Dogs welcome soldiers home

To commemorate Veterans Day, Mental Floss collected videos of very happy dogs greeting returning soldiers. Read the rest

NASA to irradiate monkeys

"NASA to Start Radiating Monkeys," noted Chris Baker (of Wired), "The kind of headline that should be followed by 'NASA to Fire PR Firm.'"

The experiments will bombard squirrel monkeys (like the lil guy above) with radioactivity to explore the possible effects of radiation in space on human astronauts. Warning: eventually, revenge will come. Oh, and then there's this possibility.

[Photo: "Here's Looking at You!" by ifijay, via Flickr, CC license here. ] Read the rest

Canadian folk singer dies after coyote attack

Toronto-based folk singer Taylor Mitchell died after coyotes pounced on her during a solo hike in Cape Breton national park on Monday. She was hospitalized with injuries from multiple bites, and died in critical care yesterday. Ms. Mitchell was 19 years old. More: LAT, BBC. Artist pages: Facebook, and MySpace. Read the rest

Do chimps grieve?

Look at this photograph and just try to tell me the answer is no.

This incredible image was shot for National Geographic by Monica Szczupider, and shows chimpanzees at the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center in Cameroon. They're observing as the body of an elder troop member named Dorothy is taken to burial. She died at 40 years of age, which is pretty old for a chimpanzee.

The photo appears in the November issue of National Geographic Magazine, in the "Visions of Earth" section. [ Thanks, Marilyn Terrell ] Read the rest

How to memorialize friends who have passed away on Facebook

Over on the Facebook blog, head of security Max Kelly has just explained what to do to memorialize the profile of someone who has passed away:
We understand how difficult it can be for people to be reminded of those who are no longer with them, which is why it's important when someone passes away that their friends or family contact Facebook to request that a profile be memorialized. ...When an account is memorialized, we also set privacy so that only confirmed friends can see the profile or locate it in search. We try to protect the deceased's privacy by removing sensitive information such as contact information and status updates. Memorializing an account also prevents anyone from logging into it in the future, while still enabling friends and family to leave posts on the profile Wall in remembrance. If you have a friend or a family member whose profile should be memorialized, please contact us, so their memory can properly live on among their friends on Facebook.
Memories of friends departed endure on Facebook via CNet Read the rest

Tumors Can Grow Faster Than You Think

Reuters reported last week that Natalie Morton, the teenage girl who died shortly after receiving an HPV vaccination, was definitely not killed by the vaccine. Instead, Morton was the victim of a large, fast-growing and previously undetected tumor in her chest cavity.

These kinds of tumors are very rare, and we don't know much about Morton's case. However, the Daily Mail has a heart-wrenching (and medically fascinating) interview with the parents of another teen who suffered a similar fate...

Inside George's chest cavity was an aggressive and rapidly growing tumour the size of a small football. In the few hours after George had gone to bed, the tumour had grown around his windpipe, cutting off his oxygen and causing irreparable damage to his brain. The tumour, which had started in an organ called the thymus gland in the chest cavity, was also crushing his heart and lungs and constricting the vital arteries supplying his body with blood.
Read the rest

Link. Read the rest

Thoughts for Polanski apologists, by another woman raped at 13.

On "Getting Over It," by Lauren over at Feministe:

What does rape do to you? Afterward? It changed me; there is before and after. Before, a child, playing with Barbies, looking sideways at boys, wondering. After, confusion. Depression. A litany of fuck-ups and fuck-its, whatevers, mistakes, trusting no one, least of all myself. Before, sex was mysterious; after, miasma. I was tarred as a Lolita. I was called jail bait.

Rape is not the only assault. Around rape is a large segment of the population that questions the victim, a culture that looks down on victims for allowing themselves to be victimized, or keep them victimized, questions about the victim's credibility, questions about the legacy of rape and how bad it is, because how bad is rape really? Rape, because various levels and forms of sexual assault are systemic and pervasive across all societies, exists alongside one's experiences of unwanted touching, wanted touching, sexual objectification, sexual desire, sexual harassment, incest, love, leering eyes, cat calls, roaming hands, consent, confusion, tits, vagina, rectum, penis, mouth, rape and not-rape, all of it loaded, all of it veering at rape's ugly legacy, co-mingling, the legacy that tells us to be more careful, to dress more conservatively, to BE BETTER AT BEING VULNERABLE, or BE MORE POWERFUL, or BE MORE FEARFUL, or GET OVER IT ALREADY. Rape leaks into healthy, consensual experiences. It lingers. It pervades.

Related: This Smoking Gun archive contains the entire "1977 grand jury testimony of the 13-year-old California girl with whom the director had sex after plying her with Champagne and a Quaalude at the Los Angeles home of Jack Nicholson."

A rape is a rape by any other name. Read the rest

Typhoon, Floods in the Philippines: first-person BB report from Audrey N. Carpio of The Philippine Star

Typhoon, Floods in the Philippines

The Lessons of Lindsay

A powerful and beautiful photo-essay by Matt Mendelson about a powerful and beautiful young woman from my home town named Lindsay Ess, a fashion major at Virginia Commonwealth University. Same school, even the same building where I spent a lot of time as a kid, growing up -- so the story *really* felt familiar and personal to me, even though I do not know her, and cannot imagine what it feels like to endure what she's prevailed through.

The story begins at a student runway showing, where Linsday is looking on:

Lindsay, it should be noted, has no hands to clap and no feet on which to get up. She had them back in the summer of 2007, when she was tall and thin and had just graduated from VCU with a fashion merchandising degree. Then, to use her words, a blur. When she entered Henrico Doctors' Hospital that summer, the procedure to remove a small piece of inflamed intestine, a nagging complication of her Crohn's disease, was supposed to go routinely. But supposed to go routinely rarely turns out well, and there hasn't been a routine day in Lindsay's life ever since. Not since the leak, not since the sepsis, not since the organ failures, the brain seizures, and not since the coma. Definitely not the coma. Not since one day in August turned to October and then drifted on towards Christmas. Certainly not since the quadruple amputations, the cruel coda to having been so close to death all those months and then surviving.
Read the rest

Boing Boing's September 11, 2001 archives.

September 11, 2001


Everyone who comes after will never understand

Story about Wal-Mart founder's treatment of his employees

The American Prospect reviewed a couple of books about Wal-Mart, and included this charming anecdote about Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton
Around the time that the young Sam Walton opened his first stores, John Kennedy redeemed a presidential campaign promise by persuading Congress to extend the minimum wage to retail workers, who had until then not been covered by the law. Congress granted an exclusion, however, to small businesses with annual sales beneath $1 million -- a figure that in 1965 it lowered to $250,000.

Walton was furious. The mechanization of agriculture had finally reached the backwaters of the Ozark Plateau, where he was opening one store after another. The men and women who had formerly worked on small farms suddenly found themselves redundant, and he could scoop them up for a song, as little as 50 cents an hour. Now the goddamn federal government was telling him he had to pay his workers the $1.15 hourly minimum. Walton's response was to divide up his stores into individual companies whose revenues did not exceed the $250,000 threshold. Eventually, though, a federal court ruled that this was simply a scheme to avoid paying the minimum wage, and he was ordered to pay his workers the accumulated sums he owed them, plus a double-time penalty thrown in for good measure.

Wal-Mart cut the checks, but Walton also summoned the employees at a major cluster of his stores to a meeting. "I'll fire anyone who cashes the check," he told them.

The "values" of Wal-Mart, the largest private-sector employer in the U.S., are shaping our national economy -- and that's a very bad thing. Read the rest

It's Always the Fixer Who Dies

A New Yorker essay by George Packer on the death of Sultan Munadi, the "fixer" killed during a raid in which British commandos attempted to free him and New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell. One of the soldiers also died in the raid. Farrell was successfully freed. I have known a number of war correspondents, both personal friends and work colleagues, who've spoken about the inherent imbalance of power in this warzone relationship. One friend of mine saw "his" fixer mortally wounded as he walked out of a similar situation unharmed. Packer's essay echoes the sense of guilt I remember my friend articulating. Snip:
The relationship between fixers and foreign correspondents can be very close. Shared dangers and successes will do that, especially when the work done together, the tie between you, is what puts you at risk. In Iraq and Afghanistan and a growing number of other places, the foreign correspondent would be a target with or without the fixer, but the fixer is a target because he or she is with the foreign correspondent. Both are considered spies, but one is only an infidel, while the other is something worse--an apostate, a traitor. In my experience, this mutually voluntary risk is rarely a source of resentment on the part of fixers. They are generally young, cosmopolitan, quick-witted, stoical, tinged with idealism, implacable foes of their countries' extremists; and, after all, they understand better than anyone what they have signed up for. For the most part, the risk strengthens the bond.
Read the rest

That is not a sufficiently potent botfly maggot unicorn chaser, Mark, this is the strength we require.


Because dude, this was harsh. And this was cute but not sufficiently cute. It's okay, you guys, Xeni's here now. Boing Boing moderator Antinous points us to this, and says, "I recommend dropping acid and hitting them all simultaneously." (via Teresa Nielsen Hayden) Read the rest

Baby chicks ground up alive: animal rights video goes viral

(Warning: video is totally gross). Via this SF Gate item, a Chicago-based animal rights group called Mercy for Animals shot the video above of baby chicks being ground up alive at an Iowa chicken processing factory. It's pretty disgusting, and reinforces a personal decision I made to avoid consuming eggs that come from this sort of place:

Hy-Line admitted to the Associated Press that "instantaneous euthanasia" (e.g. grinding up male chicks) is a standard practice and claims that it is also supported by the animal veterinary and scientific community. (Male chicks are less valuable because they can't lay eggs or be raised quickly enough for meat.) Mercy for Animals estimates that 200 million male chicks are killed annually and United Egg Producers confirmed this figure.
I'll take the happy kind of eggs Mark grows in his back yard, or none at all, yo. (Thanks, Brian Lam) Read the rest

The blog of Philip Garrido, serial rapist and kidnapper: "sound control" gadget hallucinations.

In 1991, after having been paroled, convicted kidnapper and rapist Phillip Garrido snatched an 11 year old girl named Jaycee Dugard off the street. He kept her captive for 18 years, repeatedly raped her, and fathered two children from those rapes. Jaycee gave birth to the first child when she was 14. There may be additional child victims. And investigators are now also looking for clues that could link Garrido with a series of 10 unsolved murders nearby, in which prostitutes were sexually violated before they were killed.

Garrido maintained a blogspot blog which amounts to a disturbing look inside the internal thought process of a monster. That blog includes numerous postings about an electronic invention he wished to patent, that allowed him to "control sound" using his "mental powers." Snip:

This document is to affirm that I Phillip Garrido have clearly demonstrated the ability to control sound with my mind and have developed a device for others to witness this phenomena. by using a sound generator to provide the sound, and a headphone amplification system, ( a device to focuc your hearing so as to increase the sensitivity of what one is listening to) I have produced a set of voices by effectively controlling the sound to pronounce words through my own mental powers.
His brother told the press today that Garrido did a lot of LSD when younger. Phillip Garrido believes that having children with the child he abducted and raped cured him of pedophilia. Read the rest

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