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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  

Potato salad attack on mom lands Florida man in jail


Jonathan Smith, 34, was charged with misdemeanor battery after "pelting his mother with grub," reports The Smoking Gun.

“Jonathan grabbed a hand full of potato salad and threw it,” striking his mother in the face, reported cops, who noted that the woman had “food all over her and in her hair” when they arrived at the residence. Though his mother yelled for him to stop, Smith “continued to throw food at his mother,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

Via Arbroath.

Are square photographs as bad as square books?

SQUARE Instagram is ditching its insistence on square photographs. Jenna Garret writes on the troubled history of the cool but unwieldy format and its inevitable, eternally-recurring defeat by rectangles. Tell us your favorite shape in the comments.

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71 migrant bodies recovered from truck in Europe


Hungarian police have arrested four people on suspicion of human trafficking after the bodies, thought to be Syrian refugees, were found locked in an abandoned, airtight container truck in Austria.

Mars colony planned


Space sailor Buzz Aldrin and the Florida Institute of Technology are planning to colonize Mars within 25 years.

More specifically, he’s shooting for 2039, the 70th anniversary of his own Apollo 11 moon landing, although he admits the schedule is “adjustable”.

He envisions using Mars’ moons, Phobos and Deimos, as preliminary stepping stones for astronauts. He said he dislikes the label “one-way” and imagines tours of duty lasting 10 years.

“The Pilgrims on the Mayflower came here to live and stay. They didn’t wait around Plymouth Rock for the return trip, and neither will people building up a population and a settlement” on Mars.

Chaos in England as ornamental wheelbarrow tipped over

wheelbarrow A manhunt is on in Oxfordshire after an old wheelbarrow being used as a planter was upset by forces unknown, reports The Henley Standard.

Caroline Langler, a member of the Henley in Bloom committee, who had planted up the two barrows, said: “Obviously it’s annoying someone has knocked it over because I had enormous pleasure doing them both.

“When I was doing them people were stopping to ask about them and telling me how wonderful they were. People really appreciate them.” Mrs Langler, of Queen Street, said she was just thankful the barrow wasn’t pushed into the road.

If you or anyone you know was involved in the vandalism of Mrs. Langler's wheelbarrow, do the right thing. [via]

Ashley Madison planned a "What's your Wife Worth?" app


Avid Life Media is full of genuinely nasty people. Good luck with your next thing, gentlemen.

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Who, exactly, is asking Facebook to censor things for us?

facebook-10-big1Today in Betteridge headlines: "Should Facebook Block Offensive Videos Before They Post?"

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Mystery twitterer linked to Ashley Madison dump


Security blogger Brian Krebs is among those hot on the trail, and he "may have a new lead," according to the New York Times.

On Wednesday, Brian Krebs, the well-known security blogger posited a new theory about who may have hacked the site, which helps arrange extramarital affairs. Mr. Krebs zeroed in on a Twitter user named Thadeus Zu (@deuszu), who posted a link to Ashley Madison’s stolen, proprietary source code before the information was made public this month.

Some apparent problems with this hypothesis have already been noted, but the operator of the @deuszu account is doing his or her best to look guilty.

Reminder: the site was probably just a scam with only a handful of legitimate female participants. Little can be implied about its users beyond stupidity.

EverBlocks are the giant Lego bricks you always wanted


EverBlock's concept is simple: interlocking plastic bricks at a macro scale.

It's quick and easy to build nearly anything, by stacking and organizing the universal blocks in nearly any shape, pattern, or size. Anything you've constructed can be taken apart and re-assembled again, and the pieces can be re-used to build other objects, making EverBlock a unique green building method.

Wired's Liz Stinson: "with just three block versions, there are limitations to what you can build with the blocks. Don’t expect a life-size version of Lego’s architecture series just yet" everblocks





160 years of hurricanes

hurricanes-11-1024x619 Pictured above are the lowest-category storms. Since 2005, the United States has been relatively lucky.

Amazon cutting back on making consumer devices, reports WSJ


After failed smartphones and other gadgets, Amazon's laying off people who work on consumer electronics. Inc. flamed out with critics and consumers last year in its first attempt at a smartphone. Now, rather than forge ahead, as it has with other projects, such as its Kindle tablets, the online retailer is retrenching.

In recent weeks Amazon has dismissed dozens of engineers who worked on its Fire phone at Lab126, its secretive hardware-development center in Silicon Valley, according to people familiar with the matter.

For Amazon to quit, it must be very sure there's no place for it in whatever business it's muscled in on.

Ashley Madison looks like it was always a big sad scam


Annalee Newitz reports that very few of the female profiles at the hacked site appear to represent real people.

The world of Ashley Madison was a far more dystopian place than anyone had realized. This isn’t a debauched wonderland of men cheating on their wives. It isn’t even a sadscape of 31 million men competing to attract those 5.5 million women in the database. Instead, it’s like a science fictional future where every woman on Earth is dead, and some Dilbert-like engineer has replaced them with badly-designed robots.

Her examination of the dataset (generally described as representing about 37m accounts) is that there were perhaps 12,000 paying women users. Which means, of course, that very few of the paying male users were actually having affairs. Of that total, only 1,492 female-profile users ever checked their messages, compared to 20m men.

One thousand, four-hundred and ninety-two.

Ashley Madison employees did a pretty decent job making their millions of women’s accounts look alive. They left the data in these inactive accounts visible to men, showing nicknames, pictures, sexy comments. But when it came to data that was only visible on to company admins, they got sloppy. The women’s personal email addresses and IP addresses showed marked signs of fakery. And as for the women’s user activity, the fundamental sign of life online? Ashley Madison employees didn’t even bother faking that at all.

Here's what Ashley Madison is: a swizz. You pay up to "have an affair", you get strung along for a while, you realize the site is garbage, then you pay the "fee" to have your data deleted. They don't even do that, because why would they? Then everyone gets exposed, because they never had any real interest or competence in keeping user data secure.

Like the classic Nigerian money-laundering scam, it's personally compromising to expose yourself as a victim. So it stayed under the radar—until they got hacked.

Noel-BidermanAt right, Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman. Below is the toilet selfie used by their PR guy, Anthony Macri, when admitting the leaked data dump was real.


Mythbusters proves Walter White's boobytrap works


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Reporter and cameraman murdered by gunman live on air; shot self when cornered by cops

55ddca24cd902.imageWDBJ-TV Reporter Alison Parker was interviewing Vicki Gardner, director of the local Chamber of Commerce, when gunshots rang out at Bridgewater Plaza near Moneta, Virginia. Parker and her cameraman, Adam Ward, were killed.

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The most hated Madrid subway stations, mapped


Residents and visitors to the Spanish capital can avail themselves of this useful map visualizing complaints about stops. No map is necessary for New York or London. [via]

Library of music genres

musicgenres 1: Every Noise at Once assembles all the genres of music into a star-chart of simple click-to-play examples. 2: The random musical genre generator.