Ukip councillor sends cops to activist's house, ask him to delete critical tweet

Michael Abberton, a Green Party activist in Cambridgeshire, was visited by two police officers on Saturday who had been sent by a local councilor from Ukip (a party that lets you express your xenophobia, racism, sexism and homophobia by cloaking it in a respectable "concern about immigration") who objected to a tweet that enumerated some of Ukip's most extreme positions. The police told him that they he wasn't legally obliged to follow their command, and also told him he wasn't allowed to tweet about their visit, but that he wasn't legally obliged to obey that command either. After the police left, a Ukip supporter sent Abberton a threatening tweet that implied that he knew that he'd been visited by the police.

Ukip, standing up for traditional British values, like censorship. Read the rest

Father of the Chicken McNugget dies

Food industry inventor and entrepreneur Herb Lotman, who developed the mass-production system for making McDonald's frozen hamburgers, has died. He was 80. He "developed the first total distribution concept for McDonald's in the late-1960s with the use of cryogenics and helped conceive the Chicken McNugget in the 1980s." Read the rest

Carr: Suddenly, Net Neutrality matters to everyone

New York Times media columnist David Carr on the FCC's upcoming vote on Net Neutrality: "A topic that generally begets narcolepsy is about to become, well, interesting. The government is contemplating changing the rules for how content is delivered over the Internet, which could mess with people’s TV programming and web browsing, so there may soon be fire in those glazed-over eyes." Read the rest

Internal organs swimsuit

Black Milk, Australia's leading purveyor of anatomical womenswear, has released its Dem Guts Swimsuit, which features a glorious rendering of its wearer's internal organs.

Dem Guts Swimsuit - LIMITED

(via Crazy Abalone) Read the rest

Bletchley Park Trust erects "Berlin Wall" to cut off on-site computer history museum

The Bletchley Park trust have erected a fence, nicknamed "The Berlin Wall," between their well-funded museum and its poorer on-site neighbour, the UK National Museum of Computing, which houses the hand-built replica of the codebreaking Colossus computer. The trust received an £8m lottery-funded grant and set about shitcanning long-serving volunteers (see below), cutting off the computer history museum, and generally behaving like greedy jerks, systematically alienating long-term supporters. Oh, and there was that Snowden business.

I've left the Friends of Bletchley Park, and have stopped recommending that friends visit the site.

Update: Bletchley Trust has clarified to me that while this volunteer was dismissed from guiding tours because he refused to conduct the tour to the new spec, he still volunteers with the Trust in its educational department. Read the rest

Calamityware: horrifying blue-china plates

With Calamityware, Don Moyer has turned his much-loved grotesque/horror designs for blue-print china plates into reality. The finished articles aren't cheap, but you can get the next one cheaper by supporting it on Kickstarter. Read the rest

Rare twins born on Mother's Day hold hands after being born

What an amazing photo. "Sarah Thistlewaite's daughters, Jenna and Jillian, are a rare set of monoamniotic or 'mono mono' identical twins, which means they shared an amniotic sack and were in constant contact during the pregnancy." Above, they hold hands in the delivery room. More like mano a mano, right? Read the rest

Smartphones are the new 'first screen,' says Mat Honan

In a Wired Magazine feature, Mat Honan argues that TV and smartphones have swapped positions of dominance: our mobiles are now our primary screen, not TV. "Television has talked to us for decades, but it never listened. While we all watched events like the moon landing at the same time, we did so in pockets of isolation. It's why 'second screen' is such a colossal misnomer; the phone is the first screen—always with us and always on. And it has made our big screens more vital." [pic: Tavis Coburn] Read the rest

Uruguay's president sure seems like an interesting dude

The president of Uruguay is a farmer, thinks marijuana is totally okay, has offered to take in prisoners from Gitmo, and lives modestly with his 3-legged dog. Her name is Manuela.

The canine companion lost one foot when Mujica accidentally rolled over it with his tractor. She now goes everywhere with the president and they seem totally devoted to each other.

(Photo:Mario Goldman/AFP) Read the rest

Phantom Manor graveyard (lights on)

Phantom Manor is the local Haunted Mansion analogue at Disneyland Paris, and it's definitely the spookiest/most grotesque of the lost, with its apex in a gory graveyard scene that features rotting animated skeletons and cavorting ghosts. Here's a 2011 video shot in the graveyard during a ride-breakdown during which the emergency lighting kicked in, offering a rare look at the cunning mechanisms and clever techniques used to attain the Manor's graveyard magic.

(via Solar Hydrophone) Read the rest

Reporting on Science: Neil deGrasse Tyson and Miles O'Brien

On Neil deGrasse Tyson's "Star Talk Radio" this week, space/aviation/science journalist Miles O'Brien talks about reporting on science (or the lack thereof these days). Listen. Neil's co-host: Comedian Chuck Nice. Read the rest

Nothing can stop your furious computing with this portable folding table

Chiptune musician Danimal Cannon carries this portable folding table on tour for his concert setup. Looks like it'd be perfect for road warriors of all types! Read the rest

Anti-corruption anti-PAC nearly at $1M mark, thanks to tech heroes

Brian sez, "At the beginning of the month, Boing Boing reported on Mayday PAC, the super PAC started by Lawrence Lessig which intended to raise $1M in 30 days via a kickstarter-like crowdfunding, to fight for fundamental reform in the way candidates for Congress and members of Congress raised money for their elections. Read the rest

Game of Thrones s4e6 recap (Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast)

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Cephalopod pancakes

More gorgeous pancakes from Nathan "Saipancakes" Shields: this week, it's cephalopod flapjacks. Dig that chambered nautilus!

Read the rest

Long term health benefits of bullying

“Our study found that a child’s role in bullying can serve as either a risk or a protective factor for low-grade inflammation,” William E Copeland, one of the researchers and an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine, said in a statement. Read the rest

Podcast: Why it is not possible to regulate robots

Here's a reading (MP3) of a my recent Guardian column, Why it is not possible to regulate robots, which discusses where and how robots can be regulated, and whether there is any sensible ground for "robot law" as distinct from "computer law."

One thing that is glaringly absent from both the Heinleinian and Asimovian brain is the idea of software as an immaterial, infinitely reproducible nugget at the core of the system. Here, in the second decade of the 21st century, it seems to me that the most important fact about a robot – whether it is self-aware or merely autonomous – is the operating system, configuration, and code running on it.

If you accept that robots are just machines – no different in principle from sewing machines, cars, or shotguns – and that the thing that makes them "robot" is the software that runs on a general-purpose computer that controls them, then all the legislative and regulatory and normative problems of robots start to become a subset of the problems of networks and computers.

If you're a regular reader, you'll know that I believe two things about computers: first, that they are the most significant functional element of most modern artifacts, from cars to houses to hearing aids; and second, that we have dramatically failed to come to grips with this fact. We keep talking about whether 3D printers should be "allowed" to print guns, or whether computers should be "allowed" to make infringing copies, or whether your iPhone should be "allowed" to run software that Apple hasn't approved and put in its App Store.

Read the rest

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