Boing Boing 

Encounter with a New Mexico "internal border" checkpoint

Paul sez, "Man is illegally detained at an internal border patrol checkpoint in New Mexico for nearly a half hour, not being allowed to leave and at first told that he wasn't being detained until the border patrol eventually told him he was being detained for unspecified reasons. He recorded the entire exchange on video, and spends most of the time asking when he is free to go. Eventually the patrol gives up and allows him to leave, but not before making threatening gestures, warning him that New Mexico police were on their way, and accusing him of criminally blocking traffic when he was asking to leave and wasn't given permission."

Abusive Border Patrol Agents NM Checkpoint (Thanks, Paul!)

Make: Talk 016 - Joel Murphy, Co-Creator of the Pulse Sensor


In this episode of the Make: Talk podcast I interviewed Joel Murphy. He's an artist living in Brooklyn and owns a business designing and fabricating electro-mechanical projects for artists and designers. He teaches Physical Computing at Parsons the New School for Design, and he owns Rachel’s Electronics, an online store for electronics kits and breakout boards. He's the co-creator of the Pulse Sensor, an Arduino compatible sensor that measures heart rate beats per minute. (Here's a how-to article about making a headband with the Pulse Sensor in MAKE, Volume 29).

Subscribe-RssSubscribe-ItunesCurrent-Episode

How I fixed an iPhone with a Q-Tip

On Saturday night my 15-year-old daughter texted me that her iPhone was broken. Her friend had spilled salad dressing on it while they were at dinner. The speakers and microphone no longer worked. No phone calls, no music. I thought that the phone would have to be replaced. When I got home I googled iPhone water damage speaker not working. The first result was a page on Saw Tun's blog called "How to fix the iPhone speaker problem (water damage)." He wrote:

Problem: The iPhone speaker works fine when headphones are plugged into it. However, as soon as the headphones are removed, there is no sound emitted from the iPhone. In other words, the iPhone speaker doesn’t work. My phone wouldn’t ring and I couldn’t hear any sound from the iPhone. This happened to my phone after it was water damaged.

Solution: Find a q-tip. Insert the q-tip into the headphone jack of the iPhone. Swivel the q-tip around for a bit and clean the inside of the headphone jack. Once I did this, the problem was magically fixed!

I had my doubts, but I tried it. It didn't work. I used another Q-tip. Still didn't work. But, the Q-tips smelled like oil and vinegar salad dressing. So I kept on sticking them into the jack. After the fifth or sixth Q-tip, Lana Del Rey started singing through the phone.

Thank you, Saw Tun!

Death of Film: scenes from Kodak plant demolition

Jesse Brown sez, "My uncle, the amazing photographer Robert Burley, captured the death of analog photography: the demolition of Kodak plants, the rapid downfall of the film photography industry, the sudden obsolescence of neighbourhood photo shops and subway photo booths. Naturally, he did so on film. His book, Disappearance of Darkness, was just released, and some of the gorgeous, haunting images are featured today on CNN's website."

Sandy: charging phones with wood stoves

NewImage The other day in Brooklyn, BioLite set up a mobile phone charging station using their wood stoves that double as thermoelectric generators. John Del Signore snapped this photo for Gothamist. "Oh, Just Brooklyn Survivalists Charging Cell Phones With Camp Stoves As The National Guard Rolls By" (Thanks, Anthony Townsend!)

A is For: All of Us - Standing Up for Reproductive Rights

https://youtu.be/RC4ZtM6D5cQ

When we founded A Is For, we envisioned people from all walks of life: men, women, gay, straight, trans, religious, and atheist standing together to show the world that women’s rights are human rights. Now, just a few months later, we see that happening before our eyes in our A Is For launch video. People--both familiar and new--are wearing the scarlet A, standing up for reproductive rights, and telling the world what their A stands for. There’s some funny shit in there, too.

As each person tells the camera what their A stands for, the common bond between them becomes apparent: when the rights to one's own physical autonomy and self determination come under attack, everyone has an obligation to stand up and speak out. Because if you think it can’t happen to you, you’re sadly mistaken.

This project doesn’t end after Election Day; it will continue until women’s reproductive choices are no longer held hostage by the agendas of politicians and churches. We’re in this for long haul and we’d love for you to join us. To find out how to get your own A ribbon, and to become a part of this project, please visit A is For.

A is For all of us.

Warren Ellis on the dismal American election

It's been so long since Transmetropolitan ended that I sometimes forget how totally incandescent Warren Ellis is when he's talking politics. His latest Vice column, "My Last Column About the Presidential Election (Really)," was a good reminder.


President Obama's fairly grim, toothless, meandering and perfunctory presidency gained excellent contrast from an assemblage of GOP candidates so demented and corrupt that even to so describe them would be an insult to the many hard-working demented and corrupt politicians extant today. It was an array of desperate, shambling criminals (and Jon Huntsman, who presumably was there on a bet) that may have been unprecedented, even in the stinking cesspool of American politics, in its lunatic evil. The "winner" of the GOP race was always going to be the one who didn't shit themselves on stage. But the GOP itself couldn't win, because, of the bunch running, the best you could hope for was a candidate who didn't shit themselves on stage.

Which is exactly what the Republican party got. A man who's only coherent when he's lying. Any solid political points he might have made have been washed away in a tide of dissembling, flipflopping and outright bullshitting. Broad swathes of the party fail to summon enthusiasm for him. The Koch brothers, who could surely have amassed mighty forces to Romney's advantage, have provided only perfunctory support. And his mealymouthing about Big Government have put him on the wrong side of not only New York but also New Jersey, whose well-liked Republican governor Chris Christie has been effusive in his praise of the President even as Romney was being pelted with his own words about disbanding the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

My concern is this. The radical elements in the GOP will be able to claim that Romney was never their guy, and will take the next four years to place some genuine nutters, with serious backing, in line for the 2016 candidacy. Not the scrag-ends and barrel-scrapings they slapped on to the stage for this year's farce. The idea of the Democrats being conscious and organised enough to have a real player in place for 2016 – because there's no way in hell they can run Joe Biden -- is kind of funny.

My Last Column About the Presidential Election (Really)

Sneak peek at my Quarterly.co package of Fantastic Plastic gadgets and novelties

Quarterly Co. is a "subscription service for wonderful things." They "send people physical items in the mail from influential contributors of their choice."

Quarterly kindly chose me as an "influential contributor." Here's a glimpse at one of the items in my first package of goodies:

As an editor of Boing Boing, Mark Frauenfelder turns the big, bad Internet into quick hits of joy. His Quarterly theme, Fantastic Plastic, does something similar for real life: He’s sending humble gadgets that pick you up and throw you for a loop. We’re about to wrap #MLF01, and it’s a blast.

As Mark writes, “Plastic items are excellent gifts——precisely because they have little intrinsic value, the love and thoughtfulness of the giver stands out.” So basically, they’re inexpensive and they make you look caring. Grab the next round for the fun-lover in your life now.

Mark's Quarterly picks

Good news if you've always wished that The Walking Dead and Robot Chicken would hang out together

Maybe you were unhappy about a favorite character's departure from The Walking Dead. Maybe you're annoyed about how much the show differs from the comics. But maybe you'd just like to see some old-school stop-motion animation on the show, like the dancing undead girlfriend in Evil Dead 2. Well, Adult Swim's official source for stop-motion pop culture commentary, Robot Chicken, has just given us a sneak-peak at Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman's debut on the show...and it looks like he's having a less than splendid time! We've provided a tease, but get a look at the full picture at E! Online. (via Robot Chicken on Twitter)

The other man behind the mouse: Floyd Gottfredson

This post is sponsored by Disney's Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two the video game:

People who know me know enough to run away when I start talking about Carl Barks, the late great Disney comic book artist and writer. Barks is in my top-3 list of cartoonists (along with Jack Kirby and Robert Crumb). My friends are aware that once I get started talking about Carl Barks, I can go on and on about what a fantastic craftsman and yarn spinner he was. (Fantagraphics is republishing all of Barks' duck comics in a handsome hardbound series called the Complete Carl Barks Disney Library.)

I'm a duck snob, so I never paid much attention to Mickey Mouse. That turned out to be a mistake. In the past couple of years I've become acquainted with Disney's most prolific Mickey Mouse cartoonist: Floyd Gottfredson through the release of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse: "Race to Death Valley," a compilation of his newspaper comic strips, published by Fantagraphics. Boy, was I missing out!

Born in 1905, Gottfredson got a job at Walt Disney Studios in 1929 as an apprentice animator. A year later he was asked to temporarily fill in on the Mickey Mouse daily newspaper comic strip, which Walt Disney had originally scripted. This short-term assignment ended up lasting 45 years. For the first four years or so good Gottfredson scripted, penciled, and inked every strip by himself. After that he focused on plotting and penciling, leaving the inking and dialogue to other talented artists and writers that he collaborated with.

Gottfredson's Mickey is a plucky, goodhearted imp, bursting with energy and impulsively eager for adventure. Mickey and his pals (Horace Horsecollar!) are very much a product of the Great Depression -- resourceful and always on the lookout for a way to make ends meet, with a fondness for get rich quick schemes. The strips are loaded with action, adventure, romance, exotic locales, perilous cliffhangers, and dastardly villains, such as pirates, mad scientists, and heartless bandits. The artwork is lively and expressive.

The long-running stories in the Mickey Mouse strip came to an end in 1955. In an effort to cater to short attention spans, Disney ordered Gottfredson to stop doing serials, and to make Mickey a daily gag strip instead. The daily panel gag strip ran until 1975. (I don't remember much of the daily panel gag Mickey strips, but what I do remember did not impress me.)

Barks will always have a special place in my heart, but I've added Gottfredson to my short list of great American cartoonists.

Trailer for Alan Moore's first film: "Jimmy's End"

Jimmy's End is a 30-minute short film by Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins. Judging from this trailer, it's going to be gloriously weird. The full thing will be out on Nov 25. The production company notes, "Notably the films are Moore’s first work written specifically for the screen and made with his ongoing creative involvement and blessing."

Jimmy's End (Thanks, TMAA!)

John Cusack is going to play Rush Limbaugh in a biopic -- will it be CGI?

A new biopic about [insert politically biased job description here] Rush Limbaugh was recently announced, and while the rumored directing choice makes perfect sense -- Betty Thomas, who directed the Howard Stern semi-biopic Private Parts -- the person in talks to play Mr. Limbaugh is the comparatively young and svelt John Cusack, who is also interested in producing. Okay, so I've been offline for a while, what with Sandy knocking out my power for a week and stuff. But considering the weight Cusack will have to gain to play this role, similar to how Robert DeNiro packed it on to play Jake LaMotta, has anyone made any jokes about this movie being called Raging Bullshit yet? Surely, I can't be the first. (via Movieline)

Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun -- exclusive excerpt: "Remote-Controlled Water Blaster"

Illustration by Mister Reusch

The following project is excerpted from Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun, by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen, designed by Tony Leone, published in October by Bloomsbury.

I wrote the introduction to Unbored, and it is probably the best do-it-yourself and activity book for children I've seen. The variety of projects is astounding, and it's modern and appealing to kids and adults. Many contemporary kids' activity books are rehashes of the old "Handy Book For Boys and Girls" that aren't much fun and, in my opinion, not very accurate. If you take a look at those old books, you might come to the same conclusion as me that the authors didn't make the sail boats, wind carts, truss bridges, and other projects. Unbored, on the other hand, has real projects that were actually tested out. Here's an example of a real project from Unbored, which was written by my friend, John Edgar Park.

SOAK AND DESTROY: Remote-Controlled Water Blaster

Written and photographed John Edgar Park

Want to keep your brothers, sisters, and friends from breaking into your secret fort to dig through your comic books? Build a remote-controlled motorized water blaster so you can soak them while sneakily savoring the moment from a safe distance!

Read the build instructions

All-black sugar skulls of Mario, Alien, LEGO minifig, and other icons

NewImage

Last year, I posted about BB pal Jonathan Koshi's brilliantly-reimagined pop culture calaveras, the decorated skulls associated with the Dia de los Muertos. Now, Koshi has released a new limited print run of his letterpressed skull series featuring Spy vs. Spy, Alien, Mario, and other characters. This special series, titled "Molasses," is black ink letterpressed on black paper, and damn they look sharp. They're 12" x 12", printed on heavyweight recycled paper, and cost just $42 each during the presale that ends this Saturday (11/10). You can see the skulls in person at a group show at San Francisco's Campfire Gallery opening November 10.

"Molasses" print presale

"Molasses" show info at Koshi's blog

Interview with cartoonist Joost Swarte

Bob Knetzger alerted me to a Comics Journal interview with Joost Swarte, who I mentioned last week because he has a new book called, Is That All There Is? Bob says: "Very interesting interview with Joost Swarte. Didn't know he studied industrial design and that he does lots more than comics… and that he coined the term clear line.'"

From David Peniston's introduction to the interview:

Where Le Corbusier is better known for his architecture than for his paintings, collages and drawings, Swarte has moved in the opposite direction, making a name for himself first as a cartoonist and illustrator and in more recent years branching into architectural work and stained-glass widows, even creating furniture and fonts. He has worked with architects on the design of the Toneelschuur Theater in Haarlem and is a major consultant and contributor to the design of the Herge Museum in Belgium. Swarte founded Stripdagen, a biennial international comics festival in Haarlem, in 1990 and has himself been the subject of many exhibitions, including the World Exposition of Joost Swarte, which has traveled throughout Europe. I had Swarte’s home phone number from my contact in Germany, a comics dealer named ebi wilke. So one Monday morning in February, I pick up the phone and place an international call to a number in the Netherlands — in Haarlem to be precise. I tell the woman who answers, “I’m looking for Joost Swarte,” and after a short pause, a low but confident, friendly, male voice, with a slight Dutch accent announces, “Joost Swarte.” (pronounced Yost Svarta). I come straight to the point: “Can I interview you? Would now be a good time?””

“You mean now, over the phone?“ he asks incredulously.

“Well, yes, I guess so …” So I get started. My first question stumps him and he doesn’t know what to say at first. He has to think about it for a while before he says anything and then he proceeds to answer my question in no less than 741 words. He is very articulate, well versed in art, architecture and the history of industrial design, as well as music and comics. And, I might add, he speaks fluent English.

The Joost Swarte Interview

Matmos's Ganzfeld EP: electronica meets ESP

The Ganzfeld effect is a kind of sensory deprivation caused not by cutting off stimulation like in an isolation tank by rather delivering unstructured stimulation like a total wash of unchanging color or white noise. (The word "ganzfeld" comes from the German for "complete field.") Starting in the 1930s, psychologists have studied how the Ganzfeld effect can trigger hallucination. It's also been used to interesting effect in art, like in James Turrell's light installations. For decade, parapsychologists have also tapped into the Ganzfeld effect to test for ESP. Riffing on that high weirdness (and its connection to art), the avant-electronica duo Matmos have released The Ganzfeld EP. From the album page:

NewImage "Instead of sending and receiving simple graphic patterns, test subjects were put into a state of sensory deprivation by covering their eyes and listening to white noise on headphones, and then Matmos member Drew Daniel attempted to transmit “the concept of the new Matmos record” directly into their minds. During videotaped psychic experiments conducted at home in Baltimore and at Oxford University, test subjects were asked to describe out loud anything they saw or heard within their minds as Drew attempted transmission. The resulting transcripts became a kind of score that was then used by Matmos to generate music. If a subject hummed something, that became a melody; passing visual images suggested arrangement ideas, instruments, or raw materials for a collage; if a subject described an action, then the band members had to act out that out and make music out of the noises generated in the process of the re-enactment."
Whether it was technology, telepathy, talent, or a combination of the three that brought these sounds to life, the result is as compelling as the concept. The Ganzfeld EP is available in various editions, including one that ships with Incase headphones and custom blinder goggles to continue the experiment on your own.

Matmos: The Ganzfeld EP (Amazon)

Matmos: The Ganzfeld EP (Thrill Jockey)

This week's The Walking Dead recap reminds us all that this "isn't kid stuff" [SPOILERS]

Fair warning, fair readers: There is no way to discuss this episode of The Walking Dead without major spoilers, because this one was probably one of the most emotionally impactful episodes of the season, maybe even the series so far. Serious things happened to major characters; one of them could have been predicted by fans of the comic, but another was pretty unprecedented. What I can mention ahead of the jump (and all the spoilers) is that we have more with Merle, Michonne, Andrea, and the Governor, and it looks like our separated factions will soon reunite.

Once again, this recap contains major spoilers for The Walking Dead, so proceed with caution.

Read the rest

3D printed vegan Kosher Moebius bacon

Duann from Shapeways sez, "Infinite bacon is now possible direct from Shapeways 3D printers. The dream of 3D printing food, infinite possibilities, infinite supply is now possible with the ultimate food to infinity, 3D printed Bacon Mobius Strip. Finally it is possible, infinite 3D printed bacon with the Bacon Mobius Strip that is not delicious but also vegan and kosher friendly."

3D Printing Bacon to Infinity (VIDEO)

The evolution of Creationism

One of the great mythologies of any kind of religious fundamentalist movement is that the beliefs of that movement, and the way they choose to interpret their scripture, represent some kind of true reflection of history. This is how things always were. It's the people who believe differently who changed.

But that's not necessarily true. Take fundamentalist Christianity. A few weeks ago, the Slacktivist blog had some excellent posts recently, documenting the fact that evangelicals were once pro-choice. Another great example comes from an article in the Geological Society of America Today — the magazine of the GSA.

Written by the University of Washington's David R. Montgomery, the piece traces the birth of modern Creationism and the way it has changed since the 19th century. In general, he writes, you can really think of Creationism as a response to geology — arising as a backlash against the rise of modern geology.

The roots of modern creationism run directly back to George McCready Price (1870–1963), an amateur geologist with no formal training. In a book designed to look like a geology textbook, Price (1923) asserted that there was no order to the fossil record. Rejecting the idea of fossil succession, he argued that the succession of organisms that geologists read in the fossil record was really just a mixed-up sampling of communities that lived in different parts of the antediluvian world. He considered the fossil record too incomplete to confidently reconstruct the past, citing the occasional discovery of animals thought to be extinct and known only from fossils.

Leading fundamentalists praised Price’s book, calling it a “great and monumental” work of an “up-to-date scientist”—“a masterpiece of real science” by one of “the world’s leading Geologists,” and “the sanest, clearest and most irrefutable presentation of the Science of Geology from the standpoint of Creation and the Deluge, ever to see the light of day” (Numbers, 1992, p. 98). But even some of Price’s most ardent supporters had questions about his new flood geology. In a 1924 review in the evangelical journal Bibliotheca Sacra, the editor credited Price with throwing “a wrench into the smooth running machinery of the evolutionary theory” butwondered why it was that when fossils were found in the wrong order, they were always in exactly the reverse of that predicted by geologists (Numbers, 1992, p. 95). How could strata have gotten flipped upside down after Noah’s Flood laid them down if the Bible did not mention subsequent catastrophes? Despite such qualms, fundamentalist proponents of flood geology were inclined to assess Price’s credibility by the conclusions he reached rather than the strength of his arguments or evidence.

Read the full article online

Image: David Montgomery's photo of Siccar Point, Scotland. Montgomery writes, "the contact between the gently inclined Devonian Old Red Sandstone and vertically dipping Silurian graywacke that established a compelling case for the vast scope of geologic time. The expanse of time required to uplift and erode the two mountain ranges that were the source for the sand in these deposits was unimaginable to [James] Hutton."

Via Cort Sims

Monopoly was stolen from socialist land-reformers and perverted


Christopher Ketcham's beautifully written Harper's feature on the history of Monopoly, "Monopoly Is Theft," traces the idealistic socialist land-reformers who created the game and modified it over decades, and the unscrupulous "inventor" who claimed to have created it and sold it to Parker Brothers. Monopoly's forerunner was "The Landlord's Game," created by Lizzie Magie, inspired by Henry George, who believed in the abolition of land-ownership and created a powerful movement to make this a reality. Many of George's devotees played The Landlord's Game, learning about the evils of real-estate and rentiers, and they modified the rules together, creating the game as we know it, changing its name to "monopoly" (all lower-case). Then "an unemployed steam-radiator repairman and part-time dog walker from Philadelphia named Charles Darrow" copied it, patented it, and sold it to Parker Brothers. The rest is history.

About a month before the Pittsburgh tournament, an amateur Monopoly historian and game collector named Richard Biddle invited me to the village of Arden, Delaware, to have a look at the first Landlord’s Game ever fashioned. Arden had been founded as a Georgist experiment in 1900, four years after a failed attempt to implement the single-tax system across the state. It was envisioned as a self-sufficient utopia on 160 acres of woodland, and it soon attracted artists, poets, actors, anarchists, and freethinkers. Upton Sinclair had a cottage there, dubbed the Jungalow. Ardenites were barred from “owning” their plots, instead purchasing ninety-nine-year leases on cooperatively held land. It didn’t matter whether the residents built mansions or shacks: they were taxed only on the underlying value of the land, often at very high rates. This revenue paid for roads, parks, a commons, playgrounds, and utilities.

Lizzie Magie visited the village not long after its founding, and brought with her an oilcloth mock-up of her Landlord’s Game, which soon became a pastime among residents. While at Arden, she built a board for the game with the help of a resident carpenter. Biddle spoke solemnly of this alpha board; he estimated that it could be worth a million dollars.

We met at the village green and walked a few blocks, where we found the owner of the board, an eighty-year-old retired autoworker named Ronald Jarrell, standing outside his cottage looking nervous. Apprised of our visit, Jarrell had earlier in the day gone to his safe-deposit box at the local bank to retrieve the board.

Monopoly Is Theft

Kim Dotcom will sue US gov't and Hollywood, use the money for free nationwide Internet in New Zealand

Kim Dotcom is going to sue the US entertainment industry and the US government over the illegal raid on him and Megaupload, and has promised to use his winnings to pay for free Internet access across New Zealand. The Guardian's Peter Walker reports:

The latest salvo involves resurrecting a planned second fibre optic web cable across the Pacific to the US, which would have doubled New Zealand's available internet bandwidth. A New Zealand company, Pacific Fibre, hoped to build the £200m link but announced in August it could not secure the funding.

Dotcom's proposal is to supply broadband free to domestic customers, charging only businesses and government users, the New Zealand Herald reported. His share of the capital would be provided by lawsuits against the US government and film studios for their "unlawful and political destruction" of his business, he said.

Kim Dotcom: fund free NZ internet by suing Hollywood and US government

What it's like to be a journalist in China

In Foreign Policy magazine Eveline Chao writes a fascinating, insider account of working with Chinese censors and trying to do the job of a journalist in a place where your entire staff can be fired for the crime of accidentally having a Taiwanese flag in the background of a photograph.

Every legally registered publication in China is subject to review by a censor, sometimes several. Some expat publications have entire teams of censors scouring their otherwise innocuous restaurant reviews and bar write-ups for, depending on one's opinion of foreigners, accidental or coded allusions to sensitive topics. For example, That's Shanghai magazine once had to strike the number 64 from a short, unrelated article because their censors believed it might be read as an oblique reference to June 4, 1989, when the Chinese government bloodily suppressed a pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square. Many Chinese-run publications have no censor at all, but their editors are relied upon to know where the line falls -- i.e., to self-censor.

... Business content is not censored as strictly as other areas in China, since it seems to be understood that greater openness is needed to push the economy forward and it doesn't necessarily deal with the political issues Chinese rulers seem to find the most sensitive. English-language content isn't censored as much either, since only a small fraction of the Chinese population reads English. (As foreigners reporting on non-sensitive subjects in English, we could worry much less about the dangers -- threats, beatings, jail time -- that occasionally befall muckraking Chinese journalists.) And, in the beginning, most of Snow's edits were minor enough that we didn't feel compromised. We couldn't say that a businessperson came back to China from the United States after "Tiananmen," but we could say "June 1989," knowing that our readers knew the significance of the month. We couldn't say "the Cultural Revolution" but could write "the late 1960s and early 1970s," to allude to then Communist Party chairman Mao Zedong launching his disastrous campaign that sent millions of intellectuals to the countryside. Writing that a company planned to expand into "foreign markets like Taiwan and Korea" was forbidden because it suggested that Taiwan was a separate country from China, but we could say "overseas markets," since, according to Snow, Taiwan literally is over a body of water from the mainland.

Read the full story at Foreign Policy

Via Marilyn Terrell

This NASA simulation of a galaxy is begging for a snazzy soundtrack

This computer simulation uses what we know about physical forces in the universe to model how a galaxy might have been born, and how it might grow over 13.5 billion years.

This cosmological simulation follows the development of a single disk galaxy over about 13.5 billion years, from shortly after the Big Bang to the present time. Colors indicate old stars (red), young stars (white and bright blue) and the distribution of gas density (pale blue); the view is 300,000 light-years across. The simulation ran on the Pleiades supercomputer at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and required about 1 million CPU hours. It assumes a universe dominated by dark energy and dark matter.

The result is a beautiful (if silent) video that is significantly labeled as public domain. It seemed like something you guys might enjoy playing around with.

Check out this Wikipedia article for more information on the growth of galaxies

Via labgrab

Elfquest: The palace disguised

Page 9 of The Final Quest: Prologue is published online-first for the first time here at Boing Boing. First time reader?

Read the rest

NOAA to American public: No, we are not going to just nuke the storms

A Q&A piece on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration begins with this incredibly disconcerting sentence: "During each hurricane season, there always appear suggestions that one should simply use nuclear weapons to try and destroy the storms."

Really? Seriously, America?

Anyway, the entire piece ends up being pretty fascinating, as research meteorologist Chris Landsea explains why nuking a hurricane would be a bad idea ... besides, you know, the obvious reasons.

... an explosive, even a nuclear explosive, produces a shock wave, or pulse of high pressure, that propagates away from the site of the explosion somewhat faster than the speed of sound. Such an event doesn't raise the barometric pressure after the shock has passed because barometric pressure in the atmosphere reflects the weight of the air above the ground. For normal atmospheric pressure, there are about ten metric tons (1000 kilograms per ton) of air bearing down on each square meter of surface. In the strongest hurricanes there are nine. To change a Category 5 hurricane into a Category 2 hurricane you would have to add about a half ton of air for each square meter inside the eye, or a total of a bit more than half a billion (500,000,000) tons for a 20 km radius eye. It's difficult to envision a practical way of moving that much air around.

Attacking weak tropical waves or depressions before they have a chance to grow into hurricanes isn't promising either. About 80 of these disturbances form every year in the Atlantic basin, but only about 5 become hurricanes in a typical year. There is no way to tell in advance which ones will develop. If the energy released in a tropical disturbance were only 10% of that released in a hurricane, it's still a lot of power, so that the hurricane police would need to dim the whole world's lights many times a year.

Read the rest of the piece at the NOAA website

Via Mark Strauss

Image: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team

Horrorgami: papercraft horror film homes

NewImage Marc Hagan-Guirey creates magnificent paper craft models of famed horror film houses. He makes his "horrorgami" structures from a single sheet of cut-and-folded paper. Above is the Overlook Hotel from The Shining. Others in the ongoing series include the Amityville Horror house, the Bates Motel, and the Addams Family abode. Hagan-Guirey's Horrorgami is on exhibit at London's Gallery One And A Half through November 14. He discusses the project in the video below.

Surviving a plane crash is surprisingly common

I'm a nervous flyer. But I'm a lot better at it then I used to be. That's because, a few years ago, I learned that it's actually pretty common to survive a plane crash. Like most people, I'd assumed that the safety in flying came from how seldom accidents happened. Once you were in a crash situation, though, I figured you were probably screwed. But that's not the case.

Looking at all the commercial airline accidents between 1983 and 2000, the National Transportation Safety Board found that 95.7% of the people involved survived. Even when they narrowed down to look at only the worst accidents, the overall survival rate was 76.6%. Yes, some plane crashes kill everyone on board. But those aren't the norm. So you're even safer than you think. Not only are crashes incredibly rare, you're more likely to survive a crash than not. In fact, out of 568 accidents during those 17 years, only 71 resulted in any fatalities at all.

I was talking about this fact with a pilot friend over the weekend, and he mentioned one crash in particular that is an excellent example of the statistics in action. On July 19, 1989, United Airlines Flight 232 lost all its hydraulic controls and landed in Sioux City, Iowa, going more than 100 mph faster than it should have been. You can see the plane breaking apart and bursting into flames in the video above. Turns out, that's what a 62% survival rate looks like. (All the pilots you can hear talking in the video survived, too.)

Read more about United Airlines 232 on Wikipedia

Read the full NTSB report from 2001

In 2007, Popular Mechanics examined 36 years of NTSB reports and found that the majority of surviving passengers were sitting in the back of the plane. But that seems to depend a lot on the specifics of the crash and may not be a reliable predictor of future results.

Thanks, Shav!

Help fund a legal officer for the Open Rights Group

Ruth from the UK Open Rights Group sez, "Open Rights Group have launched a campaign to fund a legal officer position and intervene in the courts. The link is a page which gives more details about the kind of cases we want to take on and encourages supporters to join. We want in the first place 150 new supporters for a part time job and 300 for a full time. It will allow the Open Rights Group to expand from policy work to challenging government in the courts, facilitate legal advice on digital rights issues and prepare ammendments to section 127 used to prosecute Paul Chambers in the twitter joke trial. It's an exciting prospect for protecting digital rights in the UK."

ORG is ready for legal action (Thanks, Ruth!)

(Disclosure: I co-founded the Open Rights Group and volunteer on its advisory board)

Amputee with nerve-controlled bionic leg makes historic climb in Chicago skyscraper

31-year-old amputee Zac Vawter made medical history Sunday, climbing 103 stories of the Willis Tower with a state-of-the-art bionic leg controlled by electrical impulses from the muscles in his upper leg, including a rewired hamstring. He finished the climb in 45 minutes. More at the Chicago Trib, and CNN.

Portraits of devastation in Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy: Charles le Brigand

Stéphane Missier, aka Charles le Brigand, has been photographing people and scenes in and around New York City in the week following Hurricane Sandy.