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]
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)
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).
(via The Mary Sue)
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 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
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
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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
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
"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]
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)
"Lindt Bunny Family," a photo shared in the Boing Boing Flickr pool by Paul J. "Leave them alone, and they multiply."
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
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)
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
: Yet more evidence that (as a society) we aren't very good at prioritizing preventative measures against long-term risks.
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.
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