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Windows 95 tips

I'm calling it already: Windows 95 Tips is Blog of the Year.

Update: the creator is Neil Cicierega!

Vampire ketchup-bottle lid


Perpetual Kid sells a $4.50 cartoon vampire ketchup-bottle lid called "Count Ketchup Spread." Affix it and squeeze the bottle, and the ketchup drips out of his fangs. There's also a mustard version: it's an alien head that oozes mustard out of its mouth. Barfstard!

Our hard plastic Count Ketchup Spread Head is a universal cap size that fits most standard upright ketchup bottles and measures 1.75 inches long x 2.5 inches wide x 1 inch deep. To keep your condiments fresh and to prevent contamination, use the original cap for storage.

COUNT KETCHUP SPREAD HEAD (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Shadow Unit shared world book one is free and DRM-free


Elizabeth Bear writes,

Shadow Unit is an ongoing, now five-year-old science fiction web serial about a mysterious "anomaly" that causes affected human beings to simultaneously develop superpowers and sociopathy--and about the law enforcement agents who struggle to contain the crisis.

In more formal terms, it's is a semi-real-time semi-interactive shared-world hyperfiction narrative--which is to say, a story in which you can interact with some of the characters much of the time. It's the brainchild of Emma Bull and Will Shetterly, and is written by Elizabeth Bear, Holly Black, Leah Bobet, Amanda Downum, Sarah Monette, Chelsea Polk, and Stephen Shipman--with art by Amanda Downum and Kyle Cassidy.

Shadow Unit's producers have always made the entire narrative available on a donation model on the website and its associated social media. We've also produced a series of ebooks (available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords)--and the first volume is available as a paper book. For a limited time (We're not yet sure how limited!) we're also giving the first ebook (Shadow Unit #1) away for free.

Shadow Unit 1 (Thanks, Bear)

Super-slo-mo egg-smashing

Here's Slo-As-a-Mofo-Sho's two-minute long video of the super-slo-mo smashing of eggs, in a variety of improbable ways. It turns out that blender-smashing eggs and smashing eggs on a tennis racket are a lot cooler than you might think. The making-of video is pretty great, too.

Slo-As-A-Mofo-Sho - Egg Destruction! (via JWZ)

Russian grandmother kills wolf with ax, bare hands

Metro Uk reports on a Russian grandmother's act of bravery while tending her flock of sheep. "Speaking from hospital with her hand bandaged, Mrs Maksudova said she was 'not even frightened' during the wolf attack."

EXCLUSIVE: David Petraeus Affair Photos

This is a tumblog of greatness. "Everything you need to know about the CIA Director David Petraeus sex scandal. All photos and headlines are real." (HT: @itsmikerock)

World's oldest hacker radio show under threat

2600's Emmanuel Goldstein writes,

In the midst of the biggest natural disaster to hit the New York metropolitan area in modern times, most of the staff of community radio station WBAI was prevented from broadcasting - not because of a power outage, but due to management decisions that put prerecorded programming over the airwaves instead of the usual live broadcasts. The hacker/technology program "Off The Hook" has been kept off the air for an unprecedented three weeks, making it impossible to help listeners deal with the technological challenges of losing communications and connectivity throughout the crisis. While a small group of broadcasters was allowed to put live programs on the air during daylight hours, a 6 pm on-air curfew was imposed, effectively locking out the majority of the station staff, including "Off The Hook." This has led the members of the world's longest running hacker radio program to start searching for another broadcast outlet, as it doesn't seem that technology-based programming is taken seriously or considered a priority, based on these actions.

AN OPEN LETTER TO OUR LISTENERS FROM THE STAFF OF "OFF THE HOOK" (Thanks, Emmanuel!)

Petraeus scandal: Jill Kelley ran a bogus cancer charity

Tampa military socialite and Petraeus scandal figure Jill Kelley ran the "Doctor Kelley Cancer Foundation," which claimed on its tax forms that it "shall be operated exclusively to conduct cancer research and to grant wishes to terminally ill adult cancer patients." Huffington Post:
From the records, it appears that the charity fell far short of its mission. While the origins of the seed money used to start the charity in 2007 are unclear, financial records reviewed by The Huffington Post reveal that the group spent all of its money not on research, but on parties, entertainment, travel and attorney fees.
More at HuffPo.

Mrs. Kelley also made 911 calls to Tampa police this week about trespassing reporters, and claims her property is considered diplomatic soil. "I'm the honorary consul general so they should not be on my property," Kelley said. "I don't know if you want to get diplomatic protection involved as well."

Consul general of what? CrazyVaginaStan?

(Thanks, Antinous)

RIP, Kevin O'Donnell, Jr

Science fiction writer Kevin O'Donnell, Jr died last week; the Science Fiction Writers of America has a sweet, sad obit for him, written by John Barnes and John E. Johnston III. Our condolences to his family and all those who loved him. (via Making Light)

Anchorman 2 sounds promising, even though it derailed a Step Brothers rap album

Adam McKay is talking about the upcoming sequel to Anchorman, and if he's not using generous amounts of hyperbole, this movie might be as epic as Cloud Atlas, which I heard was pretty epic. But here's what we can take away from his latest interview with The Playlist: Anchorman: The Legend Continues will have songs in it, it will deal with new media and the 24-hour news cycle, and basically every single person in comedy will have speaking parts. The bad news: it killed a rap album inspired by Step Brothers that probably had something about boats and hoes on it. Bummer.

Read the rest

Dr. Strangelove: Gen. Buck Turgidson reacts to Petraeus scandal

(Thanks, Bryan William Jones)

Was someone at CENTCOM fluffing for Jill Kelley on Wikipedia?

Gen. John Allen, L, who is being investigated for "inappropriate communications" with unpaid military socialite Jill Kelley, R. (ABC NEWS)

It's bad enough to learn that Marine General John Allen and CIA chief David Petraeus intervened in a custody battle involving CENTCOM socialite Jill Kelley's sister, and shocking to learn that Allen may have sent as many as "30,000 pages" of email to Kelley (this is how the FBI measures email, guys, in printed pages). But what, pray tell, the fuck, is this?

Boing Boing pal Andrea James, who is a Wikipedia editor, saw an odd edit when writing the Jill Kelley bio: On 9 February 2012, a US Central Command IP added "Jill Kelley, amateur ambassador and chess player" to Arcadia University's Wikipedia page.

Your theories? I mean, who was that, John fucking Allen? I'm so baffled by this thing, I don't know that I have it in me to even try speculating anymore.

Charles Babbage's dissected brain


A paper in a 1909 edition of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London described the dissection of Charles Babbage's brain. The whole article is on the Internet Archive, from which the Public Domain Review has plucked it.

Babbage himself decided that he wanted his brain to be donated to science upon his death. In a letter accompanying the donation, his son Henry wrote:

I have no objection…to the idea of preserving the brain…Please therefore do what you consider best…[T]he brain should be known as his, and disposed of in any manner which you consider most conducive to the advancement of human knowledge and the good of the human race.

Half of Babbage’s brain is preserved at the Hunterian Museum in the Royal College of Surgeons in London, the other half is on display in the Science Museum in London.

The Brain of Charles Babbage (1909)

Petraeus scandal: This is the national-security establishment turning the surveillance apparatus on itself

From Patrick Radden Keefe, in the New Yorker: "The serialized revelations that have unfolded since Friday—when Petraeus, who left the military as a four-star general, resigned from the C.I.A. because of an affair—are, to say the least, honeyed with irony. In the decade following September 11, 2001, the national-security establishment in this country devised a surveillance apparatus of genuinely diabolical creativity—a cross-hatch of legal and technical innovations that (in theory, at any rate) could furnish law enforcement and intelligence with a high-definition early-warning system on potential terror events. What it’s delivered, instead, is the tawdry, dismaying, and wildly entertaining spectacle that ensues when the national-security establishment inadvertently turns that surveillance apparatus on itself."

As the World Burns: Petraeus scandal cheat-sheet and infographic

Mother Jones has a very good summary/explainer/de-WTFer up today. I've given up on trying to keep up with the story right now, it's too weird and too sprawling and there are too many sets of penises and vaginas involved.

Via Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone. The chart is by Hilary Sargent (@lilsarg). I don't know who created it, but will add credit when I figure that out.

A reminder: Boing Boing has an awesome new video page, full of awesome videos

Friends and mutants! Some of you may not know that we recently launched a "Video" page, where all of our posts about/including video are archived in one handy place. Cool stuff we find around the web, our own original creations, our Virgin America tv channel playlists, and oldies but goodies from our BBTV archives, all of these in one place for your viewing pleasure.

WATCH: boingboing.net/video.

Child sexual abuse allegations against voice of Elmo withdrawn

The man who accused the puppeteer behind of Sesame Street's Elmo of child sexual abuse has recanted his story. Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo, is an out gay man, and was the star of a biographical documentary film about his life as the voice of Elmo. Clash said yesterday he had an adult consensual relationship with the accuser, and today the accuser effectively admitted he was lying about the charge that any of it happened while he was underage. (NYT/Brian Stelter)

Mark's "culture picks" on this week's episode of Bullseye


I was the "culture critic" again this week on Jesse Thorn's excellent Bullseye radio show and podcast. It's always a joy to speak with Jesse.

Boing Boing.net and the Gweek podcast's Mark Frauenfelder joins us this week to share some top-rate pop culture picks. He recommends British author Jon Ronson's new book, Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries, which collects profiles of some fascinating individuals and Sir Benfro’s Brilliant Balloon, a beautifully illustrated and simple to play iOS game.
Mark Frauenfelder on "The Jon Ronson Mysteries" and Light Emitting Daves

Live webcast tonight: Boing Boing + Die Antwoord at Meltdown Comics/Nerdist HQ

L-R: Yo-Landi Vi$$er, Xeni, Ninja (iPhone 5 snap: Ninja)

I'll be hosting an event with our friends at Meltdown Comics tonight, Tuesday November 13, 2012: a video marathon and poster-signing with Ninja and Yo-Landi of the South African band Die Antwoord.

On sale will be a beautiful limited-edition Die Antwoord/Meltdown poster by artist Dave Kloc (artist signing is 9-10pm), and after that we'll be screening a bunch of their videos and short films (10-1130pm, this part is sold out).

More details here.

WATCH THE WEBCAST: A reminder that the music video marathon, which will include a conversation with Die Antwoord and Q&A from the in-person and online audience(s), will be live-streamed here. Please do join us, wherever you are.

Chris Hardwick of Nerdist tapes his podcast there often, and he'll be in the house tonight, along with Boing Boing founder Mark Frauenfelder, and many other special guests. Do tune in.

EVENT DETAILS

Meltdown Comics: 7522 Sunset Blvd., LA, CA 90046
Phone: (323) 851-7223
Web: meltcomics.com
When: Tue November 13, Die Antwoord signing action 9-10PM open to the public and for as long as the line lasts during that one hour only. Arrive early. No outside items will be allowed. Video marathon 10-1130pm, sold out, live webcast.


Click for large. iPhone5 panorama of Ninja and Yo-Landi of Die Antwoord at Meltdown Comics (photo: Xeni)

Jim Woodring interviewed by Peter Bebergal


Peter Bebergal, author of Too Much to Dream: A Psychedelic American Boyhood, interviewed comic book artist Jim Woodring about psychedelics, hallucinations, hippies, and underground comics.

What do you see as the destruction wrought by hippie culture? Was it the naiveté?

The hippies were destructive for a number of reasons. For one thing they were parasites who could only live the way they did (correction: the way we did) because others were willing to work. Huge numbers of able-bodied Aquarian Agers were on welfare and receiving food stamps and getting their dose of clap fixed at the free clinics, all at public expense. That helped Reagan and like-minded anti-altruists persuade America that slashing social services was good for the country.

Many of them (us) also failed to become educated or worldly in a useful sense. They made what was good about the movement — a belief in peace, love, granola and so on — look stupid by association. They did some good, though. Since they usually had terrible terrible relationships with their parents they did their best to make sure they had good relationships with their own children, and they helped end the Vietnam War.

I noticed on your blog you mention Salvia as an “interest?” Can you describe its role in your life/art?

Salvia divinorum, as you may know, is a somewhat horrible and entirely heavy-duty hallucinogen. There are people who think it ought to be illegal, and it was recently illegalized in Florida. I don’t care. It’s so powerful in its concentrated form that I can see it doing real damage, even though the effects only last a few minutes. I haven’t had any in a few years but I still have what you could call flashbacks. The alien, distinctive feeling it produces comes over me spontaneously sometimes — not so powerfully that it’s dangerous, but still quite strong. It’s the only substance I’ve ingested that gave me an inkling what might be meant by shamanistic. It has a definite female personality and it can strip the cover off reality like nothing else I know. It’s deadly serious; no fun at all. I don’t recommend it. I made one picture under its influence called “Life After Man.” [Above]

Jim Woodring: “My plight is the plight of the aspirant who does not renounce.”

See a great many more Boing Boing posts about Jim Woodring

UPS to Scouts: no more money until you drop anti-gay policy

United Parcel Service has joined Intel in telling the Boy Scouts of America that it will no longer be eligible for corporate donations unless it ends its anti-gay policies. UPS gives $150,000 a year to the Scouts. Jacques Couret writes more in the Atlanta Business Chronicle:

Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality, began a campaign on Change.org to pressure Boy Scout corporate donors just after Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) halted its support for BSA.

“UPS showed true bravery today in standing with the 80,000 Americans, including thousands of Scouts and Scout leaders, who oppose the Boy Scouts’ hurtful anti-gay policy,” Wahls said in a statement. “That bravery is what Scouting is all about,. Corporate America gets it better than most: policies that discriminate aren’t simply wrong, they’re bad for business and they’re hurting the Scouting community.”

GLAAD said UPS told it that under revised guidelines, organizations that are unable to attest to having a policy or practices that align with The UPS Foundation’s non-discrimination policy will no longer be considered eligible for funding.

UPS cuts future funding to Boy Scouts over org’s gay policies (via Making Light)

Mankind The Story of All of Us - series premiere tonight at 9/8c on History Channel

The History Channel is premiering its new TV series, Mankind The Story of All of Us, tonight. The producers interviewed me for the show. It looks like its going to be a good series.

A 747 window frame?

This authentic, certified, window frame from a 747 immediately caught my eye. Then I had to ask: "What the heck do you do with it?" I've installed portholes from an old ship in my home, but this? How would you use it?

Claire Danes crying -- the supercut

(Video link) Claire Danes has been crying her whole entire career, and it usually gets her all kinds of trips to award shows. But when all of her crying scenes are strung together into a supercut, you'll realize that crying not only made her career -- it might actually be her career. Girl cries like it's an Olympic sport! Do you think she trains for it? Is this the real reason she hawks eyelash lengtheners? Is Latisse really steroids for crying? Are her tear ducts insured? How does she get her chin to do that hummingbird thing? Could her sobs be signed to the UFC and fight Ronda Rousey? Let's face facts: Claire Danes' cry-face is the new Chuck Norris. (via Hello Giggles)

They Might Be Giant's cryptozoology playing cards



They Might Be Giants have released a holiday bundle with lots of cool junk, but the best of the lot is this $15 cryptozoology playing-card deck.

They Might Be Giants’ Paranormal, Cryptid, Myths and Hoaxes playing cards (via Crazy Abalone)

Obedience and fear: What makes people hurt other people?

Stanley Milgram's "Obedience to Authority" experiments are infamous classics of psychology and social behavior. Back in the 1960s, Milgram set up a series of tests that showed seemingly normal people would be totally willing to torture another human being if prodded into it by an authority figure.

The basic set-up is probably familiar to you. Milgram told his test subjects that they were part of a study on learning. They were tasked with asking questions to another person, who was rigged up to an electric shock generator. When the other person got the questions wrong, the subject was supposed to zap them and then turn up the voltage. The catch was that the person getting "zapped" was actually an actor. So was the authority figure, whose job it was to tell the test subject that they must continue the experiment, no matter how much the other person pleaded for them to stop. In Milgram's original study, 65% of the subjects continued to the end of the session, eventually "administering" 450-volt shocks.

But they weren't doing it calmly. If you read Milgram's paper, you find that these people were trembling, and digging nails into their own flesh. Some of them even had seizure-like fits. Which is interesting to know when you sit down to read about Michael Shermer's recent attempt to replicate the Milgram experiments for a Dateline segment. Told they were trying out for a new reality show, the six subjects were set up to "shock" an actor, just like in Milgram's experiments. One walked out before the test even started. The others participated, but had some interesting rationales for why they did it — and a simple ingrained sense of obedience wasn't always what was going on.

Our third subject, Lateefah, became visibly upset at 120 volts and squirmed uncomfortably to 180 volts. When Tyler screamed, “Ah! Ah! Get me out of here! I refuse to go on! Let me out!” Lateefah made this moral plea to Jeremy: “I know I'm not the one feeling the pain, but I hear him screaming and asking to get out, and it's almost like my instinct and gut is like, ‘Stop,’ because you're hurting somebody and you don't even know why you're hurting them outside of the fact that it's for a TV show.” Jeremy icily commanded her to “please continue.” As she moved into the 300-volt range, Lateefah was noticeably shaken, so Hansen stepped in to stop the experiment, asking, “What was it about Jeremy that convinced you that you should keep going here?” Lateefah gave us this glance into the psychology of obedience: “I didn't know what was going to happen to me if I stopped. He just—he had no emotion. I was afraid of him.”

Read the rest in Michael Shermer's column at Scientific American

The funniest story you'll ever hear about rabies and undiagnosed illness

Rabies isn't funny. But, somehow, Heather Swain makes her story about her brush with rabies absolutely hilarious.

Now Swain didn't have rabies, but she did have a lot of the symptoms that go along with it. In this Story Collider piece, she talks about her experience being "that patient with a mystery disease" and what it's like when nobody actually figures out what's making you sick.

The Haunted Toaster (Today Show, 1984)

From the Today Show, 1984: The devil in June O'Brien's toaster. (You might recognize the reporter, Richard Dominick, who went on to become executive producer of The Jerry Springer Show.)

Why the UK's mandatory opt-out censorware plan is stupid

My latest Guardian column is "There's no way to stop children viewing porn in Starbucks," a postmortem analysis of the terrible debate in the Lords last week over a proposed mandatory opt-out pornography censorship system for the UK's Internet service providers.

In order to filter out adult content on the internet, a company has to either look at all the pages on the internet and find the bad ones, or write a piece of software that can examine a page on the wire and decide, algorithmically, whether it is inappropriate for children.

Neither of these strategies are even remotely feasible. To filter content automatically and accurately would require software capable of making human judgments – working artificial intelligence, the province of science fiction.

As for human filtering: there simply aren't enough people of sound judgment in all the world to examine all the web pages that have been created and continue to be created around the clock, and determine whether they are good pages or bad pages. Even if you could marshal such a vast army of censors, they would have to attain an inhuman degree of precision and accuracy, or would be responsible for a system of censorship on a scale never before seen in the world, because they would be sitting in judgment on a medium whose scale was beyond any in human history.

Think, for a moment, of what it means to have a 99% accuracy rate when it comes to judging a medium that carries billions of publications.

Consider a hypothetical internet of a mere 20bn documents that is comprised one half "adult" content, and one half "child-safe" content. A 1% misclassification rate applied to 20bn documents means 200m documents will be misclassified. That's 100m legitimate documents that would be blocked by the government because of human error, and 100m adult documents that the filter does not touch and that any schoolkid can find.

There's no way to stop children viewing porn in Starbucks

Slate's "The Vault" is a great, new history blog

Rebecca Onion is the curator at a new Slate blog that showcases nifty finds from America's historical archives. So far, she's got a photo of the be-loinclothed winner of a eugenics-inspired Better Baby Contest; a breakup letter written by Abraham Lincoln; and this specimen of 1950s-style STEM recruitment toys for girls.

What's interesting about this chemistry set is that you can't really say it's more or less sexist than the types of science kits you see marketed heavily to girls today. Sure, it's in a pink box and heavily insinuates that the best job a woman can hope for in science is as somebody's assistant. But, on the other hand, it's apparently the exact same chemistry set sold to boys, just with different packaging. Whereas today, pink-colored science kits trend heavily toward "girl" things, like teaching you how to make your own scented soaps — but at least you're in charge of the soap-making lab.

Progress!

The set, which is preserved in the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s collection of chemistry sets, is a product of post-WWII anxiety over the nation’s lack of what was called “scientific manpower.” Having seen what a difference science made in the war (the bomb, radar, penicillin), and realizing that the amount of work to be done in labs and industrial R&D was limitless, Americans worried that insufficient numbers of young people wanted to be scientists. Some called for young women to be included in recruitment efforts. Women had been largely shut out of scientific careers up until that point. But they had a major point in their favor: They were undraftable. If girls got the right training, future wartime labs could be staffed by women, who were naturally bound to the homefront.

But all science jobs are not alike, and women didn’t get the plum ones. Historian John Rudolph, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has written about postwar efforts to upgrade the science curriculum. He found that girls were recruited to science careers after the war, but only for jobs that were to the side of the main show: lab technician, science teacher.

Read the rest at The Vault