Science fiction author Michael Swanwick sez, "In my adopted hometown of Philadelphia there's a move afoot to put up a plaque where Isaac Asimov lived while he was working (and writing seminal Foundation and Robot stories) at the Naval Yard during WWII. Asimov hated Philadelphia while he lived here but came back for the conventions year after year. He gave back. Now it's time to Philadelphia to give back to him. The Change.com petition seems to have stalled at 364, 136 short of its goal. This despite the fact that you don't have to be a citizen of Pennsylvania to sign it. I don't want to be a part of a genre that can't give Isaac five hundred signatures. I'm betting the author of 'I, Rowboat,' agrees with me."
Indeed I do, Michael.
In 2008, Caitlin GD Hopkins collected 101 euphemisms for "died" from early American epitaphs. The epitaphs came from tombstones pre-1825, to qualify, the euphemism had to appear in the main text of the tombstone ("Here lies Fred; born 1801, laid himself to rest 1824"), not in the verse below it ("He was a nice guy"). It's quite a list:
Part 1: Died
Part 2: Departed This Life
Part 3: Deceased
Part 4: Entred Apon an Eternal Sabbath of Rest
Part 5: Fell a Victim to an Untimely Disease
Part 6: Departed This Transitory Life
Part 7: Killed by the Fall of a Tree
Part 8: Left Us
Part 9: Obit
Part 10: Slain by the Enemy
Part 11: Departed This Stage of Existence
Part 12: Went Rejoycing Out of This World
Part 13: Submiting Her Self to ye Will of God
Part 14: Fell Asleep
Part 15: Changed a Fleeting World for an Immortal Rest
Part 16: Fell Asleep in the Cradle of Death
Part 17: Fell Aslep in Jesus
Part 18: Was Still Born
Part 19: Innocently Retired
Part 20: Expired
Part 21: Perished in a Storm
Part 22: Departed from This in Hope of a Better Life
Part 23: Summoned to Appear Before His Judge
Part 24: Liv'd About 2 Hours
Part 25: Rose Upon the Horizon of Perfect Endless Day
All 101 of them are linked to photos of the headstones in the actual post:
Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, of Montreal, and Raed Jaser, 35, from Toronto, are charged with conspiracy to carry out a terrorist attack and "conspiring to murder persons unknown for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group." Read the rest
Read the rest
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:
• Hong Kong Disneyland's Mystic Manor.
• Filter can separate water from Coke.
• Harrison Ford doesn't answer Star Wars questions on Kimmel.
• Cop: "Phones can be converted to a weapon. Look it up online."
• Vrillon Transmission: 1977 pirate TV message from space alien
• The art and science of beer: a video feature on the "Pope of Foam."
• World's Strangest Flowers
When I started working out about a year ago, I hired a trainer. The end of each training session included a massage treatment with a foam roller. That’s when I learned that I had knots, because the roller made my calves feel better.
Its nice if you have someone else to “roll you out,” but you can also put the roller between your calves and the floor and roll yourself back and forth, using your body weight to apply pressure. You can also use it on your back and arms.
It’s also improved the “restless leg syndrome” for two people I know.
I have the 36 inch version, which is bulky. I think the 18 inch version would do just as well. -- Carl Mixon
We've been CISPA'd again.
For a second year the US House has passed the embarrassingly vague Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, a bill that could scatter your personal information like a tornado hitting a trailer park. Echoing last year, the Obama administration has threatened to veto CISPA if it fails to incorporate privacy controls, but we shouldn't have to rely on presidential intervention or the Senate's questionable wisdom to save us. Though Congress is gifted in the arts of incompetence and believes digital liberties only matter to basement-dwelling teens, we cannot entirely vilify the House, either. If there's one thing our representatives actually represent about us, it is our ignorance of technology. Read the rest
Read the rest
The audience for Neil Gaiman's talk on the future of publishing at the London Book Fair apparently greeted his talk with stony hostility. But the Twitters liked it, and I like it too:
Going against a column yesterday in which Booksellers Association chief executive Tim Godfray argued that Amazon was the "foe", and has "the ability to destroy the book trade as we know it", Gaiman believes that "Amazon, Google and all of those things probably aren't the enemy. The enemy right now is simply refusing to understand that the world is changing".
The novelist went on to urge the assembled publishers to be more like dandelions – an analogy he stole, he said, from Cory Doctorow.
"Mammals spend an awful lot of energy on infants, on children, they spend nine months of our lives gestating, and then they get two decades of attention from us, because we're putting all of our attention into this one thing we want to grow. Dandelions on the other hand will have thousands of seeds and they let them go where they like, they don't really care. They will let go of 1,000 seeds, and 100 of them will sprout," Gaiman told the Guardian.
"And I was really using that analogy for today, saying the whole point of a digital frontier right now is that it's a frontier, all the old rules are falling apart. Anyone who tells you they know what's coming, what things will be like in 10 years' time, is simply lying to you. None of the experts know - nobody knows, which is great.
"When the rules are gone you can make up your own rules. You can fail, you can fail more interestingly, you can try things, and you can succeed in ways nobody would have thought of, because you're pushing through a door marked no entrance, you're walking in through it. You can do all of that stuff but you just have to become a dandelion, be wiling for things to fail, throw things out there, try things, and see what sticks. That was the thrust of my speech," said the author.
Here's that dandelion article he's talking about.
Neil Gaiman urges publishers to 'make mistakes' in uncertain new era [Alison Flood/Guardian]
Real Stuff is one of my favorite comics of all time, and I have some good news to share. Boing Boing is going to run the amazing stories from the pages of Real Stuff, once a week (Read the first one here). I’m immensely excited that a new audience is going to be able to read Real Stuff on Boing Boing, free of charge. I hope you’ll enjoy reading, or re-reading them.
Hong Kong Disneyland's Mystic Manor - an RFID/WiFi/electroluminscent driven spook-house for the XXI C.
Hong Kong Disneyland is finally going to get its own Haunted Mansion. Called "Mystic Manor," it opens in mid-May, and is a radical departure from the existing Mansions and Manor -- they've gone bananas with the old electroluminscent paint, in a very good way indeed. Here's a video of one of the preview ride-throughs.
The first area is Acquisitions and Cataloging Room, where Lord Mystic's collections are temporary placed and awaited to placed on shelves. The music box Lord Mystic mentioned is now in front of guests. Albert suddenly pops out and unlocks the box. The escaping magic dust floats in the air and brings life to all artifacts.
The first show case is the Music Room, in which weird and exotic music instruments are stored. A piano is placed in the centre of the room. The magic dust gives life to instrument and music plays. The music will follow the carriage and play the background music for the journey. Albert is excited and amazed. He follows the carriage, curious to visit all rooms.
The next stop is Mediterranean Antiquities. Paintings, ceramics, and Audio-Animatronic® statues start to move under the influence of the dust. An amphora with Hercules fighting with Nemean Lion to conquer Zeus’s quest spins and rocks when the carriage passes. The above description is taken from the Greek myths, the story of Hercules. As what the story told, Hercules only battled once with a lion, which is known as the Nemean Lion.
The carriages move into to a Solarium Room. Albert tries to toy around with the Venus fly traps as he is holding a piece of banana to them, then all of a sudden a large Venus fly trap open it's jaw as it tries to bite the guests, the room then becomes pitch black.
Soon afterward, the carriage enters the Slavic-Nordic Chamber. There is a painting of a Nordic God. He comes to life and blows freezing wind towards guests. Guests are able to feel cooling effect and see the special-effect smoke in this scene.
As I've written before, Finland has an amazing grassroots legislation system that allows citizens to put any proposal with more than 50,000 popular endorsements to a Parliamentary vote, and the test-case for it is an eminently sensible copyright reform proposal that has been wildly successful. Tomorrow, Finnish websites will go dark and invite their readers to sign the petition, moving the proposal to Parliament.
The proposal addresses this concern by making small scale piracy a fine, at maximum, rather than its current maximum of two years in jail. By moving down the maximum penalty, the Finnish police would be more limited in their investigation methods - they won't be able to spy on citizens online, or confiscate property.
The remaining main points in the proposal include allowing fair use of copyrighted material for teaching and research, and adds fair use rights for parody and satire, which is unclear in the current legislation.
Artists' rights would also be strengthened, allowing artists to license their works through open licenses. Additionally, if a fan of an artist is being proscecuted, then the artist will have the ability to tell their representative organization to stop suing on behalf of their content.
Many decisions involving copyright in Finland are discussed and decided within a Copright Council, which includes representatives from the old media industries, such as the TV and recording industries. The proposal would also add internet operators, software, and gaming industries into that mix, as the scope of copyright expanding all the time.
Finnish Sites Blacking Out Tomorrow In Support Of Copyright Petition [Greg Anderson/Arctic Startup]
Sign the petition [Finns only]
Library Lab posted about World Book Night applications a couple of months ago and it's coming up tomorrow. According their website, "World Book Night is an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person. Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people go out into their communities and give half a million free World Book Night paperbacks to light and non-readers. In 2012, World Book Night was celebrated in the U.S., the UK, Ireland, and Germany."
This is just a reminder to watch out for rogue book givers in your community. It's called World Book Night, but book giving happens all day on April 23. You might want to keep an eye on @wbnamerica or #WorldBookNight or #WBN2013 to follow the action.