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KISS/Hello Kitty TV show in development


2010's KISS x Hello Kitty clothing line has spawned a TV show about a Hello Kitty rock band that dresses in KISS makeup:

Yes, I'm serious: Kiss Hello Kitty (working title) is now in development, and it's based on this line of Kiss x Hello Kitty products, which made its debut in 2010. The show will feature "four Kiss x Hello Kitty characters living their rock 'n' roll dreams and bringing pink anarchy to every situation they are in."

Kiss' Gene Simmons is slated to be one of the executive producers, and the band sounds pretty pumped about the project. Says Paul Stanley: "Knowing and viewing The Hub as I do daily with my three children, it is the perfect home for us to bring the Kiss Hello Kitty juggernaut to yet another generation."

You heard it here first, folks. I'll keep you posted on when the series will make its debut.

So, on the one hand, this is a delightfully weird popculture trainwreck. On the other hand, Gene Simmons is a misogynist asshole, and I can't get all that enthusiastic about his executive producer role in an entertainment project aimed at little girls.

Exclusive: Hello Kitty and Kiss team up for a TV series [USA Today/Whitney Matheson]

(Thanks, Prezombie!)

Maine Zumba instructor pleads guilty to prostitution charges

A Zumba aerobics dance instructor who ran a prostitution business on the side (while collecting welfare assistance) pleaded guilty in a Portland, ME court today. Alexis Wright's male business partner has been convicted of co-running the sex business with her. The plea deal means there will be no trial in which jurors would have had to sit through video the small-town sex worker secretly shot of her sex acts with johns. Prosecutors will recommend 10 months in prison for her, 20 days in jail for her partner.

CBS News: "There was plenty of electronic evidence, because the two kept in touch via text and email and because Wright videotaped the clients and Strong watched live via Skype. Videos showed them speaking openly of ledgers, payments and scheduling."

(Reuters, CBS; thumbnail: Portland Press Herald, John Ewing)

Little Mermaid tights


Hot Topic seems to have borrowed a trick from Australian pop-culture leggings favorite Black Milk with a line of Disney-licensed Little Mermaid full-print tights. Hot Topic's version costs about 75 percent less than the Black Milk stuff (and no shipping or duty for US buyers) -- though I have no idea whether they're comparable in terms of wear, fit, or the labor conditions in their manufacture (Black Milk makes its wares in Australia; Hot Topic doesn't say where its stuff is made on the site, which almost certainly means Pacific Rim/subcontinental sweatshop).

Ariel leggings

Ursula leggings

(via The Mary Sue)

Group whose Wikipedia entry was deleted for non-notability threatens lawsuit against Wikipedian who participated in the discussion

Benjamin Mako Hill writes, "Last year, I participated in a discussion on Wikipedia that led to the deletion of an article about the "Institute for Cultural Diplomacy." Because I edit Wikipedia using my real name, the ICD was able to track me down. Over the last month or so, they threated me with legal action and have now gotten their lawyers involved. I've documented the whole sad saga on my blog. I think the issue raises some important concerns about Wikipedia in general."

Donfried has made it very clear that his organization really wants a Wikipedia article and that they believe they are being damaged without one. But the fact that he wants one doesn’t mean that Wikipedia’s policies mean he should have one. Anonymous editors in Berlin and in unknown locations have made it clear that they really want a Wikipedia article about the ICD that does not include criticism. Not only do Wikipedia’s policies and principles not guarantee them this, Wikipedia might be hurt as a project when this happens.

The ICD claims to want to foster open dialogue and criticism. I think they sound like a pretty nice group working toward issues I care about personally. I wish them success.

But there seems to be a disconnect between their goals and the actions of both their leader and proponents. Because I used my real name and was skeptical about the organization on discussion pages on Wikipedia, I was tracked down and threatened. Donfried insinuated that I was motivated to “sabotage” his organization and threatened legal action if I do not answer his questions. The timing of his first letter — the day after the ICD page was recreated — means that I was unwilling to act on my commitment to Wikipedia and its policies.

The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy and Wikipedia

ATM skimming comes to non-ATM payment terminals in train stations, etc


ATM skimming isn't limited to ATMs! There are lots of terminals that ask you to swipe your card and/or enter a PIN, and many of them are less well-armored and -policed than actual cashpoints. Skimmers have been found on train-ticket machines, parking meters and other payment terminals. Once a crook has got your card number and sign-on data, they can use that to raid a your account at an ATM. Brian Krebs has a look at some of these devices, including a full-on fascia for a cheapie ATM discovered in latinamerica.


The organization also is tracking a skimming trend reported by three countries (mainly in Latin America) in which thieves are fabricating fake ATM fascias and placing them over genuine ATMs, like the one pictured below. After entering their PIN, cardholders see an ‘out-of-order’ message. EAST said the fake fascias include working screens so that this type of message can be displayed. The card details are compromised by a skimming device hidden inside the fake fascia, and the PINs are captured via the built-in keypad, which overlays the real keypad underneath.

This reminds me a little of the evolution of payphones -- the armadillos of the device world! -- and the look-alike COCOTS (customer-owned coin-operated telephones) that presented very soft targets if you could scry through their camouflage.

Cash Claws, Fake Fascias & Tampered Tickets

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford about to lose his job coaching high-school football?

Critics of Rob Ford, Toronto's laughable bumblefuck of a mayor, will tell you that at least he's good at teaching high-school football (maybe the only thing he truly enjoys). So it's newsworthy that the schools for which he coaches are considering firing him, and he won't show up to meetings to discuss his misconduct.

The school board is examining a Sun interview in which Ford made disparaging comments about the school community that have been called inaccurate by the board, parent council members, teachers and even one of Ford’s assistant coaches. The mayor asserted that Don Bosco players come from “broken homes” and would be dead or in jail if not for football.

Some parents have called for Ford’s removal.

“We haven’t made any decision whatsoever,” board spokesman John Yan said Thursday. “We’re trying to meet with the mayor, because we have to have an opportunity as part of the process to discuss his comments.

“Part of that process is for Mr. Ford to provide us with either with an explanation or a commentary on what transpired on the March 1 interview.

Rob Ford: Mayor cancels meeting with Toronto Catholic board to discuss his coaching future (Thanks, Gord!)

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Interview with Wrong director Quentin Dupieux

The following is a sponsored post:

There’s nothing quite right about this hilariously delirious clip from Wrong, which hits theaters throughout the country this Friday and is already available on iTunes, featuring a suspicious gardner explaining the impossible overnight transformation of an everyday Californian palm tree to an evergreen. Its one of the many, many things wrong with Wrong from director Quentin Dupieux.

After directing just a mere handful of features, Dupieux (aka international electro-musician Mr. Oizo) has already established himself as one of the modern cinema’s foremost fearless surrealists who refuses to play by the rules. The Cannes Film Festival selected Rubber about a serial homicidal tire (yes, a car tire), the viral short and soon-to-be feature Wrong Cops starring Marilyn Manson and now his latest comedic brainbomb Wrong all seem to be constructs of the same wholly original and strange deadpan daymare. With a laser-sharp eye, a pranksterish wit and the airy rhythm of a ballet dancer, this filmmaker has zapped a fully-formed artistic vision into our collective space.

Wrong follows “Reno 911”’s Jack Plotnick after he loses his beloved dog and encounters a barrage of bizarro human roadblocks in his journey including a feces-hunting pet detective (Steve Little from "Eastbound And Down") and an ponytailed, face-scarred guru (a flat-out brilliant William Fichtner). This surreal comedy guides you through a fascinating and hallucinatory universe to which you’ll want to book repeat accommodations. In this interview, Dupieux chats about Wrong, his unique brand of nightmarish comedy, the construction an unconscious dimension and working with Plotnick.

Read the rest

A baby can be a funeral for a friendship

Photo: AlexSutula, Shutterstock

Jeff Simmermon, who writes funny essays and does funny standup, has a great new piece up on his blog.

Five of my friends have had babies in the last two weeks. The birth of a baby is supposed to be a happy thing, but it can also be a funeral for a friendship. It’s great that everyone I know is immediately, rapturously in love with their child, and I wouldn’t wish anything else for them. I see the joy and happiness that my sister and her husband feel now that my nephew is here, and I genuinely want everyone I care about to feel that, too. But it’s not like I stopped needing someone to hang out with, talk to, commiserate with about the crushing grind that is art and performance in NYC, get super baked on pot cookies and watch sci-fi flicks together.

Read the rest: Doin’ It All For A Baby That Can’t Love Me Back [andiamnotlying.com].

US Border Patrol uses horses to secure Mexican border

Erin Siegal

"Immigration enforcement and drug smuggling continue to be top priorities for the Department of Homeland Security, and the Border Patrol's budget has swelled accordingly, increasing from just $262,647 in 1990 to over $3.5 million dollars in the 2012 fiscal year," reports photojournalist Erin Siegal of ABC/Univision, in Mexico.

"They've added more agents, more technology, and higher fences.

But they've also got horses. "Coyotes" (human-smugglers) and narcotraffickers have moved further into mountain and desert terrain, in response to law enforcement's more aggressive patrolling of urban areas. And in remote areas, horses help.

Read the full essay (with photos) here. [ABC News]

Lessons learned from YouTube's $300M "Original Channel" fund

Hank was one of the recipients of the YouTube $300M "Original Channel" fund, and recounts some of his lessons learned:

* Spending more money to produce the same number of minutes of content does not increase viewership. Online video isn’t about how good it looks, it’s about how good it is.

* People who make online video are much better at making online video than people who make TV shows. This probably seems obvious to you (it certainly is to me) but it apparently was not obvious to the people originally distributing this money.

* When advertising agencies tell you they want something (higher quality content, long-form content, specific demographics, lean-back content, stuff that looks like tv) it’s not our job to attempt to deliver those things. In a world where the user really does get to choose, the content created to satisfy the needs and wants of viewers (not advertisers) will always reign supreme (thankfully.)

There's lots more there, but the tl;dr up there really nails it, and seems broadly applicable to other types of online creative endeavors.

Lessons Learned from YouTube’s $300M Hole (via Wil Wheaton)

Chocolate Bunny family (photo)

"Lindt Bunny Family," a photo shared in the Boing Boing Flickr pool by Paul J. "Leave them alone, and they multiply."

Bollywood Easter: Images of Christ in '70s poster art from India

My brother Carl Hamm (Twitter), who is a club and radio DJ and a collector of obscure but excellent global stuff, shares the images in this post and says:

Read the rest

IKEA-style vibrator

LELO, a Swedish sex-toy company, has produced an IKEA-style, assemble-it-yourself vibrator called GӒSM (what else?) that comes with its own Allen key.

GӒSM is the world’s first truly eco-friendly vibe, made with100% recycled materials and powered by a revolutionary new rotation charging method pioneered by LELO. Meanwhile, GӒSM arrives in an 8-piece set that you assemble yourself, allowing you to take pride in piecing together your pleasure, and the money saved on production costs goes directly to you!

Meet GӒSM, LELO’s Cleanest, Greenest Vibe (via The Mary Sue)

It's tin foil hats, all the way down

In 2010, scientists published a paper on conspiracist ideation as it applied to both climate change and the moon landing. This year, the published a second paper — about the conspiracy theories that sprung up in response to their previous research.

Why can't we prevent asteroid strikes?

Asteroids: Yet more evidence that (as a society) we aren't very good at prioritizing preventative measures against long-term risks.

Read the previously unpublished letters of Charles Darwin

More than 1000 letters written between Charles Darwin and botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker, including 300 never before published, are now available free online for your reading and research pleasure.

Do GMOs yield more food? The answer is in the semantics

Today, on Twitter, I learned something new and interesting from environmental reporter Paul Voosen. Over the years, I've run into reports (like this one from the Union of Concerned Scientists) showing that genetically modified crops — i.e. Roundup Ready corn and soybeans, which is really the stuff we're talking about most of the time in these situations — don't increase intrinsic yields of those crops. But I've also seen decent-looking data that seemed to suggest exactly the opposite. So what gives?

Turns out, this is largely an issue of terminology.

Read the rest

Zealous preacher bingo card


The Fuck Yeah Atheism blog responded to a campus fire-and-brimstone preacher by creating a Zealous Preacher Bingo card, turning Preacher Tom into fun for the whole school: "I created Zealous Preacher Bingo cards, with a few friends’ suggestions for spaces. We gave out candy to anyone who won."

Zealous Preacher Bingo (via Wil Wheaton)

Minneapolis SkepTech conference, coming April 5/6

Next week, I'll be speaking at the SkepTech Conference, a new gathering put together by University of Minnesota students. The lineup features some great folks from the science and skeptic communities, including bloggers PZ Myers and Hemant Mehta, and Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal cartoonist Zach Weinersmith. Registration is free. Come check it out!

More evidence linking fracking wastewater disposal to earthquakes

Here at BoingBoing, we've talked before about the fact that earthquakes can be triggered by things humans do — everything from building particularly large reservoir to, most likely, injecting wastewater from fracking operations into underground wells. After a 5.7 earthquake hit Oklahoma in 2011, researchers there began gathering evidence that is making the link between rumbling earth and oil-and-gas discovery a lot stronger. At Mother Jones, Michael Behar has a story about this research and and how it is (and isn't) affecting the industry.

Gas masks for babies, 1940


From the Imperial War Museum in London, a couple of incredible photos of nurses testing out infant gas-masks: "Three nurses carry babies cocooned in baby gas respirators down the corridor of a London hospital during a gas drill. Note the carrying handle on the respirator used to carry the baby by the nurse in the foreground."

GAS DRILL AT A LONDON HOSPITAL: GAS MASKS FOR BABIES ARE TESTED, ENGLAND, 1940 (via Kadrey)

Ouya, $100 Android game console, ships to early backers

Ouya, the $100 game console, is already shipping to Kickstarter backers who helped the Android-based project get going last year. For the rest of us, there's an official retail release date: June 4. Bloomberg:
About 55 games will be available with today’s release, according to [Ouya founder Julie] Uhrman. The cube-shaped player uses a version of Android that requires developers to create applications and games just for the device. Games must be free, offer a free trial or have free add-ons, the company said. ... Ouya plans to keep 30 percent of game sales, with developers getting the rest.

You can preorder an Ouya at Amazon and at the official store.

Apple's security problems

At The Verge, Tim Carmody reports on Apple's seeming inability to get to grips with account security.

"The conventional wisdom is that this was a run-of-the-mill software security issue. ... No. It isn’t. It’s a troubling symptom that suggests Apple’s self-admittedly bumpy transition from a maker of beautiful devices to a fully-fledged cloud services provider still isn’t going smoothly. Meanwhile, your Apple ID password has come a long way from the short string of characters you tap to update apps on your iPhone. It now offers access to Apple’s entire ecosystem of devices, stores, software, and services."

Florida polo tycoon has difficulty adopting his 42-year-old girlfriend in order to keep assets away from bio-kids, ex-wife, family of guy he killed in a hit-and-run

A Florida polo tycoon named John Goodman has hit a hitch in his plan to adopt his 42-year-old girlfriend so that his kids and ex-wife won't be able to keep him from writing her into his will. The court says he failed to disclose important information, but there's no word on whether that will have have any bearing on his manslaughter appeal stemming from his conviction for a drunken hit-and-run killing in 2010, or on his apparent plan to keep his assets from the family of the dead man by transferring them to his girlfriend/daughter.

What an enterprising gentleman Mr Goodman appears to be.

A Florida appeals court ruled yesterday that John Goodman (not the actor John Goodman, the Florida polo tycoon John Goodman, who founded something called the International Polo Club) committed a fraud on the court when he failed to notify it, or the opposing parties in a pending lawsuit, about his plan to adopt his girlfriend and thereby give her access to a substantial trust fund. The trust was one in which "all Goodman's children were to share equally," so if his girlfriend also became his child … you get the idea. The "Adoption Agreement" also gave the girlfriend/daughter almost $17 million in additional assets plus an unlimited right to ask for more money from the trust, not a bad right to have if you can get it.

This concerned Goodman's two existing children and his ex-wife for obvious reasons, and also bothered the parents of Scott Wilson. Wilson died in 2010 after a car accident involving Goodman, who was allegedly drunk at the time. The accident knocked Wilson's car into a canal, whereupon Goodman suddenly remembered some polo tycoonery he had to take care of, and, to use a legal term of art, he skedaddled, without even calling 911. Wilson died. Goodman was convicted of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide and sentenced to 16 years in prison, but is out on bail pending appeal.

What's the Point of Being a Polo Tycoon If You Can't Adopt Your Girlfriend?

Eating out makes your children overweight

The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports that most childrens' meals offered in U.S. restaurant chains contain too many calories, salt and fat: "Most chains seem stuck in a time warp, serving up the same old meals based on chicken nuggets, burgers, macaroni and cheese, fries, and soda," wrote CSPI nutrition policy director Margo G. Wootan.

Some of the least healthy kids' meals available at chain restaurants include:

• Applebee's Grilled Cheese on Sourdough with Fries and 2 Percent Chocolate Milk has 1,210 calories with 62 grams of total fat (46 percent of calories), 21 grams of saturated fat (16 percent), and 2,340 milligrams of sodium. That meal has nearly three times as many calories, and three times as much sodium, as CSPI's criteria for four-to eight-year-olds allow.

• Chili's Pepperoni Pizza with Homestyle Fries and Soda has 1,010 calories, 45 grams of total fat (40 percent of calories), 18 grams of saturated fat (16 percent of calories, and about as much saturated fat as an adult should consume in an entire day), and 2,020 milligrams of sodium.

• Denny's Jr. Cheeseburger and French Fries has 980 calories, 55 grams of total fat (50 percent of calories), 20 grams of saturated fat (18 percent) and 1,110 mg of sodium. Denny's does not include beverages with kids' meals.

Enjoy their delicious, salty report on how eating out encourages childhood obesity. [cspinet.org, PDF]

Airlines should charge passengers by weight, says economist

Reuters: "Bhatta put together three models for what he called 'pay as you weigh airline pricing.' The first would charge passengers according to how much they and their baggage weighed. It would set a rate for pounds (kg) per passenger so that someone weighing 130 pounds (59 kg) would pay half the fare of 260-pound (118-kg) person."

Listen to Neverwhere free online, then see it in person

Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere is one of my favorite novels; now you can listen to it free online on BBC Radio 4 and enjoy it in person at Robert Kauzlarik's stage production, which opens next month in LA after runs in Chicago and elsewhere. The story of a good-hearted Scotsman who finds a dreamlike alternative London Underground, it was originally released as a BBC TV show and an accompanying bestseller. "It's hard to put into words how magical it is to have the chance to step into the skin of a character you've loved for years," says Paula Rhodes, who plays Door, Richard's connection to the underworld, in the new production. " ... Door is a wonderful mixture of strength and fragility and I'm absolutely in love with her and her world." The official site has tix and cinemagraphs.

Grouching about Google

Andrew Leonard has a tick-tock in Salon explaining how and when Google lost its cool. "Google Reader is gone. Google is banning ad-blocking apps. Google Alert doesn't work. The Google backlash is on." [SALON]

When US money was nice to look at


US currency was beautiful, once upon a time, when it sported images of animals and symbolic statuary, rather than deifying its citizen-rulers by putting presidents on the money as though they were kings. This 1901 $10 note (available on Wikimedia Commons in a 33.34MB, 6,454 × 5,784 JPEG!) is a case in point.

United States $10 Banknote, Legal Tender, Series of 1901 (Fr. Ref#114), depicting Meriwether Lewis and William Clark of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. The central portrait is a depiction of an American bison. Part of the National Numismatic Collection, NMAH, Smithsonian Institution. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Watch the latest video posts in our Boing Boing video archives

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:


• Frank Zappa reads the dirty bits of Naked Lunch.
• TIme-lapse of a particularly intense aurora borealis display.
• The Shangri-Las perform "Out in the Streets" (1965).
• Super 8 music "video" for new Barn Owl song.
• Two-headed bull shark.
• Telekinesis' latest video has a romantic ghost in the machine.
• Dolphin funeral? Adult dolphin "carries calf around for days." Grieving?
• Reading Frenzy, the astoundingly great zine store in Portland, OR, lost its lease. They need to raise $50K to reopen.

Boing Boing: Video!