Poplocks are a very clever system for making movable papercraft fastenings with die-cutting and folding. The Paper Pose-Ables site has a bunch of downloadable papercraft toys you can print out and make, as well as pre-cut/scored kits you can buy, for making fabulous poseable robots and other cool figures.
The Pose-Ables people came out to one of my signings last month and gave me a couple of GUPP-E robots, which I've put together this week, with help from my five-year-old daughter Poesy. The robots were fun to put together -- just intricate enough to be challenging without being frustrating -- and the Poplocks system really makes for a great, semi-rigid joint for the toys.
The Poplocks themselves are CC licensed for use in your own models.
The Poplock pushes the two pieces of paper tightly together, creating lots of friction! It can also stay put, and won't pop out on it's own, unless a good amount of force is used to bend it out of place.
Combine the Poplock Wedge with the special Locking Flaps hole, and you will create a nigh-invincible connection. Seriously, you won't be able to get the connection apart with torsion or pulling forces unless you rip or crumple the parts. Even then, the Poplock will probably stay put... holding two mangled pieces of paper together!
Wired Design has a great short video documentary on my friend Bruce Tomb, who has built an amazing art-car called Maria Del Camino that's part tank, part 59 El Camino, part flying car. I camp with Bruce and his wife Mary and our friends at Burning Man, along with Maria, at the Liminal Labs camp every summer. Maria is such a wonderful addition to our Burn!
The outcome might not be what you’d expect. With the help of some friends, Tomb created “Maria del Camino.” She’s an excavator topped with a 1959 El Camino, mounted on a hydraulic array that lifts it high off the ground. Her body is adorned with thousands of drilled-out holes, and her hood sports a portrait of the robot woman from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, which shines when the light hits it. In simple terms, it’s nothing but sheer magnificence.
Maria is currently being worked on at the DIY space Nimby in Oakland California. We stopped by to ask Tomb how — and why — he built his “flying” car, and he took us for a beer run, stopping traffic along the way.
As for future modifications, Tomb has a big one in mind. “Been working on removing the manual controls,” he says. “I’ve heard driverless cars are all the rage!”
Further to Xeni's post from yesterday about the landmark ruling by a San Francisco district court judge that the FBI may not issue "national security letters" (NSLs), the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who fought the case, has posted a good explanation about what NSLs are and why they were so creepy:
The controversial NSL provisions EFF challenged on behalf of the unnamed client allow the FBI to issue administrative letters -- on its own authority and without court approval -- to telecommunications companies demanding information about their customers. The controversial provisions also permit the FBI to permanently gag service providers from revealing anything about the NSLs, including the fact that a demand was made, which prevents providers from notifying either their customers or the public. The limited judicial review provisions essentially write the courts out of the process.
In today's ruling, the court held that the gag order provisions of the statute violate the First Amendment and that the review procedures violate separation of powers. Because those provisions were not separable from the rest of the statute, the court declared the entire statute unconstitutional. In addressing the concerns of the service provider, the court noted: "Petitioner was adamant about its desire to speak publicly about the fact that it received the NSL at issue to further inform the ongoing public debate."
"The First Amendment prevents the government from silencing people and stopping them from criticizing its use of executive surveillance power," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "The NSL statute has long been a concern of many Americans, and this small step should help restore balance between liberty and security."
I am so proud of my friends at EFF this morning. Go team!
When a Sky News reporter broadcasting live from Tiananmen Square mentioned the 1989 protests, Chinese secret police swooped down on his and hustled him and his cameraman into the back of a van, and kidnapped them to a distant park where they were polite but Orwellian in their explanation for their deeds (they didn't realize he was still broadcasting, and thought it was all going to disc or tape whence it could be scrubbed):
At this point, the police do something Orwellian in its brilliance. An officer who speaks English informs Stone that they have to stop filming because they don’t have official permission. Stone disagrees, saying that they sought and received permission to film in Tiananmen Square. But the officer counters that they’re not in Tiananmen anymore. They’re in a park where the police have brought Stone against his will, and he doesn’t have permission to record in that park, so regrettably the police have no choice but to insist the camera be switched off. Who could have possibly foreseen that little complication?
The officer then takes the Orwellianism to the next level by explaining that Stone and his team are neither being detained nor are they free to go. They can do whatever they like, except that they must go sit in an empty classroom and wait for some unnamed officials to show up.
This reminds me of nothing so much as the DHS checkpoint officials who won't tell you if you're being detained, won't tell you if you're legally required to answer their questions about your citizenship, but also won't let you go.