Liberating America's secret, for-pay laws

[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.

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Banksy did not steal from Crap Hound

 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.

FAA to review in-flight gadget policies, maybe, eventually

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:

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. (No wonder the F.A.A. is keeping smartphones off the table since there are easily several hundred different models on the market.) Ms. Lunardini added that Virgin America would like to perform these tests, but the current guidelines make it “prohibitively expensive, especially for an airline with a relatively small fleet that is always in the air on commercial flights like ours.”

More at the New York Times, Associated Press, and Wall Street Journal.

Photo: "Person Holding a Business Phone While on a Plane," Jim Lopes, Shutterstock.

Guitarist sought for Metal Band

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)

Aibo, Japan's Beatboxing Princess, with and without cats (video)

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).

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Google Wave users receive fail-tastic sunset notification

Google Wage. LOL.

Otters Who Look Like Benedict Cumberbatch

Link. (Red Scharlach Points At Interesting Things, via Andrea James)

Tiny, behind-the-ear R2D2 tattoo


Found on Fuck Yeah, Tattoos, an adorable behind-the-ear droid

R2D2 (via The Mary Sue)

The Kickstarter to end all Kickstarters

Oh, this is rich: I Would Like to Buy Kickstarter, by Eric Moneypenny. (via Joe Sabia)

Pianist with synesthesia performs Bach "in color" (video)

[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.

Review: Lightly Salted Peanuts, by Delta Airlines


I enjoyed my lightly peanutted salt.

Pirate Bay servers going airborne in tiny drones

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.

TPB LOSS

Gweek 044: Sarah Vowell interviewed about her book, Unfamiliar Fishes

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.

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Mark Abel's The Dream Gallery: Seven California Portraits

Charles says:

Screen Shot 2012-03-19 At 3.37.00 Pm 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

Kids' summer activity: frozen plastic dinosaurs


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)