Boing Boing 

Police in Brazil kill six people a day


So says a report from The Brazilian Forum on Public Safety, an NGO that singles out the Rio police for "abusive use of lethal force."

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Brazil's amazing, underground hot-air balloon subculture


An exquisitely researched and endlessly fascinating long article tells the history of Brazil's centuries-old baloeiro craft, whereby painstakingly handmade paper balloons are lofted trailing ladders of pyrotechnics and long banners, powered by melted-down candle-stubs from churches and graveyards, cheered on by sometimes violent gangs who labor over them for months before releasing them.

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Brazil's Internet-enabled activism kicks all kinds of ass


Airshowfan writes, "Over the past several years, various citizen groups in Brazil have used the power of online crowdsourcing in creative ways to tackle social problems large and small."

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The English Method: UK taught modern torture to Brazil's dictators


Brazil's 21-year military dictatorship was a torturing, brutal regime -- among their victims was the current president, Dilma Rousseff. At first, the generals tortured by flogging and shocks, but British officials taught them to torture without leaving marks, helping the regime to rehabilitate its international human rights image. The techniques the UK taught to Brazil's torturers were developed for Malay rebels and perfected on Northern Irish Republicans, and these techniques came to be known as "The English Method."

Other governments -- Germany, France, Panama, and, of course, the USA -- also trained Brazil's torturers, but the UK methods were the best. British agents travelled to Brazil to train the torturers personally. More details of the British "foreign aid" program are coming to light as the UK government finally succumbs to the rule of law and releases files from the National Archives at Kew, a move that has been steadfastly refused for obvious reasons.

One document that's come to light is a letter from then-British Ambassador, David Hunt, called "Torture in Brazil," which praises the Brazilian regime for cleaning up its appearance of brutality by "taking a leaf out of the British book."

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Homebrew syringe hydraulic excavator

Here's a video of a young Brazilian man demonstrating justified pride and palpable pleasure as he puts his homebrew excavator, powered by syringe hydraulics, through its paces. Here's an Instructables post that takes you through building an ambitious syringe-hydraulics robot -- full of good ideas for your own syringe hydraulic projects.

Boy Makes DIY Excavator with Syringe Hydraulics (via Geekologie)

Edward Snowden's open letter to the people of Brazil, offering help in rooting out NSA spying in exchange for asylum


Edward Snowden has sent an open letter to the Brazilian people, offering to help them root out NSA spying in Brazil in exchange for asylum. The letter -- which is extremely well written, stirring material -- sets out the scope of US surveillance in Brazil today, and makes a moral case against it. It lauds Brazil for its commitment to privacy in the digital age, and condemns America for rendering Snowden stateless as punishment for exposing economic espionage dressed up as war on terror. It ends with this: "when all of us band together against injustices and in defence of privacy and basic human rights, we can defend ourselves from even the most powerful systems." Click through for the full text.

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NSA broke into networks of Brazil's president; state oil company, Google Brazil, and SWIFT, for "economic" reasons

An NSA training slide leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden shows that the agency broke into computer systems run by Petrobras, Brazil's state oil company; the President of Brazil; SWIFT, the global payments clearinghouse; and the networks of Google's Brazilian offices. The slide listed the reason for the intrusions as "economic." The NSA doesn't deny it, but says that despite the "economic" nature of their crime, it was not about "stealing trade secrets" but rather something to do with terrorism, yadda yadda, blah blah blah.

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Major sporting events are corrupt and corrupting

AirShowFan sez, "Insightful article about the protests in Brazil, which make clear that it's absurd for a government to spend billions in public funds for sports tournaments that (a) bring no clear benefits to the country and (b) violate citizens' rights. Boing Boing readers will be familiar with the many unreasonable demands made by the International Olympic Committee to their hosts, from restricted use of the word 'Olympic' to disallowing political speech. (The article recaps these issues by describing the trials of people who violated such rules during the recent World Cup in South Africa). Key take-away: If current trends continue, these games will soon only agree to be hosted by the (hopefully decreasing) number of nations with overly authoritative regimes."

Scenes from Turkey and Brazil


(A protester in Sao Paulo kisses a Turkish flag. Brazilians say they were, to a large extent, influenced by #occupygezi)

Yup, they're still in the streets in Turkey. And Brazil. And it's not just because Turkish cops buy their tear-gas from Brazil. Yesterday's Brazilian protests widened the causes under discussion, expanding to cover new laws that will make it harder to punish corrupt public officials. Photos from the excellent OccupyGeziPics Tumblr.

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Brazil rises up: 2M march across 80+ cities, 110,000 in the streets of Rio

The street protests in Brazil have gained momentum, with huge crowds in the streets. At issue is a kind of corporatist corruption symbolized by two upcoming football tournaments that are to be held at enormous public expense, even as poor Brazilians find themselves struggling with substandard infrastructure and price-hikes for public services. As in other BRIC nations, Brazil seems like a place where the economic future is here, it's just not evenly distributed -- not by a long shot.

The Brazilian president has praised the protesters for demanding justice but the state's spies have ramped up their social media surveillance, and the Brazilian police have met the protesters with extreme use of force, including gas, rubber bullets, and shotgun-toting cops on horseback and motorcycles:

Simultaneous demonstrations were reported in at least 80 cities, with a total turnout that may have been close to 2 million. An estimated 110,000 marched in São Paulo, 80,000 in Manaus, 50,000 in Recife, and 20,000 in Belo Horizonte and Salvador.

Clashes were reported in the Amazon jungle city of Belem, in Porto Alegre in the south, in Campinas north of São Paulo and in the north-eastern city of Salvador.

Thirty-five people were injured in the capital Brasilia, where 30,000 people took to the streets. In São Paulo, one man died when a frustrated car driver rammed into the crowd. Elsewhere countless people, including many journalists, were hit by rubber bullets.

The vast majority of those involved were peaceful. Many wore Guy Fawkes masks, emulating the global Occupy campaign. Others donned red noses – a symbol of a common complaint that people are fed up being treated as clowns.

Brazil protests: riot police scatter crowds in Rio [Jonathan Watts/The Guardian]

Some snapshots from the mass Brazilian protests (and an explanation)


(GENTE, olha esse reflexo na fachada de um prédio na manifestação do Rio, no centro da cidade! #ProtestoRJ/@brunoernica)

Brazil is up in arms. Hundreds of thousands are in the streets. The capital building in Brazilia was surrounded, then stormed. Here's some pictures of last night's goings-on, and above, a video explaining some of the reasons for the uprising.

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What's happening in São Paulo?

Between Syria, Turkey and the G8, it's hard to keep track of popular resistance to oligarchy and corruption, but please don't forget São Paulo, where the police are treating public anti-corruption demonstrations with all the bedwetting cowardice of a tinpot dictatorship. Here's Feridos no protesto em São Paulo, a multilingual tumblr devoted to covering the protests, and above, an excellent video from Change Brazil explaining what's at stake.

Amid violent protest crackdown, Sao Paulo cop smashes his own car's window

From Sao Paulo, where the the cops are violently attacking protesters, a video of a cop smashing his own police-car window, presumably to blame it on the protesters later.

Policial Quebra Vidro da Própria Viatura - São Paulo 13/6/2013


And here's a glimpse of the Sao Paulo police's advanced media strategy.

Brutal police crackdown on protesters in Sao Paolo

Diego sez, "Protestors - mainly students - are taking the streets of Sao Paulo. The problem: the government just raised the bus fare from R$3 to R$3,20. The protests are getting a really violent reception from the police. You can see a video of the police action. The problem isn't the 20 cents. I think the real problem is that we are having so many issues of inflation, very high taxes, corruption - 2014 World Cup stadiums being built with public money, costing about $1 billion each pop - so future looks really bleak here. Everything seems to be boiling after this 20 cents. If you ask me, Brazilians are getting tired of being treated as clowns. Tonight (6/13), there's going to be a new protest. People won't stop until they get what they want. Hopefully, with some international attention, Sao Paulo's police may stop hitting students with their batons and tear gas."

Eyeball face makeup


The Brazilian website "Arte do Medo" identifies this amazing eyeball face horror makeup as originating in Japan, though no other details are forthcoming.


Update: Thanks to BB commenters FakeNina and Daemonworks, this fellow has been identified as Hikaru Cho, whose Tumblr is here, and whose personal site is here.

ARTE DO MEDO #5 (via Super Punch)

Promotional DVDs smell like pizza when played

A Brazilian ad agency has built a campaign for Domino's "Pizza" that uses a heat-sensitive coating on rented DVDs; when the disc is played, the heat from the player heats up the coating and causes it to emit a pizza-like odor; the coating also changes appearance and becomes a picture of a pizza with an ad for Domino's.

In partnership with 10 video rental stores in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the brand used rented DVDs as media. About 10 discs each of 10 different new release titles such as Argo, 007, Dread And Dark Knight were stamped with thermal ink and flavored varnish, both sensitive to the heat.

While people were watching the movie, the heat of the DVD player affected the disc. When the movie ended and they ejected the disc, they smelled pizza. They also saw pizza: the discs were printed to look like mini pies, and carried the message: "Did you enjoy the movie? The next one will be even better with a hot and delicious Domino's Pizza."

A DVD That Smells Like Domino's Pizza

Running on a long, deep pool of ooblek

This 2006 gameshow clip shows contestants running back and forth atop a deep pool of non-Newtonian fluid -- ooblek -- without sinking in. They run, they skip, they hop, and maintain admirable aplomb atop the surface. It gets especially nice when the host stops in his tracks and sinks down into the mucky depths.

Non-Newtonian noodles

Brazil's music collecting societies convicted of forming an illegal cartel

Ronaldo Lemos sez,

The Competition Authority in Brazil (CADE) convicted om March 20th the country's six major collecting societies and their central office (ECAD) - responsible for the collection of music royalties for public performance in Brazil - of formation of cartel and abuse of dominant position in fixing prices. According CADE, the Ecad and its associations not only organized to abusively fix prices, but also created barriers of entry for new associations to join the entity.

All entities will have to pay a fine of R$38 million (approximately US$ 20 million) and will have to reorganize the whole collection system, both by offering arrangements beyond the "blanket license" model, the only license ECAD and their associations made available for the performance of music, and by allowing each association to compete for different prices.

The rapporteur of the Case, Elvino Mendonça, said after the conviction: "The behavior of cartel is visible. The current collection system prevents all forms of competition. ECAD and its associations abused their market power and fixed prices. The evidence is abundant."

Ecad é condenado por formação de cartel por órgão de defesa da concorrência (Thanks, Ronaldo!)

New Brazilian environmental political party based on social networking

Gmoke sez, "Former Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva and recent Green Party Presidential candidate (she came in third to force a run-off election) launched the Sustainability Network in Brasilia on 16 February, 2013 and seeks to collect the required 500,000 signatures by September 2013 to become a legally recognized political party. From Sustainability Network's political manifesto (PDF):

We believe that networks, as a means for meeting and organising, are an invention of the present that bridge to a better future. Therefore, it is through networking with society that we want to build a new political force, with alliances underpinned by an Ethics of Urgency, aiming to construct a new model of development: sustainable, inclusive, egalitarian and diverse.

Former Brazilian Minister’s New Party Mixes Sustainability, Social Media · Global Voices (Thanks, Gmoke!)

(Image: José Cruz/Agencia Brasil (CC BY 3.0))

Brazilian Birds: ambient internet radio station of bird calls in the Amazon

My new ambient-sound-while-working internet radio jam: Brazilian Birds.

(Photo: Toucan eye, a Creative Commons image from doug88888's photostream)

Supervillains: DC meets the real world


Here's a remix of the DC supervillains crossed with real-world bad guys, courtesy of Brazilian graphic designer/illustrator Butcher Billy.

Legion of supervillains | Chill Hour (Thanks, Marine!)

Just look at this banana-shaped, banana-flavored ice-cream in an edible gelatin banana-skin.


Just look at it.

The Peeled Banana Ice Cream

Organized crime, bureaucratized

Brazilian organized crime investigators intercepted several interminable conference calls made by crime gangs, some of whose members were in prison, but were able to participate thanks to smuggled cellular phones. You'd think that being a crook would mean freedom from crushing bureaucracy, but you'd be wrong.

A Federal Police recording recently heard by Folha de Sao Paulo involves a 10-hour discussion between five members of the First Capital Command (PCC) gang. The conversation involved two inmates and three gang members based outside of the prison. According to the newspaper, the talk was all business: topics included trafficking drugs to Paraguay and Bolivia, and the distribution of marijuana and cocaine inside Brazil.

The call, recorded on February 10, 2011, was one of many recorded between October 2010 and May 2012 as part of an ongoing investigation known as Operation Leviatã, targeting organized crime in Sao Paulo. The Ministry of Justice, which is currently processing the recordings, said that on average such conference calls involve four gang members, although recordings illustrate that as many nine gang members have taken part in a single call.

Brazil Prison Gang Conducted 10-Hour Conference Call (via Making Light)

Terrifying ghost-elevator prank

Here's footage of a vicious and terrifying prank from a Brazilian candid-camera show, in which victims were put in an gimmicked elevator whose lights went out, allowing a small girl in horror-makeup to sneak out of a hidden compartment and "appear" when the lights came back on, ready to scream at them.

Extremely Scary Ghost Elevator Prank in Brazil (via Super Punch)

Brazil to roll out national radio-chip ID/surveillance/logging for all vehicles

In Brazil, a new regulation requires drivers to add radio ID tags to their car windshields, which broadcast "vehicle year or fabrication, make, model, combustible, engine power and license plate number." This will be read by checkpoints throughout the country, and centrally processed and retained, in a system called Siniav. The administration claims that this system will be "confidential and secure" because its contractors will sign confidentiality agreements. The system will also be integrated into wireless toll-road collection. Here's some auto-translated detail from a release by Brazil's National Traffic Department (Denatran):

What are the uses of the system? * Identification of traffic conditions on stretches of road where there Siniav antennas installed.

* Development of origin-destination matrices displacement vehicles, virtually in real time, with the installation of antennas Siniav at strategic points in each city.

* Determination dependable fleet circulating in the country, by location, including the Automobiles licensed in one municipality and exclusively circulating in another.

* Obtaining data for planning and management of public transport systems, including its fleet of vehicles.

* Integration with the project Siniav Brazil-ID (linked to treasury area), helping with mapping the displacements of cargo across the country.

* Greater control the movement of vehicles in the border area since the Brazilian vehicles will be identified when leaving the country. The system also enables the placement of the nameplate vehicle electronics in vehicles foreigners entering Brazil.

* Conducting surveillance (blitz) selective, with instant identification through an antenna Siniav, fixed or mobile, vehicles circulating illegally, whatever the cause.

* Surveillance electron speed and movement of vehicles in places and / or times when such service is prohibited.

* Interoperability in automatic toll collection on highways, allowing a single nameplate vehicle is used by all dealerships. It is up to Detrans deployment of electronic vehicle identification plates on vehicles and the cost of such equipment.

If the thief start the transmitter in a robbery, the radars can detect the vehicle?

Yes Like all vehicles possess the chip, which does not possess will be detected immediately by going through one of the antennas scattered throughout the country. The checkpoint nearest police will be alerted.

Vehicles need to have electronic monitoring until 2014 (auto-translated)

Veículos precisarão ter monitoramento eletrônico até 2014

(Thanks, Ethan!)

Crononauta: stylized photos of Brazil's abandoned public clocks


Brazilian artist Diego Kuffer writes, " I have a new series of photos called 'Chrononaut'. It's about how experience shapes the way we perceive the world and reality. Also, it pictures public clocks in Sao Paulo that are abandoned, because it isn't allowed anymore to post ads in public spaces, as part of a law that forbids this kind of visual pollution."

diego kuffer » Crononauta

Mystery panties incinerated

Two weeks ago, Brazilian legislators rushing into congress left an unusual item in their wake: a pair of women's underwear. No-one has claimed them since, and they were subsequently incinerated. "We have a suspicion as to who the owner is," congressman and professional clown Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva told Reuters' Brian Winter, "but we're not going to turn him in."

Anatomical art-school ads


DDB Brazil's poster campaign for the art school at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo displays famous painters who appear to have been dissected, revealing organs depicted in their iconic painting styles. Street Anatomy has the whole set. Shown here: Dali (above) and Van Gogh (right). It's a pity no one's making those t-shirts, they're fab, especially the Van Gogh.

Art School Dissected

Brazil's copyright societies indicted for fraud, new law demands efficient, transparent collecting societies

Ronaldo sez, "I am writing because something relevant happened in Brazil two days ago regarding the local copyright collecting societies (analagous to Ascap and BMI in the US). After more than 6 months of investigation by a Senate special inquiry commission, 15 directors have been indicted for various types of fraud and crimes. Also, the Senate is proposing a new law to completely revamp the copyright collection system, based on principles of transparency, efficiency and tech improvement (I helped the Senate draft the law). I believe this might be interesting for people outside Brazil for various reasons. Both because it paves the way to a more transparent and accountable copyright collection system, and also because it is a huge contrast with cases like Megaupload: in Brazil it is the copyright societies that are been indicted for fraud."

The part that I'm excited about is "principles of transparency, efficiency and tech improvement." Collecting societies are based on the idea of statistically sampling music usage and remitting funds based on the analysis. Given that we live in the age of analytics, it's unforgivable that the basic algorithm for collection distribution is "all the money goes to the big four labels, except for some scraps that we give to a few indies, and the rather titanic rake we keep for ourselves." I think the 21st century is waiting for a collecting society run with the institutional transparency of GNU/Linux and the analytic efficiency of Google.

CPI do Ecad propõe novas leis e órgãos para gerir direitos autorais (Thanks, Ronaldo!)

Hilary Clinton to world governments: the world will divide into "open" and "closed" societies based on their Internet policies

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has repeated her view that the world's governments should respect Internet freedom, telling the Brasilia Open Government Summit that the world is dividing into "open" and "closed" societies characterized by their attitude towards net freedom. It's a laudable sentiment, but as they say, "We know you love freedom, we just wish you'd share." After all, America is one of the world's leading exporters of Internet censorship and surveillance laws (in the form of its intervention into copyright laws, as well as instigating unaccountable, secret copyright treaty negotiations like ACTA and TPP. They're also the world's leading exporter of Internet surveillance and censorship technology, thanks first to the US national requirement that telcoms companies buy equipment that allows for direct police surveillance, and the aggressive sale of this surveillance and control technology to the world's dictatorship by US firms.

​Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Open Government Partnership in Brasilia, she said countries could only become more secure and peaceful if they were open. "In the 21st century, the US is convinced that one of the most significant divisions between nations will be not between east or west, nor over religion, so much as between open and closed societies," she said.

​"We believe those governments that hide from public view and dismiss ideas of openness and the aspirations of their people for greater freedom will find it increasingly difficult to create a secure society."

It's particularly galling that Secretary Clinton made these remarks even as the US Congress is poised to pass CISPA, which establishes a national US regime of censorship and warrantless surveillance.

Open or closed society is key dividing line of 21st century, says Hillary Clinton

(Image: Clinton Rally 90, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from kakissel's photostream)