My sister-in-law Heather Sparks just returned from the Bruise Cruise Festival, a rock and roll weekend cruise from Miami to the Bahamas. Judging from the video above and Heather's report to me, the Bruise Cruise is, well, exactly what you'd think: hundreds of indie hipsters, loud music, and debauchery on the open seas. Performers included the likes of Fucked Up, Thee Oh Sees, Quintron, and Jello Biafra. Wait, Jello Biafra? Heather says:
Yes, Jello Biafra was definitely on the boat. I met him at the stir fry station before we even set sail. We were on a ship that held about 2,000 squares. But, along with these bloated and borings, were 500 Bruise Cruisers; whacked out-rock n’ rollers with tattooed bodies, vintage bikinis, gaudy accessories, enormous appetites for enormous cans of Foster’s, and irrepressible enthusiasm for boogying, jiving, and jacuzzi jumping. King Kahn was our God, and the Xanadu Lounge was our temple. I will definitely be going back.
The Disaster Preparedness Plan prepared by the local DHS for Union County NC explains what steps you should take if you have to evacuate and take your pet fish: "Your name and where you will be located should be on an ID tag and taped to the fish bowl. This should include your description of all your fish and pictures of them with you in the pictures for identification purposes."
At Penny Arcade Report, Ben Kuchera reports on Cross Assault. A "fighting game" reality show sponsored by Capcom, creator of the classic Street Fighter game series, it was a disaster of sexual harassment, casual racism and adolescent nastiness.
Aris Bakhtanians, the coach of the Tekken team ... stated that sexual harassment and the fighting game community are “one and the same thing.”
“The sexual harassment is part of the culture. If you remove that from the fighting game community, it’s not the fighting game community… it doesn’t make sense to have that attitude. These things have been established for years,” Aris stated. He then noted that ... it’s unfair for anyone to tell fighting game fans they can’t viciously mock women.
“That’s what you’re trying to do to the fighting game community and it’s not right,” Aris continued. “It’s ethically wrong.” This may be the first time in the history of video games that someone had said that removing sexual harassment is ethically unjust.
The Street Fighter series is a world tour of crude national and ethnic stereotypes to beat up—what exactly do we expect? The really insane thing is Capcom's cluelessness trying to sell the ass end of gaming culture as television.
David Weinberger sez, "Seth Godin reports that the Apple store is refusing to carry his new ebook, Stop Stealing Dreams, because it links the books it references to Amazon. Seth argues that the market dominance of a mere three ebook vendors, and the fact that the vendors of ebooks are also the vendors of ebook readers, imposes a special cultural obligation on them to be 'net neutral' (so to speak) about the content they sell."
Raspberry Pi, an innovative $35 GNU/Linux box in a tiny package, launched yesterday -- sort of. Demand was so hot that all the company's retail partners collapsed under load. From Ars Technica's Ryan Paul:
The product is a bare board with a 700MHz ARM11 CPU and 256MB of RAM. It's roughly the size of a deck of playing cards and has a powerful GPU that is reportedly competitive with that of modern smartphones. Developer prototypes of the product have been shown running impressive graphics demos and decoding high-definition video...
At the time of publication, the Farnell website is still spitting errors. The RS site has been partially restored and is intermittently available, but isn't currently allowing users to purchase the Raspberry Pi. Instead, it displays a screen where users can register to express their interest in the product. The Raspberry Pi foundation managed to withstand the traffic by temporarily replacing the contents of its official website with a static page
Alongside the launch, the Raspberry Pi foundation also announced that the cheaper $25 model, which will be launched at an undisclosed future date, got a spec bump and will have 256MB of RAM, just like the $35 model. The $25 board was originally expected to have only 128MB of RAM. The cheaper model will still lack several of the features found in the $35 model, such as the built-in ethernet controller.
[Video Link] Here at TED2012 Gregory Gage of Backyard Brains showed me how to measure the electrical activity of a neuron in a cockroach leg. At around the 12:00 minute mark, Gregory pumps the electrical signal from music on his iPhone into the cockroach's leg, causing it to twitch in time with the beat. (The cockroach's leg will grow back.)
Wyoming state representative Lorraine Quarberg (R-Thermopolis) has proposed Wyoming House Bill 85, which will prepare Wyoming for the day that the USA collapses. It includes an amendment proffered by Rep. Kermit Brown, which establishes a task force to investigate "conditions under which the state of Wyoming should implement a draft, raise a standing army, marine corps, navy and air force and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier."
The state does not have a whole hell of a lot of water, to be honest. It appears that its largest lake is Yellowstone Lake, which on average is about 140 feet deep. (Yes, it's in a national park now, but that wouldn't matter, would it?) The draft of a Midway-class carrier, which you can probably find on eBay for cheap, was only 33 feet; even the biggest carrier available (Nimitz-class) only needs about 40 feet of water to float. So yes, assuming they could find one and figure out a way to get it in there, the people of Wyoming could potentially have their own aircraft carrier. It might not have much room to putt around in, but still.
I wouldn't get too cocky, though, even then. Dry as they are, most if not all the neighboring states seem to have at least one lake that could float a carrier, and since Wyoming has the fewest people of any U.S. state, it'd be heavily outnumbered, too.
Michael Weinberg from Public Knowledge sez, "After coming out against SOPA and PIPA, many people are asking what the Internet is for. The Internet Blueprint is designed to help create a positive agenda for laws that impact the Internet. Come and check out fully drafted bills, and contribute your own ideas. If they get enough community support, we will try to turn them into legislative language and tell Congress to pass them. You can also tell your elected representatives to support some of the already drafted bills. Finally, today is just a start - expect to see more bills, more supporters, and Members of Congress getting behind the bills that make up the Internet Blueprint."
Curb Abuses of Copyright Takedowns
When it comes to takedown notices, it often seems like alleged infringers are assumed guilty until proven innocent. The process that allows content owners to remove allegedly infringing content from websites is far too often abused. Even in cases where there is no infringement, the content is usually removed immediately, taken down for a minimum of 10 days, and is sometimes never replaced.
Japanese photographer Satoru Niwa, whose work I blogged in a previous Boing Boing post, has a new series from Fukushima marking the one-year anniversary of the March 11 disaster: Invisible You. Again, beautiful, evocative work. Above: a shot from the town of Namie, which is some 40 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. View the full gallery here (warning: Flash).
As Occupy Wall Street spread across the nation last fall, sparking protests in more than 70 cities, the Department of Homeland Security began keeping tabs on the movement. An internal DHS report entitled “SPECIAL COVERAGE: Occupy Wall Street [PDF]," dated October of last year, opens with the observation that "mass gatherings associated with public protest movements can have disruptive effects on transportation, commercial, and government services, especially when staged in major metropolitan areas." While acknowledging the overwhelmingly peaceful nature of OWS, the report notes darkly that "large scale demonstrations also carry the potential for violence, presenting a significant challenge for law enforcement."
The Sparkfun folks have a sweet recipe for building an Arduino-based, accelerometer-triggered Tardis sound-effects box into the ceiling of an elevator, noting that care must be taken not to freak out riders and precipitate a bomb-squad visit.
As it stands, the contraption works well enough (much like the TARDIS itself). But for those looking for perfection, there could be a few improvements. These are left as exercises for the reader:
Improve battery life using sleep mode. Right now the Arduino is on all the time, using about 20mA of current continuously. We’re got a pretty big battery attached to it (6000mAh), which gives it a lifetime of about a week, but the battery could last for months if the project went to sleep between playings. The Arduino can indeed be programmed to go to sleep, waiting for an interrupt signal (a pin changing state) to wake it up. And the ADXL345 accelerometer can be configured so that it sends an interrupt when an acceleration threshold is reached, so this shouldn't be difficult to do. In practice you can’t get down to microamps with a full Arduino board, since it will always be burning some current in the voltage regulator, power LED, etc. But with a bit of software and hardware hacking, sleep mode would definitely improve the lifetime situation.
Stop playing when the elevator stops. Currently, the TARDIS MP3 was edited so that it is approximately the length of an elevator ride, and the code plays the MP3 to the end before listening for further accelerometer bumps. But you could also end a longer MP3 when you detect that the elevator stops (or, since the MP3 chip has a volume control command, you could even fade it out!)
Bigger and better! Bigger speakers, disco lights and music, black lights... you can really go in any direction. Make us proud. But remember...
Apple today invited tech reporters to an event in San Francisco on March 7, with the following graphic suggesting that the unveiling relates to a new iteration of its market-dominating iPad.
As is the custom with Apple, no confirmed details have been released about either the event, or any future iPad. But word is the third-generation version will include an upgraded display, faster processor, and the same form factor as iPad 2. There are also rumors that AT&T and Verizon will offer higher-speed coverage for the device on their fourth-gen LTE networks.
Your photoshop remixes for the invite graphic are welcomed in the comments.
Last week, Maggie went to the largest science conference in the Western Hemisphere for four days of wall-to-wall awesomeness. Every day, she learned amazing things, watching scientists from all over the world talk about their work.
This book is called Cooking With Poo. Yes, "Poo" is Thai for "crab" and it's also author Saiyuud Diwong's nickname. But this book is called Cooking With Poo. Heh heh. Heh. It's on the shortlist for The Bookseller's Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year. Here are the others:
A Century of Sand Dredging in the Bristol Channel: Volume Two by Peter Gosson (Amberley). A book that documents the sand trade from its inception in 1912 to the present day, focusing on the Welsh coast.
Estonian Sock Patterns All Around the World by Aino Praakli (Kirjastus Elmatar). Covers styles of socks and stockings found in Estonian knitting.
The Great Singapore Penis Panic: And the Future of American Mass Hysteria by Scott D Mendelson (Createspace). An analysis of the “Koro” psychiatric epidemic that hit the island of Singapore in 1967.
Mr Andoh's Pennine Diary: Memoirs of a Japanese Chicken Sexer in 1935 Hebden Bridge by Stephen Curry and Takayoshi Andoh (Royd Press). The story of Koichi Andoh, who travelled from Japan to Yorkshire in the 1930s to train workers at a hatchery business the art of determining the sex of one-day-old chicks.
A Taxonomy of Office Chairs by Jonathan Olivares (Phaidon). Exhaustive overview of the evolution of the modern office chair.
The Mushroom in Christian Art by John A Rush (North Atlantic Books). In which the author reveals that Jesus is a personification of the Holy Mushroom, Amanita Muscaria.
With help from the international police organization Interpol, Spain and three South American countries today arrested 25 people who are suspected of being Anonymous activist/hacktivist/hackers. They are accused of defacing government and corporate websites. Reuters:
Spanish police also accused one of four suspects picked up in the cities of Madrid and Malaga of releasing personal data about police officers and bodyguards protecting Spain's royal family and the prime minister.
Other arrests were in Argentina, Chile and Colombia, and 250 items of computer equipment and mobile phones were seized across 15 cities, Interpol said. Colombia's Ministry of Defence and presidential websites as well as Chile's Endesa electricity company were among the targets of the hackers, it said.
Airing tonight on PBS Frontline (check your local listings, or watch it online!), a documentary film that provides the definitive inside account of what really happened, moment to moment, during the Fukushima disaster. "Inside Japan's Nuclear Meltdown" features exclusive interviews for the first time with Japan's prime minster and the top executives at TEPCO.
Tomorrow, Frontline is hosting a chat with the film's producer/director, Dan Edge, and Boing Boing science editor Maggie Koerth-Baker will be participating.
Faces Of Death is the infamous 1978 shockumentary depicting a variety of violent and horrible ways that humans and animals can die. Much of it was faked, some of it obviously so. Regardless of its semi-authenticity, it is a classic of mondo VHS cinema. Radio show/podcast On The Media's Brooke Gladstone recently spoke with Faces of Death creator John Alan Schwartz. "The Legacy of Faces of Death" (Thanks, Rob Walker!)
Here's a set of photos from the ruins of Heritage USA in Fort Mill, SC, the Christian themepark built by Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker at the height of their evangelical empire, now fallen to ruins since its closure in 1989. It's arguably a lot more fun to visit now than it ever was in its heyday.
TechCrunch, the long-time darling of the digerati, is smashed to bits and all of AOL’s horses and men will be hard-pressed to put it together again. The site has lost almost every one of its top writers and traffic has dropped sharply, dropping by 35 percent from a year ago. ...
On top of the declining traffic, an editor at popular aggregator Techmeme, which TechCrunch at one point dominated, noted yesterday that the tech blog is already sliding down its “leader board.”
It eventually becomes clear, however, that Roberts sources the claimed traffic decline to ComScore. Providers of traffic estimates and samples are not entirely candid about their methodologies, valuable as they are in competing for the advertising industry's attention. Moreover, they tend to give lowball figures for sites who don't sign up for (or stop using) expensive direct measurement services.
As for the TechMeme leaderboard, TC's slid from first place to ... first place. The editor, Lidija Davis, didn't say quite what Roberts claimed she had.
This doesn't mean that TC's readership isn't falling, or that it isn't going to lose its top spot at Techmeme to The Verge. What it means is that traffic measurements from Alexa, ComScore, and the like might be bullshit; and, therefore, any "news" based on them.
[Video Link] I'm here at TED2012! Here's a short interview with Bre Pettis, co-founder of MakerBot Industries. He shares news about the new Replicator 3D printer, and the printing of an old school mechanical clock with an escapement mechanism. (I called it a "catchment mechanism" in the video -- oops.")
NPR's guidelines promise an end to "he said, she said" journalism that tries to be fair to both sides of an issue. From now on, the network will ask its reporters to be fair to the truth: "In all our stories, especially matters of controversy, we strive to consider the strongest arguments we can find on all sides, seeking to deliver both nuance and clarity. Our goal is not to please those whom we report on or to produce stories that create the appearance of balance, but to seek the truth."
Science publishing giant Elsevier has pulled its support from the Research Works Act, a bill that would have restricted the ability of scientists doing government-funded work to place their papers with open access journals. The action follows a scholarly and scientific boycott of Elsevier, and has led to the collapse of the bill.
I believed from the start that Elsevier would be vulnerable to a boycott threat. The Research Works Act was a desperate bid to eliminate competition arising from the scientists and scholars who supply Elsevier with an endless stream of free work that Elsevier then charges high fees to access, generally charging the institutions whose scientists produced the work to begin with. The question isn't whether Elsevier deserves to make money, or makes too much money: the question (for institutions, scholars and scientists) is whether paying Elsevier is the best way to do science and scholarship. Elsevier isn't a charity, and there's no reason to expect institutions to pay for its journals if they can get better science and scholarship for less through the open access movement.
The increasing trend to open access is fueled by this dynamic, and it's only going to get more pronounced as time goes by. Elsevier is vulnerable, and their overreaching legal proposal just accelerated the pace at which scholars and scientists turned to open access.
While we continue to oppose government mandates in this area, Elsevier is withdrawing support for the Research Work Act itself. We hope this will address some of the concerns expressed and help create a less heated and more productive climate for our ongoing discussions with research funders.
Cooperation and collaboration are critical because different kinds of journals in different fields have different economics and models. Inflexible mandates that do not take those differences into account and do not involve the publisher in decision making can undermine the peer-reviewed journals that serve an essential purpose in the research community. Therefore, while withdrawing support for the Research Works Act, we will continue to join with those many other nonprofit and commercial publishers and scholarly societies that oppose repeated efforts to extend mandates through legislation.
Joel Johnson found that the Department of Homeland Security's list of Facebook and Twitter search terms was not in an easily-available public format, "curiously embedded as an image of text" in a PDF to prevent indexing. He fixed it. [Animal]