Boing Boing 

The 2011 DIY Halloween costume open thread

One artfully torn dress from Goodwill, white face paint, and some of that hairspray-style hair dye to color my hands and feet = A weekend of explaining what a "wight" is to people who have never read Game of Thrones. (Sadly, the cheap blue contact lenses I picked up at a gas station wouldn't go into my eyes successfully.)

What did you dress up as this year?

Maggie on Dr. Kiki's Science Hour

I'll be the guest on the Dr. Kiki's Science Hour podcast today. The live show starts at 6:00 pm Central time/ 4:00 pm Pacific. Can't join us this afternoon? A recording of the show will be posted on Saturday.

Live chat on science and art

What happens when you combine science, art, and humor? Join Marc Abrahams of the Ig Nobel Prizes and Brian Wecht, a theoretical physicist and half of the music comedy duo Ninja Sex Party, for a live chat on the connections between creativity and research. The chat starts today at 3:00 pm Eastern time.

Royal Society opens archive, kills productivity

60,000 peer-reviewed papers, including the first peer-reviewed scientific research journal in the world, are now available free online. The Royal Society has opened its historical archives to the public. Among the cool stuff you'll find here: Issac Newton's first published research paper and Ben Franklin's write-up about that famous kite experiment. Good luck getting anything accomplished today. Or ever again.

Celebrate the birth of the Internet

Dress in your best 1960s attire for a grand-opening party this Saturday at the Kleinrock Internet Heritage Site on the UCLA campus. The site is like Colonial Williamsburg for nerds (or is that redundant?), with a historical reconstruction of the lab where the Internet was born in 1969. The party starts at 1:00 pm. There will be drinks, snacks, and Internet pioneers to gawk at. They are not joking about the period costumes.

The Northern Lights meet the Mason-Dixon

How do you know that you just experienced a more-impressive-than-average display of the Northern Lights? When somebody can take a picture like the one above in freaking Arkansas. Arkansas, people.

Photographed by Brian Emfinger in Ozark, Arkansas, these auroras were triggered by a big coronal mass ejection—a burst of energy from the Sun that can interact with our atmosphere to produce particularly spectacular examples of the aurora borealis. I missed the light show last night, but has a collection of photos taken around the world, from Michigan to Norway.

Free teacher workshop on 3D printing in the classroom

NYC teachers: MakerBot is holding a free workshop on using DIY 3D printers in the classroom. It's a four-hour program at the Bot Farm in Brooklyn on Oct 29. "No prior knowledge of 3-D modeling or 3-D printing is required."

Rightscon: a human rights/technology conference in Silicon Valley

Next week marks the inaugural Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference (AKA Rightscon) in San Francisco. This event will explore the role that technology plays in the expansion -- or elimination -- of human rights and the ways that technologists and high-tech firms can either help or harm humanity. In an age when American companies supply "deep packet inspection" technology to the Iranian government so that Iran's secret police can figure out whom to brutally murder (to cite just one example among many), this is an important question.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is dispatching several staffers to speak at the event, and they've provided a helpful guide to the more interesting sessions to keep an eye on.

Google, a Rightscon sponsor and participating organization, as well as a member of GNI, is just one example of a company that has done a lot of thinking on human rights: its YouTube platform has been instrumental in getting news out of Syria, thanks to a policy that allows violent content to remain available if intended for documentary or educational purposes. And just this week, Google expanded its use of encryption technology to default to SSL search on Google searches.

Twitter, whose General Counsel Alex MacGillivray will be among the keynote speakers at Rightscon, is another company that has taken human rights under consideration when designing its policies, particularly when it comes to free expression. Another rights-thinking company is Mozilla, whom the EFF has praised for its stance on privacy.

On the lists of attendees and sponsors, EFF also sees several companies about which we have grave concerns. A prime example is AT&T, which famously acted in tandem with the NSA to illegally spy on American citizens. Also amongst the participating companies is Comcast, against which the FCC issued an order (crediting EFF research) in 2008 to stop blocking peer-to-peer traffic. Skype is also on our list of companies of concern due to its surveillance capabilities. Skype is also one of several companies in attendance that has been ranked in EFF's Who Has Your Back? campaign (so far, the company has zero stars).

Notably absent from the list are the myriad Silicon Valley companies that provide censorship and surveillance capabilities to authoritarian regimes, among them Boeing's Narus, Cisco (sign our petition here), McAfee/Intel's SmartFilter, and H-P.

Choose MIT's Energy Night for Friday night fun

I can't make this, but if you're in the Boston area tomorrow, you should consider spending your Friday at MIT's Energy Night. The event starts at 5:30 pm, it's free and open to the public, and you'll get a chance to see 70 cool energy projects that some of the smartest people in America are working on now.

The future of energy: Where will we be in 2030?

I'm spending today at "What Will Turn Us On in 2030?"—a Future Tense conference on the future of energy. I'm live Tweeting, and you can actually watch the whole conference live stream online. Tune in at 4:10 Eastern, when I'll be speaking about why our short-term energy future is likely to be a little boring (and why that's okay).

Ghost in the Machine: steampunk Hallowe'en ball in London, Oct 29

Toby Slater sez, "London, UK steampunk extravaganza White Mischief hosts 'Ghost In The Machine', a Halloween ball on Saturday 29th October. Headlining is Abney Park, arguably the world's most famous steampunk band; compere is Professor Elemental, the pith-helmeted chap-hop MC. Also performing are The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, notorious for releasing a single as an Edison wax-cylinder. Over 90% of tickets have gone so this is the last chance for goggle-clad Lovelaces and Babbages to secure their place at an event brimming with spooky entertainment. Alongside the steampunk bands expect brilliant mime artistry from The Boy With Tape On His Face, brass-powered music from The Hackney Colliery Band, death-defying aerial and circus acts, automata and fortune telling machines, a girl in a jar, Victorian portrait miniatures created from silhouettes and much more."

Art show in NJ to benefit Jack Kirby Museum, October 15, 2011

201110111545This Saturday (October 15) at 5pm, legendary rock club Maxwell's in Hoboken will open its Kirby Enthusiasm art show in its front room. More than 30 visual artists have contributed work paying tribute to "The King of Comics."

At 7pm, in the back room, the Kirby Enthusiasm rock show will start, with WEEP (featuring the Venture Brothers' Doc Hammer), WJ & The Sweet Sacrifice and (formed for this occasion) The Boom Tubes!

If you're at New York Comic Con, Maxwell's is easy to get to from the Javits Center - take a ferry at 39th Street across the Hudson to Hoboken North and walk a few blocks to 1039 Washington St.

The art is awesome - the music is gonna rock - Kirby Enthusiasm!


Here's my contribution to the show: A 24x24" painting of Carroll Baker starring in the reel-to-reel tape audiobook, Flower, Daughter of Googam.

Flower-PrintThere might be a 12x12 print for sale at the show, which is based on the Illustrator preliminary drawing I made. I'll find out if it is available for sale online.

Kirby Enthusiasm Art Show

Dinosaurs & Robots: Art opening in Anchorage, AK

This Tron-o-saurus is part of Dinosaurs & Robots, a gallery show by artists Scott Elyard and Raven Amos, which opens tonight in Anchorage, Alaska. For more info, check out the video trailer that Elyard made.

Via Glendon Mellow, who you should follow for all your science-themed art needs.

Watch lectures on mind, brain, and human nature

On Monday, I told you about The Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minn., where top neuroscientists are speaking about the mind, the brain, and what it means to be human.

Now, I have some good news for those of you who couldn't play hooky this week, couldn't get tickets to the free event, and/or don't actually live anywhere near St. Peter, Minn. You can watch The Nobel Conference online.

Today's lectures will be broadcast on a live feed. You can also submit questions through the site and participate in the Q&A after each lecture. The first speaker is John Donoghue, director of the Institute for Brain Science at Brown University. Starting at 10:00 am, Central, he'll be talking about a topic near and dear to every Happy Mutant's heart: "Merging Mind to Machines: Brain Computer Interfaces to Restore Lost Motor Function."

If, for some reason, you can't start your morning off with healthy dose of cyborgs, all the lectures from Tuesday and today will eventually be archived as online videos. Right now, there's only one lecture available this way—yesterday's morning session on new therapies for autism. I've embedded that video above. But check the Conference's site for other lectures, coming soon!

Video Link

Thanks to Lisa Dubbels for pointing this out!

Sunset on the Tevatron: Photos and memories from a Fermilab physicist

For more than 20 years, the Tevatron reigned as the gold standard in particle accelerators. Under a berm outside Batavia, Illinois, the machine pushed protons and antiprotons to high energies around circular tracks before crashing them into each other.

Read the rest

Great science lecture series in Minnesota

If you live anywhere near St. Peter, Minnesota, I highly recommend taking tomorrow and Wednesday off from work to attend the 47th Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College. Every year, the school brings in eminent scientists from around the country for a two-day public lecture series centered around a theme. This year, it's "The Brain and Being Human." Presentations will cover everything from the merging of mind and machine, to therapies for autism and depression, to everyday applications of neuroscience in the real world.

Hacker Prom tonight at San Francisco's Noisebridge hackerspace

NoiseBridge, the celebrated hackerspace in San Francisco's Mission district, is celebrating its third anniversary tonight with a Hacker Prom. There's a makeout room (featuring Makerbots), pre-spiked punch, and awkward prom photos. You're encouraged to bring a robot date. Oh, this does look fun!

The whole event is a fundraiser for NoiseTor, a part of the TOR anonymizing proxy system, which creates and manages Tor nodes for those without the time to set one up themselves.

(Thanks, Danny!)

Canadian author Michael Crummey in NYC tonight

Tonight in NYC: The Upper North Side Author Series presents Michael Crummey -- a Canadian writer who's just had his novel Galore published in the USA.

Kevin Kidney's Hatbox Ghost

Kevin and Jody Kidney created this one-off maquette of Colin Campbell's 1969 illustration depicting The Hatbox Ghost, a very short-lived illusion that was once part of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion. They're bringing it to the Walt Disney World 40th birthday celebration on Sept 30/Oct 1 (gutted to be missing this!)
As far as we know, we've never seen a three-dimensional figure based on Campbell's Haunted Mansion illustrations, so this may very well be the first. Our 8-1/4" tall ghost was cast from my sculpture and then hand-painted by Jody in Campbell's illustrative style, with "hair" fibers added on as a final touch. The maquette is displayed on a wooden base made of antique weathered barn wood, under a glass bell jar. When viewed through the wavy glass, the figure takes on a mildly distorted appearance that makes him even more ghostly.
Ghoulish Delight

Cory coming to Toronto, Ann Arbor, Brooklyn and NYC

Hey, Torontonians, Ann Arborites, and New Yorkers!

I'll be giving a free talk at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto called "Can creativity and freedom peacefully co-exist in the Internet age?" on Sept 14 at 7PM, where I'll be reprising my SIGGRAPH talk from August.

On Sept 15, I'll be in Ann Arbor, MI for the Penny Stamps Lecture Series, doing a panel called "On Futurology: Optimism And Failure" with Mark Stevenson and James King.

I head to New York next. First I'll be at the Brooklyn Book Festival on September 18, appearing on a 1200h panel called "Genres Crashers" with Jewell Parker Rhodes, Kelly Link and Stephanie Anderson.

Finally, I'm keynoting the O'Reilly Strata conference on September 20 at 1330h, with a talk called "Designing For Human Sensors, Not Human Barcodes."

Hope to see you there!

History of War Comics event at Imperial War Museum, London, this Friday and Saturday

Alex sez, "At the Imperial War Museum, London, a two day event is taking place to celebrate and investigate the history, popularity and cultural impact of war comics. On Friday 19th and Saturday 20th August, academics, critics, experts and comic book creators are converging at the museum to talk about their work. Guests include Roger Sabin, Garth Ennis, Pat Mills, David Collier, Mikkel Sommer, Ariel Kahn and Paul Gravett. On Friday 19th there is an all day academic conference about war comics, tickets £30 / £15 concessions & students, which includes Pat Mills' talk about Charley's War, also available as a separate ticket for £6.

"On Saturday 20th, there are talks and workshops by Collier and Ennis plus panels on small press and international war comics featuring World War II veteran Eileen Cassavetti (published by her daughter Francesca Cassavetti), Sean Duffield, David Blandy and more. Tickets for Saturday's talks and panels are £6 each and the day is capped by a free film screening of the documentary The Comic Books go to War plus Blandy's short film Child of the Atom. This is a major London cultural institution taking an interest in a medium that is often dismissed for its supposed inability to convey depth and historical event and features rare appearance in the UK by the international guests."

Tickets (scroll down)

“Panel Borders” & “Reality Check” (Event details)

Podcast about event from ResonanceFM

(Thanks, Alex!)

What a meteor looks like from space

Speaking of awesome space photos, check out this shot of a meteor, taken by NASA astronaut Ron Garan from a window on the International Space Station.

That meteor was part of the Perseid shower, which peaked on Saturday. Got any good meteor-watching stories or photos? Share them in the comments!

Via Discovery News and Joanne Manaster

Cory at the Edinburgh Festival tonight, Reno WorldCon this week

I'm about to fly to Edinburgh for a gig at the Edinburgh Festival, tonight at 8:30PM. There are still a few tickets left.

From there, I'm headed straight to Renovation, the World Science Fiction Convention in Reno, where I'll be doing a ton of stuff:

Wednesday, August 17
11.00-11.45am - Author in the Library, Sierra View Library (off site), 4001 S. Virginia St, located in the Reno Town Mall across the street from the Reno Sparks Convention Center -- reading, autographing, and Q and A with library community, host: Christine Johnson

2.00-3.00pm - Reading, Reno Sparks Convention Center room A05

Thursday, August 18
8.55-10.00am - Stroll with the Stars, (off site) meet at Stroll Meeting Spot (Walgreen's parking lot, 3495 S Virginia St, about 5 minute walk north of Atlantis), will stroll down to Reno Sparks Convention Center, with Stu Segal, Bill Willingham, Julie Bell, Boris Vallejo, Lawrence M. Schoen, Lauren Beukes, and Ellen Datlow

Read the rest

Listen to Perseid meteor shower

Photographer Travis Morisse took this great shot of a meteor streaking across the sky near Hutchinson, Kansas.

Which reminds me, the Moon may obscure your view of the Perseid meteor shower, but you can still listen to the meteors. It's all thanks to NASA's SpaceWeatherRadio, which translates radio waves into sound. Radio waves are beamed into the upper atmosphere and bounce off of meteors. The "echo" of that is what you'll be listening to. It's eerie and fabulous. You can listen live, or check out recordings from meteor showers past.

Via Bad Astronomy

SF in SF reading series: Tad Williams & Deborah Beale

This week's installment of San Francisco's brilliant science fiction reading series, SF in SF, features Tad Williams & Deborah Beale. It's this Saturday, Aug 13, and as always, doors open at 6 at The Variety Preview Room Theatre right in the middle of town. Free, but with a $5-10 suggested donation for Variety Children’s Charity of Northern California.

Moon to screw up chances of Americans watching Perseid meteors

Bad news for U.S.-based astronomy buffs. You probably won't get a good look at the Perseid meteor shower happening Friday night. The Moon (you know, the Moon) will be getting all up in your business. Some particularly bright meteors might still be visible, however.

Getting digital copyright right: pay artists, but don't break the Internet

I'm headed to Vancouver this weekend to give a keynote at SIGGRAPH; I did a long interview with Blaine Kyllo from the Georgia Straight about the subject of my talk -- that is, how you build a digital copyright system that gives creators a fair deal, and why getting it wrong is bad for the whole society, not just artists.

StagConf: Vienna conference on stories and games

StagConf is a European conference on stories and games, to be held in Vienna's adorably insane Natural History Museum (the world's maddest, overflowingest taxidermy displays, including a broke-necked giraffe with Frankenstein stitches, an infamous alcoholic chimp, and many other critters etoufees). It's a one-day affair, on Sept 27: "You will meet game designers and writers who have worked on games in every imaginable form: from adventures to MMOs, from AAA console to the web, from social games to pen and paper RPGs." (Thanks, Alice!)

EFF's limited edition, glowing ENCRYPTION SAVES tees for DEFCON signups

If you're headed to Las Vegas for DEFCON this summer, you're one of the lucky few who'll be able to get one of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's limited-edition, glow-in-the-dark "Encryption Saves" tees, only available to people who join the organization at the event. I won't be there this year (sob!) but I will be in 2012, where I'll be delivering a keynote. Can't wait!


Bike ride and food tasting in MPLS/St Paul

Twin Citians: My husband noticed this nifty upcoming event—Bike and Bite is a group ride/local food tasting. It happens August 13th and tickets start at $10