Snooper's Charter is dead! (for now)

The UK Communications Data Bill -- AKA the "Snooper's Charter," a sweeping, totalitarian universal Internet surveillance bill that the Conservative government had sworn to pass -- is dead!

Debunking the HTML5 DRM myths

Kyre sez, "The Free Culture Foundation has posted a thorough response to the most common and misinformed defenses of the W3C's Extended Media Extensions (EME) proposal to inject DRM into HTML5. They join the EFF and FSF in a call to send a strong message to the W3C that DRM in HTML5 undermines the W3C's self-stated mission to make the benefits of the Web 'available to all people, whatever their hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental ability.' The FCF counters the three most common myths by unpacking some quotes which explain that 1.) DRM is not about protecting copyright. That is a straw man. DRM is about limiting the functionality of devices and selling features back in the form of services. 2.) DRM in HTML5 doesn't obsolete proprietary, platform-specific browser plug-ins; it encourages them. 3.) the Web doesn't need big media; big media needs the Web. There is also a new coalition of 27 internet freedom companies and groups standing up to the W3C."

Don’t let the myths fool you: the W3C’s plan for DRM in HTML5 is a betrayal to all Web users. Read the rest

Kickstarting a game based on Gaiman's "Study in Emerald" Cthulhu/Holmes mashup

Neil Gaiman's award-winning mash-up of Sherlock Holmes and H.P. Lovecraft 'A Study in Emerald' gets a Gaiman-approved board game expansion.

Cool Tools Show & Tell video podcast 002

Welcome to the second episode of Cool Tools’ Show and Tell podcast! Last week, Camille Cloutier-Hartsell and I had a video hangout with Joshua Glenn and Oliver Hulland. We showed each other 18 different things we love, including books, kitchen tools, games, apps, and gadgets.

Since this is a show and tell, I recommend that you watch the HD resolution video here so you can see the things we talked about. But it’s also available as an audio podcast subscription (Here's the iTunes subscription link). Or, you can listen to or download this episode through Soundcloud.

Here's what we reviewed this time Read the rest

Live sf writing workshop with Resnick and Di Filippo

Tony from StarShipSofa sez, "StarShipSofa is hosting a live writers workshop all in video with SF writers Mike Resnick and Paul Di Filippo. StarShipSofa built its reputation by featuring science fiction from the best authors of our time, from living legends whose works have inspired generations to the rising stars of the genre. StarShipSofa's focus on quality science fiction has brought it an enthusiastic worldwide audience as well as the honor of being the first podcast in history to receive the Hugo Award. Who better to host a workshop for aspiring science fiction writers? If you wish to raise your fiction to the next level, join StarShipSofa and its special guests at this exciting workshop." Read the rest

The "Lollipop Fort of Death" - a clubhouse on a pole

Dig Derek “Deek” Diedricksen’s dangerous digs!

Make: Deek’s Lollipop Fort of Death Read the rest

The Important Book, by Margaret Wise Brown

Goodnight Moon (1947) is Margaret Wise Brown's most famous book. It's terrific, without a doubt. It entertained my kids several dozen times when they were little. But I won't shed a tear if I never read it again. Brown's less-well known children's book, The Important Book, is her magnum opus. Goodnight Moon has pleasant rhymes, but The Important Book (1949) is true poetry about perceiving the world around us, and my wife and I both felt moved whenever we read it to our kids.

The title page of the book has a tiny image of a book and an illustration of a cricket:

The important thing about a cricket is that it is black. It chirps, it hops, it jumps, and sings all through the summer night. But the important thing about a cricket is that it is black.

The other pages identify the important things about daisies, glass, water, shoes, spoons, and other common items, celebrating the mystery in the ordinary. Leonard Weisgard's color illustrations are rendered with a kind of quiet surrealism that increases the impact of Brown's writing.

The Important Book rekindles the sense of wonder we were born with.

The Important Book Read the rest

Sweet, nostalgic film about a magic trick

A short film about magic and nostalgia: 'The Magic Box'

Paul Ryan intern charged with sextortion (he may have also dressed up as Newt's elephant)

The FBI has indicted Adam Paul Savader for "sextortion," alleging that he hacked women's computers, plundered compromising photos of them, and then threatened them with public embarrassment unless they performed private sex shows for him over their webcams. Savader was Paul Ryan's sole campaign intern in the 2012 elections, and Gawker reports that he also served on the 2011 Gingrich campaign, dressing up as Ellis the Elephant, a mascot for the campaign.

Paul Ryan's Campaign Intern Indicted for Cyberstalking (via Super Punch) Read the rest

Superheroes designed by little girls

Alex Law's "little girls R better at designing heroes than you" is a great, occasionally updated Tumblr that features illustrations of superheroes based on the hero costumes little girls have made for themselves.

Kids are more impressionable than you, but kids can also be less restricted by cultural gender norms than you. Kids are more creative than you, and they're better at making superheroes than you.

This is a mini art project where I draw superheroes based on the costumes worn by little girls.

little girls R better at designing heroes than you (via MeFi) Read the rest

Mid-century modern kitchen

Now that's a kitchen!

1950 Armstrong Mid Century Modern Kitchen Read the rest

Cartoonists angry, defensive after inane Miranda strip subverted

Editorial cartoonist Daryl Cagle published this strip.

Then he reran it.

Spot the difference? To Ann Telnaes, this is “a clear case of a cartoon syndicate trying to maximize profits by offering the same artwork but changing a few words to address both ideological sides of an issue. An editorial cartoon is supposed to have a clear point of view.”

Daryl Cagle responds: "I remember when the Miranda decision came down in the 1960′s, on a 5-4 vote. It was controversial for a long time; the only area of the law where “ignorance of the law is no excuse” didn’t hold true. I got a large enough sampling of e-mails in response to the cartoon (and you can see from the Facebook comments as well) that I realized the Miranda decision no longer seems to be controversial – Read the rest

Canada Post claims exclusive use of the words "postal code"

Canada Post -- a failing, state-owned Crown Corporation -- not only claims a copyright on the database of postal codes (a collection of facts, and not the sort of thing that usually attracts copyright). They also claim a trademark on the words "postal code," and have sent legal threats to websites that use the words factually, to describe actual postal codes.

Canada Post disagrees. The crown corporation now argues that the very term “postal code” is subject to a trademark owned by Canada Post. Anyone using the term “postal code,” therefore, does so at their own risk.

“Canada Post has adopted and used Canadian Official Mark POSTAL CODE,” the statement of claim reads. “The Defendants have passed off their wares and services as and for those of Canada Post contrary to section 7(c) of the Trade-marks Act.”

What this means is Canada Post is changing direction in their lawsuit against Geolytica.

Geolytica has argued since the lawsuit began that they did not copy the Canada Post postal code database, but instead built their own based on the feedback of their own users. They crowd-sourced it. This makes Canada Post’s original copyright claim trickier, even if you set aside the facts vs. intellectual property argument.

Canada Post says they hold trademark on the words ‘postal code’ Read the rest

New Ubuntu version hits today!

If it's April, it must be time for a new version of the Ubuntu operating system; a great, free, easy-to-use, highly polished version of GNU/Linux. Ubuntu does two releases a year -- October and April -- and the new release, Raring Ringtail (AKA 13.04) is a consolidation release that adds a lot more polish, performance and stability to the system. I'm happy about this: Ubuntu has been slowly transitioning to Unity, a new graphical interface over some years, and while I've come to really like Unity's featureset, I've also been noticing that it's getting a bit creaky under the hood. A stability and performance release is very welcome.

Ubuntu is my operating system of choice, and has been since 2006 or so. I run it on rock-solid, amazing, lightweight and fast ThinkPad laptops (currently the X230) and I find it to be exactly what I need from an OS: fast, easy, easy-to-maintain, and super stable. Switching to Ubuntu (which runs on pretty much any computer) was a little like remodeling the kitchen: for a couple weeks I kept looking in the wrong place for the menuitem I was seeking (just like I kept looking in the wrong place for the cutlery drawer), then, one day, everything was where I expected it. I don't even notice my OS anymore, in the same way that I don't notice my doorknobs or coathooks anymore. It just works.

And when something goes wrong, it goes wrong very well. I spilled a cup of coffee into my last laptop, an X220, while on tour in February, just as I was leaving my DC hotel for a plane to Boston. Read the rest

Masters thesis on (post)cyberpunk

Krzysztof Kietzman sez, "I studied American literature in Poland and published my Masters Thesis on cyberpunk and postcyberpunk for free under a Creative Commons BY SA license. It is available online and covers the writers William Gibson ('Neuromancer') and Neal Stephenson ('Snow Crash', 'The Diamond Age') and the theme of innocence in cyberpunk fiction. This theme will be familiar to Boing Boing readers, as it appeared in the works of Mark Dery and John Barlow, among others. The thesis explores such topics as American individualism, escapism, religion and Rapture, 'the rapture of the nerds', AIs, etc. One chapter also covers cyberpunk in general." Read the rest

Freemasonry and the high echelons of French cuisine

"There have long been whispers inside the French food world that all the top chefs are members of the Freemasons, and that membership can make or break careers," writes Bon Appétit. "The gossip can, of course, be malicious." Read the rest

All the contestants for Miss Korea 2013 converted to an animated GIF

NinjaFridge says, "I found this on reddit and it shows the contestants for Miss Korea 2013." Then he made this GIF. I think they all look pretty different from each other, but it's a fun animation anyway. (Via Kristie Lu Stout) Read the rest

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