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How to steal the Space Shuttle


Jason Torchinsky of Jalopnik wrote a detailed scenario on how to steal the Space Shuttle in Los Angeles.

Yesterday morning I was at the California Science Center's press conference outlining their plan to drag a massive spaceship across Los Angeles. It was one of those times where logistics can make even the most outlandish plans seem boring, as they went over schedules and road closures and the like. While they were describing the locations where Endeavour would be stopped for viewing or technical reasons, I realized that this was the most exposed this priceless spaceship will ever be. Which, of course, got me thinking. Could someone steal the Space Shuttle?

The LAPD officers in charge of the security portion of the massive moving project were there, but it was pretty clear their responsibilities had to do with keeping people and the city safe, not protecting the Shuttle from theft. I asked both officers if they thought, given Bond supervillian-levels of resources, it would be possible for someone to steal the shuttle.

They made two mistakes in their answers. First mistake was that the first cop told me it was "impossible." The second mistake was that the other policeman told me "I won't say impossible." Now it sounds like a challenge.

How To Steal The Space Shuttle: A Step-By-Step Guide

Ticket to hell (and back)


Apparently, this remarkable little coupon was offered up at auction, once upon a time.

This is a souvenir of a visit to a Coney Island Bowery amusement called Darkness and Dawn. It was a Cyclorama, and had been created for an exposition in Omaha, Nebraska in 1898. It was brought to the Coney Island Bowery at the turn of the century. The souvenir is card stock, in the shape of a coffin, and has a skull and crossbones illustration at top. It also has a quote from "The Devil." The same image and text is printed on both sides (shown). The attraction on the Bowery was destroyed by fire in 1903, and was rebuilt for Luna Park several years later.

Anonymous Works: "Darkness and Dawn" (via Morbid Anatomy)

Let the casting speculation for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy begin with Michael Rooker

Ever since Marvel announced that one of its next film ventures was The Guardians of the Galaxy, not much discussion has taken place about who might join the cast. But now, Michael Rooker (who is returning to The Walking Dead next season) is throwing his hat in the ring -- to play Rocket Raccoon! A friend of Guardians director James Gunn, Rooker might just be interested in providing his perfect, grisly voice for the (most likely) CG-animated character. Why? He told MovieWeb:

I love raccoons. Raccoons are my friends!

But really:

I would be very honored and pleased to work with James Gunn again... Whether it will happen or not, I don’t know... Write this up. Tweet the fuck out of it. If the fans want me as Rocket Raccoon, Marvel will listen to you guys, I think, sometimes... Perhaps I will be lucky and blessed enough to go in there, and go at it with Mr. Gunn again, who knows?

Okay! So, he's more eager to work with Gunn than he is to be Rocket Raccoon (he says he hasn't "done much research on it at all yet"). But he's totally committed to taking the Betty White-social media route, and that makes him one thing for sure: an efficient campaigner.

Photo credit: AMC

Which Legendary Character Actor Has the Crazy Eyes and Wants To Be This Pint-Sized Bad@ss, Rocket Raccoon? [Pajiba]

Statefarmbug

Friday Freak-Out: The "Swiss Beatles" - Les Sauterelles - "Dream Machine" (1969)


[Video Link] Friday Freak-Out: Where is a Swiss Beatles when we need them now? Bedazzled presents a 1960s group called Les Sauterelles.
Cavern Club: "Way back in the early ’60s, when everybody was listening to the Mersey sound, there was an unknown group called Les Sauterelles that was introducing rock and roll to a rather conservative Swiss audience. As this music became more and more established, so did the interest in the “Swiss Beatles.”
The “Swiss Beatles” - Les Sauterelles - "Dream Machine"

Internet governance and cyber-security conference in Toronto


Robin Gross from IP Justice sez, "Public interest groups involved in ICANN will gather for the event, 'ICANN & Internet Governance: Security & Freedom in a Connected World' on Friday 12 October at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Canada. Sponsored by the Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC), the voice of civil society in ICANN, the policy conference will focus on key ICANN policy issues like the need to promote both cyber-security and human rights in the development of global Internet policies. The event kicks-off with a morning address from cyber-security expert Ron Deibert, Director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies and The Citizen Lab, an inter-disciplinary research and development hothouse at the University of Toronto. Deibert will address the need to establish a cyber-security strategy for global civil society."

NCUC's policy conference will discuss the promotion of cyber-security and human rights on the Internet, multi-stakeholderism and the role of governments, and key policy issues surrounding new top-level domains such as freedom of expression and intellectual property rights. The conference subtitle "Security & Freedom in a Connected World" recognizes society's shared twin goals of security and freedom, and questions to what extent must society sacrifice one for the other.

Cyber-security expert Ron Deibert from The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto will address the conference in the morning and ICANN's new CEO Fadi Chehade will deliver welcoming remarks to the group right after lunch. Other confirmed speakers include governmental representatives, members of ICANN's board of directors and senior staff, civil society and Internet business leaders.

NCUC Policy Conference: ICANN & Internet Governance: Security & Freedom in a Connected World

Lizz Winstead, co-creator of Daily Show, launches Lady Parts Justice


[Video Link] Look, it’s time to stop being polite and start asking, “What the fuck do you think you are trying to pull here?”

It is time to ask, “Why the fuck are men and women who are inexcusably incompetent continually being elected into statehouses, governorships and THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS? And how the fuck is it that this asshole serves on THE SCIENCE COMMITTEE of The House of Representatives?!

ENOUGH.

Women are not faking rape and they don’t have magical powers to deactivate rape sperm. We are not pregnant before we are pregnant, we can’t have an abortion if we are not pregnant, and I think we can all agree, women shouldn’t be forced to carry stillborn babies.

Abortions don’t cause mental instability and the HPV vaccine doesn’t make girls mentally retarded. No woman’s boss should be able to demand information from her to decide if her reason for wanting birth control is moral enough to grant permission.

OH Yeah, and Planned Parenthood isn’t turning Girl Scouts into Commulezzies

And Double OH YEAH-

No state should ever have the right to shove a probe in a woman’s vagina against her will because the government has elected shitwits who think women are such irrational idiots that the government knows best about what is right for them, their bodies and their futures.

So why am I scribbling all these ridonculous implausible scenarios?

Because these are either actual laws, proposed laws, or reasons used by politicians who have been elected to public office.

Read the rest

Entire, working mobile phone with SIM free in this week's Entertainment Weekly

This week's issue of Entertainment Weekly sports a live-tweeting interactive video display. The folks from Mashable did a teardown to see how this was accomplished, and discovered that there is a complete (albeit without a case or keypad) Foxconn Android phone glued between the pages, along with a T-Mobile SIM. By poking around, they were even able to make phonecalls with it.

They didn't show what happened if you put the SIM in another phone, which would be a neat trick, and I also wondered about the injunction to turn off mobile devices for takeoff and landing.

We Found a Free Smartphone Embedded Inside Entertainment Weekly (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Cory in Berkeley tonight

Hey, Berkeley! I'll be at Books Inc tonight on 4th Street at 7PM, as part of the Pirate Cinema tour. Tomorrow, I'll be in Pasadena and then Redondo Beach, then Lansing, MI, Chicagoland, and many (many!) other US and Canadian cities. Here's the whole schedule -- come on out and say hi! Cory

68,000 Texans no longer have to prove they're not dead in order to vote

68,000 Texans will no longer have to prove that they aren't dead in order to vote in the next election. The state of Texas has settled a suit brought on behalf of 68,000 "potentially deceased" Texas voters who shared a birthdate and a partial Social Security match with a person appearing on a federal death register. These people will now be able to vote, unless Texas can prove they're dead. Another 12,000 voters will still have to prove that they're not dead before casting a ballot. More from Lowering the Bar:

Under the previous rules, voters were identified as "potentially deceased" if there was at least a "weak match" (such as a birth date plus a partial Social Security number) between their information and the federal death records the state was consulting. The weakly matched dead made up 68,000 of the 80,000 people who received a letter from voting officials telling them they would be removed from the rolls if they didn't speak up. Under the settlement, the burden shifts to officials to prove those people are really dead; the remainder ("strong matches"), who are much more likely to be dead, will still have to prove otherwise if they can.

"Today's order [approving the settlement] is another step toward improving the integrity of the election system," said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who had unsuccessfully tried to defend the state's original plan. I think it's actually the same step, but 85% smaller.

Texas Settles With Previously Dead Voters

Gary War: "Jared's Lot" music review

NewImage

We've long been fans of these outsider noise pop weirdos Gary War. They even played our very first aQ/WFMU showcase at South By Southwest, but wow has their sound changed since then. Our pal Anthony described this new record Jared's Lot WAY more succinctly and accurately than we ever could:

"Expertly performed, extremely difficult clash between pop inclinations and punk ideals sent through a completely synthetic, inhuman aesthetic. If you sent the Wipers early albums through the most intuitive state-of-the-art midi processor you might end up with something like this, simultaneously baroque and sterile, and very catchy at times. When the option is to zig or zag Gary War will always zap!"

Read the rest

Sensible Internet policy platform from the German Pirate Party


The German Pirate Party has released a brochure (PDF, German), outlining the party's agenda for a free and open Internet, based on discussions with a group of German publishers. The program they set out is one that I hope to see many parties adopting -- I could certainly see liberal democratic, green, and libertarian parties all adopting this, along with left-leaning labor parties like Canada's NDP.

I have less hope for the UK's larger parties. I don't expect that UK Labour will be able to adopt this, as they've proven themselves (repeatedly) to be hopeless compromised on questions of Internet freedom, establishing themselves over 12 years as the party of Internet surveillance, censorship, and corporatist special favours without regard to the cost to wider society. Which is a shame, given that the UK Tories have nearly identical views, and the UK LibDems, for all their adoption of conference motions on Internet freedom, have also been active participants in making UK Internet policy worse, both in opposition and in power.

Here's Glyn Moody's summary of the Pirate position, from TechDirt.

* No online surveillance, blocking technologies or data retention

* The reduction of the term of copyright

* Legalization of DRM circumvention tools

* More rights for creators when negotiating with publishers

* Legalization of free, non-commercial copying of all creative works online

* Digital archives for libraries

* Exemption of educational establishments from copyright licensing fees

* Open access to all publicly-funded academic work and broadcasting

* Legalization of open wifi networks

German Pirate Party Makes Some Shockingly Unshocking Proposals For Copyright Reform