This, writes Gawker's John Cook, is a taxi used in "NYPD's indiscriminate and probably illegal spying program." According to the two Pulitzer Prize–winning authors of the book, Enemies Within, it's a "real yellow cab, complete with an authentic taxi medallion registered under a fake name used by the department's intelligence division to conduct surveillance operations."
It's mainly used to keep tabs on activities around New York's mosques, say the book's authors, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman.
Cook's advice, "If you hail this cab, don't tip."
This is the NYPD's Secret Spy Cab Read the rest
"[Video Link] University of Washington researchers have performed what they believe is the first noninvasive human-to-human brain interface, with one researcher able to send a brain signal via the Internet to control the hand motions of a fellow researcher." (Thanks, Jake Dunaganan!) Read the rest
A hacker group loyal to Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad known as "Syrian Electronic Army" (or someone posing as the SEA) took down the New York Times website today, and also attacked Twitter and HuffPo UK.
It's not the first time the SEA has attacked (and effectively denied online service for) Western media organizations, but it is the first time we're aware of that they've taken down the New York Times. If there's a single holy grail media target for anti-US hackers, it's probably the Times.
The Times has more on how it happened, and here's a later post with more technical details. Read the rest
It's real, and it's fabulous. A local TV news story about a woman in San Juan Capistrano, California, who seeks help locating her escaped and much-beloved African gray parrot. The bird speaks in the voice of the woman's late husband. [via LAist] Read the rest
At the Context and Variation blog (one of the best sources around for solid information on the science of ladybusiness, btw), an anonymous guest post recounts the story of a woman's recent miscarriage, how she ended up deciding to end the pregnancy with surgical dilation and curettage, and what that experience and its aftermath were like. It's powerful, moving, and very much worth reading. (For context, I wrote about my own miscarriage here at BoingBoing last year, and that post is referenced in this article.) Read the rest
Part of the problem with the Chelsea Manning situation is that it's spawned a lot of not-terribly-well-informed discussion about the roles and experiences of transgendered people in the military. There's a risk of this one big anecdote coming to represent the whole. Enter the Kinsey Institute — America's favorite source of sexuality science — which just got a grant to do actual research on the lives of transgender service members. Read the rest
GE hosted a contest to make super-short science videos for Vine and the results feature some really clever, nifty little clips. Read the rest
Video Link. A new masterpiece by Jonathan "Song-A-Day" Mann.
Read the rest
Looks like we're going to war again
Looks like we're going to war
Looks like we're going to war again
Syria here come the bombs
You don't think that we do this just for fun, do you?
Something has to be done
Now look at Miley Cyrus' tongue
As part of an effort to understand the spread of a potentially deadly canine parasite, researchers at the University of Exeter put LEDs and glow-in-the-dark paint on 450 garden snails and proceeded to film them over the course of 72 hours.
The result is kind of gorgeous and mesmerizing, as tiny points of colored light meander in time lapse through the snails' natural habitat.
Besides the trippy display of gastropod activity, the researchers also learned interesting things: Like the fact that snails can cover as much as 82 feet in a day, and some snails save energy while traveling by using the slime trails left by others. Read the rest
A couple of years ago, I recorded a talk on octopus neurobiology. One of the freakiest things you'll learn, if you watch it, is that an octopus' "brain" isn't really a centralized thing the way ours is. The processing capacity is distributed throughout the animal's body. At io9 today, Annalee Newitz writes about a new study that backs up that idea, demonstrating that disembodied octopus arms react to threats in ways a severed human hand never could. Read the rest
If what Adrian Chen at Gawker blogs is true about the downed nytimes.com temporarily pointing to a Syrian Electronic Army domain, then, well, that's pretty weird. Read the rest
Anthropologist Jennifer Raff offers this great guide, aimed at laypersons, that will help you learn more from reading the scientific research papers you find online and prevent you from succumbing to common mistakes that often show up in Internet flame wars. Step 1: Don't rely on the abstract to tell you what's going on — read the introduction first, instead. Read the rest
This is one of those news stories where my biases show, like woah, and I'm happy to admit it. In the UK, 50% of laboring women take advantage of nitrous oxide (good ol' dentist's office laughing gas) for pain relief. The rates of usage are about the same in Canada and even higher in countries like Finland. If you read up on the stuff, this isn't terribly surprising. Nitrous oxide gas doesn't totally eliminate childbirth pain, but studies show it does a great job of taking the edge off and without the long-term loopiness of injected narcotics or the limitations on movement (and the whole needle-in-your-spine bit) that goes along with epidurals. Plus, it's pain relief that's controlled by the woman, herself. You just take a hit off the gas whenever you find your contraction warrants it. No anesthesiologist necessary.
I'm due to give birth in less than two months and this is something I'd love to use. But I can't. Because there are only two hospitals in the entire United States that offer it as an option. They're both on the West Coast. (NOTE: Reader djmburr says his wife was able to use nitrous oxide at Baptist Hospital in Nashville earlier this year. So it sounds like there are more hospitals allowing this than making it into the news.) Read the rest
A running discussion Pesco and I enjoy are the merits of our respective Barbour International and Belstaff Trialmaster jackets. My Belstaff is prettier, his Barbour more rugged. We'd both love this Barbour Steve McQueen Rexton, however.
Modeled after the famous Barbour that McQueen wore during the 1967 International Six Day Trials, this weathered-looking heavy waxed cotton jacket certainly looks the part. It sports a US I.S.D.T. team patch that evokes a simpler, more hands-on time of motorcycling. Don't wear these jackets on the road, however, modern gear is far more protective.
Barbour Steve McQueen Rexton jacket Read the rest
With three cats in the house, fur gets all over our furniture and clothes. I didn’t want to make a dozen Monkey Couch Guardians, so I bought a Love Glove to attack the problem at its source – on the cats.
The Love Glove looks like an oven mitt. The palm side is covered with rubber nubs. To use it, you simply pet your cat. The loose fur comes off and sticks to the glove. It’s easy to peel off. My cats go into throes of ecstasy when I use the Love Glove on them. They even get excited just seeing me approach them with the glove on my hand.
I have collected a lot of fur so far. My younger daughter is saving it because she to make the projects in Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat. -- Mark
Love Glove Grooming Mitt for Cats $6 Read the rest
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Enterobacter aerogenes. [via microbewiki]
Two neurosurgeons at UC Davis have resigned
after infecting brain cancer patients with a pathogenic bacteria from their bowels
in a last-ditch effort to halt progression of their cancers. The three patients gave their consent to Dr. J. Paul Muizelaar, 66, the former head of the neurosurgery department, and his colleague, Dr. Rudolph J. Schrot. But the doctors hadn't received OKs from the FDA, or school authorities, and the procedure hadn't even been tested on animals.
As Maggie wrote here last week, it's a complicated story that strikes at the heart of medical experimentation ethics, and how difficult treatment options are for patients with aggressive cancers. Read the rest