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


Public university asked students to report recent sexual history or face punishment

Clemson University has withdrawn its demand, which would have mandated students answer questions on how often they have sex, what sort of sex it was, and the number of partners. The quiz was supposedly anonymous, but required students to use their official IDs and third-party services to complete.

Dumb anti-drug hysteria forced McDonalds to stop giving away decent coffee spoons

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 2.53.46 PM McDonalds used to include this perfectly utilitarian spoon with coffee--perhaps the company's only genuine claim to a design classic. Because it could be used to measure out drugs, though, it was removed from the market at the demand of lobbyists seeking a symbolic victory over drug "paraphernalia."

Amazon pays $4.6m for .buy domain suffix

Amazon beat Google to the new .buy top-level domain, and will be able to sell on domains under it (such as, say, to others. The .tech suffix, though, went for $6.7m...

New UK flag revealed

1280px-Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg Scotland votes 'No' to independence [BBC]

First person to buy iPhone 6 drops it

Perth, Australia. The first in-store pickup of the long-awaited new iPhone. The glare of the new day. The crush of the crowd. The crack of metal on concrete.


The phone was fine.

Tim Cook on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek


A graphic designer at Bloomberg Businessweek instantly ascends to world grandmaster of not giving a fuck.

Sheep outwits cattle grid

via Nothing To Do With Arbroath

North Korea publishes lengthy report praising own human rights record

Pyongyang's initial response to a UN report on its human rights abuses was anger and outrage. This week, however, it has published a 53,558-word counter-report, described as "a grueling read" by the Washington Post's Adam Taylor, who surely deserves a raise for this.

Joy Division twitter account

There is finally an official Joy Division twitter account, started by the members of New Order. Peter Hook was not informed, and he is displeased.

Kindle Voyage


Amazon refreshed its lineup of Kindles last night, pushing the Kindle Fire for less than $100, where it's easily the best fit for people wanting a good-enough tablet on a budget. But the most interesting thing for me is the latest e-ink model, the Kindle Voyage, which will get much less attention.

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The undying website of Heaven's Gate

The website of Heaven's Gate, the cult whose members killed themselves in hopes of riding Hale-Bopp to the eschaton, remains live 17 years later. Web developer and writer Jason Kottke remembers the day: "It was the first time an internet meme was a major aspect of a national news story."

Violent bigots tracked down with Twitter and Facebook

Two gay men were savagely beaten last week in Philadelphia's Center City district by a group of 10-15 "clean-cut, well-dressed" people in their twenties. With only a blurry security video to go on, finding the attackers would have been a long shot were it not for Twitter, Facebook and the viral spread of a cheesy restaurant photo.


According to Philadelphia police, someone in the group subjected the men to "disparaging remarks about their sexual orientation". In the ensuing confrontation, the victims were held down and attacked, receiving punches to the face, head and body. One of the gang grabbed a victim's bag--containing a cellphone, wallet and credit cards. As police approached, the group fled.

Both of the victims were taken to hospital and treated for multiple injuries: one sustained fractures so severe he required facial surgery and had his jaw wired shut.

The police put the video out on YouTube, however, and it soon spread to Twitter, where one Greg Bennett tweeted it. He soon linked to a photograph, taken at a restaurant, which showed the same group of people mugging for a camera. Though it had no accompanying information, the coincidences were many: the same blandly expensive check shirt, the same schoolboy shorts, the same ill-fitting red vest. It was clearly the same group.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 1.16.28 PM

The photo, he said, came from "a friend of a friend of a friend", who'd sent him it after he posted the CCTV footage: "I wanted to get the word out."

The revealing shot spread like a virus, getting retweeted 476 times. Within hours the restaurant was identified as La Viola, a nearby Italian BYOB place, by another Twitter user, FanSince09. And he wasn't finished: having identified the location, he checked Facebook's advanced search--which lets the user narrow the graph to specific locations and times--to see if anyone had checked in with photos or postings at that venue.


Now armed with pictures and names, police thanked the sleuth--on Twitter, of course--but warned that there'd be much work to do: its not, they wrote, "a Law and Order episode."

Yet within hours, reports emerged that those "well dressed" suspects had already lawyered up and were talking to police.

The sequence of tweets that led to their apprehension is storified by Melody Kramer. For his part, FanSince09 has advice for would-be scumbags: Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 1.55.24 PM

Union Jack flag probably won't change much if Scotland becomes independent-but maybe they won't be the last to leave


Tomorrow, Scotland votes on whether to become an independent country. The polls are running neck-and-neck, and one of the most enduring and fun discussions concerns what'll happen to the U.K.'s iconic flag if the Scots vote "Yes!"

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Attempted gunpoint robbery of cyclist recorded on helmet camera

At first, cyclist Mike Graziano thought he was merely avoiding a collision with an inattentive motorcyclist. When the man cut him off again, though--and produced what looked like a handgun--the scenario became clear.

"I was on a bike tour in a rough part of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in broad daylight when a thief attempted to steal my camera gear at gunpoint," wrote Graziano. "I miraculously happened to be recording with a gopro on my forehead and captured this amazing piece of footage!"

Graziano was in Argentina as part of a cycling tour of 195 countries he'd kickstarted to march "into the most 'dangerous' areas on earth and will surprise everybody with the level of welcoming and gracious people they meet, leading to a serious evaluation of the assumptions we make about nations."


Protip for robbers: learn the English words for things you would like to possess.

Elmo arrested in Time Square


Aggressive Panhandling is the charge: costumed characters pose for photos then threaten tourists--or police pretending to be tourists, as the case may be.

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