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Man busted at grocery for "criminal mischief with the cheese"

This gentleman, Blake Oren Robinson, was arrested at a grocery store for "committing criminal mischief with the cheese," according to an Iowa City police criminal complaint. Robinson was apparently caught on video stealing beer, chips, and a jar of Tostitos Salsa Con Queso Medium Cheese. He reportedly went into the restroom to enjoy his snack and then smeared the cheese all over the floor and walls. Police say that Robinson was… (drumroll)… intoxicated. From Iowa City Patch:

A0Cb2E2Ec74D21689761451743F581A2 Investigation by the police found Robinson with some of the beer still in his pocket. Robinson allegedly admitted to spreading the cheese because "he thought it would be funny…"

Police charged Robinson with public intoxication, third-degree theft and criminal mischief -- all misdemeanors.

"Coralville Man Arrested at Grocery Store for 'Criminal Mischief With The Cheese'"

Archie Comics confronts breast cancer

Via ComicsAlliance blog, news that 'Life With Archie' features a character with breast cancer in this month's new issue.

"That character is Cheryl Blossom, the redheaded spoiler in Betty and Veronica's love triangle with Archie."

More in an Associated Press item here.

As an authority on the subject, I can tell you the artist definitely got the "chemo-fatigue" look down right.

(thanks, @penguinchris)

Shark cartilage may contain toxin linked to Alzheimer's, ALS

If the cruelty involved in obtaining it isn't reason enough: Shark cartilage, a supplement hyped for purported use as a cancer preventive, joint-health aid, and other unsubstantiated health claims, "may contain a neurotoxin that has been linked with Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease."

ACLU sues school district for student's social media free speech rights

The ACLU has brought suit against the Minnewaska (Minnesota) Area Schools and Pope County over invasions of students' privacy relating to a pair of incidents. In the first incident, a 12-year-old student was disciplined for complaining on Facebook that she "hated" a hall monitor who was "mean" (the school characterized this as "bullying"). In the second instance, a sheriff's deputy and school administrators required the student to turn over her Facebook password after her boyfriend's mother complained that the student and her boyfriend had been talking about sex on the social network.

In both instances, the student used her own, off-school computer to make the contentious remarks, after school hours.

The ACLU claimed a sheriff's deputy was present at the time, but there was no warrant. The group claimed this violated the girl's right to privacy and right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

"She was intimidated, frightened, humiliated and sobbing while school administrators were scouring her private communications," attorney Wally Hilke said in a statement. "These adults traumatized this minor without any regard for her rights."

The girl's mother filed the lawsuit on her daughter's behalf.

Apart from unspecified damages, the suit seeks a court order "restrain[ing] school officials from attempts to regulate or discipline students based on speech made outside of school hours and off school property."

ACLU sues Minnewaska schools, Pope Co. Sheriff's Office over student Facebook incidents (via /.)

Nurse's Aide in Oregon convicted of Facebooking photos of patients and their bedpans

A nurse's aide in Oregon has been convicted of taking photos of hospital patients, and their bedpans, and posting them to Facebook. Her sentence includes an order from the judge to write a thousand-word "insightful" apology to a patient.

HOWTO nuke SXSW from your Twitter stream

Use Twitter? Don't give a crap about the annual shindig in Austin? Eliminate references to SXSW from your Twitter stream. (via @johl)

Sponsor Shout-Out: Watchismo

Our thanks go to Watchismo for sponsoring Boing Boing Blast, our once-daily delivery of headlines by email.

It's very confusing to know when a watch can truly be submerged in water. Thankfully, Watchismo has all their waterproof diving watches categorized in one place. It curates this collection based on design and quality, and has select Diver rated watches from Nixon, G-Shock, Tendence, Zodiac, Vestal, U-Boat, Tsovet, and others. Go ahead and swim with the fishes, they'll be jealous they don't have wrists.

Your tax dollars at work: Afghan Air Force used as "flying drug mules"

Spencer Ackerman at Danger Room on reports (utterly shocking reports!) that Afghanistan’s military uses its US-bought aircraft to transport drugs throughout the country.

At a cost of nearly $2 billion for two years’ worth of building the Afghan Air Force, the U.S. inadvertently purchased a more convenient mechanism for trafficking opium and weapons than Afghanistan’s drug lords were previously using. But it actually gets worse than that. The aerial trade in guns and drugs through the Afghan Air Force appears to be financing the rearmament of private militias hedging against the country’s implosion after the U.S. leaves.

Read more: Afghan Air Force: Flying Drug Mules That Fuel Civil War | Danger Room | Wired.com.

Related item at the Wall Street Journal, requires subscription.

Anonymous rocked by revelation that top LulzSec hacker was FBI snitch

Quinn Norton has an excellent piece over at Wired:Threat Level on the reactions within "Anonymous" to the news that LulzSec frontman "Sabu" (photo above) was collaborating with the FBI. Kim Zetter's take on the arrests and secret plea deals is here.

Run for the Seals 2012: Help the Marine Mammal Center

Biker Lou Seal @ Run for the Seals

Saturday March 10th presents an SF Bay area tradition: the 2012 Run for the Seals. Starting at Rodeo Beach, in the Marin Headlands, and making a 4 mile loop around the lagoon and through some very picturesque sea-side former military base.

I am pretty sure you'll find me there with my daughter, 3 dogs and maybe even my visiting mother -- with a crew that size, we'll walk. There is a wonderful little faire set up at the start/finish, folks from a number of local groups doing good works are there, tours of the Marine Mammal Center itself and generally a lot of fun.

The Marine Mammal Center does incredible work. They manage  the heroic task of nursing back-to-health several hundred sick seals, sea-lions, harbor and elephant seals every year. They care for every pup that gets separated from its mother, every seal shot in the face by a heart-less jerk, and just about every other situation in which a marine mammal gets imperiled and help is called in.

If you are in the SF Bay Area this weekend, you might want to check it out:

Saturday March 10th, Rodeo Beach, Marin County, CA

The Marine Mammal Center's 2012 Run for the Seals

Conservative media's response to Sandra Fluke testimony

Rush Limbaugh wasn't the only one who had something to say about Georgetown Law School student Sandra Fluke's testimony before Congress. Here's a sampling of the conservative media's persuasive and reasoned arguments against Fluke's testimony, courtesy of Alternet:

-Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin denounced Fluke as a "femme-agoge tool."

-The right-wing site Jawa Report illustrated a post about Fluke with a picture of a tattoo that reads "Semen Demon."

-Pam Geller wrote that Fluke is "banging it five times a day" and that "calling this whore a slut was a softball."

-Accuracy in Media's Don Irvine called her a "skank."

-Former CPAC Blogger of The Year, Ace of Spades, called Fluke a "shiftless rent-a-cooch from East Whoreville."

-Michelle Malkin guest blogger Doug Ross used "Got Slut?" in a headline and suggested Fluke suffered from "nymphomania." [Michelle Malkin corrected this error in a Tweet directed to me and Alternet. Doug Ross does nor blog on Ms. Malkin's site. -- Mark]

-Dana Loesch complained the controversy surrounding Limbaugh's three-day "slut" campaign represented a "manufactured" story. (This, before Limbaugh responded to the "manufactured" story by issuing a rare public statement.)
Rush Limbaugh and the Right-Wing Nervous Breakdown

Get yer ORGcon 2012 tickets now!

Reminder: tickets are going fast for ORGCon 2012 in London on March 24: speakers include Larry Lessig, Wendy Seltzer, Ross Anderson, Tim Lowenthal and me.

Starting at 10:45 Central: NASA celebrates International Women's Day

In about 45 minutes, this embedded video will come to life with a live stream from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where researchers and staff are celebrating International Women's Day with a series of discussions about women in the space program.

There is several hours of programming planned. You can see the full schedule on the JPL Ustream page. The highlights:

At 11:10, there will be a panel, featuring four women who have led NASA missions as principal investigators, talking about their experiences. Later in the day, at 1:00, tune back in for a panel focused on inspiring career stories—how some truly amazing women at NASA found their way into the sciences and to the space program.

Metroid arm-cannon and Wii controller


Colombian Redditor nhg92 created this robotic Metroid arm-cannon that can be used as a Wii controller and a costume accessory. The underlying components are "big glue containers, balsa, polystyrene and foam sheets," and the game functionality was an afterthought inspired by the visual success of the prop.

How I like to play Metroid Prime (imgur.com) (via Super Punch)

iZombie books 2 and 3: stylish comedy-horror comic goes from strength to strength

Last March, I reviewed the first iZombie collection, a new series of stylish, fun horror/comedy comics from Chris Roberson and Michael Allred.

Read the rest

MIT issues certificates in piracy

Good news! You can now earn a certification in piracy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. One of the first crop of official pirates, Jacob Hurwitz, showed up for his interview with the Boston Globe "wearing a pirate hat, eye patch, earring, knickers, and a stuffed parrot on his shoulder." So you know it's official. (Via Kevin Zelnio)

Working Undercover in a Slaughterhouse: an interview with Timothy Pachirat

Timothy Pachirat, Assistant Professor of Politics at The New School for Social Research and the author of Every Twelve Seconds, is not the first to see industrialized violence and political analogues in the slaughterhouse. But rather than write an exposé, he took a job at one to see how it works from the perspective of those who work there. I interviewed him about his experiences on the kill floor.

Read the rest

The Grand Forks Herald reviews the new Olive Garden in town

Here's a sentence I never expected to type: You should really read the Grand Forks Herald's review of The Olive Garden.

This is in North Dakota, for those not familiar. With almost 100,000 people in the metro area, it's the third-largest city in the state. It recently got its first Olive Garden and critic Marilyn Hagerty got in ahead of the lunch rush.

The place is impressive. It’s fashioned in Tuscan farmhouse style with a welcoming entryway. There is seating for those who are waiting ...

At length, I asked my server what she would recommend. She suggested chicken Alfredo, and I went with that. Instead of the raspberry lemonade she suggested, I drank water.

She first brought me the familiar Olive Garden salad bowl with crisp greens, peppers, onion rings and yes — several black olives. Along with it came a plate with two long, warm breadsticks.

There are several things to love about this review. For me, it's about the nostalgia. If you grew up in places where Olive Garden and Red Lobster really were the best restaurants in town, you can't help but feel a warm twinge of homesickness reading this. It's not judgement. I can't judge. I chose to go to Applebee's for my fancy high school graduation dinner.

But the best part about this review comes from some background information dug up by intrepid Duluth News reporter Brandon Stahl. In the course of verifying that this was, in fact, a real review, he uncovered something wonderfully upper-Midwestern. First, read the full review. Done that? Great. Now, get this—that was not a positive review of The Olive Garden.

Stahl talked to a former Grand Forks Herald editor who says, "By the way, [Marilyn Hagerty's] regular readers will recognize that as a fairly negative review since she spent a lot more time on the ambience than the food."

Cultural context: It's the difference between a glowing review, and a passive-aggressively negative one.

Via David Brauer

Image: Enjoy the Gift of Italy., a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from herrkrueger's photostream

Django Django - "Default" (MP3 download)

Sound it Out # 20: Django Django - "Default"

I’m just nuts about Django Django. I could give you a bunch of biographical facts about them meeting at a Scottish  art school and writing songs in apartments, but really what I want to say is THIS BAND IS SPECIAL and THEIR RECORD IS WORTH YOUR MONEY, SO BUY IT.

How to describe the music? Charmingly eccentric. Electronic yet organic. Some might hear the spacey vocal style and deem it psychedelic. Others will find it so winning and listenable that they will say it’s pop. Let’s just say that it makes perfect sense that drummer/producer/de facto bandleader David MacLean’s older brother was in The Beta Band.

Django Django’s debut album is already in my top 5 for 2012. It’s out in the UK and should be out soon in the rest of the world. They’re playing their first US dates in New York March 10-12 and at the South by Southwest festival in Austin next week. I was actually tempted to fly out to see them.

eBook Review: two series that are too much alike

As I've been reading a lot of eBooks lately, one thing I've noticed is that there are certainly themes in the type of eBook it seems popular to write and publish. "WHOA! I've got magical powers!" seems to be a popular one and there are not as many variants on it as I might like. There is "I'm a tough guy/ex-con/bad dude and WHOA! I've got magical powers!" There is "I'm a hot girl and WHOA! I've got magical powers!" Today I'm reviewing two different series but they are largely the same story (thus far) -- their story? "I'm a petulant, angsty teen and WHOA! I've got magical powers!"

The first book (and series) I read in this space is B. Justin Shier's Zero Sight: Book 1. This is the story of Dieter Resnick, a kid from a post-recession Vegas that looks even bleaker than the real post-recession Vegas. Dieter is a pretty good student, hopes to get a scholarship and go to college but weird things start happening around him -- like a bully's head explodes when he is picking on poor Dieter. Some folks take an abnormal interest in Dieter but he doesn't think much of it, is surprised to be offered a special scholarship from some far away special school that produces super successful kids. Off to school goes young Dieter, where he meets a bunch of kids, has usual teen experiences of distrust, dislike and lust, and is introduced to the ideas of magical powers and the politics of magical land. Unsurprisingly, over the course of the two books I've read -- the second book in the series is Zero Sum -- Dieter and his classmates become humanity's only hope and then they trash Bob Stupak's Vegas World.

The second series I read, and it is so similar to the first I felt I had to review them both in the same post, is The Central Series by Zachary Rawlins. Book one is The Academy where our teen protagonist Alex is attacked by werewolves, rescued by an "Operator" and then given an injection of nano machinery to activate his special magical powers. He is taken to a special school where the same general things that happen in the prior series repeat. Teen age introductions, learning about the politics and structure of the magical world, angst and eventually the kids have to save the world.

Both have interesting universes. The authors really do a good job of creating their own Harry Potter-esque worlds to story-tell in. Central is maybe for a bit more adult audience and Zero Sight is a bit more campy, super hero-y fun. As the Central series develops its physics are starting to remind me a bit of the Lev Grossman The Magician series. Zero Sight's sparse use of real world landmarks and history to fill out the universe was also fun and I enjoyed it as well.

If you have lots of time (and I spend a lot of time on planes) you could read both but I'd recommend just pick one series. Both Central series installments are .99 eBooks, The Academy and the Anathema. Maybe that'll make a difference for you. B. Justin Shier does offer DRM free copies of the Zero Sight books if you contact him.

The Zero Sight Series by B. Justin Shier
Zero Sight
Zero Sum

The Central Series by Zachary Rawlins
The Academy
The Anathema

Disturbing and poignant video about a self-aware robot tests game-engine's limitations

Kara, a disturbing short film about a self-aware robot, was made by games studio Quantic Dream to demonstrate the "expressive power" of the PS3's graphics. In order to sidestep the limitations of animating human characters (the so-called, contentious "uncanny valley"), the creators made a story about a newborn, intelligent robot -- a character that is supposed to be subtly unconvincing in its humanity.

"Our goal at the time with The Casting was to use the game engine to see how we could convey different emotions," Cage tells us prior to the GDC talk where he's unveiling a slice of what Quantic Dream has been up to since 2010. "We wanted to see what it would take in terms of the technology but also with the acting, and working with the actor on-stage to have this performance coming across in the game engine. We learned so much doing it for Heavy Rain, from the good things that worked very well but also from the mistakes that we made, and things we could have done differently. 'Introducing Quantic Dream's Kara' Screenshot 1

"When Heavy Rain was over, we thought why not do exactly the same thing and do a short sequence in real-time, in the game engine to see how our next game is going to benefit from what we're going to learn?"

"In Kara, you can't imagine the same scene having the same impact as someone who's not a talented actor. Technology becomes more precise and detailed and gives you more subtleties, so you need talent now. I'm not talking about getting a name in your game - I'm talking about getting talent in your game to improve the experience and get emotion in your game."

Welcome to Kara, the product of Quantic Dream's recent work on the PlayStation 3, and of its investment in new motion capture facilities. Again it's a one-woman show built around a slow tonal shift, again channelled through a strong and actorly central performance - but the distance between Kara and The Casting is as good a measure as any of the technical progress we've seen this generation, and of a shift in ambition and capability within Quantic Dream.

As interesting as this is as a technology demo, I think its real value is in the questions raised by the story and the storytelling choices. The unsettling poignancy of this clip arises from the gender and form of the robot. It would be interesting to re-render this with the "robot" as a kind of arachnoid assembly-line robot with a gender-neutral voice and see what happens to the film's affect.

Introducing Quantic Dream's Kara (via JWZ)

James Cameron will ride this submersible to the deepest point in the ocean

Meet the Deepsea Challenger, a one-man submersible craft capable of withstanding pressures at the deepest point in the ocean—Challenger Deep in the Pacific's Mariana Trench. Sometime in the next few weeks, this sub will carry filmmaker James Cameron into the Challenger Deep. He'll become the third human to visit that place, and the first since a two-man Navy sub made the dive in 1960.

As you see it in this photo, Deepsea Challenger is actually sideways. The sub will fall into and rise out of Challenger Deep in a vertical configuration, with Cameron at the bottom in a spherical steel pod. You can't see the spherical part in this image, but the pod is attached. It's in the end of the craft that's still slightly out of the water—the left-hand side of the photo.

Cameron's descent will be very different from the 1960 expedition, which wasn't able to see much because their craft stirred up so much debris in the bottom of the trench. Deepsea Challenger is designed to avoid this problem and Cameron will also spend a much longer amount of time at the bottom—several hours instead of just 20 minutes. He'll also film 3D footage of the trench, and collect animal and rock specimens.

You can see more pictures of the Deepsea Challenger at National Geographic News.

That site also has a longer story explaining, in more depth (harhar), how the sub will work and how Cameron's expedition contributes to science.

Finally, I'd like to take a minute to apologize to everyone who saw Titanic multiple times in the theater. If I'd known back then that your devotion to Leonardo DiCaprio would one day help fund cool stuff like this, I wouldn't have rolled my eyes at you nearly as often.

Danish trade minister and ACTA booster apologise for bogus piracy numbers

Here's a clip of a Danish TV show discussing ACTA, which Denmark has fiercely advocated in favor of. It starts with the head of a rightsholder society and the Danish trade minister quoting dodgy statistics about the extent and cost of piracy, and then demonstrates that these statistics are patently false, and finally, brings out those responsible for quoting them and gets them to admit their errors. Priceless.

You can see both the Danish Trade Minister and the head of a Danish music rights organization (and famous Danish musician) Ivan Pedersen appear on a TV show below (with English subtitles). On the show, a well-informed presenter focuses on how both of these ACTA defenders claimed that 95% of music downloaded in Denmark was unauthorized, and carefully shows how that's simply false -- and then gets both of the ACTA defenders to admit that the numbers were wrong.

Danish Trade Minister Apologizes For Using Bogus Industry Numbers To Support Pro-ACTA Argument