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This Day in Blogging History: Hidden mural at LA hotel; Our "Missing" Chromosomes; Final Transmetropolitan collection

One year ago today
The secret history of a hidden mural at a Los Angeles hotel: During the clearance sale, a puzzling discovery was made: a fifteen-foot mosaic mural commissioned by The Los Angeles Petroleum Club was found behind some old wood paneling.

Five years ago today
Our "Missing" Chromosomes: So here's the thing: We have 46 chromosomes. Our nearest great ape relatives have 48. On the surface, it looks like we must have lost two.

Ten years ago today
Final Transmet collection available: The final Transmetropolitan collection, "Transmetropolitan: One More Time," is available for pre-order on Amazon. It's the tenth book, collecting issues 55-60: there are nine other books collecting the earlier issues, and as good as those issues were, it's in this, the final volume of the most original and invigorating sf comic I've ever read, that Ellis outdoes himself, pulling together a finale to his five-year serial that's triumphant, sad and brave.

This Day in Blogging History: Google's adds dead-man's switch; Hyperbolic Bronnerianism; Amex can't take a joke

One year ago today
Google adds a "dead-man's switch" -- uses cases from torture-resistance to digital wills: If you set it, Google will watch your account for protracted inactivity. After a set period, you can tell it to either squawk ("Email Amnesty International and tell them I'm in jail," or "Email my kids and tell them I'm dead and give them instructions for probating my estate") and/or delete all your accounts.

Five years ago today
Hyperbolic Bronnerianism in Graphic Design: A fancy way of saying "crazy mushed up text with LOTS OF ALL CAPS! BOLD! I-T-A-L-I-C ! Nnnnnooooo negative space!" on product labels.

Ten years ago today
AmEx's dumb-ass trademark threats: Brad Templeton -- the long-time moderator of rec.humor.funny and host of the rhf archives -- has received a cease-and-desist notice from AmEx's lawyers over a 13 year old joke called "American Expressway."

This Day in Blogging History: Iranian scientist's future-prediction machine; Rotting WWII junk in the jungles of Peleliu

One year ago today
Iranian scientist invents machine that predicts the future: My invention easily fits into the size of a personal computer case and can predict details of the next 5-8 years of the life of its users.

Five years ago today
Rotting WWII junk in the jungles of Peleliu: Tons of the war stuff (tanks, guns, ruined buildings) lies out in the jungle, and I took a tour round, snapping some interesting photos and listening to stories (and weirdly, I discovered during writing the post that the battle was the origin of the phrase 'thousand yard stare').

This Day in Blogging History: Spooky game; Statebook for the UK gov't; Museum of Unworkable Devices

One year ago today
The Guardian, a spooky free flash game: Dreamlike adventure about a boy with a girl's name who feels compelled to leave the village where he is shunned.

Five years ago today
Statebook: how UK gov't spooks see the Internet: A spoof government site, providing examples of the types of information the UK government holds an an individual citizen.

Ten years ago today
Museum of Unworkable Devices: Inventions that won't work because they go against one or more laws of physics.

This Day in Blogging History: Brand on Thatcher; Vicodin ring; Bavarian Wild West themeparks

One year ago today
Russell Brand on Margaret Thatcher: When I was a kid, Thatcher was the headmistress of our country. Her voice, a bellicose yawn, somehow both boring and boring – I could ignore the content but the intent drilled its way in.

Five years ago today
Vicodin Ring: Crafter Becky Stern says: "To go along with my Vicodin earrings, I made this Vicodin ring from sterling silver.

Ten years ago today
Wild west themeparks kicking ass in Bavaria: Main Street features covered plank sidewalks, double-decker railings and cutout clapboard facades. Outside the sheriff's office, the town marshal, Big Joe - a Turkish-born character actor little more than three feet tall - obligingly poses for photos, pointing his six-gun at guests and ordering "Hände hoch!" ("Hands up!")...

This Day in Blogging History: Why majority supports gay marriage; 3D printing with maltodextrin; Jack Layton endorses P2P

One year ago today
Why the majority of people now favor marriage equality: The most common response involved coming into contact with someone that they learned was homosexual. A third of respondents said that knowing a gay, lesbian, or bisexual person was influential in making them rethink their position on gay marriage.

Five years ago today
Homemade 3D printer goop made from maltodextrin costs 1/50 of the real stuff: "Normally these supplies cost $30 to $50 a pound. Our materials cost less than a dollar a pound," said Ganter. He said he wants to distribute the free recipes in order to democratize 3-D printing and expand the range of printable objects.

Ten years ago today
Canada's NDP leader endorses P2P: "When I was at university there was a great fear that photocopying was going to destroy the publishing industry and that hasn't happened. It's sometimes best to muddle along, take things one step at a time and see what happens. Society can have a way of sorting things out."

This Day in Blogging History: Convertible living-room furniture; Dark side of Dubai; Gilmore on Gmail

One year ago today
Convertible coffee-table/sofa/dining room table + stools: a clever piece of furniture that converts from a coffee table to a sofa to a dining room table with chairs. It's more small living-space porn for me -- the perfect thing for your 130sqft apartment.

Five years ago today
The Dark Side of Dubai: Hard times hitting in the Arab city-state "built from nothing in just a few wild decades on credit and ecocide, suppression and slavery."

Ten years ago today
Gilmore on Gmail's terms-of-service: If they allege a "technical issue", including spam filtering, then they can access, read, preserve, and disclose anything in your mailbox. Since they probably do spam filtering for everybody (both for incoming and outgoing mail), then they have the right to read and disclose the contents of your email at any time.

This Day in Blogging History: Wikileaks' Public Library of US Diplomacy; Basil Wolverton's Bible; Training speeders to slow down

One year ago today
Wikileaks opens Public Library of US Diplomacy (PLUSD), searchable repository of 1970s US diplomatic and intel documents: PLUSD includes diplomatic cables, intel reports, congressional correspondence, and other formerly restricted material, now all online in searchable text form.

Five years ago today
Art from Basil Wolverton's Bible: Here's a preview of the artwork from old-school underground comix genius Basil Wolverton's The Wolverton Bible.

Ten years ago today
Training speeders to slow down, lab rat style: A sensor 350 feet away from a stoplight measures traffic, and if that traffic is traveling at more than 10mph above the posted speed limit, the light turns red for that/those driver(s).

This Day in Blogging History: Ohio's illegal debtor's prisons; Red Cross says medical workers helped CIA torturers; 600 quintillion possible spellings of viagra

One year ago today
Widespread, illegal debtors' prisons in Ohio: A new ACLU report called The Outskirts of Hope documents the rise of illegal debtors prisons in Ohio. A majority of municipal and mayors' courts surveyed by the ACLU routinely imprison people for their inability to pay fines, a practice banned in both the US and state constitution. 20 percent of the bookings in the Huron County Jail are "related to failure to pay fines."

Five years ago today
Long-secret Red Cross Report Says Medical Workers Helped US Torture Terror Suspects: A 2007 report by the International Committee of the Red Cross concluded that medical professionals helped the CIA torture detainees held at Guantánamo Bay prison and other "black sites" overseas, and said their participation in the abuse amounted to a "gross breach of medical ethics. The report was kept secret until recently.

Ten years ago today
600 quintillion possible spellings of viagra: Viagorea ViagDrHa V l a g r a VyAGRA via---gra viagrga via-gra 'V 1 @ G' Ra Viagzra viagdra via_gra ViaZUgra Viargvra ViagrYa Vii-agra ViagWra vi(@)gr@ Viagvra V-I-A-G-R-A Vi-ag.ra vigra Vkiagra via.gra v-ii-a=g-ra V l A G R A VIA7GRA V/i/a/g/r/a VIxAGRA Viaggra vi@gr|@| ViaTagra ViaVErga Viagr(a Viagr^a Viágrá Viagara Viag@ra Viag&ra vi@g*r@ V-i.a-g*r-a V1@grA ViaaPrga Vi$agra ViaJ1gra Viag$ra via---gra Vi.ag.ra Viaoygra

This Day in Blogging History: This American Life's error-ridden disability report; Congressman claims he's helpless before predatory lenders; Wash-care label apologizes for Bush

One year ago today
This American Life's report on kids and disability claims riddled with factual errors: Many of the claims in the report are debatable, and many, many more and simply not true. A Media Matters report called This American Life Features Error-Riddled Story On Disability And Children systematically debunks many of the claims in the story, which NPR has modified slightly since posting online (though NPR and Ira Glass continue to stand behind the story).


Five years ago today
Congressman who's giving payday loan companies legal 391% APR loans says he's powerless to resist their lobbying: Key committee members have received large campaign contributions from the "payday" industry, and the committee chairman, Luiz Gutierrez (who also received contributions from the payday people) says the reason he's offering the industry this sweetheart deal after being on record as opposing this sort of thing is that their powerful lobbying has left him powerless to resist them: "...[T]hey're very powerful. Their influence should not be underestimated."

Ten years ago today
French-translation wash-care label apologises for Bush: Care instructions (in English and French) from a Seattle-made laptop bag. The last lines of the French instructions read 'We are sorry that our President is an idiot. We didn't vote for him.'

This Day in Blogging History: Ebert RIP; URL shorteners suck; Ripping off workers by doctoring digital timeclocks

One year ago today
Roger Ebert, 1942–2013: Roger Ebert, the legendary film critic, died today.

Five years ago today
Why URL shorteners suck: Delicious founder Joshua Schachter says that URL shorteners like TinyURL are a bad idea, because they make the web more fragile, dependent on the shortener services as central points of failure. They also assist spammers, undermine googlejuice, and expose users to security vulnerabilities.

Ten years ago today
Digital timeclocks being doctored by chain-store managers: Mr. Pooters, a father of five who left the Air Force in 1997 for a career in retailing, talks with disgust about photocopied Toys "R" Us records that he said showed how his manager made it appear that he had clocked out much earlier than he had.

This Day in Blogging History: How I Work; Welsh terror cops think jazz musician is a terrorist; Remix Everyone in Silico

One year ago today
Cory's HOW I WORK interview: What apps/software/tools can't you live without? Ubuntu and the suite of GNU tools in any robust Unix system. A good text editor (currently Gedit)—I keep all of my working files at .txts. A robust, highly configurable browser (Firefox/Firefox for Android). A fast RSS reader (presently Google Reader, likely to be Newsblur next). A tetherable mobile connection—I use EasyTether for Android to circumvent tether-blocking as deployed by some of the carriers I use around the world, especially Rogers in Canada. AirDroid for moving files on/off Android devices in my life. An external USB battery (currently PowerGen 5200mAh External Battery Pack).

Five years ago today
Terror cops in Wales mistake jazz musician for terrorist: Victor Frederick, 63, was arrested and strip-searched just yards from his home, just moments after his partner Andrea Heath and their daughter had infra-red sights trained at them and were told they would be shot if they moved.

Ten years ago today
Everyone In Silico, licensed for remixing: My friend Jim Munroe is a brilliant sf writer, author of Angry Young Spaceman (which I reviewed for Wired), Everyone in Silico, and Flyboy Action Figure Comes With Gas Mask. Silico is a particularily interesting novel about the corporatization of public spaces (Jim used to be a managing editor at AdBusters), and among Jim's publicity stunts for the book was a letter-writing campaign to corporations mentioned in the book, shaking them down for money for "product placement."

This Day in Blogging History: Deus Ex Arca; London cops beating up G20 protesters; Reuters email-an-article-TOS

One year ago today
Deus Ex Arca: apocalyptic, absurdist science fiction about a box that does anything and everything: A beautifully told, absurdist science fiction story about a terrible, wonderful box, by Desirina Boskovich.

Five years ago today
London cops beating the shit out of peaceful G20 demonstrators: Peaceful G20 protestors who are holding their arms in the air, chanting, "This is not a riot." Look familiar? It's what the British cops did at the last Climate Camp, too.

Ten years ago today
Reuters email-an-article-TOS: After you fill in the usual info, there is a line that says I confirm that I have the recipient's consent to provide their email address for this purpose, followed by Send and Cancel.

This Day in Blogging History: April Fools for Darwin; Unicorn Chaser beverage; Embarrassing Word metadata

One year ago today
In which Charles Darwin gets trolled: From Darwin's diary written aboard the HMS Beagle, an accounting of an epic April Fool's prank of 1832.

Five years ago today
Unicorn Chaser beverage from ThinkGeek! Introducing, the Unicorn Chaser - a drink shot specially formulated to cleanse your mind and soul.

Ten years ago today
Spidering Word files for embarrassing metadata: Below, you will find a brief (and rest assured, incomplete) list of the most entertaining samples I've run into, along with some speculation (and only speculation) as to the reasons we see them.

This Day in Blogging History: Just look at this shattered LN2 banana; Audiobook of "To Market, To Market"; Mid Century Lampshades

One year ago today
Just look at this liquid nitrogen-dipped banana being shot with a steel bearing: Just look at it.

Five years ago today
To Market, To Market: The Re-Branding of Billy Bailey - my sf story read aloud: Roy Trumbull has just posted his latest installment in his podcast readings of science fiction stories, and for this one he's chosen my story "To Market, To Market: The Branding of Billy Bailey." (RIP, Roy)

Ten years ago today
Mid Century Lampshades: Meteor Lights sells really nice retro lampshades and other mid-century lighting stuff.