Boing Boing 

Lego Moleskine notebooks

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I already have a lifetime supply of notebooks, but I'll be buying these Lego Moleskines just in case there's a mortality cure coming down the pipes.

Buy Lego Moleskines on Amazon.com

Twitter, partnering with Chillingeffects.org, publishes a year's worth of DMCA takedown notices (all 4,410 of them)

From an article by Jake Brodkin at Ars Technica:

"Twitter has taken the unusual step of making DMCA takedown notices public, in partnership with Chilling Effects, a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and several universities. The site shows 4,410 cease and desist notices dating back to November 2010."

Here's the database on Chillingeffects.org. (Twitter's effort to expand partnership with Chilling Effects on this issue and the "country-specific censorship" policy is, IMO, most laudable.)

Nada Surf - "Waiting For Something" (MP3 download)


Sound it Out # 15: Nada Surf "Waiting for Something"

Nada Surf has been playing intelligent and catchy guitar-based rock music for two decades. Their records are lush and beautifully written, and the constant sense of wonder and optimism throughout is a joy for this cynic to discover every time. Nada Surf always makes me believe that everything is going to be all right.

The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy is Nada Surf's new record and it came out Tuesday. The songwriting covers lots of introspective themes about the passing of time without even a hint of sullenness or pomposity. 'Waiting for Something" is a fine example of Nada Surf at their best and may well stick in your head for the foreseeable future. It's been in mine for days.

EFF: "What Does Twitter’s Country-by-Country Takedown System Mean for Freedom of Expression?"

An explainer from Eva Galperin at the Electronic Frontier Foundation on Twitter's "country-based tweet takedown" news.

The key point here, which has been missing in much of the initial coverage, is that the policy announcement is specifically related to the company's global expansion: Twitter is opening offices in more countries around the world. A US-based company doesn't "have to" censor speech according to any other country's laws, but the scenario is quite different for a company opening offices and placing employees within foreign borders. Snip:

Until now, when Twitter has taken down content, it has had to do so globally. So for example, if Twitter had received a court order to take down a tweet that is defamatory to Ataturk--which is illegal under Turkish law--the only way it could comply would be to take it down for everybody. Now Twitter has the capability to take down the tweet for people with IP addresses that indicate that they are in Turkey and leave it up everywhere else. Right now, we can expect Twitter to comply with court orders from countries where they have offices and employees, a list that includes the United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, and soon Germany.

Twitter's increasing need to remove content comes as a byproduct of its growth into new countries, with different laws that they must follow or risk that their local employees will be arrested or held in contempt, or similar sanctions. By opening offices and moving employees into other countries, Twitter increases the risks to its commitment to freedom of expression. Like all companies (and all people) Twitter is bound by the laws of the countries in which it operates, which results both in more laws to comply with and also laws that inevitably contradict one another. Twitter could have reduced its need to be the instrument of government censorship by keeping its assets and personnel within the borders of the United States, where legal protections exist like CDA 230 and the DMCA safe harbors (which do require takedowns but also give a path, albeit a lousy one, for republication).

Read more at EFF.org.

Best practices for fair use in libraries

Pat Aufderheide sez,

When is it OK for me to put copyrighted material on e-reserves for students?

I've got an ancient VHS and the company that made it is defunct. Can I copy it to DVD for a prof's class?

A student's thesis analyzes advertisements and includes some of them. Can I put the thesis in our digital institutional repository?

Academic and research librarians can employ their fair use rights to make such decisions, and now they have a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use to help them decide what's appropriate. Librarians developed this code under the aegis of the Association of Research Libraries and with funding from the Mellon Foundation in sessions over the course of two years, in locations around the country. Legal scholar Peter Jaszi (Washington College of Law, American University) and communication scholar Patricia Aufderheide, who have facilitated several codes of best practices in fair use, also participated.

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries (Thanks, Pat!)

Video for "Brothers," by The War on Drugs


[Video Link] Amy Seidenwurm says: "'Brothers' by The War on Drugs was possibly my favorite song of 2011. They just released a supremely creepy video for it."

Trailer for Ethos: the truth about the U.S. Government and its corrupt system


[Video Link] Sounds like this documentary explores the same kind of mass psychological manipulation that Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays invented to convince Americans that it was a good idea to get involved in World War One, as well as convince women that they'd become socially powerful if they smoked cigarettes.

Directed by filmmaker Pete McGrain and hosted by Academy Award nominated actor and activist Woody Harrelson, Ethos: A Time for Change, explains how our country is controlled by some very wealthy families and not our chosen government. These families control the main pillars of our society which include; politics, corporations, banks and the media. The United States is framed as a democracy, suggesting that we the people govern our country and elect our officials, but the truth of that matter is that a democracy does not exist. Rather, the nation was designed to be a polyarchy, one that is ruled by many, those many being the key families. By structuring the country this way, it was premeditated that ultimately it would not matter who is in office because the people campaigning would be controlled and influenced by those controlling the money.

Those featured in the film include renowned historians such as Noam Chomsky (Manufacturing Dissent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media), Chalmers Johnson (Blowback: The Sorrows of Empire), Howard Zinn (A People’s History of the United States), the CEO’s of massive corporations such as Goodyear and Interface, as well as filmmaker Michael Moore.

Buy Ethos: A Time for Change on Amazon.com

Klaus Schulze, live Moog madness from 1977

Klaus Schulze pilots his Moog spaceship through the composition "For Barry Graves" live in 1977. The track can be found on "La Vie Electronique Vol. 5." The Klaus Schulze La Vie Electronique series, which started in 2009, are reissues of The Ultimate Edition, a CD box set from 2000 that contained a staggering 50 discs, which is arguably more epic synthesis than anyone should or could possibly endure. (via WFMU)

Here's the utterly inconsequential recording that resulted in NZ PM John Key ordering raids on the free press

Juha Saarinen sez,

2Johns2Cups by goldenturkey

New Zealand media were raided by police last November just before the general election, after the incumbent centre-right Prime Minister John Key made a criminal complaint over a recording of a conversation in a cafe between him and far right-wing politician John Banks during a staged media event. The country's biggest broadcasters and newspaper were raided by police, who requested unpublished material and sources for interviews as well as the recording itself. Radio New Zealand covered the "Teapot Tapes" scandal and was raided too even though it didn't have a copy of the recording.

The recording has now leaked out onto the Internet. It reveals little of consequence, but police are continuing the investigation and are seeking witnesses who were in the cafe at the time. Police are also warning people that disclosing private conversations unlawfully intercepted can be punished by up to two years' in jail. PM Key is aware the recording is now online, but has told National Business Review that he won't seek to remove it from YouTube and other sites.

Meanwhile, Bradley Ambrose, the cameraman who recorded the conversation - accidentally he says - has been issued with a NZ$14,000 demand for legal costs by the NZ government. If convicted, he could be sent to prison for up to two years. Ambrose had given a copy of the recording to the New Zealand Herald who in turn asked Key for permission to publish it. Before this week's Internet leak, the recording has never been made public.

Key's National party won the election.

(Thanks, Juha!)

LA airport security scare caused by TSA mistaking insulin pump for gun

At Los Angeles International airport early this morning, TSA screeners mistook a woman's insulin pump for a gun. Screening and boarding at Terminal 4 were delayed as airport authorities searched for a woman they thought had a weapon.

Those racist, crazy 1990s Ron Paul newsletters? He signed off on every single one, associates say

“It was his newsletter, and it was under his name, so he always got to see the final product...He would proof it." Renae Hathway, a former secretary in Ron Paul’s company and former supporter of the Texas congressman, in the Washington Post today about those wacky racist newsletters previously mentioned here on Boing Boing.

The Great Hall of Hams

A worker checks in a special room where the Parma hams are hung to dry in Langhirano near Parma. Prosciutto di Parma can only be produced in a very restricted area of 29 sq km (11.2 sq mile) around the town of Parma in the region of Emilia Romagna, just north of Tuscany. Around 10 million hams are sold every year, of which about 2 million are exported, mainly to France, the United States and Germany, which each consume about 400,000 a year. (REUTERS, file photo from 2009)

Art Spiegelman exhibition in Angouleme, France


[Video Link] Short video of Maus creator Art Spiegelman getting a hero's welcome in France, where a museum in Angouleme is exhibiting a retrospective of his work.

(Via Potrzebie)

Anti-aging mouthpiece

Screen Shot 2012-01-27 At 12.02.31 Pm "This easy-to-use beauty and skincare product was developed by an ordinary housewife. Chikako Hirama was simply concerned about her own age and wanted an easy way to combat those telltale lines. Just try the yellow or pink Pupeko daily using such techniques as puffing out your cheeks or sucking them in while breathing through the mouthpiece. Then you can try it while keeping your head upright to give your neck and other muscles further exercise training."

(Via Book of Joe)

RePress: a WordPress plugin for proxying around national firewalls


RePress is a new WordPress plugin that turns any WordPress site into a proxy that can be used to circumvent national firewalls, including the systems used in The Netherlands, Italy, Finland and other countries where The Pirate Bay is blocked.

The plugin is developed by the hosting company Greenhost and allows everyone with a WordPress blog to start a proxy for sites that are censored elsewhere in the world. As an example, Greenhost have setup a Pirate Bay and Wikileaks proxy.

“By adding this plug-in to your WordPress website it will start functioning as a proxy and uncensor any blocked website you’d like,” Greenhost explains. “The only thing you’ll need is a WordPress website and the ability to install new plug-ins. After that you can maintain a list of websites you’d like to keep open freely available on the web.”

WordPress Plugin Unblocks Censored Sites, Including The Pirate Bay

FBI to increase monitoring of Twitter and Facebook, seeks help building new surveillance app

From the Guardian: "Earlier this month the FBI quietly published a request for information (RFI) looking for companies that might help it build a new social network monitoring system looking at "publicly available" information. Contractors have until 10 February to suggest solutions."

Hubble Space Telescope power interface console on eBay

Hubbbbbbl
If you're working on a DIY version of the Hubble Space Telescope, this may come in handy. It's apparently the Vehicle Power Interface Console used at the Goddard Flight Center during pre-launch testing of the HST, and you can buy it now on eBay for $75,000. From the listing:

Hubbebebebe Everything is housed in a very substantial 3 rack metal cabinet with lockable 3 door access in the back.

Cabinet is completely hand wired, as only NASA can do, it's a thing of beauty!

All pieces of equipment have wire seals that have not been tampered with

There are three large Heat Vent Stacks with internal fans on the top of the cabinet.

This console is large, and has quite an impressive Presentation!

"NASA Vehicle Power Interface for Hubble Space Telescope"

Did NYPD police chief violate code of conduct by lying about Islamophobic video?

Gothamist digs into whether NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly's statements and actions regarding the production of an Islamophobic propaganda film "screened on a continuous loop for over 1,200 NYPD officers" may have been a violation of NYPD conduct codes. If you're new to the story, first read this NYT item, then this followup.

A lovely photo of a plastic bag

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Photographer Edi Go made a beautiful photograph of an ugly plastic bag.


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"Elastic" by Edi Go (Behance, via Imaginary Foundation)

Earth station satellite facility home for sale

 Images 654*503 Sat3

After noticing a lack of space for Rob's vintage synthesizer collection, Happy Mutants has decided not to purchase the ICBM silo and air park for sale in New York's Adirondacks. Instead, we have our sights on the Jamesburg Earth Station now for sale in Carmel Valley, California. As we speak, Weisberger is pawning a handful of his rare pens to cover the down payment. The facility has historical significance as it was the first place to receive live images from the 1969 moon landing. (If you believe that sort of thing.) From NBC Bay Area:

Earthsttttt

For the price, you'll get the 20,000 square foot facility, 160 acres of land, a helicopter landing pad, three bedroom house, basketball court, barn, and even two of private wells.

If that's not enough, the complex also takes home security to a whole new level. Built in the 1960's at the height of a nuclear arms race between the U.S. and Soviet Union, the building is equipped to handle a 5 megaton nuclear blast.

"Bomb-Proof Earth Station for Sale" (NBC Bay Area)

Jamesburg Earth Station (Keller Williams Realty)

Top RBS bankster's compensation in visual context


Dunchead of amazingstuff.co.uk sez, "RBS boss Stephen Hester has accepted his bonus of £963,000 on top of his annual salary of £1.2 million. RBS is 80% owned by the UK taxpayer. This image represents his annual income as 2.2 million pixels, comparing it in 'income parade' style with other taxpayer-employed workers."

RBS boss Stephen Hester's annual salary and bonus represented in pixels (Thanks, Dunchead!)

Newt Gingrich's pro-medical marijuana letter to Journal of the American Medical Ass'n., 1982

"On Sept 16, 1981, Representative Stewart McKinney and I introduced legislation designed to end bureaucratic interference in the use of marijuana as a medicant. We believe licensed physicians are competent to employ marijuana, and patients have a right to obtain marijuana legally, under medical supervision, from a regulated source." Newt Gingrich, hypocritical piece of shit, was pro-medical-cannabis "way back before he wanted to behead people and cut off their hands for possessing it," notes Dangerous Minds.

Documentary about the Langley Schools Music Project

Several years ago, VH1 made a documentary about the Langley Schools Music Project, and you can watch the whole thing on YouTube. If you're not hip to the Langley Schools Music Project, you're in for a real treat. Between 1976 and 1977, music teacher Hans Fenger and a group of middle school students recorded two albums of the 9-12 year olds singing rock and pop tunes by the likes of the Beach Boys, David Bowie, Neil Diamond, and Klaatu. In 2000, a record collector picked up a copy in a thrift store and sent it to outsider music expert and WFMU DJ Irwin Chusid who busted his tail to get the albums re-issued on a single CD, titled Innocence & Despair. The recordings are bittersweet, simultaneously bleak and hopeful, and beautiful.

Richard Branson: It’s time to end the failed war on drugs

"Just as prohibition of alcohol failed in the United States in the 1920s, the war on drugs has failed globally. Over the past 50 years, more than $1 trillion has been spent fighting this battle, and all we have to show for it is increased drug use, overflowing jails, billions of pounds and dollars of taxpayers’ money wasted, and thriving crime syndicates."—Virgin CEO Richard Branson, calling for an end to the "war on drugs."

Madonna's cautionary AIDS comic, handed out at a 1987 concert

From Ethan Persoff's ongoing chronicles of vintage weird ephemera: COMICS WITH PROBLEMS #7 - MADONNA ON AIDS. This public health pamphlet was handed out at one of her concerts, one night only, in 1987. Her image appears on the cover, and inside, a handwritten note urging for greater awareness of AIDS and an end to prejudice against those who contract it (or who are HIV-positive).

In Russia, tiny protest sparks big police response: LEGO minifigs, South Park dolls, and Wall-e demonstrate for democracy


(Photo above: RFE-RL; below, Ivan Krupchik.)

Authorities in Russia are investigating the legality of a "doll demonstration" demanding "clean elections" in the Siberian city of Barnaul, and looking for the humans responsible.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports that Russia's police "[arrest] anyone, young or old, who takes part in an "unsanctioned" opposition rally"—so, some citizens in Barnaul created a protest tableau composed of dolls, instead.

Lego minifigs, South Park ("Team America"?) characters, stuffed dollies, Shreks, gnomes, elves, and Wall-e robots carrying protest placards were placed on an icy ledge in the town's center on January 7 and 14. This act followed police crackdowns on two protests by normal-sized people back in December. The focus of all the protests, large and small? Political corruption, and the results of Russia's parliamentary elections.

From RIA Novosti:

Most of the figurines held up little signs affixed to toothpicks with satirical messages on them, such as "146%", in reference to a southern region where state television inadvertently reported a 146 per cent turnout in recent elections. Other toys held caricatures of the Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, and President Dmitry Medvedev.

The victory of Mr Putin's United Russia Party in last month's parliamentary polls, amid allegations of fraud, brought tens of thousands of protesters onto Moscow's streets. The government seemed to realise it could not take the usual repressive action against the demonstrators in the capital, but in Barnaul authorities "did everything possible" to block protests, Andrei Teslenko, one of the organisers, said.

That's when the activists set up the toy protests. "The authorities are blocking our constitutional rights to peaceful protests, but they haven't yet got as far as limiting the rights of toys," he said.

Photographer Ivan Krupchik has an extensive series of photos up on his LiveJournal (including the Wall-e shot above, and the LEGO detail below in this post).

More: MSNBC News, Radio Free Europe,Independent (UK), UK Guardian.

(thanks, Martin Hodgson)

Political Contributions from Financial Sector Increased 700% Since 1990


Nicko Margolies from the Sunlight Foundation sez, "A new analysis prepared by the Sunlight Foundation shows that wealthy financial sector donors gave $178.2 million in political contributions in 2010, more than ten times what they gave 20 years ago. More than any other industry, individuals from the finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sector, particularly those in securities and investments, are the key drivers of the overall growth of elite donors, or what Sunlight calls The Political One Percent of the One Percent.

"An analysis of campaign contribution records by the Sunlight Foundation reveals that the number of donors in the FIRE sector giving at least $10,000 (in 2010 dollars) per election cycle to political candidates, parties and independent expenditure groups increased from 1,091 in 1990 to 5,510 in 2010 (a 405% increase). Combined contributions of these elite donors increased even more dramatically, growing by $162.8 million (a 700% increase, controlling for inflation). This project builds on the Political 1% of the 1% that was featured on Boing Boing in December."

On FIRE: How the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate Sector Drove the Growth of the Political One Percent of the One Percent (Thanks, Nicko!)

HOWTO build a Tardis, the adorable German schoolteacher way

Sillysparrowness, a self-described "German teacher with a leaning towards silliness," described the process by which she came to build a beautiful, obsessively finished Tardis.

I built a TARDIS (Thanks, scottiep!)

"My Favorite Museum Exhibit": Where exhibits come from

Earlier this week, I challenged readers to send me photos of their favorite museum exhibits and specimens, preferably from museums that might go overlooked in the tourism pantheon. Over the next few days, I'll be posting some of these submissions, under the heading, "My Favorite Museum Exhibit". Want to see them all? Check the "Previously" links at the bottom of this post.

This is actually a behind-the-scenes thing, submitted by Larry Clark, an editor at Washington State University's magazine. Clark made some videos about how curators at WSU’s Conner Museum prepare specimens for display.

In this video, curator Kelly Cassidy prepares a screech owl specimen. It is worth noting that this process involves flesh-eating beetles. Yes. Really.

Previously in this series:



"My Favorite Museum Exhibit": Two nuclear bombs, slightly dented

RAW Week: Trickster Santa and the Real Revolution, by Tiffany Lee Brown

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Photo of Tiffany Lee Brown by Wiley Wiggins

Someday I hope to share with you audio from an interview I conducted with Mr. Wilson, but it's entirely possible the old cassette is long gone. I'm still looking. For now, here's text:

Robert Anton Wilson was kinda more George Carlin and less Timothy Leary than he sometimes appeared. I didn't know him truly, madly, deeply and we did not eat, pray, and love together. (OK, we did eat together, now that I think of it.) I did get to hang out with him a number of times.

What surprised me most was his practicality. Bob didn't actually strike me as being all that far-out; rather, he seemed a practical guy with a very smart mind and a very wacky sense of humor. Turning on was fun, sure, and led to important and far-reaching discoveries, some directed inward, others outward. Tuning in was essential: homing in on what matters and communicating to the tribe and also, importantly, to the potential tribe, to the yahoos who hadn't gotten all enlightened 'n' shit, the people who might really *need* to have their minds blown.

But he didn't think that dropping out was an option. He was solid in the pre-old-school sense. Solidly built in physicality, solidly convinced of the efficacy of his ideas, and despite his curmudgeonly tendencies, solidly committed to making the world a better place -- or at least showing its denizens some potential for doing it themselves. Sometimes, that's exactly what we need.

Read the rest