Blogging History: Painting characters on coin-heads; UK wants brawl-proof pint glasses; EFF kicks Diebold's ass

One year Coins painted as fictional characters: Andre Levy, a designer in Frankfurt, likes to paint coins.

Five years Britain seeks ban on glass pint-glasses to prevent bar-brawl injuries: The British Home Office is looking for proposals to make it harder to attack people with pint-glasses, including a mandate that all pint sleeves be made from plastic, or coated with shatter-resistant plastic. Because, you know, most bar-brawlers are fundamentally upset at the pint, not the people around them, and if they can't smash a pint sleeve, they will contain their anger and not use a chair, bottle, or imposing scarred forehead.

Ten years EFF kicks Diebold's ass: Diebold, the slimeballs whose faulty voting machines threaten the basis of US democracy, tried to silence its critics, a group of activists who were publishing leaked memos detailing the company's malfeasance, by falsely claiming that they were violating Diebold's copyright. Read the rest

Blogging History: Soviet plane-spotting head-gear; Ralph Lauren visits Uncanny Valley; Internet bubble's blessings

One year Soviet plane-spotting head-gear: Drakegoodman scanned this 1917-ish photo of Soviet planespotters in exotic headgear; according to a commenter, the binox are focused at infinity "so that when you found the source of the sound by turning your head, you could see the aircraft creating that sound."

Five years Ralph Lauren opens new outlet store in the Uncanny Valley: Dude, her head's bigger than her pelvis. From Photoshop Disasters (thanks, Antinous!)

Ten years Internet bubble's blessings: The aspect of the Internet Bubble that the press seemed most taken with was the youth of some of the startup founders. This too is a trend that will last. There is a huge standard deviation among 26 year olds. Some are fit only for entry level jobs, but others are ready to rule the world if they can find someone to handle the paperwork for them. Read the rest

Blogging History: Non-gender kids' clothes retail; London cops apologize for geek-mugging; Lucas ships Xbox malware

One year Better way to organize kids' clothing departments: Ever since our daughter's birth, my wife Alice and I have found ourselves shopping the "boys" section of the department stores for things like pyjamas and tees and rubber boots, this being the only way to get stuff that isn't pink, covered in glitter, hypersexualized (you should see some of the nighties they make for three year old girls!) and generally lame.

Five years London cops finally apologise for mugging geek -- four years later: In 2005, Boing Boing reported on the arrest of a London geek for the 'crime' of carrying a 'bulky' backpack (e.g., a laptop bag), wearing an 'unseasonably warm' coat (it was one of the coldest July days on record), and 'avoiding the police' (he was looking at an SMS on his phone when he went through the turnstiles and so didn't make eye-contact with the officers there).

Ten years Lucas put malicious Xbox trojan on Star Wars DVD: The new Star Wars bonus DVD erases elements of your Xbox's firmware without informing you or giving you a chance to decline. Read the rest

Blogging History: Precedents for "Internet makes us dumb"; 3D movies are dumb gimmicks

One year Internet dumbing-down hysteria compared against previous waves of anti-tech backlash: Salon has a refreshing take on the effect of the net on wider culture, courtesy of Dennis Baron, author of the new book A Better Pencil. Baron places hysteria about the net's supposed dumbing-down in context with other panics of years gone by.

Five years 3D movies are doomed to gimmickhood: "Why economics condemns 3D to be no more than a blockbuster gimmick," discusses the difficulty of making truly 3D movies (that is, movies that lose something crucial in 2D) in a world where movies need to find a home on 2D small-screens in order to recoup. Read the rest

Blogging History: History of RPG combat; 3D printed handcuff keys; Earthlink's P2P manifesto

One year Critical Hits: a history of a the battle between gamers and game-designers for nuance in combat systems: The early history of role-playing games seems like a constant battle between the creators of Dungeons & Dragons and its fans. Sometimes, like with critical hits, the fans wanted the game to be one way, but Gary Gygax and the folks at TSR just wouldn't have it. The case of critical hits shows that the fans have the real power, and that even if it takes decades, eventually D&D will implement critical hits, damn it. The history of critical hits was written by Jon Peterson, author of the fantastic-looking Playing at the World, a history of wargames and RPGs. Looks like an excellent companion to David Ewalt's Of Dice and Men.

Five years Working handcuff keys printed on a 3D printer: German hacker Ray has shown that he can print working Dutch police handcuff keys from plastic on his 3D printers, and has released the 3D files so you can print your own.

Ten years Earthlink posts P2P app, manifesto: Earthlink has released a new file-sharing tool based on SIP, the protocol underlying Voice Over IP and other systems for peer-to-peer connectivity. What's coolest about this is the manifesto they posted along with it. Read the rest

Blogging History: Netflix uses piracy to guide business decisions; Asking favors from writers; Bubblegum Alley

One year Netflix uses piracy stats to choose its programming: Senior executives from Netflix have explained their method for choosing which programs to license for the service: they buy the rights to the most-pirated shows in each territory, because that's where the demand is.

Five years Author John Scalzi "On The Asking of Favors From Established Writers": John Scalzi's scalding and funny diatribe about why he doesn't give favors to unestablished writers applies to more than just writers.

Ten years Bubblegum Alley: For forty years, people passing through this narrow alley in San Luis Obispo, California have stuck their chewing gum on the walls. Read the rest

Blogging History: Fortunes of bankers who tanked world economy; Roy Disney demands Eisner's still-beating heart

One year After the Meltdown: tracking the fortunes reaped by the bankers who tanked the economy: Documents the fate of the regulators, executives, and firms that were most directly responsible for the subprime meltdown, and demonstrates that the top bankers for firms like Lehman got unbelievably rich due to their failures, and are still in business with lucrative consulting firms (for example, Lehman CEO Richard Fuld walked away with several hundred million in cash and now has homes in three states and a personal consulting outfit).

Ten years Roy Disney demans Eisner's resignation, testicles, still-beating heart: Hot on the heels of Michael Eisner announcing that he wouldn't resign from Disney for two more years, Roy Disney and Stanley Gold have written a blistering open letter to the Disney Board, calling for Eisner's nuts on a platter: Read the rest

Blogging History: Arizona teen exorcists; Philadelphia Free Library is shutting down

One year Teen exorcists from Arizona take on the UK and Harry Potter: Brynne Larson and Tess and Savannah Scherkenback, teenage girls from Arizona who happen to be exorcists just like Brynne's dad, visit the UK! I bet they were a huge hit there. After all, Harry Potter author JK Rowling is British and, as Tess Scherkenback says, "The spells and things that you're reading in the Harry Potter books, those aren't just something that are made up, those are actual spells. Those are things that came from witchcraft books."

Five years Philadelphia Free Library System is shutting down: The Philadelphia Free Library system is broke, and they're shutting it down, including cancelling "all branch and regional library programs, programs for children and teens, after school programs, computer classes, and programs for adults" and "all children programs, programs to support small businesses and job seekers, computer classes and after school programs" and "all library visits to schools, day care centers, senior centers and other community centers" and "all community meetings" and "all GED, ABE and ESL program." Read the rest

Blogging History: No robot will ever...; Poe archive goes online

One year No robot will ever... Today's XKCD strip, Reassuring, wittily illustrates Kevin Kelly's Seven Stages of Robot Replacement, which start with "1. A robot/computer cannot possibly do the tasks I do" and heads toward "5. OK, it can have my old boring job, because it’s obvious that was not a job that humans were meant to do."

Five years Poe archive from UT Austin goes online: UT Austin's Ransom Center has digitized their Edgar Allan Poe collection, and it's pretty cool. I especially like the copies of his books, with his notes in them

Read the rest

Blogging History: NSA phone surveillance appalls FISA judge; Distance ed as Zork

One year NSA reveals that it illegally gathered thousands of phone records, to the appalled astonishment of FISA court judge: As the Snowden leaks about NSA surveillance continue to trickle out, it's easy to miss the fact that the NSA is now releasing hundreds of pages of damning documents about its activities. They're not doing it voluntarily: the Snowden leaks allowed the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU to wave away a decade's worth of administrative stalling and secure a major court victory that triggered the releases.

Five years If distance education was Zork: You are sitting at your desk with a cup of coffee, checking your online course webpage. There are twenty-three assignments that need grading.

drink coffee

All is right with the world again.

grade assignments

You have graded twenty-three assignments. You are sitting at your desk with a half-finished cup of coffee, checking your online course webpage. There are twenty-three assignments that need grading. Read the rest

Blogging History: Internet of Things Bill of Rights; Box turtle's leg-prostheses

One year Internet of Things Bill of Rights: We believe Internet of Things devices should all come with a well established expectation of what they will and will not do with consumer's data.

Five years Furniture slider prosthetic legs for turtle: Lucky is a box turtle in Petaluma, California who lost his front legs in what was believed to be an attack by a raccoon. Now he's back in the game with furniture sliders taped to his belly. Read the rest

Blogging History: How NSA sabotages crypto; Steampunk rugged corset; Unix on Gameboy

One year Firsthand account of NSA sabotage of Internet security standards: On the Cryptography mailing list, John Gilmore (co-founder of pioneering ISP The Little Garden and the Electronic Frontier Foundation; early Sun employee; cypherpunk; significant contributor to GNU/Linux and its crypto suite; and all-round Internet superhero) describes his interactions with the NSA and several obvious NSA stooges on the IPSEC standardization working groups at the Internet Engineering Task Force.

Five years Steampunk rugged corset: Steampunk maker Nifer Fahrion worked with Robynne Winchester of Tulgey Wood Designs to whip up this rugged, construction grade corset to wear at Burning Man with the Man KCrew.

Ten years Unix on the Gameboy: Gbaunix is a project to port Unix to the Gameboy Advance. Read the rest

Blogging History: This is the Space Age; Steel velcro; Cheney can direct terrorist attacks on USA

One year This is the Space Age: Annalee Newitz's Stop pretending we aren't living in the Space Age is a magnificent rant on the incredibly achievements of modern space programs, and a savage indictment of the lack of imagination underpinning complaints about the failure of humans to return to the moon in force.

Five years Steel velcro that supports 35 tons/square meter: Metaklett is a steel velcro-like substance created by Josef Mair and teammates at Technical University of Munich. One square meter of it supports up to 35 tons at temperatures up to 800 degrees Celsius.

Ten years VP Cheney in cahoots with terrorists?: Vice President Cheney is making bizarre threats about a possible terrorist attack unless he and President Bush are relected. Read the rest

Blogging History: Heinlein's bed; Normalcy is the future; Survival of the fittest mailbox

One year Heinlein's bed up for auction: Want to sleep in Robert A Heinlein's bed? The Heinlein Society was unable to find a museum to take this artifact from his home so they are now selling it on eBay.

Five years Normalcy is the future: She poured a coffee, then touched the breakfast table. "Where are my shoes?" "Your sister borrowed them." "Again? Where is Susan?" "She's downtown now." "Susan! Why did you swipe my favorite shoes again?" "Look at this dress." "Oooh, that dress is darling." "It would look even better on you." "You're right. Get it for me. You can't have it." "Trade you for these shoes." "Let me check that with Henry. Yeah, okay." Karen had another sip of fair-trade coffee. It tasted weird, but it was still hot.

Ten years : We recently moved to a semi-rural area in Los Angeles. Our mailbox is mounted on a metal pole, probably about an inch-and-a-half in diameter. The previous occupants had piled bricks around the pole, chimney-style, to keep drivers from knocking the mailbox over -- or at least punish them by giving their car a bigger dent if they hit it. Read the rest

Blogging History: Kyoto's 1.2kg pizzaburger; Damian Hirst wants £500K from teen who took pencils; Neighbor-shooting BBQer cites Bush doctrine

One year 1.2kg Mega Pizza Burger hits Kyoto: A 400g patty, onion, pickles, and meat sauce, etc. are sandwiched between two 27cm diameter cheesy pizza crusts as buns. It's 2,580 yen and will be sold only for 3 months.

Five years Damien Hirst installation owner charges teen art-rival with theft of £500,000 for removing box of pencils from installation: A teenaged artist who was forced to stop selling his collages when Damien Hirst sent threats to his gallery (the collages incorporated ironic images of Hirst's diamond-encrusted skull sculpture) is now facing a possible jail sentence because he took a box of pencils from a Hirst installation as a prank and offered to return them only if Hirst would let him go back to displaying and selling his art. Hirst claims the box of pencils -- Faber Castell Mongol 482s from 1990 -- is worth GBP500,000, making this one of the gravest modern art thefts in British history.

Ten years Guy who preemptively shot his BBQing neighbors says that self-defense includes killing people who pose "imminent" danger, like Saddam and drone-victims: You know how Obama and GWB's spin-doctors redefined "imminent" (as in "we attacked pre-emptively to prevent an imminent attack")? Well, if it's good enough for the Prez, it's good enough for Florida's neighbor-shooting yahoos. The yahoo in question is William T. Woodward, whose lawyer argues that he shot his neighbors while they were having a backyard barbecue because they were going to attack him. Eventually. Which is to say, imminently. And that, argues Mr Woodward's lawyers, is just self-defense as defined in Florida's "Stand Your Ground" laws. Read the rest

Blogging History: Bar needs new human toe after man consumes mummified garnish; Consultation shows Canadians want moderate copyright

One year Bar needs new human toe after mystery man consumes their mummified garnish: A bar in the Yukon needs to source a new human toe, because a patron ate the one they used to use as a cocktail garnish.

Five years Canadian Copyright Consultation shows Canadians overwhelmingly support moderate, fair copyright: The Canadian government's copyright consultation has received over 4,000 submissions from Canadians (it's not too late to send yours!). Of these, the overwhelming majority are in favour of more liberal copyright, against extending the term of copyright, against stiffer penalties for infringement (only three submissions advocated this) and against US-DMCA-style rules protecting DRM.

Read the rest

Blogging History: Satanic Christmas sweaters; Neil Gaiman's library

One year Christmas sweaters featuring Satan, sasquatch, etc: You might think I'd be all about the Sasquatch Knit Bigfoot sweater but I prefer the Satanic Knit Baphomet design!

Five years Neil Gaiman's library: Naturally we'd assumed that someone whose work is filled with references ranging from literary to mythological would have a fairly extensive library but even so, we were a bit unprepared for the scope of what he sent us. Read the rest

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