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Pesco's favorite headphones

Over at our sponsor Intel's LifeScoop site, I wrote about three of my favorite headphones. My go-to pair these days are the Bowers & Wilkins P3s, pictured here. From my post:

NewImageIn 1979, Sony introduced the Walkman and changed our relationship to music. The obvious magic of the Walkman — and later MP3 players like the iPod — is that it made it easy to carry your music with you, providing a portable soundtrack for your life. But I think there was another, less obvious, transformation in music-listening spurred by the Walkman and its digital descendants: Suddenly, we all spent a lot more time listening to music through headphones. Sure, most people had a set of those big 70s corded cans sitting by the family stereo. And my dad had an earphone (singular) for his transistor radio to listen to the ballgame. But portable music players — tape, CD, or MP3 — are designed to be used with stereo headphones. And as a result, the listening experience is more immersive, more active, and almost universally delivers newfound appreciation for what you are hearing.

"Listening In: Three Headphones"

The Walking Dead heads into "Sick" territory in this season's second episode [SPOILERS]

Hey, so, what really went on with those plucky survivors during the months we didn't see them? It's understandable that a few months spent in a zombie apocalypse may cause a shift in priorities. But let's just say it: Rick has gone off the deep end, albeit in a very entertaining fashion. When we last left everyone at the end of the season premiere, one of our zombie-fighting friends suffered a bit of a flesh wound, and we met five more possible friends... or living human obstacles.

Spoilers after the jump, so consider yourself warned!

Read the rest

Ben and Jerry's officially allowed to discount shareholders in favor of the public good

Ben and Jerry's has reincorporated as a "B" corporation, "a new kind of corporate entity that’s legally allowed to consider social good as well as shareholder good when making business decisions." (via Hacker News)

RIP Stanford Ovshinsky — inventor with an eye on energy and communication

America lost a great Maker last week. Stanford R. Ovshinsky was a self-taught engineer and inventor who held more than 400 patents when he died on October 17th at the age of 90. The name may not be familiar to you, but his work is. Ovshinsky is credited with inventing key technologies behind flat-panel liquid crystal displays that we use to watch TV, work on the Internet, or play with our phones.

He was also the inventor of the nickel-metal hydride battery — a rechargeable battery that now powers everything from laptops to the Prius. Ovshinsky (along with his wife, Iris, who held a Ph.D. in biochemistry and was his research partner for much of his life), began working on improved versions of batteries, solar cells, and other energy technologies beginning in the early 1960s. More than a decade before climate change became a well-established fact, Ovshinsky was concerned about the pollution and political instability that went along with fossil fuels. He spent the rest of his life developing better alternatives.

For a good introduction to how truly groundbreaking Ovshinsky's ideas were, check out a 1978 article from Popular Science, all about his invention of amorphous silicon semiconductors — a technology that today forms the basis behind both thin-film solar panels and smart phone displays. At the time though, it made Ovshinky a controversial figure.

Michigan Public Radio's obituary
A good explanation of the inner workings of nickel-metal hydride batteries
Popular Science's obit (with a link to the 1978 story)

Thanks to Art Myatt for the heads up on this!

Caturmonday: Caption this

"Segundo," a photograph shared in the Boing Boing Flickr pool by Boing Boing reader Bill of Providence, Rhode Island. It begs for image-macro-fication.

Peter Molyneux reloads

Game designer Peter Molyneux—almost as legendary for unfulfilled ambitions as for classics such as Populous and Magic Carpetwas inspired to quit and start over when a twitter doppleganger's merciless parodies of his grandiose plans started to remind him of himself. [Wired]

Italian scientists guilty of manslaughter after failing to predict L'Aquila quake; face 6 years in prison (updated)

A verdict has been reached in the "medieval" trial of six Italian scientists and a former government official: all 7 are convicted of manslaughter for providing "inexact, incomplete and contradictory" information about the dangers signaled by pre-shocks preceding a devastating 2009 earthquake in L'Aquila, Italy. The 6.3 quake killed 309 people. Effectively, the defendants are being punished for having failed to predict the earthquake, which scientists argue is impossible to do.

Prosecutors allege the defendants gave a falsely reassuring statement before the quake after studying hundreds of tremors that had shaken the city. The defence has argued that there is no way to predict major earthquakes even in a seismically active area.

Many in the scientific community believe the controversy places science itself on trial.

Read the rest

Police officer Edward Krawetz earned a 10-year suspended sentence for beating a woman on the street. But he didn't lose his job, because it's nearly impossible to fire a bad cop.

Soon, AOL will "got mail" again

America Online has developed a web-based email service called Alto (, and early reports sure sound promising. Alto is not a new email provider (no email addresses, at least not yet), but an inbox-replacement for your current email address(es). Read your Gmail, Yahoo, Mac, or other accounts; import Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter messages. Nicholas Carlson at Business Insider has a review. Mat Honan at Wired gave it a whirl. Daniel Terdiman at CNET liked it. The service is launching as a private beta, with public availability sometime in Q1 2013. Alto is free for now, but expect ads or a paid "premium" option later on. It's browser-based, and there's an HTML5 version optimized for iPad (and, presumably, other tablets).

(Screengrab from Business Insider's review.)

Make a papercraft skeleton


Over at Digitprop, a free PDF to make this delightful papercraft skeleton.

Elfquest: the ways of insects

Page 7 of The Final Quest: Prologue is published online-first for the first time here at Boing Boing. First time reader?

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Man "mistakes" girl for skunk, shoots

"Police say a costumed 9-year-old girl was accidentally shot outside a western Pennsylvania home during a Halloween party by a relative who thought she was a skunk." What, don't you go skunk-shooting at Halloween parties? [ABC News]

Kindle user claims Amazon deleted whole library without explanation

When your Kindle is wiped by Amazon without explanation, refund, or appeal, it's time to wake up and realize the truth: ebook readers treat you as a tenant-farmer of your books, not an owner. You have no rights, only a license-agreement that runs to thousands of words, and that you'll never fully satisfy.Read the rest

Cory in Vancouver and Victoria today, then Seattle, Toronto and Boston

Hey, Vancouver and Victoria! Today I wrap up my Pirate Cinema tour weekend in Van with an appearance for the BC Civil Liberties Association and the Centre for Digital Media at 11AM at the Great Northern Way Campus, then I jump on a sea-plane and head to Victoria for a talk tonight at Bolen Books at 7PM. Tomorrow I'll be flying to Seattle for a pair of appearances there (University Bookstore at 1215h, Elliott Bay Books at 19h). From there, it's on to Toronto for a talk on-stage with China Mieville at the Harbourfront International Festival of Authors, and then I'm in Boston for the Boston Book Festival. Here's the whole tour schedule.