Boing Boing 

Canada's National Post pretends fair dealing doesn't exist, presents you with bill to copy a single word

Michael Geist sez, "If someone wants to post a quote from Selley or anything else written by the National Post, they are now presented with pop-up box seeking a licence that starts at $150 for the Internet posting of 100 words with an extra fee of 50 cents for each additional word (the price is cut in half for non-profits). For example, in yesterday's Full Pundit, Selley quotes John Graham in the Globe on the death of Chavez:"

"Illiteracy has all but disappeared. Education and free health care are almost universally available. Improving the quality of life for millions at the bottom levels of society is no small achievement. He also imparted to these millions a sense of dignity about themselves and pride in their leader's often bombastic rhetoric."

"If you try to highlight the text to cut and paste it, you are presented with a pop-up request to purchase a licence if you plan to post the article to a website, intranet or a blog. The fee would be $150. In other words, the National Post is seeking payment for text in an article that was itself copied from the Globe. Of course, it is not just Selley's work as many articles quote from other articles or sources (for example, this Post article on Taylor Swift is primarily quotes from Vanity Fair. If you highlight a chunk of text, the licence message pops up).

"None of this requires a licence or payment. In fact, the amount of copying is often so insubstantial that a fair dealing analysis is not even needed. Last year, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that several paragraphs from a National Post column by Jonathan Kay posted to an Internet chat site did not constitute copying a substantial part of the work. If there was a fair dealing analysis, there is no doubt that copying a hundred words out of an article would easily meet the fair dealing standard. In fact, the Supreme Court of Canada has indicated that copying full articles in some circumstances may be permitted."

Forget Fair Dealing: National Post Seeks $150 To License Short Excerpts (Thanks, Michael!)

Science of hair testing for drugs questioned in Boston cop case; cocaine blamed on cookies, donuts

Six police officers in Boston who were fired after testing positive for cocaine use will be reinstated, with back pay, now that a state board has struck down the science of hair testing for drugs as 
unreliable. The ruling could have broad impact on drug testing for city workers, and other populations routinely subjected to a form of drug screening in which snips of hair are analyzed for tell-tale traces of illegal substances.

The Boston Herald reports that the firings of four other ex-cops were upheld by the commission. Some gave elaborate and innovative excuses for their positive tests. One told the commission his test was a false positive...

because he brushed white powder off the seat of his cruiser, which he “assumed was confectionery powder from doughnuts.” He also said he lived in a townhouse that shared a heating vent with neighbors who were crack smokers, records state.

Another told commissioners he had a “habit of putting drugs ... from suspects in his pocket where he also kept cookies to eat.”

More: Cops’ firing for drugs reversed [Boston Herald, HT: @Liam_ODonoghue]

Videos from - a kids' project sharing site is a site and app that encourages kids to make things. It also lets them share their projects and earn achievement badges. They've just released a few new videos that show some of the kids who are on the site.

Bureaucrats of the world

Dutch photographer Jan Banning's book "Bureaucratics" is a collection of amazing photos of bureaucrats on five continents, each posed at his or her desk, in her or his office, with notes about rank and salary. Pictured above, "India bureau typeroom," Bihar. Below, Sheriff of Crockett County, TX.

The photography has a conceptual, typological approach reminding of August Sander’s ‘Menschen des 20 Jahrhunderts’ (‘People of the Twentieth Century’). Each subject is posed behind his or her desk. The photos all have a square format (fitting the subject), are shot from the same height (that of the client), with the desk – its front or side photographed parallel to the horizontal edges of the frame – serving as a bulwark protecting the representative of rule and regulation against the individual citizen, the warm-blooded exception. They are full of telling details that sometimes reveal the way the state proclaims its power or the bureaucrat’s rank and function, sometimes of a more private character and are accompanied by information such as name, age, function and salary. Though there is a high degree of humour and absurdity in these photos, they also show compassion with the inhabitants of the state’s paper labyrinth.

Bureaucratics (via Super Punch)

Very bad ways to wake up

A "waking people up the hard way" supercut from (Thanks, Joe Sabia!)

Star Wars trio to reprise roles in Disney/Lucasfilm "Episode VII"

In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek published today, George Lucas more or less spilled the beans: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher will reprise their roles as Hans Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in the new "Star Wars" film. All three had signed on for the forthcoming "Episode VII" project before Lucasfilm's $4 billion purchase by Disney.

"We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison — or were pretty much in the final stages of negotiation," said Lucas. "Maybe I'm not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do."


Fisher had confirmed her reprisal in an earlier interview.

Interview with Aśka, designer of Wikileaks "hourglass" logo

Who designed the WikiLeaks logo? According to this Metahaven interview, a designer named Aśka. She created the WikiLeaks hourglass in 2006, and her story is most interesting.

MH: How did the idea for the hourglass emerge?

A: I made the logo in 2006, so it’s hard for me to remember what I was thinking about at the time I made it. I’m sure it would have been a completely intuitive response to the brief. I can see from my sketches that it was pretty much one of the first things that came to my mind. I was very interested in the idea of transformation that Julian’s website was aiming to achieve. Changing the world may seem like a romantic notion, but it’s also exactly what needs to happen for each new generation to supersede the old. So I guess the hourglass is exactly that—a transformation in time. And the best thing about it is that once the last drop falls, you can turn it around and start again.

Short film about Ralph Baer, the “Father of Video Games”

PBS Digital Studios profiled Ralph Baer, the “Father of Video Games”

Ralph Baer’s inventing career began following a two-year service in the military during World War II. Returning home from Europe, he went to school on the G.I. Bill and graduated with a B.S. in Television Engineering. In 1955, he joined an electronics firm called Sanders Associates, which did work for the military. Still there in 1966, he began work on an electronic box that would allow people to play games on their televisions. The working invention was later licensed as the Magnavox Odyssey and became the first home console system for video gaming in 1972. Last year he celebrated his 90th birthday – the same year the Odyssey turned 40. Here he talks about those early days of video game history and why now, at 90 years old, he's still inventing.

Watch the latest Boing Boing-curated videos in our video archive!

We've gathered fresh video for you to surf and enjoy on the Boing Boing video page. The latest finds for your viewing pleasure include:

• Beach House video for "Wishes" directed by Eric Wareheim featuring Ray Wise.
• Are cats fooled by optical illusions?
• Postal Service band auditions from 2002.
• Cyriak's Cobweb welcomes you to the land of Nope.
• Politely refusing to talk to DHS checkpoints.
• Vortex smoke rings created with 3D printed wings.
• The makers of Dove have taken their 'Real Beauty' campaign against P-shopped models into the realm of hacktivism.

Boing Boing: Video!

Amazing opportunity to meet the designer of Disneyland's Monorail, Autopia, and Flying Saucers

LA architecture historian Chris Nichols says: "I am hosting an evening with Disney legend Bob Gurr next Wednesday at the Hollywood Heritage Museum. Bob designed the Monorail, Autopia, Flying Saucers, and all the ride vehicles at Disneyland starting in 1954 and is a really inspiring designer and super-cool guy. It's a small room and we're almost full, so please click on the ticket link below if you can come. I look forward to seeing you there."

Bob Gurr is a Disney pioneer who began working on Disneyland the year before it opened. He imagineered the original Monorail, Autopia and many iconic ride vehicles for all of the Disney parks. On March 13, 2013 at 7:30 pm at the Hollywood Heritage Museum, he will discuss his memorable theme park and movie creations, including Disney's animatronic Abraham Lincoln, Universal's King Kong, concepts for the Jurassic Park dinosaurs and robots for the 1998 production of Godzilla. In addition, he will autograph his book, Design: Just For Fun. Disney fans won't want to miss this rare opportunity to hear Mr. Gurr share memories from his legendary career. This evening is sure to be a sell-out, so book your tickets early to avoid disappointment!

Evening @ the Barn: Bob Gurr - Disney Imagineering Pioneer

Coffitivity: ambient "coffee shop" sound to plug into for enhanced creativity

"Our team has delivered the vibe of a coffee shop right to your desktop, which means when your workspace just isn't quite cutting it, we've got you covered." Coffitivity promises "Enough noise to work" for those who are wired to experience increased productivity with some ambient noise around them. There's some science behind it. (HT: @SaraMynott)

Beach House video starring Ray Wise

The new Beach House video for "Wishes" was directed by Eric Wareheim (Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) and features Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, Reaper, classic 70's TV), horses &  fireworks. It takes place during a sort of demented halftime show. It's fantastic.

1970 ad: "A waste of mail... and female."

This ad was published in the year I was born, 1970. It's funny how unapologetically sexist so much marketing was, back then. These plastic plates "won't get tired or confused" like a dumb old woman always does, and they get the job done "for a fraction of her paycheck," which was of course a fraction of *your* paycheck, if you were a guy. 1970 wasn't that long ago.

From the photostream of "SenseiAlan."

Lady talking on telephone, 1913

"A bit of gossip." Scanned and shared on Flickr by Alan Mays, whose photo stream is full of wonderful old ads and ephemera from the 20th and 19th century US.

Previously: "Our lady of telephones."

Are cats fooled by optical illusions?

The Rotating Snake Illusion is a fun image that makes your brain perceive motion where no motion actually exists. Psychologists understand the factors that make an illusion like this work (and work better) — for instance, breaking up and staggering the colored lines that radiate from the center of the circle creates a much stronger sensation of movement. But they don't know exactly why it works yet, according to Japanese psychologists Akiyoshi Kitaoka and Hiroshi Ashida.

And that brings us to this kitten video.

YouTube user Rasmus posted a video that he thinks might show his cat being tricked by the same sense of motion that catches the eyes of humans who look at The Rotating Snake Illusion. On the other hand, this just might be a cute video of a kitten attacking a piece of paper — which is known to happen.

So here's the challenge: Try it on your cat. You can print it off here. Then, report back here and/or post video responses to YouTube. Let's gather some data!

This is not exactly the soundest experimental methodology ever, but it sure would be interesting to see what happens.

Some kinds of DNA ancestry tests are basically astrology

If you want to learn about your family tree, you're probably better off doing the work of compiling history than getting a $500 DNA test.

Slow motion videos of various animals capturing prey

The Chinese Giant Salamander is mesmerizing.

Are you a pessimist or an optimist when it comes to giant snakes?

Tired of measuring your relative pessimism/optimism by half-empty and half-full glassware? Try this new method, courtesy herpetologist Michael Dorcas. Read the following quote, then decide — is this fact comforting or distressing: "We’ve walked right past a 15-foot python without seeing it." Also potentially relevant to your interests: PBS' 2012 documentary about dissecting a giant python.

Book about big data, predictive behavior, and decision making

Kenneth Cukier was on NPR this morning talking about the new book he wrote with Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, "Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think." It sounds fascinating and relevant to research I'm doing at Institute for the Future on newfound applications of systems thinking in what we're calling the "coming age of networked matter." Here are some choice bits from the interview:
NewImageOn how Target identifies pregnant customers

"The example comes from Charles Duhigg, who's a reporter at The New York Times, and he's the one who uncovered the story. What Target was doing was they were trying to find out what customers were likely to be pregnant or not. So what they were able to do was to look at all the different things that couples were buying prior to the pregnancy — such as vitamins at one point, unscented lotion at another point, lots of hand towels at another point — and with that, make a prediction, score the likelihood that this person was pregnant, so that they could then send coupons to the people involved... there might be a coupon for a stroller or for diapers ...

On how Google tracks the flu

"Google stores all of its searches. What they were able to do was go through the database of previous searches to identify what was the likely predictor that there was going to be a flu outbreak in certain regions of America. Now, keep in mind, we pay for the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] to look at the United States and find out where flu outbreaks are taking place for the seasonal flu. But the difference is that it takes the CDC about two weeks to report the data. Google does it in real time simply on search queries."

Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think" (Amazon)

The 'Big Data' Revolution: How Number Crunchers Can Predict Our Lives (NPR)

Mind-croggling deposition of a Prenda Law copyright troll

I've covered Prenda Law off and on here for quite some time; they're the sleazy "law firm"/copyright trolls who use the courts to get the names and addresses of people whom they allege have downloaded pornographic videos with embarrassing names, and whom they then threaten with public humiliation and a lawsuit unless the victims pay a quick cash settlement. One of the great mysteries about Prenda is who the firm actually is -- which individuals are behind it? In past, Prenda's representatives have claimed to be working for "Alan Cooper" -- a former caretaker for one of the Prenda reps who claims they have stolen his identity.

A recent deposition in the Northern District of California of Morgan Prietz Paul Hansmeier -- another Prenda rep, apparently -- sheds no light on the mystery. Indeed, Hansmeier's deposition is a wonder of obfuscation, coyness, and mind-boggling protestations of ignorance that will baffle and delight you. Ken from Popehat has teased out the juciest bits:

In reviewing this deposition, bear Pietz' theories in mind. he alleges that (1) Prenda Law is secretly both lawyer and client — that its principals are behind the entities purportedly owning the copyrights it is suing upon, and that Prenda Law is concealing its lawyers' interest; (2) that Prenda Law has concealed who is actually running and directing its cases; (3) that Prenda Law is not actually vindicating copyrights of valuable properties, but is using copyright to extort defendants, and (4) that Prenda Law has defrauded courts with fabricated executives by, for instance, stealing the identity of "Alan Cooper" and using the identity as a fictitious client representative.

Consider those theories as you review the deposition. I could re-read it a dozen times and still discover more things about it. I will confine myself to some high points.

Deposition Reveals Prenda Law Business Model: Monetizing Squalid Douchebaggery

Dr. Google proves himself somewhat useful

Googling what ails you sounds like a good and empowering idea — until you run into barren fields of Yahoo Answers, swamps of misinformation peddled by charlatans, and orchards of seemingly useful sites that yield only the bitter fruit of tiny bits of information you have already read 5000 times already. But, it turns out that Dr. Google can actually be good for something. At The New York Times, John Markoff reports on a study that found Google search data could be used to discover and track previously unreported side-effects of common medications.

Can we ever model sociology like we model climate?

Earlier today, in a feature on the science behind gun policies, I told you about how difficult it is to get reliable answers that pinpoint exactly what helps society and what hurts it. Models — computer algorithms that help us understand how complex systems work — play a role in this, but the ones used for gun research aren't very good yet. In fact, that's true about a lot of sociology fields, write the editors of the Get Stats blog. In general, our knowledge of how society works lags far behind our knowledge of the natural world. Can that ever be fixed? Some scientists think so.

RU Sirius on the history of cypherpunk

Over at The Verge, our pal RU Sirius writes about the history of "cypherpunk," a term coined in 1992 by legendary hacker St. Jude Milhon (RIP), and now used by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in the title of his new book, Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet. From RU's piece at The Verge:
NewImage(EFF co-founder) John Gilmore summed up the accomplishments of the cypherpunks in a recent email: "We did reshape the world," he wrote. "We broke encryption loose from government control in the commercial and free software world, in a big way. We built solid encryption and both circumvented and changed the corrupt US legal regime so that strong encryption could be developed by anyone worldwide and deployed by anyone worldwide," including WikiLeaks.

As the 1990s rolled forward, many cypherpunks went to work for the man, bringing strong crypto to financial services and banks (on the whole, probably better than the alternative). Still, crypto-activism continued and the cypherpunk mailing list blossomed as an exchange for both practical encryption data and spirited, sometimes-gleeful argumentation, before finally peaking in 1997. This was when cypherpunk’s mindshare seemed to recede, possibly in proportion to the utopian effervescence of the early cyberculture. But the cypherpunk meme may now be finding a sort of rebirth in one of the biggest and most important stories in the fledgeling 21st century.

"Cypherpunk rising: WikiLeaks, encryption, and the coming surveillance dystopia"

Oil paintings by Peter Ferguson and Seamus Conley

NewImage NewImage Opening tomorrow at Seattle's Roq La Rue Gallery, a joint show of beautiful, weird, and dreamy/nightmarish oil paintings by Peter Ferguson and Seamus Conley. Above, Ferguson's "The Opening Salvo of the Duck War." At right, Conley's "Angel Hair." All of the work is also viewable online. Peter Ferguson and Seamus Conley

Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer

I like the Exergen TemporalScanner because with a gentle stroke of the forehead, I can get a person’s temperatureaccurately and almost instantly — without having to stick something in their ear, mouth, or any other orifice. I can even check a child’s temperature while they sleep. It’s very easy to use — but do read the instructions to get the right swipe motion.

The device takes 1,000 readings per second, selects the most accurate among them, and adjusts for room temperature to give you the temperature of the temporal artery (near the temple) — which is an earlier signal of disease than rectal temperature. This temporal artery thermometer is more accurate than ear thermometers and is less affected by the sources of error that can make oral or underarm temperatures misleading. (However, for many purposes, temperature precision isn’t that important. Just knowing whether there is a fever or not is far more important than knowing the temp within a few tenths of a degree. And often fever is helpful, anyway.) But accurate thermometer readings can bring great peace of mind.

I use one of these at our home and carry one with me everywhere in my pediatrician doctor’s bag. -- Alan Greene, MD

Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer $31

Warhol's Brillo Boxes made out of foam and sold as furniture

At $425 each, this set of 3 will run you 3 X $425.

(I suspect Warhol wouldn't have created his boxes had he been exposed to this design travesty instead of James Harvey's masterpiece.)

Videos of songs that appeared on Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968

NJ’s finest Beatles imitators, The Knickerbockers do their “Lies” hit

Richard Metzger of Dangerous Minds has done a great service for fans of garage rock psychedelia. He says:

The other day I was listening to Lenny Kaye’s immortal Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968 box set and it occurred to me that there must be YouTube clips of many of the groups represented there, even ones you might not expect. Sure enough, this was the case. Not everything on the Nuggets box can be found there, but what is available is a great treat.

Here’s the original album, or at least what I could find of it. I highly recommend toking up and hooking up your computer to your HDTV for these and rocking out. Big fun.

Videos of songs that appeared on Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968

Google's Field Trip - an iPhone guide to the "cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you"

Field Trip is a free iPhone app was developed in conjunction with our friends at Altas Obscura. I'm using it on an upcoming road trip from LA to Phoenix.

Field Trip, your guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you is now on the iPhone! Field Trip runs in the background on your phone. When you get close to something interesting, it will notify you and if you have a headset or bluetooth connected, it can even read the info to you.

Field Trip can help you learn about everything from local history to the latest and best places to shop, eat, and have fun. You select the local feeds you like and the information pops up on your phone automatically, as you walk next to those places.

Field Trip for iOS (Via iDownLoadBlog)

To do in San Francisco: evening with Seanan McGuire, Amber Benson, and Sarah Kuhn

The next installment in the smashing SF in SF free San Francisco reading series is an event with Seanan McGuire, Amber Benson, and Sarah Kuhn, this Saturday. Doors open at 6, and it's free, though a donation to Variety Children's Charity is requested. (Thanks, Rina!)

Salt Lake Tribune reports: "Mars peopled by one vast thinking vegetable!"

"The Tribune followed up this story on the very next page with one on how the English aristocracy was turning into gorillas."

Mars peopled by one vast thinking vegetable!