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Petition to rename font 'Comic Sans' to 'Comic Cerns'

Typography enthusiasts "moved by Dr Fabiola Gianotti's incredibly strange choice of font in announcing the recent results of Cern's ATLAS collaboration" are petitioning Microsoft to rename Comic Sans to "Comic Cerns." Cosmic Sans might work, too!

It's no coincidence that Higgs Boson looks like a pile of dry spaghetti

In light of recent images released by CERN, reader Snark^ reports that the Higgs Boson particle has been given a new nickname by Redditors. Behold: The FSM Particle.

RAMEN!

On the off chance that you did not spend the 4th of July glued to your computer, you should be aware by now that the Higgs Boson particle might have been found. Maybe. Or, rather, at least one of the Higgs Boson particles might have been found. It's confusing. If you want some help cutting through the hype, I recommend that you check out the great links in our round-up of Higgs Boson news and analysis.

The descent of Petey

Bird and Moon comics offers this helpful illustration of how evolution screwed over the parakeet.

See the full comic, "Evolution Sucks"

Via David Ng

Cod hat

Check out this cod piece. Author William Gibson found it in Masset, BC, Canada. The head of a 145-pound cod, meant to be worn as a great helm. Nothing intimidates your enemies quite like wearing the head of a fish on your head.

EDIT: Mr. Gibson emailed to say that the photo comes from a local bed and breakfast ... "That thing is in the very excellent Copper Beech House bed & breakfast in Masset, BC, run by the Canadian poet Susan Musgrave. We're here because Doug Coupland recommended it, and it's awesome."

NYT-“MEN invented the internet”

What a steaming turd of an opening line in David Streitfeld's otherwise serviceable New York Times piece about the Ellen Pao/Kleiner Perkins sexual harassment lawsuit, and gender discrimination in Silicon Valley.

Here's the opening graf (bold-ing, mine):

MEN invented the Internet. And not just any men. Men with pocket protectors. Men who idolized Mr. Spock and cried when Steve Jobs died. Nerds. Geeks. Give them their due. Without men, we would never know what our friends were doing five minutes ago.

You guys, ladies suck at technology and the New York Times is ON IT.

Radia "Mother of the Internet" Perlman and the ghosts of RADM Grace Hopper, Ada Lovelace and every woman who worked in technology for the past 150 years frown upon you, sir. Women may have been invisible, but the work we did laid the groundwork for more visible advancements now credited to more famous men.

"Men are credited with inventing the internet." There. Fixed it for you.

Read the rest

Hitler attempts to navigate the peer-review process

Anything that inspires a good angry rant in real life can be turned into a Downfall video.

Getting a peer reviewed research paper through the aforementioned review process can be a stressful, rant-inducing experience. Remember, in order to be published, the paper is read by three (usually anonymous) reviewers who work in the same field of science. They judge things like whether the experiments described in the paper were done well enough, whether the work is original, and whether the take-away conclusions the scientist is presenting match up with the results of the experiments.

Last year, I wrote up a longer piece explaining peer review in more depth. Give it a read, and then see if you're surprised that there are multiple versions of peer review Hitler.

Above, Hitler is having problems with the third reviewer on his peer review board. Below the cut, Hitler's grant proposal is rejected by the National Institutes of Health.

Read the rest

Gilbert Gottfried reads erotic best-seller "Fifty Shades of Grey"

Were I anatomically capable of having a boner, Gilbert Gottfried's reading of the best-selling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey would kill it dead. Forever. (collegehumor.com)

Placebo: Now available in maximum strength

For only 6 British Pounds, you can cure what ails you with Placebo maximum strength sugar pills.

I'm a little sad that Etsy user spellingmistakes got to this idea before I could start marketing Placebex, as I've been threatening to do since approximately 2001. Maybe there's an intellectual property lawsuit in there someplace. ;)

And, before you ask, yes ... there really is some evidence that placebos work even if the people taking them already know that the drug is a placebo. Back in 2010, a study of ethical placebos used with irritable bowel patients got a lot of press. It was a follow up to a 2008 study that found roughly the same results.

If you want to read more on ethical placebos, I'd recommend checking out the following stories:

Evidence that placebos work even if you tell people they're taking placebos by Ed Yong
Meet the ethical placebo by Steve Silberman

Or, perhaps, you might like to purchase some Placebo maximum strength.

Via Darren Cullen

T-shirt tribute to the time-honored combination of booze and science

We can argue for days over which field of science is the booziest (I used to say archaeology, but have since switched my vote to ocean science). But we can all agree on the adorableness of this Threadless T-shirt, which provides a quick introduction to molecular bonding. Will they feel as bonded in the morning? It's hard to say.

Via Michele Banks

How To: Assemble a large hadron collider

One of my favorite parts about going on tours of laboratories are the signs and jokes that scientists post on office doors and lab walls. This gem comes from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The obvious question: How do you transport an infinite number of protons home from IKEA? Does that fit on the little cardboard roof rack?

Great moments in pedantry: Raptor vs. raptor

Events like this make an excellent case study for palaeozoologist Darren Naish's argument that we need to find a new nickname for dromaeosaurids—one that is not already being used by a significantly less terrifying class of animals. "Hey everybody, let's go to the Spring Raptor Release!" is kind of the "Let's eat, Grandma!" of species classification.

Via Laelaps

Dog hunts wolf (video)

[Video Link] Stay with it. "Rasta the Vizsla slowly stalks down a wolf on a golf course. This is real time, not slowed down." From YouTuber LifeIsQuick. (thanks, Joe Sabia!)

Room with a View

Photo: Xeni Jardin

The view from an ocean-facing window at the home of Boing Boing publisher-at-large Jason Weisberger, improved by his 5-year-old daughter with stickers. We had a Boing Boing meeting here.

Read the rest

The science of the Inebriati

"Moderate alcohol consumption"—which I'm sure we can all agree to define as "not quite two drinks"—was shown to enhance performance on tests of creative thinking in a recent University of Illinois at Chicago study.

Cat needs to learn water conservation

Here is a random cute cat video. I pass it on because it's adorable.

Video link

What happens when physicists celebrate April Fool's Day

It's a little late in the week, but I think you should really read this paper published on arXiv—a open-access website where physicists and mathematicians can post their research before it's gone through peer review. The title: Gods as topological invariants. The conclusion: "Recent astronomical observations can not reject theism, but data are slightly in favor of atheism." (Via Samuel Arbesman)

As seen on TV

Despite what you may have seen in popular network dramas, it's actually rather difficult to perform a tracheotomy with a ballpoint pen. In fact, according to a 2010 study, only two specific brands of pens were able to properly do the job of emergency airway puncture. Visit NCBI ROFL to learn which two. The life you save may be your own.

Fooling facial recognition surveillance cameras with cunning and crocheting


[Video Link]

Canadian yarn-lover and privacy-lover Howie Woo has developed an ingenious system for thwarting surveillance cameras that use face recognition technology. His solution involves crochet and LOLs. Here are more photos (via the Boing Boing Flickr Pool). More about Howie's playful creations here.

Otters Who Look Like Benedict Cumberbatch

Link. (Red Scharlach Points At Interesting Things, via Andrea James)

Pinterest Bingo

[Large size] Thanks to everyone who contributed "square" ideas. I'm no hater, by the way; you can follow me and Boing Boing there.

* 'shooped by yours truly.

MIT issues certificates in piracy

Good news! You can now earn a certification in piracy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. One of the first crop of official pirates, Jacob Hurwitz, showed up for his interview with the Boston Globe "wearing a pirate hat, eye patch, earring, knickers, and a stuffed parrot on his shoulder." So you know it's official. (Via Kevin Zelnio)

The Grand Forks Herald reviews the new Olive Garden in town

Here's a sentence I never expected to type: You should really read the Grand Forks Herald's review of The Olive Garden.

This is in North Dakota, for those not familiar. With almost 100,000 people in the metro area, it's the third-largest city in the state. It recently got its first Olive Garden and critic Marilyn Hagerty got in ahead of the lunch rush.

The place is impressive. It’s fashioned in Tuscan farmhouse style with a welcoming entryway. There is seating for those who are waiting ...

At length, I asked my server what she would recommend. She suggested chicken Alfredo, and I went with that. Instead of the raspberry lemonade she suggested, I drank water.

She first brought me the familiar Olive Garden salad bowl with crisp greens, peppers, onion rings and yes — several black olives. Along with it came a plate with two long, warm breadsticks.

There are several things to love about this review. For me, it's about the nostalgia. If you grew up in places where Olive Garden and Red Lobster really were the best restaurants in town, you can't help but feel a warm twinge of homesickness reading this. It's not judgement. I can't judge. I chose to go to Applebee's for my fancy high school graduation dinner.

But the best part about this review comes from some background information dug up by intrepid Duluth News reporter Brandon Stahl. In the course of verifying that this was, in fact, a real review, he uncovered something wonderfully upper-Midwestern. First, read the full review. Done that? Great. Now, get this—that was not a positive review of The Olive Garden.

Stahl talked to a former Grand Forks Herald editor who says, "By the way, [Marilyn Hagerty's] regular readers will recognize that as a fairly negative review since she spent a lot more time on the ambience than the food."

Cultural context: It's the difference between a glowing review, and a passive-aggressively negative one.

Via David Brauer

Image: Enjoy the Gift of Italy., a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from herrkrueger's photostream

Ant has had it up to here with your academic controversies

If you read our story about the ant evolution debates then you will enjoy this LOLant made by biologist and insect blogger Alex Wild. (Thalex!)

Video: dog plays piano, sings

Sergei Barkmaninoff. (thanks, Joe Sabia)

Video: The Pinky Show, "The Desert is Quiet"

[Video Link] Hard to explain this web series, and this particular episode. Cats. Philosophy. Emptiness. Best to just watch. (via Andrea James)

Maru, internet-famous cat, goes to the 2012 Oscars

Everyone's favorite internet cat goes to the Academy Awards. Well, in poster form. You can't buy the posters, or the cat, but you can buy the book. More about the legend in this previous Boing Boing post.

(Cheezburger via Swintons via Bricorama via @antderosa)

Superminimalist movie posters


You may be fond of creating minimalist movie posters, which cleverly boil down a whole production to a single distinctive, cinematic motif. I'm afraid Slacktory's Jed Stoneham has you all conclusively beaten.

The Ballad of Justin Bloody Bieber, sung by 82-year-old gentleman

Video Link: "Justin, Bloody Justin, Bloody Bieber," by Hugh Oliver (website).

It is reckoned that he's hotter
Than Harry fucking Potter,
His hairdo like some wagging gold retriever,
Looking lovely, looking cute
In his pater-knity suit,
Our Justin, bloody Justin, bloody Bieber.

The scorpion on the wall is a nice touch.

(thanks, Joe Sabia!)

Animals doing people things

There's a whole tumblr of stuff like this.

Julian Assange to host Wikileaks TV show on Kremlin-funded Russian cable network

Wikileaks announced this week that house-arrested frontman Julian Assange would host a new television interview series with "in-depth conversations with key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries from around the world." The theme, according to the announcement: "the world tomorrow."

Today, news that the network involved is none other than RT, the Russian cable television outlet founded by the Kremlin in 2005, which remains funded by and effectively under the editorial control of the Russian state. If you thought Assange's story already read like a pulp spy novel, none of this should be particularly shocking.

In a hyperbolic news release at RT.com, the network today revealed that the program will be filmed at the rural British manse where Assange has been residing under house arrest for more than a year while he fights extradition to Sweden on charges of sexual assault. The first episode will be shot "just a week before Assange's Supreme Court hearing in the UK."

And at the end of that RT announcement: “Details of the episodes and the guests featured are secret for now.” Secret. LOL.

More: NYT Media Decoder blog, Moscow Times, LA Times.

(Original Images: REUTERS)