Nate Anderson at Ars Technica reports that police in Germany today confiscated servers belonging to the German Pirate Party, "apparently hoping to search the prominent collaboration tool widely used within Anonymous to select targets for attack." Read the rest
Local gentleman Mike Keizer, a longtime resident in of this small town of 2,400, told a reporter he hopped on his bicycle as soon as he heard there was a beaver on the loose. Who can blame him for wanting to get a close-up look at a beaver? "It looked huge. I always thought beavers would be smaller," he said.
The CBC item continues, "Keizer said in his 17 years living in Fort Smith, he has never seen a beaver -- never mind a beaver so large -- come into town."
Friday Freak-Out: The Electric Lucifer is a quintessentially strange electronic music/acid rock record released 1970. Composed by Bruce Haack(1931-1988), it's a concept album that employs an array of instrumentation including, Moogs, guitar, voice, and a DIY vocoder to tell an epic story of the battle between heaven and hell. Above is a track from that album. Electric Lucifer Book II followed in 1979 and Haack also recorded Electric Lucifer Book 3 I.F.O. (Identified Flying Object) in rough, demo form, but it never saw an official release. Several years ago, San Francisco ambient DJ Dylan Yanez (aka DF Tram/Sound Capsule) had a chance encounter with Haack's friend and longtime manager Chris Kachulis. After getting to know one another, Kachuulis provided Dylan with access to the demos of Electric Lucifer Book 3 I.F.O., and encouraged him to mix and remix the raw material into his own vision for the final album in the trilogy.
DF Tram has just released this re-interpretation of the unreleased Bruce Haack masterpiece, Electric Lucifer Book III I.F.O., on a very limited-edition CD with original artwork by Smyle. For a taste, check out "When A Man Becomes Electric" in the player above. Dylan has been my favorite DJ for years, seamlessly mixing electronica, jazz, avant-garde, contemporary classical, and pioneering computer music into an immersive flow that's fresh, inspiring, and provocative. Electric Lucifer Book III I.F.O. is $12 on CD from Dylan's site.
Electric Lucifer Book III by Bruce Haack/SoundCapsule (DF Tram Blog)
The Electric Lucifer by Bruce Haack (Amazon)
Friday Freak-Out: The Rolling Stones' "2000 Light Years From Home ... Read the rest
Roger Russell, who is known among hi-fi enthusiasts as the former director of acoustic research at McIntosh Laboratory, is also fascinated by curious clocks. Specifically, Russell created Web pages about "mystery clocks," in which the hands seem to be suspended without any obvious driving mechanism, and "projection clocks," that surprisingly date back to the early 1900s. When I shared a bedroom with my big brother as a kid, I sometimes suffered from insomnia and would occasionally wake him to complain about it. He threatened to buy a projection clock for our room so I could stare at the ceiling all night and watch the minutes... tick... by....
Neopets.com won't tell Beverly Blair Harzog how her daughter's user's name for the site ended up on credit card solicitations.
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It was in November 1999 that Neopets.com hit the scene. Kids loved it. I mean, really, really loved it. The computer game allowed them to create and take care of virtual pets in Neopia, a virtual world, and interact with each other on boards. Kids had to register, which involved giving personal information. Like other kids, Ashley, my then-10-year-old daughter, wanted to sign up and participate.
My lectures about not giving personal information on the Internet apparently did have an impact on her. Ashley now says, "I remember at the time thinking I shouldn't give my real name. So I made up a last name."
So although she gave her actual address to somebody connected to the site when she signed up (it's unclear whether it was Neopets or one of its advertisers; it was too long ago to remember), Ashley used the name "Ashley Ainttellnu," as in, I ain't tellin' you my last name. Hey, when you're 10 years old, this approach makes darn good sense. And she did (sort of) listen to her mom. Unfortunately, she used her address--a big no.
Flash forward about 10 years. Ever since Ashley started college in 2009, she's been receiving offers for student credit cards. Last week, Ashley received two credit card offers on the same day. They were both for a Discover student card.
One was addressed to Ashley Harzog and one was addressed to--are you ready?--Ashley Ainttellnu.
Be safe from the latest food riot / government-engineered plague / Michelle Bachmann tweet in one of these backyard underground bunkers.
Mike Murdock sez,
I write as a freelance reviewer for Joystiq.com, one of the largest video game website/blogs. AOL owns them.
I wrote a review of a video game called "Conduit 2", by High Voltage software, published by Sega.
The review was very negative. I gave it 1/5 stars. I was...very harsh. But it was justified. The game is, in my professional opinion, terrible.
I am also a fantasy novelist. After the review was published, the creative director of High Voltage sent out an inter-office email, telling his people to go to my book on Amazon.com and write reviews of it, since I had written a bad review of their game. The email was leaked to the gaming press.
The issue is not that it's a cute back and forth between a major video game developer and a lowly reviewer, but moreso that a major company attacked the livelihood of the reviewer because they didn't like the review, and they're acting like that's ok. Even the email response they sent to The Escapist condones what they did, and admits it. Then they wryly continue saying that kind of behavior is respectable, warranted and, most of all, above reproach.
Vivian Chiu's "Inception" chair is a series of nested chair-like objects, inspired by the nested realities in the eponymous film:
Taking the chair archetype and placing within it chairs that are progressively smaller. Each chair has hand cut grooves on the inside edges of its seat frame as well as notches in the seat back. These grooves range from 1/2" wide to 1/8" wide. The mechanism works so that the pegs fit into the grooves of the chair one size bigger and slides into place so that the horizontal edge between the chair seat and back line up. The simple mechanism allows the chairs to be taken apart and put together with ease.
David Weinberger's manifesto, "Rebooting Library Privacy in the Age of the Network," is a beautifully written explanation of the different mechanisms that have traded under the name of "privacy" and "disclosure" over the centuries in libraries, and how these are changing, thanks to the net and the new capabilities of networked books and reading. Weinberger makes a very good case for the importance of preserving intellectual privacy for library patrons, but finds room in this for knowledge sharing and collaboration. It's part of Harvard's upcoming Hyper-Public, "A Symposium On Designing Privacy and Public Space in the Connected World" (Jun 9-10).
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Social norms about privacy are obviously changing. No one knows yet where they will end up, but clearly we are undergoing a generational transformation.
Norms are what holds if exceptional circumstances need to be cited to justify contrary actions. In a grocery, the norm is that once an item has been placed in a shopper's cart, other shoppers are not free to take it for themselves; if you do wish to take an item from another shopper's cart, you need to give a reason.
In software and social systems, norms are expressed as defaults: functionality and configurations that encourage certain uses and behaviors. Defaults and norms are fundamental to human society; without them, we would have to go back to first principles every time we entered a grocery, and would have to renegotiate fundamental rules of behavior every time we queued. They are the implicit that enables us to live together.
Weatherspark is a really neat site that allows you to create interactive graphs of weather forecasts and long term trends. So, for instance, I can compare three different weather forecasts for my weekend. I can also go look at long-term climate changes in my region—where the mean temperature is on track to increase by more than 3 degrees F (and probably closer to 4 degrees) between 1949 and 2049. There's lots more neat stuff you can do with this this site. It looks like it could easily be a rabbit hole of random fact generation. It does, however, seem to require Flash. (Via Dan Zarrella) Read the rest
This NASA Image of the Day does a really good job of helping to visualize how a large-scale flood control system works. To prevent the rising Mississippi from flooding downstream cities like Baton Rouge and New Orleans, authorities opened some of the bays in the Morganza spillway, allowing water from the Mississippi to flow out into a levee-defined floodplain.
Five days after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened a flood control structure, or spillway, onto the Morganza Floodway, water had spread 15-20 miles (24-32 kilometers) southward across the Louisiana landscape.
The leading edge of the flood water was about 3 miles (4.5 kilometers) below Krotz Springs, between U.S. Route 190 and Interstate 10 (off the bottom of the image), according to Ricky Boyett, a spokesman for the Army Corps. Arrival at the Atchafalaya River is imminent, though the southward flow of water in the floodway has been slower than projections. The region had been suffering through a significant drought, so the ground and side waterways have been able to absorb more water than originally anticipated.
The false-color images combine infrared, red, and green wavelengths to help distinguish between water and land. Clear water is blue, and sediment-laden water is a dull blue-gray. Vegetation is red; the brighter the red, the more robust the vegetation. Gray patches away from the center of the floodway are likely farm fields that have recently been burned or cleared.
The same levees and spillway you see here also prevent the Mississippi from changing course. Without them, the River would probably take a more direct course to the Gulf of Mexico, likely through the same basin region that is the floodplain now. Read the rest
This color photo, dating to 1943, is part of a Library of Congress collection that I've posted shots from before. This one is just lovely. And I'm also pretty sure that I know where this train shop building is located. If I'm right, it's one of the massive Santa Fe RR buildings near Topeka's Oakland neighborhood, right across from Our Lady of Guadeloupe church. Today, there's a road bridge that takes you over the top of the rail yards, so you drive into Oakland at almost the level of those upper windows. I always did want to see what was inside! Read the rest