Boing Boing 

The inane Randroidism of "disruption"

The failure of cab-hailing service Uber to take Manhattan reveals Silicon Valley's capacity for entitlement thinking—and for worshipping "Ayn fucking Rand"

Alien is pooped

Here's HR Giger's Alien, deep in thought after a hard day on the set, from a Retronaut set of "Behind the scenes of ‘Alien’ movies."

Behind the scenes of ‘Alien’ movies

Get a copy of the Web

Want 80 terabytes of web-crawl? The Internet Archive will give you a copy of (an appreciable slice of) the Web, for research purposes: "we would like to experiment with offering access to one of our crawls from 2011 with about 80 terabytes of WARC files containing captures of about 2.7 billion URIs. The files contain text content and any media that we were able to capture, including images, flash, videos, etc."

Game writer out of a job after libel complaint

Photo: Shutterstock

A game writer who criticized his beatmates' journalistic shortcomings no longer has his job. Rab Florence, formerly with top gaming site Eurogamer, resigned from his position at after it received "legal threats" and gutted much of his scathing article.

"I am utterly staggered by today's events," Florence wrote on Twitter. " ... Today I was effectively put out of a job by another writer."

The imbroglio, barely a day old, began with Florence's broadside aimed at a "tragic, vulgar image": journalists who accepted gifts, participated in Twitter PR campaigns, and who pose with branded junk food for marketing set-pieces.

Read the rest

NYPD officer planned to kidnap and eat women [trigger warning]

Gilberto Valle, an NYPD officer, has been arrested after details of a plot to kidnap and eat women came to light. Officer Valle is alleged to have used NYPD databases to locate 100 potential victims, and left detailed notes on his plans to murder and eat them. He also offered to kidnap women for money, corresponding with online acquaintances. From an AP article by Colleen Long and Tom Hays:

One document found on his computer was titled "Abducting and Cooking (Victim 1): A Blueprint," according to the complaint. The file also had the woman's birth date and other personal information and a list of "materials needed" — a car, chloroform and rope.

"I was thinking of tying her body onto some kind of apparatus ... cook her over low heat, keep her alive as long as possible," Valle allegedly wrote in one exchange in July, the complaint says.

In other online conversations, investigators said, Valle talked about the mechanics of fitting the woman's body into an oven (her legs would have to be bent), said he could make chloroform at home to knock a woman out and discussed how "tasty" one woman looked.

"Her days are numbered," he wrote, according to the complaint.

NYC officer arrested in ghoulish kidnap plot

Bleeding skull candles

ThinkGeek's bleeding skull candles are filled with red wax that drips out of the eye socket as it burns down.

Bleeding Skull Candle (via OhGizmo)

HOWTO make a rainbow-flag Eagle Scout Medal

Rachel sez, "Instructions on how to replace the red-white-blue ribbon on the eagle award with a rainbow hued ribbon in support of LGBT rights. There is also a surprisingly passionate discussion on both sides of the issue in the comments section."

How to Hack Your Eagle Award

Unlace: rubber shoelaces for taming your cables

I like the look of Unlace, Cindy Glass and Dante Pauwels's fully funded Kickstarter project to make rubber-over-wire faux-shoelaces that can be used to tame cable tangles. You can get four Unlaces for $20. I'm impressed by the product team's experience as well, which bodes well for the actual completion and shipment of the project.

So, we put our heads together and created a simple, colorful, and fun companion for organizing all the cords and cables that are part and parcel of our increasingly digital lives. We took inspiration from a simple source, a sneaker, and designed Unlace, a reusable silicone shoelace for untangling a few of life's little, and annoying, problems. We’ve created a 5” Unlace for small cords. And, a 10” Unlace for burly cables.

The Unlace is reusable and has a silky matte silicone finish with the texture of a shoelace. A few gentle turns and it will coil around and hold most anything.

Unlace: A New Twist on Tangle-Free Cords

Gweek 073: Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn

Interview with Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn.

My guest this episode is Gillian Flynn, the New York Times Bestselling author of Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, and Dark Places. I had a terrific time talking to her about why she enjoys writing creepy books with twisted characters. It was interesting to learn that her father is a retired film professor who loves the work of David Lynch, because the teenagers in Dark Places reminded me of the kids in Twin Peaks.

Here's my review of Gone Girl.


Decapitated heads

A late addition to my New York Comic-Con posts: the Lulubell/Velocitron Decapitated Heads, which I knew I loved from the moment I clapped eyes on 'em.

Decapitated Head - NYCC GID/blue rub


Conquering Graymail With

This post sponsored by


Go and look at your inbox right now. Go on, I’ll wait. Done? Good. For the majority of you, over 80% of the email you receive is something called graymail. It’s not spam, but it’s also not higher priority messages from friends, family or colleagues that you’re more likely to read and respond to. Newsletters, social updates and daily deals are all examples of graymail and left unattended they can take over your inbox pretty quickly.

Now here’s a little secret; Microsoft didn’t entirely build the recently released preview from scratch. Under the hood, Microsoft took the best tools and features originally developed for Hotmail – such as those designed to tackle graymail – and incorporated them into the new service.

Read the rest

How Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology works

An officer from the Long Beach Police Department shows how automatic license plate recognition technology works. He demos a system installed in a patrol car equipped with four cameras. "Each camera is recording at all times, so no matter what mode you're in, it'll be recording off all four of the cameras… it shows you a picture the car, it shows you a picture of the plate that it caught and then what it does is it takes that image and using optical character recognition it will compare it to a database. In our case we are running multiple databases -- we have 'wanted felony vehicles,' 'be on the lookout,' '24 hour hotsheet,' 'wanted by detectives,' 'LA County warrants,' and our 'gang unit.' In addition to this we have 'stolen vehicles,' which are available to everybody in the state. Currently in our database we have 24,000,000 plus reads."

They also have a "parking scofflaw" database. "If a car has five or more outstanding parking tickets, state law allows us to tow it. And that turns into a revenue generator for the city… we have generated in excess of $3 million dollars."

The cheerful music licensed to accompany this promotional video is there to assure you that this technology is being used for public safety. (Via Doobybrain)

English town wins its war against chain coffee

Totnes, the English town with no chain coffee shops, has won its fight to keep Costa Coffee out of town. Although Costa was given approval to open its shop, they have voluntarily agreed not to: "Chris Rogers, managing director of Costa, said the company had 'recognised the strength of feeling' against national brands in the town."

Apple now owns the Beatles' Apple logo

According to Cult of Mac, "the Canadian IP office has just disclosed that the Beatles' iconic recording label is now an Apple Inc. registered trademark."

Miniature wearable Bluetooth camcorder

I don't know about the video and sound quality of this little bluetooth camera, but it seems like it would be fun to use when you are riding a bike, hiking, or engaged in some other activity you would like to record. It's on sale for $70 including shipping. Here's a video from the manufacturer.

Random Penguins!

John Scalzi, on the news that Penguin Books and Random House are contemplating a merger:

(via IO9)

Dale Chihuly at VMFA, and photography and accessibility of art

I visited a new Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA today. A guard told me that while photography is generally prohibited in the museum, Chihuly explicitly demands photography of his work be allowed, and that there be no physical barriers between visitors and the glass creations. This desire for accessibility and openness made me appreciate his work in a new way. Here are some snapshots I took of the show.

Read the rest

Website asks you to rate fashion sensibility of unwitting pedestrians

Styleblaster is a website that takes photos of people walking down a street in Williamsburg and invites visitors to click a top-hat icon if they think the hapless pedestrian is fashionable. (Via The World's Best Ever)

Pepper spray iPhone case

$40 at The Fancy

The Exorcist as an '80s sitcom

(Video link) The only thing missing from Film School Rejects' sitcom version of The Exorcist is a catchphrase! But who knew Father Karras had such great comic timing? (via Mashable)

Field biologist describes horrific foot-fungus

Fuzzyatelin, a field biologist, offers graphic and compelling advice on keeping your feet dry during your fieldwork.

1) For frak’s sake, DRY OUT YOUR SOCKS. Put them over the fan over night so that you have 5 precious, precious moments of dryness before stepping out that door into the rain again…

2) Air everything out. For real. I mean everything. If you have electricity, lay in front of a fan in the buff for at least two hours every evening. You think I’m joking… but:

3) When your feet start to bleed - and boy, will they ever - don’t panic. The hole that appears to be eating its way into the space between your 4th and 5th toes on your right foot won’t go any deeper than a full centimeter (you know this because you stuck your finger inside of it and then measured the extent of the bloody seepage on your pinkie finger… the hole is that wide and deep).

4) Ditch the hat. Ditch the hat. Ditch the - oh. Now it’s on your scalp.

It gets worse.

Things I Learned as a Field Biologist #639 (via JWZ)

(Image: Fungi, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from dmclear's photostream)

City business people

NewImage My friend Jason Tester pointed me to this oddly mesmerizing and creeptastic stock video titled "City business people." Entranced, our own Rob Beschizza looped it and also generated the requisite animated GIF, and another one after the jump that focuses on the gentleman's knowing chuckle.

Read the rest

Striking new scientific study shows strikingly that scientific studies with striking results are often false

The tl;dr: If a medical study seems too good to be true, it probably is. Eryn Brown in the Los Angeles Times writes about a statistical analysis of nearly 230,000 trials compiled from a variety of disciplines, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The analysis by Stanford's Dr. John Ioannidis and a team of fellow researchers looked at study results claiming a "very large effect," and found that those claims seldom ended up being true when other research teams tried to repeat the same results.

One such example: the cancer drug Avastin. Clinical trials suggested the drug might double the time breast cancer patients could live with their disease without getting worse. But follow-up studies found no improvements in progression-free survival, overall survival or patients' quality of life. As a result, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2011 withdrew its approval to use the drug to treat breast cancer, though it is still approved to treat several other types of cancer.

With early glowing reports, Ioannidis said, "one should be cautious and wait for a better trial."

Read the full LAT article. Here's the JAMA paper, but you have to be a paid subscriber to read it.

Advertisement Statefarmbug

Viktor Timofeev: "GiveHealth 999" music review


Viktor Timofeev, a NYC resident who in fact hails from Latvia, is probably better known as a visual artist, having made a bit of a name for himself in the art world over the last few years. (See painting above right from a recent show in Cologne.) But he also counts himself a member of electro synth-wave downer pop combo Nihiti and painted the very distinctive cover of the first Nihiti album. Give Health999, his first solo record, is something else entirely, totally removed from Nihiti. On his own, he instead traffics in expanses of layered drones, and looped riffage, of atmospheres and ambience, but active ambience, with sounds blurred and tangled, rhythmic without actual rhythms.

Read the rest

Gentleman is possessed by gay demons

Come out in the name of Jesus, indeed! Televangelist and tele-exorcist Bob Larson (web, Wikipedia, Amazon) spiritually cleanses a man who is possessed by "a filthy stinking sex demon" of homosexuality and pornography. FYI, UFOs have an agenda, and it is to impregnate us with gay demon alien seed. io9 has written about Larson before.

(thanks, Joe Sabia, via Reddit)

How to dress as Cookie Monster, for girls and boys

Party City sells a "Girls' toddler Cookie Monster costume" and a "Boys' toddler Cookie Monster costume" -- there's a slight difference between the two, but I can't quite spot it. But I guess they're just filling the market created by parents who want their kids to look their best, right? And the parents are in no way pressured to buy their girls crazy, awful, second-rate Cookie-Monster-as-princess costumes by the word BOY emblazoned on the good one. I really hope that Children's Television Workshop pulls the license for these.

Girls’ toddler Cookie Monster costume vs. Boys’ toddler Cookie Monster costume. (via Sociological Images)

Vote with your gum

BB pal Joe Sabia found this on the streets of NYC's NoHo neighborhood, and shot a little video. It's these guys:, and you can print your own posters if you find this funny.

Eli Roth showed Amazonian villagers Cannibal Holocaust, and they thought it was hilarious!

In one of the most delightfully disturbing stories you will read today, director Eli Roth screened 1980's Cannibal Holocaust for 200 Amazonian villagers who had never seen a movie before. While Roth was scouting for locations for his own cannibal-themed movie, The Green Inferno, he found a remote area with "no electricity, no running water, nothing." As a courtesy, he wanted to give the people living there an idea of what he was going to be doing in their backyard, so he showed them Cannibal Holocaust, and "[t]he villagers thought it was the funniest thing they’d ever seen." So, there's your nervous, cannibalism-related giggle of the day, plus a bonus cannibal cop! (via Movieline)

Typing Karaoke game


Typing Karaoke is a terrifically-fun browser game where instead of singing the song's lyrics, you must type them. (via Indie Games)

Halloween head drop trick

What makes this Halloween costume special effect even more special is that magician Rich Ferguson performed it in the famous Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo.

Here's a video that shows how to do the head drop illusion.

(Via Geekolgie)