The world's libraries tell the W3C that DRM is bad for the web

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions is the respected global body representing libraries all over the world; in an open letter to the World Wide Web Consortium, the organization says the recent decision to standardize DRM for the web has undermined the web's openness and the ability of libraries and other public institutions to fulfill their important social role. (more…)

These trippy videos are designed to entice you to purchase eyewear

Belgian fashion designer Walter Van Beirendonck has paired up with the Russian eyewear company FakbyFak to create fashion videos for the release of his new eyewear line “Toy Glasses.” The three videos are named Brutal Love, Total Liquidity, and Self Destruction. Out Magazine explains that the films are “a demonstration of what would likely happen to our Sims if they were left to their own devices in an artsy sex dungeon with a bunch of acid...Beirendonck's videos employ the talents of performance artists Maria Forque, Salvia and Liza Keane, and are styled in 3D animations created by visual artists Claudia Maté, Ines Alpha and Jennifer Mehigan. They're influenced by a combination of '70s punk subcultures, Alice In Wonderland and bizarre makeup techniques”.

Wonderfully strange and psychedelic, Beirendonck’s films warp the viewer's reality and urge them to question the nature of their own perception. From Out:

These 3D spaces speak to Walter Van Beirendonck’s interest in utopias—the need to dream in order to not only escape reality but to challenge it. In doing so they ask us to break free from the mind-forged chains of convention we weigh ourselves down with day to day.

Beirendonck’s conceptual ideas behind the film make me think of Timothy Leary’s philosophy that helped define '70a counterculture; to break away from the rigid conformity that plagues so much of society and to think for oneself.

NSFW?

Coffee makes you live longer? Don't believe the buzz

Two new studies from the Annals of Internal Medicine have made the rounds on news sites, each claiming that an increased coffee consumption leads to a higher life expectancy. While this may sound like a great excuse to fuel a coffee habit, the summary of the studies explicitly states that:

Although drinking coffee cannot be recommended as being good for your health on the basis of these kinds of studies, the studies do suggest that for many people, no long-term harm will result from drinking coffee.

Despite the claims from many news sources, excessive coffee drinking has not been proven to prolong your life. For those wondering why the study in inconclusive, an opinion piece in Forbes clearly outlines why association does not prove causation, and why more coffee will not necessarily benefit you.

A compelling article from last year in New York Times' Well explains a fairly decisive link between genetics and the health impact of coffee-drinking. Whether or not you are a fast- or slow-metabolizer of caffeine may determine its health benefits or consequences. If you are interested in the subject, it is worth reading.

While the two new studies do suggest that coffee drinkers live longer lives, there is no evidence that clearly points to coffee as the culprit. For now, drink assured that coffee will not harm you, but know that it may not be the elixir that it’s currently hyped up to be.

Image: Peter Lindberg

RIP: George Romero creator of "Night of the Living Dead"

George Romero was 27 when he made the zombie movie Night of the Living Dead on a $114,000 budget. He went on to make over 20 movies, many with a horror or zombie apocalypse theme. He died today at age 77 from lung cancer.

From the LA Times:

In recent years, as the zombie genre had a resurgence, Romero wasn’t always a fan. He told a British newspaper in 2013 that he’d been asked to do some episodes of “The Walking Dead,” but had no interest.

“Basically it’s just a soap opera with a zombie occasionally,” he told the Big Issue. “I always used the zombie as a character for satire or a political criticism, and I find that missing in what’s happening now.”

Romero took an intellectual view to his depiction of zombies, an approach he found lacking in some of the work that came after him.

“I grew up on these slow-moving-but-you-can’t-stop-them [creatures], where you’ve got to find the Achilles’ heel, or in this case, the Achilles’ brain,” Romero told The Times in 2005, referring to the organ whose destruction waylays a zombie. “In [the remake] they’re just dervishes, you don’t recognize any of them, there’s nothing to characterize them.... [But] I like to give even incidental zombies a bit of identification. I just think it’s a nice reminder that they’re us. They walked out of one life and into this.”

His critical eye could be trained on subjects beyond the undead. In 1988, he remarked on the street scene on Hollywood Boulevard to a Times reporter, making a prediction that proved true.

“I know they’re trying to clean up Hollywood Boulevard,” he said eyeing the odd, colorful crowd at rush hour. “But you’ll always be able to get a tattoo here. It’ll just cost more.”

Image: Nicolas Genin/Wikipedia

Five great crime novels

Every week, Kevin Kelly, Claudia Dawson, and I send out our Recomendo newsletter. It's a lightweight rundown of six useful things. (Sign up here!) Here's this week's newsletter:

Five good crime books:
On the excellent Five Books website Author Simon Brett is interviewed about his five favorite crime novels. Three of his picks (A Kiss Before DyingThe Big Sleep, and The Talented Mr. Ripley) are among my favorites, so I added his other two picks to my wish list. — MF

Summer enjoyment:
I spent almost four hours lounging in this papasan float on the 4th of July and it’s now my favorite purchase of the year. Half my body stays in the water, so I’m able to stay cool while basking in the sun. The only drawback might be how easy it is to relax — time went by so fast, I got sunburned. — CD

Outstanding listen:
You know about Song Exploder, yes? It’s this amazing podcast that takes one well-known song each week and explodes it into its component parts. The musicians who wrote and perform the song take it apart track by track, sometimes beat by beat, explaining what they were thinking as they created the pieces: what challenges and dead-end they met along the way, how the song changed as they worked on it, and why they like the final version. It’s the x-ray into music I always wanted. — KK

Free app finder:
Daily App Advice shows you which paid apps are currently being given away for free in the iTunes App Store. I’ve found many useful free utilities and games here that usually cost between $1 and $10. — MF

Movie night must-have:
Cinesift is a website that combines film ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB and Metacritic and gives you the average. What I find the most helpful is that I can filter my movie search by genre, and limit results to only those available on Amazon Prime and/or Netflix Watch Instantly. That way I don’t waste time flipping between services searching for a movie. — CD

Best work surface:
I have a large self-healing mat on my workbench, and I have smaller cutting mats I lay on a table if I am working. The non-skid surface keeps parts and pieces stationary, while the cushion prevents dings in the table top beneath. And of course, the self-healing mat is ideal for cutting fabrics, paper, etc. with razors and blades. Also protects from spills better than cardboard. It is easy to clean up: just tilt and wipe. It’s become my default surface for any work. Get the largest size you can. At the minimum, an 18 x 24 inch mat covers well and yet is portable and easy to store. — KK

Take this visual compatibility quiz to find out what kind of person you are

Do you have a neat signature, or a messy one? Do you let the dishes pile up in the sink, or do you clean them as soon as you are done using them? Do you prefer coffee or tea? The purpose of 2 Kinds of People, by João Rocha is to sit down with another person and go through the dozens of side-by-side drawings to find out how compatible you are. It isn't supposed to be a serious exercise, but you will probably learn some interesting things about yourself and your friends and partners by doing it. For instance, not only did I learn that Carla likes to hang her toilet paper with the hanging side towards the wall, she was also able to convince me that her preferred way is superior.

Here's an interactive way to learn ethical hacking

The Metasploit framework is an open source tool that lets you simulate real attacks against your system. You can get introduced to this essential cyber security software with this Penetration Testing & Ethical Hacking course, available now in the Boing Boing Store.

Throughout these 23 lessons, you’ll exploit vulnerabilities, evade antivirus software, and gain unauthorized access to protected systems. After getting familiar with the Metasploit environment, you’ll analyze targets for system weaknesses and execute automated tests backed by the world’s largest database of exploits. You will learn how to escalate privileges and take over remote machines by executing your own penetration code, and discover how to effectively cover your digital tracks. It’s a great way to pick up the fundamentals of this critical security role, since you’ll be following along closely with their interactive lessons.

This Hands on, Interactive Penetration Testing & Ethical Hacking course is usually $65, but you can pick it up here for $28.

Cut the cord without sacrificing anything but the ads

A cable subscription is the most straightforward way to watch live TV, and it’s typically the only way to get access to streaming content from cable networks. But you never get to choose which channels you actually want, and having to use all of their separate streaming services is a pain. Ultimately, you're paying a premium for stuff you just don't really use.

Instead of trying to figure out which online service has the biggest cross-section of your favorite shows, SelectTV offers up the largest content library in the world, aggregating over 300,000 TV episodes, 200,000 movies, along with 2,000 curated live TV channels so you can access whatever you want to watch. This deal also includes trial access to streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video. Plus, the included HDTV antenna lets you watch live local channels so you don't have to sacrifice network TV when you cut the cord.

SelectTV has apps for all major mobile and desktop platforms, and offers an extensive amount of free and paid content that will ultimately help you save big on the content bill. The Ultimate Cord Cutting Kit lets you get the content you want at a price that works for you. Plans start at $19.99 for one year of access in the Boing Boing Store.

Two Bit Circus bringing a high-tech micro-amusement park to downtown L.A. in early 2018

This is huge, awesome news. In early 2018, experiential entertainment company Two Bit Circus will open the country's first micro-amusement park in downtown Los Angeles. The company's founders Brent Bushnell and Eric Gradman will house the high-tech park (that will have an old school carnival feel) inside of a former power plant in Lincoln Heights. The entrepreneurial duo are hoping it will be the first in a chain of such parks that will use technology to bring people together to play.

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