Tumblog of greatness: Celebrity Googly Eyes

I like it: celebritygoogly.com. Above, Wil Wheaton. Say the editors of this fine site, "To submit a picture, just post it on your tumblr and tag it 'celebritygoogly'." (via badastronomer) Read the rest

Model crowdsources name-and-shame for lecherous airline seatmate

Our Avram takes to Making Light to tell the remarkable story of a model who found herself sitting next to a lecherous married man on an airplane, and who crowdsourced a name-and-shame campaign for him on Twitter that uncovered his identity. Avram makes the point that this is more science fictional than most science fiction:

Ms Stetten is a twenty-something model living in New York (though possibly not a native). Yesterday she was on a plane when the fellow sitting next to her, wearing a wedding ring, tried hitting on her. She turned him down, and tweeted about it. He kept at it.

Over the course of the conversation, Brian mentioned not just his first name, but also that he’s an actor, and born in Oklahoma. Eventually he brought up that he’d just been working on a project with Matthew McConaughey, and that’s all it takes nowadays. Inside a minute, one of Stetten’s followers had found him on the IMDB.

Things got worse for Brian from there — lied about his marriage, turned out to be lying about being “clean and sober”, etc. The story’s been picked up by a Hollywood gossip site, so I imagine he’s got some ’splainin’ to do back home. I’m interested in this not so much for the sake of schadenfreude about some actor I’d never heard of (although it is fun) as for the implications for science fiction. How much have you read recently that gives you that glimpse of the possibilities of heavily networked societies?

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Walmart breaks bad: active meth lab found inside Missouri store

Apparently, corporate profits just aren't enough for some global megabusinesses these days: a Walmart store in South St. Louis County, Missouri was emptied by police when an "active methamphetamine production laboratory" was discovered inside.

Now, it's entirely possible that the "lab" consisted of an empty plastic bottle and some chemicals, but still, you guys: some tweeker was cooking crystal inside a freakin' Walmart.

The store was open and full of customers when it was cleared about 6:15 p.m. Thursday after employees and then police discovered the possible hazardous situation involving the substances used to make methamphetamine, St. Louis County police Lt. Mark Cox said. The chemicals were discovered after police were called about a shoplifter. Cox did not yet know details of the "lab," how it was put together or where in the store it was located.

UPDATE: It gets weirder. This local news report further clarifies that a woman detained for shoplifting at the Walmart "began to make meth in the loss prevention office."

Now that is baller. You're busted for shoplifting, placed in what amounts to a holding cell inside the store, and how do you kill time? Makin' ice! Read the rest

Ray Bradbury's original concept script for Epcot's Spaceship Earth

An anonymous reader sent me Ray Bradbury's 1977 concept script for Spaceship Earth at Epcot Center. It's a beautiful read, and led me to vivid recollections of the original script from Epcot's opening in the early 1980s.


(Thanks, Anonymous Reader!)

(Image: Spaceship Earth Mural 2, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from aloha75's photostream)

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Terry Gilliam's Brazil letter to Universal (1985): "I feel every cut, especially the ones that sever the balls."

One of my favorite websites is Shaun Usher's Letters of Note, which runs interesting letters written by notable people. Today, Shaun posted a 1985 letter from Terry Gilliam to the head of Universal, Sid Sheinberg. Shaun says, "In August of 1985, many months after its successful release outside of North America, Terry Gilliam's iconic movie, Brazil, was still being cut for the U.S. market. Universal head Sid Sheinberg wanted a shorter, happier film; Gilliam, on the other hand, could think of nothing worse. He wrote the following letter to Sheinberg on the 8th and pleaded for mercy."

August 8

Dear Sid:

Once upon a time you told me that you were not the one that put me in the chair at the end of "Brazil." I'm afraid that this is no longer true — unable as I am to think of anyone else who is directly responsible for my current condition. Your later offer to be the friend who becomes a torturer has more than come true. I am not sure you are aware of just how much pain you are inflicting, but I don't believe "responsibility to the company" in any way absolves you from crimes against even this small branch of humanity. As long as my name is on the film, what is done to it is done to me — there is no way of separating these two entities. I feel every cut, especially the ones that sever the balls. And I plead, whether they are done in the name of legitimate and responsible experiments or personal curiosity, if you really wish to make your version of "Brazil" then put your name on it.

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Mind Blowing Movies: Blade Runner (1982), by Gareth Branwyn

This week, Boing Boing is presenting a series of essays about movies that have had a profound effect on our invited essayists. See all the essays in the Mind Blowing Movies series here. -- Mark

Like Tears in the Rain, by Gareth Branwyn

[Video Link] In 1982, my wife and I had just moved from a rural commune in Virginia to Washington, DC. We moved to the city so that she could pursue her music career (among other reasons). We were still country mice, easily awoken in the morning by street traffic, bothered by the air quality, and longing for the open skies of the country -- where, at night, you could see the stardust of the Milky Way clear as day.

Every year my wife would go to Nantucket to perform at a restaurant called The Brotherhood of Thieves -- a place that wouldn't look at all out of place in Treasure Island. It was dark, brick-walled, candle and lantern-lit, with big oak-slab tables and wooden ass-numbing chairs. In 1982, she was performing a duo act with well-known New England folkie Linda Worster, with whom she frequently played on the island.

Seeing them perform every night was a joy, but some nights I'd want to drift onto the streets of Nantucket, get swept up into the tide of pink and Nantucket-red golf clothes and flouncy summer dresses, and see where the night might wash me up.

On this night, a somewhat cold and cloudy one, I ended up under the marquee of Nantucket's Dreamland Theater, a giant, creaking, wooden ship of a building that smelled of mold, popcorn grease, and sunscreen. Read the rest

Do it for the young black males: legalize marijuana, writes Touré in TIME

Author, journalist, and MSNBC commentator Touré writes in TIME this issue about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's desire to decriminalize marijuana from a racial standpoint.

"Black men are targeted and stopped and frisked for the crime of being black in poor black neighborhoods," Touré writes, "and those found with small bags of marijuana are sucked into the justice system and forever branded a criminal. This means they will struggle to find work, may not qualify for student-aid and likely stay in public housing. These men are virtually removed from society for a nonviolent offense that many Americans commit. They are failed by America."

As he notes in the story, 12 US states have decriminalized marijuana, including California (though application of the law is a total mess here). Because of New York’s size and place in America, however, decriminalizing marijuana in the state of New York would represent a significant turning point. Read the whole thing.


My Dinner with Marijuana: chemo, cannabis, and haute cuisine ... Osama bin Smokin'? Marijuana found at Abbottabad compound ... In the NYT, a judge who has cancer argues for the legalization of ... Lego marijuana art show - Boing Boing Obama vs. Marijuana: What is the deal? - Boing Boing Psychedelic anti-Marijuana TV spot from the 1980s - Boing Boing TOM THE DANCING BUG: Medical Marijuana - Gateway Drug ... Read the rest

Excerpt from new Hard Case Crime thriller: False Negative, by Joseph Koenig

Here's an excerpt from False Negative, the first new novel in 20 years by acclaimed crime writer Joseph Koenig.

A quarter past eleven, and he was having breakfast over the Monday paper when the phone rang. He didn't know anyone up so early. Nightside reporters didn't start work till five. No one called unless a calamity required his attention, usually a boardwalk fire or drowning worth a few paragraphs on the local page. A fire at a crowded restaurant, a hotel robbery, another killing would be a welcome change of pace --any story that didn't involve the Coast Guard. November was too cold to go out in the cutter, and get sick to his stomach chasing after fishermen who'd been caught overnight in strong currents.

But the voice on the other end wasn't from the paper. "Adam Jordan, this is Ed Pelfrey."

"Do I know you?"

"I'd like to talk to you about something that ran under your name in the Press."

Jordan had been meaning to remove his number from the phone book. Press readers weren't shy about bothering him at home to ask what right he had to put something they didn't like in his paper. He'd point out that it wasn't his paper, and that Thomas Jefferson had given him the right, but Press readers weren't listeners. Rather than continue the civics lessons, he'd change to an unlisted number.

"I was out late, Ed, tracking down more stories for you, so if you'll excuse me I'll be getting back to my Rice Krispies."

"Don't hang up.

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Monkey eating raptors and the only bird with a bill longer than the rest of its body

Above: John McCormack shows off a specimen of the sword-billed hummingbird, the only bird known to have a bill longer than the rest of its body

Seth Teicher of Atlas Obscura wrote about his visit to Occidental College's Moore Laboratory's Bird Specimen Collection on Obscura Day 2012 in May. He took a lot of photos of the visit.

On April 28th, I woke up on the west side of LA, grabbed my gear and headed due east to Occidental College where I joined about a dozen other people for a hands-on tour of beautiful, dead birds. Lots of them. I mean drawers upon drawers FULL of them.

Hands-on Birds: An Obscura Day Tour of Moore Laboratory's Bird Specimen Collection Read the rest

Space nerd family fun in LA this weekend: NASA JPL open house

Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA opens its doors to the public for an annual Open House.

The event, themed "Great Journeys," will feature a life-size model of Curiosity, the rover currently bound for Mars aboard NASA/JPL’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft; demonstrations from numerous other space missions; JPL’s machine shop, where robotic spacecraft parts are built; and the Microdevices Lab, where engineers and scientists use tiny technology to revolutionize space exploration.

JPL Open House includes hands-on activities and opportunities to talk with scientists and engineers. For the first time ever, cell phone users, using text-message capabilities, will be able to take part in a mobile scavenger hunt. “The Voyage” scavenger hunt participants can search for secret capsules hidden across JPL and unlock secret codes.

JPL’s Facebook page is here. If you go and tweet from the event, use the #JPLOpen hashtag. Details are here, and more photos are here. (photo: NASA JPL) Read the rest

Neil Gaiman remembers Ray Bradbury

Neil Gaiman's remembrance of Ray Bradbury is very sweet and paints a picture of one of the field's great mensches:

Last week, at dinner, a friend told me that when he was a boy of 11 or 12 he met Ray Bradbury. When Bradbury found out that he wanted to be a writer, he invited him to his office and spent half a day telling him the important stuff: if you want to be a writer, you have to write. Every day. Whether you feel like it or not. That you can't write one book and stop. That it's work, but the best kind of work. My friend grew up to be a writer, the kind who writes and supports himself through writing.

Ray Bradbury was the kind of person who would give half a day to a kid who wanted to be a writer when he grew up.

A man who won't forget Ray Bradbury

(Thanks, Deborah!) Read the rest

Suicide rate among US troops hits all-time high

One US soldier killed themselves each day this year, on average: the fastest pace of suicides among active-duty troops in the nation's decade of war. AP reports: "The 154 suicides in the first 155 days of the year far outdistance the U.S. forces killed in action in Afghanistan - about 50 percent more - according to Pentagon statistics obtained by The Associated Press. Read the rest

Designer Takeshi Miyakawa out of prison, after art project misinterpreted as terrorism

The NYT has an update on the case of designer Takeshi Miyakawa. The 50-year-old Japanese artist, who lives in New York City, was arrested last month while he draped plastic “I ♥ NY” bags stuffed with LEDs and batteries from trees in Manhattan and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The act frightened some observers who thought "his art installation, timed to coincide with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, was a series of bombs." He was charged with reckless endangerment, criminal nuisance and “planting a false bomb,” then imprisoned on Rikers Island and ordered to undergo a mental evaluation. He's out now. Maybe he should have a conversation with Star Simpson. Read the rest

New study connects CT scans with elevated cancer risk in children

A study released this week in the medical journal Lancet provides the strongest evidence yet that CT scans in children are linked to elevated risk of developing cancer. As with all things involving radiation, and with all things involving cancer, it's complicated—and doesn't mean that CT scans aren't in some cases necessary. Here's a WSJ article summarizing the findings. "This paper confirms that radiation, even in relatively low doses, does lead to risk" of certain cancers, said Alan Craft, emeritus chair at Newcastle University and an author of the paper. "There is no safe dose." (via @moorehn) Read the rest

Aurora Light Painters on America's Got Talent (video)

The Aurora Light Painters. I think what these guys do is cool: live, performative light painting. It starts getting really interesting around 1:50. Rusty at Laughing Squid has more. (via @sfslim)

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"Everybody poops. Even your favorite athlete."

I am really not sure what to say in regards to this 2010 ESPN story about the science and psychology of elite athletes shitting themselves all over the place. Two thoughts though:

1. This story is totally fascinating and you will not regret reading it, even through the disgust. It is its own unicorn chaser.

2. I am so, so glad that I do not exercise at a level where my body has to make a choice between keeping my heart, lungs, and muscles working vs. providing all my other internal organs (including colon) with enough blood flow to remain functional.

In the 1997 NBA Finals, a severe stomach flu forced Michael Jordan to play through extreme bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. His 38 points (with multiple grimaces) led the Bulls to a pivotal Game 5 win against Utah. At Wimbledon in 2001, Serena Williams was suffering from a stomach virus and ran off the court during her quarter-final match with Jennifer Capriati in the decisive third set, after pleading with the chair ump for a timeout. "I can't hold this," Serena cried. And this summer, some of the New Orleans Saints began referring to their championship tilt with the Colts as the Super Bowel because of the unpleasant events that transpired before kickoff. "An NFL pregame locker room can be the most god-awful scene you will ever see or smell," says former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita, now with the Browns. "We are moments away from the Super Bowl, the highlight of our athletic lives, and pretty much everyone is in the bathroom just absolutely blowing up the stalls."

Yes, everybody poops.

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Texel, Netherlands: An island where science and culture meet

The Frisian Islands are barrier islands off the coast of the Netherlands. Between these islands and the mainland, there is an area called the Wadden Sea. This sea is only wet in some places, at some times. Instead of being a proper body of water, it's speckled with shallow pools, wetlands, mud flats that flood and dry up depending on storms and changing tides.

That geography makes the Frisian Islands, including the island of Texel, a great place to go beachcombing. During high tides and storms, water from the North Sea flows into the Wadden Sea through inlets. Not all of this water flows back out again, some evaporates. And water isn't the only thing in the North Sea. Wander the mud flats after the tide goes back out and you'll find all manner of random things washed up on Texel's shores—from buckets and signs, to bottles stuffed with anonymous letters.

On a more practical level, current patterns in the North Sea push whatever is in the water towards Texel. That means when a container ship loses something like a box full of luxury coats, the beaches of Texel are a great place to find it again. All that flotsam and jetsam (both the useful and the whimsical) helped create a culture of beachcombing on Texel. For generations, people went down to the shore and finders-keepers was the name of the game.

You can watch a new 14-minute documentary on Texel beachcombers and the goodies they've found. It's called Flotsam & Jetsam and it's available on Vimeo and it's really interesting—a great example of how the realities of nature and science can shape the way culture develops. Read the rest

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