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Guatemala genocide trial status in limbo as legal power struggle continues

VIDEO: Relatives of people killed during Guatemala's armed conflict hold up a banner with the names of the dead, during a protest on April 22, 2013 outside the Constitutional Court in Guatemala City. (Xeni Jardin for Boing Boing)

Kate Doyle of the National Security Archive and the Open Society Justice Initiative's riosmontt-trial.org has the most accurate summary I've found of today's confusing and widely mis-reported legal developments in the Guatemala genocide trial of General Rios Montt and former head of intelligence Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez:

Today the Constitutional Court sowed chaos and confusion in a trial that last Friday (April 19) was probably two or three days away from its conclusion. The only steps remaining were hearing the testimony of whatever remaining witnesses the defense could muster, and hearing the closing arguments of prosecution and defense lawyers.

It is impossible to summarize accurately what happened without having access to the Constitutional Court (CC) decision. (It should be available tonight.) The first press conference held by the CC today was so incoherent that the press complained and they had to convene a second one. Two important things will happen tomorrow that will help clarify matters: CALDH will hold a press conference at 10am to explain how they plan to respond to the latest developments, and the Attorney General’s office will make some kind of statement to the same effect.

Meanwhile what I understand from reading the press, Twitter posts, messages from the new OSJI monitor Lisa Laplante, and emails from some of the stakeholders is the following:

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Surowiecki: The right way to crowdsource a manhunt

James Surowiecki in the New Yorker:
After Reddit’s attempt to find the Boston Marathon bombers turned into a major failure (for which Reddit’s general manager Erik Martin publicly apologized Monday), the over-all conclusion seems to be that the whole experiment was misguided from the start, and that the Redditors’ inability to identify the Tsarnaev brothers demonstrates the futility of using an online crowd of amateur sleuths to help with a criminal investigation. Or, as the Times’s Nick Bilton put it, “It looks as if the theory of the ‘wisdom of crowds’ doesn’t apply to terrorist manhunts.” That proposition may be true. But Reddit’s failure isn’t evidence for it.

Read the rest: "Reddit and the Marathon Bombers: The Wise Way to Crowdsource a Manhunt" [newyorker.com]

Richest Americans grow richer (and, spoiler alert: poor grow poorer)

A Pew Research Center study out today shows that the modest economic growth following the so-called "Great Recession" has increased wealth inequality in America. The top 7% of American households enjoyed a 28% increase in net worth; the wealth of the other 93 percent declined. [Washington Post] Xeni

Caddis fly larvae coaxed into building cocoons out of precious metals and gems


Update: Be sure to check out our first post about this from 2007!


This 2007 profile of Hubert Duprat's work with caddis fly larvae is a tiny, entomological miracle. The larvae build their cocoons with whatever material is at hand; Duprat forces them to build with gold and precious gems, making spectacular bio-organic jewelry.

Duprat, who was born in 1957, began working with caddis fly larvae in the early 1980s. An avid naturalist since childhood, he was aware of the caddis fly in its role as a favored bait for trout fishermen, but his idea for the project depicted here began, he has said, after observing prospectors panning for gold in the Ariège river in southwestern France. After collecting the larvae from their normal environments, he relocates them to his studio where he gently removes their own natural cases and then places them in aquaria that he fills with alternative materials from which they can begin to recreate their protective sheaths. He began with only gold spangles but has since also added the kinds of semi-precious and precious stones (including turquoise, opals, lapis lazuli and coral, as well as pearls, rubies, sapphires, and diamonds) seen here. The insects do not always incorporate all the available materials into their case designs, and certain larvae, Duprat notes, seem to have better facility with some materials than with others. Additionally, cases built by one insect and then discarded when it evolves into its fly state are sometimes recovered by other larvae, who may repurpose it by adding to or altering its size and form.

Artist Project / Trichopterae (via Neil Gaiman)

(Photos: Jean-Luc Fournier)

Documentary on the Cydwoq shoe factory

As mentioned before, I'm a big fan of the beautiful handmade shoes from Cydwoq, who manufacture their wares to order in Los Angeles. Here's a short and beautiful documentary on their factory and manufacturing techniques.

Wyndhamesque missives from Scarfolk, an English horror-town trapped in a 1969-79 loop


I'm loving the Scarfolk site, where "Dr R Littler" chronicles the mysteries of an English town stuck in a Wyndham-esque loop betwen 1969 and 1979. It's full of the most lovely horrors. It's all so perfectly wrought and so grisly and freaked out and perfectly aged. If only we could all retire to Scarfolk and never grow old!

Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. "Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay." For more information please reread.

Scarfolk Council (via Die Puny Humans)

Wonderful reading of awful sorority letter sent by horrible sorority sister

If you haven't heard about the insane letter sent around to a sorority by its concerned and thoroughly awful social chairwoman, you're probably doing something right. Nevertheless, there is a gem of good in every wickedness, as Funny or Die demonstrates with this dramatic reading of the letter in question [NSFW] Cory

Haunted Mansion/Batman mashup


Oh hell YES. DeviantArtist ArtistAbe has crossed Batman with the stretching portraits at the Disneyland Haunted Mansion. His substitutions are extremely well-thought-through and well-wrought. The fact that these are DC comics mixed into the Disney/Marvelverse gives it all a rogerrabbitesque mind-bend, too:

Harley Quinn and Killer Croc-
This was the last one I did because I was still unsure what I wanted to do with Harley Quinn's outfit. Sure I could have made it easier on myself just to put her in her standard costume, but I'd miss the opportunity to put her in a dress. I'm not that great at fashion, but this was one of the ideas I had for her outfit that I finally settled on. Pretty happy with how it turned out. :) I thought about giving her the umbrella for a split second, but then it's Harley! So I gave her a croquet mallet. Croc was the obvious choice to replace the crocodile.

Joker and Scarface-
The original portrait had his pants down, so who better to pull that off than the Joker! He's doing the drinking water while still having the puppet talk trick, just fyi. I didn't intend to have at least two Batman characters in each portrait, but it kind of happened that way. I've always liked the Scarface character so I jumped at the chance to draw him in this piece...

Haunted Arkham Asylum (via IO9)

The science mystery behind a psychedelic HIV/AIDS drug

Some patients taking antiretroviral medications for HIV/AIDS receive the efavirenz, marketed under the commercial names Sustiva and Stocrin. According to a report in the LA Times by Melissa Healy, it has an "LSD-like interaction" with brain receptors governing serotonin activity.
That may explain why roughly half of patients taking efavirenz at the prescribed dose have reported neuropsychiatric side effects that include suicidal depression, night terrors, hallucinations, paranoia, psychosis and delusions. And it may also explain why efavirenz tablets are reportedly being ground up and smoked by drug abusers looking for a hallucinogenic high.

Read more at latimes.com.

The Art of Harvey Kurtzman - a short film

Damen Corrado from Imperium Pictures let me know about this nice video tribute to MAD creator Harvey Kurtzman. He says "it features a lot of his work from the current exhibition at the Society of Illustrators in NYC, and interviews with Al Jaffee and Bob Grossman, with a jazz soundtrack by Nik Turner of Hawkwind."

Cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman (1924-1993) founded the satirical MAD magazine in 1952 and forever altered the way young readers experienced the media and consumer culture around them. As the late film critic Roger Ebert explained, “I learned to be a movie critic by reading MAD magazine. I learned a lot of other things from the magazine too, including a whole new slant on society. MAD’s parodies made me aware of the machine inside the skin–of the way a movie might look original on the outside, while inside it was just recycling the same dumb old formulas. I did not read the magazine, I plundered it for clues to the universe.”

After MAD, Kurtzman worked with a team of artists including Al Jaffee, Jack Davis and Will Elder on a series of short-lived but influential publications, including Trump, Humbug and Help! At Help!, a fortuitous nexus of nascent sketch comedy and underground “comix,” Kurtzman worked with then unknowns Woody Allen, Gloria Steinem and R. Crumb, among many others. Terry Gilliam, who met John Cleese while working there, considered Kurtzman “one of the godparents of Monty Python.”

The Society of Illustrators in NYC is hosting a retrospective exhibition on Harvey Kurtzman through May 11, 2013

Previously: The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics

Classic album art cakepops


These album art cakepops were made by Miss Insomnia Tulip for an unnamed client. Nice work, and infringealicious!

Album Cover Cake Pops – a must see!

Winners of the Marijuanamerica giveaway

Last week I announced that Abrams books was giving a copy of the new book, Marijuanamerica (reviewed here) to five Boing Boing readers. The winners would be chosen from the comments. They're all worth reading, but I had to pick five, and you can read them here. Congrats to all the winners - if your username is listed below please email me (mark@boingboing.net) so I can arrange to have your book sent to you.


Pink Frankenstein: One time when in junior high school, I was walking through town during the 4th of July. One of the surfer kids was sitting on the steps of a catholic school smoking a joint. This was about 1978 or so. He was my age so that's about 14. While I was walking by, a cop was coming the other direction and simply told the kid from afar to put that thing out. I remember the kid looking all mad and hassled by the man. Crazy times.

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Chainmail tights


Mitmunk's chainmail tights don't actually appear to be on sale any longer, but the design is a treat.

(via Geeks Are Sexy)

Update: Hurrah, they're back on sale (thanks, Dean!)

"Bela Lugosi's Dead" stretched to nine hours

NewImage

Goth anthem "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus time-stretched into nine hours. Oh Belllllaaaaaa! (via Dangerous Minds, thanks, Patrick Kelly!)


Report: Ricin-to-president suspect may have been framed

"The Mississippi man charged with sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama reportedly has been released on bond, amid an apparent probe into whether he might have been framed." [Fox] Rob