Boing Boing 

Chiller "Pucs" for your whiskey, etc on Kickstarter


An extremely successful Kickstarter project ($41K raised on a $2500 goal, with 36 days left) promises stainless steel chiller pucks to go in your drinks. They're rather nice to look at, and promise not to impart any flavors, nor water down your bevvy. These are rather similar to the (controversial) Coffee Joulies from 2011, and at #8 for 6 "pucs" in a walnut case, it's a somewhat pricey accessory.

Pucs are precision machined from solid 304 stainless steel - the same material used in most medical, dental and kitchen tools. For that reason they are 100% inert, will not add or subtract from the flavor your drink in any way, will not absorb smells or flavors from your freezer, will not rust, oxidize, degrade, discolor, leak, pit, chip, flake, crack or dissolve. They're impervious to every drink imaginable, can also withstand tons of pressure and have a melting point of 1450°F! Pucs are completely dishwasher safe - either clean them with soap and water or give them a quick ride in the dishwasher, then send them to the freezer to re-chill.

Pucs: rechargeable ice! (via Yanko)

Boston troopers recount aerial spotting of bombing suspect in boat

“We were there like that. We do this day in, day out. This is what we do. We went over and when I put that [infrared camera] on the boat, I was actually shocked that not only did I see there was a heat source, but I got a perfect human silhouette. That doesn’t happen that much.” Read more at the Boston Globe.

List of British words not widely used in the United States

Here's a nifty Wikipedia entry: List of British words not widely used in the United States. One must be very careful not to confuse one's "bell-ends" with one's "fag ends." (HT: @FlaixEnglish)

An app with which to track gunfire from your smartphone

"A team of computer engineers from Vanderbilt University's Institute of Software Integrated Systems has made such a scenario possible by developing an inexpensive hardware module and related software that can transform an Android smartphone into a simple shooter location system." [phys.org]

Student wrongly linked to Boston bombings (by Reddit users) found dead

The body of 22-year-old Sunil Tripathi was "pulled from the water off India Point Park in Rhode Island," reports USA Today. Sunil was the student mistakenly linked to the Boston bombings by users on Reddit. "It was not immediately clear when Tripathi, who was last seen March 15, died," nor has a cause of death been determined.

In Japan, a new hairdo idea: "Ripe Tomato"

Brian Ashcraft at Kotaku blogs about a neat idea for a hair style from a stylist in Japan. It's called "Ripe Tomato" ("kanjuku tomato" or 完熟トマト), and was created by "Hiro" at a salon in Osaka called "Trick Store", in the trendy Amemura district. Read: You'll Never Forget Japan's Tomato Hairdo.

In defense of Reddit (with regard to the Boston bombing, and crowdsourced sleuthing)

"Law enforcement agencies regularly turn to sites like Websleuths.com to help crack cold cases. Maybe there’s hope for Reddit," writes Tim Murphy in a piece at Mother Jones.
Redditors have, for years, worked to use the resources of crowds as a force for good. There's an entire subreddit dedicated to Redditors ordering pizzas for families and raising money for surgeries. But Boston represents a reality check. Can Reddit harness its greatest asset—the tireless brainstorming of millions—while reining in the speculative impulse that makes the site tick? And even if Reddit could solve crimes, would it be worth it?

US budget sequester means thousands of chemotherapy patients on Medicare turned away

Once again, America's government screws over cancer patients: "Most of Medicare was shielded from the sequester, but because chemotherapy is funded by part of the program that was not, clinics are starting to turn away thousands of patients because they say they can't afford to provide treatments at the reduced rate." [NPR, thanks Amy]

Wikileaks wins in Iceland's Supreme Court court over credit card payment blockade

In Iceland, Wikileaks has won a victory against a financial blockade on donations. "The court upheld a district court's ruling that MasterCard's local partner, Valitor, illegally ended its contract with Wikileaks," reports BBC News.

NZ Press Council finds against statement saying "Homeopathic remedies have failed every randomised, evidence-based scientific study seeking to verify their claims of healing powers"

Juha sez, "Amazingly enough, New Zealand's North and South magazine has lost in the NZ Press Council, after a homeopath filed a complaint against an article that stated: 'Homeopathic remedies have failed every randomised, evidence-based scientific study seeking to verify their claims of healing powers.'"

"Mr Stuart [a homeopath] supplied the Press Council with a letter from Dr David St George, Chief Advisor on Integrative Care for the Ministry of Health, who advises the ministry on the development of complementary medicine in New Zealand and its potential integration into the public health system. He was not speaking for the ministry in this case but offering a personal view.

Dr St George believed the statement in North & South's article arose from a misunderstanding of the Lancet study, which had compared 110 published placebo-controlled trials of homeopathy with the same number of published placebo-controlled trials of conventional medical drug treatments. He said most of the 110 homeopathy trials in that study were "randomised, evidence-based scientific studies" which demonstrated an effect beyond a placebo effect. "

Dr St George said there was no debate about whether there were scientific studies demonstrating homeopathy's therapeutic benefit but rather, whether those studies were of an acceptable methodological quality.

Case Number: 2320 CLIVE STUART AGAINST NORTH & SOUTH (Thanks, Juha)

Documentary about the craft and philosophy of wooden boat carpentry

Kat Gardiner directed this lovely short documentary about the craft and philosophy of wooden boat carpentry called "Shaped on all Six Sides."

Gweek 092: Cartoonist Lucy Knisley

Dean Putney and I interviewed Lucy Knisley, one of my favorite cartoonists. From her website:

Lucy is an illustrator, comic artist and author. Occasionally she is a puppeteer, ukulele player and food/travel writer. She likes books, sewing, bicycles, food you can eat with a spoon, ornery cats, art you can climb on, manatees, nice pens, costumes, baking, television, cheese and Oscar Wilde.

Her first published book, French Milk, is a drawn journal about living (and eating) in Paris with her mother. (From Touchstone Publishing from Simon and Schuster), August of 2008.


Her newest book, Relish, from First Second Books, is about growing up in the food industry. (First Second Books, April 2013.)

Beginning with a love for Archie comics, Tintin and Calvin and Hobbes, she has been making comics in some form or another since she could hold a pencil.

RSS | On iTunes | Download Episode | Listen on Stitcher

What we talked about in this episode:

Mailbox


Primates


Pretty Girls Ugly Faces


Record!!


Moves


Candy Crush Saga


Jiro Dreams of Sushi


Thanks to Soundcloud for hosting Gweek!

US government sends itself a takedown notice over JFK documentary: you decide what to do!

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez,

One agency of the federal government has issued a takedown notice to another agency of the federal government, which in turn demanded that we remove a film from the Internet. Not knowing what to do, I have appealed for your help.

I hereby bring this plea before the Court of Appeals for Wonderful Things, appealing to a jury of my peers, all happy mutants, for their verdict. Here are the facts of my case:

    * After the assassination of of John F. Kennedy on December 23, 1963, the United States Information Agency (USIA), with the assistance of citizen Gregory Peck, produced a 90-minute film called John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums.

    * The film was shown overseas to rave reviews. The Daily Mirror of Manila described it as a "work of art." The Times of India said "Each and every shot of this one and a half hour long film is so effective and heart touching that the spectators remain spellbound to the last minute." The Star of Johannesburg said "This film makes one want to be an American."

    * The USIA was prohibited by law from distributing films in the United States as it was then illegal for the government to propagate domestic propaganda.

Read the rest

Guatemala: March for assassinated priest, and justice, as genocide trial remains in limbo

    In Guatemala City today, a demonstration to honor Monsignor Juan José Gerardi Conedera, and to call for the genocide trial of Rios Montt to continue. Image: NISGUA.

    Today here in Guatemala, demonstrators marched through the streets of the capital to honor the life of Bishop Juan Gerardi, a Catholic priest and human rights champion. He was beaten to death 15 years ago today, two days after releasing a report about victims of the country's 36-year internal armed conflict. Gerardi has become even more of a hero since what the faithful describe as "his martyrdom."

    In the past few weeks of my travels here in Guatemala, I have visited a number of Catholic churches; his name and his image appear often, with great reverence. At the central church in Nebaj, part of the Ixil Maya area at the center of the historic Rios Montt genocide trial, I snapped this photo of Gerardi's inclusion in a memorial to civilian victims of the armed conflict.

    In the central church of Nebaj, Quiché, Guatemala, Bishop Juan Gerardi is honored in a memorial to civilian victims of the internal armed conflict. Image: Xeni Jardin.

    The 15th anniversary of Bishop Gerardi's death comes at a time when Guatemala is once again experiencing a wave of polarizing rhetoric around human rights and post-armed-conflict justice issues—rhetoric that includes damning words for the Catholic church.

    One example: "The Farce of Genocide," a recent paid campaign in a major Guatemalan newspaper by Guatemala's "Foundation Against Terrorism" (Fundación Contra El Terrorismo; blog, Facebook). The group was founded by Ricardo Méndez Ruíz, whose father was a military officer and minister of the interior under Rios Montt. The 20-page newspaper insert warned of an "International Marxist Conspiracy" transmitted through the Catholic Church; it included archival photographs said to be proof of "[Catholic] nuns manipulating indigenous people against" the US-backed former military dictator at the center of the current genocide trial.

    Read the rest

Guatemala: "A Trial of Two Languages," video update from the Rios Montt genocide tribunal

From "Granito: Every Memory Matters" (GMEM), a project inspired by the creation of the film "Granito de Arena," here are the latest in a series of video updates from the Rios Montt genocide trial in Guatemala.

This video, according to Granito director and online media project co-creator Pamela Yates, "captures that extraordinary moment when Judge Barrios ruled to continue the trial."

Above, in English; below, in Spanish.

Read the rest

Not your great-great-grandfather's consumption

Tuberculosis — aka, the reason everybody in 19th century literature is always coughing up blood, escaping to the countryside for "better air", or dying tragically young — is back. And this time, it's evolved a resistance to antibiotics. In fact, in a handful of cases, tuberculosis has been resistant to every single antibiotic available to treat it. Tom Levenson explains what's happening and why it matters at The New Yorker.

Download a dinosaur (or 17)

Now you can download 17 digital versions of dinosaur bodies created by scientists at the UK's The Royal Veterinary College, Hatfield, and other institutions. The bodies were made for a study of the biomechanics of dinosaurs — essentially, an attempt to reverse engineer some knowledge of how dinosaurs moved and how body shape and movement changed as dinosaurs got closer to becoming birds. I don't really know exactly what you might do with these files, but they're free and available to anyone. And, I figure, if somebody is going to come up with a fantastic use for digitized dinosaurs, it's you guys.

How animals pass disease to humans

Given the ongoing outbreak of H7N9 flu in China (and, now, also Taiwan), this is a good time to listen to a fascinating podcast discussion with David Quammen. Quammen recently published a FANTASTIC book, Spillover, about zoonoses — the diseases that humans contract from animals. This includes bird flus like H7N9. It also includes AIDS and a whole host of familiar viruses and bacteria. Bonus: Scary disease girl Maryn McKenna has a cameo in the podcast, discussing the way news media (in China and the US) are covering H7N9 and what you can do to better understand what's happening.

Why the most horrible apple in the world is also the most grown

Despite almost universal agreement that basically defines "so boring as to become disgusting", the Red Delicious apple continues to be the most-grown variety in the US. More than 50,000 bushels of the vile things are turned out every year. This story by Rowan Jacobsen in Mother Jones explains the Red Delicious' undeserved success and follows the stories of entrepreneurs who are trying to bring back varieties of apple long lost to the consumer market.

Where does "new car smell" come from?

The answer lies in another question. How can PVC — polyvinyl chloride, a commonly used type of plastic — be the stuff that makes tough, rigid sewer pipes and, simultaneously, be the stuff that makes floppy vinyl signs and cheap Goth pants?

"PVC is hard stuff. But if you put in a lot of plasticizer, you can get it to be soft," explains John Pojman, a chemistry professor at Louisiana State University. At a molecular level, PVC is a dense thing. Imagine a slinky in its stiff, compressed state. The plasticizers are chemical compounds derived from coal tar. Mix them with PVC and the small molecules of plasticizer shove their in between the densely packed PVC molecules. Imagine stretching the slinky out so that its coils are now wobbly. Same thing happens here. The more plasticizer you add, the less rigid the PVC.

And it's the plasticizers that produce that smell — the one we associate with the vinyl interior of a new car.

Image: 365:37 - Mar 29 - that new car smell, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivative-Works (2.0) image from waldengirl's photostream

HOWTO die at Burning Man

M Otis Beard sez, "You don't often hear about the deaths that happen at Burning Man. Here is an overview that just might save your life." Be that as it may, Black Rock City has extraordinarily low mortality compared to comparably populated/sized areas in the USA.

Which is more painful? Childbirth vs. Getting kicked in the nuts

Science has the answers. Or, anyway, science has a fascinating look at why this particular question cannot be satisfactorily answered.

Also, being 16 weeks pregnant, this is relevant to my interests. I look forward to the subjective debate in the comments.

Oh, the perils of being a reporter on the marijuana beat, which include getting very high

Michael Montgomery, a reporter covering the American pot industry for the Center For Investigative Reporting, learns an important lesson about unique occupational hazards. A fun little animated video.

A profile of the person behind the Boston Police Twitter account

HuffPo profiles Cheryl Fiandaca, the bureau chief of public information for the Boston police department, a former attorney and television journalist. The @Boston_Police's "CAPTURED!" tweet was retweeted about 143,000 times.

Hepper cat bed has groovy appeal

It took a day for our cat Louie to fall in love with his Hepper cat bed. After assembling it (5 minutes) Jane tried to push him into it, but he backed out and ran away, eyeing it with suspicion. The next morning he was like a peanut in its shell. Now he spends hours a day in it. I wish it were big enough for me.

Hepper Cat Bed $110

Publishing should fight ebook retailers for more data

I've got a guest column in the new edition of The Bookseller, the trade magazine for the UK publishing industry. It's called "Tangible Assets," and it points out that of all the fights that publishing has had with the ebook sector -- DRM, pricing, promotion -- the one they've missed is access to data. Whatever else is going on with publishers and Amazon, Google, Apple, et al, the fact that publishing knows almost nothing about its ebook customers and has no realtime view into its ebook sales; and that the ebook channel knows almost everything, instantaneously, is untenable and unsustainable.

I just came off a US tour for my YA novel Homeland, which Tor Teen published in the US in February, and which Titan will publish this coming September in the UK. I went to 23 cities in 25 days, a kind of bleary and awesome whirlwind where I got to see friends from across the USA—Internet People to a one—for about 8.5 minutes each, in a caffeinated, exhausted rush.

Inevitably, I had this conversation: "How's the book doing?" and I got to say: "Oh, awesome! It's a New York Times and Indienet bestseller!" (It stayed on the NYT list for four weeks, so I got to say this a lot). And then, always: "So, how many copies does that come out to?" And my answer was always, "No one knows."

This is where the Internet People began to boggle. "No one knows?"

"Oh, there's some Nielsen reporting from the tills of participating booksellers—you can get that if you spend a fortune. But there's no realtime e-book numbers given to the publishers. We'll all find out exactly how the book performed in a couple of months."

And that's where they lost their minds. The irate squawks that emerged from their throats were audible for miles. "You mean Amazon, Apple and Google knows exactly who comes to their stores, how they find their way to your books, where they're coming in from, how many devices they use and when, and they don't tell the publishers?"

Tangible assets

Crappy iPhone game asks kids to buy $500 worth of in-app crap on the first screen

Boing Boing alum John Brownlee writes about an atrociously ugly Super Mario Bros. clone that hits players up for $500 worth of in-app purchases on the first screen.

I bet you’re itching to play it. Sadly, though, you can’t. Apple’s already yanked it from the App Store. You probably didn’t want to play it anyway, though: it has to be the most shamelessly abusive examples of in-app purchases that mortal mind can comprehend.

The amazing thing here isn’t that Apple banned it, it’s that they didn’t catch any of this to begin with! Especially considering the fact that the developer, Mario Casas, seems to reupload this exact same game to Apple — with the exact same in-app purchase scheme — every couple of months with a new name and new graphics, scamming players until he’s caught. And thus the cycle starts anew.

This Crappy Game Is The Most Shameless Abuse Of In-App Purchases You’ll Ever See

Males With Long Hair Will Be Attended to Last

A sign warning long-haired customers they will be sent to the back of the line. Reportedly from a Singapore post office, late 1960s.
And the sign said… (Via Lady, That's My Skull)

Fair use decision: remixing is legal even when there is no intent to comment or parody original work


A Second Circuit Appeals Court judge has handed down a landmark fair use decision in Cariou v. Prince. Prince, a collagist, remixed some of Cariou's photos and sold them for large sums. Cariou argued that the new works were not fair because Prince did not create his collages as a comment on the original (one of the factors judges can consider in fair use cases is whether the new work is a commentary or parody). The lower court agreed, and ordered destruction of the show catalogs and a ban on hanging the new works. But the appeals court overturned, and held that a use can be fair even when it doesn't comment on the original.

"We conclude that the district court applied the incorrect standard to determine whether Prince's artworks make fair use of Cariou's copyrighted photographs," writes Judge B.D. Parker in the decision, which was released this morning. "We further conclude that all but five of Prince's works do make fair use of Cariou's copyrighted photographs. With regard to the remaining five Prince artworks, we remand the case to the district court to consider, in the first instance, whether Prince is entitled to a fair use defense."

"This decision absolutely clarifies that the law does not require that a new work of art comment on any of its source material to qualify as fair use," attorney Virginia Rutledge told A.i.A. by phone this morning after a preliminary survey of the decision.

"This is a major win for Prince on at least two counts," NYU art law professor Amy Adler told A.i.A. via e-mail. (She consulted on the case but was speaking for herself.) "The court decided that artwork does not need to comment on previous work to qualify as fair use, and that Prince's testimony is not the dispositive question in determining whether a work is transformative. Rather the issue is how the work may reasonably be perceived. This is the right standard because it takes into account the underlying public purpose of copyright law, which should not be beholden to statements of individual intent but instead consider the value that all of us gain from the creation of new work."

Richard Prince Wins Major Victory in Landmark Copyright Suit [Brian Boucher/Art in America]

(Thanks, Tim!)

Jello Biafra talks Occupy, music, and Obama

In a great interview with the Guardian, former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra talks about Occupy, Obama, his break with the rest of the Kennedys, and his current band, Jello Biafra And The Guantanamo School Of Medicine (whose existence I'd somehow missed!).

It's depressing how conservative people can be despite supposedly belonging to a supposedly alternative subculture.

Any alternative culture that inspires a lot of passion and inspiration is also in danger of being set in its ways, almost from the moment it's born. That even included the Occupy movement in some ways. It was discussed whether or not to participate in the electoral side of the system at all, which I thought was a good idea. Why not run people for offices and knock off some of the tired old corporate puppets in the primaries, like those lovely people in the Tea Party have done with the Republicans? But other people chose not to do that.

You've been involved with the Occupy movement. (2) The initial media storm around it seems to have died down …

I think that anyone who declared that Occupy was a failure was very much mistaken. I knew it would have a ripple effect, like throwing a big piece of concrete into a lake and just watching the waves ripple. In a way, Obama owes Occupy big time for saving his ass in the 2012 election. Occupy brought the issue of inequality and Grand Theft Austerity, as I call it, right to the forefront.

Jello Biafra: 'Obama owes Occupy big time' (via MeFi)