Canada's coming DMCA will be the worst copyright yet

The Canadian government is about to bring down Canada's version of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and it promises to be the worst copyright law in the developed world. It will contain an "anti-circumvention" clause that prohibits breaking the locks off your music and movies in order to move them to new devices or watch them after the company that made them goes out of business -- and it will follow the US's disastrous lead with the DMCA in that there will be no exceptions to the ban on circumvention, not even for parody, fair dealing, time shifting, or other legal uses.

This will be even worse than the last Canadian copyright proposal, the defeated Bill C-60.

But there's hope. The last two Ministers who tried to push through a US-style copyright bill in Canada lost their jobs, thanks in large part to Canada's coalition of artists, educators, archivists, and public-interest activists. Selling Canada's digital future out to a handful of US companies is a bad career move for Canadian politicians.

Gear up for a fight in the New Year. The American record labels, in particular, are said to be well organised and ready to push this through on a fast track (even though they've abandoned DRM in the rest of the world, they view Canada as a weak sister they can push around).

If this law passes, it will mean that as soon as a device has any anti-copying stuff in it (say, a Vista PC, a set-top cable box, a console, an iPod, a Kindle, etc), it will be illegal for Canadians to modify it, improve it, or make products that interact with it unless they have permission from the (almost always US-based) manufacturer. Read the rest

Small Beer Press xmas sale: fantastic literature at fantastic prices

Small Beer press is the publisher started by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant, publishers of incredibly brilliant, mind-boggling science fiction and fantasy. They're copyfighter-friendly too, with many Creative Commons releases -- and they're committed to publishing some of the best independent work in the field.

Gavin writes, "Small Beer Press is having the End of the Year Blow Out Sale. All Books Come with Meaningless 100,000-Mile Invisible Warranty! All Books Printed on Paper! Guaranteed to Be Printed with Ink! All Books Guaranteed to Be Books! And all of them cheap as chips."


(Thanks, Gavin!)

See also: Kelly Link's gorgeous short story collection now a CC download Read the rest

Cheap billionaires

Forbes has a slideshow of billionaire cheapskates who drive old cars, fly economy and stay in budget hotels:

Ingvar Kamprad & Family

$33 billion

Country: Sweden Ikea's pennywise founder is famous for being cheap. He flies coach, drives a 1993 Volvo and often dines at lower-tier restaurants. He also reportedly furnishes his home with Ikea's affordable merchandise. Kamprad was recently quoted as saying that the only luxuries he splurges on are the occasional upscale cravat and Swedish fish roe.


(via Digg)

(Image credit: Ikea, a Creative Commons Attribution only licensed photo from Seth W's photostream) Read the rest

Xmas tree made from books

This "book tree" appears on the IJM photography site -- it's a great, bookish alternative to a Christmas tree/Hannukwanzah bush for this year.

Link, Link to IJM site (giant Flash blob with no permalinks)

(via Cribcandy)

Read the rest

CASH music, a platform for Radiohead-style digital distribution that makes fans into stake-holders

Chris sez, "One of my favorite songwriters, Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses, 50FOOTWAVE, and solo) has founded the Coalition for Artists and Stake Holders, on the assumption that both artists and fans are stakeholders in the production of music. She's built a framework to distribute music on the internet while taking donations (sort of Radiohead-style: pay what you want) and taking full advantage of the medium -- including offering ProTools tem files via BitTorrent so you can remix her song!"


(Thanks, Chris!)

Read the rest

Secret photo archives of the Mutter Museum: haunting book of Victorian pathological curiosities

Master archivist Rick Prelinger sez,

Always my first stop in Philadelphia, the Mutter Museum is the Victorian-era medical museum holding thousands of unforgettable (and often unsettling) objects, including anatomical and pathological specimens, models and instruments. While the Mutter demonstrates what 19th-century physicians did NOT know about disease, it also challenges our supposed sophistication about science and medicine and leads us to think about the infinite distance that separates us from the insides of our bodies.

The Mutter also has a historic archive of medical photographs, most of which have never been shown publicly. Now my friends at Blast Books have published a book of 200 images originally taken to illustrate medical and pathological conditions. Combining science and artistry, this is evidence you can't tear your eyes away from. As editor Laura Lindgren says, "Many of these photographs document unusual, sometimes nearly unimaginable, challenges of disorder, disease, and injury. A great many of these photographs are disquieting, yet they are equally moving in their portrayal of how these people endured their fate. A few photographs demonstrate the limited relief that medical science at the time was able to offer and thus show how very far medicine has advanced."

You may find this book disturbing, but you'll never think of your body the same way after looking at these amazing photos.

I've only visited the Mutter once, but it left an indelible mark on my psyche. As Rick says, I've never thought of my body the same way. I have a copy of gorgeous hardcover collection of the exhibits and it remains one of the most inspiring and haunting books on my shelf. Read the rest

xkcd: The malware aquarium

Today on the marvellous geek webcomic xkcd, a great idea for a nerdy alternative to an aquarium: a collection of virtual Windows machines connected to the net without any firewalls, infected with every conceivable virus, a seething pit of virtual life. This would make a killer product -- a great Christmas present that could run on older, slower hardware. The breeders would have to tend them carefully to ensure that they catch a really interesting collection of malware, though.


See also: XKCD creator in Wired; reappearance of blog-goggles in today's strip Scary MBR-nuking program inspired by XKCD geeky webcomic Ninjas attack Richard Stallman, reenacting xkcd comic Cory Doctorow cosplayers at the XKCD picnic Xkcd fans bring chess-sets on roller-coasters Where LOLCats come from Ironic Internet malapropism grid Geeky comic about chess and roller-coasters Nerd humor about Katamari Damacy

Sarcastic comic about computational linguistics (and emo kids)

Funny map of online communities in the style of a D&D map Geeky comic strip uses Cory as the punchline

Bloggin' 'bout my generation Read the rest

Looking back on 2007, part 2

For the next several weeks, I'm going to post my favorite entries from Boing Boing this year.

Heir to dictator moves into $35 million Malibu home (Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue's is slated to take over his father's role as ruthless dictator of Equatorial Guinea.)

Tijuana cops lose guns, get slingshots (While a corruption investigation is underway, they've replaced the guns all of the cops in tourist areas with slingshots and ball-bearings.)

State of Massachusetts insists on calling ATHF ads "hoax devices" (The people of Boston should be clamoring for the resignation of the mayor and the head of the department of security for being the only city in the ten-city ad campaign that didn't notice the signs hanging in plain sight for two full weeks and then misidentifying them in a way that caused widespread panic.)

Witch doctor orders death of Hollywood snow cone man (Article about snow cone vendor who was allegedly murdered by his girlfriend after a witch doctor told her the snow cone vendor had placed a curse on her.)

Police officer who ejaculated on motorist found not guilty (Jury in Orange County finds Irvine police officer not guilty of three felony charges after he pulled over a female motorist and ejaculated on her sweater.)

Previously on Boing Boing: • Looking back on 2007, part 1 Read the rest

Popeye, a real photograph and the comics anthologized

Jacob at Fantagraphics spotted a lovely vintage portrait of, er, the real Popeye. Fantagraphics is now publishing beautiful oversized hardcover anthologies of the entire run of Popeye comic strips. Volume 1, titled "I Yam What I Yam," and Volume 2, titled "Well Blow Me Down!" are currently available. Link to the full Popeye photo, Link to buy Popeye Vol. 1: "I Yam What I Yam", Link to buy Popeye Vol. 2: "Well Blow Me Down!" Read the rest

2007 New Yorker cartoon similar to 1984 Far Side cartoon

This cartoon (by Lee Lorenz, a 74-year-old former art editor of The New Yorker) ran in the November 26th issue of The New Yorker

This cartoon (by Gary Larson) ran in The Far Side Gallery, in 1984

I think The New Yorker's cartoon editor, Bob Mankoff, is correct here:

Mankoff explains that the sheer volume of cartoons produced by artists means that there is often overlap of ideas. "Often in the same week different cartoonists will independently come up with identical ideas," he says. "Other times cartoonists generate ideas that have been previously published in the magazine. This is not plagiarism; rather it is the result of very creative people developing many ideas from a few well-established, well-traveled cartoon settings."

Link Read the rest

Vintage photos from

"Square America" offers a lovely archive of old snapshots and vernacular photography -- here are two recently uploaded galleries. Above, one still from a set of several dozen photos of women on television in 1957:

Encrusted with 50 year old dust and emulsion the photos of women from melodramas and late-night talk shows are not only a record of one person's peculiar obsession but also a virtual catalog of the kind of roles women played in the popular entertainment of the era.

And below, "The Party," nearly 50 photos from a late '60s/early '70s biracial/bisexual bacchanal. Or maybe it's a lost American Apparel ad. (mild NSFW, a couple of blurry topless ladies in there).

(Thanks, Clayton Cubitt!) Read the rest

Amazon fights Fed's request for names of book buyers

CNN Money reports that Amazon went to court to fight a subpoena demanding the names of thousands of used book buyers as part of a fraud and tax crime case against a man named Robert D'Angelo.

"The subpoena is troubling because it permits the government to peek into the reading habits of specific individuals without their knowledge or permission," [U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen] Crocker wrote. "It is an unsettling and un-American scenario to envision federal agents nosing through the reading lists of law-abiding citizens while hunting for evidence against somebody else.


"If the government had been more diligent in looking for workarounds instead of baring its teeth when Amazon balked, it's probable that this entire First Amendment showdown could have been avoided," he wrote."

Link Read the rest

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets we saw these two fantastic (if I do say so myself) life-sized plush Weighted Companion Cubes that will be awarded as the grand prizes at this year's Funde Razor (human test subject not included), an electric knife sharpener that might not suck, Verizon's intriguing announcement that they will be opening up their wireless network to various and sundry devices, a clever and inexpensive way to turn iPod nano packaging into a speaker, Hello Kitty bike tires, an expensive aluminum sled with a shock absorber, a web game from Democrats about Missouri governor Matt Blunt, awesome branch-like wine decanters, the next thing in anti-mugger weaponry, Pigantics, an amazing gallery of retro flashlights, another old flashlight which prompted the previous find, Stephen Fry reviewing the Eco Media Player, another place to repair or recycle your iPod or game consoles, a white LED retro watch, a luggage store that looks like an aircraft interior, and a new cell phone game based on Magnum, P.I. And big, fat deals. I mean, like, orca fat. Read the rest

Chronulator clock kit

Gareth Branwyn reviewed the nifty Chronulator clock kit on Federated Media's Holiday Gadget Guide:

The Chronulator picks up on two popular techno-culture trends: bizarre, even tortuously geeky ways of telling time (a la Toyko Flash Watches) and the steampunk/retro-tech craze. Here, time is translated via a microchip and a crystal to two needle-gauge/panel meter displays, one for hours, one for minutes. The kit includes the PCB, all the parts to populate it, and the two meters. The kit does not come with the instructions. Those are downloaded from the ShareBrained site. Viewing them beforehand will give you some idea of the difficulty involved in building the project (which should be easy for even the newbie wirehead) and for the level of care evidenced throughout the product.

Link Read the rest

iPod taken apart and cast in resin -- still works

Billy Chasen took apart his iPod and cast into a resin cube. It still works.

I love exploded diagrams of objects where you see every piece of the thing. I had the idea to try and make a real life version of one, and picked my iPod to be the victim. The catch was, I wanted it to work even in its

The most incredible thing about it is it still works perfectly. I encased the internals of the dock too, so it can be controlled, charged, and listened to, by a wire underneath (that sticks out a bit, hence the lego support legs).

Link (Via Make) Read the rest

Bizarre items from Sky Mall

Scans (and commentary) of bizarre gift items currently being advertised on all American Airlines flights in their in-flight catalog for SkyMall -- an online retailer at who have a tie-in with AA.

Bizarre gifts shown in this in-flight Xmas catalog include a high-tech, hand-cranked walking cane for seniors which features a headlight and distress alarm that have to be cranked into power by hand (with pics); a tacky bigfoot garden statue; mailorder meats; many devices that look like feminine sexual aids; "FAA-approved" devices to lug your wine around airports; TV visor eye glasses; an animatronic bust of Elvis Presley that moves robotically as it sings, and more tackiness/absurdity. All w/ pics.

If you like this kind of stuff, you'll love the SkyMaul catalog parody.

Link Read the rest

Driver tasered for refusing to sign traffic ticket

Driver with his family gets pulled over. When officer won't point out speed limit sign driver was accused of ignoring, driver refuses to sign ticket. Officer shoots man with taser, lets him fall and cut his head, then arrests him.

As the hero explained to a colleague a few minutes later, Massey [the driver] was "making me nervous as hell" by his insistence on being treated as a reasonable adult, rather than behaving like a timid child. "I was like, nah, we ain't playing this game," Gardner boasted to the second officer by way of justifying the Taser strike.

"Good," gloated the second tax-fed parasite. "Good for you."

(Note: I don't agree that police officers, even the the small minority of bad ones, should be called "tax-fed parasites." I'm just quoting the blog entry that this video appears in.)

Link | CBS video with captions Read the rest

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