Boing Boing 

Art-video made by attaching pyramidal crystals to an LCD

Mikey P sez, "A guy I went to art school with, Kit Webster, has made something unusual and pretty captivating by attaching pyramid-shaped crystals to an LCD screen and running some kind of algorithmically-generated video through them. It creates a hypnotic, kaleidoscopic effect and is well worth checking out. (The video's under 2 minutes long, which is nice for my video-art attention span and perhaps yours too.)"

PRISMATICA (Thanks, Mikey P!)

Hidden camera footage of police officers hindering citizens who try to file complaints

This video is a montage of hidden camera footage of police officers across America -- in unspecified jurisdictions -- intimidating or otherwise hindering someone who has asked for a complaint form. They ask for ID, they demand details, they make veiled threats, they make explicit threats. This is exactly what happened to me the two times I tried to file a complaint for police misconduct (once in Toronto, once in San Francisco).

Wanna File a Police Complaint (Arrested for Trying) (via Reddit)

A moronic bike thief attempts to ply his trade


[Video Link] From Animal New York:

While out on a shoot Friday, the ANIMAL team captured footage of a thief with questionable intelligence trying to steal parts from a locked up bike on the Lower East Side. The video was shot at around 3PM on Attorney Street (between Houston and Stanton). That’s when a young man wearing a hoodie loosened the handlebars from a track bike and attempted to rip them off, literally. Sadly for him, this fixed gear has brakes and the cable prevents him from doing so, resulting in hilarity.
A moronic bike thief attempts to ply his trade

Icebound, long-abandoned Communist flying saucer in the cliffs of Bulgaria


Timothy sez, "This is a link to some photos I have took of Buzludzha (pronounced Buz'ol'ja) a very remote building in the Balkan Mountains. It is Bulgaria's largest monument to Communism which was left to ruin after the revolution in 1989. An incredible 70 metre tall, 1970's 'flying saucer' perched precariously in the snow on a ridge at 1500m. Full of beautiful communist mosaic frescos and an amazing central atrium complete with giant golden hammer and sickle. It took 6000 workers 7 years to build. I managed to fly over it in a microlight in mid winter to get some interesting pictures too. Such an amazing place."

Forget Your Past (Thanks, Timothy!)

Read the rest

Deco hood ornaments of Lalique


RM Auction is selling off a lot of Lalique hood ornaments ("mascots") collected by Ele Chesney. They're as lovely a collection of deco beasties as you'll find anywhere.

In 1925, André Citroën’s company was a primary sponsor and exhibitor for the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris. The motoring magnate rented the Eiffel Tower and had thousands of lights artfully attached to the structure. At night, the double chevron emblem and name “Citroen” was an extraordinary sight seen by millions of people in “The City of Lights.” Knowing he would be displaying his company’s Citroën 5CV, Citroën commissioned Lalique to create a glass mascot that could be mounted on the radiator of the car. Citroen wanted the mascot to feature five prancing horses. Thus was born Lalique’s fifth mascot, “Cinq Chevaux.”

The success of the Citroën mascot exposed his unique talent to an entirely new audience. During the next seven years, Lalique created a total of 27 mascots, symbolizing energy, speed and motion; religion; individuality and form of nature; and human sensuality and sexuality—each expressing the grace and details of human and animal forms.

The other mascots needed to complete this photographic collection include Sirène (small mermaid) and Naïade (large mermaid). Both were originally offered as paperweights in 1920 and had base sizes equaling those of other mascots. Longchamps (#1152B: horse head – single mane, a variation of longchamps #1152A: horse head – double mane) crowns the collection totaling 30 pieces. These comprise the 1932 Lalique catalogue.

The Lalique Mascot Collection of Ele Chesney (via How to Be a Retronaut)

In Minecraft, a fountain of cats at the top of the world

271kochu created a "fountain of cats" in Minecraft by building a structure that extended to the top of the world, then exploiting the game's simple flocking rules for virtual cats to entice the sprites to form a never-ending fountain that is a joy to behold.

Catsplosion (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

TED2012: Post Secret - Frank Warren


[Video Link] Frank Warren is the founder of Post Secret. He's received over 500,000 postcards from anonymous people around the world who have shared a secret they've never told anyone before. I interviewed Frank right after his fantastic TED talk this afternoon, which got standing ovation.

See all my TED2012 coverage here.

A pessimist and an optimist talk at TED2012

The first two videos from TED2012 are up. They're from yesterday's session. Paul Gilding, author of The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World, gave a very depressing talk about the imminent end of life as we know it. It's titled The Earth is Full:

Have we used up all our resources? Have we filled up all the livable space on Earth? Paul Gilding suggests we have, and the possibility of devastating consequences, in a talk that's equal parts terrifying and, oddly, hopeful.

Gilding's talk was followed by a much more positive one by Peter Diamandis, chair of the X Prize Foundation and Singularity University, titled Abundance is our Future:

Onstage at TED2012, Peter Diamandis makes a case for optimism -- that we'll invent, innovate and create ways to solve the challenges that loom over us. "I’m not saying we don’t have our set of problems; we surely do. But ultimately, we knock them down.”

I was glad Diamandis' talk followed Gilding's, because I tend to believe the most recent argument I hear.

12-port USB strip

This 12-port USB power-strip looks like just the thing for people like me, who have three or four USB switches daisy-chained behind our desks (in fact, I could use a 24-port model). I have no idea if this is a crapgadget or not, but I like the underlying notion.

Satechi 12 Port USB Hub with Power Adapter & 2 Control Switches (via Red Ferret)

Smithsonian building archive of printable 3D scans


The Smithsonian, the world's largest museum, is planning on producing 3D scans of its collection and making them freely available to the public to print out at home on their 3D printers (or incorporate into their virtual worlds). CNet's Daniel Terdiman has the story:

Update: Sarah Taylor Sulick from the Smithsonian sez, "Unfortunately we have no plans to make 3D scans of our collection freely available for the public to print. The CNET story is a bit misleading on that point. Our 3-D team mentioned that we COULD go there theoretically, but as of right now it is not part of our plan. The reality is also that we have 137M objects in our collection and only 2 people working on this project. So we are no where near being able to scan everything and essentially never will be."

Now, with that high-end scanner, as well as less expensive tools that include normal digital cameras and freely available cloud-based digitization software, Metallo and his fellow 3D digitization coordinator Vince Rossi are slowly setting out to begin building a new Smithsonian digital archive. They hope this initiative will eventually lead to scores of 3D printed exhibits, as well as countless 3D models that could theoretically be used in the museums, in schools, or just about anywhere people have an interest in the Smithsonian's vast physical holdings...

Metallo and Rossi's goal is clear: they want to build a large collection of 3D scanned objects and archaeological sites that can support the entire Smithsonian complex. They've got technology on their side--with minimally invasive laser scanners they can capture the geometry of just about any object or site with accuracy down to the micron level.

But their resources are few, and the two told CNET that they have to be smart about the projects they choose to digitize. They have to know that their work is going to tell a story in a new way or give researchers new tools in order to justify spending the time it takes to do the work.

Smithsonian turns to 3D to bring collection to the world (via /.)

(Image: Red Eye on Demand/Smithsonian)

Scrap rayguns from Clayton Bailey


On Wired, Matt Simon profiles Clayton Bailey, who makes spectacular rayguns out of junk and scrap, and who is possessed of a truly magnificent mustache.

Next you’ll notice the many steampunkish ray guns — from dueling pistols to rifles to turrets — that Bailey has constructed from materials he found at flea markets and scrap yards around the San Francisco Bay Area. Instead of shooting lasers, they utilize either lungpower or pump-action air pressure to launch peas, corks or bits of potato a third of the way down a football field.

They’re gorgeous and entirely nonlethal, unless you’re targeting someone with an especially bad allergy to peas, corks or potatoes.

Scrap Yards Yield Raw Material for Artist’s Amazing Ray Guns

(Image: Ariel Zambelich/Wired.com)

TED2012: littleBits creator Ayah Bdeir


[Video Link] Ayah Bdeir is the founder and lead engineer of littleBits, an open source library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping and play. littleBits won Popular Science's "Best of Toy Fair 2012" and Ayah was named a TED Fellow this year. I interviewed her this morning at TED2012 in Long Beach, CA.

See all my TED2012 coverage here.

Celebrating the wartime pleasure of getting loaded and cleaning your guns


This wartime ad from Life encourages you to get loaded on fine booze at home while cleaning your guns, to leave the roads and railways clear for Our Boys.

Life, October 16, 1944

Old toy for teaching children to accurately drop atom bombs


Before the "Nintendo wars" of the early 21st century, there were these toys, which invited young children to practice accurately releasing atom bombs. I'm not sure that the skills you learned with this gadget would translate into real A-bombing practice, though, which probably disappointed some youngsters.

Atom Bomber

The Pirate Bay moves towards torrent-free database

The Pirate Bay has moved away from serving torrent files. Now it serves "magnet links," which are the addresses of Internet users whose computers have Torrent files; when you want to download a file, you first download its torrent from other users, then the file itself. This means that the Pirate Bay is no longer serving links to files that may infringe copyright -- now it serves links to links to files that might infringe copyright. This also has the effect of shrinking TPB's database to 90MB -- small enough to fit on a ZIP cartridge, and trivial to torrent, mirror or proxy in places where TPB is blocked.

While a torrent-less Pirate Bay may sound like small disaster, in reality not much is going to change.

“It shouldn’t make much of a difference for the average user. At most it will take a few more seconds before a torrent shows the size and files,” The Pirate Bay team told TorrentFreak today.

“Just click the red button instead of the green one and all will be fine”

Torrents that are only shared by a handful of people (<10 ) will remain available for now, to ensure that the files remain accessible. For magnet links to work at least one person in the swarm should have the complete .torrent file and a BitTorrent client that supports magnet links.

"We put the 10 peer limit in just in case someone who created a torrent has an outdated client that doesn't support magnets. By now all common torrent clients support magnets," TorrentFreak was told.

The Pirate Bay, Now Without Torrents

Monkee Davy Jones, RIP


He was 66. Richard Metzger has more at Dangerous Minds.

Animated tiny people depict current events on the faces of vintage watches


Holy crap, but Dominic Wilcox's sculptures are seriously up my street. He mods little plastic people to depict strange and newsworthy contemporary moments, then animates them by affixing them to the faces of vintage wristwatches and pocket-watches under oversized domed crystals.

Dominic Wilcox has created a series of miniature time-based sculptures using a collection of vintage mechanical watches and customised model figures. By attaching tiny figures onto the second and minute hands of each watch, Wilcox has made unique, animated scenes from everyday observations and imagined situations.

Watch sculptures : Moments in time by Dominic Wilcox (via DVICE)

Join a live Q&A about the first few days of the Fukushima nuclear crisis

Last night, PBS FRONTLINE aired a new documentary about what happened at the Fukushima nuclear power plant during the crucial first days of that crisis. Using amateur video shot during the earthquake and tsunami, interviews with power plant workers who were on the scene, and some astounding footage taken inside the power plant itself, the documentary is extremely powerful. It feels weird to say this, given the effect the meltdowns have had on Japan's energy situation and the lives of the people who lived and worked near the plant ... but it seems as though Fukushima could have been a lot worse. The documentary shows us the valiant risks taken by firemen and plant workers. It also shows us the moments where, in the midst of the Japanese government and utility company TEPCO doing a lot of things very wrong, individuals stepped up to make decisions that saved lives. Without those things, this would have been a very different (and much darker) story.

In about ten minutes, I'm going to be moderating a live Q&A with Dan Edge, the producer of Inside Japan's Nuclear Meltdown. I'll be asking him some questions about the story, and the process of filming a documentary like this. There will also be opportunities for you to ask Edge some questions, as well. (And I already know y'all are good at coming up with interview questions.)

You can follow along, or join in on the discussion, using the chat box embedded in this post. Hope to see you there!

FBI anti-terrorism expert: TSA is useless

Steve Moore, who identifies himself as a former FBI Special Agent and head of the Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Force Al Qaeda squad, says that the TSA is useless. He says that they don't catch terrorists. He says they won't catch terrorists. He says that they can't catch terrorists. Oh, he also claims 35 years' piloting experience and a father was United's head of security and anti-hijacking SWAT training and experience.

Frankly, the professional experience I have had with TSA has frightened me. Once, when approaching screening for a flight on official FBI business, I showed my badge as I had done for decades in order to bypass screening. (You can be envious, but remember, I was one less person in line.) I was asked for my form which showed that I was armed. I was unarmed on this flight because my ultimate destination was a foreign country. I was told, "Then you have to be screened." This logic startled me, so I asked, "If I tell you I have a high-powered weapon, you will let me bypass screening, but if I tell you I'm unarmed, then I have to be screened?" The answer? "Yes. Exactly." Another time, I was bypassing screening (again on official FBI business) with my .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol, and a TSA officer noticed the clip of my pocket knife. "You can't bring a knife on board," he said. I looked at him incredulously and asked, "The semi-automatic pistol is okay, but you don't trust me with a knife?" His response was equal parts predictable and frightening, "But knives are not allowed on the planes."...

The report goes on to state that the virtual strip search screening machines are a failure in that they cannot detect the type of explosives used by the “underwear bomber” or even a pistol used as a TSA’s own real-world test of the machines. Yet TSA has spent approximately $60 billion since 2002 and now has over 65,000 employees, more than the Department of State, more than the Department of Energy, more than the Department of Labor, more than the Department of Education, more than the Department of Housing and Urban Development---combined. TSA has become, according to the report, “an enormous, inflexible and distracted bureaucracy more concerned with……consolidating power.”

Each time the TSA is publically called to account for their actions, they fight back with fear-based press releases which usually begin with “At a time like this….” Or “Al Qaeda is planning—at this moment …..” The tactic, of course, is to throw the spotlight off the fact that their policies are doing nothing to make America safer “at a time like this.” Sometimes doing the wrong thing is just as bad as doing nothing.

TSA: Fail (via MeFi)

Delicious, ready-to-eat giant water bugs, frozen fresh to seal in the flavor


A redditor of Vietnamese descent discovered these giant water bugs in her/his mother's freezer, put there "to scare me."

My Vietnamese mom had these in the freezer to scare me. It worked. (i.imgur.com) (via Neatorama)

TED2012: Robot quadcopters perform James Bond theme


[Video Link] I imagine OK Go will be giving these guys a call soon!

Quadrotors designed and built at the University of Pennsylvania perform the James Bond Theme by playing various instruments including the keyboard, drums and maracas, a cymbal, and the debut of an adapted guitar built from a couch frame. The quadrotors play this "couch guitar" by flying over guitar strings stretched across a couch frame; plucking the strings with a stiff wire attached to the base of the quadrotor. A special microphone attached to the frame records the notes made by the "couch guitar".

These flying quadrotors are completely autonomous, meaning humans are not controlling them; rather they are controlled by a computer programed with instructions to play the instruments.

Penn's School of Engineering and Applied Science is home to some of the most innovative robotics research on the planet, much of it coming out of the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab.

This video premiered at the TED2012 Conference in Long Beach, California on February 29, 2012. Deputy Dean for Education and GRASP lab member Vijay Kumar presented some of this groundbreaking work at the TED2012 conference, an international gathering of people and ideas from technology, entertainment, and design.
More information

TOM THE DANCING BUG: News of the Times: Romney Admits, "I AM a Corporation"!

If you aren't visiting the TOM THE DANCING BUG WEBSITE, and following RUBEN BOLLING on TWITTER, then we must ask: Why do you hate America?

Read the rest

Wyoming's aircraft carrier dreams dashed

Wyoming's legislature has defeated its House Bill 85, on third reading, thus ending the state's plan to investigate buying an aircraft carrier (and equipping a military) to defend the state should the USA collapse.

1964 World's Fair documentary raising funds on Kickstarter

The 1964 NYC World's Fair is legendary -- birthplace of animatronics and Belgian waffles, the zenith of exuberant goofy corporate futurism and the beloved coming-of-age for millions who entered a modern world filled with promise. Documentarians are raising funds to produce "After the Fair," a doc featuring any amount of droolworthy archival footage of the great fair.

Videophones, space satellites, computers, color television. Today, these technologies are everywhere. For millions of people though, their first experience with these innovations came in Queens, at the 1964-65 World's Fair.

The fair also marked the debut of Belgian Waffles, and for many, the first foray into different cultures and ethnic foods.

In our documentary, we will travel the country to reveal the cultural, technological, and physical relics of the fair. We will travel to over 30 locations, with dozens of interviews looking at not only what the fair meant in 1964-65, but more importantly, what it means to all of today.

Our first teaser trailer gives you a taste of the wonderful archival fair footage we've found, along with our trek across the country to visit dozens of relics (and people) from the fair so far.

After The Fair: The Legacy of the 1964-65 NY World's Fair by Ryan Ritchey — Kickstarter (via DVICE)

Finance industry bemoans hard times in an era of reduced bonuses

Bloomberg's Max Abelson takes us deep into the spectacle of members of Wall Street's 1% bemoaning their difficult straits as they struggle to make ends meet with their reduced bonuses. One doesn't know how he'll tell his children that they can't go to an exclusive private school anymore, another bemoans his mere 1200sqft New York apartment, and a third is gutted at the thought that he and his family no longer toss away the coupon circular that is left in their doorway -- now they glance at it!


“People who don’t have money don’t understand the stress,” said Alan Dlugash, a partner at accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron LLP in New York who specializes in financial planning for the wealthy. “Could you imagine what it’s like to say I got three kids in private school, I have to think about pulling them out? How do you do that?”

...“They have a circular that they leave in front of the buildings in our neighborhood,” said Arbeeny, 49, who lives in nearby Cobble Hill, namesake for a line of pebbled-leather Kate Spade handbags. “We sit there, and I look through all of them to find out where it’s worth going.”

...The malaise is shared by Schiff, the New York-based marketing director for Euro Pacific Capital, where his brother is CEO. His family rents the lower duplex of a brownstone in Cobble Hill, where his two children share a room. His 10-year- old daughter is a student at $32,000-a-year Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn. His son, 7, will apply in a few years.

“I can’t imagine what I’m going to do,” Schiff said. “I’m crammed into 1,200 square feet. I don’t have a dishwasher. We do all our dishes by hand.”

Wall Street Bonus Drop Means Trading Aspen for Discount Cereal

(via Consumerist)

Map of a notional city whose streetnames come from iconic place-name songs


Ali Johnson sez,

Song Map is a new litho print by Dorothy. The Map is, as its name suggests, made up entirely from song titles: Highway to Hell stretches past Itchycoo Park, Heartbreak Hotel can be found on Alphabet Street and take a left off Penny Lane to find 22 Acacia Avenue. Just like places in our own neighbourhood, some are really good and some are best avoided - remember Love House by Sam Fox? Probably best forgotten.

The print, which was inspired by our own unhealthy obsession with music, is for the ultimate music nerd. It includes an A-Z of all the songs featured on the Map with the names of the artists and bands that sang them. Prints costs £20 each plus P & P and they are available to buy from www.wearedorothy.com/buy

We've set up a Playlist on Spotify to accompany the Map at http://spoti.fi/wzBFnp. This is a list of 353 of the featured songs that are available on Spotify. It's unedited so it includes some classics as well as some horrors! And one of the songs included on the Map is by a band one of us was in, but we’re not saying which one.

Song Map

Make little, make often: how manufacturing could work in the UK

An inspiring call-to-arms from Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, founder of Tinker London:

This should be a golden age for UK manufacturing. People are making things everywhere at various scales. In Hackspaces, studios, universities, at home, in their sheds. This is a nation on tinkerers after all. People are coming up with an idea using an Arduino, building a prototype, redesigning the electronics using Fritzing going to Tinkercad to build a box for the prototype. Then they will have the box made by a Makerbot, Ponoko, RazorLab, i-Materialise, Shapeways or other rapid prototyping manufacturers around the world who understand their users want to click a “upload” button and have something sent to them in the post.

That is a different kind of customer for UK manufacturing. It is a digitally-empowered one and to understand him/her, the industry has to adapt. Once that customer has a product they are happy with, they will look for funding through Kickstarter or sell their product online through Etsy or Folsky. (Most of these digital services were not developed in the UK, I hasten to add.)

Make little, Make often: ideas for the future of manufacturing in the UK (via Make)

Canadian record labels to Canadian Parliament: we want to be able to control search engines, social networking, blogs, video sites, and community sites. Oh, and we want an iPod tax.

Michael Geist sez, "The Canadian music industry is scheduled to appear before a Parliamentary committee today with some of the most radical demands to date that would effectively create liability for social networking sites, search engines, blogging platforms, and video sites such as Google, Facebook and Reddit. As if that were not enough, the industry is also calling for a new iPod tax, an extension in the term of copyright, a removal of protections for user generated content, parody, and satire, as well as an increase in statutory damage awards. Taken together, the Canadian music industry demands make SOPA look like minor tinkering with the law."

Canadian Music Industry Takes Aim At Google, Facebook, Reddit & Tech Startups With Bill C-11 Demands

SOPA's author wants everything you do online logged and made available without a warrant

Lamar Smith (R-TX), author of the ill-starred SOPA Internet regulation, has an even dumber idea for the Internet. In the name of fighting child pornography, he wants to force ISPs to log everything you do online, then make it available to police and government agents without a warrant. Leslie Meredith has a writeup on the mounting opposition to Smith's latest act of unconstitutional lunacy:

However, under Smith’s bill, records of both suspects and ordinary citizens would all be available to any government agency at any time, no warrant required.

"This type of legislation goes against the fundamental values of our country where individuals are treated as innocent until proven guilty," Reitman said. "H.R. 1981 would uproot this core American principle, forcing ISPs to treat everyone like a potential criminal."

The bill has been forwarded from committee to the full House of Representatives for consideration, which is expected later this year. There is no sign of a Senate version at this time.

If the past is any indicator, Smith may be in for a hard fight with activists. He was also sponsor of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill that would have shut off access to foreign websites accused of hosting pirated content. But he was forced to withdraw the legislation after massive protests by many of the same opponents who likewise thought the remedy was too harsh for the problem.

Child porn law could affect everyone's privacy

Minimalist ambient from Celer

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Celer is an experimental/minimalist ambient duo founded in Southern California in 2005 by Will Long and Danielle Baquet-Long at the start of their romantic relationship. For several years, the couple released more than a dozen very limited edition recordings in handmade packaging. Tragically, Baquet-Long died of congenital heart failure in 2009. Long continues to release recordings they had made during their all-too-short time together. Evaporate and Wonder is the latest, now available from Experimedia, and it's stunning. Celer: Evaporate and Wonder