Boing Boing 

DHS explains how to protect your pet fish in a disaster

The Disaster Preparedness Plan prepared by the local DHS for Union County NC explains what steps you should take if you have to evacuate and take your pet fish: "Your name and where you will be located should be on an ID tag and taped to the fish bowl. This should include your description of all your fish and pictures of them with you in the pictures for identification purposes."

Disaster Preparedness (Thanks, Kkennedy!)

(Image: Fishbowl cat quilt27, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from lenore-m's photostream)

Seth Godin: Apple won't sell ebooks that link to Amazon

David Weinberger sez, "Seth Godin reports that the Apple store is refusing to carry his new ebook, Stop Stealing Dreams, because it links the books it references to Amazon. Seth argues that the market dominance of a mere three ebook vendors, and the fact that the vendors of ebooks are also the vendors of ebook readers, imposes a special cultural obligation on them to be 'net neutral' (so to speak) about the content they sell."

Super Mario marching band at Carnival in Rio

Here's a bloco (a marching-band) at Rio's Carnival performing the Super Mario soundtrack, complete with Mario-themed signs, dancing, and enormous verve.

Super Mario Bloco em Santa! (Thanks, igorz!)

Kickstarter success for DRM-free webcomics, reader-funded long-form journalism

Some heartwarming news on the Kickstarter front: fans of the Diesel Sweeties webcomic have oversubscribed R. Stevens's DRM-free ebook, for which he was hoping to raise $3,000, and brought the total up to nearly $40K. Meanwhile, Matter, the startup that wants to fund long-form journalism online, blew past its $50K target in two days, and is now sitting at 81K.

Lego Russian ray-gun


Avi sez, "AFOL Shannon Sproule built this charming Raygun entirely from LEGO parts." Shannon calls it the Russian Tokarev TT-34 Atomiser and notes, "Every mechanonaut was issued with a Tokarev laser pistol. They were small, lightweight and proved very reliable on the lunar battlefield." As this implies, there's a whole contrafactual mythology that this belongs to, called Battle for the Moon.

Russian Tokarev TT-34 Atomiser (Thanks, Avi!)

The Everything is a Remix theory of creativity

Kirby Ferguson, creator of the absolutely outstanding Everything is a Remix series, explains his theory of creative inspiration, remix, and cultural commons, citing some of history's best-loved "individual" creators and explaining how what they did was a remix, an extension and a part of the work that came before them.

2011/08 Kirby Ferguson (Thanks, Avi!)

Understanding the scale of the ripoff in the Robosigning Settlement

Barry Ritholtz sez, "The Washington Post has been kind enough to allow me to vent about what is wrong with Wall Street and Washington DC. Today's episode: Robosigning Bank Settlement."

Before the settlement, we learned that nearly every aspect of the robosigned documents was false. None of the details were ever reviewed. The signatures attesting to the review of the documents were fabricated — made by someone other than the person whose name was on the document. Neither person — the supposed signatory to the document nor the hired forger — ever validated the facts of each case. All of the safeguards put in place to make sure foreclosures were done correctly and legally were bypassed. Even the notary stamps were bogus — they were not real, and not signed by a notary to validate that the signer and the signature matched...

The bigger issue is the economics of criminality. Most people who get caught committing crimes are punished. Commit a felony — if you run a bank — and your shareholders pay a monetary fine. Violating the law has merely become the banker’s cost of doing business.

Thus, the robosigning agreement has allowed the mass production of perjury. It has gone unrecognized and unpunished. It has made perjury a business expense, like travel or office furniture. The same reckless approach to giving loans to unqualified people was institutionalized, leading to another reckless approach to foreclosing homes.

Foreclosure settlement a failure of law, a triumph for bank attorneys (Thanks, Barry!)

Repo Man director urges fans to "pirate a bunch of my stuff right away"

Alex Cox, director of the classic Repo Man, talks with The Quietus's Craig Terlino about his frustrations with the entertainment industry, the alleged longstanding studio grudge that's prevented a US Repo Man Blu-Ray reissue, and his desire that his fans should "pirate my work."

It's so corrupt. Now they want to have longer copyright periods because they say the young artists are relying on this money. The young artists never see any money because they sign away that money to big media corporations, like Universal and Viacom. We, the artists, lose all of our rights to these massive corporations, who then come down heavy on these kids for downloading films and music that we never see a penny from. It's complete bullshit. I want to encourage your audience to go and pirate a bunch of my stuff right away.

Repo Man Rides Again: Alex Cox Interviewed (Thanks, Joly!)

The Periodic Table Table: all the elements, in carved wooden glory

Wolfram co-founder Theodore Gray, whose books, puzzles, posters, vaults (!), card decks, and apps about the Periodic Table of Elements we've featured on Boing Boing many times, has a happy obsession: a Periodic Table Table. Beautiful, hand-carved, wood. More about it in this fun video right here. The table isn't new (there's a well-worn page on Gray's website all about it), but the fun video is. (thanks, @zamieroskik!)

Return of Mat Ricardo's east London variety night

Indie juggler, conjurer and impresario Mat Ricardo sez,

Earlier this month we launched the first in this season of Mat Ricardo's London Varieties - the combined comedy variety and interview show that comes live from the Bethnal Green Working Mens Club in London. We had a ball. You should have been there!

But it's ok, because next month's show is even better - cabaret superstars Frisky & Mannish, amazing dance troupe The Twilight Players, and the astonishing juggler and yo-yo-ist Arron Sparks will make up the variety part of the show, and then I'll be sitting down and chatting live on stage to legendary UK comedy writer and twitter guru Graham Linehan. Also, I'll be attempting the new trick that I promised to try to learn last month (newsflash - it's not going well...), we'll be showing some rare archive variety footage, I'll be telling you what happened when I was a guest on the Jonathan Ross Show last week, plus lots more actual fun surprises!

It's going to happen at the Bethnal Green Working Mens Club, East London, on March 8th. Doors 7pm, show 8pm sharp. It's a small venue, and tickets are limited.

Mat Ricardo's London Varieties March 8th!

Tickets

Expert showmanship in the streetside preparation of a banana pastry

This Asian street-food vendor is a great showman, juggler, and all round bad-ass banana pastry maker.

Expert Cooking - AMAZING !!! (Thanks, wetdog2!)

Microsoft, Google and Netflix want to add DRM-hooks to W3C HTML5 standard


A proposed anti-copying extension for the W3C's standard for HTML5 has been submitted by representatives of Google, Microsoft and Netflix. The authors take pains to note that this isn't "DRM" -- because it doesn't attempt to hide keys and other secrets from the user -- but in a mailing list post, they later admitted that this could be "addressed" by running the browser inside a proprietary hardware system that hid everything from the user.

Other WC3 members -- including another prominent Googler, Ian Hickson -- have called for the withdrawal of the proposal. Hickson called it "unethical." I agree, and would add "disingenuous," too, since the proposal disclaims DRM while clearly being intended to form a critical part of a DRM system.

In an era where browsers are increasingly the system of choice for compromising users' security and privacy, it is nothing short of madness to contemplate adding extensions to HTML standards that contemplate designing devices and software to deliberately hide their workings from users, and to prevent users from seeing what they're doing and changing that behavior if it isn't in their interests.

Writing on Ars Technica, Ryan Paul gives a good blow-by-blow look at the way that this extension is being treated in the W3C:

Mozilla's Robert O'Callahan warned that the pressure to provide DRM in browsers might lead to a situation where major browser vendors and content providers attempt to push forward a suboptimal solution without considering the implications for other major stakeholders.

Some of the discussion surrounding the Encrypted Media proposal seem to validate his concerns. Mozilla's Chris Pearce commented on the issue in a message on the W3C HTML mailing list and asked for additional details to shed light on whether the intended content protection scheme could be supported in an open source application.

"Can you highlight how robust content protection can be implemented in an open source webrowser?" he asked. "How do you guard against an open source web browser simply being patched to write the frames/samples to disk to enable (presumably illegal) redistribution of the protected content?"

Netflix's Mark Watson responded to the message and acknowledged that strong copy protection can't be implemented in an open source Web browser. He deflected the issue by saying that copy protection mechanisms can be implemented in hardware, and that such hardware can be used by open source browsers.

"Unethical" HTML video copy protection proposal draws criticism from W3C reps (Thanks, Rob!)

Alaska Airlines flight attendant: if I don't get the missing video screen back, no one gets off this plane

Jeff sez, "Flying in from Miami to Seattle this morning on Alaska Airlines Flight #17, I was somewhat amused (and a bit horrified) when the flight attendant said that the cabin doors would not be opened and that passengers would not be allowed off to catch connecting flights if the last video player (digiplayer, as she called it) was not returned. Partly, I'm amused because of the ridiculousness of the threat vs. the magnitude of the crime but also I have to wonder if this is against FAA regulations. I also have a brilliant tip for Alaska - when you rent a digiplayer, note down the seat number.

Das Liquid Democracy and the German Pirate Pary

Amelia_G sez, "The German Pirate Party is working out its platform online, transparently. One key concept is 'das Liquid Democracy,' intended to be a flowing interface between direct and indirect democracy. You can delegate your vote to someone who will represent you, but you can withdraw your vote from that person at any time without waiting for new elections."

Everything is Dolphins: old homebrew RPG about dolphins to become a kickstartered product

Tim Hutchings, who maintains the most excellent PlaGMaDA (Play Generated Map and Document Archive) has recovered a bizarre but strangely compelling amateur RPG about dolphins and he's producing a published volume (with guest art) on Kickstarter:

Everything is Dolphins occupies a curious place. While it is clearly the work of someone new to the design of role-playing games, it also displays the some of the sophisticated sensibilites one would expect from an old hand. Rather than the excess of complexity that clutters most freshman efforts, Everything is Dolphins offers concision and simplicity. The author gives few examples to illustrate how to use the system and no sample adventure, leaving much to the player’s imagination (and effort). With its bare bones, lacunae, and undeniable beauty, Everything is Dolphins is the role-playing game analogue of outsider art.

Included in the lengthy Appendix of the book you will find scans of the author's original game notes and lots of playtest material. The inclusion reveals to us where the game began, how it was played over time, and what it looks like when it's played. And the game notes and documents are fun to look at.

Everything is Dolphins - an RPG and art book (Thanks, Tim H!)

(Image: Sean McCarthy)

Science fiction apocalypses live on stage in New Hampshire


John Herman sez, "I am producing 'An Evening of Apocalyptic Theatre' in Portsmouth, NH. Nine plays, nine visions of the end -- including new works by Hugo and Nebula award winning science fiction author James Patrick Kelly and best selling author of The Great Typo Hunt, Jeff Deck. A couple argues in a bomb shelter over a dog puzzle. A man gets an unexpected visit from Intergalactic Salvage. CERN scientists experience the romance of multi-verses. PLUS: Not only is the money raised going to three local charities, but I will also shave my head halfway through the show’s run to raise money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a group that funds childhood cancer research grants"

An Evening of Apocalyptic Theatre (Thanks, John!)

Miniature bee-drones made from pop-up-book-style fabrication

Gmoke sez, "Two grad students at Harvard have developed a method to print sheets of miniature drones, the Harvard Monolithic Bee or Mobee, that pop-up into their final form. So far they've got them to flap their titanium wings but they don't yet seem to be able to fly. Their construction technique can be used for very many other small devices too."

Pop-up Fabrication of the Harvard Monolithic Bee (Mobee)

(Thanks, Gmoke!)

Canada's government muzzles scientists, stonewalls press queries about health, environment and climate

The Canadian Harper government's policy of not allowing government researchers to speak without approval and without being attended by political minders is in the news again. A series of speakers at an AAAS meeting told the international science community that climate, environmental and health research that calls government policy into question is routinely suppressed. Prof Andrew Weaver of U Victoria said, "The only information [the press] are given is that which the government wants, which will then allow a supporting of a particular agenda."

The allegation of "muzzling" came up at a session of the AAAS meeting to discuss the impact of a media protocol introduced by the Conservative government shortly after it was elected in 2008.

The protocol requires that all interview requests for scientists employed by the government must first be cleared by officials. A decision as to whether to allow the interview can take several days, which can prevent government scientists commenting on breaking news stories.

Sources say that requests are often refused and when interviews are granted, government media relations officials can and do ask for written questions to be submitted in advance and elect to sit in on the interview...

The Postmedia News journalist obtained documents relating to interview requests using Canada's equivalent of the Freedom of Information Act. She said the documents show interview requests move up what she describes as an "increasingly thick layer of media managers, media strategists, deputy ministers, then go up to the Privy Council Office, which decides 'yes' or 'no'".

Canadian government is 'muzzling its scientists (Thanks, DaveGroff!)

(Image: Frankenstein's Monster, gagged, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from kazvorpal's photostream)

Privacy plugin keeps Facebook from reading your updates

"Encrypt Facebook is a Chrome extension that would prevent snooping on the discussions,status updates in Facebook groups by storing it them in an encrypted format on Facebook's database instead of normal text and also it would convert encrypted format back into normal text whenever that particular group's url is accessed in Chrome." (Thanks, Joly!)

Canadian tweeps bare all for spying MP

Canadian MP Vic Toews is pushing bill C-30, a domestic spying bill that requires ISPs to log your online activity and give it to police without a warrant. He says that if you don't support this, you "stand with child pornographers." Canadians are giving MP Toews what he wants: on Twitter, Canadians are flooding his account with the hashtag TellVicEverything, spilling the intimate secrets of their lives: "Had impure thought," Jeremy Klaszus. (Thanks, pbrstreetgang!)

Prospecting for wind

Before the Lights Go Out
is Maggie’s new book about how our current energy systems work, and how we’ll have to change them in the future.

Read the rest

Documentary about inventor of giant 3D printer that can print a house

The Man Who Prints Houses is a documentary about Enrico Dini, an Italian roboticist who switched tracks to design and build enormous 3D printers capable of outputting houses:

Having built his printer – the world’s largest – from scratch, there’s no shortage of work offers for this highly-skilled and imaginative engineer. Throughout the course of the film, we see Enrico embark on an array of innovative projects: constructing the tallest printed sculpture in existence, working with Foster + Partners and the European Space Agency on a programme to colonise the moon, solidifying a sand dune in the desert, and printing the closest thing to an actual house: a small Italian dwelling known as a trullo.

The long-term nature of these projects and the current financial climate take their toll on Enrico and his team of workers, as contracts fail to be honoured and the infant technology stutters. Travel back to 2008 and it’s a different story, as Enrico describes how he was staring a €50m investment in the face. Just as he’s about to sell up and move to London, the stock market crashes… he must rebuild his business all over again.

The Man Who Prints Houses (Thanks, gaiapunk!)

Polygon Heroes: low poly-count 3D superhero posters


James, a photo retoucher in New Zealand, makes these "de-touched" "polygon hero" posters, 3D representations of familiar comics icons, downrezzed to abstract jaggie forms.

Polygon Heroes (Thanks, danielpresling!)

SFPD corruption report from 1937


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!)

Revisiting Slashdot's faméd V-day marriage proposal from CmdrTaco


Buzzblog sez, "Ten years ago today, at 9:25 a.m., Slashdot founder Rob 'CmdrTaco' Malda, used his insider access to the homepage of one of the tech world’s most popular forums to send a very public Valentine’s Day marriage proposal to Kathleen Fent. Fifteen minutes later she said yes -- and then called him a dork -- an exchange that would generate more than 2,000 comments and make news on other tech sites. As the 10th anniversary of the proposal approached, Network World asked the couple to share their memories of that day and thoughts about it since, as a kind of case study on how this type of public proposal – be it on Slashdot or the stadium Jumbotron – holds up over the years. Would they recommend it? … Seems there is disagreement on that score."

Kathleen, what was your reaction the moment you read your name in that headline and realized what was happening?

I knew something was afoot when I left for work and Rob said "See you soon!" I decided to check Slashdot right away when I got to work to see what was going on. When I saw my name in the proposal, I slammed my hand down on the desk and screamed, "Oh my god!" before I could even read the entire article. I started to hyperventilate.

Everyone rushed back to my cubicle to see what was the matter. I had to resist the urge to phone Rob at home, knowing that an email reply was much more fitting for the eventual story we'd tell. This was long before texting was commonplace, or I would have texted him the answer.

Rob, what did you think of the outpouring of well wishes -- and snark -- from the Slashdot community?

There was some pretty witty stuff in there. Kathleen pointed out a few random comments that she thought were funny. She read every single comment, but I was thankful for the moderation system that day because it was a (popular) story and it had its fair share of mean in it that I was able to skip. But mostly it was very positive: The vast majority of the Slashdot community strongly supported me throughout my time there, and this story might be the single loudest example of that.

10 years after famous Slashdot marriage proposal, couple discusses wisdom of 'popping the question' in public (Thanks, Buzzblog!)

Win $100K worth of 3D printing gubbins

gmoke sez, "Post an Instructable on how to turn a virtual item into a tangible object by April 30, win $100,000 in 3D printing tech and supplies. Examples include 3D printed objects, laser-cut files, and even printed decals using an inkjet printer."

Canadian MP: if you oppose warrantless snooping, you "stand with child pornographers"

Vic Toews, the Canadian Tory MP pushing for the new spying bill says that people who oppose him are "standing with child pornographers." Mr Toews's bill will require ISPs to record all your online activity and give police access to those logs without a warrant. Ontario police recently busted a huge child-porn ring without needing any further spying power. In fact, no one can find any police investigation that has failed for lack of snooping powers. A leaked memo from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police shows that Canada's law enforcement has been scouring its records for evidence supporting the need for this bill, without luck. (Thanks, Wild Rumpus!)

FBI says paying cash for coffee is a sign of terrorist intent


Icecube sez, "Earlier this month, a flier was released by the FBI saying that TOR users might be terrorists. It seems that there is another article that was recently published that says that if you see someone paying for a cup of coffee in cash, they too could be a terrorist. I wonder how much longer it'll be before drinking a cup of water at home could be considered suspicious as well."

Using cash for small purchases like a cup of coffee, gum and other items is a good indication that a person is trying to pass for normal without leaving the kind of paper trail created using a debit or credit card for small purchases.

The most recent update asks coffee shop owners, baristas and other customer-service specialists to be on the lookout for the enemy who walks among us (who evidently has been reanimated from the graves of the 1950s Red Scare era of blacklisting and Communist-baiting or the KGB's constant witch hunt for capitalist sympathizers or people who resent being witch-hunted for their political beliefs).

Update: From the comments, kPkPkP nails it: "If you see anything, say anything"

How to avoid being tagged as a terrorist: Don't pay cash for coffee (Thanks, Icecube!)

(Image: Coffee Shop, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from dailylifeofmojo's photostream)

Minecraft chunk error in real life


Minecraft's defiantly unrealistic style notwithstanding, players appreciate the game's internal consistency and get frustrated at certain failures of verisimilitude. Chunk errors, for example, are squared-off seams in the world caused by glitches in the landscape-generation algorithm. Right out of the annals of reality is unrealistic comes Roraima Mountain, a pleasing reminder that you are living in a simulation and Notch is God. [Speculative Nonfiction. Thanks, Michael!]

Pictures from Berlin's anti-ACTA protest


Walt74 sez, "Today about 10.000 people protested the ACTA treaty in Berlin, people in whole Germany went on the streets, 50.000 altogether. Here are my pics from the protests in Berlin."

Did you get pics at your local ACTA march? Post them to the comments!

ACTA-Demo Berlin, 11.2.2012 (Thanks, Walt74!)