Lockdown London: how the Olympics will turn London into (more of) a police state

In the Guardian, Stephen Graham describes the militarized security that will transform the UK capital into "Lockdown London" for the Olympics. London is set to meet and exceed Beijing for civil liberties violations, violent suppression of dissent, and overwhelming surveillance during the games, from the rule that says you're not allowed to display anti-Olympics posters in your own home to the sniper-toting helicopters hovering over the town. "Security" trade magazines are buoyant about the enormous sums of money the industry stands to take out of "austere" Britain's tax-coffers to buy razor-wire, drones, and water cannons.

In addition to the concentration of sporting talent and global media, the London Olympics will host the biggest mobilisation of military and security forces seen in the UK since the second world war. More troops – around 13,500 – will be deployed than are currently at war in Afghanistan. The growing security force is being estimated at anything between 24,000 and 49,000 in total. Such is the secrecy that no one seems to know for sure.

During the Games an aircraft carrier will dock on the Thames. Surface-to-air missile systems will scan the skies. Unmanned drones, thankfully without lethal missiles, will loiter above the gleaming stadiums and opening and closing ceremonies. RAF Typhoon Eurofighters will fly from RAF Northolt. A thousand armed US diplomatic and FBI agents and 55 dog teams will patrol an Olympic zone partitioned off from the wider city by an 11-mile, £80m, 5,000-volt electric fence.

Beyond these security spectaculars, more stealthy changes are underway. New, punitive and potentially invasive laws such as the London Olympic Games Act 2006 are in force. These legitimise the use of force, potentially by private security companies, to proscribe Occupy-style protests. They also allow Olympic security personnel to deal forcibly with the display of any commercial material that is deemed to challenge the complete management of London as a "clean city" to be branded for the global TV audience wholly by prime corporate sponsors (including McDonald's, Visa and Dow Chemical).

And on top of it all, some of London's public roads will be turned into "priority" roads that are only open to corporate sponsors' vehicles -- off-limits even to the athletes competing in the games (and ambulances).

Olympics 2012 security: welcome to lockdown London

(Image: Policeman with his balaclava over his face, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from bagelmouse's photostream)

INFOGRAPHICS [INFOGRAPHIC]

Dan Frommer offers an infographic illustrating how infographics are ruining the World Wide Web. [SplatF via @GlennF] Previously: Computer-generated PR spam for infographic

New Boing Boing T-shirt: Demolish Serious Culture


"How can you be serious?" Not by wearing this T-shirt! The classic Mark Pawson T-shirt, updated for 2012. Sold exclusively in the Boing Boing Shop.

Demolish Serious Culture T-shirt

Over-elaborated rubegoldbergian steampunk corkscrew

Gramturismo sez, "A maker in Scotland has created an elaborate, steampunk style hand cranked corkscrew." It's quite an amazing gadget -- talk about thoroughly solving a problem!

Rob Higgs (Thanks, gramturismo!)

Lawblawg commemorates My Cousin Vinny

I'm a great fan of the (now 20 years old!) Joe Pesci/Marissa Tomei/Ralph Macchio movie My Cousin Vinny, and so, apparently, are a lot of lawyers. The Abnormal Use lawblawg has a great collection of articles commemorating the film's 20th anniversary, explaining why it resonates so much with the legal profession. On Friday, they're promising a scene-by-scene breakdown from a group of law professors.

“My Cousin Vinny – More Than A Movie.“ In this piece, writer Nick Farr explains how My Cousin Vinny changed both his life and the outcome of a 7th grade student council election. (Yes, you read that right.).

“Lessons Learned From Vincent L. Gambini.“ In this piece, our newest contributor, Rob Green, offer six practical lessons that lawyers can glean from watching the film. If you think about it, the film is its own continuing education course with many practice tips contained therein. In fact, we should probably all get CLE credit for watching it again, don’t you think?

“Review: Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just For You.” Did you know that years after the film’s release, Joe Pesci released an album in character as Vinny? Rob Green somehow found a copy of this long forgotten album and drafted a review. Spoiler alert: the album is not for the faint of heart. Or the faint of ears, for that matter.

20th Anniversary: “My Cousin Vinny” (1992) (via Lowering the Bar)

Topher Grace turns all three Star Wars prequels into one short, punch 85-min hypermovie

Topher Grace, star of "That 70s Show," created "Star Wars: Episode III.5: The Editor Strikes Back" by mixing down all 7+ hours of the three Star Wars prequels into one tight, punchy, 85-minute movie. The video is private on Vimeo, so I haven't seen it, but Peter Sciretta's detailed description on Slashfilm has me drooling for it.

Grace’s version of the film(s) centers on Anakin’s training and friendship with Obi-Wan, and his relationship with Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman). Gone are Trade Federation blockades, the Gungan city, the whole Padmé handmaiden storyline, the explanation of midichlorians, the galactic senate and the boring politics, Anakin’s origins (a backstory which never really needed to be seen in the first place), the droid army’s attack on Naboo, and Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best) appears only briefly for only one line of dialogue, used as a set-up to introduce us to the Queen.

The first time we see Anakin, he is grown up and played by Hayden Christensen (Jake Lloyd never appears in this version). Kenobi and Skywalker are assigned to protect Amidala from additional assassination attempts. This leads us quickly into the chase to capture the assassin in the skies of Coruscant. Anakin is assigned to accompany Padmé to her home planet of Naboo. Unlike George’s version, Obi-Wan doesn’t discover an army of clone troopers on Kamino, but instead stumbles upon Count Dooku’s motives.

While the Clone troopers make a couple short appearances in this version of the film, the word “clone” is only used once, and the whole storyline is almost completely cut from the story. Jango Fett makes only a small appearance, and his son Boba Fett is left on the cutting room floor. Anakin returns to Tatooine and finds his mother tortured to death by the Tusken Raiders, but gone is the laughable aftermath.

Topher Grace Edited The ‘Star Wars’ Prequels Into One 85-Minute Movie and We Saw It (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Perv allegedly converts pub urinal drain into "piss dungeon"

I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with reveling in being drenched in a near-continuous stream of fresh, boozy urine, but if that's the way you're kinked, it seems rude to spirit away the yellow stuff without informed consent: "Listen mate, this is gonna sound totally insane, but I’ve just gone for a piss in the urinal and I could’ve sworn I saw an eyeball looking up from the hole." (Thanks, Ben!) Cory

US to go after "Border Tunnels" by prosecuting landowners, wiretapping communications

In the San Diego Reader, more on a bill passed last week by The U.S. House Judiciary Committee to help law enforcement crack down on illicit tunnels along the US-Mexico border: "The bill would allow law enforcement to prosecute landowners, prosecute those that fund the tunnels, and wiretap communications in suspected buildings that house tunnels. Previously wiretaps were only available with proof of drugs or contraband."

Interviews Before Execution: Chinese reality talk show with death row inmates

The BBC airs an hour-long documentary tonight about "Interviews Before Execution," a hit talk show in China in which host Ding Yu interviews prisoners on death row. Some 40 million viewers in China tune in to the show each week.

Days, hours, or minutes before they are killed, the host talks inside prison to those who have been condemned to die. The BBC doc combines clips from the show with "never-before-seen footage of China's death row," and includes an interview with a local judge who questions the future of the death penalty in China.

More about the documentary, from the BBC website:

Read the rest

On knitting 50 life-sized bees


Hannah Haworth found herself in the enviable position of having to knit 50 life-sized bees, which she did, and celebrated their completion with detailed notes and lovely photos.

Remember when I mentioned that I had to knit 50 life size bees? Well I finally finished them!! woop woop! I may have gotten a little obsessive with the detail, but I kinda always do. It was weird for me doing such a small scale project after the huge pieces Im used to making, but I enjoyed it a lot, I think I learned quite a bit from it.

These bees are made form 100% baby merino wool from Malabrigo. I especially love the way they dye their colours, they are pretty much iridescent

Making the bees was certainly a process. I began by knitting the body from the back to the head, then I picked up stitches to make the wings which I used a simple lace stitch pattern for.

bzzzzz (via Making Light)

Canada's ridiculous university copyright deal poised to become law

Michael Geist points us to "A critique of how the collecting agency behind the 'bone stupid' copyright deals signed by U of Toronto and Western U is poised to have its wishes ensconced in Canada's soon-expected Copyright Modernization Act, Bill C-11, with provisions that 'override the copyrights of others, monopolize markets and collect a de facto 'Education Tax' [that] is inefficient, immoral, and likely unconstitutional.'" Cory

Moebius documentary

Here's a one-hour BBC documentary on Moebius, the French comics artist whose passing we lamented this weekend. The doc, "Moebius Redux: A Life in Pictures," includes interviews with Stan Lee and Jodorowsky.

Moebius – a life in pictures

UN torture investigator: US gov's treatment of accused Wikileaks source Manning "cruel and inhuman"

manning.jpg

The Guardian reports that Juan Mendez, special rapporteur on torture for the United Nations, has "formally accused the US government of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment towards Bradley Manning, the US soldier who was held in solitary confinement for almost a year on suspicion of being the WikiLeaks source. PDF of the report is here.

Snip: "The special rapporteur concludes that imposing seriously punitive conditions of detention on someone who has not been found guilty of any crime is a violation of his right to physical and psychological integrity as well as of his presumption of innocence."

Another Occupy Wall Street activist's Twitter account subpoenaed

Just one month ago, the Manhattan District Attorney's office subpoenaed the Twitter account of Occupy Wall Street participant Malcolm Harris, aka @destructuremal. Today, Jeff Rae received word of the same. He has published a copy of a notice he received from Twitter, which was accompanied by a copy of the DA's subpoena. A cover letter from the DA's office indicates that Rae was one of five total accounts subpoenaed. Who are the other four? And why?

Edible Alien Autopsy toy


[Video Link] My friend and MAKE columnist Bob Knetzger is a toy designer and creates the Doctor Dreadful line of food toys. He recently emailed me about the latest creation in his line of Doctor Dreadful toys: the Edible Alien Autopsy

The coolest thing arrives in store in the fall--the Doctor Dreadful edible Alien Autopsy. It's the "oobleck" effect made edible. The alien's vibrating belly brings the chewy non-Newtonian blob to life as it rises and forms and squirms and squiggles--and then you eat it. Cookies and cream flavor--yum!
See more posts about Bob Knetzger and his creations