Here's Serge Gainsbourg in a 1964 music video for "New York USA," a track from his excellent concept album "Gainsbourg Percussions." The album, recorded with French jazz star Alain Gouraguer, melded Gainsbourg's French lounge style with Latin and African drumming. (This number appropriates the African standard "Akiwowo.") "Gainsbourg Percussions" was recently remastered and reissued on CD and vinyl by the excellent 4 Men With Beards label.
[Video Link] Rusty Blazenhoff of Laughing Squid says:
Off Book | Generative Art – Computers, Data, and Humanity is the latest short web documentary from the ongoing PBS Arts series that explores the fascinating joint computer and human art creation practice known as generative art. This episode of Off Book speaks with generative composer Luke Dubois, generative artist Scott Draves and game designer Will Wright about their experiences and thoughts with making this unique art form.
Google implements "forward secrecy" in its encrypted traffic, releases improvements to SSL library for all to use
Google has changed its procedures to enable "forward secrecy" by default on all its search-traffic. This means that part of the key needed to decrypt the traffic is never stored, so that in the event that there is a security breach at Google, older, intercepted traffic can't be descrambled. It's the absolute best practice for secure communications, and Google is to be commended for adopting it.
Other web sites have implemented HTTPS with forward secrecy before — we have it enabled by default on https://www.eff.org/ — but it hasn’t yet been rolled out on a site of Google’s scale. Some sites have publicly resisted implementing forward secrecy because it is more CPU intensive than standard HTTP or HTTPS. In order to address that problem, Google made improvements to the open source OpenSSL library, and has incorporated those changes into the library for anybody to use.
Forward secrecy is an important step forward for web privacy, and we encourage sites, big and small, to follow Google’s lead in enabling it!
Democratic congressional candidate Ray Lutz was arrested for registering voters in San Diego's public Freedom Plaza (AKA Civic Center Plaza), where the local Occupy protest has taken place. The San Diego police arrested Mr Lutz for trespassing and confiscated his voter registration forms.
I've been skeptical of the "this is what democracy looks like" slogan (since mostly, democracy looks like boring things like long meetings, constituency consultations, and voter booths). But by any measure, registering voters in a civic square is assuredly "what democracy looks like." And arresting people who register voters? Well, that's something else altogether.
- Smiling Coelacanth - Boing Boing
- First photo of baby coelacanth - Boing Boing
- Yes, we Coelacanth! - Boing Boing
- The reptiles' answer to the Coelacanth - Boing Boing
- Coelacanth in danger - Boing Boing
- Coelacanth caught on video - Boing Boing
- Fossilized coelacanth fin reveals evolutionary secret - Boing Boing
Twitter has bought a company called Whisper Systems, who make a secure version of the Android operating system as well as suites of privacy tools that are intended to protect demonstrators, especially participants in the Arab Spring. Many speculate that the acquisition was driven by the desire to hire CTO Moxie Marlinspike, a somewhat legendary cryptographer.
At first blush, the move is a bit baffling. Twitter, the quintessential consumer internet service, would seem to have little need for a company that has revamped Android security from the ground up for business use. But the micro-blogging site may simply be acquiring Whisper Systems for its talent — including Marlinspike, who serves as the startup’s chief technology officer, and roboticist Stuart Anderson — and the two companies do have a certain affinity. Both pride themselves on the support they’ve provided to protesters in the Middle East.
Security and privacy guru Chris Soghoian believes Twitter may have brought Moxie Marlinspike into the fold because the micro-blogging site has developed a reputation for not having the best security. Marlinspike is an expert in SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption, and Twitter — which has yet to turn on SSL by default for all users — could use his skills to lock down its services and make life harder for phishers.
I've been worried lately about the crumbling infrastructure of the SSL system, and what it means for our ability to communicate in private, to conduct banking and ecommerce, and to have any assurance of identity online. I've been asking all the security/crypto supernerds I know about this for a few months, and to a one, they've mentioned Marlinspike's Convergence and said, effectively, "I'm not sure if it'll solve this, but there's nothing else I have any hope for."
Twitter Buys Some Middle East Moxie (Thanks, Larry!)
Egyptian port-workers refuse to sign for tons of US-made tear-gas shipped in by Ministry of the Interiorworkers
Five port workers in Cairo refused to sign for a shipment of 7.5 tons of tear-gas from the US, fearing that it would be used against demonstrators; another 14 tons of tear-gas were expected from the US at the time. Peaceful protesters in Tahrir Square were subjected to relentless gas attacks by the military government last week. The shipment was eventually released and sent to storage owned by the Ministry of Interior in Cairo.
Egypt’s al-Shorouk newspaper reported that upon the arrival of the shipment, massive disagreements broke out between employees, where five employees refused to sign for the shipment, one after the other.
The five, being dubbed by activists as the “brave five”, were to be refereed to a investigative committee as to why they refused to perform their duties, which has since called off.
The news about the shipment’s arrival stirred the Twittersphere, after it was consumed all day with the country’s first post-revolution elections, and activists mocked the reinforcement of weapons that is being used against them.
This 1960s Squirt ad comes to us from a moment when nerdy was equivalent to "childish" -- a funny reversal from the usual "nerdy guys are prematurely aged" trope (though prematurely aged nerds of this trope are wont to revert to infantile in the presence of an attractive member of their preferred sex, so perhaps that's what we're seeing here).
David Weinberger does a great job summarizing a paywalled report by Benoît Felten and Herman Wagter, who investigated ISP usage patterns in five-minute-increments to see if "bandwidth hogs" were really a problem for ISPs.
They found that there is indeed a set of users who download a whole lot: “The top 1% of data consumers…account for 20% of the overall consumption.” But half of these “Very Heavy consumers” are doing so on plans that give them only 3Mbps, as opposed to the highest tier of this particular ISP, which is 6Mbps. So, even with their heavy consumption, their bandwidth usage is already limited. Further, if you look at who is using the most bandwidth during peak hours, 85.3% of the bandwidth is being used by those are not Very Heavy users.
Here’s the point. ISP assumes that Very Heavy users (= “data hogs” = “people who use the bandwidth they’re paying for”) are responsible for clogging the digital arteries. So, the ISPs measure data consumption in order to preserve bandwidth. But, according to Benoît and Herman’s data, the vast bulk of bandwidth during the times when bandwidth is scarce (= peak hours) is not taken up by the Very Heavy users. Thus, punishing people for downloading too much inhibits the wrong people. Data consumption is not a good measure of critical broadband usage.
Put differently: “42% of all customers (and nearly 48% of active customers) are amongst the top 10% of bandwidth users at one point or another during peak hours.” The problem therefore is not “data hogs.” It’s people going about their normal business of using the Net during the most convenient hours.
Global Chokepoints: new activist coalition monitors censorship through global copyright enforcement rules
A global coalition of activist groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation have created "Global Chokepoints," a worldwide initiative to monitor censorship arising from copyright enforcement.
Global Chokepoints will document the escalating global efforts to turn Internet intermediaries into chokepoints for online free expression. Internet intermediaries all over the world—from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to community-driven sites like Twitter and YouTube to online payment processors—are increasingly facing demands by IP rightsholders and governments to remove, filter, or block allegedly infringing or illegal content, as well as to collect and disclose their users' personal data.
At the same time, it's unclear whether and under what circumstances Internet intermediaries have liability for content posted by their users. Hotly contested court cases in Europe, Australia, and elsewhere are considering how copyright law fits with obligations to protect Internet users' rights of privacy, due process, and freedom of expression.
Global Chokepoints analyzes global trends in four types of copyright censorship: 1) three-strikes policies and laws that require Internet intermediaries to terminate their users' Internet access on repeat allegations of copyright infringement; 2) requirements for Internet intermediaries to filter all Internet communications for potentially copyright-infringing material; 3) ISP obligations to block access to websites that allegedly infringe or facilitate copyright infringement; and 4) efforts to force intermediaries to disclose the identities of their customers to IP rightsholders upon allegations of copyright infringement. The site includes links to digital rights organizations, consumer groups, law school clinics, and technology industry groups that are opposing the spread of overbroad copyright policing efforts, as well as national advocacy campaigns to protect the free and open Internet and citizens' fundamental rights.
This 1943 ad for humongous cigars enumerates all the high-status trades of the day, a strange mix that includes "metallurgist" "dramatist" and "munitions maker."
Today, London design firm Berg announced Little Printer, a "printer connected to the Web." Little Printer generates a hardcopy, customized news-ticker. It grabs stuff from sites based on your parameters, and you can send it stuff from your phone to read later. When you get home, you tear off the tape and have a little, disposable newspaper to read. It's the first product in a new line of "Berg Cloud" networked home appliances, all of which talk to a little custom box that you connect to your home router.
We love physical stuff. Connecting products to the Web lets them become smarter and friendlier – they can sit on a shelf and do a job well, for the whole family or office – without all the attendant complexities of computers, like updates or having to tell them what to do. Little Printer is more like a family member or a colleague than a tool.
Plus paper is like a screen that never turns off. You can stick to the fridge or tuck it in your wallet. You can scribble on it or tear it and give it to a friend.
Behold, the fearsome Japanese War Tubas, used as "acoustic locators" by the Imperial Army.
Police feel safer in Stockton, California, after they successfully subdued a big, scary 5-year-old boy, cuffing him with cable straps and charging him with "battery on a police officer."
In it, the officer, Lt. Frank Gordo, says he placed his hand on Michael's and, "the boy pushed my hand away in a batting motion, pushed papers off the table, and kicked me in the right knee."
When Michael wouldn't calm down, Gordo cuffed Michael's hands and feet with zip ties and took the boy to the Stockton Kaiser Psychiatric Hospital in the back of a squad car.
He had not called Michael's mother or father at that point.
Michael was cited for battery on a police officer.
"I didn't know until two or three weeks later that my son was zip tied," Gray said.
Her ex-husband had picked Michael up from the hospital. When he arrived, Michael's wrists were still zip tied behind his back.
My friend Craig Yoe (a designer and comic book historian whom I interviewed on Gweek a while back) has has edited over 30 books about comic books and illustration, including Krazy Kat & the Art of George Herriman, Amazing 3-D Comics, Archie: A Celebration Of America's Favorite Teenagers, The Golden Collection Of Klassic Krazy Kool Kids Komics, Dan DeCarlo's Jetta, The Art Of Ditko, Boody: The Bizarre Comics Of Boody Rogers, And Secret Identity: The Fetish Art Of Superman's Co-Creator Joe Shuster.
Craig's latest book is a 220-page deluxe hardcover anthology of Carl Barks' Barney Bear comics, which Barks drew before working on the Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics he became rightfully famous for. Barks is considered by many people (including me) to be one of the top 10 comic book artists of all time. It's a lot of fun to read these Barney Bear comics and see the same style of Barksian plotting, characters, humor, and drawing style that my kids and I love so much in the duck comics.
Carl barks drew Barney Bear and Benny Burro comics from 1944 to 1947. In the introduction to his anthology, Craig says:
Of his comic booking in general, Barks stated, “I worked hard at trying to make something as good as I could make it. When I took the finished art into the office and turned it over to the editor, I was satisfied that I had done it the very best I could. I always try to write a story that I wouldn't mind buying myself. And that's what distinguished it from the writing of those who only try to get the story past the editors. I was always thinking that other people value their dimes as much as I did.”
This book is the first reprinting of all the Barks' Barney Bear and Benny Burro stories in their original color and English language. In 1999, a year before he died at the age of 99, Barks commented on the Internet and the experience of reading comics on a monitor, “it isn't like going to bed with a comic book where you can read it, turn the pages, slam the thing down, and pick it up later.”
So, go to bed with The Carl Barks Big book of Barney Bear, read it, turn the pages, and slam the thing down as you Bear with Barks.
Here's a sample story from The Carl Barks Big Book of Barney Bear.
Read the rest of the story after the jump:
Read the rest
James Smith's entry to the Stockholm Green Hackathon was a Minecraft mod that adds carbon emissions to the game, which revolves around resource extraction and use:
When you burn some wood in a furnace, the mod calls out to AMEEconnect to do a calculation, and adds the result to a tracker in-game. As the carbon ticks up, the environment gets more and more polluted as the skies go dark and the clouds come down. OK, not entirely accurate, but an effective visual indicator!
Of course, it’s not just wood. Loads of things burn, and not just in furnaces. The hack supports combustion of almost anything in minecraft; wood, planks, coal, tree saplings, and so on. I even put in some calculations for setting fire to cows (as any Minecraft player knows, an effective way to quickly get cooked beef). Even the hostile mobs like creepers have their emissions mapped (mostly to generic biomass calculations). I also added redstone (like electricity) emissions using AMEE’s realtime UK national grid data.
Of course, there are also ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Plant a tree, and AMEEconnect will work out how much carbon was taken up by the tree growing and reduce the tracker by that amount. After a long day of mining and smelting, you’ll have to go plant a few trees to keep the weather nice.
Jesse Dimmick is suing Jared and Lindsay Rowley, whom he was convicted of kidnapping, for breach of contract. Dimmick argues that because the two won his trust when he invaded their house at knifepoint (while fleeing a murder charge which led to him driving over a police spike-strip in front of their house), and then left once he fell asleep, they violated their contract to remain his hostages. The couple lulled Dimmick with a clever strategy of watching Robin Williams's Patch Adams with him while eating Cheetos and drinking Dr Pepper.
You see, Dimmick alleges that, after breaking into the Rowleys' home with a knife and gun, they all then sat down and hashed out a deal under which they would hide him from police (the police who were right outside) for an unspecified amount of money. "Later," he complained, "the Rowleys reneged on said oral contract, resulting in my being shot in the back by authorities." Ergo, breach of contract.
Um, no, wrote the Rowleys' attorney in a motion to dismiss earlier this month. He had multiple arguments, all very good ones, as to why a contract claim would not fly here. First, there was no agreement. Second, if there was an agreement, there was no meeting of the minds on the amount of money (Dimmick admitted the "offer" was for "an unspecified amount"), and so no binding contract. Third, agreements made at knifepoint are, you may be surprised to learn, not enforceable as they are made "under duress." Finally, a contract to do something illegal (e.g. hide a fugitive) is also not enforceable.
Here is a lovely cover of The Jesus & Mary Chain's "Just Like Honey" played on two pianos!
Orlando's new 4River Sweetshop sports dessert-like semi-edible object made by combining iconic junkfood in unthinkable ways, such as "Coke and Ruffles cupcakes, Mountain Dew and Doritos cupcakes, Cheerwine cupcakes and, still in the works, Nehi grape soda cupcakes."
Rivers tells us that the baked goods will be available for online purchase – just in time for the holidays! But if you want to experiment with your own chips and soda cupcakes, Rivers shares a couple of tips.
* The key secret to using soda in cakes is to create a syrup out of it; boil it and reduce to about 25 to 30 percent, until it’s nice and thick – you can use that in place of some of other liquid in the batter recipe. You can also use it in the icing, but you only need a little bit; otherwise it will become runny.
* You can use potato chips in the batter and they will turn out fine when baked, but chips like Doritos should be reserved for a topping ,as they turn black when baked.
(Image: Thumbnail of "Coca Cola and potato chip cupcake from 4Rivers Smokehouse in Orlando, Florida." by Katie Quinn / TODAY.com)
I love unintentionally funny email spam so much. Sadly, it's been a long time—like, years—since I got any that wasn't just a boring re-tread of now-standardized routines. Then, this morning, a wonderful change of pace. In my in-box I found a strange hybrid of the Nigerian prince scam + the foreign lady looking for love scam + the Craigslist I-scam-you-while-you-think-you're-scamming-me scam.
The result of this innovation is a little bit genius, and a little bit completely insane.
Shorter version: My "dear friend" Helen Small, who is very sad that she hasn't heard from me in a long time and thinks I might have abandoned her, wants to send me some of her birthday gifts as a token of her love and affection for me. For overly complicated reasons, she wants to send me these gifts in the care of her boss. That brings us to the following, amazing, couple of paragraphs:
Please do accept this token of love, I know it isn't much but I sent it from my innermost heart and belief you gonna appreciate everything inside the package coz it is coming from a special friend and in a special way to remember me on my birthday.
The content of the pack are;
2 Dell laptop computer,
4 ip-phones, AN ENVELOPE,
A Video Camera
and some jewelries.
For your edification, the video at the top is about a different kind of Spam. If you would like to find out more about what is in Spam-the-food and why it's in there, follow this video link to HowStuffWorks.com
Senate set to pass bill that redefines America as a "battlefield," authorizes indefinite military detention of US citizens without charge or trial
The US Senate's Defense Authorization Bill redefines America as a "battlefield" and authorizes US troops to conduct military arrests of civilians on US soil, and to indefinitely detain citizens without charge or trial. The ACLU wants you to write to your senator and demand that this insanity not pass.
The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night’s Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.
The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday. The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing.
I know it sounds incredible. New powers to use the military worldwide, even within the United States? Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?
Alejandro De La Cruz from Turnstyle News tells Boing Boing,
Our reporter out of Egypt, Shadi Rahimi, has completed an online post with video on a Tahrir Square protester who was in the middle of Monday's clashes. The demonstrator, whose name is Saleh, says he was battered, arrested and later released. He says he considers his fate "fortunate" compare to those who lost their lives.
When Rahimi met up with Saleh, he was still deciding whether to boycott Egypt's historic vote.
A Canadian oil company called Paramount Resources has changed its name to Pixar. Seriously.
Previously known as Paramount Resources, I guess the executives got tired of being named after one of Hollywood’s has-been brands. As far as I can tell, this is not a joke, there’s even a serious sounding press release composed without a hint of irony. It’s being reported in the wider media as well.
The excellent Soundway Records label continues its musical exploration of Colombia with another huge compilation, The Original Sound of Cumbia. To promote the release, they've created a really fantastic interactive "Musical Map of Colombia." Browsing the map is a fascinating experience whether or not you intend to buy the new compilation. That said, I'd wager that after a few minutes playing with the map, you'll be inclined to own some of this music. It's available on CD but I'm inclined to go for the two volume, triple (!) vinyl with free MP3 download once it's in-stock at the US distributor Forced Exposure.
There are lots of alphabet books out there. Matching a letter to an object and pairing them with a little bit of cute poetry is a conceit that goes back to the days when alphabet books were printed on a single sheet of paper protected by a thin layer of animal horn.
What makes the iPad/iPhone app X is for X-Ray different is its ability to feed kids' curiosity. Every alphabetic object in X is for X-Ray, from an accordion to a zipper, has had its insides photographed by Hugh Turvey, Artist in Residence at the British Institute of Radiology. (Which sounds like an incredibly cool job, to begin with.)
As you read through the book, you can turn the X-ray vision on and off, rotate some of the images 360 degrees around, zoom in on other images, and even put on a pair of stereoscopic glasses to see things in 3D.
Unsurprisingly, this gimmick works better for some letters than others. A flower, for instance, doesn't make for the most exciting x-ray to look at. Nor does a piggy bank. But the internal combustion engine more than makes up for those brushes with mediocrity. If you put the engine photo in x-ray mode and rotate it, the image comes to life. Suddenly, you're not just looking at the insides of a piece of mechanical technology, you're watching them work—pistons pumping and cranks turning. It's really neat and strikingly beautiful.
My main complaint with the app is really a complaint with app development, in general: X is for X-Ray is only available for iPhone and iPad. I don't own either of those things. If it weren't for the fact that Mike Levad, the app's producer, lives in Minneapolis and brought the app to me to try out on his iPad, I wouldn't even be writing this review. There seems to be a remarkable number of very cool science-related apps that aren't available for Android. I find that a bit annoying.
Watch the video to see a preview of X is for X-Ray.
Download it at the Apple App Store: $7.99 (iPad) and $2.99 (iPhone, iPod touch)
JWZ: you don't need to sleep under your desk to succeed in a startup, but if you do, it'll make your VCs plenty rich
Prompted by his being quoted in Michael Arrington's article on how you should view your work at a startup, Jamie Zawinski opines that the reason that venture capitalists tell you that startups should involve health-destroying, life-destroying, brutal work is because doing this will make them rich, not you. He calls this a con. JWZ, who made a tidy sum by being an early Netscape engineer and used it to open San Francisco's legendary DNA Lounge venue, closes with these stirring words: "I recommend that you do what you love because you love doing it. If that means long hours, fantastic. If that means leaving the office by 6pm every day for your underwater basket-weaving class, also fantastic."
Follow the fucking money. When a VC tells you what's good for you, check your wallet, then count your fingers.
He's telling you the story of, "If you bust your ass and don't sleep, you'll get rich" because the only way that people in his line of work get richer is if young, poorly-socialized, naive geniuses believe that story! Without those coat-tails to ride, VCs might have to work for a living. Once that kid burns out, they'll just slot a new one in.
I did make a bunch of money by winning the Netscape Startup Lottery, it's true. So did most of the early engineers. But the people who made 100x as much as the engineers did? I can tell you for a fact that none of them slept under their desk. If you look at a list of financially successful people from the software industry, I'll bet you get a very different view of what kind of sleep habits and office hours are successful than the one presented here.
So if your goal is to enrich the Arringtons of the world while maybe, if you win the lottery, scooping some of the groundscore that they overlooked, then by all means, bust your ass while the bankers and speculators cheer you on.