[Editor's note: This morning, I found a an enormous, 30Lb box waiting for me at my post-office box. Affixed to it was a sticker warning me that by accepting this box into my possession, I was making myself liable for nearly $11 million in damages. The box was full of paper, and printed on the paper were US laws -- laws that no one is allowed to publish or distribute without permission. Carl Malamud, Boing Boing's favorite rogue archivist, is the guy who sent me this glorious box of weird (here are the unboxing pics for your pleasure). I was expecting it, because he asked me in advance if I minded being one of the 25 entities who'd receive this law-bomb on deposit. I was only too glad to accept -- on the condition that Carl write us a guest editorial explaining what this was all about. He was true to his word. -Cory] Boing Boing Official Guest Memorandum of Law To: The Standards People Cc: The Rest of Us People From: Carl Malamud, Public.Resource.Org In Re: Our Right to Replicate the Law Without a License I. “Code Is Law”—Lessig
Did you know that vital parts of the US law are secret, and you're only allowed to read them if you pay a standards body thousands of dollars for the right to find out what the law of the land is?
Public.Resource.Org spent $7,414.26 buying privately-produced technical public safety standards that have been incorporated into U.S. federal law. These public safety standards govern and protect a wide range of activity, from how bicycle helmets are constructed to how to test for lead in water to the safety characteristics of hearing aids and protective footwear. Read the rest
I posted last week about Banksy possibly stealing written material from Sean Tejaratchi in Crap Hound. Like most rumors, the truth is significantly less salacious. In fact, it sounds like this whole thing was just a big, sloppy misunderstanding.
I'm a fan of Banksy's work and was relieved to hear this. Apologies to him for any negativity our post sent your way.
You can read Sean's explanation here. Read the rest
The US Federal Aviation Administration today announced it is exploring ways to make it easier for airlines to allow travelers to use connected gadgets like phones, iPads, and tablet PCs during plane takeoff and landing.
A statement released today says the FAA is “exploring ways to bring together all of the key stakeholders involved” (airlines, plane manufacturers, consumer electronics producers, and unions representing flight attendants) to discuss the possibility of testing devices to determine if they are safe for passengers to use during the most critical phases of flight.
“No changes will be made until we are certain they will not impact safety and security," read the statement. FAA rules currently require fliers to shut down their electronic devices when the plane's altitude is below 10,000 feet.
Snip from Nick Bilton at the NYT's Bits blog:
Read the rest
Abby Lunardini, vice president of corporate communications at Virgin America, explained that the current guidelines require that an airline must test each version of a single device before it can be approved by the F.A.A. For example, if the airline wanted to get approval for the iPad, it would have to test the first iPad, iPad 2 and the new iPad, each on a separate flight, with no passengers on the plane.
It would have to do the same for every version of the Kindle. It would have to do it for every different model of plane in its fleet. And American, JetBlue, United, Air Wisconsin, etc., would have to do the same thing.
A Craigslist of Greatness:
** READ THIS ** Take a few seconds and read what I am into. Now imagine you contacting me and eventually calling me, and asking if I would like to play some blues. Or some 60s Rock. Or some Stone Temple Pilots. Or some Nickleback. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME, AUSTIN? NO! The title says "Guitarist for Metal Band", not "Guitarist for chicken fucking, bluesy-riffs, and sonic diarrhea".
I don't care if it's real or not: Guitarist for Metal Band.
(via Mikael Jorgensen; photo: "Electric bass-guitar player surrounded with fire," by Sinelyov, via Shutterstock) Read the rest
Aibo is a skilled beatboxer from Japan.
Here's her YouTube channel, and you can follow her on Twitter. Above, a little video featuring her work from MyISH.
The MyISH folks tell us she's "a friend/protege" of fellow Japanese beatboxer Hikakin, who was recently featured here on Boing Boing.
I approve, and most of all I approve of her collaboration with a cat named Nao (below).
Read the rest
Link. (Red Scharlach Points At Interesting Things, via Andrea James) Read the rest
Found on Fuck Yeah, Tattoos, an adorable behind-the-ear droid
(via The Mary Sue)
Read the rest
[Video Link] BB pal Joe Sabia points us to this incredible video by Evan Shinners, Julliard-trained pianist and "best Bach player around." In the video, Shinners shows the world the colors he sees when he plays: he has synesthesia. You can follow him on Twitter, and check him out live on one of his upcoming tour dates. Read the rest
I enjoyed my lightly peanutted salt. Read the rest
Now that The Pirate Bay is serving tiny "magnet links" instead of torrents, its whole database will fit in 90MB. That means that they can use much lighter-weight server hardware, including tiny Raspberry Pi boxes in RC drones with long-range wireless Internet links. They say that this means that you'll need the Air Force to take them down -- though presumably you can still attack their ground-stations with more conventional technology (presuming you can find them).
With the development of GPS controlled drones, far-reaching cheap radio equipment and tiny new computers like the Raspberry Pi, we're going to experiment with sending out some small drones that will float some kilometers up in the air. This way our machines will have to be shut down with aeroplanes in order to shut down the system. A real act of war.
We're just starting so we haven't figured everything out yet. But we can't limit ourselves to hosting things just on land anymore. These Low Orbit Server Stations (LOSS) are just the first attempt. With modern radio transmitters we can get over 100Mbps per node up to 50km away. For the proxy system we're building, that's more than enough.
But when time comes we will host in all parts of the galaxy, being true to our slogan of being the galaxy's most resilient system. And all of the parts we'll use to build that system on will be downloadable.
Read the rest
In Gweek episode 044, I interviewed Sarah Vowell about her book Unfamiliar Fishes. It's a history of Hawaii between the time of the arrival of the first Christian missionaries and its annexation to the United States in the late 1890s.
Read the rest
Mark Abel is a former rock musician and studio engineer who has bravely chosen to join an endangered species: He is a modern composer of serious music. "Serious" however does not mean "atonal" or "boring" or "hard to listen to" in his case. His most recent release, The Dream Gallery, is extremely beautiful, with haunting melodies and lyrics sung by world-class vocalists. Mark describes his compositions as "postmodern art songs." I have heard nothing quite like them.
Mark spent a large chunk of his own money on an orchestra instead of just settling for sampled instruments. Still, this labor of love doesn't cost a lot.
The Dream Gallery: Seven California Portraits -- Amazon, iTunes, Delos Read the rest
Jennifer Perkins on Naughty Secretary Club has a great idea for spring/summer fun with your kids: freeze a bag of dinosaur toys in a block of ice and then stage a sunny-day excavation:
The hardest part about this activity was finding the room in my freezer. It works best if you freeze in batches. The plastic dinosaurs will float to the top if you try and freeze the whole tub at once. I added a little blue food coloring to my water for extra excitement... Tallulah soon discovered that water was the best tool of all for freeing her dinosaurs from their icy prison. We had chats about paleontology, melting ice, cold vs. hot - many a good lesson can be learned with this activity.
Naughty Secretary Club: Spring Break Fun with the Kiddlets - Excavating Dinosaurs from Ice
(via Super Punch)
Read the rest
What happens when you get the chairman of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, the chief scientist of Greenpeace, an energy and environmental policy expert, and an environmental activist/politician in a room together to talk about nuclear energy?
You can listen to the whole (very, very interesting) conversation—part of the Science Question Time series—which was recorded last Thursday at the Institute of Physics in London.
I recently started describing my position on nuclear energy as "frienemies"—I'm not strictly against it, and think we're likely to need it, but I also have some serious issues with how safety is regulated and what we will do with the waste. I think this nuanced discussion did a nice job of laying out the benefits and detriments in a reasonable way. The discussion gets heated, but it is pleasantly lacking in the sort of wild-eyed propaganda and not-particularly-comforting-corporate-pronouncements that tend to characterize these sorts of debates. (Or, rather, it would be, were it not for one memorable audience heckler.)
Download the audio file.
Visit the Biochemical Society's website for updates about future Science Question Time events. Read the rest
, who did fantastic illustrations for bOING bOING (the zine) is posting a selection of 80 illustrations he did for a book about the lousy job prospects for college grads, written in the style of Dr. Seuss. The book will never see the light of day, thanks to Seuss's small-hearted lawyers.
A few months into the project, (after I’d turned in about half of the book’s 80 or so illos) the publisher sent promo materials for the book out to retailers. Apparently, some wicked, Grinch-like person felt compelled to pass these materials along to attorneys who work for the Ted Geisel estate, at which point this flock of legal carrion birds descended on my publisher much as the Onceler clan does on a newly-discovered forest of virgin Truffula trees.
Okay, enough of the Seuss metaphors. Suffice to say that my publisher was hit with a Cease & Desist letter, and the project was killed, in spite of our well-established First Amendment right to commit parody.
Sometimes it’s actually a relief when jobs get killed, but more often it comes as a bit of a heartbreak, (at least in my experience), and this episode definitely falls into the second category. In spite of the generous kill fee I was paid, I was disappointed that these drawings would never be seen. Now that some time has passed, I’ve picked twelve of my favorites, which I’ll post in two batches. I hope you like them!
Oh, The Jobs That Get Killed, Part One Read the rest