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Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Try your luck at besc...@gmail.com  

Strawberry in the shape of a chicken

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At Grove Farm in Bonnyrigg, Scotland, this strawberry was said by farmers Reuben and April Welch to look "exactly like a chicken," reports Civil Eats.

One hopes they are not chicken farmers.

Why companies that promise not to sell your data can sell it anyway

pegasus rebate

It's all in the fine print: the deal is altered when bankruptcy or a similar corporate shakeup takes place. Then details you've let them know about you might end up on the block.

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Judge on defendant: "he is a gobshite"

gobshiteThe general consensus on Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's notable dissents is that they reveal a Twitter-caliber quip artist rather than the "great legal writer" imagined by Jeet Heer. But either way, Scalia has nothing on Judge John Coughlan, who recently informed a defendant that he is a gobshite.

According to the Leinster Leader, Sean Byrne of Blessington, Ireland, was facing his third charge of driving without insurance at Naas District Court—a tally sitting on top of 14 prior convictions on "road traffic matters."

When his lawyer began describing his qualities as a father in mitigation, however, the judge interrupted.

"He is a gobshite," Judge Coughlan said, "It's the nicest thing I can say about him."

Then he banned Byrne from the roads for six years and fined him €500 (~$550).

News of the fast talk and stiff penalty came to the internet thanks to Frank O'Donnell, who posted a photo of the article on Twitter. It does not appear to have been posted at the Leader's website yet. [h/t Arbroath]

Naas District Court is no stranger to trouble, and Ireland is no stranger to gobshites.

Court nails man who shot neighbor's drone

DSC06180-640x427Eric Joe flew a home-made hexacopter over his own yard, out in the the country near Modesto, California. A neighbor shot it down with a shotgun. Now a court has told him he must pay for what he destroyed.

Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar posted the very polite letter that Joe had sent his apparently-deranged neighbor.

Joe started the conversation:

It was nice to meet you and your son. I wish it could have been under different circumstances, but I have to give credit to the McBay school of marksmanship. Still, I'm pretty bummed that I just built this hexacopter only to have it shot down. Also, it was a little disconcerting to know that the spread of the birdshot/buckshot was in my direction. In any case, I had a chance to test the components of the downed hexacopter. Good news is that the more expensive components (on the inside of the frame) are in tact. Stuff on the outside of the frame took the most damage. Joe included an itemized list of the damaged parts, which rounded up to an even $700.

McBay responded:

With all do [sic] respect $700 dollars seems excessive. Perhaps in SF it's normal for folks to have drones hovering over their property but we live in the country for privacy. I will be willing to split the cost with you but next time let us know your testing surveillance equipment in our area. I'll drop a check of [sic] this afternoon.

Joe wrote back:

I'm sorry, but I must insist on full payment for equipment you damaged, as you shot it when it was above my property. The aircraft's GPS data positions it clearly above our orchard. Additionally, the hexacopter crashed next to our driveway, ~203 feet (per Google Maps) from the dirt road that separates our respective properties.

I also dispute your characterization that I was "testing surveillance equipment." There was no camera on the hexacopter, and had a camera been mounted, the price for repairs would have been an extra $300. Just as you asked me to give the courtesy of notifying you of my flying activities, I also ask you the courtesy of not shooting live ammunition in our direction. This is the third time discharge from your firearms has hit our house and property. The first incident left a bullet hole in the door by our garage. The second incident occurred last Thanksgiving when birdshot from your skeet shooting activities rained into our backyard. The third, of course, being what we're currently discussing.

I'm hoping to resolve this in a civil manner. An entirely new rig would have cost $1500. Instead, I'm just asking that you pay for what you broke. Let me know if you wish to discuss further.

Three minutes later, McBay replied. "Your facts are incorrect, I'm considering the matter now closed."

The matter was not closed.

Man shoots down neighbor’s hexacopter in rural drone shotgun battle [Ars Technica]

Man charged after child caught in public diarrhea backsplash

diarrhea A gentleman dropped his pants in the street and defecated so explosively that diarrhea alighted upon a nearby child and earned the man a charge of outraging public decency.

In its unbylined story, The Central Somerset Gazette reports that Chas Cox, 25, recently appeared before magistrates to explain himself.

Though Cox pleaded not guilty, claiming he had no choice but to do what he did, prosecutor Christine Hart told the court that "the child was caught in the backsplash" and the defendant was remanded for trial.

The proceedings will resume August 7 in Yeovil, England. [h/t Arbroath.]

Footage shows policeman stuck in own car window

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The Texas Department of Public Safety is not responding to queries about this unusual video, wherein a police officer's legs may be observed dangling haplessly from a cruiser's window.

The bumbling cop's thrashing was caught on camera by amused passers-by, whose video was later uploaded to youtube.

Summary of conservative responses to this week's Supreme Court rulings

angry

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CNN thinks comedy dildo flag at London Gay Pride is "ISIS FLAG"

Dumb as planks. dildosis

Onion: "Only 47,000 social justice milestones to go"

gayrights “This is a watershed moment for civil rights that finally brings the dream of living in an equitable society one tiny fraction of a step closer to reality,” said civil rights lawyer Helene Najjar, adding that the country could now turn its attention to closing the income gap, ending racial discrimination in law enforcement, and providing equal educational opportunities for all children, among tens of thousands of other issues."

Supreme Court OKs gay marriage, ends nationwide bans

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The Supreme Court of the United States of America has ruled that same-sex partners have a right to marry anywhere in the nation. The verdict strikes down remaining prohibitions on same-sex marriages and mandates recognition of such unions performed in other jurisdictions.

The 5-4 split between justices reflected an anticipated ideological divide.

“The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority opinion, joined by liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Justices John Roberts Jr., Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas each dissented, producing separate opinions.

Same-sex couples are currently able to wed in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The remaining 14 states must now stop enforcing their bans. According to recent polls, more than sixty percent of Americans approve of same-sex marriage, up sharply from even just a few years ago.

Immediately after the ruling, President Barack Obama wrote on twitter that "today is a big step in our march toward equality."

Previously:

News is just breaking now, and it must be stressed that reportage from the Supreme Court steps tends to be premature. But @SCOTUSblog's tweets from the court, corroborated by other reports, strongly suggest the court is ruling in favor not only of same-sex marriage, but recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.

Adorable Llama kisses zoo visitor

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Bilbo Baggins' Hobbit hole would cost $14m if it were in the Shires of England

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A U.K. realtor valued the subterranean residence at £8.5m (~$14m), on the assumption that it is situated in Worcestershire, the county J.R.R. Tolkien supposedly had in mind when creating the homeland for his doughty, half-height, very well-to-do hero.

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

The Metro's experts value Winterfell at $200m, though. It's a stark reminder of the wealth of the aristocracy.

Crush your browser's dreams by running Quake full-screen in it

quake WebQuake is doing the rounds, today, and to my horror I found we have never posted it. Consider this sad omission remedied. [details]

Paul Krugman, Economics Fighter

krugman I'm too dumb to understand what the article is about, but Walter Newton's Street Fighter-style animations for "Paul Krugman Battles The Austerians" are fabulous.

Website claims to fix "stuck" pixels

noise

JScreenFix purports to repair pixels stuck on a certain color using nothing more than javascript and HTML.

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Ovens have terrible user interfaces

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It's from 2013, but Tim Ellis's wrath at the insane, incomprehensible controls of modern ovens speaks for all of us.

This Jenn-Air microwave sports 34 buttons. Thirty-four buttons! The microwave in my kitchen at home is a similar Jenn-Air model, also with thirty-four flat, zero-feedback buttons. The vast majority of the time, I use exactly two of these buttons: “Add 30 Sec.” (which also starts the heat) and “Stop / Cancel.” For those of you keeping score at home, that makes 94% of the buttons on my microwave a total waste of space.

Combine an excess of useless buttons with a completely flat surface that has zero tactile feedback, and you’ve basically designed the worst interface possible. Which comes standard on most microwaves. For some reason.

I wonder if what's going on is this: adding features to microwave ovens improves the appeal to consumers at the point of sale, but generates no consequences, negative or positive, that might result in further refinement. It doesn't matter how bad the UI is so long as you can make it start and stop, because that's all anyone ever does with a microwave oven.

He recommends Sharp's commercial microwaves for their gas-stop simplicity. Pricey, but immortal. [via Skimfeed]

Would you pay $499 for a beautiful aluminum NES?

Analogue NT

AnalogNT is an 8-bit gaming console precision-crafted from a single block of aluminum, resulting in something beautiful but no more capable than thrift store tat. The Verge calls it the Leica of game consoles.

This has little to no bearing on how the Nt actually functions, of course. But Analogue believes that it’s energy worth expending. "For us, the quality and aesthetics of a product should be carried all the way through," says Taber. "Putting this much effort into designing something that most customers will never end up seeing may seem superfluous — but we couldn’t imagine making something any other way."

I like their Arcade system much more; a more straightforward refinement of a classic gaming experience to a place of timeless quality than making the NES good for "videophiles."