Boing Boing 

A horse is a vehicle, in Kentucky, if you're drunk


Kentucky cops will write you a DUI if you ride a horse drunk. The fellow whose circumstances proved this to the rest of us was carrying a jar of "moonshine" at the time. Lowering the Bar has some legal analysis of the bust. Good thing the horse was sober when he got pulled over, or there would have been an additional count of cruelty to animals.

And things are not looking good for him otherwise. The statutory language is better than the title: "No person under the influence of intoxicating beverages or any substance which may impair one's driving ability shall operate a vehicle that is not a motor vehicle anywhere in this state." Okay, but what is a "vehicle not a motor vehicle"? I think a skateboard or scooter would qualify, or even a Big Wheel. The Flintstones car would count. Surely someone in Kentucky has one of those. But can a living thing be a "vehicle"? Yes, people ride around on them, but to me the common meaning of "vehicle" just doesn't include a horse (elephant, lion, Sasquatch, whatever). A vehicle is a machine.

There is some support for this elsewhere in the statutes. The one above refers to "driving" ability. "Driving" is not the same as "riding" when it comes to animals, according to television. You would "ride" a horse during a cattle "drive," for example; you don't "drive" a horse. And look over here at Section 189.310, "Vehicles meeting other vehicles and animals," which not only distinguishes between "vehicles" and "animals" but also makes the riding/driving distinction. That seems unnecessary if every animal you could ride is also a vehicle, doesn't it?

All very interesting, said no one, but aren't there often statutes that define certain legal terms? Yes, and there's one here. And sadly for Rooster Cogburn, it defines "vehicle" as including "All agencies for the transportation of persons or property over or upon the public highways of the Commonwealth.…" So while I still like my "animal is not a vehicle" argument, Kentucky has precluded it.

Don't Ride Drunk in Kentucky

(Image: Defeat the devil drink - white horse, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from lydiashiningbrightly's photostream)

Eyeball Creep: a very special My Little Pony


Wrenniepooh isn't your typical bronie. In 2008/9, Wrenniepooh created a series of custom My Little Ponies, including this rather magnificent specimen, dubbed Eyeball Creep.

Created for the Horror/Gore custom swap help at the MLPArena. This pony was made fom a baity G3 October Dreams birthstone pony who had her jewel cut out. I smoothed over the pony's eyes, neck seam, tail and hair plug holes with Apoxy Clay. Real glass taxidermy eyes of various types where used, super glued to the pony, then sculpted eyelids added using Apoxy Clay. I used a thin sewing needle to add tiny holes for "eyelashes" to be inserted into later.

Wrenniepooh's My Little Pony Custom Creations Gallery (via Neatorama)

Saving Mr. Banks starts shooting, marks the first time Walt Disney is portrayed on film

Today in News I'm a Little Ashamed I Didn't Know About Already: Disney is making the first movie that features Walt Disney as a character, and he will be portrayed by the only man with whom "Uncle Walt" can be trusted, Tom Hanks. Saving Mr. Banks follows the 14-year effort by Disney as he tried to convince P.L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins, to allow him to make a movie out of her book. It will flash back and forth from Travers' childhood with her father (on whom Mr. Banks was based), to the 1940s, '50s, and early '60s, when Disney was trying to make Mary Poppins into a movie that Travers ended up hating. Also starring are Emma Thompson (as Travers), Rachel Griffiths (as the aunt who inspired the character of Mary Poppins), Colin Farrell (as Travers' father), Ruth Wilson, Paul Giamatti, BJ Novak, Jason Schwartzman, and Bradley Whitford. Shooting began today, and among the locations are Disneyland and Burbank's Disney Studio. Well doesn't that all sound practically perfect in every way? (via Screen Rant, Empire)

One Google query = one Apollo program's worth of computing

Here's a thought:

"It takes about the same amount of computing to answer one Google Search query as all the computing done — in flight and on the ground — for the entire Apollo program."

(Quote from Seb Schmoller’s "Learning technology – a backward and forward look," attributed to Peter Norvig and Udi Mepher of Google on hearing of the death of Neil Armstrong)

I remember hearing that the processor in a singing greeting card had more capacity than all the electronic computers on Earth at the time of Sputnik's launch, though I can't find a cite for it at the moment. Exponential processor improvements are pretty wild.

Learning technology – a backward and forward look (PDF)

(via Memex 1.1)

Facebook's vague rulebook helps only the creeps

Facebook’s vaguely-defined community standards leave artists and honest users unclear on limits—and at the mercy of trolls and stalkers willing to use the social network’s anonymous moderators to create fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Read the rest

Why Philip Roth had to explain himself in the New Yorker before his Wikipedia entry could be corrected

My latest Guardian column, "Why Philip Roth needs a secondary source," explains why it makes sense for Wikipedians to insist that Roth's claims about his novels be vetted by and published in the New Yorker before they can be included on Wikipedia:

Wikipedians not only have no way of deciding whether Philip Roth is an authority on Philip Roth, but even if they decided that he was, they have no way of knowing that the person claiming to be Philip Roth really is Philip Roth. And even if Wikipedians today decide that they believe that the PhilipRoth account belongs to the real Philip Roth, how will the Wikipdians 10 years from now know whether the editor who called himself PhilipRoth really was Philip Roth?

Wikipedia succeeds by "not doing the things that nobody ever thought of not doing". Specifically, Wikipedia does not verify the identity or credentials of any of its editors. This would be a transcendentally difficult task for a project that is open to any participant, because verifying the identity claims of random strangers sitting at distant keyboards is time-consuming and expensive. If each user has to be vetted and validated, it's not practical to admit anyone who wants to add a few words to a Wikipedia entry.

Why Philip Roth needs a secondary source

Feds charge open data activist with 13 felonies for downloading academic articles

Wired reports that Federal prosectors have added nine additional felony counts against coder, freedom of information activist, and early Reddit employee (or Reddit co-founder, depending on who you ask) Aaron Swartz. Last year, he was charged with breaking hacking laws "by downloading millions of academic articles from a subscription database via an open connection at MIT." Pay attention to this case. The outcome could set precedents that increase legal hazards for security researchers, activists, and online journalists who operate with perfectly good and lawful intentions.

Real Life Emoticons (video)

[Video Link] From JemmaKuma.

ElfQuest and the secret history

The message of Elfquest is not only a creation myth but the eternal return: a story of magical beings raised by wolves and tied to intergalactic science fiction. One can only imagine the creators have a drinking buddy in the Illuminati.

Read the rest

Ben Folds Five meets Fraggle Rock: a Nerdist music video

[Video Link] Chris Hardwick's NERDIST YouTube channel is full of awesome, but few things as awesome as this.

The Official Music Video for "Do It Anyway," the first track from Ben Folds Five's much anticipated album THE SOUND OF THE LIFE OF THE MIND...featuring the Fraggles from Jim Henson's "Fraggle Rock"! Also starring Rob Corddry, Anna Kendrick & Chris Hardwick.

Buy the album on iTunes. Directed by Phil Hodges. See the Behind-the-Scenes here.

Small fish makes undersea "crop circles"

NewImage

This pretty pattern was created by a small, amorous pufferfish.

Underwater cameras showed that the artist was a small puffer fish who, using only his flapping fin, tirelessly worked day and night to carve the circular ridges. The unlikely artist – best known in Japan as a delicacy, albeit a potentially poisonous one – even takes small shells, cracks them, and lines the inner grooves of his sculpture as if decorating his piece. Further observation revealed that this “mysterious circle” was not just there to make the ocean floor look pretty. Attracted by the grooves and ridges, female puffer fish would find their way along the dark seabed to the male puffer fish where they would mate and lay eggs in the center of the circle. In fact, the scientists observed that the more ridges the circle contained, the more likely it was that the female would mate with the male. The little sea shells weren’t just in vain either. The observers believe that they serve as vital nutrients to the eggs as they hatch, and to the newborns.
The Deep Sea Mystery Circle – a love story

Thin-skinned, plagiarizing Philippines Senator criminalizes "libel" with last minute stealth-attack on cybercrime bill

Philippines Senator Vicente Sotto III has been embroiled in a series of plagiarism scandals -- most recently, he gave a speech including phrases from a Robert Kennedy, Jr address, without credit or acknowledgment -- and has attracted a lot of vocal online criticisms. He was also instrumental in the passage of a broad, censorious "cybercrime" bill, and he warned his critics (whom he derides as "professional fault-finders") that "Once the cybercrime bill is enacted into law, they will be accountable for what they say or write."

Now it seems he has made good on this threat. The signed version of the Philippines Cybercrime Bill classes "libel" with spam, child pornography, and other crimes, thanks to an amendment he introduced -- though this amendment was never debated.

Who inserted that libel clause in the Cybercrime Law at the last minute?

Republic Act No. 10175: AN ACT DEFINING CYBERCRIME, PROVIDING FOR THE PREVENTION, INVESTIGATION, SUPPRESSION AND THE IMPOSITION OF PENALTIES THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES (Thanks, Charles!)

Jewel + Walmart = song about Walmart


[Video Link] (Via Uproxx)

iPhone 5 on gray market in Hong Kong for $1135

Mr. Lo of Hong Kong will happily sell you an iPhone 5 right now for $1135. If you want to buy one through Apple or an authorized retailer, you must wait until Friday.

NewImageAlright, Mr Lo, the ‘master’ of the grey market in Hong Kong who distributed hundreds to thousands of iPhone 4s and iPads to China’s gray market, told the local media that he is selling the iPhone 5 starting at HK$8,800 (about US$1135). When Lo was asked about the sales of the iPhone 5, whether there would be a demand for it, he said the stock for the iPhone 5 is quite tight, so he thinks it will be alright to re-sell the phone for a hefty markup, at least for the first two weeks. What’s more, he has prepared “secret” couriers in U.S. and Europe to hop on planes to Hong Kong after securing about hundreds of iPhone 5s. Right now Lo has already received 100-200 orders from mainland China customers before the iPhone 5 goes on sale in Hong Kong’s Apple retail store. He added that the grey-market iPhone 5 would not be limited in warranty and could come with an international guarantee, meaning owners could go into any Apple shop and have the device checked or replaced if required.
Hong Kong Grey Market Is The World’s First Place to Sell iPhone 5 with Hefty Price Tag (Via MacRumors)

"Real-life" Minecraft game

Ben Purdy created this incredibly fun "real life Minecraft" game, which was set up and relentlessly thrashed at XOXOfest in Portland.

I would like to, in no sarcastic manner what-so-ever, officially dedicate this to all the people who commented on my original minecraft block video and accused me of faking it via green screens, after effects, black screens, blue screen, gray screens, etc. Looking forward to comments that the whole thing is staged and all those people are actors that are just pretending to hit the blocks.

I can assure you he does not lie, as I gave it a good thorough pounding myself. The textures are in fact projected onto the boxes; the implement is a foam pixel-art pickaxe. [via YouTube]

Apps for Kids 31: Space Holiday

ST 1024x1024 Appsforkids
Click here to play episode. Apps for Kids is Boing Boing's podcast about cool smartphone apps for kids and parents. My co-host is my 9-year-old daughter, Jane Frauenfelder.

In this week's episode Jane and I talk about Space Holiday, a "line-drawing puzzle where you link stars to create constellations and open the star portal while avoiding the asteroids."

If you're an app developer and would like to have Jane and me try one of your apps for possible review, email a redeem code to appsforkids@boingboing.net.

Listen to past episodes of Apps for Kids here.

To get a weekly email to notify you when a new episode of Apps for Kids is up, sign up here.

MakerBot launches the Replicator 2, and a retail storefront -- a MakerBot Operator Manifesto

MakerBot has just released two important announcements: first that they have shipped a 100 micron-resolution version of their Replicator printer; second, that they have opened a central Manhattan storefront to bring the gospel of 3D printing to the masses. MakerBot co-founder Bre Pettis has penned Boing Boing a MakerBot Operator Manifesto to mark the occasion:

Where we're going, there are no limitations: create your working flux capacitor by glueing MakerBotted components together for installation in your DeLorean.

Go big. With the MakerBot Replicator 2's 410 cubic inch build volume, you can finally create the trumpet you've been dreaming of.

Compete with the industrial machines. With the MakerBot Replicator 2's 100 micron layer resolution you can create models that will look like they were made on a refrigerator sized machine that costs 100 times the MakerBot Replicator 2.

Make the unreal real. Use your MakerBot to manifest unicorns, dragons, or a functional sonic screwdriver.

Resist buying things that you can make on your MakerBot Replicator 2. There is no deeper nerd cred than MakerBotting frames for your glasses.

Optimize the world. That contraption to hold your microscopes glass slides together in the dishwasher is just waiting for you to design and MakerBot it.

Repurpose everything. The springs in pens and motors pulled from old technology can be used to create the replica of that V8 supercharged hemi you've been lusting after.

Repurpose the models in Cornell's wonderful mechanical library to power your perpetual motion machine.

Prototype your inventions. We're still waiting for you to align the lasers with your MakerBotted oscillation overthruster.

Use what you've got. If you are a programmer, use the openSCAD tool to create parametric gears If you are a photographer, learn to use 123D Catch to scan the greatest works of art at your local museum.

Ignore the naysayers. Your jackalope powered hovercraft is achievable and don't forget to MakerBot a helmet for the jackalope.

Replicator 2

Three Space Shuttle flight decks (photos)

Ben Cooper of Launch Photography has photos of the flight deck from all three Space Shuttles, Endeavour (fully-powered), Atlantis and Discovery.

"Endeavour [shown here] looks particularly spectacular, in all its glory, just as it had been in space during a mission," he writes.

You can buy prints! I want huge prints of all three, one for each wall of my office.

Remakes of Carrie and Evil Dead will debut footage at New York Comic Con

You can either hate that they're happening, or you can give them the benefit of the doubt, but the Carrie remake and the new Evil Dead movie are both very much going to happen to us in 2013. And they are going to provide proof of their impending existence in the form of new footage that will make its debut at New York Comic Con next month! Sony will present the footage on a panel Saturday, October 13 at 3:45 PM (which will conveniently end half an hour before the panel on which I'll be appearing, please pardon the self-promotion), whether you like it or not! (via The Daily Blam)

Monstrous chocolate bar


Hot damn, that's a nice chocolate bar wrapper. It's from Loom and Honest Chocolate, two South African companies, who explain the design to The Dieline:

"In August 2012 we ran a crowd-sourced design competition on 10and5.com (a local design design website) and invited creatives from around the world to design a unique chocolate wrapper for us. In just 6 days we received over 115 local and international entries from Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Namibia, Amsterdam, Toronto and Paris.

The winning design came from Cape Town based illustrator, Miné Jonker. She runs an agency called Studio Muti."

Loom X Honest

New Orleans cancels plans for Super Bowl drone, after indie paper investigates

Above, "The Bravo 300," a tactical drone man­u­fac­tured in New Or­leans by Cres­cent Un­manned Sys­tems. Weeks after New Orleans local investigative paper The Lens began digging into city of­fi­cials’ plans to use a U.S. Home­land Se­cu­rity De­part­ment aer­ial drone to mon­i­tor crowds at the upcoming Super Bowl, a spokesman for Mayor Mitch Lan­drieu announced that the city is no longer pursuing those plans.

Spokesman Ryan Berni of­fered no rea­son for drop­ping the eye-in-the-sky tech­nol­ogy, telling a re­porter to sub­mit a pub­lic-records re­quest. In a brief phone in­ter­view, he would say only that the de­ci­sion to ditch the drone was made “over the past sev­eral days.” In a fol­low-up email, Berni said Home­land Se­cu­rity would be pro­vid­ing a manned he­li­copter, equipped with a cam­era, and that “the City learned by phone in the last few weeks” about the switch.

Read more: City cancels plans for Super Bowl drone despite enthusiasm and interest from NOPD, others (TheLensNola.org).

A brain scan on ecstasy

Under the supervision of a medical team, New Scientist's Graham Lawton took a dose of MDMA and then lay in an fMRI machine. You know. For science.

Lawton was a participant in a double blind, controlled, clinical study — meaning that he didn't actually know whether he was going to be taking ecstasy or Vitamin C when he went in ... and neither did the scientists who gave him the pill. That's because the researchers want to know whether and what differences show up between the functioning of brain under the influence of MDMA and one that's sober. Not knowing which type of brain they're looking at helps them avoid their own biases, or tendencies to "spot" a difference that doesn't actually exist simply because of what they expect a high brain (or a sober one) to be doing. Only after they've made their observations do the scientists find out which brains were which.

The goal is to document was ecstasy does to the brain. Astoundingly, writes Lawton, nobody has ever done that before. And it matters, because some people think that drugs like ecstasy could be useful in helping people deal with psychological stress disorders. Not that the drugs would cure the disorder, per se, but that ecstasy could help people talk about their bad experiences more easily. Right now, there's not a lot of evidence supporting that idea, beyond some anecdotes. Studies like this help scientists figure out whether the anecdotes are pointing at a useful treatment tool, or just relating some personal experiences.

Read the story (and see a gallery of photos) at New Scientist

Via Jennifer Ouellette

XOXO: Maker Love, Not Thwart

I have fallen in love with a building, hundreds of people, a MakerBot, a portable toilet trailer, food trucks, and two men each named Andy. Is it possible to fall in love with a conference? If so, I have. The organizers named the conference XOXO for hugs and kisses. This was presented without hipster irony or marketing-speak. They meant it. They delivered.

Read the rest

Death on Mount Everest

Back in May, we linked you to the reporting of Outside's Grayson Schaffer, who was stationed in the base camps of Mount Everest, watching as the mountain's third deadliest spring in recorded history unfolded. Ten climbers died during April and May. But the question is, why?

From a technological standpoint, as Schaffer points out in a follow up piece, Everest ought to be safer these days. Since 1996 — the mountain's deadliest year, documented in John Krakauer's Into Thin Air — weather forecasts have improved (allowing climbers to avoid storms like the one responsible for many of the 1996 deaths), and new helicopters can reach stranded climbers at higher altitudes. But those things, Schaffer argues, are about reducing deaths related to disasters. This year, he writes, the deaths that happened on Everest weren't about freak occurrences of bad luck. It wasn't storms or avalanches that took those people down. It wasn't, in other words, about the random risks of nature.

This matters because it points to a new status quo on Everest: the routinization of high-altitude death. By and large, the people running the show these days on the south side of Everest—the professional guides, climbing Sherpas, and Nepali officials who control permits—do an excellent job of getting climbers to the top and down again. Indeed, a week after this year’s blowup, another hundred people summited on a single bluebird day, without a single death or serious injury.

But that doesn’t mean Everest is being run rationally. There are no prerequisites for how much experience would-be climbers must have and no rules to say who can be an outfitter. Many of the best alpinists in the world still show up in Base Camp every spring. But, increasingly, so do untrained, unfit people who’ve decided to try their hand at climbing and believe that Everest is the most exciting place to start. And while some of the more established outfitters might turn them away, novices are actively courted by cut-rate start-up companies that aren’t about to refuse the cash.

It’s a recipe that doesn’t require a storm to kill people. In this regard, things are much different now than in the past: they’re worse.

Read the rest at Outside

Image via Outside and photographer Rob Sobecki

Peter Jackson puts the idea of directing an episode of Doctor Who into everyone's head, everyone dies

Okay, now, before we all (present company included) get too excited, let me state that this is not an official announcement, but merely words said by people out loud to the press. Matt Smith, who plays the eponymous character in Doctor Who, said that he'd love to sail over to New Zealand and film an episode of the show with director Peter Jackson. And then Jackson said, "Yeah, okay!" You might think that the new trailer for The Hobbit was the best Jackson-related news to happen today, but I'm telling you right now -- it's not. This "not-officially-happening-yet" Doctor Who news is. If we all clap our hands at the same time, maybe it'll actually happen. And an angel will get its wings.

Don't worry, I put your Hobbit trailer inside, too.

Read the rest

XKCD's 14-foot-wide CLICK AND DRAG map


Today's XKCD, "Click and Drag," is a triumph. It's a tribute to House of Leaves, and it treats the punchline as a window to a ginormous, explorable world that you can see by clicking and dragging. Dan Catt puts the artwork at 46 feet wide, assuming it is printed at 300dpi. It's full of Munrovian sly humor and sight gags, and has its own underground civilization. It's not like any other thing I've seen.

If you want to mouse around in a zoomable version of the map, see this mashup. If (when) Randall offers this for sale as a poster, I may have to throw away some furniture to make room for it.

Click and Drag (via Kottke)

TOM THE DANCING BUG: The God-Man YouTube Video!

Today’s exciting episode of GOD-MAN!

Read the rest

Beware of neuro-speculation

Between the downfall of Jonah Lehrer, and Naomi Wolfe's new book that claims chemicals in women's brains force us to demand our lovers shower us with roses and candy and refer to us as "goddess"*, there's been some growing backlash against the long-popular idea of better living through neuroscience. You know what I'm talking about here: You (yes, you!) can succeed at work, be more creative, improve your relationships, and have a better sex life — all you have to do is read this one interpretation of the latest in neuroscience research!

Perhaps unsurprisingly, that pitch oversells the reality. What we know about how the brain works isn't really that clear cut. But more than that, the idea of scientific self-help quite often has to severely distort science in order to make any sense. The public comes away with a massive misunderstanding of what MRI does and doesn't tell us, what hormones like dopamine actually do, and what the lab tells us about real life.

There are two big essays that you need to read before you pick up another story or book that tries to make connections between cutting-edge brain science and real life. The first, in New Statesman, is by Steven Poole and the broad overview of why it's such a problem when neuroscience becomes neuro-speculation. The second, by Maia Szalavitz at Time Magazine's Healthland blog, focuses on Naomi Wolfe's new book and uses that as a springboard to talk about the bigger issue of brain chemicals, what they are, and what they aren't.

Read the rest

Maggie on Virtually Speaking Science

Today at 5:00 pm Eastern, I'll be talking to MIT professor of science writing Tom Levenson on the Virtually Speaking Science podcast. The show is recorded live, so you can call in and join the conversation. It also happens live in Second Life. Which means that I now have a Second Life avatar. Seems like an interesting concept. I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Court to hear argument on the privacy implications of "junk" DNA databases

The Ninth Circuit is hearing arguments today about the privacy implications of gathering and retaining "junk" DNA, which has been treated as merely identifying, like a fingerprint, and not unduly invasive. Modern genetics shows that it's possible to extract information about health, ancestry, and other potentially compromising traits. From the Electronic Frontier Foundation's blog:

In this case, Haskell v. Harris, the ACLU of Northern California is challenging the California law, arguing that it violates constitutional guarantees of privacy and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.  This is the first court hearing to address DNA privacy since the research on “junk” DNA has become widely known, and in its role as amicus, EFF asked the court to consider the ground-breaking new research.  The oral argument is open to the public at the federal courthouse at 95 7th Street in San Francisco.  The hearing starts at 10am, in courtroom 1 on the third floor.

Wednesday Hearing in 9th Circuit Tackles DNA Privacy