A Thanksgiving Prayer by William S. Burroughs

We now bow our heads as Uncle Bill leads us in A Thanksgiving Prayer.

Texas student suspended for refusing RFID tracker

A student in San Antonio, TX, has been suspended from school for refusing wear a RFID tracking device on privacy and religious grounds (she believes the tracker is somehow related to the "Mark of the Beast"). The school's funding is based on student attendance, so they use prisoner-style trackers to follow students' movements. A judge has temporarily reversed the suspension.

The suspended student, sophomore Andrea Hernandez, was notified by the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio that she won’t be able to continue attending John Jay High School unless she wears the badge around her neck, which she has been refusing to do. The district said the girl, who objects on privacy and religious grounds, beginning Monday would have to attend another high school in the district that does not yet employ the RFID tags.

The Rutherford Institute said it would go to court and try to nullify the district’s decision. The institute said that the district’s stated purpose for the program — to enhance their coffers — is “fundamentally disturbing.”

“There is something fundamentally disturbing about this school district’s insistence on steamrolling students into complying with programs that have nothing whatsoever to do with academic priorities and everything to do with fattening school coffers,” said John Whitehead, the institute’s president.

Student Suspended for Refusing to Wear a School-Issued RFID Tracker [David Kravets/Wired] Read the rest

Spacehawk: the complete collection of Basil Wolverton's space crusader

Spacehawk is Fantagraphics' recently published complete collection of Basil Wolverton's long-lost space-hero comics, published for a two-year run starting in 1940. In his introduction, Monte Wolverton (Basil's son) explains that Basil had always dreamed of having his own superhero book, and that Spacehawk was the realization of that dream. The character -- an 800 year old psychic crime-fighter with an anti-gravity belt and an army of robot clones of himself that he controls through telepathy -- had an all-too-brief existence fighting interplanetary crime before being co-opted by Wolverton's editor into fighting Nazis and the Japanese Navy.

Wolverton wasn't much of a superhero writer. There's not much dramatic tension here. Whenever Spacehawk shows up, he's inevitably stronger, smarter, faster, and more powerful than the bad guys. He rescues the girl (if there is one), puts down the bad guys (usually terminally), and flies off, saying something appropriately square-jawed and brave. But that doesn't matter. You'd be nuts to read Spacehawk for the plotting: what you read it for is the character design, that amazing Wolverton grotesque that is as unmistakable as it is unforgettable. Read the rest

Pacific island does not exist

Sandy Island, a 20-mile strip of land in the Pacific between Australia and New Caledonia, easily found on Google Maps and many other charts, does not exist. The ocean at that point is in fact 4,620ft deep.

That's what they're saying, anyway. Read the rest

Bones boned

A woman was charged Wednesday with disturbing the peace of the dead after authorities found a full skeleton, a skull and a CD-ROM titled "My necrophilia" in a box in her home. [Reuters] Read the rest

Lazerwood wooden keyboard

Wooden keyboards are usually too showy and incongruous for me, but Lazerwood's adhesive wooden key covers are a subtler option than, say, this. At $40 a set, they're not too pricey, either. They come in cherry or walnut, in sets for the U.S. Apple Extended Keyboard, Wireless Keyboard or the MacBook Pro. [via Uncrate]

Update: Aaron Newton went for it, and reports that they look great [Gallery].

Surprisingly easy [to readjust keys]. You can pull it off easily until you really press them down. Took about 45 minutes. My only complaint is that the home keys (J and F) don't have bumps on them. I added some so it's fine, but a little annoying.

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Social media gurus nailed in Onion parody

"Social media eliminates the need to provide value to your clients." Read the rest

YouTube briefly added to new Russian web blacklist

Not long after Russia's new kiddie porn internet blacklist went live, YouTube was added to it and blocked. Gabriela Baczynska writes, "Russian officials offered assurances they were not seeking to block access to YouTube on Wednesday, saying a technical error caused the popular video-sharing website to appear briefly on a register of sites containing banned content." Read the rest

Finnish police confiscate 9-y-o's laptop after she downloads a song from the Pirate Bay

A nine-year-old Finnish girl's computer was confiscated by the police after she downloaded a track from the Pirate Bay. She was trying to preview the new album by Chisu (she later bought the album and went to the concert). The Finnish TTVK (Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre) demanded 600 Euros in summary fines from her family, along with a gag order, and the family refused, so they sicced the police on them.

Events started when last year's october family's daughter tried to preview to Chisu's new album. According to child's father, searches took her to the Pirate bay. Next spring the father got a letter from TTVK demanding 600 euros. TTVK's letter also demanded a nondisclosure. Father didn't oblige, but instead, wrote a letter back to the attorney. Letter included photographs of the bought album, and the tickets to the concert, which her child attended.

According to a TorrentFreak report, the confiscated machine was a Winnie the Pooh laptop.

9-year old girl prosecuted for Piratism in Finland Read the rest

"Random" content tips for game devs

The Indie Games Weblog offers 5 tips for using procedurally-generated content--think fractals and L-systems--in game development. Read the rest

Gold Christmas Tree


The tree-like ornament is made of 88 pounds of pure gold, standing about 7.9 ft high ... It is decorated with pure gold plate silhouette cutouts of 50 popular Disney characters and draped with ribbons made of gold leaf. The price tag? A mere $4.2 million.
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