Xeni Jardin

Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: xeni@boingboing.net.

Sony Pictures hackers threaten violence against moviegoers: “Remember the 11th of September 2001”

An entrance gate to Sony Pictures Entertainment at the Sony Pictures lot is pictured in Culver City, California April 14, 2013. Reuters/Fred Prouser


An entrance gate to Sony Pictures Entertainment at the Sony Pictures lot is pictured in Culver City, California April 14, 2013. Reuters/Fred Prouser

Guardians of Peace (GOP), the group that hacked Sony Pictures, has posted a new missive and more files on Pastebin [link]. "We have already promised a Christmas gift to you," the message opens. "This is the beginning of the gift."

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Torture report shows 26 men held in error

Photo: New York Times. Mohamed Bashmilah, left, in 2008.


Photo: New York Times. Mohamed Bashmilah, left, in 2008.

Based on CIA documents made public last week, at least 26 prisoners were “wrongfully detained.” The New York Times profiles of one of them, whom the United States government held in secret prisons for 19 months. Mohamed Farag Bashmilah survived torture, including solitary confinement, which he says was the worst form.

From Scott Shane's report:

Mr. Bashmilah has told them of being tortured in Jordan before he was handed over to the C.I.A., which at times kept him shackled alone in freezing-cold cells in Afghanistan, subjected to loud music 24 hours a day. He attempted suicide at least three times, once by saving pills and swallowing them all at once; once by slashing his wrists; and once by trying to hang himself. Another time he cut himself and used his own blood to write “this is unjust” on the wall.

Has he received an apology? Has he received compensation? Was the ACLU's lawsuit against the Boeing subsidiary that led to this man and others being tortured at 'black sites' allowed to proceed? No, no, no.

Amid Details on Torture, Data on 26 Who Were Held in Error” [nytimes.com]

Related: "Macedonia helped CIA kidnap and torture a German they mistook for a terrorist"

Her Majesty's Royal Shroom: Hallucinogenic fungi found at Buckingham Palace

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That explains the hats.


That explains the hats.

During preparations for the filming of a television program at Buckingham Palace, someone found a mushroom with hallucinogenic properties growing in the sprawling Palace gardens.

“The mushroom’s hallucinogenic properties have long been known and it has commonly been used in rituals,” reports the AP, soberly.

“Palace officials said Friday there are several hundred species of mushrooms growing in the palace gardens, including a number of naturally occurring Amanita muscaria.”

Officials say garden shrooms are never used in the palace kitchens. But no word on whether the Queen uses them from time to time in her royal rituals of blood sacrifice, baby-dismemberment, and Satanic fornication.

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Science explains why cops shoot black men

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A recent Mother Jones article explores the cognitive neuroscience of racism, by way of the Implicit Association Test. This test, which you can take online, measures “racial prejudices that we cannot consciously control,” writes Chris Mooney.

Sometimes you're asked to sort African American faces and "good" words to one side of the screen. Other times, black faces are to be sorted with "bad" words. As words and faces keep flashing by, you struggle not to make too many sorting mistakes.

And then suddenly, you have a horrible realization. When black faces and "bad" words are paired together, you feel yourself becoming faster in your categorizing—an indication that the two are more easily linked in your mind. "It's like you're on a bike going downhill," Amodio says, "and you feel yourself going faster. So you can say, 'I know this is not how I want to come off,' but there's no other response option."

You think of yourself as a person who strives to be unprejudiced, but you can't control these split-second reactions. As the milliseconds are being tallied up, you know the tale they'll tell: When negative words and black faces are paired together, you're a better, faster categorizer. Which suggests that racially biased messages from the culture around you have shaped the very wiring of your brain.

The good news: “Research suggests that once we understand the psychological pathways that lead to prejudice, we just might be able to train our brains to go in the opposite direction.”

[HT: DC]

Physicians: “Anal feeding” of prisoners is sexual assault, has no medical use

U.S. Army Military Police escort a detainee to his cell during in-processing to the temporary detention facility at Camp X-Ray in Naval Base Guantanamo Bay (Reuters)


U.S. Army Military Police escort a detainee to his cell during in-processing to the temporary detention facility at Camp X-Ray in Naval Base Guantanamo Bay (Reuters)

What a sad world we live in, when a coalition of medical professionals has to issue a press release announcing this most obvious of obvious observations about so-called “anal feeding” of war-on-terror detainees.

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Boing Boing reader sees Santa in a plate of breakfast

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This holiday pareidolia beats the Virgin Mary in a tortilla.

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GIF: Panda dodges laser blasts

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Red panda curiously investigates laser pointer

As you watch this video, remember: it's not actually cool to use laser pointers on animals.

Merry Encryptmas!

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A fun online advent calendar from Privacy International.

Training L.A. librarians to teach science: DIY electronics, robotics, programming, film and Minecraft

Longtime Boing Boing pal Tara "Tiger" Brown co-founded LA Makerspace, the first kid and family-friendly makerspace/hackerspace in Los Angeles. Today, she shares word of a terrific new crowdfunding project:

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Baby Terrified by Pineapple

DO NOT WANT.

How To Draw Mushrooms On An Oscilloscope With Sound

“Yes it's real and it's an analog oscilloscope.”

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Justice for All: Thousands march on Washington to protest killings by police, racial profiling

Led by the families of black men and children killed by police in recent high-profile cases, thousands are marching in the nation’s capital today to demand “Justice For All.”

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Caturday: Long Winter's Cat Nap

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A photo by Eric Sonstroem, shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool.

In New York, “whistleblower” demonstrations at police stations

People hold candles while they take part in a rally to call for action in response to police violence, at the steps of City Hall in New York, December 12, 2014. Photo: Reuters


People hold candles while they take part in a rally to call for action in response to police violence, at the steps of City Hall in New York, December 12, 2014. Photo: Reuters

Demonstrators are staging mass "whistle-blowing" rallies at NYPD police stations throughout New York tonight, kicking off a second weekend of protests against the killing of Eric Garner.

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