Boing Boing 

Launching the UK edition of Rapture of the Nerds TODAY at Forbidden Planet London


Hey, Londoners! I'll be launching the UK edition of Rapture of the Nerds today at 1PM at Forbidden Planet. Although the book is available across the country at finer stores, this will be your only chance to stroke the marvellous 3D printed Space Marine Stross and have your picture taken with it.

Crocheted skeleton with organs

Artist Shanell Papp has a project called "Bawdy," which is about bodies and textiles. The centerpiece is "Lab," a yarn skeleton with a complete set of organs.

Lab (skeleton) (via Making Light)

Skype's IP-leaking security bug creates denial-of-service cottage industry


It's been more than a year since the WSJ reported that Skype leaks its users' IP addresses and locations. Microsoft has done nothing to fix this since, and as Brian Krebs reports, the past year has seen the rise of several tools that let you figure out someone's IP address by searching for him on Skype, then automate launching denial-of-service attacks on that person's home.

In the above screen shot, we can see one such service being used to display the IP address most recently used by the Skype account “mailen_support” (this particular account belongs to the tech support contact for Mailien, a Russian pharmacy spam affiliate program by the same name).

Typically, these Skype resolvers are offered in tandem with “booter” or “stresser” services, online attack tools-for-hire than can be rented to launch denial-of-service attacks (one of these services was used in an attack on this Web site, and on that of Ars Technica last week). The idea being that if you want to knock someone offline but you don’t know their Internet address, you can simply search on Skype to see if they have an account. The resolvers work regardless of any privacy settings the target user may have selected within the Skype program’s configuration panel.

Beyond exposing one’s Internet connection to annoying and disruptive attacks, this vulnerability could allow stalkers or corporate rivals to track the movement of individuals and executives as they travel between cities and states.

Privacy 101: Skype Leaks Your Location

Beautiful booze-trailer for sale


From the Neiman-Marcus gift catalog, a trailer that converts into an elaborate, beautiful bar, and comes with a year's supply of Bulleit bourbon and rye. There are two for sale at $150K each, with 10 percent going to an HIV/AIDS charity.

A chorus of cheers rings out the minute you pull up. Tailgating will never be the same now that your Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Woody-Tailgate Trailer is on the scene. Designed by interior designer Brad Ford, it's impressive on the outside, but what's on the inside truly astounds: sleek leather furnishings and details from Moore & Giles, rich wood finishings (handcrafted from reclaimed Bulleit Bourbon casks), elegant glassware, and a top-notch entertainment system, including a flat-screen TV, Blu-ray Disc™ player, and a state-of-the-art sound system, plus a one-year supply of Bulleit Bourbon and Bulleit Rye*. You park, open the hatch, and slide out the bar—cocktails anyone?

Bulleit is delicious bourbon, but I recently bought a bottle of Elmer T Lee Single Barrel and holy cats, is that stuff astounding.

BEST GIFT, BAR NONE! & BULLEIT TO GO (via Neatorama)

Phone wars

Mat Honan has a request: Please Stop Fighting About Your Smartphone. "The phone wars, the platform wars, should be left to people who work for Apple and Samsung and Google and Microsoft and Nokia and BlackBerry. Do you work for Apple? Do you work for Samsung? No? Then shut up." [Wired]

The art and science of beer: a video feature on the "Pope of Foam"

In this video, Charlie The Pope of Foam" Bamforth, the head of Malting and Brewing Science at UC Davis, explains beer-making and reveals how to pick the freshest pint when you're at a pub. "How Beer Saved The World," "Why I Tease Those Wine Guys," and "How Bird Poop Makes A More Aromatic Belgian Beer" are but a few tidbits.

A cybersecurity lobbying boom in DC, as congress considers new laws

Recent actions by Congress and the Obama administration to "protect networks of critical U.S. industries from hackers and cyberspies" have led to an explosive growth opportunity...for lobbyists. Bloomberg reports that there were "513 filings by consultants and companies to press Congress on cybersecurity by the end of 2012, up 85 percent from 2011 and almost three times as many as in 2010."

Shepard Fairey talks about some of his favorite YouTube videos

In a video for Los Angeles MOCA, Shepard Fairey selects some of his favorite clips from YouTube, and talks about videos that have inspired him "including the great graphic designer Saul Bass, and music videos for Rapture by Blondie and Atomic Dog by George Clinton." Video produced and edited by Stephen Pagano and Tom Salvaggio.

A celebration of ‘Paris Is Burning’ with Peaches Christ and Latrice Royale

According to Niall Connolly at Dangerous Minds, "If you have not seen Paris Is Burning, you’re just not doing it right. I’m talking Life, honey."
I’ve written about Paris Is Burning before, and referenced it in my recent ballroom piece for Boing Boing, but the truth is that the impact of this film on gay culture, and by extension culture at large, cannot be overestimated. That a film about underground drag culture and voguing resonated so strongly amongst gays should not be a surprise, but what is surprising is how far its influence has spread in “straight” circles. Its language and imagery are now common parlance, and it won a recent PBS “best documentary” poll by an overwhelming landslide.

Which is why I was so delighted to see Paris Is Burning get recent a Midnight Mass screening in San Francisco, hosted by the queens Peaches Christ and Latrice Royale.

Read: Legendary: A celebration of ‘Paris Is Burning’ with Peaches Christ and Latrice Royale [Dangerous Minds]

And don't miss Niall's earlier feature for Boing Boing on voguing.

Check out Robbie Sweeny's photoset from the Castro Theater event.

National Conference for Media Reform coming to Denver, CO, April 5-7 2013

Josh Stearns writes,

Denver is about to become the epicenter of awesome, when the National Conference for Media Reform comes to town bringing 2,500 coders, journalists, media makers, artists and comedians together to hack the future of tech, media and democracy.

• What other event brings together 3D printers and wearable computers with policy debates about CISPA and slam poetry?

• Where else can you see Kimya Dawson of the Moldy Peaches and Evangeline Lilly from Lost hanging out with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman and Former White House Tech Advisor Susan Crawford?

• Why in the world would the heads of Upworthy, NARAL, Common Cause and ColorofChange.org be going to Denver?

• What if you could see Brian Stelter of the New York Times talking with Jezebel.com founder Anna Holmes about digital media?

• What if you learned how to code from Catherine Bracy of Code for America and Kimberly Bryant of Black Girls Code?

The fight for civil liberties, for Internet Freedom, for digital rights is coming to Denver, April 5-7 -- are you?

More links: Latino Tech and Media Activism at the conference, and the Arts, Comedy and Music events taking place there.

Huffington Post reporter "seeks people who have had sex with aliens"

What's of note in this media gossip item is that "15 have responded". If the reporter was filing for Boing Boing, one can assume he'd have a much higher total by now, as many of us have had romantic encounters with extraterrestrials, and it's really not a big deal around here. [romenesko]

NY judge says running a search engine for news is a copyright violation

A NY federal judge handed down a terrible ruling in AP vs Meltwater, which turned on whether providing a search-engine for newswire articles that showed the first sentence or two of the article was fair use. The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Corynne McSherry sums up many of the ways in which this judge got it wrong. We can only hope for an appeal and a better ruling.

Second, the court implicitly adopted AP’s dangerous “heart of the work” theory. AP contended that sharing excerpts of a news article must weigh against fair use if those excerpts contain the lede. The court stressed that the lede is “consistently important” and takes “significant journalistic skill to craft.” But that is beside the point – there is no extra protection because something is extra difficult. More important to the fair use analysis is the fact that (1) is primarily factual; and (2) contains precisely the information the user wishes to make known to others. As we explained in our amicus brief, this case illustrates why the heart of the work doctrine does not mesh well with highly factual, published, news articles. When it comes to news articles, an excerpt that is shared will very often be the most “important” aspect of the work – but that importance will derive from the uncopyrightable factual content, not the expression. It is not the “heart of the work,” but a piece of the factual skeleton upon which the expression hangs.

AP v. Meltwater: Disappointing Ruling for News Search

The $500 Million Gardner Museum Heist, an epic art caper infographic

Hilary "chartgirl" Sargent has created another epic infographic, explaining something complicated and interesting: this time, it's the Gardner Museum Heist (background here).

Here's the PDF in full-rez glory.

Check out the latest videos on our Boing Boing Video page

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:


• Slow motion study reveals the shocking effects of gravity upon our body.
• Astounding Beetlejuice roller-coaster made in Minecraft.
• Internet-of-Things answering machine from 1992, with marbles.
• Supercut of all the alternate endings to the Animaniacs theme.
• Kenna gender swapped Link and Zelda sprites on a Zelda ROM.
• Electroluminescent paint: like EL wire you apply with a brush.
• Clueless Texas Congressman can't get how Gmail ads work through his thick, thick skull.

Boing Boing: Video!

Guatemala: In 1982, ex-dictator Rios Montt told this documentary filmmaker, "I Control the Army"

As I've been blogging here on Boing Boing this week, former Guatemalan Army general and de facto dictator Efraín Rios Montt and ex-military intelligence chief Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez are on trial over charges of genocide.

A Guatemalan judge ruled in January that Ríos Montt must stand trial; his lawyer said his defense would be that he wasn't personally on the battlefield and couldn't control what happened there. I've been listening in to the trial via a live audio stream, and their cross-questioning of Ixil Maya witnesses suggests that this remains their plan.

Read the rest

Prosecutors call for inaccurate groundhog's death

After an unexpectedly cold start to March, authorities in Ohio have called for the indictment and execution of the groundhog whose report promised an early end to winter.

"Punxsutawney Phil did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that spring would come early," Mike Gmoser, the prosecutor in southwestern Ohio's Butler County, wrote in an official-looking indictment.

Funny! But only because he's not in Italy.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson in votive candle form


I can't figure out if this Neil DeGrasse Tyson science-themed votive candle is an article of commerce or not, but man, it should be, oh yes, it should.

I Heart Chaos — Hail St. Neil. (via IO9)


Update: Buy 'em on Etsy

Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits: indie horror comic


Vera Greentea and Laura Muller's "Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits" is an indie comic (funded by a very successful Kickstarter) that spans four issues. The first issue, just out ($6), is a nice, deceptively gentle entree into what promises to be a proper kick-in-the-teeth bit of horror about the Mexican Day of the Dead.

Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits is a spirited horror story about a ghost searching for her family during the festival of the Day of the Dead, while dodging ambitious exorcist apprentices. Vera Greentea (Recipes for the Dead, To Stop Dreaming of Goddesses) and talented artist Laura Müller (Mega Man Tribute, Subway to Sally Storybook) collaborate to create an autumn-friendly tale of skulls and hope. The first issue introduces the vivacious but forgotten ghost girl, Nena, as she explores the labyrinthine streets of Mexico during its most eerily evocative celebration and Bastian, the first of the exorcists speeding after her – completely for the wrong reason.

Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits by Vera Greentea

Canadian "pipeline" game enrages humourless oilpatch blowhards


Adam Young sez,

A developer made a game that's a spin on the old "waterworks"/"pipe mania" type game with an oil pipeline theme... complete with pixel-art anti-pipeline protesters. Like most indie developers, they were eligible and applied for funding from a variety of sources. They are donating a portion of the proceeds to the David Suzuki Foundation.

Apparently this made some blowhards angry, who think that "tax dollars funded the game" and shouldn't fund a game about blowing up pipelines, and that the developer donating to a non-profit charity somehow constitutes an ethics violation, having received so-called "tax-dollar funding". Tax breaks and grants and things are available to all sorts of content and media producers in Canada. Game development and film production and the like are industries that are very active here. It's also not illegal to donate proceeds to non-profit charities.

Pipe Trouble

Tesla vs. Edison vs. The Great Men of History

Whether you think Tesla > Edison or Edison > Tesla, perhaps you’re missing something important. In reality, technology isn’t shaped by one guy who had one great idea and changed the world. Instead, it’s a messy process, full of flat-out failures and not-quite-successes, and populated by many great minds who build off of and are inspired by each other’s work.

Read the rest

Brazil's music collecting societies convicted of forming an illegal cartel

Ronaldo Lemos sez,

The Competition Authority in Brazil (CADE) convicted om March 20th the country's six major collecting societies and their central office (ECAD) - responsible for the collection of music royalties for public performance in Brazil - of formation of cartel and abuse of dominant position in fixing prices. According CADE, the Ecad and its associations not only organized to abusively fix prices, but also created barriers of entry for new associations to join the entity.

All entities will have to pay a fine of R$38 million (approximately US$ 20 million) and will have to reorganize the whole collection system, both by offering arrangements beyond the "blanket license" model, the only license ECAD and their associations made available for the performance of music, and by allowing each association to compete for different prices.

The rapporteur of the Case, Elvino Mendonça, said after the conviction: "The behavior of cartel is visible. The current collection system prevents all forms of competition. ECAD and its associations abused their market power and fixed prices. The evidence is abundant."

Ecad é condenado por formação de cartel por órgão de defesa da concorrência (Thanks, Ronaldo!)

Guatemala genocide trial continues; watch or listen live

Nicolas Brito Bernal, the first witness in the genocide trial. Photo: Aida Noriega; via @PzPenVivo.

Efrain Ríos Montt, the former de facto dictator of Guatemala, is in court today for the third day of his trial on charges of genocide against some 2,000 Ixil Maya during the country's 36-year civil war. Listen here, or watch here. I also created this Twitter list so you can follow the accounts of people live-tweeting from the courtroom (or listening to the audio/video stream, where dialogue is in Spanish and Ixil Maya only).

As you can see for yourself on the video stream, the ex-general is sitting and listening in the courtroom while prosecution witnesses, Ixil Maya victims, recount in gruesome detail the atrocities they survived under his regime.

As I type this blog post, an Ixil woman, Cecilia Sánchez Sánchez, is breaking down in tears as she retells the story of how on one day in 1982, her husband, two sons, and baby were murdered, her home burned, and "flying instruments" (helicopters) swarmed overhead, dropping bombs on the villagers.

Did you ever see your husband again, the interrogator asks her. "No, I only went to carry away his bones."

Read the rest

Human bodies mercilessly jiggled by gravity at 2000fps [NSFW]

LA video artist Michael Haussman recorded human bodies bouncing up and down at 2000 fps, synching the camera to the movement so that the people appear to be standing still while gravity mercilessly attempts to separate their meat from their bones. Add in some spooky music and it's like watching someone in the first stages of being torn to shreds by angry, invisible poltergeists.

This slow motion study reveals the shocking effects of gravity upon our body. What is normally missed in the blink of an eye, is poetically recorded in extreme slow motion, as gravity takes hold and pulls the body down to earth, causing the skin, cellulite, muscles and facial expression to sag down, with a weariness, as if the subject has suddenly aged thirty years. It appears like a special effect, the force ripples from the legs up, turning the body wrinkled and saggy, with a worn, older face that is defeated and depressed. Then the exact opposite effect and emotion overcomes the subject as they are made weightless and set free. We observe the body becoming youthful, rejoicing in it’s expression and flawless skin texture, as it sores away from the earth. All physical and emotional expressions seem to float effortlessly upward in a positive, beautiful direction.

GRAVITY by MICHAEL HAUSSMAN (Thanks, James!)

Read the rest

Astounding Beetlejuice roller-coaster made in Minecraft

This five-minute video takes you on a tour of the astounding Beetlejuice roller-coaster created by Nuropsych1 and friends. It incorporates many of the best visual elements from this outstanding film, all set to an excellent remix of the Beetlejuice soundtrack, one of the great instrumental pieces of all time.

This was done on the XBOX 360 in creative mode. We worked on it off and on for two months.

Beetle Juice - A Minecraft Roller Coaster (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Transgender teacher kills self after Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn denounces her

Lucy Meadows was a teacher. Born male, Lucy transitioned to female later in life, a process that was supported by her employers. Writing at the Daily Mail—one of Britain's largest-circulation newspapers—Richard Littlejohn publicly denounced her in terms usually reserved for child abusers. Not long afterward, Meadows killed herself.

Read the rest

Act now to stop the UK Leveson press-regulations from applying to blogs and individuals online!

I've written here before that the impending UK press-regulation rules coming in as a result of the Leveson report will inadvertently end up treating bloggers and other everyday Internet users as though they were newspapers, exposing them to the threat of arbitration proceedings where they will have to pay the legal costs of people who want to silence them, and be subject to "exemplary damages" -- enormous statutory fines that grossly exceed any actual harm caused.

Now the Open Rights Group has started a campaign to warn party leaders about this in the three days we have left before Leveson becomes law. We need your help now, or bloggers and the open Internet will become collateral damage in the campaign to control Britain's awful tabloids.

Jim from ORG writes, "The Leveson regulations are being applied to UK websites -- in ways that could catch more or less anyone who publishes a blog. Ordinary bloggers could be threatened with exemplary damages and costs. If this happens, small website publishers will face terrible risks, or burdensome regulation -- and many may simply stop publishing."

Cameron, stop the Dangerous Blogs Bill (Thanks, Jim!)

(Disclosure: I co-founded the Open Rights Group and am proud to volunteer on its advisory board)

Interview with Peter Clines, author of Ex-Heroes and Ex-Patriots

Peter Clines is the author of Ex-Heroes, a science fiction novel about super humans trying to save what remains of Los Angeles in a post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland. Above, the cover for the Clines' upcoming follow-up novel: Ex-Patriots. Below, an interview with Clines about his love of Dr. Who. (Keep your eye out for 3 Doctor Who Novels coming out April 2: Plague of the Cybermen, Shroud of Sorrow, and The Dalek Generation.)

Originally published by a small, print-on-demand press without any publicity or marketing support and almost no physical distribution, Peter Clines’s brilliant novels, Ex-Heroes and the forthcoming Ex-Patriots -- which combine the best of the sci-fi, thriller, horror, and adventure fiction genres -- still managed to draw an incredible cult following. Now, Broadway is thrilled to introduce Ex-Heroes and Ex-Patriots to a whole new slew of fans with the release of these paperback originals. With two more novels to follow in the series, including Ex-Communication (July 9, 2013), Ex-Heroes and Ex-Patriots are sure to appeal to fans of such hits as Watchmen, World War Z, and Ready Player One.

How big of a role did Doctor Who play in your decision to become a writer?

It was a huge influence. I watched the show religiously as a kid, and even then I was aware that a good story could really help make up for cheap sets and rubber monsters (pay attention, SyFy!). I got chills from cliffhanger endings in “The Face of Evil” and “The Horror of Fang Rock.” Davros in “Genesis of the Daleks” was the first time I ever realized a character was evil. I always knew they were the bad guys out there, but Michael Wisher as Davros was just pure evil. And I loved the brilliant plot-twists that could be either scary or kind of sad and dramatic. Not to mention the fact that the whole show is about someone who gave up their life so they could try to make a difference.

It was just fantastic storytelling, and it made me want to tell stories that would get the same reactions from people.

Read the rest

MAD Artist's Edition: a massive tribute to Harvey Kurtzman


(The cover; my feet, a KISS matrioshke, and spring-loaded gag eyeballs included for scale)

IDW's Artist's Edition series is a line of enormous (15" x 22") hardcover art-books that reproduce the full-page, camera-ready paste-ups used to create classic comics, from Groo to Spider-Man, offering a rare look at the white-outs, annotations, corrections, and pencil-marks that give tantalizing hints about the hidden workings of these amazing pages.

A recent and most welcome addition to the series is MAD: Artist's Edition, a spectacular tribute to the early years of the magazine and especially to the brilliant satire of Harvey Kurtzman, one of the great heroes of satire, which features an introduction by Terry Gilliam himself.

MAD: Artist's Edition isn't just an amazing book, it's an amazing object, a massive and weighty presence that drew me magnetically to it as soon as I got it back to my office. I spent the next several hours on a rug on the floor with it, clambering all around it (it's much easier to move yourself than a book this size!), marvelling and delighting at it. I snapped a few highlights (full-rez photos here) to give you a sense of what's going on here.


(Love, Kurtzman style -- from Shadow!)

Let's start with the obvious: Kurtzman was a genius of parody, with a wolvertonian grasp of the grotesque and a sense of humor that was capable of expressing itself in both broad and subtle strokes. This was a man who could capture both drama and comedy, as in this sequence from Smilin' Melvin', where the punchline is just a lagniappe on top of a sequence that is as illustrative as it is absurd:


(Q-Tips and the sound-barrier, from Smilin' Melvin')

Read the rest

Apple removes Sweatshop iOS game

Matthew Humphries:

Sweatshop HD was created by BAFTA-winning creative studio Littleloud. It has tower defense gameplay mechanics, but tasks the player with running a sweatshop producing clothing and footwear. It is aimed at young people in a bid to get them thinking about where the clothes we buy come from and the conditions workers in some of these factories suffer through.

Vatican: Batman has "grown bitter and more vengeful"

The Vatican reassured the Catholic faithful that it hadn't been hacked Thursday after as unusual tweet--"Holy Switcheroo! Batman has grown bitter, more vengeful with the years"--appeared on a popular news feed.