[Video Link] When Glen Matlock (who probably wrote most of the Sex Pistols' best songs) was kicked out of The Sex Pistols he formed a power pop band called Rich Kids. They only put out one album, but it's one of my all time favorites. Read the rest
“Give the audience 40 minutes of astronomy and there would be no audience. It has to be a combination of science and showmanship. If there’s a sunrise, we furnish appropriate sunrise music.”—Joseph M. Chamberlain, who died this week at age 88. His work advanced astronomical education and entertainment "by leading planetariums in New York and Chicago into a new era of technology, instruction and visitor experience." Read the rest
People walk past an activist during an Animal Naturalis demonstration to promote vegetarianism in central Barcelona, December 15, 2011. (REUTERS/Albert Gea) Read the rest
Of course, just because Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda says the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl is over doesn't mean it's entirely over. Read the rest
Rep. Jared Polis (Colorado Democrat who previously founded BlueMountainArts.com) has entered the complete lyrics of "The Internet is for Porn" into the official record of the SOPA debate. Read the rest
Adam Butcher's short film is a portrait of Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private accused of sending thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks. With dialog based on the chatlogs that incriminated him, and pixel-art rotoscoping of live footage, the overall effect is strangely dehumanizing—an echo of what happens when secrets private and political come to define one's predicament. Read the rest
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A timely Kickstarter campaign: censored SOPA shirts.
Listening the SOPA markup hearings on December 15th left me with a feeling of helplessness despite having contacted my representatives and helping Kickstarter speak out against the bill.
When █████ ████ asked me how things looked later that night, I tried to convey how frustrating it was to hear our legislators repeatedly profess an ignorance of the system they were trying to legislate.
By the end of our conversation, we decided it was time to make a t-shirt.
Kevin Gosztola at FireDogLake is live-blogging/live-tweeting the Bradley Manning Pre-Trial Hearing at Fort Meade today. The military's statement announcing the hearing is here (PDF). Read the rest
Mathias Nitzsche had a nifty idea: using Wi-Fi network names to create a connection between the network's owner and those who spot it in their wireless networks list. His aptly named wifis.org site lets you pick a handle and advertise it through your network name, as in wifis.org/glennocschmidt. This creates an account for you on the site, and makes a Web form available at that address that sends email to your Google or Facebook email, whichever you used to create the registration. The visitor never sees your email address. (Nitzsche avoids having his own registration database, which removes some overhead and security risk associated with retaining passwords.)
I contacted Mathias to ask about privacy and security issues, as one might be concerned about email addresses being stored and the association of a Wi-Fi network name with such. He said (and his FAQ notes) that he doesn't reveal information to third parties. While he's based in Germany, his data and application is hosted in the Google App Engine in the United States.
I'd love to see a variant on this idea, in which an existing network name could be paired with a unique few letter long code that someone would then append to their network. Look up the code, and you'd get the same result. I admit Nitzsche's idea is neater, encoding the URL and the identifier all at once.
Charlie Stross waxes nostalgic over the incredibly elaborate Victorian reading-chair that he almost bought at an antique shop, but by the time he'd made up his mind to do so, it had already sold. The story predates his first digital camera, so there are no accompanying photos, but Charlie knows a thing or two about evoking images in prose:
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Well, this was no ordinary chair: it had clearly been made to order, probably during the Arts and Crafts period, for an eccentric Victorian Scottish gentleman who wanted a reading machine. I don't have any photographs of it, alas (this predated cameraphones: in fact, it predated both my first mobile phone and my first digital camera) but it was at heart a wood-framed armchair, with brocade seat and back padding (badly in need of restoration).
But that's not all. It was a recliner, with a deck-chair like prop behind the back (which was hinged), and a leg-rest (also padded) that could be pulled out from a drawer hidden under the seat, then angled to the user's desire. Being rather more inflexible than a modern recliner, the right arm-rest was cunningly hinged to open sideways, like a rear-hinged car door, to allow entry and egress. The left arm-rest supported an elaborate adjustable wood-and-brass book reading stand, clearly modelled on a music stand, with a small circular side-table on an arm (for the wee dram of single malt) and an oil lamp holder. My memory may be playing tricks, but I'm also fairly sure there was a magnifier.