Just how hot is it in the US right now?

Mark Memmott at NPR's "The Two Way" blog digs in to statistics and maps from the National Climatic Data Center to illustrate exactly how fucking hot it is in hundreds of cities around the US, as a record-setting heatwave continues. I found the data a little confusing, so I 'shooped up a "For Dummies" version for you all, above. But do read the whole post from Mark here. (via Dave Pell's NextDraft)

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

5680724572_d4696d593d_b.jpg

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...

Read the rest

Did Steve Jobs respond to iPhone location-tracking brouhaha in a terse email? Mmmmaybe.

shockedcatiphone.jpg

Surely you've been following the iPhone-tracks-your-location-data story in recent weeks. As of today, the Wall Street Journal is the latest large outlet to cover the story of security experts Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden's study of what location data the device stores about where users go, on what dates. The visual maps generated by their iPhone Tracker app show location data breadcrumbs that go back months. Many iPhone owners are so horrified by this apparent breach of privacy, they've been moved to the drastic measure of posting the data on their Facebook pages.

MacRumors has published what is alleged to be one of those characteristically concise email from Steve Jobs, in which the Apple CEO appears to respond to the controversy with three points, in three sentences:

Q: Steve,

Could you please explain the necessity of the passive location-tracking tool embedded in my iPhone? It's kind of unnerving knowing that my exact location is being recorded at all times. Maybe you could shed some light on this for me before I switch to a Droid. They don't track me.

A: Oh yes they do. We don't track anyone. The info circulating around is false.

Sent from my iPhone

Apple has not confirmed the email. But, let's imagine it's legit: what does it all mean? Read more at MacRumors.

(Why is there a cat on this image?)

Japan: Gentleman crashes truck into gates of Fukushima nuclear plant

TEPCO-and-the-nuclear-crisis-in-Fukushima1.jpg

In Japan today, a gentleman driving a loudspeaker truck crashed his vehicle right into the gates of one of the nuclear plants in northern Japan operated by TEPCO (Fukushima Daini, not the leaky one, but very close to the leaky one). Those mobile boombox trucks are popular with political groups there, used to broadcast propaganda while driving around the 'hood. After crashing this one into Fukushima #2, the gentleman was promptly arrested by the po-po. Related: Has anyone seen Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly over the past 24 hours? I didn't think so. (AFP)

Update: Another gentleman was just drawn to the same plant for the purpose of mischief:

An unemployed man from Tokyo was arrested Friday after allegedly intruding by car into the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant premises, near the radiation-leaking Fukushima Daiichi plant in Fukushima Prefecture, police said. Hikaru Watanabe, 25, from Shinjuku Ward, allegedly broke through the western gate of the Daini plant around 1:10 p.m. Thursday, before driving inside its premises for about 10 minutes, the plants' operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said, adding that no one was injured in the incident.

Sad John Boehner and Sad Don Draper (Update: by popular demand, now with Sad Glenn Beck, Tiny Sad Keanu, Sad James Van Der Beek)

sadkeanudraperboehnerbeckvanderbeek.jpg

UPDATE: By popular demand, Sad James Van Der Beek, shocked cat and Sad Keanu are now in attendance (you're welcome, @brianstovall, @andrea_ball, and all else who chimed in).

Additional sad guys one might Photoshop in: Sad Julian Assange, Sad Adrian Brody, Sad Nic Cage, Sad Leave Britney Alone Guy, and Crying Double Rainbow Guy.

Below, earlier iterations with fewer Sad Guys.

(shoop: Xeni)

Read the rest

Western tourists renewing vows unwittingly receive malediction in Maldives

shocked.jpg A foreign couple who believed they were renewing their marriage vows in a quaint, local-style ceremony in the Maldives were in fact being verbally abused by locals for LOLs. Police in the Maldives are launching an investigation.

"Instead of words of blessing, the celebrant calls the couple 'swine' and 'infidels' in the local language," reports the BBC.

Boing Boing moderator Antinous offers to abuse anyone in Quenya or Klingon for half of whatever the Maldivean pranksters charged.
(thanks, Antinous)

I don't care if you're my boss, I refuse to attend your naked lawyer vision quest dildo party

Attorney Steven Eggleston is suing his employer, saying the top partner at the law firm pressured him to participate in a weekend all-male retreat that amounted to a New Age self-discovery/male bonding sausage-fest—or a naked lawyer dildo party, depending on your point of view. Participants were sworn to secrecy, says Eggleston, and that was what he saw as the first sign something hinky was afoot at the "The New Warrior Training Adventure." Snip from AOL News:

Men would be holding hands and walking naked, blindfolded, through a forest. Then they would sit nude in groups of 30 to 50, passing around a wooden dildo and giving lurid details of their sexual history. Eggleston said he found out that the men will grab each other's penises if they wish.

Eggleston didn't like what he read and refused the invitation. Now he's suing the firm and his bosses, saying he was badgered, yelled at and ultimately had his pay slashed to zero for not attending the retreat, held at a Santa Barbara, Calif., mountain campground and sponsored by the ManKind Project, according to a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court.

The AOL News article goes on to detail the response from ManKind Project (Wikipedia), the organizers of the "bonding retreats. Their website describes the events as "a modern male initiation and self-examination. We believe that this is crucial to the development of a healthy and mature male self, no matter how old a man is. " And, "You will see men mentor other men, support each other, play together and form a safe, authentic container where men are free to be exactly who they are, without defenses or masks. During your training you will stand shoulder to shoulder with an immensely rich mix of masculinity, with occupations and ages as wide as masculinity itself."

Read the rest

Mariah Carey meets Photoshopping Saudi censors

An image gallery of Photoshopically-censored Mariah Carey album covers, as sold in Saudi Arabia. Mariah! Beware the self-replicating censorkitty!

(via Ethan Zuckerman, originally from Ahmed Al-Omran, aka Saudi Jeans, Saudi Arabia's best English language blogger.)

Update: Shocked cat is shocked:

Read the rest

Cat sneaks on to train, gets lost, is reunited with owner via Twitter

Via the Submitterator, Boing Boing reader Johnny Meerkat says,

A suburban cat wandered onto a city-bound train in Dublin, Ireland only to emerge at a city center station. Rail staff used CCTV to figure out which station the cat boarded at, and through Twitter, cat and owner were reunited. As a "reward," the cat was issued a rail pass.
CCTV, in this case, stands for "Cat Catching TV."

Above left: Lilou, in repose. Look at her smug face. Top right, surveillance video that captured Lilou totally not paying train fare like other law-abiding citizens, and sneaking on to the platform as if she owned it. And bottom right, Lilou's new rail pass, which really does need a LOLWUT.

Who says cat-crime doesn't pay?

Full story plus larger size photos and two video reports (you'll need Real Player to view them, hahaha) at RTÉ News.

Read the rest

Wikileaks megadump reveals US pays local Afghan media to run psyops

Among the tens of thousands of classified documents released this week by Wikileaks is evidence the US military in Afghanistan is repeating a PR blunder that led to trouble in Iraq: paying local media outlets to run "friendly stories"— in military parlance, "psychological operations."

Several reports from Army psychological operations units and provincial reconstruction teams (also known as PRTs, civilian-military hybrids tasked with rebuilding Afghanistan) show that local Afghan radio stations were under contract to air content produced by the United States. Other reports show U.S. military personnel apparently referring to Afghan reporters as "our journalists" and directing them in how to do their jobs.

Such close collaboration between local media and U.S. forces has been a headache for the Pentagon in the past: In 2005, Pentagon contractor the Lincoln Group was caught paying Iraqi newspapers to run stories written by American soldiers, causing the United States considerable embarrassment.

In one of the WikiLeaks documents, a PRT member reports delivering "12 hours of PSYOP Radio Content Programming" to two radio stations in the province of Ghazni in 2008, and paying one of them "$3,900 for Radio Content Programming air time for the month of October":

Leaked files indicate U.S. pays Afghan media to run friendly stories (Yahoo News)

Read the rest

Terrorist Sorcerers Are Coming To Rape Our Cars, warns Florida senate candidate

wizcat.jpg

Link, and the other Link. Also, alternate NSFW link. (via @DrewAtHitFix)

More like this.

Klepto-pedo-cat steals young women's underwear

kleptopedo.jpgLink (thanks, Rob Beschizza)

More like this.

One-armed Chinese monkey kills 80 chickens

chicklsu.jpgLink. (Thanks, ting).

More like this.

Sauerkraut factory collapses in Ohio

catshock.jpgLink.

Previously: Man dies, then his mom, then both get eaten by cats

Man dies, then his mom, then both get eaten by cats

Boing Boing reader Katie says,
This story is so horrifying I can't help but share it with Boing Boing. Also, I am hoping you'll post this, so maybe I'll get the unicorn chaser I so desperately need now. As my friend Tab Brown said, "It sounds like an Edgar Allan Poe version of a Hoarders episode."