Broadband internet by horse

Fred, a Belgian draft horse, working with line crews to attach a fiber optic cable to a utility pole in East Burke, Vermont, on June 24, 2011. Fairpoint Communication hires Claude Desmarais and his horse Fred to pull fiber optic cable through difficult terrain in a effort to bring high speed internet to all of Vermont by 2013. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

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Jay Maisel's building tagged with "Kind of Bloop" cover art

According to this Hyperallergic blog post citing an anonymous source, someone in New York City paid someone else to plaster the building where photographer Jay Maisel lives with posters featuring an adaptation of Maisel's iconic Miles Davis photograph.

Over a pixelated reworking of the photo, the text, "All Art is Theft."

Short version of the backstory: Maisel recently threatened Andy Baio with legal action over Baio's similarly adaptive use of this same photo for Baio's "Kind of Bloop" 8-bit homage, and Baio ended up having to pay Maisel $32,500 to settle the matter.

(via Anil Dash)

 Why fair use doesn't work unless you've got a huge war-chest for ... Read the rest

The three finger salute cup set

Rationalizing this $10 purchase at ThinkGeek meets an early hurdle in the fact that I have a square mug already (an early unrounded version of the legendary Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate mug) and am well aware that it is the worst shape for a mug, even worse than triangles (whereby the sharp angles form useful spouts) and perhaps good only for holding nuts. Ctrl-Alt-Delete Cup Set [ThinkGeek] Read the rest

One-letter Chrome extension corrects Twitter's grammar

The Twitter Whom to follow Chrome extension does one thing: adds an "m" to Twitter's "Who to follow" list. (via Making Light) Read the rest

Art carved out of books

Kylie Stillman carves beautiful art out of thick books and tall piles of same. I love this effect -- it would be insanely awesome to typeset a series of books to accommodate this kind of cutting, and then sell them one at a time, requiring the whole set to realize the effect.

Kylie Stillman (via Neatorama) Read the rest

Wiki Seat: here's a structural support, make a stool

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Duck explains shaving

This undated/unsourced 1930s ad features a jaunty duck explaining shaving to a happy sailor (who leaves his hat on for his toilette). Ducks in sailor hats -- something out of the collective unconscious?

De-Waterproof Your Whiskers Read the rest

Fight Shrub

Video Link. Read the rest

The United States is getting hotter

The new normal: Since I've been alive, the average temperature in the United States has increased by half a degree. Average lows got the biggest bump. In Minnesota, our low temperatures are a full degree warmer, on average, than they used to be. Read the rest

Designing and 3D printing 30 coffee cups in 30 days

Cunicode, a design firm specializing in forms for 3D printers, challenged themselves to create and offer for sale 30 different coffee cups in 30 days. The cups are output from a printer capable of producing glazed ceramics on demand. Shown here, a Klein cup based on the Klein Bottle -- a Moebius strip with one more dimension*.
3D Printed Glazed Ceramics material properties are exactly the same as standard ceramics as it is produced with fine ceramic powder which is bound together with binder, fired, glazed with lead-free, non-toxic gloss finish. For some designs with clear bottoms, the bottom side may remain unglazed.

Glazing reduces definition of design details, for example grooves will fill with glaze. up to 1 mm of glaze can be added in certain areas.This means that some cups might look much smoother once printed than how they look on the drawings, keep that in mind if you purchase any of them.

One Coffee Cup a Day | 30 Days 30 Cups (via Neatorama)

*To forestall the topology pedants, here's the more formal Wikipedia definition, with additional formatting weirdness for lack-of-clarity: "a solid Klein bottle is topologically equivalent with the Cartesian product: \scriptstyle M\ddot{o}\times I, the Mobius band times an interval. The solid Klein bottle is the non-orientable version of the solid torus, equivalent to \scriptstyle D^2\times S^1." Read the rest

Jellyfish swarm forces nuclear plant shutdown

Remember that global increase in jellyfish populations? Apparently, the impacts of that are not limited to the field of ecology. In Scotland, an excess of jellyfish forced a nuclear power plant to temporarily shut down. There were so many jellyfish that operators were afraid the creatures would obstruct the flow of seawater used for cooling the reactors. (For clarification: The plant isn't in trouble. It just went into a safe, controlled shutdown as a precautionary measure.) (Via TweetScience) Read the rest

Trailer mashup: 'Friends with Benefits' & 'No Strings Attached' are the same movie

Ben sends us this: "Funny, side-by-side comparison of the movies 'Friends with Benefits' and 'No Strings Attached.' Same formula, same characters, and even the same camera angles."

Trailer Mashup - 'Friends With Benefits' vs. 'No Strings Attached" - Blind Film Critic (Thanks, Ben!) Read the rest

PBS NewsHour does Maker Faire: "Can DIY Movement Fix a Crisis in U.S. Science Education?"

[Video Link]

PBS NewsHour aired a wonderful piece from Miles O'Brien on Maker Faire, the DIY culture event series with which many Boing Boing readers are familiar.

Some disclosures: I consider the Make magazine and Maker Faire folks friends (heck, Boing Boing founder Mark is the mag's editor-in-chief); I consider many of the exhibitors and attendees friends; I've covered Maker Faire myself for Boing Boing Video and for the blog—and finally, Miles is a friend, and I hung out with the NewsHour crew as they were shooting and producing this piece.

With all that out of the way, I encourage you to watch this story, which presents the case for Maker Faire as a potent antidote to the lack of truly engaging science and technology education in American schools. They've also managed to cram in more of the magic and wonder of Maker Faire than any TV coverage I've ever seen.

Video and transcript are here at the NewsHour website, and don't miss this out-take with Miles and "Mythbuster" Adam Savage. More on the conversation with Adam here.

Miles talks to Savage about the importance of encouraging kids to get their hands dirty and embracing a little danger. Can this movement replace shop class, and play a role in the so-called STEM crisis, we ask him?

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Static electricity: How does that work?

Much like magnets, the inner workings of static electricity appear simple. This is, it turns out, misleading. So misleading, in fact, that scientists were fooled.

Back in grade school, you probably learned that static electricity happened when you rub two different objects together (like a balloon and your hair). In the process, one object loses its electrons, becoming positively charged, and the other object gains electrons, making it negatively charged. Once that happens, the positive object and the negative object will be attracted to one another—your hair will reach out for the balloon, the balloon will stick to your head.

But a recent paper is showing that this explanation doesn't quite explain everything about static electricity. There's a short, very visual, take on what's really going on at the Starts With a Bang blog. I'm going to quote the longer, more detailed perspective of Ars Technica's John Timmer:

... it wasn't until last year that some of the authors of the new paper published a surprising result: contact electrification (as this phenomenon is known among its technically oriented fans) can occur between two sheets of the same substance, even when they're simply allowed to lie flat against each other. "According to the conventional view of contact electrification," they note, "this should not happen since the chemical potentials of the two surfaces/materials are identical and there is apparently no thermodynamic force to drive charge transfer."

One possible explanation for this is that a material's surface, instead of being uniform from the static perspective, is a mosaic of charge-donating and charge-receiving areas.

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DHS documents show agency isn't sure pornoscanners are safe

The Electronic Privacy Information Center is going great guns with its Freedom of Information requests to the DHS on the full-body radiation scanners ("pornoscanners") used in airports. EPIC's liberated documents suggest that the DHS itself has failed to adequately test scanners for radiation risk, that they're worried about this, and that they're taking steps to cover this up. Based on this stuff, I think you'd be nuts to go through a scanner -- and that the DHS's employees should refuse to operate them.

EPIC v. DHS Lawsuit -- FOIA'd Documents Raise New Questions About Body Scanner Radiation Risks : In a FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, EPIC has just obtained documents concerning the radiation risks of TSA's airport body scanner program. The documents include agency emails, radiation studies, memoranda of agreement concerning radiation testing programs, and results of some radiation tests. One document set reveals that even after TSA employees identified cancer clusters possibly linked to radiation exposure, the agency failed to issue employees dosimeters - safety devices that could assess the level of radiation exposure. Another document indicates that the DHS mischaracterized the findings of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, stating that NIST "affirmed the safety" of full body scanners. The documents obtained by EPIC reveal that NIST disputed that characterization and stated that the Institute did not, in fact, test the devices. Also, a Johns Hopkins University study revealed that radiation zones around body scanners could exceed the "General Public Dose Limit." For more information, see EPIC: EPIC v.

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London's GOSH! comics moves to Soho, celebrates with a party with Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill

Hayley sez, "London's iconic comic shop Gosh! has outgrown their current home and are uprooting for the first time in 25 years for new, bigger premises on Berwick Street, Soho. Before they go, they're hosting a signing with the great bearded wizard Alan Moore (Watchmen) and Kevin O'Neill (Marshal Law) as a celebration of the launch of their League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1969 and as a final goodbye wave to the precarious spiral staircase that so many people whinged about during Gosh!'s quarter century reign on Great Russell Street. More signings and events at the new place are soon to be announced." Read the rest

Outfest 2011: Preview of "Boingier" fare at the world's greatest LGBT film festival

In July, Outfest has a slew of remarkable screenings and live events in LA. that Boing Boing readers should know about (disclosure: I'm proud to serve on the festival's board of directors).

The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye / Thee Majesty concert (July 9, 7pm. REDCAT)

Boing Boing fave and pioneering cult artists Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV) and beloved Other Half Lady Jaye (who passed away at 39 years old in 2007) are the subject of The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye. Director Marie Losier documents the loving relationship of the two soul mates and collaborators, focusing on their Pandrogyne project. As an expression of their love, the pair received simultaneous surgical procedures to merge into a third pandrogynous being. Update from Genesis Breyer P-Orridge: "It's really a love, LOVE letter to Jaye and all the casualties of the pain of bigotry and bias too many of us experience." [apologies for the inaccurate earlier description! -AJ]

Following the film, Thee Majesty will play a full set of their ambient soundscapes and spoken word, led by Genesis. This rare performance will blend poetry, performance with music improvisation, hypnotic loops and blistering noise. Sounds like a Boing Boing lullaby!

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