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Twitter's early-bird special on censorship

Twitter's U-turn is understandable, but that doesn't mean we should be happy about its willingness to take down tweets on-demand for foreign governments. Rob Beschizza explains why this is going to suck.Read the rest

Clever-folding tyvek San Francisco map, with out-of-the-way landmarks

Shan sez, "Our guide/map of SF is printed on a single sheet of A3 Tyvek, and is then folded up according to a technique originally developed at Tokyo University for satellite solar panels. The bistable nature of the fold means that it can be fully opened or closed in one smooth motion, and that there is no way to fold it 'wrong.' The places we included are a mix of overlooked gems, classic restaurants, and other things like hidden parks, games played across the city, and interesting shops and markets. We just launched our project on Kickstarter yesterday evening, and as of today we're almost 10% funded!"

TOC Guide to SF (Thanks, Shan!)

Survival Research Laboratories: banned in San Francisco

According to Survival Research Laboratories founder Mark Pauline, the pioneering machine performance group has been banned from staging their provocative, brilliant, and awesome spectacles in San Francisco. What a damned shame. From, where you can read Mark's entire statement:

 Books Images Prank2Srl

SRL was recently banned from performing in San Francisco by the SF fire dept. In December 2011, Somarts, a local gallery venue,/arts support organization in the city asked SRL to participate in I am Crime, a show of artists who had been arrested for activities related to their work. The SRL participation was to have included an installation of one machine, the Spine Robot in the gallery and a one day street closure of Brannan Street between 8th and 9th for a short outdoor SRL event at the closing of the installation. The city of SF approved the street closure, but the SFFD, citing an SRL show from 1989 (video evidence above), Illusions of Shameless Abundance stated that SRL would no longer be allowed to perform in San Francisco. This resulted in the outdoor show being called off by Somarts...

SRL banned in San Fran

Marcel Duchamp Inspired Ice Fishing Tip Up / Auto Jigger

[Video Link] Mike Haeg made this "Marcel Duchamp Inspired Ice Fishing Tip Up / Auto Jigger." He says, "this auto-jigger harnesses the power of the wind. A silver dinner bell rings when a fish bites. Perfect for catching panfish and Dadaists." It debuted this week at Art Shanty Projects.


China: dissident on trial after Skypeing poem

Prosecutors in China cited a poem and messages sent on Skype in the trial of dissident Zhu Yufu. The 60-year-old man is charged with "inciting subversion of state power." The poem in question is titled, "It's Time." Zhu's attorney says there's no indication Skype helped police collect evidence. More: Guardian UK.

Pony: a disturbing kinetic sculpture

pony H 54" L 49" W 27" is a kinetic sculpture that is reminiscent of one of Paolo Bacigalupi's more disturbing stories, somehow sexual and biomorphic at once. Do you know who made it and where it was exhibited? Please leave a comment.

pony H 54" L 49" W 27" (via JWZ)

Classic Newt: the hacker army of Saddam Hussein

From Mother Jones: In 1995, "[Newt] Gingrich warned of a horror scenario in which Saddam Hussein trained a hacker army to cause civil unrest by issuing 500,000 American Express cards and then charging absurd fees."

Zero-gravity buttermilk biscuits, 1956

Puffin Biscuits, 1956, a vintage ad shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by BB reader MewDeep, whose collection there is full of great stuff.

Free the Crass Symbol!!! By the designer of the Crass Symbol, Dave King

The very first appearance of Dave King's Crass symbol on Penny's Rimbaud's zine, "Christ's Reality Asylum."

In 1977, in an old farmhouse in the wilds of Essex in Britain, I designed a logo for my friend Penny Rimbaud's impassioned manifesto, Christ's Reality Asylum. A heartfelt rant against as many of life's inequalities as would fit into ten pages of a homemade zine. The text was printed direct from typewriter to the page on a prehistoric copy machine and the logo was hand stenciled onto the grey cardboard covers. From the beginning, the logo was designed to be easily stenciled, a quality that would become very valuable later on. Its basic elements were a cross and a diagonal, negating serpent, formed into a circle, like a Japanese family crest.

Fast forward a few months and the soon to be infamous punk band Crass, is forming in that same damp but fertile farmhouse. Some of the ideas and certainly the righteous anger find their way from the zine into songs that the band members developed. The logo was also adopted by the band.

In the intervening thirty five years, Crass' influence spread around the world and took with it what became known as the Crass Symbol, a signifier of both the band and a demanding, counter-cultural questioning of authority of all kinds.

As new generations discover the band and its still relevant critiques, the symbol has been emblazoned on school bags and clothing and tattooed on bodies. Many "homages" have been made over the years, some the enjoyable work of genuine fans, others just blatant, barely altered rip-offs.

Consider the current case of London fashion house Hardware. Taking the original symbol, wrapping it with a chain and adding their name, they then copyrighted the symbol to use on clothing they say is "chic, glam and borderline trashy". They may have crossed that border with their "Whorewear" line.

I wonder what Crass fans around the world (wide web) think of this situation?

It seems ironic that chains have been added to the logo of a band whose abiding hope has been for the breaking of society's restraints.

And what happens to the counter-culture, now that everything can be appropriated and sold back to a world hungry for authenticity?


You can now see an exhibit of original designs for what became the Crass Symbol, plus early variations and contemporary "re-mixes", at the zine store and gallery Goteblüd in San Francisco.

The show is open Saturdays and Sundays 12-5pm and continues through March 4th.

Installation view.

Installation view.

Read the rest

Treehouse B&B proprietor tells all

This 17-minute mini-documentary introduces Michael Garnier, proprietor of the Out'n'About Treehouse Resort in Oregon. Garnier is a thoughtful and salty woodcrafter who's put a lot of thought into the right way to build a treetop B&B, and his guided tour of his little hotel with its Ewok-style treehouses is a delight.

Over the years, Garnier has become legend in his industry and helped invent a better way to build a treehouse. Instead of bolting wood to wood (i.e. beams to the tree), Garnier and his colleagues at the World Treehouse Conference (an event he used to host) developed a way to attach steel bolts and cuffs to the tree.

Dubbed the Garnier Limb (or G.L.), this open source design can support 8,000 pounds. Garnier sells GLs of all different types as well as plans to build your own treehouse. His DIY treehouses are for 12 foot trees ($150) and he sells about 30 or 40 plans per year.

Out'n'About Treehouse Treesort LLC (via Neatorama)

Bowing to anti-abortion politics, breast cancer charity cuts funds for screenings at Planned Parenthood

Collateral damage in the abortion wars, and bad news for working class and low-income women who rely on Planned Parenthood clinics for breast cancer and cervical cancer screening services. The Susan G. Komen Foundation, America's largest and best-funded cancer charity, is reportedly cutting funding to Planned Parenthood, in response to pressure from anti-women's health political groups.

Planned Parenthood provides a wide array of women's health services, including mammograms and cancer screening.

Washington Post has the dirty backstory. The short version: Komen hired an anti-choice politician to become the charity's vice-president before announcing this change in policy.

From her 2010 campaign website: "Since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood."

Regarding state funds for the women's health clinics which she acknowledged were used for "breast and cervical cancer screening," she said while campaigning, "I’ll eliminate them as your next Governor."

Lame, lame, lame, lame. Cancer doesn't care if you're pro-choice or not.

The founder and chair of @komenforthecure is Nancy Brinker. Email:

(via, HT:@movinmeat)

PHOTO: A crucifix is held aloft during the "March for Life" in Washington January 23, 2012. Nearly 100,000 protesters marched to the U.S. Supreme Court to mark the 39th anniversary of the Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision on abortion. (REUTERS)

Die Antwoord: "I Fink U Freeky," co-directed by Roger Ballen (music video)

[Video Link]

A video for "I Fink U Freeky," from Die Antwoord's new release "TEN$ION." Co-directed by the band and Johannesburg, South Africa-based photographer Roger Ballen (the first of what I hope may be many more collaborations between them).

Clever wire-stripper design

Thingiverse user Brian Beebe has contributed this great design for an electrified wire-stripper that uses an LED to tell you the instant the razor-blades have penetrated the insulation, completing the circuit that lights it up.

* Sight down the blades.
* Align the blades with where the wire should be stripped.
* Move the wire into the blades having the blades cut into the insulation.
* When the blades cut through the insulation and contact the wire the LED will light.
* Spin the wire or the tool to cut the insulation completely around the wire.
* Remove the wire from the tool and pull off the insulation.

Electro Wire Stripper (via Make)

Chinese Oreos are totally tubular

When Kraft introduced Oreos to China in 1996, it was only moderately successful. They revisited the cookie with a lot of market research and came up with a bunch of different chapes, fillings, colors and recipes, eventually choosing several, providing that they preserved the "Oreo experience" of twisting the cookie apart, licking the frosting and dunking it. They sold it with "emotional advertising" in which children showed their parents the "American way" of eating Oreos and the cookies became a success.

They started to ask other provocative questions.

Why does an Oreo have to be black and white? Davis sent us an Oreo with green tea filling. Another had a bright orange center divided between mango and orange flavor.

And why should an Oreo be round? They developed Oreos shaped like straws. In China, you can buy a long rectangular Oreo wafer, the length of your index finger.

Impossible to twist apart, but Davis points out that it makes it easier to dunk in milk.

Rethinking The Oreo For Chinese Consumers (via Kottke)

Shit programmers say

"Shit Programmers Say" -- a worthy addition to the series and a trenchant comment on the inherent interiority of programming.

Shit Programmers Say (via Waxy!)

Fred Goodwin is no longer a knight

Fred "The Shred" Goodwin has been stripped of his knighthood. The former head of RBS, who oversaw its downfall, was knighted for "services to banking" and then received an enormous pension from the bailed-out bank he'd helped to destroy.

Breaking Bad as an RPG

[Video Link] College Humor's RPG video game parody of Breaking Bad is spot on. Contains spoilers of all kinds.

The Great American Cereal Book: exclusive preview

I ate a lot of cereal growing up. When I was six years old I'd wake up before my parents, fill a large aluminum mixing bowl with Cap'n Crunch and milk and park myself in front of the TV (black and white) to watch Beany and Cecil. By the time I got to the bottom of the bowl, the roof of my mouth had been scraped raw.

I always wanted my parents to buy Apple Jacks, but for some reason it was a lot more expensive than other cereals, so they wouldn't buy it.

Today, I wouldn't dare put a spoonful of these corn-flavored sugar nuggets in my mouth (I don't buy sweetened cereal for my kids, either). But I greatly admire the packaging of old cereal boxes, and so I was delighted to receive an advance copy of The Great American Cereal Book: How Breakfast Got Its Crunch, by Marty Gitlin and Topher Ellis. The publisher, Abrams Image, kindly gave me permission to run an excessive preview of the book, below. Enjoy!

Great American Cereal-Cover Americans love their breakfast cereal, which is second only to milk and soda in supermarket spending. Cereals and their cartoon spokescharacters are some of the most enduring pop-culture icons of the 20th century. The Great American Cereal Book is the definitive compendium of breakfast cereal history and lore, celebrating the most recognizable brands and packaging, such as Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs, Frosted Flakes, Grape-Nuts, and Trix. Award-winning writer Marty Gitlin and co-author Topher Ellis provide behind-the-scenes stories about the creation of these iconic kitchen-table companions, with 350 images of cereal boxes, vintage ads, and rare memorabilia.

Greatamericancerealbook P54
Brought to you by: General Mills
First poured: 1941
Milked until: Still crunching
What’s in it for you: Whole-grain oats
Cerealineage: Cheerioats (1941)
Varieties: Honey-Nut Cheerios (1978); Apple Cinnamon Cheerios (1988); Cheerios to Go (1990); Multi-Grain Cheerios (1994); Frosted Cheerios (1995); Team USA Cheerios (1996); Team Cheerios (1997); Berry Burst Cheerios (2003); Strawberry, Strawberry-Banana, Triple Berry, and Cherry- Vanilla Cheerios varieties (2005); Cinnamon Cheerios (year unknown); Strawberry Yogurt Burst Cheerios and Vanilla Yogurt Burst Cheerios (2005); Fruity Cheerios (2006); Cheerios Oat Cluster Crunch (2007); Banana Nut Cheerios (2009); Chocolate Cheerios (2010)
All in the family: Millenios (1999)
Notable spokescharacters: Cheeri O’Leary (1942); the Cheerios Kid and Sue (1953); Bullwinkle (1964); Cheeriodle (1977); Buzzbee (c. 1978); Joe Cool, a.k.a. Snoopy (1985)
Slogans: “It’s a honey of an O; it’s Honey-Nut Cheerios.” “The big G stands for goodness.” “Toasted whole grain oat cereal.”
Crunch on this: Cheerioats, created in 1941, was the first ready-to-eat oat cereal. The name was changed to Cheerios in 1945 because of a trade name dispute with the Quaker Oats Company. By 1954 it was General Mills’ bestselling cereal. And by 2005, one in eleven cereal boxes sold in America was a Cheerios product.

Read the rest

Judge: to ask for anonymity in porno copyright troll case, you must enter your name into the public record

Hard Drive Productions is a pornographer that has switched business models, shifting its focus from making dirty movies to making sleazy lawsuits. It collected IP addresses of people who were supposedly downloading its movies over BitTorrent, then sent their ISPS legal demands to reveal their names. The next step would be demanding cash settlements from the named persons, threatening to name them in embarrassing lawsuits if they didn't pay up. Many of the victims of the sloppy data-gathering methodology have protested their innocence, but would like to remain anonymous in the court record, rather than having their names associated in a public document about pornography consumption.

Unfortunately the federal court judge in the case has ruled that in order to request anonymity, the 1495 defendants will have to have their names entered into the public record. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has asked the judge to reconsider.

The case is one of a growing number of mass copyright lawsuits that do not appear to be filed with any intention of litigating them. Instead, once identities of suspected infringers are obtained from ISPs, the plaintiffs send settlement letters offering to make the lawsuit go away for a few thousand dollars. A ruling on whether a film company may obtain identities of anonymous Internet users may be the last chance for defendants to be heard by the court.

EFF's brief explains both the speech implications of the ruling and the importance of the court rules that protect defendants, given the numerous ways these mass lawsuits violate due process.

"All that the plaintiffs need here to pursue their settlement shake-down scheme is the identity of the anonymous defendants," said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. "These defendants have a First Amendment right to argue for their anonymity without the court forcing them to moot that argument from the start. We're asking for these motions to quash to go forward without requiring them to be unsealed, and we're also asking the court to throw this case out given the basic due process flaws."

EFF Asks Judge to Prevent ‘Catch-22’ in Porn-Downloading Lawsuit

Add a big red camera button to your iPhone

201201311042Popa is an iPhone attachment that lets you take photos by pressing the "big red button." It's a neat idea but seems kind of expensive: $74.99

Straight dope on Canada's new copyright law, ACTA, and SOPA

Michael Geist sez, "In recent days there has been massive new interest in Canadian copyright reform as thousands of people write to their MPs to express concern about the prospect of adding SOPA-style rules to Bill C-11. The interest has resulted in some confusion - some claiming that the Canadian bill will be passed within 14 days (not true) and others stating that proposed SOPA-style changes are nothing more than technical changes to the bill (also not true). Given the importance of Canadians speaking out accurately on Bill C-11, ACTA, and the TPP, I've posted ten key questions and answers to sort through the claims. They point to the fact there is serious concerns with the bill as currently drafted and that it could get much worse if content lobbyists get their way."

Ten Key Questions and Answers About Bill C-11, SOPA, ACTA, and the TPP

After nuclear disaster, a harsh winter for Fukushima's abandoned pets (big photo gallery)

Members of UKC Japan care for dogs rescued from inside the exclusion zone, a 20km radius around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. (REUTERS)

As regular Boing Boing readers will recall, I traveled to Japan some months back with PBS NewsHour science correspondent Miles O'Brien to produce a series of stories about the aftermath of the March 11 quake/tsunami, and the Fukushima nuclear disaster that followed.

In the course of reporting our story about Safecast's crowdsourced efforts to monitor radiation, we encountered abandoned pets inside the evacuation zone.

Reuters today published an article about new efforts to save animals abandoned by families forced to flee their homes after the nuclear disaster.

"If left alone, tens of them will die everyday. Unlike well-fed animals that can keep themselves warm with their own body fat, starving ones will just shrivel up and die," said Yasunori Hoso, who runs a shelter for about 350 dogs and cats rescued from the 20-km evacuation zone around the crippled nuclear plant.

The government let animal welfare groups enter the evacuation zone temporarily in December to rescue surviving pets before the severe winter weather set in, but Hoso said there were still many more dogs and cats left in the area.

"If we cannot go in to take them out, I hope the government will at least let us go there and leave food for them," he said.

Inset: Mr. Hoso, who is also director of the United Kennel Club Japan (UKC Japan), speaks in front of a destroyed house in Namie town, inside the 20km exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, January 28, 2012. A photo gallery of more images from their rescue efforts follows (all images: Reuters).

Read the rest

Indiana Assemblyman withdraws urine-testing for welfare bill when colleague adds urine-testing for Assemblyman amendment

Rep. Jud McMillin, a Republican in the Illinois Indiana General Assembly, has withdrawn a bill requiring mandatory drug-testing for welfare recipients. The withdrawal was occasioned by an amendment introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Rep. Ryan Dvorak. The amendment would require mandatory drug testing for members of the Illinois Indiana General Assembly, as well.

"After [the amendment] passed, Rep. McMillin got pretty upset and pulled his bill," Dvorak said. "If anything, I think it points out some of the hypocrisy. ... If we're going to impose standards on drug testing, then it should apply to everybody who receives government money."

Legislators Totally Cool With Required Drug Testing Unless It Applies To Them

(Image: Urine storage in different types of Cans, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from gtzecosan's photostream)

"Global Jukebox" envisioned by folklorist, ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax comes to life

(Alan Lomax, via Wikipedia)

American folklorist, ethnomusicologist, and traditional music collector Alan Lomax envisioned a “global jukebox” with which to share and analyze recordings he gathered over decades of fieldwork. This week, that dream comes to life. From an article in today's New York Times:

A decade after his death technology has finally caught up to Lomax’s imagination. Just as he dreamed, his vast archive — some 5,000 hours of sound recordings, 400,000 feet of film, 3,000 videotapes, 5,000 photographs and piles of manuscripts, much of it tucked away in forgotten or inaccessible corners — is being digitized so that the collection can be accessed online. About 17,000 music tracks will be available for free streaming by the end of February, and later some of that music may be for sale as CDs or digital downloads.

On Tuesday, to commemorate what would have been Lomax’s 97th birthday, the Global Jukebox label is releasing “The Alan Lomax Collection From the American Folklife Center,” a digital download sampler of 16 field recordings from different locales and stages of Lomax’s career.

“As an archivist you kind of think like Johnny Appleseed,” said Don Fleming, a musician and record producer who is executive director of the Association for Cultural Equity and involved in the project. “You ask yourself, ‘How do I get digital copies of this everywhere?’ ”

The archive will be made available at the Global Jukebox portion of The Association For Cultural Equity website. Anna Lomax Wood, daughter of Alan Lomax, is the organization's president. They do all sorts of amazing work!

Strange and intrusive bathroom rules at Norwegian companies

Norwegian insurance company DNB has installed an alarm system in their toilets that alerts managers if an employee spends "too much time" in the restroom. Apparently, this is only the latest weird and intrusive bathroom rule reported to privacy agency Datatilsynet, the "data inspectorate." From the Telegraph:

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Last year the country's workplace ombudsman said one firm was reported for making women workers wear a red bracelet when they were having their period to justify more frequent trips to the loo.

Another company made staff sign a lavatory "visitors book" while a third issued employees with an electronic key card to gain access to the lavatories so they could monitor breaks.

Norway's chief workplace ombudsman Bjorn Erik Thon said: "These are extreme cases of workplace monitoring, but they are real.

"We receive many complaints about monitoring in the workplace, which is becoming a growing problem as it is so often being used for something other than what it was originally intended for.

"Norwegian alarm system monitors length of office lavatory visits"

Brain Rot: Hip Hop Family Tree, The Brothers Disco and The Mighty Mighty Sasquatch

Hip Hop Family Tree Part 1

Hip Hop Family Tree Part 2

Hip Hop Family Tree Part 3


Read the rest

Duchamp was here

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(via Wooster Collective, thanks Lindsay Tiemeyer!)

Letter from ex-slave to ex-master, on occasion of a request to return to work

Jourdon Anderson, an ex-slave, penned this letter to his former owner, Colonel P.H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee in 1865, after the Colonel wrote and asked him to return to service as a paid worker. The letter starts out seeming like a heartbreaking example of Stockholm Syndrome, as Jourdon Anderson recounts several wartime atrocities that the Colonel committed and expresses his gladness that the Colonel wasn't hanged for them. But by the letter's end, it is revealed as one of the great, all-time, understated sarcastic missives, with the final sentence, "Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me," being the icing on the cake.

Update: Derp -- this is a repost. On the other hand, it seems to be authentic.

As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor's visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams's Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night; but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.

Letters of Note: To My Old Master (Thanks, graeme!)

Underwear bomb, 1973: vintage ad for "Dynamite" men's briefs

"Dynamite" by Munsingwear, 1973, shared in the BB Flickr Pool by MewsDeep.

Scientists and scholars boycott Elsevier over bad business practices and copyright maximalism

Over 1,000 academics and scholars have signed a petition against science-publishing titan Elsevier, taking issue with the company's exploitative and abusive dealings with its writers, and with its support of laws that hinder good scientific collaboration, like SOPA and the Research Works Act. The signatories vow to withhold their work from Elsevier journals "unless they radically change how they operate."

Academics have protested against Elsevier's business practices for years with little effect. The main objections are these:

* They charge exorbitantly high prices for their journals.
* They sell journals in very large "bundles," so libraries must buy a large set with many unwanted journals, or none at all. Elsevier thus makes huge profits by exploiting their essential titles, at the expense of other journals.
* They support measures such as SOPA, PIPA and the Research Works Act, that aim to restrict the free exchange of information.

The key to all these issues is the right of authors to achieve easily-accessible distribution of their work. If you would like to declare publicly that you will not support any Elsevier journal unless they radically change how they operate, then you can do so by filling in your details in the box below.

The Cost of Knowledge (via Copyfight)