Pirate MEP's copyright reforms voted in by Europarl with "Right of Panorama" intact

German MEP Julia Reda's brilliant recommendations for reforming EU copyright have passed the European Parliament, and the dastardly attempt to make it illegal to take "commercial" photos in public places has been killed. Read the rest

RIP, Caspar Bowden, tireless, brilliant, effective UK privacy warrior

I met Caspar in 2001 while working for EFF; he was working for the Foundation for Internet Policy Research, which tirelessly lobbied the Lords and Parliament on the new surveillance powers that the Blair government wanted to bring in. Read the rest

The Dead Mountaineer's Inn by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky

From Russia's masters of science fiction comes a manorhouse murder mystery parody that puts Clue to shame. The Dead Mountaineer's Inn is every bit as clever, and queer, a novel as I've come to expect from the brothers Strugatsky.

Visiting a remote ski chalet, Inspector Glebsky just wants to relax and unwind. In the manner of an Agatha Christie novel, the Strugatsky's characters are introduced and shortly events unfurl. Everyone is trapped at the chalet and there is a dead body. Well, it is probably a dead body, and it is probably human, but the more Glebsky investigates the less he really knows.

Roadside Picnic is one of my favorite science fiction novels. It is absolutely wonderful on so many levels, I'd wondered if other works by the Strugatsky's could possibly impress me as much. While The Dead Mountaineer's Inn may not leave you pondering the crushing irrelevance of humanity, is fantastic and will not disappoint.

The Dead Mountaineer's Inn: One More Last Rite for the Detective Genre (Neversink) Read the rest

Runaways band member was raped by her manager in front of other band members

Lena says, "HuffPost Highline just posted an article about Jackie Fuchs (aka Jackie Fox), who was a member of 70s band The Runaways. Her story is a harrowing one: she was raped by her manager, Kim Fowley, in front of everyone in the band -- including Joan Jett. She has not spoken about all this, until now."

Fowley had a phrase to describe his work—“doing the hustle”—and he applied it to all aspects of his life. He was sex-obsessed; it was a subject never far from his mind, a constant part of his patter. “In the ’70s, on a combination of beer and Quaaludes, you could take on a roomful of lesbians and tear them apart,” he was quoted as saying in the biography Queens of Noise: The Real Story of the Runaways. “The favorite sport then was squatting on a table and fucking as hard as you could when the beer and ’ludes hit, and then you would fall to the floor and roll around and come that way. That was the orgasm of choice in the ’70s for me.”

As he would admit to anyone, Fowley was mostly after teenage girls, or, in his words, “young cunt” or “dirty pussy.” In the June 1975 issue of Back Door Man, an influential L.A. ’zine, he spelled out his desires in a personal ad that included a cheesy photo of him in a white sport coat and white pants. It began, “If you are eighteen and like it or if you are under 18 and legally emancipated (with paper work) then you may have just stumbled upon the opportunity of a lifetime.”

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3 TB external hard drive for $(removed)

I was a mechanical engineer in the 1980s. I was a quality assurance engineer and a development engineer in the disk drive industry. My first job was at Memorex in Santa Clara, CA. We actually manufactured the drives there. The drive I worked on weighed 70 pounds and had 100 MB of storage. It think the platters were 12-inches in diameter. Maybe they were 10-inches. They were hard to carry around from office to office! We were required to put them on a rolling cart, but we usually ignored that rule because we thought we were cool by pretending they were easy to carry in our arms.

The drive went inside a refrigerator sized frame that contained the cooling system and a bunch of printed circuit boards. I think the frame might have held two drives. It costs tens of thousands of dollars.

So when I see a 3 terabyte drive that weighs a couple of pounds and costs $(removed) $(removed) (Price just increased from $(removed) to $(removed)), I can't help but be amazed. If someone had told me in 1985 that we'd have drives like this in 30 years, I'd have thought they'd been huffing the toluene we used in the metrology lab to degrease parts.

This Western Digital 3 TB drive is on sale now, and is actually cheaper than the same price as the 2 TB model ($(removed)) on Amazon. Read the rest

Donald Trump loses temper in Twitter exchange with Modern Family writer

I had a big smile watching Modern Family writer Danny Zuker runs comedic circles around Donald Trump on Twitter. The presidential candidate's rejoinders to Zuker's spot-on zingers consisted of name calling -- "boring," "moron," "loser," "very dumb," "stupid." Read the rest

South Carolina: Confederate flag will be removed from Statehouse on Friday, July 10 at 10am

It's about time.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, just now: “"The Confederate flag is coming off the South Carolina Statehouse. Tomorrow morning at 10:00am, we will see the Confederate Flag come down,” she added, “with dignity.” Read the rest

US says hackers stole Social Security numbers from 21.5 million people in OPM data breach

The new number is a lot higher than the 14 million figure investigators offered last month.

What is marriage, anyway? Sesame Street's Grover and a cute child explain.

Helpful definition for anyone confused by the Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage in America.

Sea Turtle's eye-view of the Great Barrier Reef

This fantastic video from the World Wildlife Fund in Australia is a turtle’s eye view of the The Great Barrier Reef. The sensitive ecological zone is home to almost 6,000 species.

To find out more about the level of pollution affecting turtles within the Great Barrier Reef, WWF is working on innovative project in Queensland with the support of our partners Banrock Station Wines Environmental Trust, James Cook University, The University of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, State and Commonwealth government agencies, Indigenous rangers and local community groups.

As part of that project, the opportunity arose to very carefully fit a small GoPro camera to a turtle, to better understand the post-release behaviour of tagged green turtles. The result is this amazing video.

This week, the World Heritage Committee will vote whether to keep a strong watch over Australia until the health of the Great Barrier Reef. The decision is critical to the future protection of the Reef.

Video Link

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The most amazing building in the world was started in 1883 - still not finished building it

One of the most amazing things I've ever seen was Spanish Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The basilica looks like a giant drippy asymmetrical sandcastle. Gaudi started working on it in 1883. He was still working on it in 1926 when a tram ran over him and killed him. It was not complete when I visited it 20 years ago. This video shows what Sagrada Familia will look like when it is complete in 2026 (this is wishful thinking on their part). In a way, I hope they keep working on Sagrada Familia for as long as intelligent lifeforms exist on Earth - it's a worthy Long Now project.

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What horrible things did we learn about Hacking Team today?

The enormous dump of docs from cyber-arms-dealer Hacking Team continues to yield up details, like the time the company tried to sell spying tools to a death squad. Read the rest

GOOD MEASURE, a multi-city indie music tour

San Francisco-based brands Joie de Vivre Hotels, Noise Pop and Boing Boing announce GOOD MEAUSURE, a multi-city indie music tour. GOOD MEASURE will span four cities, exploring sense of place through sound.

Time's infamous "cyberporn" scare story author looks back 20 years later

In 1995 Time magazine published a cover story about online pornography that gave grandstanding politicians an excuse to try to censor the Internet. The politicians would have succeeded, if it weren't for the efforts of civil libertarians, especially Mike Godwin, who was staff counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation at the time.

The "Cyberporn" article was written by Philip Elmer-DeWitt, who relied almost exclusively on a research paper that was completely fraudulent. Elmer-DeWitt is now a writer for Fortune, and he wrote an essay about how his "Cyberporn" article nearly ruined him:

The problem with the story, which I sensed as I was writing it but was too green, too ambitious, too scared of losing my cover slot to address, was the news hook—the “report coming out this week” that I’d pitched to the editors as a Time Magazine exclusive guaranteed to make a splash.

The report—an undergraduate research paper published in a law journal—made a splash all right, but not the kind that reflected well on me or the magazine.

It was immediately attacked from several quarters. By civil liberties groups who saw it as an assault on free speech. By academics who saw through its tissue thin methodology. By sociologists who disputed its most provocative thesis, duly reported in Time, that the market for online porn was driven by a demand for images that couldn’t be found in the average magazine rack: Pedophilia (nude photos of children), hebephilia (youths) and paraphilia—a grab bag of “deviant” material that includes images of bondage, sadomasochism, urination, defecation, and sex acts with animals.

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Brief history of Quaaludes

Quaaludes, the pills Bill Cosby admitted giving to women so he could have sex with them, are a prescription sedative that took off as a recreational drug during the 1970s disco era. In 1985, commercial production ceased and clandestine synthesis began. Read the rest

Fabulous hats of San Quentin State Prison women inmates

That's Bertha Boronda in the lower left square. I'm not sure if her proud look reflects her satisfaction of having the biggest hat or successfully cut off her unfaithful husband's penis with a straight razor in 1908.

Female inmates of San Quentin State Prison and their very fine hats Read the rest

My upcoming events in Seattle

I'm teaching the Clarion West writing workshop in Seattle in late July, and you can come see me at two events, one on July 25, the other on July 28. Read the rest

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