Tomorrow (Saturday 1/25), San Francisco's Exploratorium is hosting an "Experimental Films for Kids" program. Films to be screened include Hans Richter's Ghosts Before Breakfast (1928), Jodie Mack's Rad Plaid (2010), and Stan Brackhage's Mothlight (1963), seen above, which the director made sans camera by collaging moth wings, flowers, and grass between strips of film splicing tape . Start 'em young! "Exploratorium: Saturday Cinema: Experimental Films for Kids" (Thanks, Kelly Sparks!)
Several high-profile speakers have bailed on RSA's annual security conference over the revelation that the company sabotaged its products at the behest of the NSA. There's even a petition to get Stephen Colbert to cancel his keynote.
Now, there's an alternative conference that will run at the Metreon down the street from RSA's show. It's called Trustycon, and will feature Mikko Hypponen, Chris Palmer, and others. The conference is being run by EFF and Defcon, with sponsorship from Cloudflare and Microsoft.
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The Doggie Diner heads, icons of San Francisco's underground culture, are in desperate need of restoration. For twenty years, John Law -- pictured above with the Boing Boing crew and Adam Savage -- has cared for these lovely puppies that are now pushing 50. He and his co-conspirators have tirelessly driven them around the region to the overwhelming delight of young and old. For free. John is now seeking donations to restore them to their former glory. Please support the Doggie Diner Makeover at Kickstarter if you can! Here's what John has to say: Read the rest
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The Days of Anna Madrigal, the ninth and final volume of Armistead Maupin's series (begun in 1978 as a newspaper serial), will be published on January 21. It tells the story of Anna Madrigal -- the transgendered, dope-growing, meddling, lovable landlady of 28 Barbary Lane -- visiting Burning Man for the first time, at 92 years of age.
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Lisa Rein writes, "The Internet Archive is hosting its first ever 'Ethics in Tech' event this Wednesday, December 11th at 6:30pm. (Show starts promptly at 7:00 pm.) Political Comedian Will Durst will be on a panel with the EFF's Legal Director, Cindy Cohn Frontier Foundation and the Internet Archive's own Digital Librarian, Brewster Kahle. Inder Comar, from WitnessIraq.com, and Janet Weil, from CodePink.org, will also be speaking."
Learn about how to protect your Fourth Amendment rights and other constitutional rights and freedoms while attempting to see the lighter side of these very serious issues. Tickets are still available here (Proceeds will be donated to the following organizations, based on a selection process from ticketholders: Veterans For Peace, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Internet Archive, WitnessIraq.com, EthicsInTech, SF99Percent.org, and CodePink.)
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The Betabrand retail store in San Francisco's Mission district now sports a grotesque window display of Santa Claus, entitled Santa the Hutt. Chris from BetaBrand writes, "Our aim: To poke fun at holiday excess and explore anti-Santa sentiment. Our achievement: Over a thousand people have taken holiday photos at our Valencia Street store since rolling him out last week. "
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San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is presenting a fascinating art exhibition titled Dissident Futures, showcasing artists exploring the unknown of tomorrow. The contributors include quite a few provocative artists we've previously featured on Boing Boing including Trevor Paglen, Paul Laffoley, Lynn Hershman Leeson, and many others. The exhibition runs until February 2, 2014 but this Saturday there's a special "Dissident Futures Art and Ideas Festival" from noon to 9pm at YBCA. It's free with RSVP! The day includes music, performances, a mini Maker Faire, and artists booth by Fantastic Futures, Takehrito Etani, Young Gifted and Black, and my colleagues at Institute for the Future (IFTF)! There are also a number of presentations and panels including a session that I'll be moderating with IFTF exec director Marina Gorbis and our Institute for the Future Fellows. And of course you can check out the full exhibit! I hope to see you there! More details and RSVP info here: "Dissident Futures Art and Ideas Festival"
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Wired profiles Darrell Pugh, a formerly homeless man who teaches people who have no homes or are otherwise in economically precarious position how to use networks and computers, at the Tenderloin Technology Lab in San Francisco. It's an amazing story and draws an important connection between technological literacy and the ability to live a full life in modern society. Pugh's own perspective on this ("Educating myself and passing what I know onto other people so they can try, that’s all part of what I think we need to do. We shouldn’t hold back our knowledge from each other. We should share it so we’re all better.") is fantastic.
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Dozens of cyclists attended a hearing on police hostility to cyclists at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors last week. They told stories of undercover cops threatening to beat them up after cutting them off on their bikes; of cops refusing to take action against drivers who had attempted or threatened vehicular homicide; and of a systematic refusal to investigate cases where cyclists were injured or killed by drivers.
Before the inevitable, victim-blaming round of "but cyclists are so aggressive and horrible," please read this (tl;dr: statistical analysis of cyclist behavior does not bear out the caricature of the lunatic rider, who is significantly less common -- and less dangerous -- than the lunatic driver cohort).
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Johannes from Monochrom writes, "Hard to believe, but Arse Elektronika is in its 7th year! The annual festival about sex and technology will start Thursday in San Francisco - with talks, machines, games, workshops and performances!"
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As I've mentioned before, my novel Little Brother is the San Francisco Public Library's pick for its first One City/One Book citywide book-club. They're already in the middle of the three months' worth of events, from debates to robotics and crypto workshops to movie screenings (and much more), and I'm gearing up to head to San Francisco for several days' worth of school visits and other presentations.
If you'd like to catch me while I'm there, your best bet is my evening presentation with Nico Sell at the SFPL main branch (100 Larkin Street) at 6PM on Oct 2. I'm also doing a presentation at Borderlands Books (866 Valencia St) on Oct 3 from 12:30-1330h. I hope to see you there!
I recently posted about Pravic, an excellent new science fiction 'zine edited by David "Total Dick-Head" Gill and Nathaniel K. Miller. The second issue features fiction by Rudy Rucker, Robert Onopa, and others while the hot-off-the-copier third issue includes work by Mike Buckley, John Biggs, Carl Fuerst, Ian Kappos, and Gill, along with a transcribed conversation about Futurama. To celebrate, they're hosting a Pravic SF Extravaganza this Saturday, June 15, at San Francisco's Brainwash Cafe. Gill, Ben Loory, David Gill, Suhail Rafidi, and Ian Kappos will read and have a panel discussion. There'll also be special surprise guests, trivia contests, and live music from Wizard Master and Feral Luggage. The festivities start at 7pm. Support the SF 'zine scene! Pravic SF Extravaganza and Issue Three Release Party
This is it, folks. Today at 6PM the SFMOMA closes to begin its three year long expansion. It'll be reborn sometime in 2016 clad in shining armor, engulfing the rest of its current city block. Get in your last run through the current exhibits, explore a new corner of the building before it changes.
Join me and David at the museum at 5:30 for the farewell procession. Local artist Desiree Holman is curating the procession, which recasts the Young American Patriots fife and drum core and Dance Sanctuary dancers as docents for the future. You're encouraged to come in your best future time traveler costume, and Teri Sage from TS I Love You Hats will be helping everyone make awesome tin foil future hats as well.
This will be my 56th visit to the museum. For the last year and a half I've been coming almost every week, writing software, meeting friends and making new ones on the rooftop sculpture garden. It's been a great pleasure to learn so much about art, people and myself. While it's painful to have to be away for so long, I have great faith that the museum's future will be spectacular. Come celebrate that with us.
Happy mutant, cyberpunk, and painter Rudy Rucker is hanging a show of his art at Borderlands Cafe and Science Fiction Bookstore in San Francisco's Mission district. Another great reason to visit an amazing store -- he's kicking it off with a reading this Saturday, Jan 12:
I’ll be hanging a show of my paintings in the Borderlands Books café with a reception on Friday, Jan 11, 5-7 pm. And I’ll give a reading and Q&A session for my novel Turing & Burroughs: A Beatnik SF Novel on Saturday, Jan 12, at 3 pm—you can visit with the paintings then as well.
Art Show & Reading At Borderlands Books (Thanks, Benjamin Wilson!)
From Carolyne Zinko's SF Gate story and slideshow from San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair (a kink/fetish event), this fantastic mask on an unidentified "reveler." I want to wear something like this on an everyday basis.
50 shades of fetish at Folsom St. Fair (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
(Image: downsized, cropped thumbnail from a larger photo by Carolyne Zinko)
Eric sez, "The Singularity Summit 2012, exploring 'Minds and Machines' and 'Emerging Technologies and Science' will be taking place October 13 - 14 at the Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco. The Singularity Summit is the premier event on cutting-edge technologies including robotics, regenerative medicine, artificial intelligence, brain-computer interfacing and more.
Join some of the most brilliant minds in the world for discussions on the most revolutionary technological advancements on the horizon. Speakers include inventor, entrepreneur and author Ray Kurzweil, Nobel Prize-winner Daniel Kahneman, professor and author Steven Pinker, professor and author Temple Grandin, science fiction author Vernor Vinge, and many more."
The Singularity Summit | October 13-14, San Francisco (Thanks, Eric!)
So much human excrement was drawn into one San Francisco subway escalator that a HAZMAT team was required after it ground to a poo-glued halt. Will Kane in SFGate:
While the sheer volume of human waste was surprising, its presence was not. Once the stations close, the bottom of BART station stairwells in downtown San Francisco are often a prime location for homeless people to camp for the night or find a private place to relieve themselves. All those biological excretions can gum up the wheels and gears of BART's escalators, shutting them down for long periods of extended repairs, increasing station cleaning costs and creating an unpleasant aroma for morning commuters.
I've written a sequel to my talk The Coming War on General Purpose Computing, called "The Coming Civil War Over General-Purpose Computing," which I'll be delivering twice this summer: first on July 28 at DEFCON in Las Vegas, and then on July 31 in San Francisco at a Long Now Foundation SALT talk, jointly presented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. As far as I know, both talks will be online, along with slides (a rarity for me -- I normally hate doing slides, but I had a good time with it this time around).
These people in San Francisco probably had more fun than you on Passover/Easter weekend. BB reader Bhautik Joshi shares his photographs from "Bring Your Own Big Wheel 2012" in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool, and explains the idea behind it—
For the uninitiated, the gag is really simple:
- large group of adults in costumes assemble with a variety of wheeled, childrens toys (Group A)
- large group of spectators gather (Group B)
- Group A races down windy Vermont St as fast as they can, leaving a trail of noise and awesomeness in their path
- Group B cheer like maniacs
What's the story behind this fellow's costume, I wonder? Perhaps one of you can fill us in, in the comments. View the full photo set here. Here's Joshi's website.
Rina writes, "Join SF in SF and PM Press for an evening with ON THE GROUND: An Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties Underground Press in the U.S. with Trina Robbins, Billy X. Jennings, Judy Gumbo Albert and Terry Bisson. Join contributors to the original underground press movement in discussion, reading, and what's bound to be interesting debate!"
As with all SF in SF events, it's free: Mar 31, 6PM, 582 Market Street @ 2nd and Montgomery, San Francisco, CA 94104.
Newly released documents shed light on the San Francisco edition of the CIA's notorious MK-ULTRA program (through which people were unwittingly given massive doses of LSD to see if the drug would be useful for brainwashing), which ran from 1953-1964. There's lots of detail about MK-ULTRA's work in NYC and Montreal, but the San Francisco operation has been shrouded in mystery. The newly declassified documents form the springboard for a good investigative piece in SF Weekly, in which Troy Hooper speaks to Wayne Ritchie, one of the survivors of MK-ULTRA's San Francisco operation.
There were at least three CIA safe houses in the Bay Area where experiments went on. Chief among them was 225 Chestnut on Telegraph Hill, which operated from 1955 to 1965. The L-shaped apartment boasted sweeping waterfront views, and was just a short trip up the hill from North Beach's rowdy saloons. Inside, prostitutes paid by the government to lure clients to the apartment served up acid-laced cocktails to unsuspecting johns, while martini-swilling secret agents observed their every move from behind a two-way mirror. Recording devices were installed, some disguised as electrical outlets.
To get the guys in the mood, the walls were adorned with photographs of tortured women in bondage and provocative posters from French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The agents grew fascinated with the kinky sex games that played out between the johns and the hookers. The two-way mirror in the bedroom gave the agents a close-up view of all the action.
The main man behind the mirror was burly, balding crime-buster George H. White, a Bureau of Narcotics maverick who made headlines breaking up opium and heroin rings in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and the U.S. Few knew he doubled as a CIA spook for Uncle Sam. He oversaw the San Francisco program, gleefully dubbing it Operation Midnight Climax.
"[White] was a real hard head," said Ritchie, who regularly ran into him in courtrooms and law enforcement offices in downtown San Francisco. "All of his agents were pretty much afraid to do anything without his full approval. White would turn on them, physically. He was a big tough guy."
American chemist Sidney Gottlieb was the brains behind White's brawn. It was the height of McCarthyism in the early '50s, and government intelligence leaders, claiming fear of communist regimes, were using hallucinogens to induce confessions from prisoners of war held in Korea, and brainwash spies into changing allegiances. What better way to examine the effects of LSD than to dose unsuspecting citizens in New York City and San Francisco?
Operation Midnight Climax: How the CIA Dosed S.F. Citizens with LSD (Thanks, tyrsalvia!)
Here's a long-lost 1937 report on police corruption in San Francisco:
In 1935, the citizens of the city of San Francisco were indignant when tales of police officers having amassed huge fortunes through payoffs, graft and bribery came to light. In a convulsion of civic anger, District Attorney Matt Brady and Mayor Angelo Rossi were pressed to act, and they hired private investigator and former G-man Edwin N. Atherton. The so-called Atherton Report prompted dozens of cops to quit or lose their jobs, some went underground, one killed himself and his family. The entire police commission was forced to resign and reports of police payoffs, staged raids on gambling houses and brothels, bail bond skimming, unpaid loans to public officials and other were laid at the door of the House of McDonough.
Lost for more than seventy years, here is the infamous Atherton Report.
The 1937 San Francisco Police Graft Report by Edwin Atherton (Thanks, hankchapot!)
This afternoon some friends and I will be playing this new game we really like in Yerba Buena Gardens, and you're welcome to join us.
Johann Sebastian Joust is basically like high-tech tag. Each person has a Playstation Move controller, and the object of the game is to jostle other people's controllers so that you're the last man standing. The twist is that as you play, a Bach concerto will also be playing and its tempo indicates the upper threshold for how much your controller can be jostled before you're out.
If you want to play, we'll be in Yerba Buena Gardens today at 5PM. You don't need to bring anything, we have a full set of controllers, and we'll trade off. See you there!