NYT: Whiskey, your only defense against diseases from space

What can't whiskey cure?

Link. "What is the Grip?," from the April, 22, 1891 edition of the New York Times.

Via Gabriel Snyder of Atlanticwire, originally the subject of this "Found item" post.

(BB headline by Warren Ellis, for whom this item was almost certainly written lo these many years ago.) Read the rest

Louis Vuitton sues artist, again

In a T-shirt sold in 2008 to raise money for victims of violence in Darfur, artist Nadia Plesner depicted an African child holding a Louis Vuitton-style bag. So Louis Vuitton sued her. When she recently included the same design in a painting, it sued her again.

The first time around, Louis Vuitton claimed it wanted merely to stop her from selling the merchandise. This time, however, there is little pretense that it is about anything other than wanting the image gotten rid of. Paul Schmelzer writes:

Despite a clearly artistic -- and not commercial -- intention behind the work, Louis Vuitton is seeking monetary penalties (220,000 Euros or roughly $307,000 and counting, with no ceiling on the penalty) and aims to prevent Plesner from exhibiting the painting either on her website or at venues in the European Union. (Here's an unofficial English translation of the court order.)

LV sues artist Nadia Plesner [Eyeteeth] Read the rest

B-Boy ブンガク: sublimely dope vintage Japanese rap mixtape

Via Jay Smooth, Andrew MonkOne Mason, and egotripland, this wonderful mix of Japanese hip-hop at Names You Can Trust Radio: "B-Boy Bungaku, an hour's worth of solid nipponese rap heat straight from the shelves of Cisco, Manhattan, DMR and other long-gone Shibuya record shops of the '90s, mixed with love."

Listening and loving it. #ganbarenippon

(art by egotripland) Read the rest

Mario Brothers 2: Kong Country

The "Serious Mario Movie Trailers" meme meets a second layer of recursion in this latest amusement. If you are a PC gamer worth your salt, you'll know why I think the creators of this should be in charge of a remake of Deus Ex. Read the rest

Not so much cellphones as tracking devices: a surveilled day in the life of German politician Malte Spitz

"Green party politician Malte Spitz sued to have German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom hand over six months of his phone data that he then made available to ZEIT ONLINE. We combined this geolocation data with information relating to his life as a politician, such as Twitter feeds, blog entries and websites, all of which is all freely available on the internet."Interactive map here, article here, in Die Zeit (English). A related New York Times item is here. Read the rest

How to tell which side of your rental car the gas cap is on

Here's something I've never been able to remember: when I rent a car I forget to notice which side the gas cap is on.

For the rest of my trip, I don't think to look. I only think about it when I'm driving and it's time to fill up the tank. I try to use the side view mirrors to see which side the gas cap is on. It never works. Then I look at other cars on the road, hoping to spot one that is the same model as mine so I can see which side the gas cap is on. Unfortunately, I'm car blind in the way that some people are face blind, so that usually doesn't work. I usually end up driving to the pump and finding out if I got lucky.

But last month I met Joshua Schacter (creator of Delicious) at TED and he told me that most late-model cars have a little arrow on the gas gauge that points to the side of the car with the gas cap. This information has changed my life.

Joshua's latest creation is ClueDB, a website "for sharing tips and tricks on how to make life better. You can tag, vote and comment on the clues you like. And you can contribute clues as well." Sample clue: "Putting a screw into a threaded hole -- Turn the screw backwards until it clicks into the first thread. the chances of putting it in wrong are much less that way." Read the rest

Xeni on The Madeleine Brand radio show: NYT paywall debut, and US censorware in mideast (audio)


I joined host Madeleine Brand today on her eponymously-named radio program for a segment on two tech-related headlines of the week: first, the New York Times paywall, which went live earlier today. The new subscription model purports to limit readers to 20 articles per month, but that doesn't include front page items, or pages you visit through a Facebook or Twitter link, and so on. Separately, we spoke about the OpenNet Initiative report on American- and Canadian-made censorware used by governments in the mideast to squelch political speech. Listen here. You can follow The Madeleine Brand show here, on Twitter.

Photo: Wally Gobetz, via scpr.org. Read the rest

Kill Team: Mark Boal's Rolling Stone profile of US unit accused of murdering Afghan civilians, shooting trophy photos

Online today at Rolling Stone, and in the current print issue on newsstands: "The Kill Team," Mark Boal's feature on a group of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan who are accused of murdering innocent civilians, mutilating their corpses, and taking "trophy photos" of the bodies. How and why did their officers fail to stop them? Includes gruesome and explict war crime photos censored by the Pentagon.

Photo (pixelated by us): "In the process of suppressing the photographs, the Army may also have been trying to keep secret evidence that the killings of civilians went beyond a few men in 3rd Platoon. In this image, the bodies of two Afghan men have been tied together, their hands bound, and placed alongside a road."

Update: Michael Yon has seen some of the same material, and disagrees strongly with Boal's conclusions, calling the story "bullshit." Read the rest

Divvy: an OCD sufferer's delight

[Video Link] Divvy doesn't do anything except let you resize OS X and Windows windows by snapping them to widely-spaced gridpoints. I watched the above video, and was interested enough to download the demo (which doesn't expire but has nags about 2 or 3 times a day). I ended up liking it so much I bought it for $14.

I use it dozens of times a day. For example, I use it to set up a couple of Finder windows and a FileMaker window (so I can compare MAKE stories that are on my hard drive, on MAKE's file server, and in the editorial database.) I use it to quickly pop open and resize side-by-side Chrome browsers so I can write a blog entry. I find more uses for it almost every day.

Divvy offers configurable keyboard shortcuts - I use "1" to fill the left half of the screen and "2" to fill the right half.

This is something OS X and Windows should have baked into their operating systems.


My essential Mac applications My essential Mac applications, part 2 My essential Mac applications, part 3 My essential Mac applications, part 4 My essential Mac applications, part 5 My essential Mac research applications Read the rest

Xeni on Leo Laporte's TWIT TV with Baratunde Thurston, Marshall Kirkpatrick

I had a fun time yesterday on episode #294 of Leo Laporte's This Week in Tech webcast, with fellow guests Baratunde Thurston of The Onion and Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb. Topics included online news coverage of the Japan nuclear crisis and post-quake/tsunami humanitarian efforts; the internet of things and what a Facebooking refrigerator means for your personal privacy; Google and Honeycomb; the $41 million dollar data mining app called Color; and various things Kanye West has tweeted while high.

You can watch the video here (direct MP4 links: hi-rez, lo-rez), or listen to audio, and transcript will be here later today. Thanks again to Leo, and to TWIT producer Eileen Rivera for inviting me! Read the rest

Game Deaths MP3

So many people have asked for it, so here it is: an MP3 of the MIDI mix of Tears for Fears' "Mad World" as used in our "Game Deaths" montage of classic arcade death sequences: Download/MP3 file link. Read the rest

South Park 15th anniversary art show in NYC

Laughing Squid blog has photos from the South Park 15th Anniversary tribute art show going on in New York City at Opera Gallery. The show opens today and continues through April 10th. Read the rest

Japan tsunami sweeps Bieber, Sheen, from their perches atop Twitter

On Friday, March 11, 2011, 66% of news links on Twitter were about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. From March 7-11, 20% of the news links were on that subject, making it the number one story for that week. Read the rest

Paul Baran, Internet pioneer and Institute for the Future co-founder, RIP

Paul Baran, whose co-invention of packet switching lies at the very foundation of the Internet, has died. He was 84. Baran spent the 1960s at RAND's computer science department where he focused on developing a system for "distributed communications," fundamental research that was seminal to the birth of Arpanet which, of course, became the Internet. In 1968, Baran left RAND to co-found the Institute for the Future, the not-for-profit forecasting group where I'm a research director. His impact was broad, deep, and truly transformational. From the NYT:

“The process of technological developments is like building a cathedral,” Baran said in an interview in 1990. “Over the course of several hundred years, new people come along and each lays down a block on top of the old foundations, each saying, ‘I built a cathedral.’

“Next month another block is placed atop the previous one. Then comes along an historian who asks, ‘Well, who built the cathedral?’ Peter added some stones here, and Paul added a few more. If you are not careful you can con yourself into believing that you did the most important part. But the reality is that each contribution has to follow onto previous work. Everything is tied to everything else.”

"Paul Baran, Internet Pioneer, Dies at 84" Read the rest

Jeff Koons Must Die: '80s arcade game themed art piece in which you shoot Koons' work

Boing Boing pal Syd Garon points us to a wacky piece of arcade-themed art by Hunter Jonakin called "Jeff Koons Must Die."

"It's a 80's style video cabinet with a first-person-shooter game he created, where you run around a museum shooting Jeff Koons' work," says Syd. "It's pretty fucking awesome. Koons comes out to stop you, Big Boss style. I love that you end up fighting an endless wave of lawyers."

From Jonakin's website:

The game is set in a large museum during a Jeff Koons retrospective. The viewer is given a rocket launcher and the choice to destroy any of the work displayed in the gallery. If nothing is destroyed the player is allowed to look around for a couple of minutes and then the game ends. However, if one or more pieces are destroyed, an animated model of Jeff Koons walks out and chastises the viewer for annihilating his art. He then sends guards to kill the player. If the player survives this round then he or she is afforded the ability to enter a room where waves of curators, lawyers, assistants, and guards spawn until the player is dead. In the end, the game is unwinnable, and acts as a comment on the fine art studio system, museum culture, art and commerce, hierarchical power structures, and the destructive tendencies of gallery goers, to name a few.

Read the rest

Haute nuke-couture

Some artists and fashion designers in Paris put together a "haute nuke couture" conceptual video, inspired by... Fukushima. One of many to come, I'm sure. (thanks, Susannah Breslin) Read the rest

Pocket Geiger Counter

I've had this pocket geiger counter for a while, and I have not used it much. I took it out recently to check its battery just in case. The unit is made to check for radioactivity in industrial or geological uses, like testing scrap metal from unknown sources, old Uranium glazes on pottery, or possibly contaminated waste sites. The device clicks satisfyingly clearly when it detects three types of radiation. It's bigger than a pocket, but much smaller than the old fashioned vacuum tube variety. It runs off an 9-volt battery.

This device is not sensitive enough to detect natural background radiation, or radiation drift in the atmosphere, or mild exposure on clothing, say. The device has to be very close to the radioactive source. It would have had trouble detecting the radiation during the accident at Chernobyl 500 meters outside of the plant itself. To measure the radiation in uranium ore, for instance, the device has to be just about touching the rock. Stuff has to be significantly "hot" to register, but this is the stuff worth worrying about. Read the rest

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