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Fla. governor gives out sex hotline

"In an embarrassing mistake, Florida Governor Rick Scott gave out a phone sex hotline number to Floridians seeking information on a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak." — Michael Peltier, with Reuters

Coop's work in Taschen's The New Erotic Photography

Congratulations to our artist friend Coop, whose photography is featured in The New Erotic Photography, published by Taschen.

D10 engagement ring

Dragonslorefury posted this wonderful D10 RPG-player's engagement ring to DeviantArt, along with these notes:

My engagement ring, designed by myself and a reality thanks to my amazing jeweller father. Yes that is a D10 (10 sided dice for those not used to the lingo XP), me and my partner are quite frequent roleplayers and I'm a huuuge geek and odd-ball. I wanted my ring to be one-of-a-kind and personal to me any my amazing finace so I eventually came up with this idea. If I want the dice can also be removed and replaced with a stone of my choice ^_^ Happy to be engaged to my amazing partner and to have my awesome engagement ring. <3

My Engagement Ring (via Geekologie)

Gweek 071: Adrian Tomine

My co-hosts are Adrian Tomine, author of New York Stories, and Joshua Glenn, co-author of Unbored.

Click here to play this episode. Gweek is Boing Boing's podcast about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, board games, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.

My co-hosts for this episode:

Joshua Glenn, a Boston-based writer, publisher, and semiotician. He is co-author of Significant Objects, published by Fantagraphics, and Unbored, the kids’ field guide to serious fun coming from Bloomsbury this fall. He edits the website HiLobrow, which as HiLoBooks is now publishing classics -- by Jack London, Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle, and others -- from what he calls science fiction’s Radium Age.

Adrian Tomine, a cartoonist and illustrator best known for his long running comic book series Optic Nerve and his stunning New Yorker covers. This month, publisher Drawn & Quarterly is releasing New York Drawings, a decade of covers, comics, illustrations, and sketches from the pages of New Yorker and beyond.


In this episode, we talked about:

New York Drawings, by Adrian Tomine. This beautiful coffee table book published by Drawn & Quarterly includes every illustration Adrian has done for The New Yorker.

Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun, by Elizabeth Foy Larsen, Joshua Glenn. I wrote the introduction to Unbored, and it is the coolest kids' activity book I've ever seen. It's packed with how-to projects, activities, games, and other instructions for leading a varied and fulfilling life.

Building Stories, by Chris Ware. Adrian: "This is the project Chris Ware has been working on for 10 years… it's a giant box, almost like a board game. You open it up and there's a big stack of booklets and books of different sizes… it's just an amazing package altogether."

The Hive, by Charles Burns. Adrian: "It's the second part of a series of his Tintin-influenced graphic novels and it's very much Charles Burns. It's quite a departure from his previous book, Black Hole. It's just gorgeous work as always and it's in color, too."

Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy. Glenn: "A very cartoony science-fiction themed movie starring Jane Fonda, directed by Roger Vadim that was based on a French comic book. It's about a woman exploring her sexual power in a metaphorical way, having experiences as she goes around the galaxy."

Elenco AmeriKit Learn to Solder Kit

And much more!

Read the rest

Australian PM lances a sexist boil in Parliament

Australian PM Julia Gillard rose in Parliament to address a motion from the leader of the opposition Tony Abbott to dismiss the Speaker of the House for sending sexist text messages. She proceeded to unload on the smarmy shitheel opposite her for fifteen solid minutes, setting out his record of awful, misogynist garbage. As The Mary Sue's Rebecca Pahle says:

Gillard didn’t take too kindly to the hypocrisy of Abbott jumping on someone else’s sexism for his own political gain, and boy did she let him know it, calling him on his own attitude toward abortion, women in government, and more for a good quarter-hour while he sat frozen in the crosshairs.

It’s a thing of beauty. Can we get her to come and talk to some of our politicians in the U.S., please?


Woman denies ownership of marijuana hidden in her genitals

Reason cited: she's a medical student.

Sexy Sesame Street Halloween costumes

No, Fox News didn't start producing Sesame Street. These are Sexy Bert and Ernie Halloween costumes. (Via Geekologie)

SpaceX Dragon spacecraft successfully attaches to ISS

For the second time in 2012, a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft has connected with the International Space Station. ISS expedition 33 crew members Akihiko Hoshide and Sunita Williams grappled Dragon and attached it to the station, completing a critical stage of the SpaceX CRS-1 cargo resupply mission.

UK website taken down by spurious copyright complaint regarding UK ultra-right groups

Richard Bartholomew maintains a thoughtful, well-informed British site about religion and religious extremists, as well as hate groups. His site was taken down last night, apparently in response to a US DMCA copyright complaint from Charlie Flowers, who had allegedly posted remarks about a debate between the English Defence League (a UK rightwing extremist group) and the Muslim Debate Initiative, and concluded them with "a legal notice forbidding anyone from 'reproducing' what he had written." According to Bartholomew, Flowers used this as the basis for a DMCA complain to Bartholomew's ISP, objecting to a 16-word quotation." Bartholomew writes,

If we take seriously Flowers' claim that no-one should be allowed to quote (or even to report indirectly) what he has written, then there isn't much hope for the future of any kind of discussion or reportage on the internet. Apparently, the only course of action that my webhost will accept is a "counter notice” from me, which has to contain my address and which will then be passed on to Flowers. If Flowers does not respond to that within two weeks, then the disputed content can be restored. My host is interested only in "liability”, not in the merits or otherwise of the complaint. Further, the DMCA process is concerned only with establishing ownership; it does not appear to take account of fair usage or the public interest.

Of course, if Flowers really thought he had a case, he'd be suing me personally for copyright infringement in the UK – where we both live – rather than misusing an American law to go after my webhost. It's a typically desperate and unprincipled act by a thug, and it makes a mockery of his free speech pose in relation to the EDL/MDI debate. Al Andalusi ought to be embarrassed by him.

Blog Post Removed Following Vexatious Copyright Complaint in USA - Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion: Auxiliary Site (Thanks, Feorag!)

Can D&D make a person confident and successful? [video]

Heath says,

The latest episode of PBS Digital Studios’ weekly Web series Idea Channel suggests that table top fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons, despite their repeated skewering throughout pop culture, can actually help make a person more confident and successful. Dungeons & Dragons players often have to endure a certain amount of stereotyping and even some mockery at the hands of non-players. However, despite the derisions of dismissive outsiders, these games offer players a chance to learn problem solving, visualization, interaction, organization, people management -- all skills attributed to larger-world success. Host Mike Rugnetta, an admitted player himself, explores how D&D and related games help people learn methods for collaboration that easily translate to other aspects of daily life.

Can D&D Make a Person Confident and Successful?

Should your tax dollars stop funding PBS?

Chris Schmidt, a senior producer with the PBS program NOVA scienceNOW, responds to the GOP talking-point that the public broadcasting system should no longer receive federal funds. The network currently receives about 17% of its funding from the government.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney even name-checked Big Bird during a presidential debate, and proposed that the lovable yellow fellow be sacked.

Writes Schmidt, "Considering that only about $1.35 per year of our tax dollars goes to fund PBS which allows PBS to avoid pandering to commercial interests -- against the $40, $80 or $120 dollars per month that most cable subscribers pay in order to be allowed to watch commercials -- I'd say us taxpayers are getting a hell of a bargain."

Billionaire timeshare CEO to employees: there'll be fewer jobs around here if Obama is re-elected

David Siegel, the billionaire CEO of the highly profitable Florida-based Westgate Resorts timeshare company, has sent a letter to all his employees implying that they'll all get fired if Obama is elected. Concerning Mr Siegel, ThinkProgress notes "Siegel earned national notoriety this year for his quest to build the biggest house in America, 'a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot mansion inspired by Versailles.'"

As most of you know our company, Westgate Resorts, has continued to succeed in spite of a very dismal economy. There is no question that the economy has changed for the worse and we have not seen any improvement over the past four years. In spite of all of the challenges we have faced, the good news is this: The economy doesn’t currently pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration. Of course, as your employer, I can’t tell you whom to vote for, and I certainly wouldn’t interfere with your right to vote for whomever you choose. In fact, I encourage you to vote for whomever you think will serve your interests the best.

However, let me share a few facts that might help you decide what is in your best interest.


So where am I going with all this? It’s quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company. Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone.

Billionaire CEO Threatens To Fire Employees If Obama Wins (via Wil Wheaton)

Military court to consider requests to loosen secrecy in Bradley Manning case

Declan McCullagh reports on a military appeals court hearing taking place today: media and civil liberties groups are asking the court to "decloak the prosecution of Bradley Manning, an Army private accused of handing thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks." Court audio here. More via AP. And here's a late-hour update from today's hearing, at Courthouse News.

Yet another reason why I love Gravity Falls

Last night, my nine-year-old daughter Jane and I watched an episode of our favorite cartoon together: Gravity Falls. (See Jane's interview with the creator of Gravity Falls, Alex Hirsch, here.)

In the episode, the kids break into a derelict 7-Eleven style convenience store and find out that it's haunted. Inside the store, 12-year-old Mabel discovers a cache of powdered sugar candy called Smile Dip, which has strong psychedelic qualities. While she is drooling and glassy eyed, she goes on an incredible inner journey, as evidenced in the video snippet above.

At the end of the episode, some random-looking text appears on the screen for a second or so: RQZDUGV DRVKLPD! I paused the video and snapped a photo:

Jane reminded me that the beginning of every episode has a weird cartoony occult image that flashes on the screen for a fraction of the second. This image, also, contains random-looking text: VWDQ LV QRW ZKDW KH VHHPV

It's text written in a substitution cipher. Jane and I had cracked that cryptogram a couple of months ago. It says, STAN IS NOT WHAT HE SEEMS (Stan is Dipper and Mabel's great uncle, proprietor of the Mystery Shack occult curio store located in the woods of the Pacific Northwest.)

Jane and I used the same substitution cipher to attempt to decode the text from the episode we saw last night. We came up with: ONWARDS AOSHIMA!

"That doesn't seem right," I told Jane. But Jane said, "No! That's what Mabel says when she's riding the dolphin." She was right!

What does "Onwards Aoshima" mean? Google revealed that a lot of people have already cracked the cryptogram, and that every episode of Gravity Falls has a cryptogram at the end of it. but I haven't come across any explanation of what the term means. Aoshima is an island in Japan, but what does that have to do with Gravity Falls? The mystery deepens!

Gravity Falls is a thoroughly enjoyable cartoon. These little puzzles that are sprinkled throughout each episode take it to another level. I love this show.

Gravity Falls on The Disney Channel

Illustration from a peer-reviewed research paper provides poignant commentary on the futility of life

I'm not sure even Chris Ware could have done it any better.

In context, this illustration comes from a recently published paleobiology paper examining a cache of animal bones and pottery found in a sinkhole near China's Jiangdong Mountain.

One of the key things the researchers are taking away from this site: The range of the Giant Panda must have once been a lot larger than it is today.

Here's a link to the paper (which is behind a pay wall)

Via Ed Yong

Bay Area law enforcement agencies eye aerial drones

Bay Area law enforcement agencies are considering aerial drones originally designed for military use "as a cost-cutting way to replace helicopters." The drones under consideration as crime-fighting, protest-eyeing, life-saving tools include "live-video-feeding capabilities and different features, like infrared devices" and can cost cities $50K to $100K and up. I'd presume that the string of news items like this from around the US points to stepped-up lobbying and marketing on the part of the drone manufacturers. (via punkboyinsf)

Spooky delicious pizza

Chef Mom's mozzarella ghost and olive spider Hallowe'en pizza literally made my mouth flood with saliva. Spooky, spooky drool.

Slice the fresh mozzarella. Using a ghost cookie cutter cut out some ghost shapes. Place the ghosts on top of the pizza sauce. Using the finely chopped olives, place eyes on the head of the ghosts. Bake the pizza for about 5 - 6 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted.

Once the pizza is baked, make spiders by sticking the rosemary leaves into the green olives. Place the spiders next to the ghosts and serve.

Spooky ghost pizza recipe (via Neatorama)