Obama’s secret attempt to ban cellphone unlocking, while claiming to support it

Derek Khanna of Slate reports that the White House is pushing to keep cellphone unlocking illegal, and making the legal act of jailbreaking a crime punishable by imprisonment.

Last week, WikiLeaks made public a portion of a treaty that the White House has been secretly negotiating with other nations and 600 special interest lobbyists. The draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty, which is on intellectual property, shows that HealthCare.gov isn’t the only tech topic on which the Obama administration has some serious explaining to do.

The leaked treaty draft shows that while the White House was championing restoring free market principles to phones, the U.S. proposed that the TPP lock in the process that allowed the Librarian of Congress to rule this technology as illegal through international law. This would make many potential reforms impossible. But the TPP draft doesn’t stop there. It would ban numerous other technologies that have beneficial uses. In particular, the legislation would ensure that jailbreaking -- which is installing a different operating system on your phone, tablet, or e-reader—is illegal.

This treaty has long been shrouded in unprecedented secrecy. Congressional staff, press and general public weren’t allowed to read it; in many cases, even members of Congress were kept in the dark. Meanwhile, special interests were given full access. Now we know why: The White House didn’t want the public to know what was being negotiated in their name.

Obama’s Secret Attempt to Ban Cellphone Unlocking, While Claiming to Support It Read the rest

Rudy Rucker's BIG AHA

Rudy Rucker sends us, "My new novel, THE BIG AHA, with an accompanying volume of NOTES FOR THE BIG AHA. Browsable as a free webpage, and available as commercial ebook and paperback. With fourteen chapter illustrations. The plot? Biotech has replaced machines. Qrude young artist Zad Plant works with living paint. But Zad's career is on the skids. Enter qwet---or quantum wetware. Qwet makes you high---and it gives you telepathy. A new psychedelic revolution kicks in. But hungry mouths begin popping out of the air and eating people. Zad and his partner Jane travel through a wormhole to confront the aliens. And they meet something stranger than ever imagined. What is the Big Aha? My wildest adventure yet." Read the rest

Sea Shepherd to stream live video of 'expected' pilot whale kill in Taiji cove

A crew of marine mammal advocates from the Sea Shepherd organization plan to live-stream video from the shores of the so-called "killing Cove" in Taiji today. A pod of pilot whales were captured there yesterday and netted off in the Cove. This location was the focal point of the 2009 film "The Cove." The Sea Shepherd press release is below; the livestream is here. Read the rest

NSA net-security sabotage means the end of US Internet "stewardship"

Speaking at a presentation in DC, Bruce Schneier nailed the strategic cost of allowing the NSA to sabotage Internet security through BULLRUN: it has cost the US government all credibility as a contributor to Internet governance. The total depraved indifference to everyday Internet users displayed in the sabotage program means that the era of the US being seen as the best steward for the health and integrity of the net has come to a close. Read the rest

Skooba iPad/Tablet Courier V.3

Skooba Design loaned me an early production model of its upcoming iPad/Tablet Courier V.3 messenger bag.

I've been trying it out for the last couple of days and like it a lot. I've been a fan of Skooba ever since I started using the Laptop Weekender Travel Bag. Like the Weekender, the iPad/Tablet Courier is made from water-repellant micro-ballistic nylon that holds up to rough treatment.

It has a padded inner sleeve, which is suspended from the top of the bag, so if you drop the bag or set it down hard, your tablet won't thunk against the floor or sidewalk. It can also accommodate my 11-inch MacBook Air with ease (though this is an off-label use -- the pocket is not suspended, so it doesn't offer much in the way of drop protection for laptops.") Read the rest

Making a spinner toy that scrambles an egg in its shell

I usually eat only egg yolks and avoid the whites, but this spinner toy made from a tennis ball looks like fun! Read the rest

Opening a can without any tools

The self-described Crazy Russian Hacker of Youtube demonstrates in eye-watering detail a method for tool-free can opening: just grind down the can's rim on a handy block of concrete, then squeeze. The stunt is repeated several times, just to be sure you've absorbed the technique in all its complexity. It's all framed in post-apocalyptic terms, naturally: a kind of Russo-Survivalist Youtube version of Three Men in a Boat.

How to Open a Can without Can Opener - Zombie Survival Tips #20

(via Neatorama) Read the rest

The Devil is Prada: UN demands end to fashion house's sexual discrimination in Japan

When Rina Bovrisse reported sexual harassment at Prada in Japan, she was not only fired, but found a local court grossly unsympathetic to her complaint: a judge, she claims, told her that "sexual harassment and discrimination were acceptable for [the] fashion industry." Bovrisse's fate has led the U.N. itself to urge Japan to make sexual harassment illegal, but Prada has other plans for her: it's suing her, claiming defamation.

In October 2012, Tokyo District Court Presiding Judge Reiko Morioka ruled in favor of Prada, deciding that the company’s demonstrated discrimination was acceptable for a luxury fashion label and that a well-compensated female employee should be able to withstand a certain level of harassment. The ruling flew in the face of Japanese and US law, which prohibits discrimination in the workplace and protects an employee’s right to report wrongful acts of corporations in public for social improvement.

Currently, Prada is countersuing the single mother to the tune of $780,000 for damaging the Prada brand by publicly accusing the company of discrimination. The irony of this countersuit is that Judge Morioka and Prada’s attorneys previously acknowledged that discrimination had in fact occurred.

This is what happens when a business is immune to any degree of media opprobrium or public disgust. Read the rest

Nasal Ranger Field Olfactometer

The Nasal Ranger Field Olfactometer is a gadget for empirically measuring the presence of stink-particles in a given environment. It is being deployed in Denver to measure compliance with a by-law prompted by Colorado's rules for legal marijuana: you're allowed to smoke weed, but you are not permitted to spread the smell of marijuana into your neighbors' spaces. Read the rest

Glitch, much-missed MMO, released to public domain

Glitch was a wonderful work of art, but a troubled game, and its death was lamented by many. All the game's artwork and code, however, now enters the public domain--as good an outcome as could be hoped-for. How about a story-led, single-player reboot, eh? Read the rest

Tactical guide to male urination

Last week, I snapped a photo of this excellent sign in the children's restroom at San Francisco's Brightworks/Tinkering School. (Click to see it larger!) Combine those instructions with the above video that Maggie previously posted from Brigham Young University's Splash Lab, "Urinal Dynamics: a tactical guide," and I'll be a master pisser in no time! Read the rest

Rob Ford's cunnilingus quip: Taiwanese news animation edition

News of Toronto Mayor Rob "Laughable Bumblefuck" Ford's official cunnilingus policy has reached the Taiwanese news video animation people, and they've risen to the occasion with predictable insanity. The mayor-on-beaver moments are really the best here, I think. Read the rest

Demdike Stare's haunted/haunting video for "Transmission"

For several years, I've raved about the dubby, samply, dark ambient music of Demdike Stare, a collaboration between the UK's Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty. Whittaker is a producer affiliated with Modern Love records while Canty is essentially a professional crate digger, seeking out weird horror soundtracks, Kollywood rarities, avant-garde curiosities, and other obscure vinyl for reissue by Finders Keepers records. Demdike Stare, the pair's own musical collaboration, was named for one of England's most notorious Pendle Witches of the 17th century. They've recently been releasing an excruciatingly-limited series of 12" vinyls in a series called Testpressing. The (NSFW) video above is for the track "Transmission" from "Fail," the fourth Testpressing, due out later this year. On December 13 at the British Film Institute in London, Demdike Stare will perform a new score for the classic 1922 horror documentary Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages. The duo is also on the cover of the new issue of The Wire magazine. (via The Wire)

And for more about Demdike Stare and hauntological music, don't miss Mark Pilkington's classic special Boing Boing feature on the subject here! Read the rest

Captain America in a turban

Vishavjit Singh, a Sikh cartoonist, spent a day in NYC dressed as Captain America in a turban. (Photo above by Fiona Aboud.) Over at Salon, Singh posted some of what he learned from the experience. Below, a bit of that and also a video of the superhero in action. Read the rest

'The Walking Dead' Season 4, Episode 6, 'Live Bait': Review

Kevin McFarland reviews the latest episode of AMC's lumbering, flesh-chomping, zombie-infested near future. More episode recaps are in Boing Boing's "The Walking Dead" archives.

Throwing Muses - “slippershell” (free MP3)

Sound it Out # 60: Throwing Muses  - “slippershell” (free MP3)

Throwing Muses haven’t released new music in ten years, though singer/songwriter Kristin Hersh has not been idle. Hersh has various solo and collaborative musical projects, released an excellent memoir called Rat Girl in 2010, and co-founded CASH Music, a non-profit that supplies open-source tools to musicians. Read the rest

Jet Capsule futuristic yacht pod

This is the Jet Capsule, currently in use as an escape pod on the Boing Boing luxury liner currently adrift somewhere in the Arctic Ocean. The Jet Capsule holds eight people and can be customized with many of the luxury amenities one might expect from a full-size yacht, from fine wood flooring to bathrooms and kitchens to interior projection systems and LED mood lighting. There is even an "armored capsule" configuration featuring a reinforced steel shell and bulletproof glass. Base price for a Jet Capsule is $250,000. Jet Capsule Read the rest

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