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Muir Beach Quilters Holiday Arts Fair

This coming Saturday and Sunday, December 1st and 2nd, at the Muir Beach Community Center, the annual Muir Beach Quilters Holiday Arts Fair will be held. Largely comprised of artists who live and work in the west Marin area, this eclectic collection provides a fantastic selection of unique gifts for friends and family. If you are in the San Francisco Bay area this is a great event to visit.

Donald Trump's 50 stupidest tweets gathers "either the best of the best or the worst of the worst" of Donald Trump's tweets. (via Foster Kamer)

Young Atheist's Survival Guide

Hemant sez, "I am the blogger at I'm also a high school math teacher. I just wrote a new book called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide: Helping Secular Students Thriveabout high school atheists and the obstacles they face as well as how they can overcome them (and how the rest of us can help)."

Nearly a third of Americans under the age of thirty have no religious affiliation, the highest in any recorded generation. In this growing segment of 'nones'are many young Atheists who have faced prejudice in their high schools and communities for standing up for their constitutional right of freedom from religion.

You'll hear some of their stories in this book, whether they're protesting their school's public prayers at football games and graduations or sitting out the 'under God'portion of the Pledge of Allegiance. These atheist students know their rights and have fought for them, sometimes at tremendous personal cost. Their examples serve as inspiration for all the young atheists out there who live in communities where school often feels no different from church and teachers are no different from preachers.

The Young Atheist's Survival Guide: Helping Secular Students Thrive

Accused shoplifter dies after Walmart security place him in choke hold

WSBTV-2, Georgia

Black Friday shopping weekend took a dark turn Sunday morning in Georgia: a man accused of shoplifting died after being tackled by a Walmart employee and a contract security officer. Police say the contract security worker "placed the suspected thief in a choke hold." The deceased reportedly stole two DVD players from the Walmart. Police found him "unresponsive and bleeding from his nose and mouth. The contract security worker is no longer working for Walmart.

More in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A local TV news report is embedded below, and WSBTV-2 has more here.

Gawker has done the dirtywork of rounding up Black Friday insane arrest reports in the news.

Read the rest

Kiki and Bubu: neo-Marxist sock puppets join dating service, get friended by China, get taken down from YouTube

Johannes sez,

Unbelievable, but Kiki and Bubu are back! When we created the first couple of episodes for Boing Boing TV in 2008, who would have thought that the two wooly Neo-Marxist fellows would still be around in 2012? Well, they are! Here is their newest and most epic (50 minutes!) puppet extravaganza!

Story? Our favorite sock puppets Kiki and Bubu have some feelings, so they sign up for an online dating site. When the People of China want to become their friend, they are excited. However, sending the People of China a video of themselves proves to be difficult: Their content gets flagged as inappropriate and taken down from YouTube. On the long quest for knowledge which follows, Kiki and Bubu learn all about Internet censorship. And love.

monochrom: Kiki and Bubu's "RATED R US" (Thanks, Johannes!)

Chinese gold-farmer phrasebook for English-speaking gamers

A group of English-speaking gamers have compiled a phrasebook for chatting online with Chinese gold farmers, including phrases like "Would you like to join my group?" and "please do not steal my mobs."

jia you - GO GO GO! (Use as a cheer)
ni kan! - look!
Pao! - Run!
Deng yi xia. - Wait a moment.
Ni xian zou. - You go first.
bu yao sha ta - dont kill him/her/it
bu yao sha wo - don't kill me

Farmer Speak (Thanks, Nick!)

Turneresque painting of Mumbai trains

Avi sez, "I came across this Turneresque painting of Mumbai Local Trains by Bhuwan Silhare. Not much info about the artist online."

Bhuwan Silhare Mumbai Local Trains 2010

Mobile app publisher hijacks users' Twitter accounts to tweet false piracy confessions

Jenn Frank of Infinite Lives reports that Enfour, the company that publishes the $55 Oxford Dictionary of English (ODE) mobile phone app, accused her of pirating the app and that the app hijacked her Twitter account and started autoposting tweets that Jenn is a software thief. (See examples of other Enfour autotweets.) And Jenn's not the only victim of Enfour's reputation-damaging witch hunt.

Some are wondering whether the auto-posted tweet constitutes “libel”; still others wonder why a customer would ever permit the Oxford Dictionary access to her Twitter account. I remember seeing the app’s request pop up, and I’d simply assumed the dictionary had added some sort of social networking functionality, something like “share this crazy new word with your friends!” or whatever. (Enfour’s software integrates very nicely with another app, the excellent Terminology, which does indeed include a “Twitter” button along with each definition.) At no point did Enfour disclose its intention to “post to Twitter on [my] behalf,” however. The request seemed perfectly innocuous.

One user did deny Enfour this permission request, and he discovered that Oxford booted him from the software entirely. This is to say, he could not use Enfour’s Oxford at all unless he granted the dictionary permission to humiliate him publicly.

Enfour has since admitted there was a “glitch” that caused “false positives” in the software. What’s especially harrowing, though, is that Enfour apparently mined the data in the iPhone itself in an effort to determine, not whether Enfour’s own software is pirated, but whether any software on the iOS device is pirated.

Tracey Northcott VP of International Communications for Enfour tweeted: "#softwarepirateconfession We do sincerely apologise for any inconvenience. The anti-piracy module kicked in today for legitimate users. Bug"

In an "open apology letter," she states again that the horrible idea was just a "bug."

UPDATE: Take a look at the reviews for this app. Some people report that they paid $55 for an app that crashes repeatedly and then sends notifications to the screen that read "I am a software thief!" And Jenn adds: Also, I apparently missed Enfour’s "apology":

Nevertheless, a number of users with certain system configurations were affected during this time period. Some may still be if they haven’t updated to the fixed version. If you are not running the latest version, we urge you to update your app immediately to avoid the potential embarrassment of an unexpected tweet.

Can’t spell “pirate” without “-irate”: on DRM and punishing the customer

Remembering Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson with exclusive track


On November 25, 2010, industrial music pioneer Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson of Throbbing Gristle and Coil died in his sleep. Today, we pause to remember Sleazy and his contributions to music and transgressive art with this exclusive "memorial mix" of "Desertshores." The song comes from Desertshore/The Final Report, a double album of music that Sleazy and his Throbbbing Gristle collaborators Cosey Fanni Tutti and Chris Carter were developing when their dear friend shuffled off this mortal coil. Desertshore is a "cover" of Nico's challenging 1970 album while The Final Report compiles Sleazy, Chris, and Cosey's 2009 and 2010 recording sessions as a trio. Desertshore/The Final Report will be released tomorrow on Industrial Records.

We are all only temporary curators of our present bodies, which will all decay, sooner or later. In a hundred years or so all the humans currently alive will have died. I take great comfort in knowing, with certainty, that thing that makes us special, able to enrich our own lives and those of others, will not cease when our bodies do but will be just starting a new (and hopefully even better) adventure ... "

- Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson (1955-2010)

Britons! Stop the Snoopers' Charter, end the government's spying plan!

On Saturday, the UK Open Rights Group held a London training session for activists who want to fight the "Snoopers' Charter," a legislative proposal to give government the power to order online service providers and merchants to retain your communications, and make them available to law enforcement, civil servants, and ministers without a warrant.

They say this is about fighting terrorism, but they're not just watching suspected terrorists, they're planning on watching all of us, all the time. They plan on turning every merchant, telcom, service provider and games company into a government spy, a political officer lurking in our schools, homes and workplaces.

I gave a closing keynote at the event, and there will be more to follow across the country. Get fighting!

Stop the Snoopers' Charter (local events) (Thanks, Allas!)

Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer gala party on Mayan Doomsday at Boston's Torrent Engine 18

Katherine sez, "Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer will be performing a GALA PARTY on Friday, December 21st, 2012 (aka MAYAN DOOMSDAY) to benefit the restoration of Torrent Engine 18, a Boston firehouse turned flexible art gallery/theatre. On the official Last Day on Earth, the gala will offer decadent music, mystery readings, and ritual burlesque, plus fresh-fruit-infused libations by Booze Époque in a grand ballroom (a secret Boston location revealed only to ticket-holders). Gala guest spots are only available through Torrent Engine 18's Kickstarter, which ends November 30th at 9pm."

Old Boston Firehouse to become art space: Torrent Engine 18 (Thanks, Katherine!)

Street artist KAWS at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

On CBS Sunday Morning, a video feature on the street artist KAWS, aka Brian Donnelly, 38, whose Companion character was a float in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. The gray-and-white creature "who's a little too shy to show his face" floated in the parade right next to Mickey and Donald and other icons. In his native Jersey City, KAWS' faded tags "can still be seen on the sides of buildings."

Earlier this year, Carol Vogel wrote in the New York Times about the planned parade inclusion of Companion.

Read the rest

The Four Leading Electric Novelties of 1897

Scanned and Flickr'd by Captain Geoffrey Spaulding, an ad for Ohio Electric Works, 1897.

Shape-Shifting Lizard Skin Cream

Shape Shifting Lizard Skin Cream, by Darren Cullen & Mark Tolson.
Shapeshifting from lizard to human form is great for controlling Earth so you can mine gold to save your dying homeworld, but it’s not so great for your skin. When you’re juggling appointments and global depopulation deadlines, you don’t have time for an exhaustive skincare regime, especially after you’ve been up all night sodomising infants on a blood-soaked altar.

That’s why there’s new Hypoallergenic Shapeshifting Lizard Skin Cream, for the hard-working reptilian overlord who wants to crush the human race AND look great. Revitalise dry cracked scales with the nutrifying formula, penetrating your watertight, abrasive epidermis with vitamin-enriched micro-molecules.

Never again spend hours removing crusty nodules from your armoured eyelids or sandblasting your segmented underbelly. Instead, spend your life-cycle on the things that really matter to you: eating babies, manipulating financial markets and basking on rocks in the warm glow of Earth’s home star.

Whichever form you’ve taken, simply lather the cream onto tough lizard scales or weak and thin human tissue. The vitamin E rich formula gets to work fast, leaving your external membrane hard, reinforced and radiant.

Start each day with that “just-shed-skin” feeling!

Buy it here. (via BB Flickr Pool)

The Milky Way

A wonderful night-sky photo shared in the BB Flickr Pool by Dave Hensley: "Unadjusted jpg made from 16bit/channel tiff created by a linux stacking script I wrote; operating on a series of images I captured over vacation."

Coding Freedom: an anthropologist understands hacker culture

Biella Coleman is a geek anthropologist, in both senses of the epithet: an anthropologist who studies geeks, and a geek who is an anthropologist. Though she's best known today for her excellent and insightful work on the mechanism and structure underpinning Anonymous and /b/, Coleman is also an expert on the organization, structure, philosophy and struggles of the free software/open source movements. I met Biella while she was doing fieldwork as an intern at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She's also had deep experience with the Debian project and many other hacker/FLOSS subcultures.

Coleman's has published her dissertation, edited and streamlined, under the title of Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking, which comes out today from Princeton University Press (Quinn Norton, also well known for her Wired reporting on Anonymous and Occupy, had a hand in the editing). Coding Freedom walks the fine line between popular accessibility and scholarly rigor, and does a very good job of expressing complex ideas without (too much) academic jargon.

Coding Freedom is insightful and fascinating, a superbly observed picture of the motives, divisions and history of the free software and software freedom world. As someone embedded in both those worlds, I found myself surprised by connections I'd never made on my own, but which seemed perfectly right and obvious in hindsight. Coleman's work pulls together a million IRC conversations and mailing list threads and wikiwars and gets to their foundations, the deep discussion evolving through the world of free/open source software.

Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking

Open source, sonar-controlled vibrator you play like a theremin, with your whole body

Scanlime's Beth modded a remote control vibrator, replacing the interface with an Arduino-based sonar controller that she can activate with any part of her body, playing it like a theremin. The result is pretty cool -- it "closes the feedback loop" between the vibrator's intensity and the user's physical response. The post includes a detailed technical breakdown of the reverse-engineering steps that she used to work out how to hijack the control mechanism, and the steps that went into building the remote, including a 3D printed chassis. The plans are open source hardware (CC-BY-SA), and posted to Github.

This toy serves as a kind of analog bridge between two remote spaces: the column of ultrasonically-oscillating air in front of the remote, and whatever body part happens to be in contact with the vibrator. Touch that invisible space above the remote, and the vibrator touches you.

In fact, it does start to feel like there’s a palpable object in space above the remote’s sensors. Move your body close to it, and it reacts. Press into it lightly, or tease the edges. Flick your hand through it, or make graceful waves back and forth. You can use your whole body to touch it, almost like a big fuzzy vibrating cone floating in air.

If the sensor can see your body’s rhythms, it responds in kind, effortlessly synchronizing to its frequency. This is exactly the sort of closed-loop control I was after.

Hacking My Vagina (via Reddit)