Why modern phones are so awful

Just today, I endured a typical 2015 phone call. My caller's voice was a warbling digital mess that cut in and out. Latency had us constantly talking over one another. After a few minutes of this, we switched to IM.

At Boing Boing, we have a weekly online meeting with several editors on the line. Most of these meetings are spent asking one another if we can hear one another, or telling one another that they're cutting out, or otherwise being confused and frustrated by the irremediable awfulness of VoIP.

How timely, then, that The Altantic's Ian Bogost reports on the stunning decline of the general experience of telephony in the age of pocket computers, where the worst phone apps connect to worser infrastructure operated by the worst telcos in the developed world. Read the rest

Anne Rice: political correctness is new form of censorship in the book biz

Anne Rice, of The Vampire Chronicles fame, posted on Facebook her concern that novelists "are facing a new era of censorship, in the name of political correctness." Read the rest

Busting the myth that the Civil War was about "states' rights"

Confederate Flag wavers claim the the Civil War was all about "states' rights," not slavery. But in this video Colonel Ty Seidule, head of the history department at the US Military Academy at West Point, offers plenty of evidence that this isn't the case. For example, Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens wrote "Our new government was founded on slavery." And slave states were happy to bow to federal law when it benefited them:

From Vox:

Mississippi once complained that New York's notion of states' rights was too strong — because it prevented Mississippi slaveowners from bringing their slaves up North. This war wasn't about the principle of federal power; it was about the threat that the federal government might eventually use that power to abolish slavery.

Ultimately, Seidule's point boils down to something very simple: Be honest. Americans should be able to admit that a huge part of the country was devoted to slavery, so much so that they were willing to die for it. But at the same time, Americans should be proud that their government waged a war to end slavery.

"It is to America's everlasting credit that it fought the most devastating war in its history in order to abolish slavery," Seidule concludes. "As a soldier, I am proud that the United States Army — my army — defeated the Confederates."

Read the rest

Video of man singing opera while undergoing brain surgery

Professional singer Ambroz Bajec-Lapajne sang opera during neurosurgery for a brain tumor, at his physicians' request so they could monitor his singing ability and "avoid deficits after the procedure," he writes. Read the rest

The Pop Up Art Book

The Pop Up Art book mixes street, comics and fine art with insane paper craft! Amazing artists works are re-imagined in 3D, and explode off the page! Read the rest

Best way to deal with parking spot stealers

The driver of a yellow jeep was waiting patiently for a silver car to back out of a parking spot so he could park there, but a jerk driving a purple car swooped in and stole his spot. The driver of the yellow jeep corrected the situation beautifully. Read the rest

Watch this psychedelic video of paint mixing

Thomas Blanchard created this deeply trip video, "The Colors of Feelings," using paint, oil, milk, honey, and cinnamon. Read the rest

Humanitarian fixes photos of things that are wrong

A kind-hearted photoshopper soothed the nerves of finicky people by apply his shoop skills to photos of things that are wrong. I feel better now. Read the rest

See the original notebook sketches for Pac-Man

Pac-Man's creator Toru Iwatani shows his original notebook sketches from the iconic arcade game that turned 35 this year. Read the rest

Hilariously terrifying talk about security

In Not Even Close: The State of Computer Security, a talk given at the Norwegian Deveopers' Conference, Microsoft Research's James Mickens gave the most acerbic, funny, terrifying security talk I can remember seeing (and I've seen a lot of 'em!). Read the rest

Income inequality turns "neglected tropic diseases" into American diseases of "the poor living among the wealthy"

The deadly infectious diseases that were eradicated in America during the 20th century are now roaring back, thanks to growing poverty, failing sanitation, and underinvestment in science and health research and regulation. Read the rest

Interactive movies make their glorious return

In the 90s, games grasped at maturity with "real" video and actors. It was a weird but cult-beloved wrong turn—and we found a game that's revived it beautifully.

Smash the State: a 1971 Ladybird book

A image from the Boing Boing Flickr pool by Flamenco Sun. Read the rest

You can pre-order this hexagonal colored vinyl Super Hexagon soundtrack

Chipzel's Super Hexagon soundtrack will be printed on hexagonal colored vinyl in custom clear sleeves designed by Cory Schmitz. There will only be 1600 made. Preorder quickly, I suspect.

Rightscorp teams up with lawyers to mass-sue people who ignore blackmail letters

The publicly traded company warned investors that its plan of sending "invoices" to people its sloppy piracy-bots fingered as pirates wasn't working out so well, so now they've found a law firm that'll file bullshit lawsuits against "repeat offenders." Read the rest

Inside the Machine: a visual history of electronics, technology and art

Archivist Rick Prelinger writes, "It's been a long wait, but Inside the Machine, my spouse Megan's visual history of electronics, technology and art is finally out and propagating throughout the world, and we're having a release party in San Francisco at the McRoskey Mattress Factory on Monday, August 24!" Read the rest

She Might Think is a lovely, innovative experiment about perception

"The goal is secretly to show you that every girl is unique, has her own opinions and definitely doesn't answer to gender stereotypes," writes creator Marion Esquian of this unique episodic work.

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