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Fantastically detailed Boeing 777 model made from manila folders


Luca Iaconi-Stewart is building a "1:60 model of an Air India Boeing 777-300ER made entirely from manila file folders," with an unbelievable level of detail (it even has working mechanisms!)

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Petition to Indian gov't for open publication of standards


Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez, "Namaste! Public.Resource.Org respectfully submitted a Petition to the Honorable Ministry of the Government India charged with oversight over the Bureau of Indian Standards. In addition to hardcopy, we have placed the petition on our site and on the Internet Archive."

The purpose of the petition is to ask that all Indian Standards, government documents of great import and value, be freely made available so that the youth may be educated, the professions may be practiced, and the public safety protected. This is in reference to the almost 19,000 Indian Standards that Public Resource has posted on our site.

We are very pleased that the petition includes signed affidavits from many prominent figures, including Sushant Sinha (who developed as a gift to his country the beautiful Indian Kanoon legal search service), Swaraj Paul Barooah (who is an eminent legal expert and runs the Spicy IP blog). They are joined by eminent engineers, as well as Sri Sam Pitroda (former India Chief Technology Officer and Cabinet Minister) and Dr. Vinton G. Cerf (an Internet engineer).

Code Swaraj! We are hopeful the Hon'ble Ministry will consider our points.

Petition to the Honorable Ministry

(Thanks, Carl)

$35 Firefox OS smartphone - back to the drawing board


Ron Amadeo's review of the much-heralded Cloud FX phone, a $35 smartphone for the "rest of the world," paints a gloomy picture of a poorly thought through first outing.

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Indian space program workers celebrate Mars orbit


(photographer unknown): India's Mangalyaan satellite attained Martian orbit on Wednesday; at $74m, it's "staggeringly cheap" for an orbiter.

Martian spacecraft staffers at Indian space control, September 2014

The Cobra Effect: law of unintended consequences, squared

In British-ruled, cobra-infested India, a bounty was offered for cobra-skins, so enterprising folks started breeding cobras, leading to the program's cancellation, whereupon all those farmed cobras were released into the wild, a net increase in cobra population. That's not the only example, either.

(Image: Cobra, Kamalnv/Wikipedia, CC-BY)

Online Isaac Newton manuscripts workshop


India's Zetatrek citizen science initiative is online workshop starting on 19th July, where science and math hobbyists from all over the world are invited to study the original manuscripts of Sir Isaac Newton.

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Fake Google subdomain certificates found in the wild

An Indian certificate authority in the Microsoft root of trust has been caught issuing fake Google subdomain certificates that would allow nearly undetectable eavesdropping on "secure" connections to services like Google Docs.

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Bangalore's garbage crisis and America's invisible trash


Noah Sachs uses the years-long Bangalore garbage crisis to ask some pointed questions about America's secretive waste-disposal industry, which treats the treatment of American waste as a military-grade secret, protected by barbed wire and vicious lawyers.

Bangalore's drowning in rubbish, it's contaminating the water and poisoning the Earth, tens of thousands labor in filthy, unsafe conditions to sort and recover it -- and the average Bangalorean is only generating about one pound of trash per day. Americans throw away seven times that amount, and the fact that it's whisked away doesn't mean it's not a problem. In Sachs's view, the Bangalore situation just makes visible the lurking consequences of America's own profligacy.

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Headline Awaited, reads the Indiab Express front page


During this week's blockbuster Indian election, @shubhragupta caught a great photo of the Indian Express for the day, which was rushed to press so quickly that its lead banner still read HEADLINE AWAITED. Every time I see something like this, I thank the universe that I work in a forgiving electronic medium where mistakes can be swiftly corrected and not committed to millions of stamped-out pieces of stupid, inert matter.


Update: Amulya writes, "Just so you know, it's The IndiaN Express, so you want to correct that first on your forgiving electronic medium. Secondly, context matters -- the headline was a funny meta statement on the election verdict to come, and made perfect sense to those who read it."

Ah, Muphry's Law strikes again

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Delhi police lost password for complaints portal in 2006, haven't checked it since


The Delhi police lost the password for a portal that hosted complaints that had been passed on by the Central Vigilance Commission after an initial vetting. 667 complaints had been judged serious enough to be passed onto the police since the password was lost in 2006, but none have been acted upon, because no one had the password. Now they have the password. Presumably, the 667 unserved complainants believed the police to be either too slow or incompetent to have gotten back to them.

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India sending spacecraft to Mars for about 75% of 'Gravity' film budget


The Mangalyaan Mars Orbiter Spacecraft mounted in a rocket at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in India. Photo: Indian Space Research Organization, via NYT.

Saritha Rai, reporting for the New York Times on India’s recent launch of a spacecraft to Mars: "It is the $75 million mission’s thrifty approach to time, money and materials that is getting attention. Just days after the launch of India’s Mangalyaan satellite, NASA sent off its own Mars mission, five years in the making, named Maven. Its cost: $671 million. The budget of India’s Mars mission, by contrast, was just three-quarters of the $100 million that Hollywood spent on last year’s space-based hit, Gravity.” [NYTimes.com]

Indian readers sue Penguin for copyright to book that is to be pulped due to religious fundamentalists' campaign

Robert Sharp writes, "A group of readers have launched a legal challenge to Penguin, saying: 'You're not using your copyright responsibly - please turn it over to us'! They're angry that Penguin is no longer defending a legal dispute against fundamentalists and will pulp remaining copies of the book 'The Hindus'."

The readers are represented by Lawrence Liang and the Bangalore-based Alternative Law Forum.

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Vehicles as dinosaur skeletons


Jitish Kallat's 2008 piece "Aquasaurus" is a massive replica water truck made to look like a great prehistoric leviathan's skeleton, with great bowed ribs and enormous grinding teeth. It's part of a series of pieces that includes a bone motorcycle as well. His work is currently displayed on the India stage at Art Stage Singapore.

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India's street typists: a vanishing breed


India's street typists -- skilled professionals who type documents for passersby who need formal paperwork for official purposes -- are in great financial difficulty. Their trade has been largely supplanted by computers with word-processors. Even the love-sick young men who would come to them to type out love letters have moved on. The BBC profiles the street typists of Calcutta, in a piece steeped with melancholy at a world that has moved on.

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Indian minister baffled by milk bath


A scandal in Maharashtra: A disgruntled worker from the Indian Nationalist Congress Party poured ink all over Hasan Mushrif, the party's Labour Minister. The scandal redoubled when the Minister's supporters surprised him at a party meeting with a "milk bath," sitting him in a chair and pouring milk all over him to purify him. The Minister described himself as being equally baffled by the milk as he had been by the ink.

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Boing Boing Charitable Giving Guide 2013

Here's a guide to the charities the Boingers support in our own annual giving. As always, please add the causes and charities you give to in the comments below!


Electronic Frontier Foundation
Could there be a year that's more relevant to the EFF? As Edward Snowden has made abundantly clear, there is a titantic, historic battle underway to determine whether the Internet is there to liberate us or to enslave us. EFF's on the right side of history, and I figure giving them all I can afford is a cheap hedge against the NSA's version of the future. —CD



Creative Commons
CC continues to make a difference -- this year, they released the 4.0 version of their flexible licenses, a major milestone. More than anyone else, CC has reframed the way we talk about creativity and copyright in the Internet era, providing practical, easy-to-use tools to make it possible for creators and audiences to work together in a shared mission of creating and enjoying culture.—CD

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No sex toys, please, we're Delhian


Photo: REUTERS/Nir Elias

The Times of India reports a police crackdown on sex toy sales in Delhi. [via Arbroath]

After a tip-off, a team led by inspector Mukesh Walia raided Palika Bazaar on Tuesday and confiscated 14 such toys from a shop, a senior police officer said. The owner of the shop, Gurbeer Singh, has been arrested for importing and illegally selling sex toys.

Covered by a prohibition on "obscene" materials, selling sex toys is a punishable offense with up to five years' imprisonment on the cards for repeat offenders: "Even buyers can be prosecuted."

A visit to the Indian temple where "0" was invented

The BBC's Alex Bellos travels to Gwalior, an Indian city that contains a temple with the oldest known use of the number "0". It's part of an effort to figure out why zero would appear in India, and not in other, earlier civilizations that were mathematically adept. From Bellos' perspective, part of the answer might lie in theology — a mathematical representation of the mystical idea of "nothingness".

Stephen Fry standup at Mumbai queer open-mic night

MJ writes, "I'm part of a group called Gaysi Family. Every couple of months we host an open-mic event called Dirty Talk for the queer community in Mumbai (India). Funds raised from the event is donated to one or the two Queer support group in the city. This year in March we were contacted by BBC team, as they wanted to film one of our events. The clipping would then be featured in one of their queer documentaries hosted by none other than well-known gay celebrity Stephen Fry. "

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Science fiction from India and the Indian diaspora

Niall from the SF webzine Strange Horizons sez, "This week Strange Horizons has a special issue focusing on Indian and Indian diaspora SF. Guest curators Anil Menon and Vandana Singh select and introduce two stories -- 'Runaway Cyclone', a new translation of an early Indian SF story, and 'Sheesha Ghat' by Naiyer Masud. We've also got a round-table discussion with writers and critics including Samit Basu, Arvind Mishra and Manjula Padmanabhan; a poem by and interview with Shweta Narayan; and reviews of Indian SF throughout the week."

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The story of the rapist's wife

The rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student last December drew worldwide attention to India's struggles with tradition, women's rights, and street harassment. In a piece for the Wall Street Journal, Krishna Pokharel and Aditi Malhotra add another layer to that onion, following the story of Punita Devi, the wife of one of the convicted rapists. She, too, is suffering from the fallout of her husband's choices — and in ways that come back to those issues of tradition and equality. Living in a rural area where widows lose both their honor and any viable means of financial support, Devi is facing a future where she expects to be turned out of her in-laws' home, cannot return to her parents, and is judged and punished ... not for being the wife of a rapist, but for being nobody's wife.

All of India's public safety standards now online for free

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes,

For the first time, a full standards bureau is now available on the Internet for people to examine. This archive is published for the people of India and the people of the world who wish to see the technical specifications for public safety that govern our modern society. The archive includes 18,825 standards. Many of them have txt file extracts and over 600 are already available in HTML, SVG, or MATHML renditions.

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India discontinues its telegram service


Andy Deemer discovered that India was about to decommission its telegram service on July 15, so he ran around Bangalore until he located the telegram office and sent one to a friend, just to document a procedure that is about to vanish forever:

He handed over an old slip of paper, wanted more details than should be necessary, copied everything into a massive bound ledger, spent ten minutes tallying up the bill, and charged only pennies for the experience. And that was it. I have no idea what happened next. Was there furious tapping of dots and dashes, or did he pop open Outlook 95 and send it via email? I don’t even know.

I guess the story isn’t exciting. Not one bit. But receiving the telegrams a week later?

Now that was grand.

The interesting thing is that the telegram system still sees a surprising amount of use; the Bangalore office alone handles 150 telegrams a day. However, that's down from a peak of 25,000-30,000 -- the decline started with the introduction of SMS.

Goodbye Telegram / Hello Telegram

India's OMICS Publishing Group threatens scholarly critic with $1 billion lawsuit, jail time

OMICS Publishing Group, an Indian scholarly publisher has threatened to sue one of its critics, Metadata librarian Jeffrey Beall, for $1 billion, and has threatened him with prison time over posts he made to his prominent Scholarly Open Access site. OMICS cites India's terrible Information Technology Act as the basis for its threats. However, it seems unlikely that Beall would be extradited to India even if OMICS makes good on its threats, and unless he has assets in India, they'll have a hard time collecting on any judgment.

Today The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a less amusing letter Beall received Tuesday. An Indian intellectual property management firm called IP Markets informed Beall that they would be suing for $1 billion in damages and that he could face up to three years in prison for his "deliberate attempt to defame our client." That client is OMICS Publishing Group, an India-based operation profiled several times on the blog. The group requested that Beall remove the posts and e-mail updates to anyone who published his work, yet IP Markets still intends to go through with the suit either way.

"All the allegation [sic] that you have mentioned in your blog are nothing more than fantastic figment of your imagination by you," the six-page letter reads according to The Chronicle. "Our client perceive the blog as mindless rattle of a incoherent person and please be assured that our client has taken a very serious note of the language, tone, and tenure adopted by you as well as the criminal acts of putting the same on the Internet."

I know nothing about OMICS's publishing practices, but based on how they handle their critics, I feel confident in saying that they're not the sort of firm that any scholar should be doing business with -- censoring, terrible bullies don't make good publishers.

Blogger writes about predatory publishing, is threatened with $1B suit

Bangalore's brain museum


Dr Shankar’s Brain Museum in Bangalore is shelf upon shelf of largely unlabelled brains in jars, along with various other bits of anatomical pickle (human and otherwise). Andy Deemer took a visit and provides some lovely snapshots.

I’m not sure that I’d call Dr Shankar’s Brain Museum a museum. There were no explanations, no details, no citations or learning. Just six hundred brains in an otherwise empty room.

On reflection, perhaps “Collection” would be a better word. A fantastic collection of diseased and healthy brains, sandwiched between a Brain Bank and the Hospital Canteen.

Two dozen purple slides showed something. Ten or so brains were marked by a shared label: Intracerebral Hemorrhage. Another row was marked Glioma. Arterial Stroke. Schwannoma. Schizophrenia.

Dr Shankar’s Wonderful Collection of Brains and Other Medical Obscura

Bollywood Easter: Images of Christ in '70s poster art from India

My brother Carl Hamm (Twitter), who is a club and radio DJ and a collector of obscure but excellent global stuff, shares the images in this post and says:

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Indian diploma mill uses Internet censorship to shut down critics

@kanwarsation sez, "Using a muzzling Court Order under India's badly written IT Act against the Department of Telecom, the IIPM has blocked articles critical of them, including satire on humour sites, and commentary on news sites as well. Most shocking, they have blocked the link to an official order declaring that they are not a university, which was posted on the website of the University Grants Commission, a government body that looks at higher education. The Indian Institute of Planning & Management is an over-priced MBA school that basically allows in anyone who writes a big enough cheque. There has been continuing criticism of their methods and quality, and of their flamboyant Founder/Chairman Arindam Chaudhuri."

4,500 years of yum

Researchers map the history of curry by analyzing chemical traces in ancient Indian pottery.

Hindi Superman: 1987

R3LOAD.net sez, "YouTube is streaming the full move Superman, a 1987 Hindi remake of the Hollywood movie. Synopsis: In this Indian take on the classic superhero story, a young baby from the doomed planet Krypton is sent to Earth, where he is adopted by an elderly couple in India who name him Shekhar. After growing to an adult and learning about his origins and powers, he goes to the city in search of his school sweetheart, Gita, who has become a newpaper reporter. At the same time, Verma, Shekhar's rival for Gita's affection in their school days, has gone on to become a crime lord and general super-villain. Verma has hatched at plan to become rich by devastating part of India with natural disasters, then buying up all of the abandoned land."

Just watched 15 minutes of this and was hooked. Superman

Thaipusam portraits from Singapore (photo)

Photographer Jon Siegel, who lives in Japan and works throughout Asia, shares these portraits in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool, and explains:

It was a pleasure and an absolute honor to be allowed to watch and follow the Thaipusam festival here in Singapore. Everyone was polite, kind and welcoming to me as I attempted to document the experience with my camera, I am very grateful. Needless to say, I did my best to keep out of the way and to lend a helping hand when needed. This definitely ranks as one of the greatest experiences I have had so far in Singapore, if not in all my travels. A deeply spiritual experience affecting all senses, from the beautiful chanting and music, to the smell of the burning incense and ash, every aspect powerful and poetic.

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