2600 Magazine's Emmanuel Goldstein writes, "Our second keynote speaker at this year's HOPE conference is someone who has been deep inside the National Security Agency. Former analyst William Binney became aware of an increased tendency at the massive center of surveillance to focus their attention on American citizens, something the NSA was never supposed to do. Binney did the right thing - he quit and told the world what he had learned. Such integrity is something we see often in the hacker world, usually kids standing up to authority and telling the world of their wrongdoings. This time, the stage is much bigger." Read the rest
Juggling happy mutant Mat Ricardo is putting on another one of his glorious east London variety shows! He writes,
Mat Ricardo's London Varieties is back - and we only have two more London shows this year!
Next one is June 14th - that's NEXT THURSDAY - and it's a cracker of a line-up.
Former world champion of close-up magic, and one of Derren Brown's co-writers - the astonishing RICHARD MCDOUGALL.
All the way from Ireland with their spandex unitards, the incredible circus craziness of the LORDS OF STRUT.
One of the UK's funniest and most in-demand speciality acts - the hilarious NOEL BRITTEN.
PLUS: A very special interview guest from the glory days of music hall, your host will be performing several new tricks for the first time ever, we'll be showing more rare archive variety footage and all the usual surprises!
It's all going to happen at the Bethnal Green Working Mens Club - doors 7pm, show 8pm. Tickets are only £10.
The point of it all
(Thanks, Mat!) Read the rest
The transit of Venus is cool.
I think we can all agree on that. On Tuesday, the planet Venus will pass between us and the Sun—a little black dot sliding across the face of a giant, yellow ball. Barring the Singularity, this will be your last opportunity to see a transit of Venus. The next one won't happen until December of 2117.
But, beyond looking nifty and reminding you of your own mortality, what, exactly, is the transit of Venus good for? Is this a cultural event, a scientific event, or a little of both?
Historically, the transit of Venus provided the data that allowed us to gauge the size of the solar system for the first time. This time around, according to Space.com, researchers will be watching the transit with an eye to the universe outside our solar system. That's because what we learn from the transit of Venus could help us identify planets (including Earth-ish planets) elsewhere in the galaxy.
Astronomers already key in on transits to search for alien worlds, often finding them by detecting the telltale dips in brightness exoplanets cause when they pass in front of their parent stars. NASA's Kepler space telescope has been very successful using this technique, flagging more than 2,300 candidate alien planets to date.
“During the transit, Venus Express will make important observations of Venus’ atmosphere that will be compared with ground-based telescopes to help exoplanet hunters test their techniques," said Håkan Svedhem, ESA’s Venus Express project scientist.
Read the rest of the Space.com Read the rest
Photosynthesis allows plants to convert light from the Sun into energy, and, in some cases, it does this incredibly well. In fact, certain bacteria can capture 95% of the light that hits them and turn it into useful energy.
Solar panels also convert light from the Sun into energy—but they aren't nearly as good at it. The very best solar panels ever tested in a lab (i.e., not the ones actually available for sale and installation on your house) were able to convert about 34% of the light that hit them into electricity. (Individual experimental solar cells can do better than that. But those are even further away from being incorporated into commercially available panels.)
Why can't we use the Sun's energy as effectively as bacteria can? The secret may be that the bacteria are using quantum physics to transmit energy. It's sort of like the bacteria have a method for keeping boxes of energy from falling off the truck during transport. Read the rest
Step 1, naturally, is to be in Manhattan.
I'm in New York City today and Scientific American contributing editor Steven Ashley was kind enough to reminded me that my visit is coinciding with Manhattanhenge—a twice-a-year event when the sun lines up with Manhattan's street grid. This year, there will be a Manhattanhenge on May 29/30 and another on July 11/12.
You'll note that Manhattanhenge does not actually occur on the same day as the solstice—when the Sun is at the highest point in the sky and the length of the day begins to get either longer (winter solstice) or shorter (summer solstice). That's because Manhattan's grid is rotated 30 degrees east off of true north, writes Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Hayden Planetarium website. That's enough to make Manhattanhenge less astronomically accurate than Stonehenge. But it's still awfully nifty and is supposed to look really, really cool.
Tonight's event should start around 8:17 pm (Eastern time, of course). Here's Neil deGrasse Tyson's advice on getting a good view:
Read the rest
For best effect, position yourself as far east in Manhattan as possible. But ensure that when you look west across the avenues you can still see New Jersey. Clear cross streets include 14th, 23rd, 34th. 42nd, 57th, and several streets adjacent to them. The Empire State building and the Chrysler building render 34th street and 42nd streets especially striking vistas.
Note that any city crossed by a rectangular grid can identify days where the setting Sun aligns with their streets. But a closer look at such cities around the world shows them to be less than ideal for this purpose.
Joanna from the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes:
If you plan on being in or around San Francisco May 30, come join
EFF for a Geek Reading with Barbara Simons. An expert on electronic voting, Simons co-authored Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count? As Simons told us recently 'The way we run our voting system in this country is really a scandal,and it's a scandal that no one talks about.' Lots of people will be talking about it at EFF's upcoming Geek Reading, though, and you're invited to join in the discussion.
EFF Geek Readings bring Internet users, bloggers, free speech advocates, and other interested folks together to hear from prominent writers and thinkers, meet like-minded community members, and exchange ideas.
Geek Reading: The Broken E-Voting System with Barbara Simons
(Thanks, Joanna!) Read the rest
The United States Geological Survey is having a great big spring sale, with lots of maps, charts, and publications—some of them mid-century vintage—discounted to $1. Yes, $1. At that price, you can't afford to not own entirely too many USGS maps. (Via Travis Weller) Read the rest
Chris sez, "I'm helping to arrange a conference on 3D printing/additive manufacturing in South Africa. We have some world-renowned professors on the subject coming and its being held in a game reserve so it should be fun!"
Rapid Prototyping remains a key technology in the Rapid Product Development suite of technologies. However, over the past decade we have experienced growing acceptance of this powerful technology in the manufacturing industry, not only as prototyping tool, but increasingly as niche manufacturing technology. The inherent ability of the technology to accommodate part complexity and customization, coupled with an ever-increasing range of materials, has provided industry with unprecedented flexibility in design and production. Resulting from this, Additive Manufacturing has replaced Rapid Prototyping as internationally accepted terminology for this technology. Also in South Africa the uptake of Additive Manufacturing by industry has been breathtaking.
In the calm and pristine environment of the South African Bushveld, the conference programme will offer a variety of opportunities for participants from industry, R&D institutions, academia and government to listen to presentations, engage in discussions, visit exhibitions and just interact informally during the three days of the event.
Rapid Product Development Association of South Africa
(Thanks, Chris!) Read the rest
Philip Glass and the English National Opera will stage "The Perfect American," adapted from Peter Stephan Jungk's fictionalized account of Walt Disney's last months.
Glass – described by the ENO as “one of the world’s most important composers” – said the life of the man behind Mickey Mouse was “unimaginable, alarming and truly frightening”.
The story follows cartoonist Wilhelm Dantine, who worked for Disney in the 1950s. The production does not have the rights to use Disney’s most famous characters, but it is likely to find a way to reference them. Berry said: “Glass is very interested in the impact that a personality of that order has on wider culture.”
ENO to stage Philip Glass opera about the last days of Walt Disney
(Thanks, Tom!) Read the rest
Bill Shunn sez,
The Chicago Writers Conference is Chicago's only homegrown mainstream literary conference focusing on practical business advice for fiction and non-fiction writers alike. The brainchild of Mare Swallow, it will feature such editors, agents, and authors as Chuck Sambuchino, Christine Sneed, Robert K. Elder, and Jennifer Mattson.
But it can only happen with support! The CWC is in the final eight days of its Kickstarter campaign and still needs to raise over $4000 for equipment rental, web development, speakers' travel expenses. There are lots of great incentives remaining for various donation levels, including art, signed books, and query letter or story manuscript critiques from Chuck Sambuchino and William Shunn.
Please help, and support Chicago's long tradition of literary excellence!
Make the Chicago Writers Conference a Reality!
(Thanks, Bill) Read the rest
The Brothers Leung are a creative family in Toronto, who've just launched a kids' picture book called The Pirate Girl's Treasure, which combines storytelling and origami:
In this spectacularly original picture book, the story mirrors an origami activity: As a pig-tailed pirate girl travels through mountains, valleys, a cave and finally by sea to reach the treasure her grandfather has hidden for her, imaginative illustrations show different incarnations of a single folded sheet of paper within the scenes. Best of all, clear instructions at the end will let readers recreate the story with just a few folds and tears, transforming a piece of notebook paper into a mountain, hat, cave, boat and really cool pirate shirt.
The Leungs are holding a signing and launch tomorrow, Saturday the 14th, at Toronto's Little Island Comics (742 Bathurst St.) 12-3pm.
The Pirate Girl's Treasure
(Thanks, Mom!) Read the rest
Plan on being in Florida on April 29/30? Then you should register to watch the launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket as part of a NASA Social. There are only 50 spots available, randomly selected from the pool of registrants. If you get in, you'll get a tour of the launch pad and Kennedy Space Center, get to talk to people who work in both public and private space programs, and get to watch the launch from a splendid vantage point with a bunch of other awesome space geeks. Downside: You cover your own transportation. (Via Karen James) Read the rest
Rina writes, "Join SF in SF and PM Press for an evening with ON THE GROUND: An Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties Underground Press in the U.S. with Trina Robbins, Billy X. Jennings, Judy Gumbo Albert and Terry Bisson. Join contributors to the original underground press movement in discussion, reading, and what's bound to be interesting debate!"
As with all SF in SF events, it's free: Mar 31, 6PM, 582 Market Street @ 2nd and Montgomery, San Francisco, CA 94104.
Bonus Reading This Saturday – Sixties Underground Press Read the rest
Juggler/impresario Mat Ricardo sez, "Just wanted to say a big thanks to all the BoingBoingers who came to Mat Ricardo's London Varieties last month - it was a sell-out, and a hell of a show, partly because of our smart, savvy and fun audience. All the performers are telling me how much they're loving working to such great people, so I couldn't be happier.
Next month's show is April 12th, with another killer line-up - a street performer who made it to the Royal Variety show, and beyond - The Boy With Tape On His Face, Time-travelling magicians Morgan & West, Shadowgrapher Paul Dabek, and in performance and in conversation, the legendary Lenny Beige. The podcast of last months show is available here, and you can buy tickets for the April 12th show here." Read the rest
The next installment in San Francisco's excellent SF in SF reading series will feature Claude Lalumière and Richard A. Lupoff, on Mar 17. Jameson's will be served at the cash bar. Admission is free, as always, though donations are solicited for Variety Children’s Charity of Northern California. Read the rest
The Masonic Lodge, Los Angeles
Richard Metzger and Tara McGinley of Dangerous Minds have cooked up an incredible event taking place this Friday night in Los Angeles, timed to coincide with the occasion of the SXSW music, film and interactive festival/convention. Richard writes:
The fine people at Mastercard PayPass® and Google Wallet have teamed up with Cool Hunting and Dangerous Minds to bring a little of what’s cooking in Austin to you, the Dangeorus Minds reader. And they’re going to feed you and treat you to an open bar.
This Friday night, March 16th, at the Masonic Lodge at the Hollywoord Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, you can catch a big-screen simulcast of the Sub Pop Records showcase, live from Red 7 in Austin. featuring Niki & the Dove, THEESatisfaction and South Africa’s exciting Spoek Mathambo
The Los Angeles event will be MC’d by “America’s Funnyman” Neil Hamburger and DJs that evening will include Chris Holmes, Elijah Wood, Brie Larson and TURQUOISE WISDOM.
Food will be served by Grill Em All and Mandoline Grill with sweet deserts from Coolhaus.
If you are reading Boing Boing, you need to go. Man, Spoek Mathambo alone is worth it—below, his "Control."
Read the rest
On June 22, Seattle will celebrate the Alan Turing centennial with an evening concert and installation at the Chapel Performance Space, curated by David Stutz (free software hacker, musician, vintner, and the guy who produced the musical CD that accompanied Neal Stephenson's Anathem -- an all-round happy mutant).
The event will be held as part of the Wayward Music Series at Seattle’s wonderful venue for experimental music, the Chapel Performance Space. Details will be forthcoming, but I plan on presenting a number of musical pieces, poetry that paraphrases a proof by Turing in the style of Dr. Seuss, the work of several visual artists, small vignettes from Turing’s life, and possibly some dance and/or theater. When the final program has been finalized, I will post it here.
a seattle concert and installation in honor of Alan Turing Read the rest