UK copyright law in verse

Yehuda, who previously translated the US copyright statutes into verse, has done it again, converting Britain's copyright laws to poetry:

These verses contain Some copyright Acts The UK's, I say As a matter of fact

Here in old England It's not written plain - Many acts and schedules Are copyright's claim

For instance, fathom, If you think you can: A whole schedule just on The book Peter Pan

To make up for this They did something better: "Design" laws are not simply Lumped in together

UK Copyright Law, in verse

(via Copyfight)

Previously: US copyright law in verse Read the rest

Worst Food in America 2009 edition

Men's Health has a roundup of the 20 worst foods in America in 2009 -- the 20 dishes most likely to fatten you up and undermine your health.

Baskin Robbins Large Chocolate Oreo Shake 2,600 calories 135 g fat (59 g saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fats) 263 g sugars 1,700 mg sodium

We didn't think anything could be worse than Baskin Robbins' 2008 bombshell, the Heath Bar Shake. After all, it had more sugar (266 grams) than 20 bowls of Froot Loops, more calories (2,310) than 11 actual Heath Bars, and more ingredients (73) than you'll find in most chemist labs.

Rather than coming to their senses and removing it from the menu, they did themselves one worse and introduced this caloric catastrophe. It¹s soiled with more than a day's worth of calories and three days worth of saturated fat, and, worst of all, usually takes less than 10 minutes to sip through a straw.

The 20 Worst Foods in America 2009

(via Kottke) Read the rest

Band-aids with gross illustrations: Scabs Bandages

Scabs Bandages are band-aids bearing sweet little gross illustrations -- maggots, hatching spiders, eyeballs, or zippers -- for to speed your healing with stomach-churning levity.

Scabs Bandages

(via Neatorama)

Previously: Electronic Frontiers Australia slams the Great Firewall of ... Duct tape bandages - Boing Boing Edible candy scabs - Boing Boing Tokyo fetish-fashion: "injured idol" - Boing Boing Read the rest

Easy Encryption

(Charles Platt is a guest blogger)

Back in the mid-1990s, the successful fight for the right to use strong encryption seemed hugely significant. Some of us believed that within just a few years, all emails would be encrypted, and no one would be able to snoop on anything. (Of course, this would have interfered with the evolution of Gmail, since Google scans messages to create its context-sensitive ads.)

Strong encryption from trusted sources such as PGP and TrueCrypt has been available free for more than a decade, now, yet people seem to find that installing it and using it is just complicated enough to be a disincentive. In any case, many people seem to feel that they’ll never be hassled, even while grandmothers are hauled into court for copyright infringement and federal agencies gain increasing power to monitor just about anything.

Well, at least there’s no excuse anymore not to encrypt external hard drives. (Note, I'm not an expert on this stuff, just a consumer, and there may be other products that I don't know about.) Maxtor’s BlackArmor series has strong encryption built into hardware, so that all data is automatically protected as you save it. As soon as power is disconnected from the drive, it secures itself. Now you don’t have to worry if you travel with sensitive corporate data (or other embarrassing materials) and you leave an external storage device behind in an airport or hotel room.

This system is password-activated, not fingerprint-activated. I dislike the idea of fingerprint scanning, because I do a lot of shop work, and have been known to cut a finger. Read the rest

Electronic Frontiers Australia spokesman receives death threat for opposing the Great Firewall of Australia

Ed James sez, "A article describing how a vocal critic of the Australian Government's plan ISP-level internet filtering was threatened by telephone and warned to stay silent.

For me and all right-minded Australian, this is a new low in this absurdist plot. We are so busy laughing at George Bush's America, we didn't notice we are fast becoming the laughing stock of the free world."

I guess if you're the kind of person willing to suppress the intellectual liberty of an entire nation in a half-baked scheme to fight the child-porn bogeyman, it's not a huge stretch to suppressing the intellectual liberty of your opponents with intimidation.

"I got home from work and found a message on my answering machine telling me to keep my name out of the paper," he said.

"It said to 'cut the libertarian bullsh–' or I'd be sorry."

Under the Government's controversial plan all Australians will be served a "clean feed" by internet service providers, with websites on a secret blacklist blocked.

Death threats are rattling, no matter how trivial they may seem. Though the American guy who was calling my UK mobile number at 4AM last spring was so incompetent and fumbletongued in his voicemails that I worried more that he'd choke on his own slobber than make it across the pond to me.

Electronic Frontiers Australia member Geordie Guy receives death threat over web filter plan

Previously: Electronic Frontiers Australia slams the Great Firewall of ...

(Thanks, Ed!) Read the rest

Robert Rankin's badass homemade raygun

James sez, "Author Robert Rankin creates the covers for his own books. His recent book Necrophenia, sported a clock made from bones.

For his 31st book, Retromancer, he has built a really cool-looking raygun and has posted some images on his Fanclubs forum."

I have a small collection of rayguns, begun when my wife surprised me on my birthday with one of Weta's stupendous cast-iron steampunk guns. That little shelf of notional, contrafactual armaments in my office is just about my favorite place to rest my gaze. Rayguns kick ass.


Previously: Ceramic ray guns - Boing Boing Mini Weta raygun - Boing Boing Real ray-guns - Boing Boing Steampunk rayguns - Boing Boing Mindbogglingly cool toy raygun - Boing Boing

(Thanks, James!)

Read the rest

Name this Insect

(Charles Platt is a guest blogger)

No doubt some BB reader can name this far-fetched creature, which I found pinned to some styrofoam in a display case at the Butterfly Museum in Boca Raton, Florida. Picture yourself camping somewhere in the wilderness and seeing one of these six-inch weirdos zooming into your tent. I have to wonder why such a thing should evolve the way it did, especially with that weird extra pair of wings, like the canard on one of Burt Rutan’s composite airplanes.

The museum is a fun place to visit, allowing you to walk through giant cages full of freshly hatched butterflies. Watching people trying to photograph them is highly entertaining, since butterflies move chaotically while flying and then, as soon as they land, most of them close their wings.

It was much easier to take pictures of the insects that were dead. Read the rest

AP tries to shake down Shepard Fairey over Obama poster he didn't profit from (updated)

Update at bottom of post. Bottom line, the photog says at first he wasn't even sure it was his photo, he is not mad at Fairey, and he's not looking at any lawsuits. This is all about AP, not the photog.

Not long ago on Boing Boing Video, we ran an episode with Shepard Fairey in which the artist explained how the iconic Obama poster came to be -- and he explained that he does not profit from the poster, though a vast network of bootleg businesses do. The Associated Press is suing Fairey, for having hand-drawn the image in part from a photo taken by AP photog Manny Garcia. Discussing the case with Sean Bonner over at LA Metblogs, photographer Glen E. Friedman (who appeared with Fairey in our four-part video miniseries about their work and collaborations together) said...

Funny thing is not just because he’s my friend, but I side with shepard on this for several reasons.

#1 the shot is literally a dime a dozen shot, absolutely nothing special about it, Shepard made it special, in fact the un-cropped original i’ll attach here, as you can see was more important before he cropped it for his art. (george clooney made it special)!

#2 he actually donated every penny he made from it back into the campaign to get Obama elected. Unfortunately all the after market sales of his posters he has no control over, and the people who bootlegged his stuff and sold it of course he has no control over.

Read the rest

Lux Interior, CRAMPS founder, has died.

Today is a dark day. The lead singer of the Cramps, Lux Interior, has passed away at age 60. In the liner notes of the Cramps' "Gravest Hits" record, he was described as "the psycho-sexual Elvis/Werewolf hybrid from hell." He is survived by his wife and longtime collaborator, the beautiful and deadly Miss Poison Ivy.

Above, here he is with the band in their early days, performing a free concert in 1978 for patients at the Napa State Mental Hospital. It is perhaps not the best quality recording of their work, and not even their best performance, but it's the kind of reckless, free-floating awesome they were. (Thanks, Derek Bledsoe) Read the rest

TED2009: Jake Eberts

Film producer Jake Eberts is on stage at TED2009.

He was involved in producing Chariots of Fire, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Driving Miss Daisy, and more.

He's working on a film about the ocean. Wants to create an emotional connection to the issue of damage to ocean. He started as chemical engineer in 1962 - a sewage analyst in Stockholm, became a producer in the 70s (said "some would say that's not a huge leap from a sewage analyst").

He met actor, producer, and director Jaques Perrin, who is also a well known speaker (in French only, he doesn't speak English). Perrin's latest film is called Oceans. Perrin devoted his last 8 years to it. Took four years of shooting. Crews works all over the world. One guy spent 23 days in water trying to get shot of whale. Had to invent special cameras to film dolphins swimming at 20km an hour. Shot over 140 species, cost $170 million. 300 hours, will cut to a two-hour feature.

We have time time save the oceans and the dignity of the animals in the ocean.

Disney will release it in the US on April 22, 2010.

Now he's showing a nine-minute clip of the movie. Beautiful shots of ocean waves, whales jumping. Gorgeous jellyfish forest. Best underwater cinematography I've ever seen. Can't wait for it to come out. Read the rest

TED2009: Seth Godin

Author and marketing consultant Seth Godin is on stage at TED2009. His new book is called Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.

He's talking about how we are in a key moment in the way we make change. Here's a short history of how people have made changes:

1. Build a factory -- Henry Ford comes up with a cool idea. Enables him to come up with a way to hire men who were making 50 cents a day and give them five dollars a day. But we are running out of ever cheaper labor and ever faster machines

2. Use mass marketing -- If you buy enough ads you can win. If I buy enough ads I can win. Hypnotizing everyone to buy your product does not work.

3. Tribes - Connecting people and ideas. They've been around: Work tribes, community tribes. The Internet enables silos of tribes. People on the fringes can find each other connect, and go somewhere.

What we do for a living is find something worth changing and assemble a tribe. When Al Gore set out to chage the world again. He did it by creating a movement - thousands of people who can do his presentation for him. He quotes Kevin Kelly, you just need a thousand true fans. Telling a story to people who want to hear it. Assembling a tribe of true fans. People want the connections to each other.

Heretics looks at the status quo and says "this I can not stand. Read the rest

TED2009: Al Gore

Al Gore is showing animation of the Arctic Ice cap. Over the last 25 years the permanent ice has diminished. A massive amount of frozen carbon is being released. In some shallow lakes in Alaska, methane is bubbling out of the water. He plays a video of a woman igniting methane coming out of an ice hole in a lake.

Ice in West Antarctica and Himalayas are rapidly melting.

California seeing a 40% decline in Sierra snow pack. Leading to dramatic increase in fires.

Ocean dead zones are growing.

Deforestation, coal, and oil are the main causes of global warming. Says there's no such thing as "clean coal" -- it's one of the main causes of global warming. Read the rest

TED2009: Pattie Maes

MIT Media Lab researcher Pattie Maes is on stage at TED2009.

We don't have sense organs for data. Thanks to efforts such as Tim Berner-Lee's all of this knowledge has become available online. Could we evolve a 6th sense that would give us access to meta-information that may help us make the right decisions?

When you go to supermarket and you look at all the different kinds of toilet papers, you don't pull out your cell phone to look for which brand is the most eco-friendly (but I'll bet some of you Boing Boing readers so!).

Pattie is wearing web-camera, a battery-powered projection system with mirror. It lets you walk up to any surface (including your hand) and interact with the projected interface. It responds to his gestures. If you hold your hands like you are taking a photo, the camera takes a photo, and then when you go back to the office, you can project all your photos and sort through them using natural gestures. She showed a projection of a phone keypad on her palm and dialed a number to make a call.

She shows a video of a guy looking at products in a supermarket. It projects a green, yellow, or red dot on a product, telling you whether or not it's eco-friendly (or whatever criteria you set up). If you look at a book, it'll project the Amazon rating on the book. Projecting a video of a news story on a blank rectangle on the Wall Street Journal! Read the rest

TED2009: Nandan Nilekani

Software entrepreneur Nandan Nilekani is on stage at TED2009. He's the author of the forthcoming Imagining India, "a radical re-thinking of one of the world’s great economies."

He lists six factors that have contributed to why India is growing at rates never seen before:

1. India is going to have a demographic dividend - it will be the only young country in an aging world. If you don't invest in human capital it can become a demographic disaster.

2. Role of entrepreneurs in India, once thought of as exploiters, but now they are role models

3. English was seen as language of imperialists, but now the language is a huge strategic asset.

4. Computers were once seen as reducing jobs, but now technology is considered empowering.

5. Indians are comfortable with globalization.

6. India has had deepening of its democracy. 60 years ago it was an elite concept. But now it is a bottom up process. It has become embedded.

He presents four ideas that have been accepted but not implemented:

1. Education -- oral culture, religion. Bit gov't schools don't function. Even in slums 50% of kids go to private schools.

2. Infrastructure -- now becoming accepted, needs to be implemented.

3. Cities -- Gandhi believed in villages, Empire believed in cities, so India ignored cities. But cities are being accepted as engines of growth an innovation.

4. India as a single market. Before every province had it own market for things.

He gives three ideas in conflict, which are creating gridlock:

1. Read the rest

TED2009: Make Love not Porn

Just announced at TED2009: a new website, Make Love not Porn. Cindy Gallop announced the website, and she said she created it because she has sex with younger men and they learned about sex from watching hardcore porno

Make Love Not Porn Read the rest

TED2009: Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web is on stage at TED2009. (I've written articles twice about Tim Berners-Lee for MIT technology Review, in 2001 about the Semantic Web, and again in 2004, shortly after he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and awarded Finland's million-euro Millennium Technology Prize.)

He bounded on stage with the energy of a teenager. "Almost 20 years ago I wanted to reframe the way we use information. I want to ask for your help in a new reframing."

About the creation of the Web: His boss at CERN gave him time for a "play project" -- that's where he developed http, URLs, the pieces of the World Wide Web. Why did he so it? "Basically frustration" -- whenever he want to share documents between research institutions, he had to learn new programs, reconnect to different machines, too much incompatibility. Hard to access documents.

But when he described the Web to people without showing it to them, they weren't impressed. Difficult to explain what it is. You have to get it before you get it.

Today, he has the same problem. People have a hard time understanding his new project, the Semantic Web. The Web was about putting your documents on Web. The Semantic Web is about putting your data on web.

From my Tech Review article about TBL:

TECHNOLOGY REVIEW: For several years, you've been promoting something you call the Semantic Web, but people don't seem too excited. Why not?

TIM BERNERS-LEE: It's not the first time I've had this paradigm-shift problem.

Read the rest

TED2009: Juan Enriquez

Here at TED2009, Juan Enriquez, chairman and CEO of Biotechnomy, a life sciences research and investment firm, talked about our lousy economy and how three technologies — cell engineering, tissue engineering, and robotics can make he world a better place.

First, he showed a graph of US government spending: 21% military, 21% medicare, 21% social security, 10% other mandatory spending, 9% interest. That leaves 18% for everything else, and that amount could quickly get swallowed up.

He says advances in biotech and robotics will give rise to a new species of human, homo evolutis.

Here's a paper he wrote about homo evolutus:

After the daughter of one of my friends tore her tendons horseback riding, doctors told her they would have to harvest parts of her own tendons and hamstrings to rebuild her leg. Because she was so young, the crippling procedure would have to be repeated three times as her body grew. But her parents knew tissue engineers were growing tendons in a lab, so she was one of the first recipients of a procedure that allows natural growth and no harvesting. Today she is a successful ski racer, but her coach feels her "damaged" knee is far stronger and has asked whether the same procedure could be done on the undamaged knee…

As we regrow or engineer more body parts we will likely significantly increase average life span and run into a third track of speciation. Those with access to Google already have an extraordinary evolutionary advantage over the digitally illiterate.

Read the rest

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