Boing Boing tv: same old BB, but with talkies.

We're excited to share something new with you today -- Boing Boing tv. The idea is simple. Explore the same kind of stuff we've been obsessing about since Boing Boing began nearly 20 years ago, only explore it now in daily video. Five days a week, and short: under 5 minutes each.

Here is episode 1: Video Link.

For the first few weeks, much of what you'll see will be produced in-studio, but we also plan to do stuff out in the world, and all over the world.

Boing Boing co-founder Mark Frauenfelder and I are co-hosting the first few weeks of Boing Boing tv, but expect to see the other Boing Boing and Boing Boing Gadgets editors, too -- Pesco, Cory, Joel -- along with familiar characters whose work and eccentricities have been chronicled here before.

And: you. We also welcome video produced by you, our community, our audience, our internet-friends, and we're working out exactly that might fit in the mix (we'd love to hear your thoughts on that).

We're exploring different ways of producing this, and plan to publish a mix of faster-moving "internet zeitgeist" stories with material that remains of interest for a long time. Some lighthearted, other stories less so. In other words, a variety of material pretty much like you find on the blog.

This is not the result of a business plan, or a corporate focus group. We promise no huffy manifestos about Taking Down The Networks with A New Television Paradigm, no breathless hyperbole about Reinventing Citizen Journalism With the Disintermediation of Long Tail Postmodernist Blogonomics -- gah! Read the rest “Boing Boing tv: same old BB, but with talkies.”

Loaf of French bread keyboard wrist-rest

This baguette-shaped hunk of foam-rubber is actually an "ergonomic" wrist-rest. Low-carb, too.


(via Popgadget) Read the rest “Loaf of French bread keyboard wrist-rest”

HOWTO Make monster Hallowe'en cupcakes

Wendy, a crafty blogger at Wisdom of the Moon, has a great post on making your own monstrous cupcakes through clever application of candy decorations. These are scary calories!


(via Craft)

Update: From the comments: Matt sez, "I like to top mine off with a marshmallows for extra high 3D monster sculpturing." Read the rest “HOWTO Make monster Hallowe'en cupcakes”

Winners of 2007 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge

The journal Science and the National Science Foundation have announced the winners of their fifth annual Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. Seen here is one of the tied first place winners in the photography category. Created by Kai-hung Fung of Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, the image is a computed tomography (CT) view up someone's nose. From Science:

A computed tomography (CT) scan from a 33-year-old Chinese woman being examined for thyroid disease provided the raw data for Fung's rendering. He stacked together 182 thin CT "slices" to create a 3D image looking upward at the sinuses from underneath the head. Fung chose to use the patient's CT images for his rendering, he remembers, because "[she had] a very straight nasal septum and wavy maxillary sinuses; … the anatomy was exceptionally beautiful," he says.

Link to see all the winners (Thanks, Mike Liebhold!)

Previously on BB: • Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge 2006 Link • Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge 2005 Link Read the rest “Winners of 2007 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge”

Mystery man leaves trail of stone heads in the UK

An unknown gent has deposited at least 13 carved stone heads on the doorsteps of frightened villagers in the UK. He was caught on a security camera Braithwell, near Rotherham, but police have yet to arrest him. (On what charges? Littering?)

Police are on the trail of a shadowy figure who has been dumping giant carved stone heads on village doorsteps at dead of night.

"Some people think it's a curse - but we have no idea who we might have offended. One woman claims there's a link to werewolves."

Link (Thanks, Giovanni!) Read the rest “Mystery man leaves trail of stone heads in the UK”

Naomi Klein on remaking people by shocking them into obediance

The Thought Kitchen has a short video made by Alfonso Cuaron, who directed Children of Men, about the ideas in Naomi Klein's new book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

Naomi Klein has just published a controversial best seller entitled The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. In it she defines shock doctrine as “the use of public disorientation following massive collective shocks–wars, terrorist attacks, natural disasters–to push through highly unpopular economic shock therapy.”

The metaphor of “shock” is important because her thesis stems from a contention that what works on a person also works on a nation. Think 9/11 and fear-induced politics that have eroded some of the fundamentals of what we knew as American democracy. To peer into her thinking, check out the short film by Alfonso Cuaron, who made Y Tu Mama Tambien and Children of Men. Klein was hoping he’d send her a quote for the book jacket, but instead he assembled a team of artists and this short film. Sweet indeed.

Link Read the rest “Naomi Klein on remaking people by shocking them into obediance”

John Waters interviewed in Independent Weekly

Just before John Waters gave a recent talk at Duke University, the Independent Weekly ran an article featuring the filmmaker's hysterical and brilliant take on such topics as gay culture and Britney Spears. In my opinion, Waters is at his best when he's commenting on the absurdity in everyday life, like in his amazing 1995 autobiography Shock Value. From the Independent Weekly:

While the over-the-top camp of Waters' films still holds up, the writer-director admits that the "mainstreaming" of gay culture in recent years has made it harder to be shocking. "I had more fun when it was illegal to be gay," says Waters, who adds that he's also "anti-separatist." "I don't want to get married and I don't want to go into the army and all that stuff, though I understand people's right to want that. I am for gay trouble. I like gay troublemakers. I am most gay when I am in a voting booth...."

Link to Independent Weekly (Thanks, COOP!) Read the rest “John Waters interviewed in Independent Weekly”

Wendy Seltzer talks at Cornell: Protecting the University from Copyright Bullies

David says: "This is an interesting discussion facilitated last week by Wendy Seltzer [staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation] at Cornell University.

The talk is titled, 'Protecting the University from Copyright Bullies,' and specifically addresses the question of the role of a university who receives a pre-litigation letter for an IP address accusing illegal file sharing.

I found it to be a pleasantly candid discussion that takes on entry-level questions as well as some of the more complex problems surrounding this issue." Link Read the rest “Wendy Seltzer talks at Cornell: Protecting the University from Copyright Bullies”

Artist gets probation for building secret mall apartment

AC says: "A Providence artist collective built a secret apartment in The Providence Place Mall. It had furniture, electricity, and a Playstation. They had plans to add a bedroom and a floor, but those hopes were dashed when they were surprised by mall security recently."

Michael Townsend, 36, said he and seven other artists built the apartment in a 750-square-foot loft in the parking garage four years ago and lived there for up to three weeks at a time while documenting mall life.

The apartment included a sectional sofa and love seat, coffee and breakfast tables, chairs, lamps, rugs, paintings, a hutch filled with china, a waffle iron, TV and Sony Playstation 2 -- although a burglar broke in and stole the Playstation last spring, Townsend said. The artists built a cinderblock wall and nondescript utility door to keep the loft hidden from the outside world.

There was no running water -- instead they used the mall bathrooms.

Link | Video Read the rest “Artist gets probation for building secret mall apartment”

Physics lecture cribbed for TV commercial

MIT quantum computing researcher Scott Aaronson reports that the actors' lines in an Australian TV commercial for Ricoh Printers were lifted right from one of his physics lectures available online. On YouTube, the ad is credited to the agency LOVE. In the commercial, two fashion models are discussing quantum mechanics. From the TV commercial:

Model 1: But if quantum mechanics isn’t physics in the usual sense – if it’s not about matter, or energy, or waves – then what is it about?

Model 2: Well, from my perspective, it’s about information, probabilities, and observables, and how they relate to each other.

Model 1: That’s interesting!

And from Aaronson's Lecture 9 from his class Quantum Computing Since Democritus:

But if quantum mechanics isn’t physics in the usual sense – if it’s not about matter, or energy, or waves, or particles – then what is it about? From my perspective, it’s about information and probabilities and observables, and how they relate to each other.

Link (site currently down) to Scott Aaronson's blog, Link to YouTube video , Link to Aaronson's lecture (via Scientific American, thanks JR Minkel!) Read the rest “Physics lecture cribbed for TV commercial”

AT&T snowjob: We won't cut you off for criticizing us, but we won't put it in writing

This weekend, several sites blogged about AT&T's new terms of service, which reserve the right to terminate your Internet account for conduct that "tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries." In other words, AT&T's user-agreement gives them the right to cut you off if you criticize them.

Now, several sites have been contacted by an AT&T rep who has said that while AT&T's terms of service allow them to do this, they won't -- they'll only cut you off if you're looking at child porn or advocating race-violence.


If AT&T sincerely doesn't ever intend on cutting you off for criticizing them, they can amend their terms of service to say exactly that. It's not as though the legalese came off a mountain on two stone tablets and changing them counts as blasphemy.

AT&T's representatives can issue statements that say that they'll only cut you off if you turn out to be Josef Mengele, blogging from behind your secret identity in the Argentine campos, but unless they actually put it in writing, it means exactly squat. They wouldn't get you to "agree" to their Terms of Service if they didn't envision a time when they might use them.

Link Read the rest “AT&T snowjob: We won't cut you off for criticizing us, but we won't put it in writing”

Bloggers needed to cover RIAA downloading trial

A reader writes, "If any readers can get themselves to the courthouse in Duluth, Minnesota, to see any of the jury trial commencing Tuesday October 2nd in Virgin v. Thomas, where Brian Toder of Minneapolis will square off against Richard Gabriel of Denver, and can phone or email Recording Industry vs The People with updates as to what is going on, they will publish reports or excerpts of reports throughout the trial."

Link Read the rest “Bloggers needed to cover RIAA downloading trial”

Star Wars rube goldberg machine

Bonnie sez, "Using action figures, string, pulleys, balls, buckets of water, dominoes and other misc props within two rooms, these fans put together the ultimate Star Wars Rube Goldberg machine."

The Star Wars Rube Goldberg project from physics class. Our teacher loved Star Wars -- sporting his lightsaber in class now and then and answering any question you can fathom -- but now we are out of high school and we do have lives so this will probably never happen again. But it was fun.


(Thanks, Bonnie!) Read the rest “Star Wars rube goldberg machine”

Biskup's limited print for Baby Tattooville

This weekend is Baby Tattooville, a retreat weekend in Riverside, California for 100 paying attendees to hang out with a fantastic line-up of pop surrealist artists, participate in various fun sessions, and leave with cool collectables and limited-edition art (some of it free, some not). Baby Tattooville ain't cheap--$1499 including hotel room and meals--but for collectors with extra scratch to spend, it's a rare opportunity to spend quality time with the Gary Baseman, Luke Chueh, Gris Grimly, James Jean, Frank Kozik, Lola, Tara McPherson, Ragnar, Jeffery Scott (1019), Jeff Soto, Amanda Visell, and BB pal Tim Biskup. Tim says: "I'll be offering a customized serigraph print called "Wise Men". It's a 6-Color print on paper. 18" x 10". Each one will be decorated by hand on-site while the buyer is watching. The edition will be 100 + 10 Artist's proofs. The price during Btville will be $150. After the event the remaining prints will be sold at for $250."

Link to Baby Tattooville, Link to Tim Biskup's Flopdoodle Store Read the rest “Biskup's limited print for Baby Tattooville”

Charlie Stross's Halting State: Heist novel about an MMORPG

Charlie Stross's latest novel Halting State starts out as a hilarious post-cyberpunk police procedural, turns into a gripping post-cyberpunk technothriller, and escalates into a Big Ideas book about the future of economics, virtual worlds, the nation state and policing, while managing to crack a string of geeky in-jokes, play off a heaping helping of gripping action scenes, and telling a pretty good love story.

Here's the gimmick: Halting State opens when a virtual bank in a distributed, multiplayer world is robbed by a horde of orcs who march in and clean it out of all its prestige items and other loot, a direct frontal assault on the game-economy's integrity. The losses run to millions, which triggers an insurance audit -- led by Elaine, who's not only a forensic accountant, but also a sword-swinging LARPer who likes her espionage alternate reality games. She contracts with Jack, an extraordinary gamespace hacker who's just been made redundant from his Edinburgh gaming company, to serve as her native guide, and finds herself working alongside of Sue, a lesbian mom detective-sergeant with the Edinburgh Polis who has been called to the scene with a report of a "robbery" and is now duty-bound to pursue the matter in compliance with the tenets set out in the ISO 9000 binder for police-stations.

I've been following Halting State since Charlie and I sat in a coffee shop in the Strand in London about five years ago and talked about a novel about a "multimillion dollar heist in gamespace." It's a sticky idea, and one that a lot of us are going to end up playing with over the years -- but it's also clearly one that Charlie has had an indecent amount of fun playing with. Read the rest “Charlie Stross's Halting State: Heist novel about an MMORPG”

BB Gadgets: the latest posts

Aaron Adding Machines: Anachrofantastic

30-Year "Betavoltaic" Battery Hoax

Indoor Grass Planters (A.K.A. "Fancy Pots")

Blowing Out the Dust: Afternoon Edition

Nebo Hands-Free Work Light

Suzuki's Tonka-like X-HEAD Concept Truck

Pink Shotgun from Remington

Phone Rental in Japan?

I'm Loving Team Fortress 2

James Randi Calls Out Audiophile: I'm Sure the Crickets Will Sound Fantastic

The Case of the Creeping DVD Recorder

Refrigerators with Built-In Beverage Dispensers

Evander Holyfield Real Deal Grill

Odd Propeller-Driven Vehicles Read the rest “BB Gadgets: the latest posts”

My Guardian column on censorship versus copyright protection

My latest Guardian column is up: "Online censorship hurts us all," about the ways that copyright protection laws that make it easier to censor artists are worse for creativity than any amount of unauthorized copying could ever be.

Viacom and others want hosting companies and online service providers to preemptively evaluate all the material that their users put online, holding it to ensure that it doesn't infringe copyright before they release it.

This notion is impractical in the extreme, for at least two reasons. First, an exhaustive list of copyrighted works would be unimaginably huge, as every single creative work is copyrighted from the instant that it is created and "fixed in a tangible medium".

Second, even if such a list did exist, it would be trivial to defeat, simply by introducing small changes to the infringing copies, as spammers do with the text of their messages in order to evade spam filters.

In fact, the spam wars have some important lessons to teach us here. Like copyrighted works, spams are infinitely varied and more are being created every second. Any company that could identify spam messages -- including permutations and variations on existing spams -- could write its own ticket to untold billions.

Link Read the rest “My Guardian column on censorship versus copyright protection”

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