Boing Boing 

AT-AT oil painting

Found on Ffffound, artist unknown, this beautiful oil-painting of an AT-AT Walker.

Quoted from: ataturner600.jpg (JPEG Image, 600x446 pixels) (via Wil Wheaton)

Soviet medallions scattered on Moon in 1959

Artist Randy Regier visited the Cosmosphere Museum in Hutchinson, Kansas. He snapped a photo of this Russian sphere, a duplicate of the one the Russians sent to the Moon in 1959. Here's the description:

A Cosmic Calling Card

Luna II becomes the first man-made object to impact the lunar surface, and the first to reach a cosmic body other than the Earth.

In a move that was sheer propaganda, the Soviets placed a stainless steel sphere (identical to the one displayed here) aboard the Luna II spacecraft. The sphere was covered with medallions stamped with the emblem of the Soviet Union and the year 1959. When Luna II impacted the Moon, the sphere was ejected, scattering the medallions across the lunar surface. It was the Soviet version of a calling card, announcing to all who followed that the Soviet Union had been the first to the moon.

This is the first time I've heard about this.

Free, open, all-HTML/JS MMO from Mozilla

The Mozilla Foundation is on a kick to show people just how amazing HTML5 can be, and to that end, they're releasing a series of free, open, ambitious in-browser apps to inspire developers and users. The latest of these is BrowserQuest, a multiplayer online role-playing game built completely out of native HTML, with no plugins, and with sourcecode for your learning, tweaking, and repurposing pleasure.

BrowserQuest is a tribute to classic video-games with a multiplayer twist. You play as a young warrior driven by the thrill of adventure. No princess to save here, just a dangerous world filled with treasures to discover. And it’s all done in glorious HTML5 and JavaScript.

BrowserQuest can be played by thousands of simultaneous players, distributed across different instances of the in-game world. Click on the population counter at any time to know exactly how many total players are currently online.

Players can see and interact with each other by using an in-game chat system. They can also team up and fight enemies together.

BrowserQuest – a massively multiplayer HTML5 (WebSocket + Canvas) game experiment (via /.)

Memorial reefs: cast your loved ones' cremains into concrete marine habitats

Eternal Reefs is a company that will turn your cremains into concrete artificial coral reef and marine habitat. Families are allowed to attend the casting of the reef-component, put their handprints in it, view the finished item, and accompany the reef to the drop-site.

Mariner Memorial Reef
(large) 4' high by 6' wide
3800 - 4000 lbs.
The largest of our reefs, the Mariner Memorial Reef stands out as a pinnacle of the reef and attracts the larger species of sea life. The Mariner can accommodate up to four sets of remains and is frequently used for spouses or partners to be together.

Prices include:
* The handling of the cremated remains once we receive them
* The incorporation of the remains into the concrete
* The casting of the Memorial Reef
* The transportation of the Memorial Reef to the project site
* The final placement and dedication
* A GPS survey to record the specific longitude and latitude of the Memorial Reef
* Bronze Plaque with inscription
* Two Memorial Certificates
Please note: When more than one set of remains is included in an individual Memorial Reef there is an additional charge of $250 for each set of remains other than the first set.

Eternal Reefs, A Cremation Memorial Option (via Super Punch)

Sony takes down game downloads to prevent homebrew

Kyle Orland writes that Sony is preventing customers from re-downloading games they've already paid for, because code flaws in them may be used to run unsigned code on the portable console. The hack is reportedly useful only for homebrew, not for piracy. [Ars]

City of Boston pays $170,000 to settle landmark case involving man arrested for recording police with cell phone

In October 2007 Simon Glik used his phone to videotape police officers arresting a man in Boston. The police immediately turned their attention to Mr. Glik and arrested him for "illegal electronic surveillance." Glik filed a civil suit against the city, and he was awarded $170,000 in a settlement.

Mr. Glik was forced to defend himself against criminal charges of illegal wiretapping, aiding the escape of a prisoner, and disturbing the peace. After a judge threw out those charges, Glik filed a civil rights suit against the city and the arresting officers in federal court in Boston, aided by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and Boston attorneys Howard Friedman and David Milton. This settlement resolves that case.

The settlement follows a landmark ruling last August by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, declaring that the First Amendment protects the right to record police carrying out their duties in a public place, Glik v. Cunniffe 655 F.3d 78 (2011). The First Circuit's ruling is binding only in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico, but its persuasive reasoning has been cited by courts and lawyers nationwide facing the recurrent issue of police arresting people for filming them.

The Massachusetts wiretap statute prohibits only secret recording of audio. The First Circuit in Glik's case affirmed that an arrest under the statute for openly recording the police would violate not only the First Amendment right to gather information but also the Fourth Amendment's guarantee against false arrests.

"The law had been clear for years that openly recording a video is not a crime. It's sad that it takes so much for police to learn the laws they were supposed to know in the first place. I hope Boston police officers will never again arrest someone for openly recording their public actions," said Glik.

I imagine the police department won't have to pay the fine; the taxpayers will have to pay for the police officers' fuckup instead.

201203271619P.S.: Never forget!

City of Boston pays $170,000 to settle landmark case involving man arrested for recording police with cell phone (Via ReadWriteWeb)

45-foot paper airplane flies

Marilyn writes, "A part of its Giant Paper Airplane Project to get kids psyched about aviation and engineering, the Pima Air & Space Museum launched what may be the largest paper airplane (45-ft-long, 800 lbs, with a 24-ft wingspan) from a helicopter at 2,700 feet over the Arizona desert. It flew (glided actually) about 7 to 10 seconds before crashing. >From the LA Times: ...The plane was constructed of layers of falcon board, which Vimmerstedt described as a type of corrugated cardboard, similar to a pizza box. The plane was designed and built in Lancaster by Art Thompson, who helped design the B-2 stealth bomber, but the design was based on a paper airplane folded by 12-year-old Tucson resident Arturo Valdenegro—winner of a paper airplane fly-off sponsored by the Pima Air & Space Museum in January. In a video interview with the museum on the day of the launch, Valdenegro said before the Great Paper Airplane Project he thought that he might pursue a career in engineering, but after meeting Thompson and seeing his plane realized in giant size, he now knows he’s going to be an engineer when he grows up..."

45-foot paper airplane glides over Arizona desert (Thanks, Marilyn Terrell!)

All the window-cameos from the old Batman TV series

In this compilation video, Loomyaire compiles all fourteen of the "window cameos" from the Adam West Batman TV series, in which real-life personages and characters from other TV shows popped out of windows while Batman and the Boy Wonder were scaling a building-face and traded Laugh-In style quips with the heroes. Included in the video are appearances by (in order) Jerry Lewis, Dick Clark, Green Hornet (Van Williams) and Kato (Bruce Lee), Sammy Davis Jr., Jose Jimenez (Bill Dana), Howard Duff as Detective Sam Stone on "Felony Squad," Colonel Klink (Werner Klemperer), Lurch (Ted Cassidy), Don Ho, Andy Devine as Santa Claus, Art Linkletter, Edward G. Robinson, Suzy Knickerbocker and Carpet King (real name unknown).

The Complete 14 Batman Window Cameos (Thanks, Bloo!)

Trying to close your AOL account is suspicious activity

A few days ago, AOL fired the staff developing AIM, its long-running instant messaging system. Having done this, it reset user accounts, locking them out of third-party IM clients until they confirmed and updated decade-old personal information. Having done so, I was displeased at such a shameless data mining ploy and tried to cancel AOL/AIM entirely. This is what resulted:

Bear in mind that I was already logged in and could change any account setting I pleased. Who knew that when AOL said it has "no plans" to end service, it was responding to customer demands?

Spanish record industry cartel sues business prof who called their system an illegal cartel, claims "threatened honor"

Enrique Dans is a professor at Spain's IE Business School and a well-known blogger who has been a fierce critic of the entertainment industry. Last summer, Prof Dans wrote a blog post, Siete motivos por los que el caso SGAE es mucho más que la propia SGAE, which set out his view that Promusicae, the Spanish record industry consortium, had formed an illegal cartel to distribute music for radio broadcast, which shut out non-members and independents.

Now Promusicae is suing Dans for EUR20,000, accusing him of libel and "threatening their honor," and they are demanding a retraction. As Ernesto writes on TorrentFreak, Dans is standing his ground.

The professor, on the other hand, says his claim was well researched and that he consulted experts in competition law before he wrote it up. And even if that’s not the case, Dans believes he has the right to make such claims in an open and free society.

“In short, what I said in the article was my opinion, protected by the right to freedom of expression and, as I documented it properly and professionally, the right to freedom of information.”

” I stand by my opinion,” he writes in a new blog post. “Of course it may be debatable, but even if it were not well founded and I was wrong, I can not think how it can be an attack against the honor of a society such as Promusicae... The reality? Promusicae are using the ‘honor’ argument to restrict the right to freedom of expression and information. After many years of direct confrontations and repeatedly being humiliated in numerous public forums, now they want to shut me up through a lawsuit.”

Spanish RIAA Sues Blogging Professor for Defamation

Boing Boing on Flipboard

BbflipFlipboard is an IOS application that presents Twitter feeds in the form of beautiful magazine pages. Boing Boing has always been one of Flipboard's most popular sites. Today, Flipboard released the "publisher" version of Boing Boing, which looks and feels even more like a digital magazine. I think it's fantastic. If you are reading this on an iPad, click here to get started.

Norway's new Minister of International Development is a D&D champ who thinks LARPs can change the worlds

Here's an abridged translation of a Imagonem interview with Heikki Holmås, Norway's new minister of International Development. Holmås is a lifelong D&D player and LARPer who won the Norwegian D&D championships in 1989 and was sent to GenCon in Milwaukee. Holmås recounts his favorite campaigns and describes how he things RPGs and LARPs can be used for political ends, including settling longstanding, militarized disputes.

- RPGs can be extremely relevant in putting people in situations they’re unfamiliar with. Save the Children have their refugee games. I have friends in Bergen who’ve run human rights-RPGs. But you have to be professional. You create real emotions when you play role playing games, real emotions that stick, he says.

- That’s kind of the slightly scary aspect of role playing games, which has to be considered. At the same time, it’s what makes it possible for RPGs to change the world. LARP can change the world, because it lets people understand that humans under pressure may act differently than in the normal life, when you’re safe.

The minister of Development has taken note of a Norwegian LARP-project in Palestine later this year.

- I don’t know all the details, but there’s no doubt that you can put Israelis into the situation of the Palestinians and vice versa in a way that fosters understanding and builds bridges. Those things are an important aspect of role playing games which makes it possible to use them politically to create change.

At least according to Norway’s new Minister of International Development, Heikki Holmås. (Thanks, @apehaer!)

(Photo: Imagonem/Ole Peder Giæver)

Frog mask recalled

"Target Corporation is recalling about 3,400 stuffed plush-fabric frog masks that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says pose a suffocation hazard when secured over a child's face. The thick mask has no nose or mouth holes."

Frog mask recalled for suffocation risk (via tai-wiki-widbee)

German man accused of injuring child with poisoned chocolate bunny

68-year-old of Joerg-Werner Lubbe of Germany enjoys decorating his front yard with Easter candy. But he did not want children to get away with the crime of taking his sweets, so took steps to punish any child who did.

201203271310-1[Lubbe] allegedly laced a batch of chocolate bunnies with ammonium hydroxide and hung them from a tree in his front yard. A sweet-toothed 10-year-old fell for the trap and gobbled down a baited bunny. He was violently ill and had to be rushed to the hospital.

Police said they were investigating Lubbe for grievous bodily harm and said they found six more poisoned bunnies in the yard.

German pensioner accused of poisoning chocolate bunny thief

Santorum angry at NY Times reporter's poor telepathy skills

[Video Link] Watch Rick Santorum get frothy with this NY Times reporter for not being able to read Santorum's mind.

Earlier, Santorum said in a speech, "Pick any other Republican in the country. He is the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama." Any good telepath would know he meant something different, but this foolish reporter took Santorum at his word!

Santorum Gets Frothy With NY Times Reporter

Fashion designers prepared for rising sea levels

A model displays a creation by Christian Dada during Fashion Week in Tokyo. Christian Dada is a label by Japanese designer Masanori Morikawa. Photo: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Man arrested for being pushed by a Ft. Collins, Colorado police officer

[Video Link] Do you think any disciplinary action will be taken against this duo? I don't.

Fort Collins police investigating after video shows officer shoving man (Via biotiv)

Soundtrack: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

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Jim Guthrie has released an LP of the prog/komisch-inspired soundtrack to hit game Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. Available formats are digital download, the much cooler 180 gram 12" vinyl with limited edition print and, yes, a limited edition audio cassette. "Sword & Sworcery LP - The Ballad of the Space Babies" (via OMG Vinyl)

Mark Leyner talks about his new novel, The Sugar Frosted Nutsack

On Wired, Alice Gregory interviews Mark Leyner about the publication of his latest (and long, long awaited) novel The Sugar Frosted Nutsack. Leyner's been a favorite of mine since I had my mind blown by My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist, an almost indescribably weird (and convulsively funny) collection of sf stories made out of pure awesome. I can't believe it's been 15 years since his last fiction, and Nutsack sounds like it was worth the wait: "gods splinter into competitive factions, bicker in Dubai, and infect the mind of Ike Karton, an out-of-work butcher from New Jersey."

Wired: As a self-consciously “current” writer, was it hard to write something that felt fresh and of-the-moment after so much time away?

Leyner: That’s a question that filled me with trepidation. The other books felt so congruent with the zeitgeist. When I started writing, I was a more social person, and I’m probably a bit more solitary now. My process was to just steep myself in my obsessions — all the capricious and fetishistic thinking that I’m engaged in. If I concerned myself with contemporary references, it would just detract from the strangeness of the book.

Wired: Your prose is data-rich: It features arcane medical jargon and tabloid factoids. What are your reading habits like? Do you have a system?

Leyner: I suppose I have a system, but it’s not really an a priori system. If at any given moment I look at the books that pile up next to the bed or in the space where I work, it looks like someone who is trying to read the most insanely miscellaneous and contradictory selection of books possible. Some of it is because I have very wide-ranging interests, but then some of this is because my reading is very tangential. I’ll read 30-40 pages, and then something will move me, so I’ll put that book down and start reading something else. They always tend to superimpose themselves on top of one another. I’m reading a book now about Stalin’s military prowess, and then I’m reading a really wonderful book by the great scholar of Jewish mysticism, Gershom Scholem. Could there be more contradictory things than those two?

Gods Bicker in Mark Leyner’s Absurd New Novel, The Sugar Frosted Nutsack

Lifetime movie about Columbine

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The Lifetime network is making a miniseries abut the Columbine High School massacre, in which Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and one teacher, and injured nearly two dozen others. The series will be based on journalist Dave Cullen's book about the tragedy, titled Columbine. Not everyone is thrilled with the idea, particularly some of the people who survived that horrific day. The SF Weekly's Alan Prendergast tries to understand "The Columbine Effect: Why Hollywood Is Keeping The Story Alive." From the SF Weekly:

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After some high-profile industry names became attached to the proposal — writer/director Tommy O'Haver (An American Crime), and producers Michael DeLuca (Moneyball, The Social Network) and Christine Vachon and Pam Koffler (Boys Don't Cry) — Lifetime became interested in it as a "prestige project," something to help change the network's image.

Cullen expects to have considerable input into the adaptation. He doesn't anticipate that the miniseries will inspire copycats, because the "actual" Harris and Klebold, stripped of their mythologies, "are pretty unappealing." For economy's sake, the script may contain composite characters on the periphery of the story, but the intent is to tell a true story: "It's definitely all real names, real people, keeping it as real as possible."

Yet it's precisely the assertion of the project's authenticity that most troubles its opponents. In the Columbine community, Cullen's book is widely regarded not as the definitive account of the massacre and its aftermath, but one version of it, with its own biases and questionable interpretations. The second chapter portrays Harris as a chick magnet, an assertion based largely on the account of one reputed girlfriend whom police investigators concluded wasn't credible; several people who knew the killers well believe both Harris and Klebold died as virgins. ("Right now I'm trying to get fucked and trying to finish off these time bombs," Harris wrote two weeks before the attack.) It's one thread in a larger dispute some readers have with Cullen's work — which, in their view, downplays the role of bullying and other factors in its efforts to portray Harris as a well-integrated psychopath and Klebold as his depressed, rejected follower.

"The Columbine Effect: Why Hollywood Is Keeping the Story Alive"

Diagram library for better slide shows


I dislike PowerPoint presentations that contain lots of bulleted lists. And I hate the fact that I use bulleted lists in my presentations, too. I suppose in some cases a bulleted list is the best way to present information, but I think they are overused. A new site called Diagrammer sells diagrams for $.99 to give your presentations more visual punch. I'm using them for my next talk. is a new project from Duarte Design, the presentations communications agency that created Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth,” and numerous TEDTalks and business presentations for Fortune 500 companies.

After 20 years designing presentations, the Duarte team studied and identified the most common, universal mistakes that result in weak Powerpoint slides, and during the last two years have been at work developing, an online store and resource that stocks more than 4,000 slide diagrams taken from the sketchbooks of Duarte Inc.’s designers.


"In Heaven" from David Lynch's Eraserhead

And now, an uplifting message from the Lady In The Radiator. (via The Art of Memory)

Everest climbing tech then and now

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It's been 59 years since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made the first confirmed ascent to the summit of Mount Everest. While the reason people climb Everest hasn't changed, the technology they use certainly has. National Geographic compares Hillary and Norgay's gear with that of Hilaree O'Neill who is part of a team attempting the summit in the coming weeks. "Everest Climbing Gear—Then and Now"

Pirate Party wins seats in second German state

The German Pirate Party has won four seats in Saarland, one of the smallest regions in Germany, described as a "conservative area." The PP campaigned on greater transparency in government. I'm speaking at the Pirate Party Congress in Prague on April 14, and I've been giving a lot of thought to the relevance of the party and the movement it represents. This is the second state-level German election that gave seats to the Pirates, and there are two Pirate MEPs in the European Parliament. Clearly, there's something bubbling in party politics and information politics.

Strong showing for the Pirate Party in German elections (via /.)

(Image: Piratenpartei Saarland Wahlprogramm)

Are you ready for your 3D mammogram?

Via my friend and fellow cancer-warrior Francesco Fondi of Wired (Italy), news that Fujifilm in Japan is launching what it calls "Real 3D Mammography," a medical imaging system that enables technicians to view mammographic images in a kind of 3D. The idea is to see and interpret the detail of internal anatomical breast structures more clearly than is currently possible with a 2D image.

The new system costs about $181K, and is designed to work with "Amulet f," Fujifilm's digital X-ray equipment for breast cancer screening (sold separately). I hereby volunteer to be a test hamster for this thing some day, even though I realize the radiation payload is a little higher with this than with current mammography. But wow, I'd love to see this level of detail about what is going on inside my body right now, as I go through chemotherapy.

Takuya Otani, reporting in Nikkei Electronics & Digital Health Online:

Because the three-dimensional structures of breast tissues can be checked all at the same time, it is possible to determine if a tumor mass is in contact with a mammary gland as well as to measure the depth of microcalcification, Fujifilm said.

When a picture of a breast is taken with the Amulet f, it takes two images from different angles. Then, by displaying the two images on a special LCD monitor and using polarized glasses, it becomes possible to see a 3D image.

The special monitor is manufactured by combining two LCD monitors and a part called "half mirror." (...)When the Amulet f is used to take pictures, a patient is exposed to X-ray radiation twice. But, with Fujifilm's own methods of taking and processing images, the total amount of X-ray increases by only 30-50%, compared with a normal mammography, the company said.

Read more. At the Fujifilm website, an explainer with images including the one shown above.

Two images are displayed on the two high-definition monitors. By wearing the polarized 3D glasses, a 3D image can be viewed through the half mirror.

eBook review: Tough Without a Gun

In a break from the typical sci-fi/fantasy based Kindle Singles, I just read a biography of one of my all-time media favorites, Humphrey Bogart.

Stefan Kanfer's Tough Without a Gun is a fairly detailed analysis of what makes Bogie so iconic. If you believe the AFI, Bogart is the greatest American film star of all time. Yes, his acting was rather monotone and his ability to play outside a rather narrow band of characters was slim. But Bogart represents an America that many of us are nostalgic for, hence his staying power.

I found the story of Bogart's youth and his struggle to achieve his fame to be rather amazing. I'd never known that he was so lost -- the directionless son of a wealthy family. Poor little rich kid. Acting was really a trade he fell into, via family friendships and a lack of marketable skills.

I think I'll put on my trench coat, fedora, and go wander around Manhattan.

Stefan Kanfer's Tough Without a Gun

The Conservative Teen

Buzzfeed's Andrew Kaczynski selects the 9 best headlines from The Conservative Teen, a magazine for youngsters that will foster conservative values and counter liberal bias.

When I moved to the U.S., one of the first things I ever heard on the radio here was someone talking at length about how he hates bisexual people because they spread disease. He said it over and over again, emphasizing the word "hate" to ensure the listener understood him. Startled by it, I tuned in long enough to find out exactly whose show it was, thinking it must be a monologue or some other fiction. In honor of my introduction to American conservatism, here's the headline from his contribution to The Conservative Teen.

Brain Rot: Hip Hop Family Tree, The Race To Make The First Rap Records Begins

Read the rest of the Hip Hop Family Tree comics!

Read the rest

6 days until the release of “The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist”! (…plus your chance to win an autographed copy today)

…and the countdown continues.

The Cutting Room Floor



From deep in the Clowes archives come a few illustration proposals that caught my eye. I particularly like the one that shows chatroom users as they are and how they imagine themselves to be.

The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist will be available April 1st. Order a copy today from your local bookseller, the publisher, or Amazon. OR: Enter our contest for a chance to win a copy of the book autographed by Clowes. Throughout the countdown, one winner will be picked at random every day, so check for the daily code. To enter, send an email to with your mailing address (only US mailing addresses are eligible and no PO boxes please) and put in the subject line today's contest code: malrosen. Winners are being posted here.

See more of Clowes' cutting room floor illustrations