Boing Boing 

Liquid nitrogen + ping-pong balls = pure awesome

Dr. Roy Lowry demonstrates the awesome power of liquid nitrogen for a group of students at Plymouth University with a riveting demonstration that culminates in making an LN2-based bomb out of a water bottle, placing it in a giant rubber trash-can full of 1500 ping-pong balls, and waiting for the BANG.

Liquid Nitrogen and 1500 Ping Pong Balls Video (via Neatorama)

Confronting a troll in real life

Leo Traynor, a "writer, analyst & political consultant" in Ireland, was hounded off of Twitter by a vicious anti-Semitic troll whose ghastly threats against him and his family were too much to bear. Traynor located his tormentor, though, and got quite a surprise. It's a tale well told, and gave me goosebumps.

Pranksters crash final speech of corporate tax avoidance taxman, posh hilarity ensues

UK fair tax/anti-cuts activists crashed the Key Haven Publications' Practical Tax Planning conference in Oxford, where Dave Hartnett, the outgoing top UK taxation bureaucrat, was giving the final speech of his career. Hartnett was responsible for widely criticized blunders that forgave billions in tax liability owed by Vodaphone and Goldman Sachs. Posing as representatives of Goldman Sachs and Vodaphone, they entered the hall during Hartnett's after-dinner speech to present "The Golden Handshake Award for Lifetime Achievement in Corporate Tax Planning." After a few moments' confusion, the conference organisers twigged to what was going on, and began to say some of the weirdest, most stagey-sound posh=weirdo utterances heard this side of a Mr Burns impersonator's night at a cabaret:

"Everybody, these people are trespassers and intruders. This is a [garbled] to trespass, and you will go sir, you will depart immediately, before we set the dogs on you."

[Protesters leave, singing, "For he's a jolly good fellow, and so say Goldman Sachs"].

"Go! You're trespassing. You're trespassing scum! Go!"

[Exeunt omnes]

All in a posh accent that could cut glass.

Black tie activists crash HMRC boss' retirement do (via MeFi)

Adobe releases open-source coding typeface

Adobe's Paul D. Hunt announces the company's latest open-source typeface. This one's for coders and anyone else who loves legible monospaced figures—and who hates getting confused between l, 1 and I.

To my eye, many existing monospaced font suffer from one of three problems. The first problem that I often notice is that, many monospaced fonts force lowercase letters with a very large x-height into a single width, resulting in overly condensed letter forms which result in words and text with a monotonous rhythm, which quickly becomes tedious for human eyes to process. The second problem is somewhat the opposite of the first: many monospaced fonts have lowercase letters that leave too much space in between letters, causing words and strings to not hold together. Lastly, there is a category of monospaced fonts whose details I find to be too fussy to really work well in coding applications where a programmer doesn’t want to be distracted by such things.

Download the family at SourceForge. Previously.

Pistols made of bones


Bruce Mahalski, an artist in New Zealand, created a set of sculptural "dueling pistols" out of bone. Bidding opens at NZD1500.

Two bone dueling pistols (with spare bullets) mounted in a custom altered case which has been counter-sunk into a specially made rimu table. All of the bones have been found locally by the artist. The head on the bottom gun is from a ferret and the top one is from a black-backed gull. Both have barrels made from cat’s vertebrae. This archival quality work by Wellington artist, Bruce Mahalski (with assistance from local jeweler, Vaune Mason) has not yet been exhibited and this is the first time it is being offered for sale.

Bone Pistol Set #1 Brand new item

Audrey Kawaski Hint Mint tins


Artist Audrey Kawasaki has teamed up with Hint Mint to produce a series of beautiful mint tins with her art on them. I just bought two gift sets.

See more Audrey Kawasaki posts on Boing Boing.

Blast from the past: Boing Boing's Fulchau page


I forgot about my fulchau page until I got an email from a fellow fulchau admirer today. In 2002 there was one Google search result for fulchau. Today there are 768. (I see that fulchau.com has not been registered yet.)

Mystery of the fulchau

Is Diablo III turning virtual economies Into real ones? (Video)


Heath says:

The latest episode of PBS Digital Studios’ weekly Web series, Idea Channel, from producers Kornhaber Brown, questions whether games like Diablo III are creating actual value from their virtual economies.

For years now, people have traded virtual goods in online games like Second Life for real money. A black market has arisen for World of Warcraft and Everquest characters that have amassed incredible weaponry and powers. And now, Diablo III has taken this commerce a step further toward legitimization by creating a Diablo III Auction House – where axes, swords, and other awesome gear have taken on real world value and are traded with real people for real cash right inside the game platform. This all begins to redefine how we think about the value of the activity within these games. Philosophers Geog Hegel and John Locke maintained that when a person joins a certain amount of labor with an object or goods, a certain amount of ownership is transferred. Given the huge amount of time and effort that goes into procuring objects in some of these games, it’s not hard to see a correlation. And while our legal system is scrambling to keep up with these new developments, it’s becoming increasingly more common to see virtual goods transfer via real-world cash.

Is Diablo III turning virtual economies Into real ones?

Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind: Shusei Nagaoka (NSFW '70s sci-fi illustration)

View larger size here. Lovingly scanned and shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by reader v. valenti. Art by Japanese illustrator Shusei Nagaoka, whose sci-fi illustrations were popular during the 1970s and '80s, and graced album covers by ELO, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Deep Purple. There's an awesome little archive of his work here.

Oktoberfest 2012 illustration in Playboy by Christoph Hoppenbrock

Playboy Oktoberfest 2012: Oktoberfest Wimmelbild illustration for Playboy Deutschland by Christoph Hoppenbrock.

Here's a larger size, and more details on the illustrator's blog, including a detailed list of all the celebrities caricatured therein. (shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool)

Study: Republican state voting laws "will disenfranchise 10,000,000 Hispanic US citizens"

Today, a civil rights group called Advancement Project will publish a report on the new voting laws passed in 23 Republican-led states. The report (not named in Patricia Zengerle's Reuters article and not yet up on the Advancement Project site) claims that 10,000,000 Hispanic voters will be disenfranchised by the new laws, which place hurdles between voters and the ballot box, such as presenting certain types of ID. The rubric for these laws has been that "everyone" has the types of ID specified in the statutes, and the common refrain in response to critics is "Who doesn't have a [driver's license|passport|non-driver ID|etc]?" The Advancement Project's point appears to be that these specific 10 million citizens, who are otherwise legally entitled to vote, don't have the necessary papers or can't meet the qualifiers imposed by the state governments.

According to Reuters, national polls show 70 percent or more support for Obama among Hispanic voters.

The new laws include purges of people suspected of not being citizens in 16 states that unfairly target Latinos, the civil rights group Advancement Project said in the study to be formally released on Monday.

Laws in effect in one state and pending in two others require proof of citizenship for voter registration. That imposes onerous and sometimes expensive documentation requirements on voters, especially targeting naturalized American citizens, many of whom are Latino, the liberal group said.

Nine states have passed restrictive photo identification laws that impose costs in time and money for millions of Latinos who are citizens but do not yet have the required identification, it said.

Voting laws may disenfranchise 10 million Hispanic U.S. citizens: study (Thanks, Deborah!)

New fossil analysis shows cannibalism in Britain 15K years ago was "practical and ritualistic"

Scientists analyzing 14,700-year-old remains at Gough's cave in Somerset, England believe that human flesh was not eaten merely out of survival imperative, but as a "practical and ritualistic" behavior. Snip: "The cannibals appear to have filleted the major muscles with stone knives and then chewed off the remaining morsels. Even the ends of toe bones and ribs bones were nibbled, perhaps so that their modest stores of marrow could be sucked." Om nom nom nom! (Scientific American Blog Network, via Vaughan Bell)

Bre Pettis of MakerBot holding a 3D printer in 2010 and 2012


Here's MakerBot's Bre Pettis holding a Cupcake on the cover of Make in 2010 and a Replicator 2 on the cover of Wired in 2012. The more things change… (Photo by Jake Spurlock)

The new MySpace (Video)

Justin Timberlake just unveiled a video that shows off the new MySpace beta.

It appears that they're hoping to build on their popularity with musicians and the UI looks pretty nice. No word yet on when this will be open to the public.

Excerpt from The Ravenous Brain: How the New Science of Consciousness Explains Our Insatiable Search for Meaning

Here's an exclusive excerpt from Daniel Bor's new book, The Ravenous Brain.

Neuroscientist Daniel Bor has spent the past decade worrying over biology’s most difficult problem -- what consciousness is, why we have it, and what it means for our self perception and our mental health. The Ravenous Brain: How the New Science of Consciousness Explains Our Insatiable Search for Meaning lays out his groundbreaking research for the first time.

Bor’s story of exploration turns the tables on philosophers ancient and modern alike, who have sought to portray the mind as something above science. Offering a pioneering theory on the compression and structuring of information, Bor explains that our conscious endeavors to succeed are not miraculous, but driven by evolution: human beings are fundamentally highly functioning, staggeringly complex biological computers.

A proposal with practical and far-reaching implications, The Ravenous Brain extends beyond biology, philosophy, or neuroscience, and touches on the fields of medicine, bioethics, and animal rights, as well as personal health and well-being.

Read excerpt from The Ravenous Brain

Exhaust all of DES and crack any MS-CHAPv2-based VPN for a mere $20


Moxie Marlinspike and David Hulton's Divide and Conquer: Cracking MS-CHAPv2 with a 100% success rate presentation from Defcon is now a reality. If you want to crack a MS-CHAPv2 PPTP authentication handshake (like the one I use when I connect to IPREDator, the secure proxy I favor), they'll exhaust all of the DES keyspace for you for a mere $20, usually in less than a day.

Basically, MS-CHAPv2-based VPNs should now be considered insecure and not fit for purpose. Plus Moxie and David can brute force all of DES for $20. Yowza.

A Week Of Discounted Cracking

For this week (9/23/2012), we will be offering deeply discounted MS-CHAPv2 cracking jobs by reducing the price from $200 to $20. This means that any PPTP VPN connection or intercepted MS-CHAPv2 WPA Enterprise wireless credentials can be cracked and decrypted with a 100% success rate for only $20.

The one major caveat is that an influx of additional jobs might increase the pending queue depth and cause MS-CHAPv2 jobs to take slightly longer than ususal, but we'll see how it goes.

Cheaper MS-CHAPv2 Cracking (via Hacker News)

Book about the making of Game of Thrones


[Video Link] Game of Thrones is not only one of best TV shows I've ever seen, it's also the most visually interesting (apart from the opening to Land of the Lost, of course). No wonder the show won six Creative Arts Emmy awards. Inside HBO's Game of Thrones is an excellent book that reveals the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into the making of the sets, costumes, and props of the TV series.

This official companion book gives fans new ways to enter this fictional world and discover more about the beloved (and reviled) characters and the electrifying plotlines. Hundreds of set photos, production and costume designs, storyboards, and insider stories reveal how the show's creators translated George R. R. Martin's best-selling fantasy series into the world of Westeros. Featuring interviews with key actors and crew members that capture the best scripted and unscripted moments from the first two seasons, as well as a preface by George R. R. Martin, this special volume, bound in a lavishly debossed padded cover, offers exclusive access to this unprecedented television series.
How can you go wrong with a lavishly debossed padded cover?

Inside HBO's Game of Thrones