Blogging History: Great empires, animated; Wannabe amputees; Child-rape at Abu Ghraib

One year ago today

Animated maps of great empires: Vince Miklos collects GIFs of Empires, from the Roman to Soviet.

Five years ago today

Video about wannabee amputee: ABC Catalyst posted a fascinating short documentary about an man who purposefully destroyed his leg with dry ice so that a physician would have no choice but to cut it off.

Ten years ago today Hersh: children raped at Abu Ghraib, Pentagon has videos: This is at Abu Ghraib ... The women were passing messages out saying 'Please come and kill me, because of what's happened' and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. Read the rest

Haunted Mansion tightrope walker paper silhouettes

Etsy seller The Shadow Studio makes hand-cut paper silhouettes including this fabulous Haunted Mansion stretch-gallery tightrope walker. Read the rest

Makerbot now on sale at Home Depot stores

Home Depot stores in California, New York and Illinois are now stocking Makerbot 3D printers in their aisles, with staff on-hand to demo 3D printing for a wide audience. Read the rest

NASA's Curiosity rover finds iron meteorite on Mars

"This rock encountered by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is an iron meteorite called 'Lebanon.'"

White supremacist 1914 board game is stark reminder of Australia's racist past

To win a round of the "White Australia Game," players had to "Get the Coloured Men Out and the White Men In.” Read the rest

Mark's culture picks on NPR's Bullseye: Forbidden Island and Citizen Keane

From Bullseye with Jesse Thorn from NPR:

This week's recommendations come care of Boing Boing founder and Gweek host Mark Frauenfelder.

He suggests checking out Forbidden Island, a co-operative game. It's a simple premise: collect four treasures from a sinking island.

He also recommends Citizen Keane: The Big Lies Behind the Big Eyes, a biography about the sketchy past of Walter and Margaret Keane, the couple who painted the kitschy pop-art paintings of teary, big-eyed children.

Want to hear more? For more interviews about the best in culture, comedy, and recommendations every week, subscribe to our podcast in iTunes, with our RSS feed or search for "Bullseye with Jesse Thorn" in your favorite podcast app.

Read the rest

Book Club: A Storm of Swords Daenerys V and Tyrion VII

With the completion of Season 4 of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Ivan and Red dig back into the Boars, Gore, And Swords book club, where they cover the chapters of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series that correspond to the previous television season. No book spoilers past the TV show!

Proposal to split California into six states will appear on 2016 ballot

Billionaire VC Timothy Draper has gotten his longstanding proposal to break California up into six smaller states onto the 2016 ballot, where Californians will have the ability to vote on it. Read the rest

Apple and IBM to hook up for enterprise iOS

Arik Hesseldahl at Recode:

Apple and IBM today announced a broad partnership to help companies deploy wireless devices and business-specific applications to run on them. The combination brings together two historical competitors — who decades ago struggled to dominate the nascent market for personal computers — on the next wave of computing in business: Mobile devices with access to complex data running in the cloud.

Read the rest

Come to the Robot Film Festival this Saturday in San Francisco!

Last year's Robot Film Festival, co-sponsored by Boing Boing!

My favorite San Francisco event of the year is coming up this weekend. Here's why you can't miss the fourth annual Robot Film Festival: It's held in Bot & Dolly's studios, the robotic cinematography company that did the special effects for Gravity and was recently acquired by Google. David wrote a profile about them for Business Week, it's an incredible place. People bring their own robots, and it's a total blast. Bot & Dolly demonstrates their massive robotic arms throughout the festival. See the above video for some of the robots crawling and skating around last year. Dirty Robot Brew Works will be serving up their special brewed-by-robots beers! And of course, the films! Lots of creative and brilliant robot-starring and robot-related movies were shown last year, and I can't wait to see what comes up this year.

Get tickets for the fourth annual Robot Film Festival on July 19th here! Read the rest

Comcast promises quick action against scapegoat

After this audio recording of an infuriatingly aggressive Comcast representative arguing with a customer went mega-viral, Comcast, which instructs its employees not to take no for an answer, is now throwing its representative under the bus because he refused to take no for an answer.

Here's Comcast's statement:

We are very embarrassed by the way our employee spoke with Mr. Block and Ms. Belmont and are contacting them to personally apologize. The way in which our representative communicated with them is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives. We are investigating this situation and will take quick action. While the overwhelming majority of our employees work very hard to do the right thing every day, we are using this very unfortunate experience to reinforce how important it is to always treat our customers with the utmost respect.

As one commenter on the Comcast site observed:

Anyone with a modicum of compassion feels for your rep as much as they do for the customer. Certainly any cancellation works against some performance metric which will aim to objectively quantify or analyze a human interaction (in the least human way possible) on some fiscal report, tacking the loss of this customer on the rep that couldn't retain said customer's business.

I agree with this commenter. There's a reason the customer service representative sounded so desperate on the recording, and it's not because he enjoys being an asshole. It's because Comcast has made it clear that his job is on the line if he can't retain subscribers. Read the rest

This kid looks pleased with his space disintegrator gun and helmet

"An estimated 50,000 youngsters handled the Space Disintegrator Gun and Helmet. They just went crazy over them!"

(via Astro Devil) Read the rest

40 Frazetta book covers at once

I've owned almost all of these Frazetta books, at one time or another. My favorites are probably the hardback editions of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars series that the Science Fiction Book club published in the mid-1970s.

(via Wonderful, Beautiful, and Strange Finds) Read the rest

Bill Gates' favorite business book is from 1971 and out of print

Here's Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and others raving about Business Adventures, by the late John Brooks. It was written in 1971, and consists of 12 stories from The New Yorker. The print edition has been out of print for a while, but it is now available as an e-book. It sounds great! Read the rest

Indexing pages that Google must hide from Europeans

The controversial "right to be forgotten" European court ruling has Google removing embarrassing (and worse) search results from search-results served in the EU. Read the rest

Portraits of people in 7 days' worth of their own garbage

Southern California-based photographer Gregg Segal's portraits of people lying around in a week's worth of their own trash.

Led Zeppelin II, the 1969 Rolling Stone review

With magnificent super deluxe reissues of Led Zeppelin I, II, and III now available, please enjoy this "fucking heavyweight" vintage Rolling Stone review of Led Zeppelin II upon its release in 1969: Read the rest

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