Smoke Signals: interview with Martin Lee, author of new book on the social history of marijuana

At Dangerous Minds today, something you really must read: Michael Backes, head of R&D of medical marijuana concern Abatin, interviews Martin Lee, author of Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana - Medical, Recreational and Scientific.

Lee's book is a fascinating new "chronicle of the chronic," as our pals at Dangerous Minds put it. He is also the co-author of Acid Dreams, a social history of LSD. Lee is also co-founder of Project CBD, which "spearheaded the alternative cannabinoid movement in California to make medicinally important varieties of cannabis containing cannabidiol (CBD) more widely available."

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Shooter at conservative group's HQ was armed with backpack full of ammo, Chick-fil-A sandwiches

The Associated Press reports that a Virginia man has been charged in federal court in the shooting of a security guard at the Family Research Council headquarters. "Authorities found a box of ammunition and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his backpack." There are sociopathic nutjobs on both sides, guys. Read the rest

DRM-Free logo: like "certified organic" for DRM-free media

Defective by Design -- the Free Software Foundation's campaign against DRM -- has cooked up a new badge for technology, media and devices that are provided without DRM, a kind of "certified organic" logo that lets you know when you're getting stuff that doesn't try to use technology to limit your choices.

New DRM-Free Label (via /.) Read the rest

Mars Curiosity rover's landing: A video by one of her 3,000+ creators at NASA JPL

What a beautiful video by Mark Rober, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory: "I was able to work on NASA JPL's Curiosity Mars Rover for 7 years. This video is an attempt to capture what it felt like to have 7 years of your life vindicated in the 7 minute landing. Honestly one of the coolest moments of my life so far.

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NASA executes 350-Million-Mile interplanetary software patch on Mars space robot. What'd you do today?

This week the team at NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory finished "what amounted to a complete overhaul of the Curiosity Rover’s software," from 350 million miles away on another planet. Ben Cichy, Curiosity’s chief software engineer, explained to Wired News that the software required to help Curiosity land on the surface of Mars and the software it needs to drive around and avoid obstacles are different. The system "didn’t have enough memory to hold the software for both the landing mission and the surface mission, so the software had to be swapped out remotely after landing." The upgrade took four days, not unlike, say, Windows Server 8. Read the rest

House Industries' foldable storage boxes

I like everything that House Industries makes. They started off in the early 1990s as a font design shop, and I have been following them closely ever since. They just announced a line of attractive foldable storage boxes.

House Industries designers completely re-imagined the classic corrugated document storage box, spending endless hours tweaking die designs to arrive at a bulletproof yet beautiful storage solution. With secure locking seams, robust construction, smooth tops, stackable flat bottoms and crisp artwork, House Archive boxes are designed to provide practical and affordable storage while working as complementary interior furnishings.

The first edition of the Archive Box feature s three different versions: a pattern based on House’s Neutraface Slab typeface, huge high-contrast numbers from Photo-Lettering’s Benguiat Montage alphabet and a typographic brace motif. Keeping with House Industries tradition, no expense was spared to reproduce the three distinctive designs.

House Industries Introduces House Archive Boxes Read the rest

UK/Ecuador Assange asylum standoff continues

Photo: the scene outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London at this hour, via @wiseupforBM.

The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, has accepted Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's bid for asylum. Whether the UK will allow the Wikileaks founder to exit the South American country's embassy in London to enter exile is another matter entirely. The scene around the embassy over the last 24 hours has grown increasingly intense: police vans circling, cops entering the building where the embassy is located, protesters upset that the UK would seemingly violate decades of diplomatic precedent to grab a man who has not yet been charged with a crime. Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden over accusations of sexual assault against two Swedish women.

Backpack broadcaster James Albury has been webcasting here.

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Uno Moralez' wonderfully creepy cartoons

Sean T. Collins of The Comics Journal interviewed Uno Moralez, a 44-year-old cartoonist from Bashkortostan. His black-and-white work has an old-timey Macpaint look. Check out his creepy loops.

Collins: I would describe your work as horror. Do you?

Moralez: I don’t think my drawings are frightening. I like to think they are mysterious.

Collins: I’ll agree to the second part of that response. Your drawings are mysterious, since they are both complex and specific in a way that invites us to imagine how the characters and creatures in them got to that point. For example, your recent comic about the small man who steals a jewel from a sleeping woman’s forehead ends with an image of his jewel collection – it seems this is something he has done many times before, and we are left to fill in the blanks. Do you consider the story behind the images when you make them?

Moralez: My short stories derive from images which don’t fit in a one single image, plotwise. This is not exactly a comic, that’s why I draw only key scenes leaving out details. And then reader’s imagination starts to work. That is important.

Uno Moralez! Read the rest

GaymerCon for LGBT gamers

Planned for next year in San Francisco, GaymerCon is meant to be "the first gaming and tech convention with a focus on LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) geek culture.” The idea was born of the Gaymers subreddit. The organizers were shooting to raise $25k on KickStarter but pledges have already surpassed $50k and there's still two weeks to go in the fundraising. Turnstyle's Noah Nelson spoke with GaymerCon organizers Noah Silas and Ben Williams:
TS: Just how hostile is the mainstream gamer culture to LGBT players?

Noah: We’ve heard lots of stories from folks telling us about times that they have felt unwelcome or uncomfortable in gaming spaces. Mostly we are hearing about online negativity; in competitive gaming one of the most common insults is ‘fag’, which can create an extremely hostile environment for people who are already feeling alienated by their sexual identity. In real-space the discourse is usually better, but when an LGBT person comes out in gaming circles there is often a feeling of needing to prove ones-self, as if being LGBT and being a gamer are somehow opposed. Even in spaces that are more tolerant, the gaming industry is incredibly sexually charged, usually in a way that is extremely catering to straight men. The frequency of appearance of ‘booth babes’ at gaming trade shows and events is a huge indicator that there is an audience being pandered to…

TS: Has there been any gamer blowback– or are folks really getting this?

Noah: A lot of folks ‘just get it’, but there are also some who seem to believe that by creating GaymerCon our intention is to fragment the gaming community into LGBT and Straight segments.

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Kit Kat Cake

This Kit Kat and M&M cake is very appealing. RecipeGirl has the recipe. It's a traditional layer cake inside. I'd prefer if the guts were Twinkies. (via Neatorama) Read the rest

The preview for Robot Chicken's DC Comics special is the most stop-motion fun you'll have today!

Last year at New York Comic Con, the creators of Adult Swim's Robot Chicken teased their upcoming DC Comics special, which is finally arriving on Sunday, September 9 at midnight. They showed a bunch of past clips from the show that featured DC characters, which was all fine and good, but like every other faithful viewer of Robot Chicken, it was stuff we'd seen already. Tons of times, if we are nightly Adult Swim viewers. Well, the preview video at IGN is all new footage, and it looks like some of the best stuff the show has done to date. I really can't remember the last time a preview video made me so happy. So, they've done Star Wars and DC, which means I will be putting Star Trek and Marvel episodes on my wish list. Have at it, genies! (via Seth Green on Twitter) Read the rest

Man suffocated to death in DIY gadget-control helmet

A 34-year-old New Zealand man suffocated in a "a home-made helmet, which he was attempting to use to control devices in his home," according to I'm sure there is, well, more to the story. From

An autopsy was completed yesterday morning and police have since said the death was accidental.

A police spokeswoman refused to comment further on the circumstances surrounding the death which is now being referred to the coroner.

"Inventor's gadget may have killed him" Read the rest

Einstein's slippers

And now here's a picture of Albert Einstein wearing fuzzy slippers. Clearly the inspiration for the Val Kilmer slippers in Real Genius.

EINSTEIN AT HOME (via How to Be a Retronaut)

(Photo: Einstein sitting on the front steps of his home in Princeton, wearing his fuzzy slippers. Photo courtesy of Gillett Griffin.) Read the rest

The Coming Civil War Over General Purpose Computers

Last month, I gave a talk called "The Coming Civil War Over General Purpose Computing" at DEFCON, the Long Now, and Google. We're going to have a transcript with the slides on Monday, but in the meantime, here's a video of the Long Now version of the talk. Stewart Brand summarized it thus:

Doctorow framed the question this way: "Computers are everywhere. They are now something we put our whole bodies into---airplanes, cars---and something we put into our bodies---pacemakers, cochlear implants. They HAVE to be trustworthy."

Sometimes humans are not so trustworthy, and programs may override you: "I can’t let you do that, Dave." (Reference to the self-protective insane computer Hal in Kubrick’s film "2001." That time the human was more trustworthy than the computer.) Who decides who can override whom?

The core issues for Doctorow come down to Human Rights versus Property Rights, Lockdown versus Certainty, and Owners versus mere Users.

Cory Doctorow: Coming War Against Your Computer Freedom Read the rest

Today in "Stop it, that's impossibly wonderful": John Slattery will be in Arrested Development

This is going to happen in the year 2013: when Arrested Development comes to Netflix, it will feature an arc for a new character being played by Mad Men's John Slattery. TV Line asked a rep from the show what kind of character he'd be playing, and their lips were sealed. But you know what? This is probably the last thing in the world I want to hear spoilers about. I like my John Slattery storylines to surprise me. (via Splitsider) Read the rest

The 5-cent cure for unpopularity

Can you count how many ways this Life Savers ad is creepy? (Via X-Ray Delta One) Read the rest

Last Dandy comic to roll off press

The Dandy, Britain's long-running childrens' comic, is to end after 75 years. Publisher DC Thomson promises that plans are afoot for its popular characters; sister comic The Beano will remain in print. [BBC] Read the rest

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