Blogging History: Rue 21 tells 14yo she's too big to shop there; Parisian mayors fight each other with road-signs; NYPD deploys LRAD against RNC protesters

One year Rue 21 tells 14-year-old shopper she's "too big to be in this store": "I walked in and the lady at the front counter said hey you’re too big to be in this store, I need you to leave."

Five years Mad Parisian mayors fight each other with road signs: The mayors of two Paris suburbs are so mad at each other that they made the D909 road one way in their districts, but one way in opposite directions.

Ten years RNC-NYC: reported presence of long-range acoustic device (LRAD) at protests: Earlier this month, the New York Police Department showed off a machine called the Long Range Acoustic Device, developed for the military and capable of blasting at an earsplitting 150 decibels -- as loud as a firecracker, a jet engine taking off or artillery fire at 500 feet, according to the Noise Center at the League for the Hard of Hearing. Read the rest

Blogging History: Cash4gold sues Consumerist, Garage door openers aren't copyrighted works

Five years Consumerist sued by Cash4Gold after critical blog posts: The whistleblower's post appeared on ComplaintsBoard last November. We featured it this February, as part of our ongoing coverage of Cash4Gold, after the company raised its public profile with a multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad. The post was indeed written by an ex-employee, Michele Liberis, who is now being sued by the company for defamation. Recently, Cash4Gold added Consumerist and ComplaintsBoard as co-defendants in its lawsuits.

Ten years Garage door openers aren't copyrighted, don't get DMCA protection: The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has brought down a verdict in the "Skylink" case. That's a DMCA case whereing a garage-door-opener company asserted that another company, which makes interoperable clickers (in case you lose yours or want a spare for your spouse) violated the DMCA by circumventing the protection on the copyrighted software in the garage-door-opener. Yeah, you read right. Copyrighted garage-door-openers. Read the rest

Blogging History: NSA spied on Al Jazeera; Dick Cheney, proud torturer; Soros v "drug lord" accusation

One year Docs leaked by Snowden show NSA spied on Al Jazeera: "The US intelligence agency hacked into protected communication, a feat that was considered a particular success."

Five years Dick Cheney, proud torturer: Former US Vice President Dick Cheney proclaimed once again over the weekend that he believes torture applied to war-on-terror detainees in U.S. custody after 9/11 worked brilliantly to reveal terror plots -- this despite testimony to the contrary from a CIA investigator who looked into the details of these abusive interrogations.

Ten years Soros responds to drug-lord accusation: George Soros has responded to Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert's accusation that he is financed by narco-gangsters in a great, stiff letter that demands an apology. Read the rest

Blogging History: Things Cut in Half; Ham radio trollfight; RNC-NYC protests

One year Things Cut in Half: Digging this twitter account: HalfPics. Above, a hand grenade.

Five years Random ham radio trollfight audio (explicit): Two trolls on ham radio, one identified as "G-K," the other as "Robert" or "R-J" overheard accidentally on August 29, 2009, while surfing first responder frequencies during the August 2009 Los Angeles wildfires.

Ten years RNC-NYC: daily geek protest roundup: Read the rest

Blogging History: Washington's $52.6 billion black budget; US copyright lobby attacks Canadian MPs; DoJ censors Supreme Court ruling

One year Washington's $52.6 billion "black budget" exposed: Among the notable revelations in the budget summary: Spending by the CIA has surged past that of every other spy agency, with $14.7 billion in requested funding for 2013. The figure vastly exceeds outside estimates and is nearly 50 percent above that of the National Security Agency, which conducts eavesdropping operations and has long been considered the behemoth of the community.

Five years American copyright lobby attacks Canadian politicians for supporting balanced copyright: A copyright lobbyist with the American federation of Musicians is circulating an online e-mail demanding the NDP apologize for our "disgusting" position on balanced copyright.

Ten years Justice Dept censors Supreme Court ruling: The Justice Dept. blacked out (censored) the part of a Supreme Court decision that calls into question the willy-nilly use of the vague notion of 'domestic security' to suppress dissent. Oy. Read the rest

Blogging History: CA schools hire spies to snoop students online; Obama continues rendition; Bea Arthur v TSA

One year California school district hires firm to eavesdrop on students' social media activity: The Glendale [California] Unified School District has hired Geo Listening ["Your students are crying for help. We have heard these cries of despair, and for help and attention, loud and clear from students themselves via their public postings on social networks"]to eavesdrop and monitor students’ public posts on websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Five years A kinder, gentler rendition under Obama: This week, we learned that the Obama administration will continue the Bush administration's practice of relocating war-on-terror detainees to other countries for offshore imprisonment and interrogation, with promises that their treatment will now be more closely monitored to ensure that they are not tortured.

Ten years Bea Arthur's fight against the Transport Security Agency: Bea Arthur forgot to take her pocketknife out of her purse last week at Logan airport and when the TSA found it, she ran around screaming, "The terrorists! The terrorists put a knife in my purse! We're all doomed!" She was being funny -- it's what she does. She's the funniest of all the Golden Girls, that's for sure.

The TSA didn't take it well. Read the rest

Blogging History: Teens' weed-smuggling empire; Depression is a pro-survival adaptation; How long can America stay scared?

One year The 1960s high schoolers who started a major pot smuggling empire: Epic tale about a group of friends from Coronado High in the 1960s who started the first major pot smuggling empire, with the help of their former Spanish teacher. What started as a bunch of hippies swimming small bales across the border with surfboards turned into a super sophisticated operation, bringing in Moroccan hash, Mexican grass, and Thai stick by the ton. They made more than $100m over a decade, and lived the life of Riley until it all came crashing down.

Five years Depression as a pro-survival adaptation that solves hard problems: Analysis requires a lot of uninterrupted thought, and depression coordinates many changes in the body to help people analyze their problems without getting distracted.

Ten years How long can America stay scared? A terrorist alert that instills a vague feeling of dread or panic, without giving people anything to do in response, is ineffective. Even worse, it echoes the very tactics of the terrorists. There are two basic ways to terrorize people. The first is to do something spectacularly horrible, like flying airplanes into skyscrapers and killing thousands of people. The second is to keep people living in fear. Decades ago, that was one of the IRA's major aims. Inadvertently, the DHS is achieving the same thing. Read the rest

Blogging History: CNN bumps Syria for Miley's twerk; Counterfeiter passed $7M worth of inkjet greenbacks; How to argue with conservatives

One year Why CNN gave Miley Cyrus top spot over Syria: The Onion cooked up a brutal item today: a fake op-ed from's managing editor, Meredith Artley, explaining why the above was CNN's homepage this morning.

Five years Man spent $7 million in bogus currency made with cheap inkjet printer: Talton discovered that toilet paper, the pages of Bibles and dictionaries, and newsprint are all made from the same kind of recycled paper pulp, and all take the mark. Newsprint is strong, and it has an additional advantage for the large-scale buyer: "Newsprint is real cheap," Talton says.

Ten years George Lakoff on how to argue with conservatives: Terror is a general state, and it's internal to a person. Terror is not the person we're fighting, the "terrorist." The word terror activates your fear, and fear activates the strict father model, which is what conservatives want. The "war on terror" is not about stopping you from being afraid, it's about making you afraid. Read the rest

Blogging History: Identify these Clowes characters; Lego cookie-cutter; Space House for Earth

One year Can you identify these Daniel Clowes characters? Can you identify all of the silhouettes in these new drawings that Daniel Clowes drew for the Modern Cartoonist exhibition murals and "Chicago Views" prints?

Five years Lego cookie-cutter: This rolling Lego cookie-cutter turns out edible 2x2 Legos! [Discontinued, alas!]

Ten years Space House for Earth: The European Space Agency is designing a terrestrial house based on technology like ultra-light carbon fiber-reinforced plastic developed for space-based structures. Read the rest

Blogging History: LOVEINT for NSA stalkers; Highlights from the IG's torture report; Appreciating typewriters

One year LOVEINT: NSA spooks illegally stalking their romantic interests: LOVEINT is the NSA practice of stalking people you are romantically interested in, using the enormous, illegal spy apparatus that captures huge amounts of Americans' (and foreigners') Internet traffic. It is so widespread that it has its own slangy spook-name.

Five years Highlights of the Inspector General's torture report: These are the atrocities whose architects and perpetrators Obama has refused to prosecute: threatening to murder a suspect's wife and children, threatening to rape a detainee's female relatives in front of him, beating prisoners, simulated execution, threats of execution, hanging suspects by their arms until interrogators believed their shoulders had dislocated, stepping on ankle-shackles to cause severe pain and injury. The IG reports that these detainees came into custody on the basis of "assessments that were unsupported by credible intelligence" (e.g., random accusations from untrustworthy sources, such as grudge-bearing neighbors who turned them in for cash bounties), and the Obama administration has announced that it will continue the CIA's program of "extraordinary rendition" (kidnapping suspects and sending abroad to be tortured in other countries).

Ten years Appreciation for a forgotten typewriter: Examining my Olympia again, I'm struck by how powerfully its form and image embody and express the idea of writing, as does almost any typewriter. Read the rest

Blogging History: CNN/NPR's handling of Manning's gender; Plush cell model; Removing anti-theft clothes tags

One year CNN and NPR can't be bothered to address Manning as female (UPDATED): "Manning hasn't taken any steps yet toward gender transition so use masculine pronouns ('he' and 'him')," the internal guidance reads.

"First reference, refer to him as 'Bradley Manning' and on subsequent references use 'Manning.' Also mention he has asked to change his first name to Chelsea. The guidance will be re-evaluated if Manning officially changes his/her name."

Five years HOWTO make a plush cell model: Instructables user ChrysN has a sweet plush cell model HOWTO up on the site. ChrysN suggests that this would be a great project for students assigned to produce a cell model.

Ten years Lazyweb request: Removing anti-theft devices still attached to purchased clothing: Most people suggested using a magnet, which did nothing. Another large group of people said take it back to the store and have them do it. Screw that; it's more fun to try it myself than to give up and drive to a loathsome mall. Some people told me to try putting a rubber band between the two pieces and twisting more and more loops around the the pin. That didn't work either. Other people suggested pinching the "nose" part of the clip on both ends with two pairs of pliers, and then pulling out the pin. Nope. Finally, I tried one guy's suggestion to hit the button with a hammer, which would cause it to split the clip open. The only thing that did was pinch the button down against the shirt. Read the rest

Blogging History: Pfc Manning transitions; Cop uses imaginary anti-wifi law against reverend

One year Pfc. Manning transitions gender: 'I am Chelsea': One day after being sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking secret government files to Wikileaks, Pfc. Bradley Manning today announced via NBC TODAY the decision to live life as a woman.

Ten years Rogue cop invents anti-WiFi laws, shakes down man-of-cloth: A copper outside of the Athenaeum in Nantucket shoook down the Reverend AKMA -- the bloggin' theologian -- who was using the library's WiFi from out front of the building. The incident that unfolded is flabberghasting, with the cop inventing whole new laws and then insisting that AKMA was violating them. Read the rest

Blogging History: Manning sentenced to 25 years; Alternative Big Mac Index; 1920 Japanese kids' books

One year Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years in prison: In a courtroom at Fort Meade today, Judge Army. Col. Denise Lind delivered the sentence in the trial of Bradley Manning: 35 years in a military prison, less 1,294 days for time served, and a 112-day credit for enduring "unlawful pretrial punishment," when he was held for 9 months at a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, VA. During that stay, Manning was confined alone for more than 23 hours each day in an 8-by-6 foot cell.

Five years How many minutes do people in your city have to work to buy a Big Mac? From The Economist, a chart showing "how long it takes a worker on the average net wage to earn the price of a Big Mac in 73 cities."

Ten years Japanese children's books from 1920s: Browsing through this beautiful gallery of children's book illos from the '20s, I keep thinking about the fact that these were all created during a period just before Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and a period of dramatic cultural change. Read the rest

Blogging History: LA water sommelier; Fiji Water's brutal military backers; No-fly for Ted Kennedy

One year The water sommelier of Los Angeles: Martin Riese is the water sommelier at Ray's and Stark Bar at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Five years Brutal military dictatorship that backs Fiji Water: Fiji Water isn't just devastating to the environment of Fiji, the planet that endures the cost of shipping it, and the environments of the places where it is consumed. It is also the product of a brutal military regime that monitors all outgoing Internet traffic from the island for criticisms of the water business and immediately arrests people who transmit them, bringing them in for intensive questioning and the occasional prison-rape threat, as journalist Anna Lenzer discovered.

Ten years Senator Kennedy on "no-fly" list: Senator Ted Kennedy says he was denied boarding on three shuttle flights in one month, because he's on the federal "no-fly" list of terrorist suspects. Read the rest

Blogging History: GCHQ performs laptop exorcism at Guardian; Graphic novel for Afghan voters; Docs helped Gitmo torturers

One year UK intel officials enter Guardian offices, destroy hard drives with Snowden docs: The Guardian's editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, explains that he is now forced to work on stories about the US National Security Administration from New York City, because UK intelligence officials went into the Guardian's headquarters and destroyed hard drives that had copies of some of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Five years Afghanistan: graphic novel voting guides for today's presidential elections: BB reader Jeannine (@j9drost) tweets, "My brother helped illustrate a 25-page Afghan election manual. More civic education materials here."

Ten years Medical professionals complicit in Abu Ghraib torture, says bioethicist: Dr. Stephen Miles wrote a scathing editorial for UK medical journal The Lancet which says that U.S. military medical personnel were complicit in detainee torture incidents that took place in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. According to the University of Minnesota bioethicist, "The US military medical system failed to protect detainees' human rights, sometimes collaborated with interrogators or abusive guards, and failed to properly report injuries or deaths caused by beatings." Based on data gleaned from government documents, he details cases of alleged abuse participation by medical personnel, and calls for a formal inquiry. Read the rest

Blogging History: Greenwald's partner detained at Heathrow; Michael Jackson's FBI file; Stealth Lynndie-ing

One year UK officials detain Glenn Greenwald's partner at Heathrow, question him about Snowden interviews, steal all his gadgets & data: Glenn Greenwald's partner David Miranda was detained at Heathrow Airport under an anti-terrorism law that allows the cops to hold terrorism suspects and question them for nine hours without a lawyer. He was held for exactly nine hours, and questioned -- but not about terrorism.

Five years Michael Jackson's FBI file consists of about 600 pages: I expected the agency would reply saying they didn't locate any such records, or that there were only a handful on pages on the late entertainer. I was wrong. A letter from the FBI yesterday informs me they've located close to 600 pages on him.

Ten years Stealth Lynndie-ing: In this warped variant of stealth disco, you strike the cigarette-dangling-from-mouth, finger-points-at-exposed-prisoner-genitalia pose made famous by Pfc. Lynndie England in Abu Ghraib torture photos. Read the rest

Blogging History: Student debt destroying a generation; Adding weight to gadgets for gravitas; Mexican cops get chipped

One year Student debt and tuition hikes: destroying the lives of America's children: Matt Taibbi takes a long, in-depth look at the scandal of student loans and tuition hikes, a two-headed parasite sucking America's working class and middle class dry as they plunge their children into a lifetime of ballooning debt in the vain hope of a better, college-educated future.

Five years Gizmo with a weight added for extra heft: The IDSA Materials and Process Selection Blog discovered a surprise inside a Pinnacle Video Transfer gadget: a weight seemingly added for the sole purpose of making the device heavier and less "cheap"-feeling.

Ten years Mexican cops get themselves chipped: The government of Mexico is RFID-tagging police in order to combat record high levels of kidnapping and disappearances. About 170 officers are said to have been subcutaneously tagged in their arms with microchips about the size of a rice grain of rice. The chip grants them access to a crime database and becomes a tracking tool in case they're kidnapped. Read the rest

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