Interview: Michael Chertoff on the TSA and "Security Theater"

Last week Boing Boing was invited along with a small group of political bloggers and analysts to a sit-down Q&A with departing Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. I had a chance to ask Secretary Chertoff a few questions about the TSA screening process. (Although had I more time, there would have been plenty of other questions I would have loved to ask, such as why U.S. Customs confiscates laptops; more on that in another post.)

While I will be posting the complete transcript of the interview with everyone's questions (along with the audio recording if anyone is interested), I've excerpted the discussion about the TSA with questions from me and Security Catalyst's Michael Santarcangelo. I've edited the transcript slightly for clarity.

"Joel Johnson: What's the number of direct terrorist actions that have been interfered with by TSA screening?"

Michael Chertoff interview [BBG] Read the rest

Fünde Razor for Child's Play in NYC, Denver, and SF tonight!

Hey, folks. I'm getting ready to head into Manhattan to get ready for Fünde Razor, our yearly fund raising event for the Child's Play Charity. If you like to drink beer, play Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and win prizes to raise money to keep kids entertained when they're at hospital, please stop on by. Unless you hate children/to rock.

And it's not just New York: there are sister events happening in Denver and San Francisco. But if you can make it to the New York event (now in our fourth year!) please come say and tell me hello! And as always, if you can't make it, you should toss a few bucks in the box for the kids.

Times, locations, information, and more (not that much more, really) [] Read the rest

Fünde Razor: Charity night for Child's Play in NYC, Denver, and SF

A few years ago I held an event each year to raise money for the Child's Play Charity that puts videogames into the hands of kids staying at children's hospitals. We called it, in proper rock style, Fünde Razor. We're now in our fourth year, and thanks to help from friends in the industry — Kotaku, Game|Life, Rock Gamer, Gizmodo, not to mention tons of game and gadget manufacturers — we've raised thousands of dollars that we give over in its entirety to Child's Play. We've even moved beyond our original New York event to add a Denver and San Francisco event, all next Wednesday evening. (Location and times over on [There's a similar event on Tuesday in Chicago.])

Prizes will vary a little bit from event to event (a lot of what we bring in are review items and such that all we bloggers have in our closets) but here's a partial list of what you can expect to win in the raffle or as door prizes at all three cities' events.

It really is a blast. If you make it to the NYC event, come tell me hi! And if you can't make it out to any of the nights (or even if you can), please consider donating to Child's Play anyway. They're amazing.

All the prizes that you could maybe possible win but if not you can still drink beer and play Rock Band [Offworld!] Read the rest

Get a sneak peek at Metaplace MMO with Boing Boing Offworld

Raph Koster's Metaplace is offering the first 250 Offworld readers a chance to play around with the company's web-embeddable virtual meta-world.

Brandon has more:

Metaplace is also jumping ahead of the pack in modeling the software's Terms of Service around his 2000 manifesto “Declaring the Rights of Players", which gives creators "freedom of expression, ownership, including earning money & running their own world, privacy," and the ability to develop their own individual terms of service. Users, too, get "freedom of speech & assembly, privacy, rule of 'law' and due process," and full ownership of their own IP.

Bop over and get your invite key. You'll never guess what it is. (Translation: You probably will.)

Only on Offworld: Be one of the first to join virtual world Metaplace [Offworld] Read the rest

Glass molecule reproductions from

Above is a picture of the hand-blown recreation of the LSD molecule that I received for making a donation to the Erowid Center, the non-profit 501(c)(3) organization behind Erowid has been a measured, sane repository for chemical and counterculture information online for twelve years and relies on donations to continue its operation.

Nearly anyone who has looked up drug and entheogenic plant information online has stumbled across — and subsequently been edified by — Erowid. For a subject as politically and personally charged as ingesting chemicals, Erowid remains one of the few rational sources of real-world experience reports, safety warnings, and advocacy of safe but individually accountable drug use available online or elsewhere.

If you're like me, your recreational and experimental drug use has tailed off over the years, but even so, I still use the site as a reference and source of entertainment. (I probably shouldn't laugh, but some of the negative experience reports can be hilarious. Hang on, lil' cowboy!) Moreover, "check out Erowid" is the first advice I offer to a young head. Kids are going to experiment — better they get unbiased information about the risks and rewards of their drug use than rely exclusively on well-meaning but often ignorant peers.

I am proud to give Erowid my money. Throw 'em a buck!

Art Glass Molecules incentives [] Read the rest

Freehands, gloves for cold weather gadget twiddling

My friend Josh Rubin has gone from hunting cool things to making them: he's launched a new set of gloves called the "Freehands" with flip-back fingers that make it possible to use your gadgets without taking off your gloves. Magnets in the fingertips match to others above the knuckles to keep the fingertips back out of the way.

This may seem a bit superfluous to those of you who drive cars to work, but for city folk it solves a common problem. It's a pain in the ass to have to strip off your gloves and hold them in your teeth or pocket just to dial a phone number or change a song.

There are three different versions: a leather set for $40; a stretchy nylon and micro-fleece set for $30; and a basic fleece pair for $20.

Freehands gadget gloves product page [] Read the rest

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets we discovered Toastabags, designed to make grilled cheese in the toaster; a handy online calculator to help you determine your roof's solar energy harvesting potential; a clip-together lamp that looks like a T-Rex; a strappy underwater case for your iPhone or other MP3 players; Yet Another Netbook, the ECS G10IL; an iPhone/Touch dock that flips on its side for movie watching; a Corona typewriter bent into a waffle iron; and Lenovo's garguantuan W700 laptop that includes not only a quad-core processor but a built-in Wacom tablet. It gives me the vapors.

Then, bastards: states wanting to tax digital downloads; donating to the EFF as an AT&T sin tax; Apple's refusal to refund App Store purchases/athat they kill.

The Olympics were pirated heavily. Two industrial robots were locked in a pantomimed melee. Bell Canada got a new logo. (It's nice.) Someone hides a flat-panel TV behind a two-way mirror. (Also nice!) Lifehacker's Adam Pash explains how easy it is to set up a multiroom music system using Apple gear. Someone invented a device that blocks the C-word. (Well, not really.) A forest-clearing stimpank tank carved spokes in the Tunguska impact. Deals were sorted.

And most of all, Stephan Hawking was memorialized on black velvet. Read the rest

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets we saw these good-lookin' helmets from Jérôme Coste (which sadly do not include a face mask); an austere camper made from a Unimog; tape that makes perfect garden rows more simple; a Bioshock Big Daddy from scrap metal; the clever hacks of German prisoners; a single drawer which no one else thought was handy but me, apparently; a pocket watch with a gun inside; and a robot that was not a robot.

We got a little preoccupied with videogaming, as is our wont: EA harshing on the iPhone's accelerometer hardware (they're wrong, in my opinion); Sony claiming the PSP is dying because of piracy (here comes the PSPhone!); and a Wired blogger got a little too presumptuous in his Fallout 3 preview for some, although I think he's getting hung out to dry a bit.

John took umbrage with the claim that the mouse is dying and noticed that quad-core laptop chips are coming. Rob noted that a judge isn't having ATI and Nvidia's nonsense about trade secrets and that French women like to use their phones in the bath.

The Japanese did something weird/awesome. (Surprise!) That ripped cord flash drive is now for sale. The saga of an iPhone clone maker continues to be full of pathos. Nerds attacked. Someone put a USB hub in a VHS tape. And I — oh I — I dealed everything that you want me to. Ooh ooh. Read the rest

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets — a site which we suspect you'll enjoy reading even if you often find gadgets tire- and irksome (so do we!) — we spotted these top-notch crank-powered greeting cards from Hallmark, of all people; hacked sunglasses that block CCTV cameras; a book about making LEGO weapons; a human-powered party bike, complete with lights and sound system; and the Venture Bros. era-appropriate love of fancy chairs.

A team of Israeli art students made a wooden coffee grinder shaped like a cuddly tumor; a crappy newspaper made a crime spree by stupid kids the fault of Grand Theft Auto; ICANN unveiled a new plan for top level domains, putting me only $100k away from owning http://cluster.fuck.

Rob documented BBG's first word coinage; John exposed a traumatic misunderstanding of the nature of lumberjack hibernation; I got off my ass and started rounding up deals again.

One of Pixar's own made a cute Wall•E in LEGO. (And I'm going to see it tonight. I'm pumped!) AT&T may actually be adding MMS to iPhone, which for the first time allowed people on the internet to express their opinion about Apple. Nokia released some new phones, which for the second time allowed people on the internet to express their opinion about Apple.

Then there were the sexy stormtrooper boots, our enthusiasm over which only slighted muted by the acknowledgement that every stormtrooper was a clone, then brought back into vibrant excitement when reader Rob Cockerham invented the term "Fett footish." Read the rest

Yesterday at Boing Boing Gadgets

Yesterday on Boing Boing Gadgets...

Danger! Excitement! An SD Card that turns into a USB dongle! An LED Chess Set!

Rocketmen! Nazis! The Phantom Lapboard! An artifact of awesome power that reduces noise on your PC... but only if you have faith! A futuristic city made of dreams!

Babes! Floozies! Electric women on drugs bouncing around their immoral soirees, listening to LEGO synths played by devil DJs.

Passion! Drama! Romance! Caulk Singles!

Monsters! Griphons! Starving, vicious Snow Leopards! Cell-phone touting monkeys, "aping" presidential candidates!

War! Carnage! Bloodshed! A more defensible unimog! A toaster that can blow your brains out!

And video games!

What will happen in our next exciting installment? Stay tuned!

Link Read the rest

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets, we looked at a magic dongle that promised to boost a cellphone signal and a phone that looks like a Lamborghini. An absurd hooded scooter was examined, and oh! how we laughed and laughed and laughed at the Denon cable reviews.

Beschizza got incensed about Atari suing a website that had published a review of a game without their permission, then had a three hour angry nap on a pair of Dig Dug pillows, cramming pig-shaped ear buds in his aural cavities and playing whale songs to soothe his spirit.

Meanwhile, we read a UMPC manifesto and looked at some zany retro-futuristic products of yesteryear. A decapitated Gene Simmons head made Brownlee want to french kiss, before he was distracted by torture porn for bicycles. He also learned how to love through the conduit of a USB Killbot thumb drive.

There was a KITT GPS Unit. There were sketchy Mac clones. An artificial twister promised energy to the future. A tiny little computer promised every grandma web browsing. We wondered about the ramifications of leaving our Wi-Fi open. We looked at a touchscreen dredged up from the primordial goop of the 80's.

And we all thought this Ultraman statue was pretty groovy.

Link Read the rest

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets, Joel wished he was part of the greatest NERF office war in history, and Brownlee wtfed over a Texas Instruments ad featuring an evil floating elephant and a girl with her head exploding, while Rob got pissed about a psychic accusing an autitstic girl's parents of child abuse... and how they only cleared their name because of a GPS recording gadget.

We also looked at a scale for professional bodybuilders and this year's Tokyo Toy Show. Joel slummed inside the insidious bowels of some Chinese gadget sweatshops, scheduled a voyage on the world's largest cruise liner and looked at some faux skylights capable of programmable lighting. John looked at a gorgeous $400k watch, a geiger counter case mod and a piggy bank with a built-in RPG. Rob lusted after a prosthetic foot, then locked himself inside a robot vault.

And we couldn't end the week without flipping the double deuce at the pissloafers who convinced Congress to give carte blanche to the government spying on us. Good one, jackwads.

Link Read the rest

Yesterday at Boing Boing Gadgets

Yesterday on Boing Boing Gadgets, we looked at a stabby knife that lets you inflate your victim with rapidly expanding gaseous pain, considered an easily understood diagram for building a marijuana grow room and lusted after a solar-powered theremin in an Altoids tin. There was also a mind-reading chair bristling with solenoids, some justification for Apple turning .mac into MobileMe and Shannonia, LEGO city in microscale, as well as the world's most luxurious cubicle. Beschizza pointed out a leather keyboard with a surprising dual-use function. Brownlee liked a binaural mic with human ears attached and also a tagged AT-AT. Joel wondered if Spore's creature creator (and specifically, the way it hid creature information in PNG images) could be used to email cute monsters that turned into when clicked. And we all bummed when Hollywood monster maker Stan Winston died.

Read the rest

Brendan I. Koerner 'Now the Hell Will Start' chat transcript

We'll be talking with Brendan at 11 Eastern in #boingboing. Click here to join the conversation or join #boingboing on in your client of choice.

We'll post the transcript here after we're done.

Update: Edited transcript after the jump. Read the rest

Chat with Brendan I. Koerner, author of 'Now the Hell Will Start' in #boingboing tomorrow

Brendan I. Koerner, author of "Now the Hell Will Start," will be joining us in the #boingboing IRC channel tomorrow at 11AM Eastern time to discuss his book and the story of Herman Perry. We'll put up a post about an hour before we get cooking tomorrow reminding you of how to access IRC. Here's the details about connecting to the chat. There's a web-based Java client if you don't want to fire up a whole separate IRC client, but you won't be able to private message without registering your nickname on Freenode.

Start thinking up those questions and we hope to see you there!

PreviouslyReview: "Now the Hell Will Start" by Brendan I. Koerner Read the rest

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets we started things off by looking at a 1939 videophone, then slurped up our morning cup of joe while watching some live-action Bioshock. Joel then reviewed a pair of Radius Atomic Bass earbuds, discussed the quest for the perfect electric cigarette and asked for help in designing the ultimate Jet Age entertainment console. Meanwhile, Brownlee discovered hot glue punk, applauded an insane French hacker who had installed a floppy drive into his Game Boy, wondered about Moore's Law and taught our readers how to drink 24 ounces of beer in under two seconds... then teetered wildly and promptly collapsed; he spent the rest of the afternoon crying over the memories of ex-girlfriends who'd never really loved him. Finally, Beschizza contemplated the first successful lawsuit against Taser and posted a couple of huge giant spider robots. A good time was had by all.

Link Read the rest

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets we saw this pretty and entirely pedestrian HP Calculator; the Konami code for Google Reader; a industrial shredder eat an Asteroids cabinet; GPS-maker TomTom's intention to make iPhone software; the mystery of Macbook Air's optical illusion beveled design (and other nice laptop design tricks); a way to project trippy Hello Kitties all over your ceiling; a fancy shisha maintenance kit that looks like a espresso maker; fancy Italian asymmetric sunglasses; a whole bunch of alarm clocks; beautiful Pac-Man-inspired art; and a way to store your shoes that has a better name than execution.

We also glanced at Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard; saw not one but two different all-in-one desktop PCs; discovered a way to cheat at Guitar Hero with a machine; played Star Wars 'Imperial March' on a floppy drive; shuddered at a phone shaped like a giant butterfly; saw that Bob Moog's company has a guitar with infinite sustain; applauded a outdoor router from D-Link used in a Native American wind generation system; saw a vending machine that crushes fine china (yup, it's art!); and found another DIY project we'll never make: a bank of Commodore 64 SIDs made into a big synthesizer.

But the best thing we found all day? (At least in my opinion?) The Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ game for the Nintendo DS. Read the rest

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