Pirate Bay moves to the cloud

The Pirate Bay has moved its servers into a network of cloud-based hosting services around the world, making it less vulnerable to police raids. I wonder how well this will work, though: cloud providers are very vulnerable to police threats, since the cops can always threaten to take down all the cloud's customers in order to seize a target's processes and data. More from TorrentFreak's Ernesto:

“Running on VMs cuts down operation costs and complexity. For example, we never need anyone to do hands-on work like earlier this month when we were down for two days because someone had to fix a broken power distribution unit,” The Pirate Bay says.

The setup also makes it possible for the BitTorrent site to take their business elsewhere without too much hassle.

“If one cloud-provider cuts us off, goes offline or goes bankrupt, we can just buy new virtual servers from the next provider. Then we only have to upload the VM-images and reconfigure the load-balancer to get the site up and running again.”

Pirate Bay Moves to The Cloud, Becomes Raid-Proof Read the rest

Dancing Alone To Pony

There is a tumblog for people who dance alone to Ginuwine's 1996 classic, Pony. [via Anil Dash] Read the rest

Corruption in Arizona National Guard, from "bum-hunts" to sexual harassment

A long, excellent investigative piece in the Arizona Republic documents a litany of awful and criminal practices by senior officers (especially recruiters) in the Arizona National Guard. Reporter Dennis Wagner spent five months on the project, using Freedom of Information Act requests and internal sources to uncover stomach-turning transgressions, such as recruiters who brought their recruits out to shoot homeless people with paintball guns, and sexual harassment of junior personnel by their seniors that went ignored and unpunished by the Guard.

"Bum hunts" -- Thirty to 35 times in 2007-08, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Amerson, a former "Recruiter of the Year," drove new cadets and prospective enlistees through Phoenix's Sunnyslope community in search of homeless people.

Military investigators were told that Amerson wore his National Guard uniform and drove a government vehicle marked with recruiting insignia as he and other soldiers -- some still minors -- shot transients with paintballs or got them to perform humiliating song-and-dance routines in return for money. During some of these so-called "bum hunts," female recruits said, they were ordered to flash their breasts at transients. Homeless women, conversely, were offered food, money or drinks for showing their breasts.

Amerson, during military interviews, denied paintball assaults but admitted to some wrongdoing. He was demoted to private and given an other-than-honorable discharge. Amerson declined to be interviewed for this story except to say that allegations against him were untrue.

Republic special report: Allegations against National Guard uncovered (via Super Punch) Read the rest

Horrifying face/throat zombie makeup

Redditor Specialxk's zombie walk face-and-throat trompe l'oeil makeup job is awesomely horrifying, and it's a nice extension of the sort of work we've featured before with the Venom makeup from Captainsarasparrow.

May I present to you my Zombie Walk makeup. (imgur.com) (via Super Punch) Read the rest

Watch this Great Dane bitch deliver her puppies...live!

Chaos the Great Dane is about to have puppies. Watch one dog become several...live!

NYCC: Issa Ibrahim's "Love Among the Ruins"

One of the booths at New York Comic Con that caught my eye was the one above, by artist Issa Ibrahim, who specializes in (sometimes risqué) pieces featuring comic book characters. "Love Among the Ruins" is not only a take on one of my favorite pictures ever, "The Kiss" by Alfred Eisenstaedt, it brings together two "warring factions" of pop culture -- Marvel and DC. If there's anything we need in our deeply divided country right now, it's seeing a Marvel character (Captain America) passionately kissing a DC character (Wonder Woman).

What the world needs now is love, superhuman love... Read the rest

When Kleenex was a novelty

This 1940s Kleenex ad features illustrated testimonials for facial tissues is an interesting look back at the time when "one hand removes a tissue... and up pops another" had enough novelty value to feature in a major ad campaign.

Kleenex 1940s Read the rest

Rock faces: street art by Andre Muniz Gonzaga

Brazilian artist Andre Muniz Gonzaga reveals the hidden personalities of rocks, stone surfaces, and crumbling walls. (Hi-Fructose) Read the rest

Blondie's Debbie Harry explains how to Pogo

Debbie Harry in 1978 explaining how to Pogo.

NYCC Interview: Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick, creators of The Venture Bros.

Ask any fan of Adult Swim's The Venture Bros. and they will tell you this: it has been a long time since we saw a new season of The Venture Bros. Yes, we were treated to the one-shot mockumentary episode "From the Ladle to the Grave: The Story of Shallow Gravy" and its music video climax "Jacket" last August. But some of us were hoping for a little more following their amazing fourth season finale in November 2010. Well, boy and girl adventurers, we are in luck -- ahead of the fifth season's arrival in early 2013, we will be getting A Very Venture Halloween on Sunday, October 28 at 11:30 PM!

After a smashing panel, which featured vocal wonders Michael Sinterniklaas (and all of his hair), Paul Boocock, and a kickass sizzle reel, I caught up with show creators Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick to see if I could dig some more information out of them after asking them politely to stay a scoach later than they were planning. Read the rest

Mondrian cake

Last December, Nicole J Caruth posted this photo of a "Mondrian cake" to her Twitter stream. What a fabulous piece of work!

Finally trying the Mondrian cake Read the rest

Gum: weird avant-turntablism from 1987

Gum is an Australian avant-turntablist duo from the 1980s that began quite literally with a skipping Brian Eno record. Their output has now been compiled on a double-CD titled Gum: "Vinyl Anthology".

Life is swell… in a fallout shelter!

Cute placemats! (Via X-Ray Delta One) Read the rest

Fire Whip Cracking to Black Sabbath's "Paranoid"

Why the internet, and specifically YouTube, was invented. A guy doing fire stunts to one of the greatest metal songs of all time.

TOM THE DANCING BUG: Billy Dare - Get that McGuffin!

TOM THE DANCING BUG: In which the plot is rocketed forward when Billy Dare discovers he simply must obtain a McGuffin! I'm lovin' it!

Photos of heads in space helmets

From Things Magazine: a grid of photos of heads in helmets. I recognize about a third of the images. Read the rest

Universal Computer Users

Citing my talk on General Purpose Computing and regulation (and many other works), Olia Lialina describes a "General Purpose User... that was formed through three decades of adjusting general purpose technology to their needs":

General Purpose Users can write an article in their e-mail client, layout their business card in Excel and shave in front of a web cam. They can also find a way to publish photos online without flickr, tweet without twitter, like without facebook, make a black frame around pictures without instagram, remove a black frame from an instagram picture and even wake up at 7:00 without a “wake up at 7:00” app.

Maybe these Users could more accurately be called Universal Users or Turing Complete Users, as a reference to the Universal Machine, also known as Universal Turing Machine — Alan Turing’s conception of a computer that can solve any logical task given enough time and memory. Turing’s 1936 vision and design predated and most likely influenced von Neuman’s First Draft and All-purpose Machine.

But whatever name I chose, what I mean are users who have the ability to achieve their goals regardless of the primary purpose of an application or device. Such users will find a way to their aspiration without an app or utility programmed specifically for it. The Universal user is not a super user, not half a hacker. It is not an exotic type of user.

There can be different examples and levels of autonomy that users can imagine for themselves, but the capacity to be universal is still in all of us.

Read the rest

More posts