A masterful long take brings True Detective to its midpoint [Recap: “Who Goes There,” S1 Ep4]

Kevin McFarland reviews the fourth episode of HBO's crime drama "True Detective," starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Contains spoilers. If you're new to the show, start with our introduction here.

Rolling illusion toy: gorgeous erratic motion

Brusspup's "rolling illusion toy" is simple to make, and produces an illusion while in motion that's just wonderful. As he demonstrates, the more rings you add to it, the cooler it looks. Read the rest

Here’s what you’ve been missing on HBO’s True Detective

What separates HBO's crime drama True Detective from other series that obsessively catalogue dead female bodies or attempt to find the human side of serial killers is the show's ambition in style and scope.

This Day in Blogging History: Your devices liable to DHS search within 100mi of US border; RIAA borgs Obama's DoJ; Writing advice

One year ago today DHS watchdog: DHS can search all your devices within 100 mi of US border: But they won't say why.

Five years ago today RIAA takes Over the DoJ under Obama: Bad News for Copyfighters: An alarming number of copyright maximalist lawyers being appointed by the Obama administration to the Department of Justice.

Ten years ago today Random advice for composition: As a first pass, try cutting the first 10 percent (the "throat clearing") then moving the last 30 percent (the payoff) to the beginning of the talk (don't bury your lede!). Read the rest

We Have No Names

Buy And Name Us. Read the rest

Revisiting Prometheus

Archaeologist Henry Rothwell revisits his epic review of Prometheus: "a deliberate attempt to capture lighting in a bottle is an almost impossible trick to pull off." Read the rest

HOWTO build a robotic air-hockey opponent out of Reprap parts

Jose Julio realized that the drive-train and parts in a Reprap printer could be repurposed, along with an Arduino-controlled vision-system to create a robot air-hockey opponent. He documented the build here, and the code is on Github. Read the rest

Join Boing Boing, Reddit, and websites all over the world on the 11th to fight mass surveillance

In two days, the Internet will erupt in a protest to rival the uprising against SOPA: in Aaron Swartz's memory, websites everywhere will add code from TheDayWeFightBack.org to their templates, helping to flood Congress -- and the world's legislative bodies -- with calls for an end to mass surveillance.

In America, we're demanding that Congress pass The USA Freedom Act, restoring the Fourth Amendment protection that Americans have enjoyed for hundreds of years. If you have a website (a Tumblr, a blog) then you -- like us -- can add the code to your template today, and on the 11th, it will go live.

The Day We Fight Back - February 11th 2014 Read the rest

"A reason to hang him": how mass surveillance, secret courts, confirmation bias and the FBI can ruin your life

Brandon Mayfield was a US Army veteran and an attorney in Portland, OR. After the 2004 Madrid train bombing, his fingerprint was partially matched to one belonging to one of the suspected bombers, but the match was a poor one. But by this point, the FBI was already convinced they had their man, so they rationalized away the non-matching elements of the print, and set in motion a train of events that led to Mayfield being jailed without charge; his home and office burgled by the FBI; his client-attorney privilege violated; his life upended.

At every turn, the FBI treated evidence that contradicted their theory as evidence that confirmed it. Mayfield's passport had expired and he couldn't possibly have been in Madrid? Proof that he was a terrorist: he must be using his connections with Al Qaeda to get false papers so that his own passport isn't recorded as crossing any borders. Mayfield starts to freak out once he realizes he's under surveillance? Aha! Only the guilty worry about having their homes burgled by G-men!

The FBI was so sure of their theory that they lied to a judge during their campaign against him. His story is the perfect embodiment of "confirmation bias" -- the tendency of human beings to give undue weight to evidence that confirms their existing belief and to discount evidence that rebuts it. Confirmation bias is one of the underappreciated problems of mass surveillance: gather enough facts about anyone's life and you can find facts that confirm whatever theory you have about them. Read the rest