Jamaica's new PM vows to ditch royal rule

Jamaica's new Prime Minister -- who won by a landslide -- has vowed to turn the island into a republic, eliminating the Queen as the head of state. This may seem pretty pro-forma, but in the past few years, Canada's royal representative, the Governor General, has allowed the Prime Minister to suspend parliament for highly politicized reasons, at one point leaving Canada without government in the midst of the financial crisis. The Commonwealth bargain is meant to be that the Queen's rep acts as a non-political, sober oversight of last resort. But in Canada, the GG let the Prime Minister shut down Parliament to avoid a no-confidence vote and to shut down an embarrassing Parliamentary inquiry about Canada's complicity in the indefinite detention, torture and murder of Afghani war prisoners. Against this backdrop, it seems to me that getting rid of royal "governance" can only be a good thing.

"I love the Queen; she is a beautiful lady," Simpson Miller said, before declaring to the audience in Jamaican patois: "But I think time come."

Simpson Miller said she could replace the privy council in London with the Trinidad-based Caribbean court of justice as Jamaica's highest court of appeal. She said this would "end judicial surveillance from London."

She vowed her government would "ease the burdens and the pressues of increasing poverty, joblessness and deteriorating standards of living" while also pursuing a tight fiscal policy and forging strong partnerships with the private sector and international partners such as the International Monetary Fund.

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Rare 1970s Intel 4040 CPU could be yours!

This vintage chip is on sale; a snap at only $800,000. Free shipping! Read the rest

What's inside a $20,000 cellphone?

Having broken apart an extremely expensive cellphone from Vertu, what does one find inside it?

"This is the one that I wasn't able to fix," writes S., who says he buys salvaged cellphones from insurers and repairs them for sale on eBay. "Although I've heard they improved recently, the first generation phone had the same guts as a $20 Nokia handset."

Previously: Vertu Signature Dragon cellphone Behold! Vertu's $200 USB cable Read the rest

Vertu Signature Dragon cellphone

Two days ago, I described Vertu's $20,000 cellphones as "resembling dragon poo." Today, it announced the Signature Dragon Commemorative Edition. [Luxury News via The Verge]

Update: Want to see a Vertu torn to pieces? Read the rest

Spoek Mathambo "Put Some Red On It" (MP3 download)

Sound it Out #12: Spoek Mathambo "Put Some Red On It"

Johannesburg’s Spoek Mathambo (real name: Nthato Mokgata) makes music that blends traditional African sounds with very current electronica, goth, rock and dubstep elements. He’s described it as “township tech” and the result is extremely weird and addictive.

Mathambo is also a producer and graphic designer - he takes his personal post-Apartheid experiences and weaves them into his songs and artwork in a unique and compelling way.

“Put Some Red On It” is an insider’s take on the South African diamond conflict. It’s moving and fun and sounds like the future to me. Spoek Mathambo’s new record Father Creeper comes out March 13th.

Bonus: Mr. Mathambo has made several visually stunning videos. Check them out here. Read the rest

Dazzle makeup and hairstyles to confuse facial recognition algorithms

CV Dazzle is a systematic approach to creating "dazzle" makeup and hair effects that fool computer vision systems. For example, you could change the symmetry of your face by painting a lightning bolt across it, causing all computer vision systems to mistakenly identify you as David Bowie.

There is a strong emphasis towards radical-neutrality. The designs used in the first several looks are inspired by both tribal paint and high-fashion aeshetics from the club scene in London. In fact, photos from both were incorporated into the testing algorithms. Surprisingly, many of the more eccentric looks did not fool the face detection algorithms.

To design the looks at left, software was developed that combines interactive drawing and genetic algorithms to detect vulnerabilities in the face detection process. By understanding how face-detection algorithms work, an anti-face can be constructed and used as a guide for creating makeup and hair-styling that foils the face detection process. As a result, your face becomes undetectable to machines yet retains some level of legibility to humans.

CV Dazzle

(via Make) Read the rest

"The Night Trawlers" by R.S. Connett

We have featured the incredible artwork of painter R.S. Connett before. Here is his latest work, called Night Trawlers. On his website, R.S. shares the story behind it:

Many years ago, when I was a young boy, my father would wake me before dawn to go fishing in the Ocean. We would drive through the foggy San Francisco streets to "Muni Pier" , buy bait wrapped in yesterdays newspaper, and drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. There my father had moored an old 26 foot inboard with a cabin. To my young eyes a Ship! As the first false dawn light began to color the world, we would board with our gear. Trembling with the morning chill, breathing out hot steam into the cold, he'd start the engine. The smell of gasoline, bait and salt water is a heavenly memory.

We made slowly out the jetty and into the San Francisco Bay to cross the "Potato Patch". This is an area of rough water under the Golden Gate bridge where many a small boat has gone down in a sudden storm. Past this fearful patch of rough water lay the beautiful blue waters off Marin County, California. We would skirt the shore, find a still cove and drop anchor. These coves were always surrounded by high cliffs with wild trees overhanging the edges. The Cliffs were natural wind breaks. The water was blue black with its depth, and still as a mirror. The smell there was pine forest mixed with salt water, morning sun, exhaust fumes and dead fish.

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Be an international policy fellow at the EFF

Here's a sweet gig: the Electronic Frontier Foundation is soliciting applications for its annual Google Policy Fellowship,"an opportunity for undergraduate, graduate, and law students to work alongside the international Policy team on projects advancing debate on key public policy issues." Read the rest

Pauline Oliveros: "Bye Bye Butterfly" (1965)

[Video Link] David and I were talking about avant garde musicians' work from the 1960s and we both agree "Bye Bye Butterfly" by Pauline Oliveros is one of the best.

"Through Pauline Oliveros and Deep Listening I finally know what harmony is... It's about the pleasure of making music." --- John Cage 1989 Read the rest

DeLorean buffed to mirror-finish

On the Autopia forums, AkamaiDetailing recently unveiled his brushed-steel DeLorean, polished and buffed to a mirror finish: "This took an insane amount of time, but it was so worth it. Has anyone else done this before?" They have indeed. Read the rest

Tatooine, a tourist's paradise

From @LASTEXITshirts, an unattributed "commercial side of Tatooine" image, that made me guffaw. If you know who the creator is, please leave it in the comments!

The commercial side of Tatooine.

(via Super Punch) Read the rest

Rick Santorum opposes contraception

Lest you think that Rick Santorum is a mere garden-variety homophobe who offers no threat to the sexual freedom of hetero couples, consider this quote: "Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that's okay, contraception is okay. It's not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be." Oh, and this gem: "They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and regulations low, that we shouldn't get involved in the bedroom or in cultural issues. That is not how traditional conservatives view the world." (via Beth Pratt) Read the rest

Hey, electric cars don't totally suck: A realistic sort-of rebuttal



As a Midwesterner and someone who has been paying a lot of attention to energy issues, I read Joel Johnson's recent Jalopnik essay with interest. "You're Not Alone. America Hates Electric Cars," is a pretty provocative title. But, as with most provocative titles, it doesn't really capture what Johnson is actually trying to say. So my response to this is not going to be exactly what you might expect. 

I think he makes some good points. If you're expecting everybody in America to be driving electric cars in 20 years time, you're out of your mind. That's not how the turnover rate of America's automobile fleet works, for one thing. For another, that kind of sunny, environmental optimism doesn't really mesh with the kind and cost of electric cars that are currently available—and likely to be available for some time. But I also think Johnson is oversimplifying some things and is flat-out wrong on a few of the important details. 

My response breaks down into five key points. Two places where I want to expand on the things I agree with, and three things I think need correcting. Now it occurs to me that this measured response might not be sufficiently antagonistic for a rebuttal piece on the Internet. So, let me add two quick comments before I dive into the nuance: First, grrrrrrr. Second, Mizzou sucks. Yeah. You heard me, Johnson. Rock chalk.*  Read the rest

Woman pees out of a moving San Francisco bus

At her Tumblr, Kelly Kate says: "HAPPY FUCKING NEW YEARS ASSHOLES, I JUST PEED OUT THE WINDOW OF A MOVING BUS." This image has generated many comments -- some funny, some offensive, some just plain predictable -- over at Mission Mission. (Thanks, Greg!) Read the rest

Floor tiles made out of recycled leather belts

Ting London makes bespoke flooring out of recycled leather belts, laying them down like floorboards. When/if you get sick of them, they'll take them back and recycle them. I'm not sure how they'd wear or what they'd be like to clean, but they look awesome.

Each belt is hand selected to ensure a high grade of leather and then the belts are stripped of their metals, hand cleaned with chemical free substances and prepared for use. The vintage belts for each tile are carefully designed in-house as the colour and patterning on the belts is sensitive to each tile. This means no two tiles will ever be the same.

Flooring | Ting

(via Core 77) Read the rest

Steampunk playing cards

Theory11's $6 Steampunk Playing Cards are manufactured in concert with the American Playing Card company on custom bronze-effect paper stock. The cards feature machinelike illustrations and are really rather well done.

Steampunk Playing Cards - theory11.com

(via The Dieline) Read the rest

Invincible Space Lair for sale

A nuke-proof space observation station in Carmel Valley, Ca., is up for sale. The asking price: $2,950,000. Able to take a 5 megaton blast, the Jamesburg Earth Station was built in the 1960s and was the first to receive live images from the moon during 1969's Apollo landing. Also included in the deal is 160 acres of land, an 11-storey antenna able to broadcast worldwide, a helipad, and a 3-bedroom home. [KSBW] Read the rest

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