White man from Georgia is "Gay Girl from Damascus"

For weeks, journalists, bloggers, and human rights advocates have been trying to track down a "disappeared" mideast blogger named Amina, who identified herself on her blog as a "Gay Girl from Damascus." The journal purported to chronicle "an out Syrian lesbian's thoughts on life, the universe and so on."

Well, not so much. After she went missing, people started digging. And it turns out Amina is a 40-year-old white man from Stone Mountain, Georgia named Tom MacMaster.

Christ, what an asshole.

Update: Andy Carvin (@acarvin) of NPR deserves credit for pushing this story from the start, poking at cracks early on, and doing much of the sleuthing that led to the ultimate realization that this was an exploitative hoax. Here's his post at NPR.org.

Update 2: Credit where it's due: The digging by two bloggers, Ali Abunimah and Benjamin Doherty, originally uncovered Tom MacMaster's identity. More at Electronic Intifada. Jillian York also deserves note for skepticism and questions early on, and smart analysis: related posts at jillianyork.com, technosociology.org, bookmaniac.org, and ethanzuckerman.com. Read the rest

Hand-made wireless mice with typewriter-key buttons

Baron Aaron sez, "I have always had an interest in design. This concept of mine diverts from the reclaimed materials I typically work in. The mice are fully functional and use a micro USB transmitter. Each one is unique. Specific character keys, colors, and other features are available."

Wireless Computer Mice 4 Sale (Thanks, Baron Aaron!) Read the rest

Lego-making machine made of Lego

Joseph sez, "This is an exclusive Lego set that you can purchase on the factory tour in Denmark. It has semi-functional injection molding mechanics. Really a neat toy."

The set consists of two moulding machines, the first was a replica of the original hand operating injector back from 1949. The second, Larger one is copy of the current Moulder that LEGO uses today that ... well made the bricks that made this model :)

Each model has working features - the little one can 'press' the mould together. Where as the large one has a little slot to put in 1x1 round plates in (or raw abs) , followed by a separate mechanism to 'press' the mould together. the little 1x1 round then drops down an incline and into the yellow basket below - where it waits to be whisked off by machines to storage.

Moulding Machine - Exclusive - Built

[Review] Moulding Machine #4000001 (Lego Insider Tour Exclusive) 4000001 Moulding Machine Review

(Thanks, Joseph!) Read the rest

Bryan Lee O'Malley's Transformers fan-art

Bryan Lee O'Malley, creator of the wonderful Scott Pilgrim comics, has posted some of the Transformers fan-art he created in 1988, when he was about 8 years old. The project, "Transformers Underground Mission," is described as "a choose your own adventure-style book." It's pretty wicked, as we said in the late 80s. It's also an important reminder of how creativity starts with learning by copying. A Bryan Lee O'Malley who was 8 years old in 2011 would almost certainly be posting his fan work online for his friends to see, and that work would be no less and no more infringing than O'Malley's work in 1988, but it would be much more likely to attract a legal threat and the attendant controversy and suppression.

Transformers Underground Mission, Bryan Lee O'Malley, July 1988

(via IO9) Read the rest

This machine destroys everything

[Video Link]. Update: Previously blogged on BB. Here is a link to the "shred of the month" archive.

(via Jon Swaine / spaceghetto) Read the rest

Snark SN-2 Tuner

I've tried several clip-on guitar and banjo tuners over the years, and I finally found the best one: Snark SN-2. It's fast, easy to use, and very accurate. Best of all, it's cheap: $13. It's optimized for all instruments. If you only need it for guitar, get the $10 Snark SN-1.

The build quality seems better than the previously reviewed Intellitouch, and the display is much nicer (glasses not required). And it's really fast and responsive. Plus, it has a "tap tempo" thing so you can tap the button along with the tune and it will tell you the beats per minute. Read the rest

Excerpts from Stross's upcoming Rule 34

Charlie Stross has been publishing excerpts from his fantastic upcoming novel Rule 34, a police procedural technothriller in the vein of his earlier Halting State, about the cops who are in charge of tracking down vicious, perverse memes that traverse the Internet and emerge in the physical world. It's full of weird consequences of 3D printing, networked investigation, panopticon policing, and European privacy legislation. It's funny, thought-provoking, and very, very odd -- pure Stross. I've got a full review scheduled for July 5, but in the meantime, you might enjoy an early look at the book:

Police segways come with blues and twos, Taser racks and overdrive: But if you go above walking pace, they invariably lean forward until you resemble a character in an old Roadrunner cartoon. Looking like Wile E. Coyote is undignified, which is not a good way to impress the senior management whether or not you're angling for promotion, especially in the current political climate. (Not that you are angling for promotion, but . . . politics.) So you ride sedately towards Comely Bank Road, and the twitching curtains and discreet perversions of Stockbridge.

Crime and architecture are intimately related. In the case of the red stone tenements and Victorian villas of Morningside, it's mostly theft from cars and burglary from the aforementioned posh digs. You're still logged in as you ride past the permanent log-jam of residents' Chelsea Tractors--those such as live here can afford to fill up their hybrid SUVs, despite the ongoing fuel crunch--and the eccentric and colourful boutique shops.

Read the rest

Hula-hooping from the hoop's point of view

Laura and Nick Saik, a brother and sister team in Alberta, attached a small, wide-angle camera to the inside of a hula-hoop and then recorded a hulaing session from the hoop's point of view. It's a great piece of video, in which Laura Saik comes across as a whirling dervish while the skybox reels overhead and around and around.

GO PRO ON HULA HOOP

(via Kottke) Read the rest