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Nostril-borne lightup draft-sensor jacklanterns your schnozz when you breathe

Noda Akira married a draft-sensor to a blue LED and miniaturized the package so that it would fit in his nostril. The result is a nasal prosthesis that lights up his nostril with eerie blue light every time he breathes through his nose.

Draft-Sensing Noselight Glows When You Breathe

Sorry, you can't buy our time from shifty startup Allthis

A new startup, Allthis, is advertising that you can "buy time" with some of us at Boing Boing, using its service. You can't. We haven't signed up; it's just created a sleazy opt-out system and thrown in everyone it can think of. Allthis, you guys really should knock it off, lest the internet knock you off. And if this is publicity stunt, well, screw you. (Thanks to everyone who sent this in)

Update: Many others are in the same boat. "At worst, fraud," writes Amy Hoy. Joel Housman archives some of Allthis's sterling PR work on Twitter.

Woody Guthrie's New Year's Resolutions 1942

(Thanks, Lou!)

Lou Beach's new book: 420 Characters, exclusive preview

Illustrator Lou Beach has a new book, called 420 Characters. I like Jonathan Lethem's blurb about it: "Holy Shit! These are great!"

After the jump, some sample stories and art from the book (some of the art is not in the book; consider it a bonus).

Read the rest

Street Art Utopia's photo gallery

Street Art Utopia posted a gallery of "106 of the most beloved Street Art Photos – Year 2011." (Photo by Sandrine Estrade Boulet)

AT&T drops T-Mobile bid

AT&T drops its attempt to buy the United States' other major GSM carrier. [All Things D]

Monkey washes dishes

[Video Link] Dunchead says: "A truly amazing clip of a monkey washing dishes, and making a very thorough job of it."

“Pete had been observing me washing the pots for a few days before he took over and began completely and perfectly imitating me!

The monkey on his back is a baby female called Pea. She is not his daughter. Pete had an unfortunate overbite which made him a particularly ugly monkey; he had very little success with the ladies and therefore looked after babies a lot.”

InTrade betting market shows Gingrich imploding in Iowa

Ritholtz says: "So much for the Gingrich juggernaut . . . on Intrade, his Iowa polling data is falling off of a cliff."

Alex Pearson's film about making a poster about a film

[Video Link] Alex Pearson made a video to show how he drew his latest print, inspired by the 1958 Jacques Tati film Mon Oncle.

Title: "A Ride Through Town"
Illustrator: Alex Pearson / Familytree
Printer: Kangaroo Press
3 color screen print on French 110# Smart White Paper
Size: 18" x 24"
Edition of 100
Price: $35

Trailer for We Need To Talk About Kitten

[Video Link] Russell Bates says: I noticed that you recently featured the trailer for We Need To Talk About Kevin on Boing Boing. This was a fortuitous coincidence, because I also recently saw the film and decided that it needed a more terrifying villain.

Pro bono lawyers rescue scienceblogger from naturopath's SLAPP legal threats

Ken at Popehat -- a lawyer -- describes the pro bono action he fought on behalf of Michael Hawkins, the scienceblogger behind For the Sake of Science, after Hawkins found himself threatened with a lawsuit by Christopher Maloney, a "naturopath" whose methodologies Hawkins had pointedly questioned and mocked. Maloney's wife, a member of the Maine legislature and an attorney, sent a lengthy legal threat that implied that the couple had already sued Hawkins, and which proposed to ask a judge for an injunction against any site on the web that reposted Hawkins's criticism ("a Maine state legislator just suggested that a Maine court should issue an injunction prohibiting unnamed, unserved people — potentially including you — from re-posting what Mr. Hawkins had to say about Dr. Maloney.").

Ken took Hawkins's case for free, along with First Amendment lawyer Marc Randazza, and local counsel Jed Davis of Mitchell & Davis PA. The lawyers told the "naturopath" and the lawyer/legislator that they believed that their complaint qualified as a SLAPP (strategic litigation against public participation) and all claims against Hawkins were waived.

Ken uses the stirring story of his victory as a call to arms to other bloggers to get educated about their local anti-SLAPP statutes, and to stand up to bullies who threaten them.

Across America, censorious SLAPP threats like the one Dr. and Ms. Maloney sent to Michael Hawkins succeed every day. They succeed because most defendants aren’t as smart or determined or brave as people like Michael Hawkins or Rhys Morgan. (I am not throwing the first stone at anyone who yields to a SLAPP threat. I can’t.) They succeed because most defendants don’t understand their First Amendment rights. They succeed because most defendants don’t know a First Amendment lawyer. They succeed because most defendants don’t have the money to fund a lawsuit. They succeed because many jurisdictions don’t have an effective anti-SLAPP statute. They succeed because many lawyers who care about the First Amendment aren’t in the position to do pro bono work, or worry that they don’t know the issues well enough or that it will take too much time. They succeed because the American legal system is, for the most part, set up to make it easy for plaintiffs to extort defendants without significant risk.

Do you care? If you do, good. Whether you are a lawyer or a blogger or concerned citizen, you can do your part to change all that.

Boing Boing fought and won an anti-SLAPP defense against a BS lawsuit from MagicJack, who had to pay more than $50,000 worth of our legal costs for their trouble.

Pro Bono Victory In A Junk-Science SLAPP Suit Against A Science Blogger

Law professors explain what's wrong with SOPA, constitutionally speaking

James sez, "The Stanford Law Review Online has just published a piece by Professors Mark Lemley, David S. Levine, and David G. Post on the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act. In Don't Break the Internet, they argue that the two bills -- intended to counter online copyright and trademark infringement -- 'share an underlying approach and an enforcement philosophy that pose grave constitutional problems and that could have potentially disastrous consequences for the stability and security of the Internet's addressing system, for the principle of interconnectivity that has helped drive the Internet's extraordinary growth, and for free expression.'

These bills, and the enforcement philosophy that underlies them, represent a dramatic retreat from this country's tradition of leadership in supporting the free exchange of information and ideas on the Internet. At a time when many foreign governments have dramatically stepped up their efforts to censor Internet communications, these bills would incorporate into U.S. law a principle more closely associated with those repressive regimes: a right to insist on the removal of content from the global Internet, regardless of where it may have originated or be located, in service of the exigencies of domestic law.

Don't Break the Internet (Thanks, James!)

Queen Luigi

King Mario's true love.

UPDATE: Here's the chess set at hand, available from Amazon.

Please take me to space: Letters to the Hayden Planetarium

In 1950, as part of promoting a new exhibit on space exploration, the Hayden Planetarium in New York City put out the word that it was accepting applications from would-be space tourists. Over the next few years, hundreds of letters poured in. This is one of them, written by a man who would like to get to Mars early in order to corner the hot dog market there.

You can view several other letters at the American Museum of Natural History's website. They're equally delightful and packed with awesome Happy Mutant goodness—from a man who helpfully offered the planetarium his own, home-brew rocket schematics; to a man with the nickname "Stardust" who told the planetarium they could cancel his reservation if he was able to hitch a ride on a flying saucer sooner; to Barbara, a 16-year-old who informed the Planetarium that she "won't be content" until she was on a rocket headed to far-off space. Beautiful!

Auction of furnishings from home where Jacko died

 Cnn Dam Assets 111213112842-Michael-Jackson-Auction-7-Horizontal-Gallery This weekend, Julien's Auctions sold off hundreds of items from Los Angele's 100 North Carolwood Drive, the address where Michael Jackson and his kids were living when he died. Many of the most sought-after bits were those that were visible in the crime scene photos displayed during Dr. Conrad Murray's trial. The auction house recreated Jackson's bedroom for display but referred to it as "the medicine room." From CNN:

A small table that sat next to the bed where Jackson spent his last living hours in a desperate search for sleep sold for $5,000. The "French occasional table" was listed for between $300 and $500. It was a centerpiece of several key crime scene photos at Murray's trial, because several bottles of sedatives were found on it.

The oriental rug on which paramedics tried to revive Jackson sold for $15,360, although the auction catalog placed its value at between $400 and $600. It, also, is prominent on photos shown at the trial.

Julien's backed away from selling the bed in which Jackson received the fatal dose of the (propofol) after a personal request from his mother, Katherine Jackson, Nolan said.

"Sold! Auction sells furnishings from Michael Jackson's last house"

Last look inside space shuttle Atlantis

Submitterator vetran collectSPACE tells us:

collectSPACE had the rare opportunity recently to tour NASA’s space shuttle Atlantis to photograph its preparation for museum display and capture its glass cockpit powered and lit for one of its last times.

The photo gallery starts on Atlantis’ flight deck, and then proceeds to its now mostly empty middeck, out into and above the 60-foot payload bay, and then around and under the winged spacecraft.

Their gallery is gorgeous, and really appropriately shows the complexity of the space shuttle's controls. It hadn't occurred to me until now how little of the space shuttle I've seen.

Rare, last look inside space shuttle Atlantis - collectSPACE

A powerful personal perspective on NIMBY

OnEarth magazine has a really interesting essay on renewable energy and NIMBYism, by nature writer David Gessner. A former resident of Cape Cod, Gessner was a longtime opponent of the plan to site offshore wind turbines in the ocean near the Cape. But he recently changed his mind. Why? It has to do with Henry David Thoreau and the Gulf Oil Spill.

Keith Emerson fights with the power of prog rock

Keith Emerson as a Roman slave battling his enemies with prog rock. (This clip is from the old BBC Two comedy show Big Train. Emerson is portrayed by Kevin Eldon.) (via @chris_carter)

2011's biggest scandals in science

The Scientist magazine has put out their list of the top science scandals of 2011. I'm not normally a huge fan of overblown scandal recaps, but this particular one is interesting, I think, because it gives laypeople a peek into some major stories that many non-scientists probably haven't heard much about.

For instance, number one on their list is the strange case of Diederik Stapel, former head of the Institute for Behavioral Economics Research in the Netherlands. Stapel did social psychology research, publishing media-bait studies that were contrarian and inflammatory to some, and highly supportive of other people's deeply held beliefs about the world. For instance, back in August, Stapel and a colleague put out a press release about some not-yet-published data suggesting that people who eat meat are selfish and anti-social.

Then, in August, Stapel's career began to unravel. Accused of plagiarism and fabricating data, he was fired and, one by one, papers of his are being retracted by the journals that published them. A preliminary report by his former employers found that 30 of his research papers were based on faked data. A deeper report, which will review everything Stapel has ever written—130 papers and 24 book chapters—is ongoing.

Image: anyone local fit this description?, a Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivative-Works (2.0) image from streamishmc's photostream

Thief accidentally butt-dials 911

On Tuesday, two gentlemen stole DVDs and video games from Madison, Wisconsin Target but didn't realize that one of them had accidentally butt-dialed 911. From the Associated Press:

A dispatcher listened in for nearly an hour as they discussed what they had stolen and where they might sell it. Police say they even described their vehicle.

Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain says the pair decided to sell their goods at a video store. When they pulled into the store's parking lot, officers surrounded their vehicle with guns drawn.

"Police: Thieves pocket-dial 911, leading to arrest"

Smurf town in Spain votes to stay blue

 Incoming Article6278949.Ece Alternates W380 Ia19-25-Smurf

The small city of Juzcar in southern Spain was painted blue as a film location for The Smurfs movie. Sony Pictures offered to repaint all the homes but the residents voted yesterday to stay blue. From The Independent:

Ever since the pueblo was converted into the set of Smurftown for Sony's hit, it has been cashing in on its new-found celebrity status. Previously, about 300 tourists a year would pass through Juzcar. In the past six months, an estimated 80,000 followers of "Los Pitufos", as the Smurfs are known in Spanish, have made the trek to the remote village high in Malaga's sierras.

The village has eagerly embraced its new role, holding events such as a Smurf moonlight fun run, Smurf painting competitions and permanently running Smurf trade fairs. There are even Smurf-themed weddings to keep fans of the squeaky little blue folk coming.

However, the biggest draw for Smurfophiles is surely Juzcar's 175 buildings, uniformly repainted light blue from traditional white for the filming. Even the church and gravestones were transformed, with 4,000 litres of blue paint applied to one of Spain's famous 1,500 "pueblos blancos".

"Spanish village happy to be left feeling blue by Smurfs"

North Korean diplomacy, with a side of slaw

As Dean told you this morning, Kim Jong-Il is dead. (Side note: This has been one of those great moments for me, where I learned about a news story from Facebook first, at least a good 10-15 minutes before stories started popping up on Google News last night. Shout-out for that goes to Kyle Whitmire, the new media editor and main political writer at WELD, a Birmingham, Alabama, based weekly.)

With that news in mind, I'd like to take a moment to remember one the weirder aspects of North Korean politics under Kim Jong-Il's reign. During the Clinton administration, and to a lesser extent, under Bush as well, one of the primary ways the United States conducted diplomacy with North Korea was through Bobby Egan, owner of a barbecue joint in Hackensack, New Jersey. No, really. Here's an excerpt from a 2006 NPR story on Bobby Egan:

... a few customers know that Bobby Egan is North Korea's man in the U.S. Not that Egan hides it - he'll tell anyone how he tries to help North Korea. He's become a sort of unofficial ambassador. He says he's in contact with government officials, though he declines to be specific. Egan says that twice the North Korean regime authorized him to offer a full end to their nuclear programs in exchange for money and diplomatic relations with the United States.

He says that back in the Clinton years, he used to have phone conversations with presidential advisers while he was at Cubby's register, taking orders. But he says, he does a lot more than just negotiate for North Korea.

Mr. EGAN: I'm a trusted friend. I have access to the country. You know, so there's a lot of difference. We're friends, but whichever role as a friend, you're a friend. You know, there's a lot of roles friends play. You know, not just one role and too specific. We're friends, which is multifaceted.

DAVIDSON: Egan hosts trips. He says he's taken several prominent U.S. politicians to the country, although he says most of them don't want their names made public. He was the official host for the North Korean team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and, he likes to hint, that he often plays a more covert role.

Mr. EGAN: Well, I don't want to get into specific details at this time because I'm still right now on a, you know, an operation mode with North Korea.

Thanks to the Slacktivist blog for reminding me of this story!

North Koreans grieve loss of Dear Leader (Updated!)

You should have seen them when they lost the Stanley Cup [John Biggs]

Joe Sabia made a surreal Palin-interposition in the classic tradition of Sarah Palin Breathing:

Alternative science mnemonics

Just in time for the lull in the conversation at your holiday dinner table, XKCD brings us these handy, sure-fire conversation-starting mnemonics for scientific concepts. Click through for the full set.


Quantum computing with off-the-shelf hologram tech

 Blog Arxiv Files 78682 Optigrate

Scientists are making some headway in building quantum computers using holograms. By exploiting the unusual characteristics of quantum mechanics, quantum computers could potentially crank out calculations a billion times faster than today's integrated circuits. The power of quantum computers lies in the ability of a quantum bit (qubit) to exist in a zero or one state, or a superposition somewhere in the middle, or, oddly, both at one time. For many years, researchers have studied how to use photons to carry quantum information in these futuristic computers. The challenge is that the optical devices used in this approach, interferometers, are so sensitive that they get out of alignment if someone looks at them wrong. Now though, scientists from the Air Force Research Laboratory suggest that by embedding interferometers in glass -- essentially storing them as "holograms" -- will keep them stable. What's especially cool is that they can make these quantum computers -- albeit very simple ones -- using an off-the-shelf holographic materials from a company called OptiGrate. From Tech Review:

MacDonald and co suggest using a commercial holographic material called OptiGrate to store these holograms and show how these devices could carry out simple tasks such as quantum teleportation and CNOT logic.

There are two serious limitations to this approach, however. First, these devices are not scalable. The reason is that a hologram requires a certain volume of space to carry out each computation with high fidelity. And since computations scale exponentially in quantum computers, so must the volume.

Second, these devices are not reprogrammable, at least not with today's technology…

But there are a number of emerging applications for the kind of reliable but low-dimensional quantum computations that these devices could perform. These include quantum memory buses, quantum error correction circuits and quantum key distribution relays.

"Quantum Computing With Holograms" (Physics arXiv Blog)

"Quantum computing in a piece of glass" (

Contest winners - Contact me!

Last week, I got to interview astronaut Rex Walheim using questions submitted by BoingBoing readers. Those readers (plus one runner up) are entitled to a Jackhammer Jill pin and an awesome BoingBoing sticker. But to get those prizes, you need to email me. Kansas, Scratcheee, spocko, ganman, and Titus: You should email me at

Contrafactual future history of Wikileaks

Lavir Tidhar's gonzo sf story Enter The Dragon. Later, Enter Another tells of a future, contrafactual history for Wikileaks with cameos from me and Bruce Sterling. (Thanks, Lavie!)

The "random tattoo"

Every time you scan Fred Bosch's QR code tattoo, it'll take you to a different picture, video, weather forecast or favorite tweet. [Random Tattoo]

SOPA not the only battle; don't forget to help kill Protect-IP

Maxwell Kielt writes in: "While much of the media's attention is directed towards SOPA, Protect-IP (PIPA) is nearing completion. PIPA is arguably as bad as SOPA, and while it has received a great deal of criticism in the Senate, it is not as well-known in the public eye. Senator Wyden has promised to filibuster the bill, but the vote scheduled for January 24th is a cloture vote - meaning that unless Wyden has a set number of supporters, he cannot filibuster, and the vote will progress without delay."

Fearless Fodsick: fight crime...with hair oil!

I love the way that parenting, hair oil and crime prevention are, in some way, all equivalent here.

Fearless Fosdick