Fully poseable, articulated Michaelangelo's David action-figure

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It's been nearly a decade since a single thumbnail image of Michaelangelo's David's willie caused a censorware company founded by a registered sex-offender to block Boing Boing for all its clients as a "nudity" site. This post will probably blow their minds. Read the rest

The word "software" sounded ridiculous when it was coined in '53

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Computing pioneer Paul Niquette's memoir begins with the tale of how he came to coin the term "software" in 1953, to the ridicule of his colleague, and how the idea of a computer whose code was separate from its machinery took hold and changed the way we think about computation forever. Read the rest

J Edgar Hoover fought to write ex-FBI agents out of Hitchcock's scripts

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Michael from Muckrock writes, "Like almost everyone else in the J. Edgar Hoover era, Alfred Hitchcock managed to catch the attention of the FBI, leading to a 16-page file. Did it investigate the rumored murders the Master of Suspense committed? Secretive ties to foreign states? Nope, mostly just the fact that, in one episode of Hitchcock Presents, a bad guy was briefly referenced to be a 'former FBI agent,' a plot point that the Bureau worked surprisingly hard to change ... perhaps worth of a Hitchcock treatment all its own. Read on for the full story." Read the rest

How enforcing a crappy patent bankrupted the Eskimo Pie company

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Russell Stover's innovative Eskimo Pie treats were the smash-hit of 1920, and represented the culmination of long and careful experimentation with different techniques for adding a chocolate coating to ice-cream. Read the rest

It's been ten years since Sony Music infected the world with its rootkit

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Oct 31 2005: Security researcher Mark Russinovich blows the whistle on Sony-BMG, whose latest "audio CDs" were actually multi-session data-discs, deliberately designed to covertly infect Windows computers when inserted into their optical drives. Read the rest

The Enigma Machine wristwach: a wearable Arduino recreation

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Alan Turing and the codebreakers of Bletchley Park invented modern crypto and computers in the course of breaking Enigma ciphers, the codes that Axis powers created with repurposed Enigma Machines -- sophisticated (for the day) encryption tools invented for the banking industry -- to keep the Allies from listening in on their communications. Read the rest

Listen: a sexy hymn to Ishtar, in the original Babylonian

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Doris Prechel reads Ammi-ditāna's incredibly hot hymn to Ištar in Babylonian (MP3) as transcribed by D. O. Edzard. Read the rest

LA Whiskey Society tastes and reviews "medicinal" whiskey from Prohibition

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From 1920 to 1933, the only way to drink whiskey in America was to get a doctor's prescription, which would be pasted on the bottle (max one bottle/person/week) -- much like the "medical marijuana" of today. Read the rest

How To Recognize and Handle Abnormal People: A Manual for the Police Officer

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In 1954, the National Association for Mental Health first issued the book "How To Recognize and Handle Abnormal People: A Manual for the Police Officer." Included were techniques on dealing with all kinds of "abnormal persons," from psychopaths, drug addicts, and the "mentally retarded" to civil protestors and those involved in family disturbances.

A selection of scans is below. And if you're not satisfied, you can purchase a copy of the 1975 edition on Amazon for the low price of $103.

(Print via Weird Universe)

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Statues of recently-canonized Junipero Serra vandalized

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My California public school education was filled with romanticized stories of the Spanish Missions. What we were taught was not accurate. The folks already living here were abused and enslaved. It comes as no surprise that people feel a lot of anger over the sainting of Junipero Serra, and that the Carmel Mission, where he is interred, was vandalized. Read the rest

Jamaica wants slavery reparations from the UK

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Members of Jamaica's Parliament are threatening to turn their backs on David Cameron during an official visit unless he agrees to discuss reparations for slavery during the meeting. Read the rest

Artificial Intelligence, considered: Talking with John Markoff about Machines of Loving Grace

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Literary podcaster Rick Kleffer writes, "I must admit that it was too much fun to sit down with John Markoff and talk (MP3) about his book Machines of Loving Grace. Long ago, I booted up a creaking, mothballed version of one of the first Xerox minicomputers equipped with a mouse to extract legacy software for E-mu. Fifteen years later I was at the first Singularity Summit; the book was a trip down many revisions of memory road."

John Markoff’s ‘Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robot’ is a fascinating, character-driven vision of how the recent past created the present and is shaping the near future. The strong and easily understood conflict at the heart of this work gives readers an easy means of grasping the increasingly complicated reality around us. If we do not understand this history, the chances are that we will not have the opportunity to be doomed to repeat it.

Our technological ecology began in two computer labs in Stanford in the early sixties. In one lab, John McCarthy coined the term “Artificial intelligence” with the intention of creating a robot that could think like, move like and replace a human in ten years. On the opposite side of the campus, Douglas Englebart wanted to make it easier for scholars to collaborate using an increasingly vast amount of information. He called it IA, Intelligence Augmentation as a direct response to AI. Thus were born two very different design philosophies that still drive the shape of our technology today – and will continue to do so in the future.

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Step Aside, Pops: a new Hark! A Vagrant! collection that delights and dazzles

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Canadian historian turned webcomics god Kate Beaton is back with her second Hark! A Vagrant! collection: Step Aside, Pops. Never before has history been so bitterly funny.

Words about slavery that we should all stop using

"Plantation" = "labor camp"; "slave-owner" = "enslaver"; "Union troops" = "US troops." Read the rest

Find out when your name was popular with Baby Name Explorer app

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It's not super scientifically perfect but it's a fun tool.

The first person, and cat, to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel

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In 1901, Annie Edson Taylor, then 63, was the first person to make it over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She designed her own barrel, containing a harness and mattress, and sent her cat over the falls first as a test. Read the rest

Wacky dudes in Russia open 1940s war ration can and eat it because Russia

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According to the uploader's description, these jolly Russian gentlemen here are opening what is identified as a 70-year-old package of Soviet fighter pilot war chow.

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