Boing Boing 

Colton Harris-Moore, the "Barefoot Bandit," pleads guilty to 7 federal charges

Colton Harris-Moore, the 20-year-old, 6-foot-5 criminal whose hijinks in multiple countries led to internet fame and the "Barefoot Bandit" name, today pleaded guilty to seven criminal charges.

Appearing in U.S. District Court in Seattle, the lanky, 6-foot-5 Camano Island man entered guilty pleas to each of the federal charges. Under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Harris-Moore, 20, also agreed to forfeit any proceeds earned from the sale of his story.

The forfeiture issue had been a sticking point in plea negotiations between federal prosecutors and the defense, according to Harris-Moore's attorney, John Henry Brown. Browne has said that Harris-Moore did not want to profit from his crime spree and intends any proceeds to go toward paying restitution, which Browne said is in the range of $1.5 million.

"Whether the government wants it or not, there will be a movie. There will be more books. And there will be money from them," Browne said earlier this month.

Heh. And what poetry it would be if everyone who wanted to see the movie just stole it online!

More, including court documents, at the Seattle Times.

Bob Dylan sings about the video game "Gears of War." Bonus: "Goat Rap."

[Video Link]. Oh, alright: it's really internet video genius Liam Lynch. It's a clip from his podcast, "Lynchland:The Liam Lynch Podcast". Full episodes can be seen at liamlynch.net or on iTunes.

Here's the video that inspired this parody. Not into Dylan? Liam's "Goat Rap," below.

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Famous People Hanging Out With Their Vinyl

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A wonderful photo-essay on Dangerous Minds. The selection above, obviously: Marilyn Monroe.
(thanks, Tara McGinley!)

Europride and Gaga in Rome

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(Lady Gaga performs during a gay pride concert in downtown Rome. Stefano Rellandini / Reuters)

The gay icon Lady Gaga was there wearing her green wig, together with up to one million people marching chanting singing in a carnival gay pride march.

Rome is the capital of Vatican too, the place where Pope lives and preaches from his balcony every Sunday morning about how people should live and love. Lady Gaga's motto this Sunday was the power of love. She recalled her Italian origin and name ( La Germanotta) and, in a passionate speech, demanded immediate equal rights for the gays, meaning the right to get married, have children etc. While singing her new song Born This Way, an anthem to diversity...

But only few days ago, the Pope announced his firm opposition to equalize even straight informal marriages, that is, unions not sanctioned by God in a marriage sacrament. Where the Catholic church is concerned, gay marriages are not only a taboo topic but even a place of severe demonization and homophobia.

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Mad Libs creator Leonard B. Stern dies at 88

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Mad Libs creator Leonard B. Stern died this week. Obituary writers seized the opportunity to insert blank spaces and [adverb] [noun] [adjective]s in their homages, to mimic the format of Mr. Stern's famous creation in cheap pursuit of lulz. Mr. Stern was also a prolific, Emmy-winning television writer who would have come up with more original material.

Around the web: New York Times, Reuters, Washington Post, NPR, Variety, LA Times.

Scanned vintage Mad Libs cover from the Flickr stream of Dan Goodsell. A very politically incorrect early page found at this blog, along with a nice collection of other vintage covers.

Alaska releases more than 24,000 printed pages of Sarah Palin's emails

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Officials in the state of Alaska today released about 13,000 of Sarah Palin's emails from the former governor's first 21 months in office. During that period, her fame grew and she became a GOP vice presidential nominee. In the video below, you can see 24,199 pages of those emails boxed up and hand-carted on dollies (note that the boxes show they're printed on "Cougar" brand paper, heh). The process of preparing the documents for release took some two years, involved 55 current and former state employees, and required a legal review that concluded on May 31. Ms. Palin used a Yahoo email account, rather than an official Alaska government email account, presumably to avoid state archiving and recordkeeping requirements.

Washington Post:

Among the 14,482 emails that were sent or received by then-Gov. Sarah Palin (R), Alaska officials released just over 11,000 without altering them. But they also redacted some information from more than 2,300. And they held back 953 entirely.

The content may not all be heavy (we are talking about Sarah Palin here), but the documents are. And unlike Palin, they're not cheap. From the New York Times:

[H]er old e-mails are being released by the pound, not the pixel, in six boxes, a total of about 250 pounds at a printing cost of $725 per set.
Reading these early news accounts, it's not yet clear to me why the state chose to release the emails in printed form, as opposed to scanned images or in some native text-based digital form with full headers and such. Some interesting issues around forensics and privacy to consider there. But releasing these state documents on paper, and charging for them, makes the task all the more onerous for reporters and investigators. Of course, the state could have been even more cruel: selecting a font like, say, Comic Sans. Or Zapf Dingbats.

So why are we seeing them at all? Because Mother Jones, ProPublica, and MSNBC requested them in 2008.

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"Wikiwars," CNN documentary on Wikileaks, debuts

assangelead.jpgThis weekend, CNN will air "Wikiwars," the network's much-promoted documentary on Wikileaks hosted by a former Navy SEAL. The one-hour program premieres Sunday, June 12, 8:00pm ET & PT, and will repeat at other times after that.

I haven't seen it yet, but Greg Mitchell, who has been blogging tirelessly about Wikileaks over at the Nation for nearly half a year now, has. The short version: "Like [the PBS] Frontline epic," he says, the CNN documentary contains "no new news."

Snip from Mitchell's preview:

This is a list of Assange / WikiLeaks critics interviewed (and quoted more than once): David Leigh, Nick Davies, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Adrian Lamo, Brigadier Gen. Mark T. Kimmitt (Ret.). Here is a list of Assange / WikiLeaks supporters interviewed: one unnamed and masked allegedly activist from Anonymous. Other critics who get face time: Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, even Newt Gingrich.

Not a surprise: The official Wikileaks Twitter account, presumably Julian Assange himself, describes the documentary as "full of the usual slanders."

Very bad late '90s hip-hop cover art

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An academic appreciation of very bad late '90s Hip-Hop cover art. (thanks, David)

Thierry "Mr. Brainwash" Guetta loses copyright case with photographer Glen E. Friedman

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(Above Left: Photo of Run D.M.C., taken by Glen E. Friedman Above Right: The invitation which Thierry Guetta, aka Mr. Brainwash, used for his debut exhibition 'Life Is Beautiful'.)

Thierry Guetta, the figure at the center of the Banksy documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, just lost a court case which could result in significant damages.

Sean Bonner broke the initial news of the legal dispute here on Boing Boing, in a guest blog post this January.

From the Melrose and Fairfax art blog:

A judge just ruled against Mr. Brainwash in a lawsuit from photographer Glen E. Friedman claiming that MBW used his iconic photo of Run D.M.C. without permission. Mr. Brainwash had argued that the photo had been altered sufficiently and could be used under the 'fair use act'. But the judge disagreed, and, MBW's haters will be excited to hear that the judge "ruled that Guetta can't defend his work as transformative fair use."

The Hollywood Reporter has the full story, and covered earlier news of the dispute here.

More at the UK Guardian, and Thomas Hawk's photography blog, and at photoattorney.com.

Some will ask how this case is different from that of the Associated Press and Shepard Fairey, over Fairey's iconic Obama poster. Some context: Fairey is a creative collaborator and friend of Friedman, and Bonner, and crossed paths with Guetta, as those of you who saw "Gift Shop" will recall. Sean Bonner covered that question here in detail, in a previous Boing Boing guest blog post.

Yelp review for $8 billion Kansas Abortionplex (after the viral Onion article on same)

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Remember the (fictitious, funny) Onion article "Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex"? Now the famed Abortionplex is on Yelp. Free nachos and mojitos after your partial birth abortion, with a Yelp discount code! As noted in a previous Boing Boing post, many people believe the Abortionplex (and other Onion coverage) is real. I can't wait for the credulous Fox News coverage to kick in.

Here's one recent review:

Everyone loves Abortionplex, but true fans know that the real magic is found in the secret menu. A 2x3 lets you sandwich in movie screenings at the theater before, between and after ridding yourself of potential twins. An 8x8? Spend your day easily breezing from Octomom to Oscars noms. Hold the butter on that popcorn though - you're not eating for 9 anymore!

Tell your doc you want The Flying Dutchman if you want to squeeze your abortion appointment in between two pieces of meat, if you know what I mean, and let's face it, you always know what I mean.

But real pros know that nothing satisfies your hunger for an empty uterus quite as much as well as Animal Style. In this iteration of the classic abortion, after the doctor perfectly vacuums the contents of your uterus, she then fills it with a secret sauce filled with tiny unicorns which will trot around poking holes in your uterine lining and preventing zygotes from taking hold for at least 6 months. But let's face it, even if you're already filled to the brim with tiny unicorns and think you won't be abortion-hungry again for a while, you know you'll be poking around Abortionplex tomorrow on your lunch break. It's too good to stay away!

(thanks, Susannah!)

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Nyan Cat (aka Pop Tart Cat) 101

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For some, a defacement page from the PBS LulzSec hack will be the first introduction to Nyan Cat. For others, the animated pop-tart rainbow feline is already a familiar form of internet meme happies, despite having originated just two months ago.

This Know Your Meme feature is a good place overview of its origins. The attention-deficit-version is this: PRguitarman created it. Everything began on April 2, 2011, at LOL-COMICS, then hit Tumblr, and from there, mutated and spread rapidly like so many strains of gleeful, 8-bit ebola.

Below, one of the early videos to surface; and following that, a dubstep remix of the same, both via Laughing Squid.

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Ultimate troll smackdown: KKK vs. Westboro Baptist at Arlington National Cemetery

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Members of the Westboro Baptist Church today "were met with an unlikely group of counter-protesters Monday at Arlington Cemetery"—the KKK. Problem solved for media unsure of whether to give more attention to racists or homophobes.

Not that the presence of either group is new. File photo above, via Reuters: Westboro Baptist Church trolls holding anti-gay signs at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day, November 11, 2010.

God hates faps.

Did Urban Outfitters rip off an indie designer, yet again?

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The similarity between the work of Chicago-based designer Stevie Koerner, aka imakeshinythings, and a recently-launched line of jewelry from Urban Outfitters, appears too close to be an accident. This is not the first time the fashion chain has been accused of ripping off indie designers.

Above: Urban Outfitters' line at left, Stevie Koerner's at right. More on Stevie's blog.

(via Submitterator, thanks Jack Crosby)

ColecoVision 1983 TV ad for George Plimpton's "Video Falconry" game

[Video Link, from NewGrounds via Jesse Thorn]

Judgment Day Open Thread: How are you planning to celebrate The Rapture on May 21?

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Judgment Day is upon us: tomorrow, Saturday May 21, at 6pm local time, according to this gentleman. Are you planning to leave this earthly plane and join The Lord, or are you planning to observe the day in some other fashion?

Lady Gaga demands photographers hand over copyright of all photos from her concerts

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Photographers are pissed that Lady Gaga is now demanding they surrender the copyright of any and all photos taken at her concerts. (Rolling Stone)

Image: Lady Gaga performs during the 64th Cannes Film Festival (Reuters/Yves Herman)

"Reality 86'd," David Markey's film on the final tour of Black Flag

Twitter newbie Henry Rollins says, "In 1986, Dave Markey made a documentary of Black Flag's final tour. He just posted it for free viewing. Brutal!"

On eve of Endeavour's last launch, "Shuttle Ennui" (Xeni on The Madeleine Brand show)

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Download audio (MP3), or listen to the show here.


I joined The Madeleine Brand Show on the radio today for a chat around what some jokingly refer to as "shuttle ennui," felt by many at NASA (and others whose livelihoods depend on NASA) as the space shuttle program ends.

We so often think of things as large as America's space program as abstractions, and for good reason. Billions of dollars, thousands of people, huge human-made machines that shoot fire and climb toward the stars. But NASA is made of people. And along with all of the NASA employees and contractors whose work relates to the shuttle program, everyone from the Cape Canaveral donut shop owner to the journalists who cover space are affected by the program's end. Right now, to put it simply: everyone's bummin'.

Today, the countdown began for the final launch of shuttle Endeavour, scheduled to lift off Monday morning 8:56:26 a.m. EDT. She'll head to the International Space Station to deliver an array of supplies, including spare parts for the robot DEXTRE ("The Canada Hand"). This will be the 36th shuttle mission to the ISS, STS-134. Last month's launch attempt was scrubbed when problems were discovered in fuel line heaters. One more shuttle launch is scheduled for June, the STS-135 mission with shuttle Atlantis. But that's it: the end of the shuttle era—and the end of tens of thousands of skilled American technology workers' jobs.

I've spent much of the last few weeks wandering around Kennedy Space Center and Johnson Space Center, with Miles O'Brien and the SpaceFlightNow crew, talking to people about how the end of the program impacts their lives. Along the way, I met a number of Boing Boing fans at NASA, and contractors and space nerds who are part of our greater family of happy mutants. Hear more about what I observed in the radio segment.

Do tune in to SpaceFlightNow for Monday's launch webcast with Miles O'Brien, David Waters and astronaut Leroy Chiao. It really is the best launch coverage there is.

Space fans may also enjoy tuning in to SomaFM's "Mission Control," NASA audio plus trippy ambient electronica, live Monday from JSC. A fun related post from them here.

Related: Flickr galleries of iPhone snapshots I shot on my recent space adventures. KSC (Florida), and JSC (Texas). Above and below, a few of those pix: Shuttle patches behind the counter, at the cigar store where reporters covering launches (including Miles) buy stogies for liftoff luck; a door at nearby Merritt Island airport; the Vehicle Assembly Building, or VAB, at KSC; and an obligatory spaceman smooch I snuck at JSC.

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Lebanese '90s television emulator: telfezion.com

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Watch it: telfezion.com. It's like Nam Jun Paik on vacation in Beirut after dropping acid with a falafel chaser. Created by Nadim Kobeissi, aka @kaepora. He tells Boing Boing how the project came about, below.

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The Fracking Song: "My Water's On Fire Tonight"

Video Link, more about the project here. And read the investigative report that inspired this video "explainer" at ProPublica (* warning, major bummer alert).

A snip from the lyrics:

Fracking is a form of natural gas drilling
An alternative to oil cause the oil kept spilling
Bringing jobs to small towns so everybody's willing People turn on their lights and the drillers make a killing

Water goes into the pipe, the pipe into the ground
The pressure creates fissures 7,000 feet down
The cracks release the gas that powers your town
That well is fracked..... Yeah totally fracked

But there's more in the water than just H2O
With names like benzene and formaldehyde
You better keep 'em far away from the water supply

"My Water's On Fire Tonight" is a product of Studio 20 NYU in collaboration with ProPublica.org. The song is based on ProPublica's investigation on hydraulic fractured gas drilling. Music by David Holmes and Andrew Bean, vocals by David Holmes and Niel Bekker, animation by Adam Sakellarides and Lisa Rucker.

(via Jay Rosen)

Star Wars-Osama Bin Laden-New York Times parody/mashup

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Galactic Empire Times.

(Via Dave Itzkoff)

Space suits, NASA Johnson Space Center (snapshots)

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Here are more iPhone snaps of cool things, people, and funky ephemera spotted during a visit to JSC (photos: Xeni Jardin).

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Scitweeps: LEGO minifigs of scientists and "science popularizers"

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Maia Weinstock (Twitter) creates these these neat minifigs of various personalities in science, space, and internet media. I first learned about this when I was attending a lecture by Carolyn Porco with Richard Dawkins, and Maia presented Dawkins with a teeny-tiny LEGO version of himself.

Maia has an ever-growing photo set of these LEGO figures here. They include @carolynporco, @pzmyers, @sciencegoddess, @badastronomer, @plutokiller, @richarddawkins, @profbriancox, @flyingjenny, @janegoodallinst, @milesobrien, @sallyridesci, @toastforbrekkie, @bluerules, @lukedones, @astroengine, @lirarandall, @jcventer, @algore, @oliversacks, @planetdr, @therealbuzz, @seanmcarroll, and @jenlucpiquant.

And here's how she came up with the idea, and a video re-creation in LEGO minifig of Porco's TED talk on Cassini. Her behind-the-scenes "making of" snapshots are fun, too.

Inset, space and science journalist (and friend), Miles O'Brien. Above and further below? Well, that would be me.

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Osama bin Smokin'? Marijuana found at Abbottabad compound

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By various reports, we are now learning that marijuana grew along the outside walls of Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Was the Al Qaeda mastermind a stoner? He and his buds were said to have "bought a lot of food," and frequently placed bulk orders for Coke and Pepsi with a local grocer— so there's that. And, those glazed and distant eyes. But I doubt it: if ever there were a persona more harsh than mellow, it was this fellow.

And, oh, alright: truth is, it's not unusual to find patches of wild cannabis growing in this region.

Sources: NY Daily News, Telegraph, Village Voice, and CNN's Nic Robertson on AC360 (via Andy Carvin).

Bin Laden: CIA head Panetta, in first interview, says US mining "impressive" data stash from compound

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CIA chief Leon Panetta give his first interview since commanding the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden. He tells TIME they feared Pakistan would undermine the operation, and tells reporter Massimo Calabresi, "It was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardize the mission: They might alert the targets." Also, Panetta says a little more about data mining under way on hard drives and disks said to have been retrieved by Navy SEALs during the raid (previous BB post on that topic here):

thpanetta1.jpg The aftermath of the mission has been productive. The U.S. collected an "impressive amount" of material from bin Laden's compound, including computers and other electronics, Panetta says. Panetta has set up a task force to act on the fresh intelligence. Intelligence reporting suggests that one of bin Laden's wives who survived the attack has said the family had been living at the compound since 2005.

At top, the cover image of TIME's current issue. This is the fourth cover in TIME's history to feature the red "X," following Adolf Hitler (May 7, 1945), Saddam Hussein (April 21, 2003), and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (June 19, 2006). Large size here.

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By pixelfucks.com. (thanks, Dean Putney, via Canv.as)

Who is Osama bin Laden?

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Screengrab from Sean Bonner. But this is not a joke! In a company blog post today, Yahoo reported that two-thirds of people searching for "Who is Osama Bin Laden?" today were teenagers. Yes, that's right, a non-insignificant number of teenagers in America do not know who Osama bin Laden is.

According to Yahoo!, The Top Searched Questions on Osama bin Laden are (based on Sunday, 5/1):

1. Is Osama bin Laden dead?
2. How did Osama bin Laden die?
3. Who killed Osama bin Laden?
4. How old is Osama bin Laden
5. Who is Osama bin Laden
6. Where was Osama bin Laden killed?
7. Is Osama bin Laden dead or alive?
8. How tall is Osama bin Laden?

News of Osama bin Laden's death seemed to have struck a chord with younger folks who grew up during the war on terrorism.
- On Yahoo!, 1 in 3 searches for "how did osama bin laden die" on Sunday were from teens ages 13-17.
- According to Yahoo!, 40% of searches on Sunday for "who killed osama bin laden" were from people ages 13-20.
- However, it seems teens ages 13-17 were seeking more information as they made up 66% of searches for "who is osama bin laden?"

More here at Yahoo's search blog.

Photo: Obama and National Security team during Osama kill operation (UPDATED with found Photoshops)

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From the White House photo description on Flickr: "President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Please note: a classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured."

Some questions and fleeting observations after viewing the larger size, some of which are picked up from Neil Mann's Twitter feed...

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Osama Death LULZ: the memeification of history

tumblr_lkjzgz6T9R1qgb0eso1_1280.jpg Even before President Obama went on live TV last night to officially announce that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a US military operation, animated gifs and jpeg shoops commemorating the death of the world's most wanted bad guy were already proliferating. Above, via randomguy on BB Submitterator.

More below, and your selections welcome in the comments. As crass and off-color as these may be, they are a snapshot of pop culture history, and they reveal more about our collective consciousness than might be apparent at first glance, on the first day.

Related: No word yet on Evil Bert's whereabouts since the raid.

(special thanks to Dean Putney for additional research, and many of these links were from canv.as or Reddit.).

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Osama Bin Laden's Abbottabad compound (big photo gallery, warning: graphic images)



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Pakistani policemen walk past a compound, surrounded in red fabric, identified as the location where Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was killed on May 1 by U.S.

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