Boing Boing 

Humans yelling like goats yelling like humans

Full circle, guys: first there were goats yelling like humans, then there were more goats yelling like humans, now there are humans yelling like goats. Created by Olde Payphone, a sketch comedy group from Los Angeles. (Thanks, Antinous)

New Yorker: Larissa MacFarquhar on Aaron Swartz

"Aaron Swartz was brilliant and beloved. But the people who knew him best saw a darker side." A masterful profile of the late activist, through the testimony of many who loved him, written by Larissa MacFarquhar for The New Yorker.

Morning star of Saturn: Cassini views Venus

Dawn on Saturn is greeted across the vastness of interplanetary space by the morning star, Venus, in this image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

Carolyn Porco, Cassini Imaging Team Leader and director of CICLOPS, writes:

Every so often, our cameras on Cassini digitally record, either intentionally or incidentally, other celestial bodies besides those found around Saturn. The Cassini Imaging Team is releasing a pair of images that did just that. Venus, a lovely shining beacon of light and Earth's `twin' planet, was recently sighted amidst the glories of Saturn and its rings.

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Fundraiser for the Public Domain Review

Adam sez, "The Public Domain Review is a not-for-profit project dedicated to showcasing the most interesting and unusual out-of-copyright works available online. We've been featured on Boing Boing before. We have just launched our fundraising campaign to try and keep the project alive."

Donate Now to Save The Public Domain Review!

Kaki King: "Cargo Cult," from the new album, "Glow" (and an upcoming BB Virgin America channel appearance)

I just floated back to the mainland after three wonderful weeks working and experiencing new things in Hawaii. While I was there, I ran into Boing Boing pal Kaki King (web, amazon, twitter), who very kindly agreed to sit down with us for the taping of Boing Boing's next edition of our in-flight Virgin America channel (it's channel 10 on their planes, and if you haven't watched it before, I guarantee you'll love it). She played a live session for Boing Boing, and talked with us about the new record. I can't wait for all of our readers, all of her fans, and all of Virgin America's passengers to get turned on to the wonderful music she played for us on a sunny, breezy day on the island of Oahu.

Kaki's most recent album "Glow" came out in late 2012 when I was still right in the middle of cancer treatment, and I wasn't really keeping up with new musical releases. But I listened to it last week with her in a new mutual friend's home on Oahu, on a rainy, windy island winter day. And man, I was totally smitten. It's a masterpiece of layered, melodic guitar, with accompaniment by the Ethel string quartet. It's her best work ever.

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Make a 3D printed Makie doll on your tablet!


MakieLab, the 3D-printed toy company my wife Alice founded, has just shipped its first tablet-based doll-builder: the Makies Doll Factory!

We think designing Makies with fingers feels really cool, like proper making. And, we've revamped the pricing for real-life Makies, so you can order only the hair, accessories and clothes you want with your doll - which makes most Makies a bit cheaper too! App users get this first (we re-jigged the shop along with the app, to make this possible), and we'll be rolling it out to www.makie.me later this week.

MAKIES iPAD APP OUT NOW!

Transcript of Lessig's talk: "Aaron's Law"

On Naked Capitalism, The Unknown Transcriber has transcribed the full text of Lawrence Lessig's Aaron's Law talk, which was one of Larry's finest moments.

So Aaron was a hacker. But he was not just a hacker. He was an Internet activist, but not just an Internet activist. Indeed, the most important part of Aaron’s life is the part most run over too quickly – the last chunk, when he shifted his focus from this effort to advance freedom in the space of copyright, to an effort to advance freedom and social justice more generally.

And I shared this shift with him. In June of 2007 I too announced I was giving up my work on Internet and copyright to work in this area of corruption. And I’m not sure when for him this change made sense, but I’m fairly sure when it made sense for me. Happened in 2006. Aaron had come to a conference, the C3 conference, the 23rd C3 conference in Berlin, and I was with my family at the American Academy in Berlin and Aaron came to visit me. And we had a long conversation, and in the course of that conversation Aaron said to me, how are you ever going to make progress in the areas that I was working on, copyright reform, Internet regulation reform, so long as there is, as he put it, this, quote, “corruption” in the political field. I tried to deflect him a bit. I said, “Look, that’s not my field.” Not my field. And he said, “I get it. As an academic, you mean?” And I said, “Yes, as an academic, that’s not my field.” And he said, “And as a citizen, is it your field?” As a citizen is it your field?

And this was his power. Amazing, unpatented power. Like the very best teachers, he taught by asking. Like the most effective leaders, his questions were on a path, his path. They coerced you, if you wanted to be as he was. They forced you to think of who you were and what you believed in and decide, were you to be the person you thought you were? So when people refer to me as Aaron Swartz’s mentor, they have it exactly backwards. Aaron was my mentor. He taught me, he pushed me, he led me. He led me to where I work today.

Transcript: Lawrence Lessig on “Aaron’s Laws – Law and Justice in a Digital Age”: Section I

Freeing children from "imprisonment schooling" -- A new book by Peter Gray

When I wrote my book Made by Hand, I interviewed Peter Gray about the way kids learn. He's a research professor in the Department of Psychology at Boston College, and I found his ideas on unstructured self-teaching fascinating and I quoted him at length in my book. Dr. Gray now has a book out called, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life. If you are a parent of school ago children, I highly recommend it.

After the jump, an excerpt from Free to Learn.

Our children spend their days being passively instructed, and made to sit still and take tests -- often against their will. We call this imprisonment schooling, yet wonder why kids become bored and misbehave. Even outside of school children today seldom play and explore without adult supervision, and are afforded few opportunities to control their own lives. The result: anxious, unfocused children who see schooling—and life—as a series of hoops to struggle through.

In Free to Learn, developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that our children, if free to pursue their own interests through play, will not only learn all they need to know, but will do so with energy and passion. Children come into this world burning to learn, equipped with the curiosity, playfulness, and sociability to direct their own education. Yet we have squelched such instincts in a school model originally developed to indoctrinate, not to promote intellectual growth.

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Tailly: a heart-rate-controlled costume tail, on Indiegogo

Elix sez, "Tailly is the invention of Shota Ishiwatari, the Japanese maker/inventor that designed and built the prototypes for the emotion-displaying Necomimi cat ears by NeuroSky. He's invented a tail that monitors your heart rate and reacts accordingly: A slow, lazy swish when you're relaxed, a brisk wag when you're excited, and so on. The goal is to deliver the goods (if successful) in September. It's down to the last three days, and it's struggling. It's only raised about 30% of its goal, and it could use some happy mutant help. The actual cost for the initial production run is $100,000, but Ishiwatari has negotiated a deal with a trading company to get them to kick in half if he can crowdfund the other half. This is a Kickstarter-style fixed funding campaign, so if he doesn't make the goal, he gets nothing at all."

Tailly is not just a toy, nor is it a fashion accessory or a gadget. It is those three items combined, and, since it reacts to the heart beat rate, an extension of the users’ body. Tailly is fun to wear to parties, while out with friends or playing with kids. You could even wear Tailly on a date and express your true feelings through the wagging tail. Even better, your partner could also wear one for the both of you to add a level of subconscious communication between the two of you.

Tailly: The tail that wags when you get excited (Thanks, Elix!)

Baja in my Westy: San Ignacio, Day 4 in MX

Wow. Four days without internet. That's been interesting!

We've had quite an adventure thus far. Saturday AM we met 9 other Vanagons and headed south. It is an amazing group of people and we've fallen for everyone. It is an incredible melange of VW camper van enthusiasts.

We spent our first night 16km south of San Quentin. We then made our way to Bahia de Los Angeles for 2 nights. From our campsite at La Gringa I dug for clams, caught a striped bass from a kayak and spent a few hours trying to fix my now destroyed awning (an old Dometic A&E that was beautifully color matched to Serendipity but alas, is no more.)

Today we drove to San Ignacio. Tomorrow we see whales. I wish I had more time to write. Perhaps this evening, but we're being rushed off to the campsite from here in town square. The church is lovely.

DRM Chair

One can only sit on the DRM Chair eight times before it collapses. Thibault Brevet and friends created it in 48 hours for The Deconstruction hackathon.

A small sensor detects when someone sits and decrements a counter. Every time someone sits up, the chair knocks a number of time to signal how many uses are left. When reaching zero, the self-destruct system is turned on and the structural joints of the chair are melted.
(Thanks, Jason Tester!)

Connecticut state rep. tells 17-year-old girl he has a "snake under my desk" that can help her with shyness


Snippet from a Connecticut State Appropriations Committee hearing about a program to help students overcome shyness:

17-year-old-girl: "I am usually a very shy person, and now I am more outgoing. I was able to teach those children about certain things like snakes that we have and the turtles that we have... I want to do something toward that, working with children when I get older."

Connecticut state Rep. Ernest Hewett (D): "If you're bashful I got a snake sitting under my desk here."

Hewitt later responded to critics: “If she had said elephants, I would have said elephants.”

Students design their own high school

Students at Monument Mountain Regional High School in Massachusetts created their own school for a semester. "What did it look like? No quizzes. No tests. No grades. Students created their own learning materials and taught themselves and each other."

If students designed their own school… it would look like this

(Via Seth's Blog)

Introducing the Kia Terrorist

Kia concept car 'Provo' reminds Irish of terror:

"Lawmakers from Northern Ireland formally appealed Tuesday for the South Korean carmaker to junk the name of its planned super-mini sports coupe because "Provo" is the nickname for the dominant branch of the outlawed Irish Republican Army, the Provisional IRA."

Looks great in orange. Can't wait to check out the Toyota Blackentan and Hyundai Sectarian at next year's Detroit Auto Show.

Superman artist refuses to illustrate Orson Scott Card’s script for DC

ComicsBeat: "Artist Chris Sprouse, who would have been drawing controversial writer Orson Scott Card’s contribution to the upcoming Superman anthology Adventures of Superman, has stepped down from the project today. He cites the media furore over the comic as his reason for dropping the project."

Why Andy Ihnatko switched from an iPhone to an Android

My friend, the technology journalist Andy Ihnatko, traded in his iPhone 4s for a Samsung Galaxy S III. Here's the first of his "three-part epic" for TechHive in which he explains why he did it.

I find that typing on an Android device is faster and much less annoying than typing on my iPhone. It's not even close.

This example also points out some of the philosophical differences that often allow Android to create a better experience for the user. Why is the iOS keyboard so stripped-down? Why can't the user customize the experience? Because Apple's gun-shy about adding features at the cost of simplicity and clarity. They're not wrong; it's a perfectly valid philosophy, and usually an effective one.

But sometimes, an Apple product's feature lands at the wrong side of the line that divides "simple" from "stripped down." The iPhone keyboard is stripped-down.

If you don't like how Android's stock keyboard behaves, you can dig into Settings and change it. If you still don't like it, you can install a third-party alternative. And if you think it's fine as-is, then you won't be distracted by the options. The customization panel is inside Settings, and the alternatives are over in the Google Play store.

But I'll be honest: the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S III doesn't suddenly go bip-BONG! and stick a purple microphone in my face when I'm mentally focused on what I'm writing is reason enough for me to prefer the Android keyboard.

Seriously, Apple. This is the single iOS quirk that makes me hate my iPhone. Every time it happens, it yanks me out of my task, and as I scowl and dismiss the microphone, I wonder if you folks put a lot of thought into this feature. "Press and hold to activate speech-to-text" needs to be a user-settable option.

Also, I wanted to mention that Andy has a terrifically entertaining podcast called The Ihnatko Alamanac, where he covers comics, technology, and other stuff that he expounds upon in colorful ways.

Why I switched from iPhone to Android

Junip - “Line of Fire” (free MP3)

Sound it Out # 43: Junip - “Line of Fire” (MP3)

Junip is a band from Gothenburg, Sweden, comprising members Elias Araya, Tobias Winterkorn, and José González. Though their first EP came out way back in 2005, they are only now releasing their second full-length album, Junip, which arrives on April 23rd. Singer/guitarist González’ much-lauded solo career has kept him away from the band for big chunks of time. It's been worth the wait.

Junip's new single “Line of Fire” is an atmospheric gem. Whispery vocals, exotic percussion and an overall ominous tone make for a highly addictive song. Download/listen below.

Big Content's thickfingered astroturfers

On PaidContent, a trio of consecutive, incoherent, suspiciously similar comments sticking up for the NBC's plan to declare itself Lord High Executioner for the Internet are all revealed to emanate from a DC PR firm that represents the studios and labels. (via Techdirt)

Soviet futuristic illustrations of the 1970s


On IO9, Vincze Miklos rounds up some of the finest sovkitsch futuristic imagery from three 1970s issues of the Soviet YA technology magazine Youth Technics (1, 2, 3) and other sources, presenting a gallery of streamlined jetpack socialism.

Some of the most famous images of Soviet futurism come out of the 1920s and 30s, when the Revolution was young and propaganda posters were like stark works of realist art. But the nation continued to produce works of incredible futurism throughout its reign — including during the trippy period before the Iron Curtain fell in the late twentieth century. Here are some visions of tomorrow, from the USSR in the 1970s.

The groovy socialist world of 1970s Soviet futurism

U.S. Senator quits writing interesting tweets

U.S. Senator and septuagenarian Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was a much-loved presence on Twitter, thanks to offbeat musings left refreshingly unpasteurized by PR hacks, political whips and the responses of haters. They eventually got to him, unfortunately, and he hasn't posted anything interesting in weeks. Buzzfeed's John Stanton interviewed him and found him sadly on-message: "I try to be more policy-oriented now than I used to be, not every little personal thing."

Buckner & Garcia's "Pac-Man Fever" (1982)

NewImage Buckner & Garcia perform "Pac-Man Fever," from the 1982 album of the same name, on American Bandstand. I had this LP and the inner sleeve featured the patterns to maximize your score on the game. The title song hit #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single, "Do the Donkey Kong," didn't do quite as well. Other tracks include "Froggy's Lament," "Goin' Berzerk," and "Ode to a Centipede." Due to rights issues, the currently-available "reissue" is actually a re-recording of the original music. The original LP can be easily found for around $40 or check your local thriftshops.

Mash-up: "Call Me Maybe" vs. "Head Like A Hole"

Nineinch

Carly Rae Jepsen x Trent Reznor = "Call Me A Hole," by pomDeterrific.

(shoop by Rob Beschizza)

Food, urine, and feces as radiation shield for Mars mission

NewImage The Inspiration Mars team planning to send a couple on a fly-by mission to Mars in 2018 have an idea of how to protect the astronauts from cosmic rays on the long journey: pack the walls of the spaceship with food, shit, and piss. "Dehydrate (the human waste) as much as possible, because we need to get the water back," team member Taber MacCallum told New Scientist. "Those solid waste products get put into a bag, put right back against the wall… (Also,) food is going to be stored all around the walls of the spacecraft, because food is good radiation shielding." The food he adds, would block the cosmic rays but wouldn't become radioactive itself.

Supercute's "Love Love Leave Love" music video

Supercute! is my favorite band since The Flying Lizards. Here's their new song, "Love Love Leave Love."

Previously:

Supercute! plays Misty Mountain Hop on ukulele

Supercute! "Dumb Dumbs"

Supercute! video "Not To Write About Boys"

Wikipedia and libraries: a match made in heaven

John Mark Ockerbloom's "From Wikipedia to our libraries" is a fabulous proposal for creating research synergies between libraries and Wikipedia, by adding templates to Wikipedia articles that direct readers to unique, offline-only (or onsite-only) library resources at their favorite local libraries. Ockerbloom's approach acknowledges and respects the fact that patrons start their searches online, and seeks only to improve the outcomes of their research -- not to convince them not to start with the Internet.

So how do we get people from Wikipedia articles to the related offerings of our local libraries? Essentially we need three things: First, we need ways to embed links in Wikipedia to the libraries that readers use. (We can’t reasonably add individual links from an article to each library out there, because there are too many of them– there has to be a way that each Wikipedia reader can get to their own favored libraries via the same links.) Second, we need ways to derive appropriate library concepts and local searches from the subjects of Wikipedia articles, so the links go somewhere useful. Finally, we need good summaries of the resources a reader’s library makes available on those concepts, so the links end up showing something useful. With all of these in place, it should be possible for researchers to get from a Wikipedia article on a topic straight to a guide to their local library’s offerings on that topic in a single click.

I’ve developed some tools to enable these one-click Wikipedia -> library transitions. For the first thing we need, I’ve created a set of Wikipedia templates for adding library links. The documentation for the Library resources box template, for instance, describes how to use it to create a sidebar box with links to resources about (or by) the topic of a Wikipedia article in a reader’s library, or in another library a reader might want to consult. (There’s also an option for direct links to my Online Books Page, if there are relevant books online; it may be easier in some cases for readers to access those than to access their local library’s books.)

From Wikipedia to our libraries (via Making Light)

(Image: library card, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from raqkat's photostream)

Brain Rot: Hip Hop Family Tree, Beastie Boys

Read the rest of the Hip Hop Family Tree comics!

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Weekly Wipe: Charlie Brooker shreds TV

I somehow missed the fact that Charlie "Black Mirror" Brooker's brilliant, sweary, hilarious show Weekly Wipe had returned for a third season. It's the latest iteration of several different Brooker projects in which he sits on his sofa and shouts at his TV in the most amazingly entertaining way. Huge whacks of it are on YouTube, and every episode is pure glod (and oh, God, the bits where he reads awful online comments about bad TV moments aloud!).

Weekly Wipe

The International Bank of Bob - exclusive excerpt from Bob Harris' new book about his microloan adventures

Bob Harris has written a number of excellent travel pieces for Boing Boing. He's also a Jeopardy champion (his book about his experience, Prisoner of Trebekistan: A Decade in Jeopardy! is fantastic). I met Bob a couple of years ago at the International Trivia Championship in Las Vegas and found him to be warm, funny, and wickedly good at answering trivia questions. His new book is not about trivia or game shows, but about his passion for microloans and his travels around the world to meet the people he has loaned money to through Kiva.

After the jump, an excerpt from his book, The International Bank of Bob: Connecting Our Worlds One $25 Kiva Loan at a Time.
Hired by ForbesTraveler.com to review some of the most luxurious accommodations on Earth, and then inspired by a chance encounter in Dubai with the impoverished workers whose backbreaking jobs create such opulence, Bob Harris had an epiphany: He would turn his own good fortune into an effort to make lives like theirs better. Bob found his way to Kiva.org, the leading portal through which individuals make microloans all over the world: for as little as $25-50, businesses are financed and people are uplifted. Astonishingly, the repayment rate was nearly 99%, so he re-loaned the money to others over and over again. After making hundreds of microloans online, Bob wanted to see the results first-hand, and in The International Bank of Bob he travels from Peru and Bosnia to Rwanda and Cambodia, introducing us to some of the most inspiring and enterprising people we've ever met, while illuminating day-to-day life-political and emotional-in much of the world that Americans never see. Told with humor and compassion, The International Bank of Bob brings the world to our doorstep, and makes clear that each of us can, actually, make it better.

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