Tommy sez, "I made this film clip with a great photographer friend of mine and it took two takes. That means I had to eat TWO CAKES. I ended up eating so much confetti and glitter that I had a glittery poo the next day. But it was all worth it as backwards eating really can end up looking quite beautiful. Thankfully the clip was not about the glittery poo."
A rich, high-stakes gambler was dragged out of his opulent comp suite at the Crown Towers casino in Melbourne, accused of participating in a $32M scam that made use of the casino's own CCTV cameras to cheat.
The Herald Sun understands remote access to the venue's security system was given to an unauthorised person.
Images relayed from cameras were then used to spy on a top-level gaming area where the high roller was playing.
Signals were given to him on how he should bet based on the advice of someone viewing the camera feeds. Sources said the total stolen was $32 million.
They are capable of transmitting the most intricate detail of goings-on inside the building.
Casinos were the world leaders in CCTV use, and really represent ground zero for the panopticon theory of security. What is rarely mentioned is that "security" measures can be turned against defenders if attackers can hijack them. This is as true when a mugger uses his victim's gun against him as it is when a casino's own CCTVs are used to defeat its own anti-cheating measures. This is the high-stakes gambling version of all those IP-based CCTVs that leak sensitive footage of the inside of peoples' houses onto the public Internet.
Crown casino hi-tech scam nets $32 million [Mark Buttler/Herald Sun]
Here's a slow, gentle, fascinating demonstration video for the Wedgetail slide-on camper, "built for rough Australian terrain." It's a pretty amazing feat of engineering, with lots of thoughtful features. But what really gets me is in the money shot where the whole thing opens up like some kind of origami trick. Big things hidden in little things! Hell yeah!
Wedgetail slide on camper demonstration (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
I don't want to give away the punchline here, but it's definitely worth 1:40 of your time to get to it. This Australian gentleman placed a classified ad announcing the sale of his house, with the stipulation "No Asians." A news-crew cornered him in front of the house and demanded an explanation, and, well...
Jeremy sends us the Pop Up DIY Workshop Bicycle Trailer, "a venue that a bicycle can tow and fold down. Can host everything from workshops to gigs. The creators are crowdsourcing its production with rewards ranging from Homebrew beer to Gocco prints."
The original design created by Matias Chadwick and Nick Ovens, responds directly to my original concept. It needed to be lightweight, compact, demountable, easy to assemble, offer shade and seating and be changeable to suit different community needs. The bicycle and materials fit inside the box, and can be taken across country as checked baggage allowing for affordable national and worldwide project destinations.
The Pop Up Trailer is primarily designed to accommodate workshops in zine / independent publishing, bike maintenance, stencilling, gardening and any other kind of skill share workshops that we find passion for.
Here's a seven-minute teaser for "Wyrmwood," an indie zombie movie from Australia that merges zombies with Mad Max. It's really a very, very good little short on its own, and convinced me to kick in $20 towards the production fundraiser on Indiegogo. I want to see this movie get made!
About two years ago my brother and I came up with the idea to meld Mad Max with Dawn of the Dead and make the best zombie film ever produced in Australia. Cut to now and we’re about a third of the way through the film and still going strong.
We’ve assembled a cracking cast & crew of disgustingly talented actors, filmmakers & make-up artists who are all working their guts out in order to deliver a piece of ‘Oz-ploitation’ cult cinema that will sit easily next to the likes of Evil Dead, Bad Taste & 28 Days Later …
WYRMWOOD: An Aussie Zombie Film (Thanks, Sam!)
Australian geeky women's clothing maker Black Milk (previously featured many times on Boing Boing) has rolled out a new line of Star Wars clothes, including a lovely pair of Star Wars Montage leggings.
In a presentation at the BreakPoint security conference in Melbourne, IOActive researcher Barnaby Jack described an attack on pacemakers that could, he says, deliver lethal shocks to their owners. Jack claims that an unspecified pacemaker vendor's devices have a secret wireless back-door that can be activated by knowledgeable attackers from up to 30 feet away, and that this facility can be used to kill the victim right away, or to reprogram pacemakers to broadcast malicious firmware updates as their owners move around, which cause them to also spread the firmware, until they fail at a later time. Darren Pauli from Secure Business Intelligence quotes Jack as saying,
“The worst case scenario that I can think of, which is 100 percent possible with these devices, would be to load a compromised firmware update onto a programmer and … the compromised programmer would then infect the next pacemaker or ICD and then each would subsequently infect all others in range,” Jack said.
He was developing a graphical adminstration platform dubbed “Electric Feel” which could scan for medical devices in range and with no more than a right-click, could enable shocking of the device, and reading and writing firmware and patient data.
“With a max voltage of 830 volts, it's not hard to see why this is a fairly deadly feature. Not only could you induce cardiac arrest, but you could continually recharge the device and deliver shocks on loop," he said.
Manufacturers of implanted devices have been resistant to calls to publish their sourcecode and to allow device owners to inspect and modify that code, citing security concerns should latent vulnerabilities be exposed, and put implantees at risk. But as Jack's presentation demonstrates, vulnerabilities can be discovered without publication -- and if they are discovered and not disclosed, they may never be patched (or may not be patched until coming to light in some kind of horrific attack). In other words, secrecy helps bad guys, but keeps good guys and innocent bystanders in the dark.
Hacked terminals capable of causing pacemaker deaths (Thanks, Jon!)
Australian Attorney General says that public scrutiny of spying bill would not be in the public interest
The Australian government is following the UK, US and Canadian governments' examples and establishing a secretive, no-holds-barred snooping regime. The "data retention" bill that's been prepared by the Federal Attorney-General’s Department requires ISPs to store all communications for two years, and grants wide access to those stored records, as well as allowing snooping on residents' social networking activities. What's more, the Attorney General has denied a Freedom of Information request for a look at the draft legislation from the Pirate Party, saying that public scrutiny of spying laws is "not in the public interest" and would be prejudicial to the decision-making process.
The Pirate Party, which is an activist and political organisation which lobbies to maintain and extend Australians’ digital rights and freedoms, issued a media release this morning noting that it had filed a Freedom of Information request with the department, seeking draft national security legislation which had been prepared in 2010 with respect to the current proposal. The draft legislation had been mentioned by the Sydney Morning Herald in an article in August.
However, the Attorney-General’s Department wrote back to the organisation this week, noting that the request had been denied. Logan Tudor, a legal officer with the department, wrote that he had decided that the draft legislation was exempted from being released because it contained material which was being deliberated on inside the department. “… the release of this material would, in my view, be contrary to the public interest,” Tudor wrote.
In the Pirate Party’s statement, its treasurer Rodney Serkowski described the response by the Attorney-General’s Department as “disgraceful and troubling”.
“They have completed draft legislation, prior to any transparent or consultative process, and are now denying access to that legislation, for reasons that are highly dubious and obviously politically motivated,” wrote Serkowski. “The Department is completely trashing any semblance or notion of transparency or participative democratic process of policy development.”
Australian PM Julia Gillard rose in Parliament to address a motion from the leader of the opposition Tony Abbott to dismiss the Speaker of the House for sending sexist text messages. She proceeded to unload on the smarmy shitheel opposite her for fifteen solid minutes, setting out his record of awful, misogynist garbage. As The Mary Sue's Rebecca Pahle says:
Gillard didn’t take too kindly to the hypocrisy of Abbott jumping on someone else’s sexism for his own political gain, and boy did she let him know it, calling him on his own attitude toward abortion, women in government, and more for a good quarter-hour while he sat frozen in the crosshairs.
It’s a thing of beauty. Can we get her to come and talk to some of our politicians in the U.S., please?
The Fruit Salad Tree Company of Emmaville, NSW, Australia sells trees that have up to six different fruit-bearing branches grafted on them.
* Stone fruits which grows peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots and peachcots
* Citrus which grows a winter and summer orange, mandarins, lemons, limes, grapefruits, tangelos and pomelos
* Multi-apples only
* Multi-nashi fruit only
The Fruit Salad Tree can be grown in the ground as for normal fruit trees, or in pots for those people with very limited space. Instead of having numerous different trees with more fruit than your household can consume there is only one tree with all of the fruits ripening naturally over a period of months. There can be more than one variety of an individual fruit on a tree, thus extending the picking time.
Chris Tangey took this intense image of a tornado sucking a brushfire into the sky near Alice Springs, Australia. From The Australian:
"There was no wind where we were, and yet you had this tornado," Tangey says.
For him, it sounded "like a fighter jet"; for (firefighter Ashley) Severin, it was like "standing behind a 747". "I've never seen anything like it. I just thought the ground was going to start trembling," Severin says. "The noise it was making, the speed, the red flames in the centre of it. It was like a kaleidoscope show."
Virgin Airlines Australia moved firefighter from seat next to boys because men can't be seated next to unaccompanied children
An Australian firefighter named Johnny McGirr was told to move seats on his Virgin Airlines because he'd been seated next to two unaccompanied boys. The airline's policy is reportedly that men may not be seated next to children traveling without adults, though women may be. McGirr believed the policy presumes that all men are presumed paedophiles, and wrote about it in a blog post called My Virgin experience as a Paedophile!, in which he publishes the Virgin policy provided to him by a company rep: "Unaccompanied children will have spare seats allocated next to them when they are flying. In the case of a full plane then a female will be sat next to the children."
Here's his account of how it happened:
The fasten seat belt sign was illuminated and we were clear for takeoff. Then the stewardess approached me again.
‘Sir we are going have to ask you to move’
‘Why’, I said.
‘Well, because you are male, you can’t be seated next to two unaccompanied minors’.
Shocked, I replied, ‘ Isn’t this sexist and discriminatory?’
She replied, ‘I am sorry, but that is our policy’.
I just hate this stuff. I've gotten the weird looks when I take my daughter to the playground, and I've found myself having minor anxiety when her friends fall down and need help or a hug. In situations where children and adults mix, men are often presumptive suspects (this goes double for any place where the Murdoch press has spent 20 years publishing innumerate stranger-danger scare stories that ignore the reality that most child abusers attack their own children or the children in their care). Here's Lenore "Free Range Kids" Skenazy's take on it:
Australian band Abe & Tell's video for their song "This Man's Brighter Days" uses a neat animation gimmick: most of the video is displayed, frame-by-frame, on a tablet held up by various strangers the band approached on the streets of Sydney, with some nice cutaway shots to the video being edited, all pieced together to seem like one continuous shot. It's quite an effect, one that really commands all of your visual attention.
Echidnas are one of those weird Australian animals that seems to have been pieced together from leftover bits of other animals. Mammals that lay eggs, echidnas are covered in pointy hedgehog-like spines, but with a long snout and sticky tongue of an anteater.
Also, the males have a four-headed penis.
Not kidding. One shaft, four heads. Which is odd, because the female echidna reproductive tract only has two branches. Some of the stuff I've read this morning says that the male echidna mates using only two of his four heads at a time. Then, he'll find another lady echidna and let the other two heads have a turn. Another option, presented by National Geographic: He mates twice with each lady echidna, using first two heads, and then the other two.
National Geographic has helpfully provided visual evidence of this four-headed penis.
I'm putting the photo under a cut. Partly for comic effect, and partly because what is seen can never be unseen.
Read the rest
A crucial Australian parliamentary committee has reported in on ACTA, the corrupt, US-led copyright treaty negotiated in secrecy, and has joined with all the relevant EU parliamentary committees in roundly rejecting it. Ellen Broad writes for the Australian Digital Alliance:
Yesterday the Australian Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) presented Parliament with a damning report into Australia’s negotiation of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The Committee, comprising members from both houses of Parliament, was unanimous in recommending against Australia’s ratification of ACTA (for now). Adding to global criticisms levelled against ACTA, JSCOT condemns the ambiguity of its language, questions the proportionality of criminal offences for copyright infringement and demands that independent economic analysis of the anticipated costs and benefits to Australia be undertaken before they will consider the treaty again.
Europeans! Remember that the EU votes on ACTA tomorrow, and call your MEP now!
From Melbourne's Astor Theatre, a harrowing tale of the way that the DRM on digital projectors -- intended to stop exhibitors from leaking high-quality videos onto the Internet -- can interfere with legitimate exhibition. Punishing the innocent to get at the guilty is never a good answer, morally or commercially. The most secure way to manage theatrical exhibition is to ban it altogether; the DRM scheme used by digital projectors comes pretty close to that "solution."
Unlike 35mm film prints that are tangible, come on spools, and run through a mechanical projector, DCPs are files that are ingested into the digital projector which is in many ways simply a very high-tech computer system. Because the physical file is ingested into a projector it can – if the cinema has enough space on its server – be kept there indefinitely and so, having created this situation themselves, the studios and distributors lock the files so that they can only be screened at the times scheduled, booked and paid for by the cinema. This means each DCP comes with what is called a KDM (Key Delivery Message). The KDM unlocks the content of the file and allows the cinema to play the film. It is time sensitive and often is only valid from around 10 minutes prior to the screening time and expiring as close to 5 minutes after the scheduled time. Aside from the obvious fact that this means screenings really do need to run according to scheduled time, it is also means the projectionist can’t test to see if the KDM works or that the quality of the film is right before show time. This isn’t always a problem. But when it is…
When it is a problem we have what happened last night. The KDM we received for Take Shelter didn’t work. We discovered this about ten minutes prior to show time. Being a cinema, and holding evening screenings we couldn’t just call the distributor to get another one because they work office hours. So, our steps began with calling a 24 hour help line in the US. Once we went through the process of authenticating our cinema and scheduled screening we were told we had to call London to authorise another KDM for this particular screening. After calling London and re-authenticating our cinema and session, we were told we could be issued another KDM, but not before the distributor also authorised it. This meant another 5-10 minute delay as we waited for the distributor to confirm that we were indeed allow to show the film at this time. Once confirmation was received we waited for the new KDM to be issued. The KDM arrives as an email zip attachment that then needs to be unzipped, saved onto a memory stick and uploaded onto the server. This takes another 5-10 minutes. Once uploaded the projector needs to recognise the KDM and unlock the programmed presentation. Thankfully, this worked. However, until the very moment when it did we were as unsure as our audience as to whether or not the new KDM would work and therefore whether or not our screening would actually go ahead.
This is one example of one incident in one cinema. There are thousands upon thousands of screenings at cinemas just like us all over the world constantly experiencing these same issues.
The UnWaste Bookcase was jointly created by Ben Milbourne, Leyla Acaroglu and David Waterworth to act as a loft apartment room-divider that could be opened and spun completely around, depending on the needs of the residents. It's a very clever solution:
A split-level open plan warehouse conversion in Melbourne’s CBD needed a flexible solution to divide the open space into 2 rooms, while retaining the option of keeping the larger combined space when needed; an answer that would allow for light and airflow throughout the spaces but also a division between living and sleeping areas. The James Bond inspired solution involves a 4.6 metre high by 3.8m wide rotating library allowing books to be stored and accessed from either side and maximising air-flow and light when needed by simply pushing on the corner to allow for full 360 degree rotation.
Producing the least environmental impact possible was paramount with this project. Conventional ‘virgin’ MDF, Timber or Melamine all came with unacceptable environmental impacts, leading to an impasse that threatened to derail the project. The solution came via the collaboration with David Waterworth who specialises in reclaimed and recycled materials in his designs. Reclaimed plywood from construction site hoardings (the temporary barriers at the edge of construction sites) were sourced and the material’s unique characteristics of posters, weathering, graffiti and mismatched paints was incorporated into the design. The ply was sealed with natural beeswax, and with the construction processes minimising off-cut waste, 30 sheets of plywood were saved from landfill for this project further limiting its environmental impact.
Hasbro tricks fan-blogger into revealing his address so they can send him legal threats over widely available leaked product
Australian Nerf fans were outraged to learn how Martyn Yang, a Nerf-gun blogger writing for Urban Taggers, was tricked by Hasbro into revealing his home address with an offer of a giveaway for his readers, only to receive a lawsuit threat and takedown demand from Nerf's lawyers at that address. At issue is a review the blogger ran of the N-STRIKE ELITE “RAMPAGE” BLASTER, a product that wasn't officially released yet (though as he points out, there are lots of places you can get them). Nerf's lawyers demanded that Yang turn over the identity, IP address and other personal information on his source, or face legal sanctions.
Things got worse when Yang complied with the takedown demand, but still came home to find "representatives" of Hasbro's law firm, Baker and McKenzie, skulking around his apartment building and freaking out the neighbours, asking nosy questions and demanding to know where he got his information. Meanwhile, there are calls for Hasbro boycotts on Facebook, and Yang says he's reconsidering whether he'll devote his energies to promoting Hasbro's products in the future.
First of all, you’re lucky that no one called the police. Secondly, I really do not appreciate being ambushed by lawyers or their representatives on a Sunday afternoon when I haven’t done anything wrong, I have taken down the images and it’s not my fault that neither you nor Hasbro seem to be able to find out whoever the original source of the guns. It would also have been appropriate to give me forewarning so that I could have a lawyer present.
I’ve told your friend ‘Christine’ what I know but it was extremely rude to just show up on my doorstep and scare my neighbours like that. Regarding Nitro and Rayven - I really wish that you’d been up front and mentioned the products in question in your first letter, it could have saved everyone a lot of time and Hasbro a lot of legal fees.
Regarding the “Vortex Nitron” and “Rayven”, these products are freely available for purchase online at this website: http://www.taobao.com/index_global.php. I don’t have the listing details anymore, but if you search for Nerf stuff there, you should find it. I realise that the products weren’t officially released yet but it’s not my fault they were on taobao and it’s pretty common to find promo stuff on taobao/ebay that the recipients have decided to sell online … I’ve showed your friend Christine the site but I really can’t be expected to teach people how to use an internet search engine. You’ll also have to learn how to read Chinese. I don’t read Chinese so I can’t help you there.
Mark sez, "My amazing and beautiful wife arranged had an R2D2 cake made for my 40th birthday. It was made by Stacked Cakes which is located in a small country town 20 kilometres outside Canberra in Australia. The link is to their log where there are photos and video of it being made."
They also include downloadable templates for making your own R2D2 monstercake.
R2D2 Step By Step
Australia's government won't disclose its secret copyright meetings because knowing what went on isn't in the public interest
On TechDirt, Glyn Moody reports the outrageous news that the Australian government refuses to release any substantive information on the secret copyright enforcement meetings it held, redacting nearly the entirety of the documents before releasing them to a Freedom of Information request. The government also claims that it can't release a list of attendees because it doesn't have such a list -- that is, the government doesn't know who was invited to its secret, eyes-only copyright meeting. Most orwellian is this, though, from the Attorney General's office: "Disclosure of the documents while the negotiations are still in process, would, in my view, prejudice, hamper and impede those negotiations to an unacceptable degree. That would, in my view, be contrary to the interests of good government -- which would, in turn, be contrary to the public interest."
What this really means is: "All hell will break loose when the public finds out what is being discussed behind closed doors. So what we're going to do is to come up with an agreement in secret, and then present it as a fait accompli, without offering citizens any options to change anything substantive. By contrast, to release the documents, and allow the public to have a say in how they should be allowed to use a critical 21st-century technology, would be contrary to the interests of this very good government, which by definition is identical with the public interest."
Robbo sez, "James Lillis, a designer with Black Milk Clothing, has come up with a freaky-awesome set of muscle leggings which allow you to celebrate the human anatomy without getting all Gray's Anatomy and actually flaying yourself. I think they are remarkably delicious."
In a kind of Hellraiser/Slim Goodbody way.
MikeyP sez, "Filmmaker friends of mine have a lovely melancholy stop-motion film (about a tiny entymologist with a lightbulb for a head) they're hoping to get into the Australian short film festival Tropfest via the audience vote.If you have a second, and feel so inclined, pray click the link, scroll to the right to find 'Re-Collection',* and if you like the film, please vote for it. Even if you choose not to vote for my friends, Tropfest is worth checking out if you like short films. I think all of the finalists' films are viewable from the Tropfest YouTube channel. It's a good festival. * Or you can use the search box. Yes, Tropfest's system is a bit convoluted, and yes, it probably favours the first films in the list. But that's how it is."
TROPFEST's Channel - YouTube (Thanks, MikeyP!)
(Image: GoMA Blog)
Yayoi Kusama's installation The Obliteration Room at the Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art started as a stark white room, and then thousands of passing children were given brightly colored dots with which to decorate it. The result is exuberant and marvellous.
(Image: Stuart Addelsee, used with permission)
This is What Happens When You Give Thousands of Stickers to Thousands of Kids (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
Melbourne cops made to look foolish by protesters in tent costumes get vindictive revenge by stripping protester to underwear in park
Occupy Melbourne surprised the local law by turning their tents into costumes; when police attempted to tear down the tents, they sprouted legs and heads and started running around the park. The cops turned and left, chased by tents.
But the cops came back, and exacted petty vengeance on the costumed protesters. Several officers grabbed a woman who was wearing a tent and restrained her while they sliced the tent costume off her and then they left with the tent, leaving the protester in a public park in only a bra and underwear.
A former Australian senator has accused News Corp -- Rupert Murdoch's media empire -- of offering to give him favorable coverage in exchange for his vote in against media legislation that would curtail the company's profits and influence. Former senator Bill O'Chee submitted a nine-page statement detailing his allegations to Australian police, who are investigating the claims.
O'Chee, a former senator for the state of Queensland with a track record of voting against his National party's wishes, alleged the executive told him that while voting against the digital TV legislation would be criticised, "we will take care of you".
The executive "also told me we would have a 'special relationship', where I would have editorial support from News Corp's newspapers, not only with respect to the … legislation but for 'any other issues' too," O'Chee reportedly told police in his statement.
"I believed that (he) was clearly implying that News Corp would run news stories or editorial content concerning any issue I wanted if I was to cross the floor and oppose the …legislation."