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.
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.
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.
[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.
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."
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."
An academic appreciation of very bad late '90s Hip-Hop cover art. (thanks, David)
(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."
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.
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.
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!(thanks, Susannah!)
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!
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.
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.
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.
(via Submitterator, thanks Jack Crosby)
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)
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.
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.
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"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.
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
(via Jay Rosen)