Aaron Swartz defense: prosecutor Steve Heymann deliberately withheld exculpatory evidence

According to Aaron Swartz's defense team, federal prosecutor Steve Heymann (star of Quinn Norton's extraordinary piece on the prosecution) illegally withheld evidence that would have exculpated Aaron:

In the document, Peters argues that Heymann withheld exculpatory evidence. At issue was whether the federal government had properly obtained a warrant to search Swartz' computer and thumb drive. Peters argued that the government failed by waiting more than a month to obtain the warrant. Heymann countered that he couldn't get a warrant because he didn't have access to the equipment. But an email in Heymann's possession, which was written to Heymann himself, showed that assertion to be untrue.

In an email that was not provided to the defense team until the last minute, Michael Picket, a Secret Service agent, wrote to Heymann on Jan. 7, “I am prepared to take custody of the laptop anytime after it has been processed for prints or whenever you feel is appropriate. As far as I know no one has sought a warrant for the examination of the computer, the cell phone that was on his person or the 8gb flash drive that was in his backpack." It would be more than a month before Heymann obtained a warrant -– far too long, in Peters' estimation, which means that the evidence found on the laptop could have become inadmissible.

Peters' complaint, which was filed in late January but has not been previously reported, makes additional charges that cannot be revealed because the government fought for a protective order that keeps case information secret. Peters is attempting to have that order lifted.

Aaron Swartz Lawyers Accuse Prosecutor Stephen Heymann Of Misconduct

Glitched-out armoire


Spocko sez, "This piece of furniture looks like an alien made it after looking at a frozen frame on a VCR."

In his second year working with Fratelli Boffi, Ferruccio Laviani has created yet another fanciful world from the depths of his prolific imagination. A concept that goes beyond individual products, it combines the expertise of a company that specializes in full-feature and tailor-made projects with the creativity of a designer who can strike a balance between the past and the future, blending the harmony and magniloquence of the classical with the charm and allure of the contemporary.

Good Vibrations Storage Unit by Ferruccio Laviani (Thanks,Spocko!)

Thom Yorke's Atoms for Peace live DJ sets: "f-ing bonkers"

Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich are launching the debut album for Atoms for Peace with a special series of DJ sets in NYC, London, and Berlin.

The sets will be much more than just two guys with two turntables and a microphone, and will involve live generative visual art, live drum machine programming— they sound like they'll really be something special.

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Dems to Obama: Be more transparent about drones, kill lists. Obama: Nope.

In a closed door meeting, Democrats demanded that President Obama be more transparent about drones, secret legal memos, and "kill lists." He declined.

In response to a critique by one lawmaker over the administration's failure to show congressional intelligence committee members memos justifying the use of lethal force against American terror suspects abroad, Obama said he’s not involved in drafting the memos. Politico reports:

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Reuters employee charged with aiding Anonymous in website defacement

Matthew Keys, 26, a social media editor for Reuters, has been indicted on charges that he helped members of Anonymous hack the Tribune Co. network in order to deface the Los Angeles Times website.

"The editor was outed by the prominent former member of Anonymous known as Sabu who became a snitch for the FBI following his own arrest last year," reports Kim Zetter at Wired News. Here is the indictment (PDF).

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eDrometer Digital Hydrometer for Brewers and Winemakers


My cousin, Greg Lanham, and I have many similarities. We're the same age (born four days apart), we grew up in Colorado, and we went to Colorado State University at the same time and got degrees in mechanical engineering. The main difference is that I was a lousy engineer but Greg is a very good engineer. That's why I know his digital hydrometer "designed to aid the artisan brewer, winemaker and distiller in their craft" will work as advertised.

One of the key measurements obtained with a hydrometer during alcohol production is sugar concentration; this is an important measurement because, basically, sugar is the food for the yeast. By knowing the amount of sugar, the craftsman can control the alcohol content and flavor of the beverage being produced. This value is measured at different points throughout the process to ensure a repeatable, quality product every time.

Because the eDrometer is so fast and easy to use the craftsman can easily take measurements before, during and after fermentation, allowing them to consistently dial in their recipe.

eDrometer Digital Hydrometer for Brewers and Winemakers

Video of the first Mat Ricardo's London Varieties show

Mat Ricardo sez,

The first episode of the 2013 season of Mat Ricardo's London Varieties is now up, online, for anyone to watch, completely free! This is the edited version of the brand new variety show that comes live, once a month, from the Leicester Square Theatre in the heart of London's West End! This months episode features juggling, magic, circus, comedy, music and two middle-aged men making fools of themselves with some hats. It was a fun night.

Some Boing Boing readers have said hi to me at previous shows, so I hope you all watch, enjoy and share it to your hearts content! The next show is on March 28th, at 9.30, and features Al Murray The Pub Landlord in conversation, plus performances from The Boy With Tape On His Face, award-winning magician Pete Wardell, and the hilarious Elliot Mason. Oh, and I'll be attempting a feat of strength and dexterity that killed a fellow juggler in 1936. Tickets available right here.

Mat Ricardo's London Varieties: Show One (Thanks, Mat!)

Air horn office chair prank


You know those assholes who wake up their friends in painful and startling ways? They are coming to your office.

Air horn office chair prank

Kickstarting a deep-sea documentary on the nuclear wrecks of the Bikini Atoll

Steven Boyett sez, "Wreck diver and videographer Adrian Smith has launched a Kickstarter project to fund an expedition to document the forgotten wrecks sunken by the Bikini Atoll atomic explosion in 1946. No video record exists of these historic wrecks (many of them captured German and Japanese warships), and they are quickly eroding."

The naval vessels exposed to close-range atomic blast at Bikini Atoll represent the three major Pacific combatants of World War II. They are the only vessels ever sunk through the detonation of atomic weapons. These unique ships and submarines lie almost two hundred feet underwater, and are rapidly deteriorating. No comprehensive visual record exists to document their current state or unique reactions to their exposure to close-range atomic detonation. Soon it will be too late.

The ships themselves lie in waters from 40 ft (12 m) to 185 ft (56 m), deep but diveable with the correct equipment and training.

The “Baker” blast at Bikini Atoll was global front-page news when it occurred — so well-known that a French designer scandalized the world by introducing a line of two-piece swimsuits a mere four days after the Baker blast. The name of this new fashion? The bikini.

The Atomic Armada - The Forgotten Wrecks of Bikini Atoll by Adrian Smith (Thanks, Steven!)

Photolettering app from House Industries


From our friends at House Industries: an iPhone app that offers different House-designed fonts to add text to your photos. Based on House's terrific (and cheap!) Photo-Lettering service.

Photolettering - House Industries

Kickstarting a cheap, versatile, sophisticated 3D printed robotic hand

Chris sez,

Chris Chappell and Easton LaChappelle have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the development of a 3D printed robotics hand. The hand is currently aimed at makers and researchers, but the eventual market will be for prosthetics.

Chris and Easton are primarily focused on dropping the cost of the hand, since current research hands or prosthetic hands can cost £50,000+. The cost of the Kickstarter hand fully assembled is £300 with electronics. They also offer a control glove (based on a nintendo power glove) for an extra £200.

Easton has also been developing a control method based on EEG measurements. Taking the design a step towards being a practical prosthesis. Easton just won the Da Vinci Award at the San Juan Basin Science Fair for his work.

We've mentioned this team's robotics work before. This has all the ingredients of a great Kickstarter: an accomplished team seeking modest funds to make something genuinely great.

3D Printed Robotic Hand (Thanks, Chris!)

Large format Adrian Tomine prints


One of my favorite illustrators, Adrian Tomine, has started offering prints of his work, including these two sublime New Yorker covers. They measure 18" x 24" and are gorgeous (I have "Missed Connection").

Adrian Tomine Prints

See also: Adrian Tomine's New York Drawings: exclusive excerpt

Chris Buzelli cover for Players magazine


Players is an Italian magazine about "the best of media, cinema, music, videogames, art, literature and 
technology." Sounds great, and I love this Chris Buzelli cover.

(Via Cover Junkie)

What is this mystery tool?

Over at Cool Tools, Bill Potter asks, "I came across this contraption in my dad’s tool collection after he passed away. He was an electrical engineer/computer science guy, so I’m pretty sure it had nothing to do with his work. Any ideas?"

Contraption in My Dad’s Tool Collection

Derren Brown's guide to overcoming awkward situations

Boing Boing reader tw1515tw mentioned this essay by mentalist Derren Brown on how to overcome awkward situations. Most of Brown's strategies involve behaving irrationally to disarm the other person.

Here's one of Brown's tips:

How to handle aggressive situations

This is simply about not engaging with your aggressor at the level they expect. I was coming back from a hotel at about 3am one night and there was a guy in the street with his girlfriend. He was really drunk, clearly looking for a fight and he started kicking off at me. I had a routine ready in my head for this sort of situation and it worked a treat on this occasion. He asked me that typical aggressive rhetorical question — “Do you want a fight?” You can’t say “yes” or “no” — you’ll get hit either way. So, I responded with, “The wall outside my house is four-feet high.”

I didn’t engage at the level he was expecting me to, so immediately he was on the back foot. He came back with, “What?” and I repeated my bizarre response. I delivered the line in a completely matter-of-fact tone, as if he was the one who was missing something here. Suddenly, he was confused. All his adrenaline had dropped away, because I’d pulled the rug from under him. It’s the verbal version of a martial-arts technique called an ‘adrenaline dump’, whereby you get the person to relax before you hit them. A punch will have much greater impact if the recipient’s guard is down. I stuck to this surreal conversational thread with my assailant, saying things like, “I lived in Spain for a while and the walls are really huge, but in this country they’re tiny.” After a few of these exchanges, he just went, “Oh f*ck!” and broke down in tears. The guy had all this adrenaline and was on the point of really laying into me — I was seeing myself beaten to a bloody pulp — but these non-threatening nonsense statements broke that aggression down and he genuinely started crying. I ended up sitting next to him on the kerb, comforting him. It’s the same with guys that come up and ask to “have a look at your phone”, and you end up handing over your stuff and hating yourself for doing it — you can use the same approach. My PA had some stuff nicked in a Tube station recently, and I said to him, “If you’d just starting singing, they would have left you alone.”

Derren Brown's guide to overcoming awkward situations