Twitter suspends account of Somali Islamist militants linked to Al-Qaeda

Two days after a group of Somali islamist militants vowed to execute Kenyan hostages, and tweeted a video of a captive pleading for the Kenyan government to help free them, the Al-Shabaab Twitter account @HSMPress was suspended. A Google cache is visible here. Warning: includes gruesome photos. The group took a French intelligence officer hostage, then apparently murdered him after an unsuccessful attempted raid by the French military which the US assisted). An @HSMPress press release about that killing is available on Twitlonger.

The Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen Twitter account has been around since 2011, promoting the group's vision of strict sharia law in Somalia, 140 characters at a time. The US State Department was reportedly looking in to shutting it down ages ago. Wonder what took them so long?

For its part, Al Shabaab blames its "Christian enemies" for suspending its Twitter account. And they do sound rather miffed about being blocked on the popular social networking platform. Read the rest

Appeals Court affirms state secrecy in Twitter/WikiLeaks case

In Virginia today, a federal appeals court has ruled that the government can maintain secrecy around its efforts to obtain the private information of internet users, without a warrant. The appeal originated from a legal battle over the Twitter user records of three activists the government is investigating for connections to WikiLeaks: security researcher Jacob Appelbaum (@ioerror), Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp (@rop_g), and Icelandic parliament member Birgitta Jonsdottir (@birgittaj). The ruling effectively says the three do not have the right "to know from which companies, other than Twitter, the government sought to obtain their records," as Kim Zetter reports in Wired News: Read the rest

Is this the douchiest press release ever?

Perhaps. Read the rest

Watch a Tibetan Wheel of Life mandala take form

Lama Losang Samten explains some of the history and symbolism behind the Tibetan "Wheel of Life" mandala.

Aaron Swartz didn't face prison until Feds, led by Ortiz, jumped on case

Declan McCullagh writes at CNET News: "State prosecutors who investigated the late Aaron Swartz had planned to let him off with a stern warning, but federal prosecutor Carmen Ortiz took over and chose to make an example of the Internet activist, according to a report in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly." Read the rest

Vine launches, Twitter and Facebook clash over access, users lose

Craig Kanalley has a good breakdown over at HuffPo about Twitter's acquisition/launch of Vine, an iOS app described as kind of a "video instagram" that allows you to share 6-second looping video clips. Kinda like ani-GIFs in video form, sort of, but proprietary. Twitter-only.

I have mixed feelings about Vine, not because I don't think the idea is kind of cute and nifty, or that people won't find clever creative uses—it's just not as open and interoperable as I'd like. As media sharing services such as Vine and Instagram grow, the already-siloed social web becomes ever more so. And, that's not good. Read the rest

MAC cosmetics Archie Comics line asks, "Are you a Betty or a Veronica?"

Sigh. Because, like, the whole gender role thing is binary. But, binary as in, are you Betty or are you Veronica. It hits stores February 7. More pix here. (HT: @marynmck) Read the rest

What's new in the Boing Boing video archive

A little reminder that Boing Boing has a Boing Boing video page where you can surf and share our video posts. Who needs words? Other than the words it takes to describe these awesome videos to you. Some recent selections:

• The secret to feeling like you have more time. • Scotties in a Busby Berkeley-like synchronized formation. • Lion in Kenya curious about GoPro camera on RC car. • Cars sliding down icy streets and other snow-related hijinx. • Crazy hamsters demonstrate how centrifugal force works. • How to eat an elephant. • Boiling water turns into flash-frozen snow at -33C.

Boing Boing: Video! Read the rest

Scottie Puppy Pinwheel

They do love their goat's milk.

Growing Up Gay in 2013: Joe Schwartz, the teen in "Oddly Normal"

My friend John Schwartz at the New York Times wrote "Oddly Normal," a wonderful book about how he and his wife Jeanne worked through challenges to learn how best to support their son Joe, who is gay.

In the Atlantic today, Alice Dreger interviews Joe, who is now 17 years old, "to expand on some of the themes explored in the book and answer some questions raised by people who have commented on it."

Joe is a really interesting person, and the interview is terrific. Go have a read.

(Photo: John and Joe, shot by Ethan Hill for the NYT) Read the rest

I am waiting for my cat to evolve

I'd completely forgotten Red Dwarf. Such a wonderful series. The cat is legendary.

Release the kraken!

What do you need to catch a giant squid? At The Verge, Arikia Millikan goes behind-the-scenes on the recent, successful expedition to capture the kraken on video for the first time. Read the rest

Punk Voyager: when the punks launched their own space-probe

"Punk Voyager" is this week's story on the Escape Pod podcast, and it is fucking amazing. It's Shaenon Garrity story about punks at the twilight of the 1970s who are drunkenly outraged to discover that the Voyager probe has been launched with classical music records for aliens. They build their own Voyager probe out of garbage, razor-blades, beer cans and a surfboard some douchebag left on the beach, filled with all the most important human artifacts that they can find in their van. They forget about it as the 80s roar in, and then the aliens come to Earth and cockpunch Ronald Reagan.

Fuck yeah.

Punk Voyager was built by punks. They made it from beer cans, razors, safety pins, and a surfboard some D-bag had left on the beach. Also plutonium. Where did they get plutonium? Around. Fuck you.

The punks who built Punk Voyager were Johnny Bonesaw, Johnny Razor, Mexican Johnny D-bag, Red Viscera, and some other guys. No, asshole, nobody remembers what other guys. They were Fucking wasted, these punks. They’d been drinking on the San Diego beach all day and night, talking about making a run to Tijuana and then forgetting and punching each other. They’d built a fire on the beach, and all night the fire went up and went down while the punks threw beer cans at the seagulls.

Forget the shit I just said, it wasn’t the punks who did it. They were Fucking punks. The hell they know about astro-engineering? Truth is that Punk Voyager was the strung-out masterpiece of Mexican Johnny D-bag’s girlfriend, Lacuna, who had a doctorate in structural engineering.

Read the rest

Proposed New Mexico law would incarcerate rape victims who have abortions

"A rape victim could be charged with a felony and face up to three years in prison if she aborts a child conceived in that rape, according to a bill proposed by New Mexico state Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R-Carlsbad)." New Mexico House Bill 206 attempts to further dehumanize rape victims by criminalizing abortion as “Tampering with evidence." (WaPo, HT: @aileengraef) Read the rest

Christian Bale phones a young fan

...a young fan named Zach who happens to have cancer, and is a patient in a Seattle hospital.

Great moments in pedantry: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

This debate is partly about semantics, and partly about the fact that evolution is more like a curve than a stair-step. Read the rest

A list of the "10 Craziest Drummers Ever," complete with illos

At Esquire, Miles Raymer has a top-ten list of theCraziest Drummers Ever. I'm not normally a fan of listicles, but this is more than mere linkbait. The illustrations by Jeremy Wheeler are fantastic!

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