Not all heroes wear capes; sometimes they wear fluffy, pink animal costumes. Outside San Jose's Further Confusion (FurCon) this weekend, a group of furries spotted a man abusing a woman in a car. So they intervened. From CNN:
"We heard a woman's screams coming from inside and saw the passenger throwing full fists at whoever was driving," (FurCon DJ Robbie) Ryans told CNN.
"We got up and ran towards the car, my friend pulled open the door and we both held onto the attacker. The girl driver was yelling for him to get out, as he started trying to fight us off."
Four other people who were attending the convention joined in and helped grab the man, drag him out of the car, and restrain him until police arrived.
Once he the felt the situation was under control, Ryans said he backed up and began filming the incident.
When police arrived, they alleged that the suspect, 22-year-old Demetri Hardnett, assaulted his girlfriend in their car, according to the police report. Hardnett was arrested and booked into Santa Clara County Jail for domestic violence.
Chinese health authorities said early Wednesday that the number of cases of a new virus has risen to 440 in China. The officially stated death toll from the so-called Wuhan coronavirus now stands at 9. (more…)
Impeached phony president and utter turd of a man Donald Trump will attend a breakfast meeting on Wednesday at Davos with Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, Reuters reports. (more…)
Apple abandoned its plans to allow iPhone users to fully encrypt backups of their iOS devices in iCloud after the FBI complained that full encryption would harm investigations, Reuters reports, citing “six sources familiar with the matter.”
What could possibly go wrong?
Wow, climate crisis sure is weird.
In the Mormon-controlled quasi theocratic state of Utah today, a judge refused to overturn part of our state's lewdness law Tuesday, dealing another publicly humiliating blow to a woman who is fighting criminal charges for being topless in her own home.
Going to the beach is almost always an enjoyable experience, but trekking back through your house on the way to the shower can leave a trail of sand the quickly saps the day of its sunny fun. Thankfully this BeachBox: Portable Shower & Storage unit has you covered the next time you hit the beach.
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Twenty years ago today, Boing Boing became a blog. Mark Frauenfelder's first post linked to Street Tech, a now-dormant gadget blog. Now there are 160,000 more posts just like it and the impossible task of summarizing the best of them in yet another.
Founded as a print zine in 1988 by Mark and Carla Sinclair, Mark's personal retrospective posted earlier today is a must-read; following are a few of our greatest hits, proudest accomplishments, clickiest traffic monsters, and best features of all time.
Despite the tens of millions of words in our database – mostly wonderful things – it's oftentimes the shortest posts that get the most attention.
So it was with Xeni Jardin's Ralph Lauren opens new outlet store in the Uncanny Valley, a single-sentence reblog of a now-vanished post at another site highlighting the incompetently dysmorphic photomanipulations in one of the fashion house's ads.
Ralph Lauren tried to force us to remove the post, to no avail.
That wasn't our first rodeo, either. In 2008, were were sued by MagicJack, makers of a VoIP dongle, after criticizing its terms of service. We stood our ground and beat them in court. Ten years later, Playboy sued us for posting about someone else's uploaded cover collection, claiming that linking to things is a form of copyright infringement. We beat them too, with the help of able friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
It's not all law and chaos, though.
Mark Frauenfelder says he's most proud of his two-part series on the fortified residential mailboxes of Los Angeles, Survival of the fittest mailbox and Fortified mailboxes, part 2. Readers, though, say his greatest gift to the world of letters is the gentlemen of Boing Boing.
A trilogy of Cory Doctorow's most incisive writing on technology, policy and freedom is found in Lockdown, based on his keynote speech to the Chaos Computer Congress in 2011, The Coming Civil War over General Purpose Computing, and Anodyne Anonymity. Also, would you just look at that banana. Furthermore, Christ, what an asshole.
David Pescovitz is a collector of unpopular culture with an affinity for haunted ontology, mall nostalgia and cryptids (more!, with a Grammy on the shelf for his part in reissuing the Voyager Golden Record.
But it's his touching obituary for Mark, his older brother, that will not be forgotten.
Xeni Jardin's posted countless articles about cutting-edge tech and light-hearted nods to the wonders of the web, and more seriously about politics, but it's her writing about cancer, hers and others', that sticks with readers. The Diagnosis; When life hands you cancer, make cancer-ade; Obamacare saved my life; Cancer and cannabis: How I learned to stop worrying and love medical marijuana; A medal for completing breast cancer treatment; and We should be worried that science has not yet brought us closer to understanding cancer.
Rob Beschizza's The Weird of Wendy Pini profiles one of America's most successful women cartoonists. His random generators include the Psygnosis Game Generator, the North Korean Press Release Generator and the Audiophile Hardware Review Generator. (For those who don't revile them, Rob's disturbing mouth-eyed politician shoops are collected in the gallery item Corinthian Leather). Fissure opens in Chess AI scene is a deep dive into a code-plagiarism scandal. He once reviewed a loaf of snot.
He eulogized his mother, Mandy Johnson, in 2016.
Did you know Boing Boing publisher Jason Weisberger was namechecked in a saucy romance novel? Bidet manufacturers looking for coverage should know that he's your man.
Jason has also written obituaries for his close friends Molly, Lucy, Calliope and Nemo.
We published critical games writing under the aegis of Offworld, edited by Leigh Alexander: All the women I know in video games are tired and Why Silent Hill mattered. Zoë Quinn's call to creative arms, Punk Games, remains as relevant now as it was five years ago.
Laura Hudson's Women take a place at the pinball table is a deep look at a unique competetive area, complemented by her excellent reviews of games as different as Undertale — choose to kill monsters or understand them
— and Bloodborne — In Bloodborne's brutal world, I found myself.
Our longtime science editor Maggie Koerth's analysis of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was featured in the anthology The Best Science Writing Online 2012. Don't miss her profile of James Watson, either.
Though known for chaingun blogging, we pioneered the trend toward Fancy Lookin' Features on the web, such as Maggie's Cassini Trip Reset, highlighting the astonishing imagery from NASA's probe, and Rob Beschizza's Friendly Darkness in the Palace of Utopian Fantasy, linking rare threads of modern and Victorian fantasy.
Here's just a few more of the nice features we've published over the years:
1906: Vintage Photographs by Mike Shaughnessy
Leaking Secrets, leaking Blood by Raul Gutierrez
Death in Space, by Maggie Koerth
Ghost Babies, by Mark Dery
A Season in Hell, by Mark Dery
Hajj for Heathens, by Omar Chatriwala
Maps, by Simon Parkin
Other guests are too many to mention – there are more than five hundred contributors in our archives now – but they account for many of our finest posts. Among the best are Sawyer Rosenstein's Don't tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon and the many annual iterations of David Ng and Ben Cohen's Halloween Candy Hierarchy.
Glenn Fleishman's Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto is typeset in the then-new Google typeface it was about, and What it's like to be on Jeopardy is about his brief but impressive stint on the game show.
Unseen World War I photos: German Trenches reveals a unique collection of photographs inherited by Dean Putney, our longtime developer, from his great-grandfather Walter Koessler.
Carl Malamud is well-known for Liberating America's secret, for-pay laws, and we're immensely proud to have helped him make his stand.
We've also published loads of fiction over the years, including our own, such as Cory's By His Things Will You Know Him and The Man Who Sold The Moon, Jason's Kevin's List, and Rob's Mixtape of the Lost Decade, Such Bravery and Nomen Ludi.
Finally, here are our top traffic posts since we started counting: a master key for winning at blogging. But only if you have a time machine, because the web, as they say, is dead.
1. Nigerian astronaut lost in space
2. Rickrolling is sexist, racist and often transphobic in context
3. 'To Donald Trump,' by Leland Melvin, former NASA Astronaut and NFL Player
4. 16-year-old girl who took nude selfie photos faces adult sex charges
5. Campus rapist given lenient sentence to avoid "severe impact on him"
6. Man stole $122m from Facebook and Google by sending them random bills, which the companies dutifully paid
7. Climate change denier Rupert Murdoch just bought National Geographic, which gives grants to scientists
8. Trump is angry at NBC News for using this photo of him, so please don't use this enhanced, enlarged version of it for anything
9. I'm married. I'm a woman. I'm addicted to porn.
10. For sale: (1) California ghost town
Illo: Rob; Photo: Leo Lambertini (CC BY-ND 2.0)
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Today is the twentieth anniversary of Boing Boing in its current incarnation. It looked like this in 2000.
Here's a brief history of Boing Boing, which actually goes back 33 years.
Carla and I conceived of it as a print zine in 1987. The first issue of bOING bOING came out in 1988. We printed 100 copies on a Xerox machine. I sent a copy to Factsheet Five, which was a zine that reviewed zines. Based on the review that ran in Factsheet Five, we sold all the copies. We also got an order from a newsstand distributor for 100 copies of the next issue. So we printed 200 copies of the second issue, sending 100 to the distributor and 100 to people sending $3 cash to us in the mail. We basically followed a Moore’s law style growth curve. The final issue of bOING bOING, number 15, had a print run of 17,500. Unfortunately it was our last print issue because our two major newsstand distributors went bankrupt, owing us tens of thousands of dollars.
In 1995 I was an editor at Wired and one of my friends who worked at Hotwired, the magazine's online spinoff, registered boingboing.com for us and we started running occasional articles on the website.
In 2000 I wrote an article for a magazine called the Industry Standard, about web logs. To learn about how web logs worked, I got a Blogger account and started posting things on boingboing.net (I forgot to register boingboing.com so a design firm with the same name took it).
The first item I posted to Boing Boing was on January 21, 2000, 20 years ago today. My early blog posts didn’t have headlines or photos. The posts were just links and short descriptions to things that I found interesting.
One of the first people to discover the blog was Cory Doctorow, and he would send me lots of ideas of things to write about. After a few months I asked Cory if he would like to have an account on Boing Boing and post directly. He agreed, and I was surprised to see him post seven or eight or more items every day. This was an order of magnitude more than I had been posting. I typically posted two or three items a week!
As a result of Cory's prolific posting, the traffic shot through the roof. Soon after that my friend and a bOING bOING print zine editor, David Pescovitz joined, and shortly after that Xeni Jardin became one of our editors as well. A few years later Rob Beschizza joined as an editor and Jason Weisberger came on board as publisher. Carla, the cofounder of bOING bOING magazine also writes and edits for Boing Boing. Another bOING bOING editor, Gareth Branwyn continues to write for us. And Ken Snider keeps the whole thing running with his exemplary technical chops.
It's incredible to me that Boing Boing still has the original band line-up. I’m always excited to see what my co-editors post every day, and Boing Boing remains my favorite place on the Web, because I love their points of view. Even when I don’t agree with what they have to say 100% of the time, I always find what they have to say interesting and worthy of consideration. Carla and I would like to thank Cory, David, Gareth, Jason, Rob, and Xeni for joining us on what has become a life journey. We'd also like to thank everyone who has been reading Boing Boing over the decades, because your interest in what we do is what motivates us to keep this up.
The new Coronavirus that is spreading in China, which has infected around 300 people and has killed at least six, has just shown up in the US (as well as Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea). A man who had traveled from Wuhan, China, where the virus first appeared, came down with pneumonia last week and has just been tested positive for the virus, which is in the SARS family (SARS was the virus in 2003 that killed around 800 people).
From The New York Times:
The man is a resident of Snohomish County, Wash., who experienced symptoms after returning from a trip to the region around Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began. He was hospitalized with pneumonia last week, and infection with the coronavirus was confirmed on Monday afternoon.
The outbreak, which began in a seafood and poultry market in Wuhan, a city of 11 million, is spreading: Patients have been identified in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, as well as Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and South Korea.
Major airports in the US started screening for the virus on Friday, and the World Health Organization will decide tomorrow "whether to declare the outbreak an international public health emergency," according to NYT.
Image: NIAID / Flickr
At Detroit Metropolitan Airport, police removed two passengers from a GoJet/Delta Connection flight because they apparently wouldn't turn off a mobile phone that reportedly had a WiFi network name of "Remote Detonator." From the Detroit Free Press:
...Flight attendants announced that they’d be calling police if personal WiFi wasn’t turned off, (passenger Aaron) Greenberg said.
It was a nerve-racking moment when an estimated 10 emergency vehicles with flashing lights surrounded the plane, he said...
A flight attendant told him there was a personal WiFi called “remote detonator” that was never turned off.
(Wayne County Airport Authority spokesperson Lisa) Gass could not confirm the name of the WiFi hot spot, but said both removed passengers – a 42-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man, both from Quebec – were released following the incident, pending further investigation.
image: Kai Hendry/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
CNN has the full 4-page organizing resolution for the Trump impeachment trial that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sent to the Senate on Monday.
As CNN notes, the impeachment trial for President Bill Clinton gave the defense and the House prosecution committee each 24-hours — spread out over a maximum of 4 days — to make their opening statements. For the Trump trial, however, each side only gets 2 days to make their statements. But on any given day, the hearings don't begin until 1pm, and will thus drag on late into the night.
After the opening statements, the Senate will have a total of 16 hours to question the House Committee or the White House Defense. Only then will the Senate vote on whether or not to subpoena witnesses or other evidence.
The GOP's defense strategy becomes painfully clear in the structure set forward on those pages: make sure no one has a chance to say or reveal anything beyond what's already known by the public, then force a vote as soon as possible. Which is why I'm expecting the White House's opening statement to be a full-on Chewbacca Defense but with Bidens instead of Wookies.
Impeachment resolution shortens trial's opening arguments to two days per side [Lauren Fox, Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb / CNN]
Image via the White House / Flickr
Vanity Fair just published a new excerpt from A Very Stable Genius, the new White House insider book from Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post staffers Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker. It explores the filming of the HBO documentary "The Words That Built America" at the White House, which took place shortly after the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
The idea of this documentary was to unite the country by presenting the words of the country's founding documents, as read by all living presidents and vice presidents, as well as other politicians and actors. Interestingly enough, it was directed by Alexandra Pelosi, who is indeed the child of the US Speaker of the House and frequent Trump nemesis Nancy Pelosi.
But according to the scene as relayed by Leonning and Rucker, Trump didn't know about or notice this familial connection:
Pelosi moved in to thank Trump for participating in this special history project, but he appeared to have no idea who she was, apparently not briefed on her political lineage or her role as the director. The president asked for some water, and with no staff bringing any to him, Pelosi handed him a bottle of Aquafina from her purse. “I’ve been into the White House,” Pelosi later said of visits to see previous presidents. “There are always protocols. Here there were no rules, no protocol.” She added, “There’s so much wrong with the whole thing. I’m thinking, Isn’t there someone who’s supposed to guard what he’s eating and drinking?”
The fact that it could be that easy to poison the President of the United States is an afterthought compared to the calamity that follows. Trump naturally chose to read the section of the Constitution pertaining to the election of the President and scope of his powers. But he kept screwing it up, likening the syntax to a "foreign language" and then blaming his frequent oratory screw-ups on the film crew. "He behaved like a brooding child, short-tempered, brittle, and quick to blame mystery distractions for the mistakes," the authors write. Which … well, sounds about right.
The whole cringe-inducing scene is worth a read for how well it encapsulates the self-important performance art that is the waking life of Donald Trump.
"It's like a foreign language": Donald Trump's Encounter With The Constitution Did Not Go Well [Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker / Vanity Fair / A Very Stable Genius]
Insect populations around the world are plummeting. The latest indicator of the insect apocalypse is the sharp decline in the number of mayflies, reports National Geographic. The winged insects can form swarms of up to 80 billion and are an important source of food for fish, birds, and bats.
According to a study published yesterday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, mayfly populations throughout northern Mississippi and Lake Erie have dropped by over 50%.
NatGeo cites a number of possible reasons for the precipitous decline: an abundance of pesticide pollutants in freshwater systems, mayfly nymph-killing algae blooms caused from fertilizer runoff, and higher water temperatures brought on by climate change.
From the article:
Unfortunately, they’re not alone: Studies around the world have shown alarming declines of a wide variety of insects. A study published in the journal Biological Conservation in April suggested that 40 percent of all insect species are in decline and could die out in the coming decades. (Learn more: Why insect populations are plummeting, and why it matters.)
Image by Michael Palmer - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Dik-diks are basically tiny African deer whose name comes from the chirping sounds they make. And if that's not adorable enough, then just wait until learn that they mark their territory with their tears (okay technically it's a secretion from the preobital gland but still).
So here are some completely unsolicited dik-dik picks, courtesy of the UnsolicitedDiks Twitter page.
Top image via Sharp Photography / Wikimedia Commons
The wonderful Brains On! science podcast for kids just completed a four part series on "Making Sense of Myths" and the final episode, "Aliens and UFOs," includes an interview with me about the Voyager Golden Record! Listen above! Of course the Voyager Golden Record is the iconic message for extraterrestrials attached to the Voyager I and II space probes launched by NASA in 1977. The Voyager Record tells a story of our planet expressed in sounds, music, images, and science, from Bach to Blind Willie Johnson to Chuck Berry, to greetings in dozens of human languages (and one whale language).
A few years ago, my friends Timothy Daly, Lawrence Azerrad, and I released the Voyager Golden Record on vinyl for the first time, as a lavish box set. Our project's resonance with the public, and the Grammy that we were honored to receive for it, are really a testament to the majesty of the original record and brilliance of its creators.
I hope the story of the Voyager Record included in this Brains On! episode sparks kids' imaginations and instills a sense of wonder about humanity's place in the universe! It certainly does for me.
The Voyager Golden Record 3xLP Vinyl Box Set and 2xCD-Book edition is available from Ozma Records.
David Leavitt, a self-described "award winning" journalist in Massachusetts, called the police after a Target employee refused to sell him an Oral B Pro 5000 electric toothbrush that had been mispriced at $0.01. The police told Leavitt he would have to sue Target if he wanted the toothbrush for a penny.
Leavitt called out the employee by name and posted her photo to Twitter. He also created a #TargetTori hashtag to encourage others to shame her. But Leavitt's plan backfired. Someone started a GoFundMe account for the employee and the donations have so far exceeded $30,000. Tori started a Twitter account, called @RealTargetTori.
This isn't the first time Leavitt tweeted something that wasn't well-received. In 2017, just hours after a suicide bombing left 23 people dead and 139 wounded at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, Leavitt tweeted: "MULTIPLE CONFIRMED FATALITIES at Manchester Arena. The last time I listened to Ariana Grande I almost died too."
If you're on a road trip Wazing it to Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, you might want to double check your directions. When people click on an orange logo for the resort in an ad on the Waze app, a glitch is sending people onto unpaved roads in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens wilderness, 45 miles away from the casino. And many drivers have needed help after becoming stranded.
According to The Washington Post:
Jackson Township police posted on Facebook that officers in recent weeks have had to help motorists who followed the directions into the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area, where they became stuck on unpaved roads.
“The wildlife area is comprised of more than 12,000 acres, mainly located in Jackson and Plumsted townships, which is about 45 miles (72 kilometers) away from the actual Borgata Casino in Atlantic City,” police said...
The address on the ad is correct, police said, but the location pinned with the ad is actually in the Colliers Mills wildlife area, police said.
Image: Matt Swern / Flickr
Sam Elliott had the horses in the back with a wrangler on his booty before Lil Nas X was even in diapers.