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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.

Read the rest

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

Einstein's book-plate design

Here's the design for Albert Einstein's ex-libris bookplate, which he apparently pasted into all his personal books. This is lovely.

The Awesome Doodle That Lets You Know This Book Belonged to Einstein

Cory profiled in Guardian Books

Damien Walter's written a very kind article about me and my work in the Guardian's books section, discussing the role of science fiction in social criticism and activism.

The Hippie Papers: Trip-Taking, Mind-Quaking, Scene-Making Word from Where it's at (1968)

De rigueur paperback cover in 1968. NSFW blogpost in 2013!

Wikipedia entry on Jerry Hopkins:

He is best known as the co-author (with Danny Sugerman) of No One Here Gets Out Alive (1980), the definitive biography of Jim Morrison of The Doors, which was a key source for Oliver Stone's film about the band. He has written nearly 30 books about music, food and travel, including three volumes on Elvis Presley. He has also written for Rolling Stone (where he was a contributing editor for 20 years), The Village Voice, GQ and numerous other publications. His most recent book as of December 2007 is an oral history of Don Ho. Since the early 1990s he has lived in Thailand.

The Hippie Papers: Notes from the Underground Press

(Via swallace99)

Review of Nineteen Eighty-Four from 1949

The New Statesman has compiled a collection of reviews of classic books that were published in its pages contemporaneous with their publication. The review of Nineteen Eighty-Four by VS Pritchett is a revealing look at the way that Orwell as perceived and received in his lifetime:

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a book that goes through the reader like an east wind, cracking the skin, opening the sores; hope has died in Mr Orwell's wintry mind, and only pain is known. I do not think I have ever read a novel more frightening and depressing; and yet, such are the originality, the suspense, the speed of writing and withering indignation that it is impossible to put the book down. The faults of Orwell as a writer - monotony, nagging, the lonely schoolboy shambling down the one dispiriting track - are transformed now he rises to a large subject. He is the most devastating pamphleteer alive because he is the plainest and most individual - there is none of Koestler's lurid journalism - and because, with steady misanthropy, he knows exactly where on the new Jesuitism to apply the Protestant whip...

...Mr Orwell's book is a satirical pamphlet. I notice that some critics have said that his prophecy is not probable. Neither was Swift's Modest Proposal nor Wells's Island of Dr Moreau. Probability is not a necessary condition of satire which, when it pretends to draw the future, is, in fact, scourging the present. The purges in Russia and, later, in the Russian satellites, the dreary seediness of London in the worst days of the war, the pockets of 19th-century life in decaying England, the sordidness of bad flats, bad food, the native and whining streak of domestic sluttishness which have sickened English satirists since Smollett - all these have given Mr Orwell his material. The duty of the satirist is to go one worse than reality; and it might be objected that Mr Orwell is too literal, that he is too oppressed by what he sees, to exceed it. In one or two incidents where he does exceed, notably in the torture scenes, he is merely melodramatic: he introduces those rather grotesque machines which used to appear in terror stories for boys. In one place - I mean the moment when Winston's Inquisitor drives him to call out for the death of his girl, by threatening to set a cageful of famished rats on him - we reach a peak of imaginative excess in terror, but it is superfluous because mental terrorism is his real subject.

Nineteen Eighty-Four, Reviewed by V S Pritchett (via Memex 1.1)

(Image: Lawrence Person)

Photos & Recaps from the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament

 I start the New York Times Crossword every day (I can't always finish) and have often fantasized about throwing down with the real puzzle masters at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Photographer Rufus Mangrove was there last weekend, and his artful shots of the event make it look like a blast.

Read the rest

Ron Mueck's hyperreal figures coming to Paris


NewImageMy favorite contemporary sculptor, Ron Mueck, has a new show of his huge hyperreal sculptures opening at Paris's Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain on April 16. Before moving into fine art, Mueck was a puppeteer and model maker for TV and films such as The Storyteller and Labyrinth. In fact, he was the voice of Ludo in that film! See more behind-the-scenes photos: Upcoming Exhibition: Ron Mueck

Happy Pi Day. Who wants some Pi?

A mathematically bountiful Pi Day to you. Miles OBrien forwards this snapshot, taken just now in the PBS NewsHour kitchen by Colleen Shalby. Rebecca Jacobson baked them. I'm sure they're π-licious.

Corrected notes on the feeding of yes to yes

This morning, I posted M Tang`s funny experiment in feeding the Unix "yes" command to itself. Now, Seth David Schoen writes in to correct and expand upon the principles therein:

M. Tang`s business about the Unix command

yes `yes no`

is based on a bit of a misconception. The problem is _not_ about combining one yes command with another yes command. Whenever you use the backtick syntax `, like in a hypothetical command

foo `bar`

the shell will first run the command bar (to completion) before it even tries to start foo. The shell will also save the complete output of bar in memory, and then present it as a set of command-line arguments to foo.

In this case, the shell is trying to run the command "yes no" to completion, saving its output in memory, before even starting the other yes command. Of course, "yes no" never finishes, but it does use up an arbitrarily large amount of memory.

To see that the problem is with the use of `yes` rather than with the combination of two yes commands, just try

echo `yes no`

or even

true `yes no`

Both of these forms have exactly the same memory-consumption problem as the original command, and for exactly the same reason! So, Tang is wrong to think that he is somehow creating a problem by combining multiple yesses. The problem is in asking the shell to remember an infinite amount of output.

As other people have mentioned in comments, the ` syntax is also not piping. Piping is done with |, while ` refers to substitution. The distinction is whether the output of program A appears as input to program B (piping) or as command-line arguments to program B (substitution). For example,

echo foo bar | wc -w

outputs the number 2 (that`s the total number of words in the text "foo bar"), while

wc -w `echo foo bar`

counts the number of words in the files foo and bar.

Tricky Dick meets RoboCop


Richard Nixon and his pal RoboCop in 1987. Photo snapped by Chuck Pulin during a charity event promoting the movie's VHS release. (via Mental Floss)

History of "Tree Swing" drawings about business communication

When I was a young naive engineer, I saw this tacked to the beige fabric cubicle wall of an old embittered engineer. It made me like him. Here's a history of this great cartoon.

The tree swing or tire swing funny diagrams - for training, presentations, etc

(Via Bits & Pieces)

Game of Thrones art exhibition

"Mother of Dragons" by Jason Edmiston

Mondo Gallery in Austin, Texas, has an exhibition of art inspired by Game of Thrones. My Modern Met has more images.

"Margaery" by Audrey Kawasaki

Choosing the Right Seat: How not to get stuck next to someone that sucks

Now people who think, "Oh shit, Frauenfelder is gonna be there," have this infographic to give them a fighting chance.

Texas cop repeatedly tazes the Statue of Liberty

A Fort Worth, TX cop told a guy in a Statue of Liberty suit to move along from the road-median where he was advertising Liberty Tax Services. Lady Liberty did not immediately comply ("Get away from me! What are you doing? Go talk to my boss!") so the cop tazed the Statue of Liberty. Three times. As Lowering the Bar points out, this has bad optics.

People in Liberty suits have rights, too, but not the unrestricted right to solicit customers from a median. While this does implicate the First Amendment, it would be the kind of time, place, and manner restriction that usually passes muster. The situation would be different if a local government tried to completely ban the use of such "moving signs" or (as I prefer to call them) "business mascots," which of course is something that has happened before. See "The McHenry Code," Lowering the Bar (Sept. 6, 2006).

b Coincidentally, that incident (which happened in Illinois) also involved "Lady Liberty," as well as the Verlo Mattress Factory's "Mattress Man," a 4-by-3-foot ambulatory mattress with "comically large hands." McHenry's city council had decided that such "live moving signs" were distracting drivers (which is part of the point of having one) and causing a nuisance because people honk at them. (The council also threw in an alleged "safety risk" to the person in the costume, saying they might get heatstroke.) If I recall correctly, the council later reversed itself on the complete ban, thus giving Liberty some limited freedom.

You Know, It Just Sends the Wrong Message When You Tase the Statue of Liberty

Rock Band Land's "The Truth About Polar Bears"

San Francisco's Rock Band Land is a "creativity school" in San Francisco where kids aged 4-8 write song stories together, rock out on high-quality child-sized instruments, record their collaborative creations, and ultimately perform on stage at a local club, complete with fog machines, lights, and, yes, a disco ball. Directed by notable indie rockers Brian Gorman of Tartufi and Marcus Stoesz of The Music Wrong, Rock Band Land is an inspiring DIY scene of unbridled creativity and controlled chaos where pint-sized punks reveal the weird and true future of rock and roll. My son is a multi-year Rock Band Land veteran. Not only has he made dear friends there, but so have his parents.

Now, Brian and Marcus have expanded the Rock Band Land vision into the video realm. "The Truth About Polar Bears" was inspired by ideas that bubbled up in Rock Band Land classes. If all goes well, this surreal story is just a teaser for (thunder drumroll)... Rock Band Land TV! Good luck, Brian and Marcus! For more on Rock Band Land, check out The Bold Italic's mini-documentary below and, of course, the Rock Band Land site.

"The Rumor," a lithograph by A. Paul Weber

I've never heard of artist A. Paul Weber until I came across this feverish drawing today called "The Rumor." See it in Gigapan here.

From the Weber Museum:

Weber was born in Arnstadt, Thüringen. In his youth he joined the Jung-Wandervogel, a movement interested in cultivating a better lifestyle and a heightened appreciation of nature through hiking. Weber's love of his native country and his attachment to nature were awakened by hiking through Germany.

In 1928 Weber became a member of a political circle opposing Hitler and National Socialism, which was centred around Ernst Niekisch. Weber illustated books and periodicals for the Widerstands-Verlag (Resistance Press). The journals were banned and Weber was imprisoned by the Nazis from July to December 1937.

After the Second World War he continued to be a social commentator, with his criticism covering politics, justice, militarism, enviromental pollution, inhumanity, medicine and fanaticism in sports. In 1980, Weber died at the age of 87 in Schretstaken, a small village near Ratzeburg, where he had lived since 1936.

My favorite line in his brief bio: "Weber did not draw in an abstact manner. His critique of this type of art and his opinion of narrow-minded experts and museum visitors can be seen in the next room."

A. Paul Weber

(Via Suddenly)