senses of ass here— 'buttocks' or 'anus', with the anus being the centerpiece of the buttocks, so to speak—related metonymically.

But now for the main linguistic point, shoot 'ejaculate' used, exceptionally, as a transitive verb ...

From there, the post rises to a level of technical language analysis that almost, *almost* distracts from the fact that we're talking about the use of language in a porn that seems to be targeted at Brad-fetishists.

Submitterated by Sam

Image: Some rights reserved by johntrainor

Will SETI close? No, but ...

The good news: It doesn't look like SETI Institute itself is going to shut down for lack of funds. The bad news: Budget cuts do mean SETI might have to mothball its Allen Telescope Array, which searches the far off corners of the Universe for signs of extraterrestrial life. SETI had hoped to use the Array to scan the "Earth-like" planets identified by the Kepler space observatory. But, to do that, they need to raise $5 million. (Submitterated by IanWalker)

That's what she said

Good news, everyone! They've finally programmed a computer capable of getting "That's what she said" jokes! It's called Double Entendre via Noun Transfer, or DEviaNT. (Via Tom Raftery)

Animal-sex Friday

It's Friday, and you know what that means. Yes, blogger Scicurious (who brought us the whale threesome) has another post about animal sex research.

This time, it's about chicken sperm. Specifically, whether roosters alter the quality of their sperm depending on how many other roosters they think have been, uh, laying with their hen—and what social status the hen, herself, has.

cocksoup.jpg

Believe it or not, studies in various species have shown that males in more dominant roles often produce a LOWER quality and quantity of sperm than those in subordinate roles. This is presumably because the dominant males don't have to compete as much as the subordinates, they get first pick of the females. But this hasn't been tested before, because the animals being studied understandably get annoyed when you try to get between them and their chosen female to get a sample of the semen.

In this case they decided to try again, using chickens. But not your normal chickens, these were Swedish fowl that live in social groups of up to 16 animals. The males form a dominance hierarchy for access to the females. The most dominant males are obviously going to get first crack at the hens, but the hens will often have multiple matings, and sperm competition is intense. Not only do the females go multiple times, the males can ejaculate up to 40 times within a few hours, which often results in quantity over quality, as the sperm quality decreases over time.

They took males of high and low status, and put them through randomized mating trials over several females, ALSO of high and low status. They took the ejaculate and measured the number of sperm, as well as the velocity, or how good their little swimmers were doing.

And the result? Well, you'll have to go read it. There are graphs that are integral to the story, and I don't want to spoil it. Suffice to say, chicken sperm is a lot more interesting than I would have previously guessed.

Image: Some rights reserved by quinn.anya