Boing Boing 

It's a SpongeBob Christmas!

Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob, and Andy Paley, a veteran music producer, have collaborated on a 12 track SpongeBob christmas album!

It’s A SpongeBob Christmas! Album debuts seven brand-new original Kenny/Paley, SpongeBob songs. “Much as we all love “Jingle Bells” and “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree,” laughs Kenny, “Let’s face it: they’ve been done enough. We wanted to try our hand at writing new Christmas songs for SpongeBob and the gang to sing.”

You can listen to the album for free at Andy Paley's website.

(thanks Dave!)

Big Tobacco will have to run a national advertising campaign apologizing for lying about health risks from smoking

US district judge Gladys Kessler has ordered the world's largest tobacco companies to pay for a two-year, national US advertising campaign to apologize for lying about smoking's health risks, and for perverting the science on the issue.

Kessler's ruling on Tuesday, which the companies could try to appeal against, aims to finalise the wording of five different statements the companies will be required to use.

One of them begins: "A federal court has ruled that the defendant tobacco companies deliberately deceived the American public by falsely selling and advertising low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes."

Another statement includes the wording: "Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans. Every day."

Tobacco companies ordered to admit they lied over smoking danger [Reuters/Guardian]

Millionaire artist Stanley Marsh 3 of "Cadillac Ranch" fame accused of sexually abusing boys

Image: Cadillac Ranch, via Wikipedia

Police in Texas today issued an arrest warrant for Stanley Marsh 3, the patron behind Ant Farm's 1970s public art installation known as Cadillac Ranch.

The Amarillo-based millionaire is accused of six counts of child sexual assault and five counts of sexual performance by a child involving two victims.

In recent months, the artist and prankster has also been on the receiving end of lawsuits that allege he paid teenage boys to perform sexual acts, including one case in which he is charged with having provided a boy with drugs and alcohol.

Read the rest

Crowdsourcing the microbiome: what's in your guts?

Guido sez, "The microbiome is the genome sequence of all the different bacteria that dwell on and in us, and it is very important, since there are 10 times as many bacteria cells as there are human cells in our bodies. My friends Zac and Jessica started a crowfunded/crowsourced project to do the sequencing of as many people as possible, and they want to do this not as a project in academia, neither as a corporate project from big pharma, but as peer-driven effort in which people will fund it, contribute with their samples and have access to their information. They want to make correlations between our bacteria and our health issues, individuals are experts about themselves. I think that this is specially important because unlike your genome, your microbiome can be changed, you can make a difference through lifestyle and behavior. We still ignore a lot, so this is why it is important to have a massive set of users who can not only contribute with their samples, but help to make correlations and crunch the data."

The more people join the uBiome community, the more statistical power the project will have to investigate connections between the microbiome and human health. For example, with 500 people, uBiome will be able to answer questions about relatively common diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. With 2,500, the project can investigate connections to breast cancer. With 50,000 people, the project can begin to address multiple sclerosis and leukemia.

uBiome [Scientific American]

(Thanks, Guido!)

Through Facebook, family first learned of their 17-year-old daughter's death

Parents of a Georgia college freshman first learned from Facebook that their daughter was found dead in a a dorm room just before Thanksgiving. They are now seeking social media assistance in solving the mystery of Jasmine Benjamin's death, which police are investigating as a homicide. (AP)

Egypt sentences 'Innocence of Muslims' director to death, in absentia

The mysterious California fellow behind that "Innocence of Muslims" film linked to violence in the mideast was today sentenced to death in absentia in an Egyptian court. He was among the 7 Egyptian Coptic Christians and one FL-based American pastor sentenced on charges linked to the movie. All of the defendants are "outside Egypt and unlikely to ever serve the sentences," reports the AP.

LegalZoom sues Rocket Lawyer

The Wall Street Journal reports that online legal documents company Inc. is suing rival online legal documents firm Rocket Lawyer Inc., alleging violations of FTC guidelines and unfair business practices “for the purpose of injuring LegalZoom.”

Bill O'Reilly-watching climate-change-denier is moved to tears by polar melting documentary

Alexander sez, "James Balog had his movie Chasing Ice released, which is about the attempt to capture melting polar ice on film. A self-described daily Bill O'Reilly watcher, who used to tell people to get out of her house if they said global warming was anything other than 'bullshit', saw it -- and started crying. I really, really, want to see O'Reilly watching her reaction."

Synopsis « Chasing Ice (Thanks, Alexander!)

Why copyright trolls will have a hard time shaking down Canadians

Michael Geist sez, "Over the past couple of days, there have been multiple reports about the return of file sharing lawsuits to Canada, with fears that thousands of Canadians could be targeted. While it is possible that many will receive demand letters, it is important to note that recent changes to Canadian copyright law limit liability in non-commercial cases to a maximum of $5,000 for all infringement claims. In fact, it is likely that a court would award far less - perhaps as little as $100 - if the case went to court as even the government's FAQ on the recent copyright reform bill provided assurances that Canadians "will not face disproportionate penalties for minor infringements of copyright by distinguishing between commercial and non-commercial infringement.""

Why Liability Is Limited: A Primer on New Copyright Damages as File Sharing Lawsuits Head To Canada

Limited edition hardcover collecting Seanan McGuire's "Velveteen vs the Junior Super Patriots" stories

Rob sez, "Hugo award winner Seanan McGuire (author of the Toby Daye, Newsflesh, and Incryptid series) is trying something new: her latest book Velveteen vs the Junior Super Patriots started life serialized on her LiveJournal and she's still writing more there, but due to fan demand she struck a deal with a small press to do a hardcover collecting the first few stories."


When Will You Rise: Stories to End the World

(Thanks, Rob!)

TVShack owner will not be extradited to America

Richard O'Dwyer, the young British man who ran the TVShack linksite (which allowed users to post links to legal and illegal places to watch TV online) will not be extradited to the USA after all. He's settled with the US government, and will pay a small fine, as well as travelling voluntarily to the USA to paper over the proceedings. TorrentFreak paints this as a victory for the activists who fought for O'Dwyer, including the 250,000+ Britons who signed Jimmy Wales's petition to keep O'Dwyer out of the US justice system.

The MPAA, who are believed to be the prime instigators of the case, were not happy with these campaigns and will probably be disappointed by the deal. A few months ago leaked documents revealed that the movie industry group saw Richard O’Dwyer as a purposeful copyright infringer.

“O’Dwyer was not a mere ‘middleman.’ He profited heavily from this activity. To call him a ‘middleman’ suggests a lack of involvement in the illegal activity, which is simply not the case,” MPAA wrote.

“Being 24, posing for newspaper photo shoots in a cartoon sweatshirt, and having your mother and Jimmy Wales speak for you, does not mean you are incapable for breaking the law,” the added.

TV Shack Admin Richard O’Dwyer Will NOT Be Extradited To U.S.

Fathom Butterfly - the notorious beauty queen, showgirl, Hammer horror actress, porn star, felon and feminist filmmaker tweets her memoirs

I learned about Josh Gosfield a few years ago when I stumbled across his cool art project that consisted of spot-on ephemera about a fictional French ye ye girl, Gigi Gaston: The Black Flower. Now Josh has a new art project about another fictional superwoman: Fathom Butterfly, aka "Scandal Shirley" -- the Notorious Beauty Queen, Showgirl, Hammer Horror Actress, Porn Star, Felon and Feminist Filmmaker. He has a great sensibility for old magazines and movie posters!

The fantastic Fathom Butterfly born during the Blitz of WW2 was a British beauty queen. She became Miss England but lost the crown in apublic debacle. She went on to become a chronic perpetrator of publicity stunts, a famed showgirl and a Hammer Horror Film actress all before she was 23. With swinging 60’s London as a backdrop, Fathom’s PR genius and self-staged scandals kept her in the public eye. At the center of a political imbroglio, she left England in the late 60’s for L.A.. Then on the cusp of Hollywood fame, Fathom crossed a powerful producer, who left her career in tatters. Fighting for survival throughout the 70’s, Fathom starred in cheap exploitation movies and pornos until she raised enough money to start her own production company toprotect vulnerable young actresses like she had once been herself.

Josh Gosfield a devout fanboy tracked down the British actress long after she had retired and convinced her to write a memoir based on her astonishing life. But when Fathom took ill and time grew short, they retooled the memoir project for Twitter. As Gosfield uploads images he has collectedfrom Fathom’s life—movie posters, film stills, adverts, newspaper clippings, paparazzi shots and home photos—Fathom recounts her past.

Fathom Butterfly has "written" her memoirs and selections of her memoir along with her movie posters, magazine covers, and tabloid stories will be tweeted for the Twitter Fiction Festival and featured from 5-6 PM EST Weds, Nov 28 to Sunday Dec. 1

See more images from Fathom Butterfly's incredible career after the jump.

Read the rest

Hunting of the Snark student film, narrated by Christopher Lee

Michael sez, "The Hunting of the Snark is a student short film narrated by Sir Christopher Lee and based on the Lewis Carroll poem of the same name. The film features a bizarre crew on a dangerous adventure to find a mysterious creature called a Snark. The movie was shot using partial sets against greenscreen and features over 150 vfx shots including cg creatures and oceans! The vfx are all being done by a small team at a DIY vfx studio that I built from the ground up! Pledge $5 to the film's Kickstarter campaign and get a DRM-free digital download of the film and a making of documentary!"

The visual effects for the film are already well underway, but in order to get them finished we need your help to bring on a small team of professional visual effects artists. These artists will help to simulate vast computer generated oceans and make our creatures look as real as possible. In addition to helping with the visual effects, funding you provide will also be used to complete the sound and color correction for the movie.

The Hunting of the Snark - Narrated by Sir Christopher Lee (Thanks, Michael!)

SOPA's daddy, Lamar Smith, to chair the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology

Mr_raccoon sez, "Remember Lamar Smith (the guy who tried to pass off SOPA as being good for the internet)? Well there is a lot of talk about his chairing the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The GOP is set to vote on this today. This is like making an arsonist the fire-chief."

Tune in to the Walking Dead Season 3 marathon this weekend

In case you've missed any of this season's episodes of The Walking Dead, AMC will be running a marathon leading up to its mid-season finale this Sunday, December 2. I highly recommend watching as much of it as you can because this season has been pretty spectacular in a variety of devastating and entertaining ways! (You can also read all of my recaps, if you feel so moved.) The marathon starts at 2:00 PM (Eastern), and by the time the mid-season finale airs at 9:00, you'll be so full of zombie goodness that you can't hear! (via AMC)

Boing Boing's Video archive: a roundup of recently-blogged cool videos

We've recently launched Boing Boing's all-new Video page, where all of the videos we blog on Boing Boing are viewable in one big-ass awesome grid of video-licious awesome awesomeness.

Some recent picks:

* Neil Patrick Harris "dreams in puppets" in a new web series on Nerdist.
* National Geographic and the Cincinnati Zoo capture beautiful footage of cheetahs in action.
* An adorable exploration of the things the Curiosity rover might find on Mars.
* The Howard the Duck theme in a form you've never seen before.
* footage of a vicious and terrifying prank from a Brazilian candid-camera show.
* Extreme Card Manipulation, from a group of trick virtuosos in Singapore.
* A CNN report on the arsenal discovered on the North Korean assassin arrested in Seoul last year: a poison-dart pen, a pen-pistol, a flashlight-gun, and more.

Check it out!

What the vacuum cleaner man saw

The vacuum cleaner man is one lucky fellow.

To do in Ireland: go see a painting based on a phonecam snapshot Xeni took in 2005

In Limerick, Ireland, the Limerick City Gallery of Art is hosting an exhibition of artist Enda O'Donoghue, whose work focuses on "forensic interest in the medium and process of painting and an ongoing dialogue with the mediation of images through digital technology."

One of the works in the show is 'Reno,' above, from 2011. Enda, who I do not know personally, was wandering around the internet and spotted a phonecam snapshot I took of slot machine players in the Reno, NV airport. I'm pretty sure I shot it in 2005, but it may have been earlier. Anyway, he asked if I'd mind if he created a painting from the low-rez jpeg, and I said, sure, go for it. What an amazing thing!

Read the rest

Punk playing cards

The "Urban Punk" card-deck's up on Kickstarter, starting at $10. I especially like the face-cards -- the gas-mask kills me.

We viewed both the physical cards and traditional designs as a “washed out” concrete wall where the bits of stencil-style graffiti imagery are the energizing and vibrant pop. This imagery also alters the traditional court designs into the punk subcultures. The motto is to break out from the norm, be different, be unique.

New Release : Urban Punk Bicycle Playing Cards (Thanks, Scott!)

Rough drafts of Chris Brown's inevitable "return to Twitter" tweet

"I didn't even know my account was shut down. The way I tweet is I write stuff on the wall with my feces and my manager types it into Twitter."

Japanese firm offers expectant parents 3D-printed fetus from MRI scan

Tomohiro Kinoshita with 3D model of 9-month fetus in acrylic resin, and small phone charm. Photo: AFP.

A firm in Japan is offering expectant moms and dads the ability to purchase a 3D-printed model of their unborn child, for about $1200 USD. The "Shape of an Angel" is about 9cm, in white resin, encased in a transparent block that forms the shape of the mother's body. The modeling data comes from an MRI scan.

"As it is only once in a lifetime that you are pregnant with that child, we received requests for these kind of models from pregnant women who... do not want to forget the feelings and experience of that time," said Tomohiro Kinoshita of FASOTEC, the company offering the service.
It comes with a tiny little version version that can be used as a mobile phone trinket (young women in Japan often dress up their phones with little dangly adornments). More in the Australian paper The Age. (HT: @Gromit01)

32 Signs You’re Dating A Keeper

Yep, this list rings true. (via @sfslim)

Never mind: Kasdan and Kinberg might be writing different Star Wars things, not Episodes VIII and IX

A week ago, we found out that Disney-Lucasfilm had chosen screenwriters Simon Kinberg and Lawrence Kasdan -- who wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi -- to write the final two installments of the new Star Wars trilogy. While it had seemed all but confirmed at the time, (which had confirmed Michael Arndt as the writer of Episode VII) never had an official announcement. Maybe because Kasdan and Kinberg weren't hired to write those sequels after all. Instead, they will be taking on different projects with Star Wars characters that would better be described as spinoffs than sequels. So, per last week's post: Never mind!

This is all part of Disney-Lucasfilm's big plans to create a whole Star Wars franchise of movies, similar to Marvel (also owned by Disney) and The Avengers, with new films every year (possibly) featuring different tales from different parts of the Star Wars universe. In the meantime, the other Episodes will still happen, most likely tying together the separate stories (à la Iron Man, Captain America, etc. and The Avengers) that it appears that Kasdan and Kinberg might be working on. That's all just a guess, but as a fan fiction connoisseur, I find this to be a super fun subject of speculation. Like how it might be entirely possible that Boba Fett gets his own movie.

Photo credit: Juan Fernandez

Lawrence Kasdan & Simon Kinberg Writing Star Wars Spin-Offs Instead? [Superhero Hype]

Electric candle that runs on the heat from a real candle

Instructables user Randofo has created a tutorial for his ingeniously perverse candle-powered electric candle. As the name implies, it's an electric candle whose power comes from the heat given off by a real candle.

I have been thinking a lot lately about being more prepared, and what supplies we should have on hand for when the 'big one' hits. After prioritizing the three most obvious things to have in a severe emergency - water, food, and a fair-sized crowbar - it came down to figuring out what else one needs to survive. It did not take me very long to conclude this item was electric lighting. I use that all the time. How can I live without that?

After assessing the problem, it became apparent to me that after a few days of constant lighting, all of my batteries will be dead. This means that either I need rechargeable batteries, or a way to generate electricity without them. Not needing batteries to begin with seemed most sensible to me. I explored different options and finally figured out a low-cost, long-term, and portable, method to keep my electric candles lit. I am going to use heat generated by tea lights. The nice thing about this solution is that they are dirt cheap, small, and will last forever. You can buy about 1,000,000 tea lights at Ikea for $1.99. With a fair-sized stock of small candles, I can keep my electric candle lit indefinitely. Thanks to my candle-powered electric candle, I know that I will never be left in the dark.

Candle-Powered Electric Candle (via Neatorama)

An internal miscommunication

Oddly, we don't seem to have even received the original commercial, which is suddenly very interesting. I wonder: what's in it that is so terrible that "legal reasons" need be hamfistedly waved around? Hookers snorting coke under Ambilight's warm embrace—Blow and Glow? A freshly untethered Beverly Mantle, waking on his bloodsoaked gurney to the gentle dawn of the Philips Hf3470/60 Wake-up Light? Or maybe it really was just early.

New PRI's The World radio series on the global reach of cancer

The daily PRI radio news program The World will soon air a week-long series about cancer's global reach.

As regular Boing Boing readers know, cancer's been a frequent blogging topic of mine since I was diagnosed with breast cancer almost exactly one year ago this week.

From what host Marco Werman sent along, it sounds like a really great reporting series, and I'll definitely be tuning in.

Here's a preview of one episode that focuses on cancer care in Uganda. More below.

Read the rest

How To: Film cheetahs in slow motion

For this project you will need one cat toy on a string, a high-speed camera mounted on a moveable track, and also some cheetahs.

This behind-the-scenes video shows you how National Geographic and the Cincinnati Zoo captured amazing footage of big cats in motion. It's a complicated process and I wish they'd shown more of the animal-handling part of it. I certainly didn't realize that some zoo animals were so comfortable with humans that you could walk them around on a leash and let them off to run free around a dozen unfamiliar members of a camera crew. Still great to watch, though.

Via Laughing Squid, which has the 7-minute video showing the final footage of running cheetahs.

When hip hop, science, and education collide

This is a sentence I never expected to read and it makes me insanely excited: "GZA had just finished an extraordinary round of meetings with physicists at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, culling ideas for a coming solo album about the cosmos." Oh. Hell. Yes. Meanwhile, GZA is also working with a Columbia professor on an educational program that uses rhyme-writing and some of the cultural trappings of freestyle rap to teach science in New York City public schools. Oh, and it turns out that GZA is pronounced "Jiz-ah", and is derived from "genius".

Cool things to find (Curiosity parody of "Dumb ways to die")

What might the Curiosity rover find on Mars? So many cool things. Maybe friends that hug your face! Maybe Nixon's secret tapes! Or maybe even something less easily fit into song lyrics, like significant amounts of Martian methane.

This video, made by Cinesaurus, is a parody of "Dumb Ways to Die", an adorably demented public safety message from Australia's Metro Trains Melbourne. If you've not seen that yet, you should check it out as well.

Thanks to Andrew Balfour and Michael Bernstein!