Boing Boing 

Anti-viral/allergen nostril filters

First Defense Nasal Screens are tiny anti-pollen nostril-plugs you stick up your nose, made from "100 percent breathable non-latex, skin safe material." The manufacturer claims that lab tests show them to be "99 percent" effective against allergens and viruses. You can get seven sets for $10.

First Defense Nasal Screens (via Red Ferret)

Elf ears

Today in elf news, the ears have it: pointy ones, that is, cut surgically from the standard round human set. Mark posted about a pioneer some time ago, but now the mainstream's caught on. The tabloids are Concerned. From the Daily Mail:
Some fantasy film buffs in Arizona are taking their obsessions to new levels by actually having their ears cut open and sculpted to look like elves. The elf ears craze has many health risks but that isn't stopping sci-fi fans having the top of their cartilage sliced and sewed back together in a point. ... The elf ears craze is believed to have been brought on by films such as Lord of the Rings and Avatar, as well as HBO's comedy television series Bored to Death.
Dr. Arthur W. Perry, quoted by the Mail, warns that scultping cartilage is dangerous and risks a "major deformity of the ear," though that would seem to be rather the idea. ABC ran a news segment about it, full of pointed criticism. Fans undergo elf ear operations to look like fantasy film characters [Daily Mail]

Chinese censors ban time travel TV shows

The Chinese General Bureau of Radio, Film and Television has prohibited new science fiction TV dramas, following a vogue for shows where modern Chinese people travel to ancient China and discover that it's not a bad place to be (this having some counter-revolutionary subtext). They've also prohibited production of "the Four Great Classical Novels", ("the four novels commonly counted by scholars to be the greatest and most influential of classical Chinese fiction"), on the grounds that the widespread adaptations of them take too many liberties with the original texts.
From the end of last year, the time-travel themed drama is becoming more and more popular. Most of these time-travel dramas are based on real historical stories but with many newly added, and usually exaggerated elements to make it funny and more attractive. Nothing is off limits in this television genre. While some find it hilarious, others think the exaggeration and even ridiculous elements added into the story is a real source of annoyance and is a disrespectful for history.

The authority's decision was made on the Television Director Committee Meeting on April 1st. - but obviously it's not a prank to fans of the drama genre. The authority has a good reason to go against the genre. "The time-travel drama is becoming a hot theme for TV and films. But its content and the exaggerated performance style are questionable. Many stories are totally made-up and are made to strain for an effect of novelty. The producers and writers are treating the serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore."

"No more time-travel drama", authority says it disrespects history

广电总局叫停四大名著翻拍 批穿越剧不尊重历史

(via Making Light)

Behavioral psychology and security blindspots

A Bruce Schneier essay from IEEE Security & Privacy describes a series of experiments in logical thinking, through which some of our security blindspots come to light:
Consider the Wason selection task. Subjects are presented with four cards next to each other on a table. Each card represents a person, with each side listing some statement about that person. The subject is then given a general rule and asked which cards he would have to turn over to ensure that the four people satisfied that rule. For example, the general rule might be, "If a person travels to Boston, then he or she takes a plane." The four cards might correspond to travelers and have a destination on one side and a mode of transport on the other. On the side facing the subject, they read: "went to Boston," "went to New York," "took a plane," and "took a car." Formal logic states that the rule is violated if someone goes to Boston without taking a plane. Translating into propositional calculus, there's the general rule: if P, then Q. The four cards are "P," "not P," "Q," and "not Q." To verify that "if P, then Q" is a valid rule, you have to verify modus ponens by turning over the "P" card and making sure that the reverse says "Q." To verify modus tollens, you turn over the "not Q" card and make sure that the reverse doesn't say "P."

Shifting back to the example, you need to turn over the "went to Boston" card to make sure that person took a plane, and you need to turn over the "took a car" card to make sure that person didn't go to Boston. You don't -- as many people think -- need to turn over the "took a plane" card to see if it says "went to Boston" because you don't care. The person might have been flying to Boston, New York, San Francisco, or London. The rule only says that people going to Boston fly; it doesn't break the rule if someone flies elsewhere.

Detecting Cheaters

(Image: Theory of Boundaries, 1969-1970, chalk on dry pigment on wall by Mel Bochner, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from nostri-imago's photostream)