Thursday, June 29, 2006

Real world Banana Jr 6000 computer from Bloom County

Thursday, June 29, 2006
09:45 PM

Real world Banana Jr 6000 computer from Bloom County: "Cory Doctorow:

Fritzgutten, a Flickr user, has built this amazing Ubuntu-powered file-server in tribute to the old Bloom County comic strip. The strip featured an occassional appearance by a wise-cracking, waddling Mac-like computer called the Banana Jr 6000; by hacking up and painting a Mac he appears to have faithfully brought it to life.


(via Make Blog)


(Via Boing Boing.)

Nigerian Letter scammer convinced to carve replica Commodore 64

Thursday, June 29, 2006
09:42 PM

Nigerian Letter scammer convinced to carve replica Commodore 64: "Cory Doctorow:

The 419Eater website chronicles the incredible story of a guy who baits 'Nigerian Letter' scammers by telling them he has no time to help them free their dead relatives' seized assets because he is so busy sending out $150,000 scholarships for talented carvings to display in his galleries. He actually convinces a 419 scammer to produce a detailed replica of a Commodore 64 computer with the lure of a big cash payout -- then blows him off with a twist ending worthy of The Big Con.


(via Waxy)


(Via Boing Boing.)

Chameleon snake discovered

Thursday, June 29, 2006
09:33 PM

Chameleon snake discovered: "David Pescovitz:
Scientists have discovered a new species of poisonous water snake in Borneo that can change its colors. The half-meter-long snake is a member of the genus Enhydris and might only live in the Kapuas River drainage system of Borneo. It's not yet known whether the chameleon-like behavior is a defense mechanism or something else. German zoologist Mark Auliya , a consultant for the World Wildlife Fund, and his colleagues named the creature the Kapuas mud snake. From the World Wildlife Fund:

‘I put the reddish-brown snake in a dark bucket. When I retrieved it a few minutes later, it was almost entirely white,’ said Dr Mark Auliya, reptile expert at the Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig in Germany, and a consultant for WWF...

‘The discovery of the ‘chameleon’ snake exposes one of nature’s best kept secrets deep in the Heart of Borneo,' said Stuart Chapman, WWF’s international coordinator of the Heart of Borneo initiative.

'Its ability to change colour has kept it hidden from science until now. I guess it just picked the wrong colour that day.’

However, WWF warns that the home of the new snake is threatened. Today, only half of Borneo's forest cover remains, down from 75 per cent in the mid-1980s.

Link to WWF news, Link to New Scientist article about the discovery


(Via Boing Boing.)

Report: Greenland shedding its ice-sheet as temps rise

Thursday, June 29, 2006
09:30 PM

Report: Greenland shedding its ice-sheet as temps rise: "Xeni Jardin:
BoingBoing reader John Parres says,

There is a moment in 'An Inconvenient Truth' where Al Gore explains what
is spelled out in this article from today's LA Times. In Greenland
(and Antarctica) melting glaciers are forming pools (and small lakes)
on the surface. What wasn't anticipated or modeled is that this
meltwater is boring streams down *through* the glacier and forming a
layer of water at the bottom between the glacier and land... causing
the glacier to slip and break apart faster than imagined.

Here's a snip from that article:

In an influential paper published in Science, Zwally surmised that
the ice sheets had accelerated in response to warmer temperatures, as
summer meltwater lubricated the base of the ice sheet and allowed it
to slide faster toward the sea.

In a way no one had detected, the warm water made its way through
thousands of feet of ice to the bedrock — in weeks, not decades or

So much water streamed beneath the ice that in high summer the entire
ice sheet near Swiss Camp briefly bulged 2 feet higher, like the crest
of a subterranean wave.

Link to LA Times story.

Reader comment:
Alastor sez,

Al Gore DID talk about the problem of these lubricating pools of water forming between land and glacier in the movie 'An Inconvenient Truth'. I just thought I'd mention that.


(Via Boing Boing.)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Birds on acid

Sunday, June 25, 2006
08:20 PM

Birds on acid: "David Pescovitz:
Why have birds in Huntington Beach, California been flipping out over the last week? On Thursday, a pelican flew right through a car windshield (it lived). Meanwhile, the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center picked up three birds that we're apparently acting confused and fielded calls about sixteen more. Turns out, these birds may have domoic acid poisoning, the same illness that may have caused the 1961 northern California bird invasion that inspired Hithcock. From the Los Angeles Times:

Although toxicology tests aren't complete (there are no bird breathalyzers), such behavior usually signals domoic acid poisoning from eating algae, said Lisa Birkle, assistant wildlife director at the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach, which is caring for the pelicans...

According to news reports, thousands of befuddled birds rained down on Northern California towns in August 1961, slamming into buildings and even pecking eight humans...

Nobody is predicting a Hitchcockian invasion here, but Birkle urged Southern California residents to be on the lookout for pelicans acting disoriented or turning up in unusual locations.

Link (Thanks, Mark Pescovitz!)


(Via Boing Boing.)

Apple Computer Wins Trademark Dispute vs. Beatles

Sunday, June 25, 2006
12:03 AM
yaaay apple

Apple Computer Wins Trademark Dispute vs. Beatles: "A judge rules the company's iTunes Music Store does not infringe on the trademark of Apple Corps, which represents the Beatles' interests."

(Via eWEEK Macintosh.)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Snakes on A Plane Phenomenon

Saturday, June 24, 2006
11:06 PM
oh yeah its coming

The Snakes on A Plane Phenomenon: "

I am watching with great interest the growing hubbub about the new suspense/disaster film, Snakes on a Plane, scheduled for release later this summer and expected by many to yield some of the strongest opening weekend grosses of the season. In many ways, we can see the ever expanding cult following of this predictably awful movie as an example of the new power audiences are exerting over entertainment content.

Here's what I think is going on here:

Enter the Grassroots Intermediaries

First, the Snakes on a Plane phenomenon has been building momentum for well over a year now. In the old days, the public would never have known about a film this far out of the gate. They might have learned about it when the previews hit the theatre -- a phenomenon which itself is occurring earlier and earlier in the production cycle -- or even given the fairly low-brow aspirations of this particular title -- when the film actually hit the theatre. In the old days, this would have been an exploitation movie of the kind that Roger Corman used to crank out in the 1950s and 1960s and destined to play on the second bill at the local drive-in. The goal would be to use a easily exploitable concept, a vivid poster and advertising campaign to generate heat quickly: then get into town and out again before anyone knew what hit them.

But, these days, grassroots intermediaries such as Ain't It Cool News are feeding the public's interest for inside information, starting to generate buzz almost from the moment rights are purchased or stars cast for a forthcoming production. Much as day traders have used the online world to become much more aware of every tick and twitch of the Fortune 500, the movie fans are ever attentive to anything which might impact a film's performance at the box office.

Alerting the public to a film so far in advance is a high risk matter for the movie producers -- since people can form strong opinions based on leaked photos or footage on such sites and those first impressions can be hard to shake. (There was a reason why Corman wanted to get into and out of town quickly.) With Snakes on a Plane, the early fan response suggested that the whole concept was a really big hoot -- this was going to be one of these films which is so bad that it is good.

Trash Film Aesthetics: From Niche to Mainstream

Think about that for a moment. The celebration of trash cinema used to be itself a niche audience taste. But over the past decade or two, this niche consumption practice has become progressively more widespread. Cable programs like Mystery Science Theater 3000 helped to introduce the pleasure of razzing a really bad movie to the masses. And so, we can now anticipate that a high percentage of the youth market and beyond will turn up just to throw rotten tomatoes at the screen and laugh about the whole premise.

Fan-Made Media

More than that, the film's fans (if you can call them that) started producing their own movie trailers and music videos; they've created all kinds of bad art -- like this or this or this. Check out this site, Snakes on a Blog, which documents the wild world of fan appropriations surrounding this film. This also reflects the growing ability of media consumers to archive, appropriate, and recirculate media content. These fans are using a wide variety of tools and distribution channels -- including both Flickr and YouTube. What's striking about the present moment is how easily such materials can attach themselves to a major -- or in this case, minor -- media property and get widespread attention. In fact, the fan response keeps generating news coverage for the film -- Entertainment Weekly in particular seems to have a Snakes on a Plane story every few issue.

Hollywood Listens to Its Consumers

But that's not all. In this case, you had a production company which was monitoring the fan response and like a real leader, figured out where the crowd was going and ran out in front, shouting follow me. You could imagine a film getting this kind of public drubbing and having the producer decide that the safest option was to pull it from theatrical distribution and send it direct to video.

In fact, though, the producers listened closely enough to hear the affection underneath the raspberries and realized that the audience was actually looking forward to going out to the theatres and see this turkey. It's hard to tell now whether the film was going to be marketed as camp all along -- somehow I doubt it -- but everyone's busy mythologizing the choice. Samuel L. Jackson is reputed to have insisted that the film keep its over-the-top title: 'What are you doing here? It's not Gone with the Wind. It's not On the Waterfront. It's Snakes on a Plane!'. The producers reportedly went back and reshot some scenes to include really bad dialogue proposed by fans. The new previews really play up the absurdity and improbability of the core premise -- and when I saw the preview at a theatre in Boston the other week, the audiences cheered and clapped like there was no tomorrow. And I have never seen a official site which so aggressively played up fan response to a film which is still sight unseen by its potential audience.

So, if the film really strikes it big at the box office, we can see this as a powerful illustration of what happens when fans take charge of the promotion of a major Hollywood release.


(Via Confessions of an Aca/Fan: The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins.)

Laptop action! Dell notebook explodes in Japan

Laptop action! Dell notebook explodes in Japan: "


Um, Dell? Could you explain exactly what's going on inside your laptops that could cause them to suddenly blow up, just like this one at a conference in Japan? I've always assumed the tiny magic hamsters running around underneath the keyboard were given enough synthesized gummiberry juice that they were never tempted to chew on any wires, ...

The Inquirer, via Gizmodo


(Via SCI FI Tech Blog.)

The DVD Shelf---Leon: The Professional (1994)

Saturday, June 24, 2006
10:54 PM

The DVD Shelf---Leon: The Professional (1994): "It is well known that Americans are extremely prudish about sex. It's not really the act itself that makes us squeamish; Americans consume more pornography than fast-food burgers. But when it comes to frank discussions about sexuality in general, we get extremely nervous. We are comfortable with sex only when the issue is kept superficial. To state that is nothing new or profound. But why use that as a starting point for a discussion of an action film that has no sex or nudity in even a single one of its frames? Well, the film in question is one that had hetero men waiting seven years for a time when it would no longer be disgusting to fap to Natalie Portman."


Web Zen: Flyer zen

Saturday, June 24, 2006
10:26 PM
zen this

Web Zen: Flyer zen: "Xeni Jardin:

rave flyer price guide

more rave flyers


las vegas punk

square dance


hip hop


Web Zen Home, Store (Thanks Frank!)


(Via Boing Boing.)

Clowns sabotage Minuteman III nuclear missile

Saturday, June 24, 2006
10:25 PM
now there's a movie
Dr. Strangeclown

Clowns sabotage Minuteman III nuclear missile: "Xeni Jardin:

Defensetech blog reports that a retired Catholic priest and two vets broke in to a military nuclear weapons facility and banged a Minuteman III missile silo cover with hammers, in an attempt to disable the weapon. Oh yeah, they were dressed in clown suits while they did it.

The trio -- members of the Luck, Wisconsin group Nukewatch -- said the break-in was part of 'a call for national repentance' for the Hiroshima and Nagaski A-bombings in 1945.

The activists used bolt-cutters to get into the E-9 Minuteman II facility, located just northwest of the White Shield, North Dakota. 'Using a sledgehammer and household hammers, they disabled the lock on the personnel entry hatch that provides access to the warhead and they hammered on the silo lid that covers the 300 kiloton nuclear warhead,' the group said in a statement. 'The activists painted 'It's a sin to build a nuclear weapon' on the face of the 110-ton hardened silo cover and the peace activists poured their blood on the missile lid.'

This was all done while wearing face paint, dunce caps, misfitting overalls, and bright yellow wigs.

Link. When they were finished, the three clowns piled into a teeny-weeny car with a talking seal in the trunk, and the bearded lady drove them all off into the sunset. What I love about this country is that these men were not shot on sight.

Reader comment: Cris in Addison Texas says,

One of my uncles was a 'Turn Key' with the USAF for a number of years. That means he was one of the guys tasked with sitting a half mile underground in a secure capsule, in case the order to launch ever came. He gave my family a tour of the launch facilities and a silo back in 1985 ( and yes, it was very much like the begining of WARGAMES). The Launch Silos are scattered ALL OVER the midwest with just a chain link fence it would appear to protect the site. However, they do have a Perimeter Intrusion 'electronic fence' around each one. If someone crosses that perimeter, it sets off an alarm and one or more 2 man Emergency Response Teams will scramble and get to the site within a 5 minute window (at the time these were normally a modified SUV with a roof turret mounted M-60)... this is why protesters were able to plant their graffiti. There are simply to many launch silos scattered over far to wide an area to station gaurds at each location 24/7.

Additionally... other than maybe making a mess (and a biohazard technically if they left their own blood behind)...short of several pounds of a really powerfull explosive, or a shape charge...there is ZERO chance they could have damaged the silo with a couple of hammers. Those lids are blast hardened, reenforced and a few feet thick. I suppose the Air Force may need to purchase some more chain and a new padlock though.

Mike Benedetti says,

I've been surprised that so many people commenting on blogs (including the guy you quoted at BoingBoing) don't get that hammering on a missile silo is meant to be purely a symbolic act.

These guys are part of the Plowshares movement, who 'hammer swords into plowshares' (an image from the book of Isaiah) to 'witness' against warmaking. Plowshares people are mostly religious and mostly Catholic. (I have several good friends who've done jail time as a part of 'Plowshares actions.') They've been doing this stuff for like 25 years now.

There's a high-profile case dragging on in Ireland right now involving some 'Ploughshares' (as they spell it there) activists: Link. Anyway, great to see some hard-core pacifists mentioned on BoingBoing.

lollerkeet says,

Andrew Denton interviewed Ciaron O'Reilly, one of the men involved in the Irish case, less than a week ago.
Link has transcript, video and mp3.

edgewood smith says,

in response to the missle hammering (which I support the symbolic act), there is a new national Historic Site in South Dakota The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. As I head down for a week in the Badlands I intend to try and get a tour here and take photos. Link

Mike Benedetti says,

This is at least the third time Carl Kabat has tried to sabotage a missile while dressed as a clown: Link. These three guys are connected to the loosely-organized Catholic Worker movement, one of the domestic activist groups the FBI was caught spying on last December: Link. My saying this was 'purely' a symbolic act overstates things and does a disservice to the interplay of symbolism and practicality here.

Dakota Ken says,

I had a similar experience at a T-9 site in Wyoming last August.

I was heading south down I-25 on my way to Colorado Springs. Having an interest in Cold War activities and abandoned missile silos I made a map of sites which were supposed to be decommisioned. I stopped at the T-9 site and spent 30-45 minutes looking around the perimeter of the site, taking pictures and trying to imagine what is must have been like when active and manned.

About 30 minutes into my wanderings I noticed a black, unmarked Pickup/SUV truck had pulled up to front of the access road (kind of out of nowhere because I could see for miles and hear the slightest movements of birds, bugs, etc out there in the vast expanse of Wyoming). I thought perhaps it was a rancher who now owned (read repossesed the land) the site as part of their ranch and was just scoping out why I was walking around this parcel of land.

However, upon my driving down the road to the main road the SUV blocked my way, and two sentry's with automatic weapons got out of the truck and motioned me to stop (these kids looked to be no more than 19-20 years old). I was asked what I was doing there and I explained my trip and my interest in historical sites. I said it was my understanding this was an abandoned, decomissioned site from 1999 and I found it interesting. The sentry then said that it was not abandoned and I needed to provide ID for a security check.

I was detained, in my car, while they checked me out for the next 30 minutes. When the sentry came back, returned my ID, and said I could depart, I asked if I should/not stop at another site some 40 miles south. He said if I did the sentry's there may not be as friendly.

As I was driving away and returning to the interstate I could see that they stayed and waited for me to enter the highway and then drove up the access road to check on the perimeter fencing. Isn't it odd that a site, which has publicly been labeled decommissioned as of 1999, would still have activities going on and sentry's guarding it's perimeter???

Howard Rosenfeld says,

I have one question - where did that last paragraph come from?? I guess it's funny and I know BB readers have a sense of humor but it would be great if you could add on to that story what really happened to them: 'Guards responded within minutes. And when they arrived, the protesters 'ate a lot of gravel,' I'm told.

'The individuals were taken from the area and brought to the McLean County Jail,' the AP notes. 'The three are being charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief, both Class A misdemeanors, and bond was set at $500 each.... The FBI is involved in the case and federal charges are pending.'

People can go here for updates on this action: Link


(Via Boing Boing.)

Media scholar Henry Jenkins starts blogging

Saturday, June 24, 2006
10:20 PM

Media scholar Henry Jenkins starts blogging
: "Cory Doctorow:
MIT prof Henry Jenkins is pretty much the sharpest person I've ever met when it comes to the cultural implications of fandom, fannish activity, fan fiction, and participatory culture (a phrase he coined). He's started a blog, and just from the first handful of entries I know I'm going to be finding gems there every day.

First, the Snakes on a Plane phenomenon has been building momentum for well over a year now. In the old days, the public would never have known about a film this far out of the gate. They might have learned about it when the previews hit the theatre -- a phenomenon which itself is occurring earlier and earlier in the production cycle -- or even given the fairly low-brow aspirations of this particular title -- when the film actually hit the theatre. In the old days, this would have been an exploitation movie of the kind that Roger Corman used to crank out in the 1950s and 1960s and destined to play on the second bill at the local drive-in. The goal would be to use a easily exploitable concept, a vivid poster and advertising campaign to generate heat quickly: then get into town and out again before anyone knew what hit them.

But, these days, grassroots intermediaries such as Ain't It Cool News are feeding the public's interest for inside information, starting to generate buzz almost from the moment rights are purchased or stars cast for a forthcoming production. Much as day traders have used the online world to become much more aware of every tick and twitch of the Fortune 500, the movie fans are ever attentive to anything which might impact a film's performance at the box office.



(Via Boing Boing.)

Backdorm Boys

Saturday, June 24, 2006
10:16 PM
Mary showed these guys to me today
frikkin hilarious

Backdorm Boys: "David Pescovitz:

 Photos Uncategorized Backdorm Boys Sculptures
Over at the Institute For The Future's Virtual China blog, my colleagues Nydia Chen and Lyn Jeffery introduce us to the famous Asian pop stars the 'Backdorm Boys' (????). They apparently graduated this week from the Guangzhou Arts Academy sculpture program and these life-sized statues of themselves were their final projects.


(Via Boing Boing.)

Japanese video giant meteor collision

Saturday, June 24, 2006
10:10 PM

Japanese video giant meteor collision: "Mark Frauenfelder:

Giant meteorite

Here's a happy computer video of what might happen if a big meteor hits earth.



(Via Boing Boing.)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Amazing photos of starling flocks

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
09:27 PM

Amazing photos of starling flocks: "Mark Frauenfelder:
200606211253 Here's what a flock of a million starlings looks like. In Denmark, they call it the Black Sun. Link (via Ursi's Blog)


(Via Boing Boing.)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Mind-controlled robot hand now, cyborgs later

Saturday, June 17, 2006
11:33 PM

Mind-controlled robot hand now, cyborgs later: "


The day may soon come that you can replace a severed limb with a cybernetic one, and you'll have Yukiyasu Kamitani to thank. Kamitani, a researcher at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, has just developed a robot hand that's controlled by human thoughts.--->snip

Terrorism? I don't care...

Saturday, June 17, 2006
11:29 PM

Terrorism? I don't care...: "Terrorism seems to be all the hype these days, but is it really that important? The numbers beg to differ."


Psychology of bad probability estimation: why lottos and terrorists matter

Saturday, June 17, 2006
11:25 PM

Psychology of bad probability estimation: why lottos and terrorists matter: "Cory Doctorow:
Here's the audio from a South By Southwest 2006 presentation by Harvard's Daniel Gilbert on the psychology of probability estimation. This is important stuff -- it explains why we're socially willing to commit nigh-infinite social resources to fighting terrorism, though statistically, terrorist attacks almost never happen; though we barely lift a finger to help save people from routine traffic accidents, backyard pool drownings, and asthma, which mow down our neighbors by the thousands. It explains why people buy lottery tickets. It explains a great deal about many kinds of human activity. This is both sensible and entertaining audio, and it's got a great title: 'How to Do Precisely the Right Thing at All Possible Times.'

23MB MP3 Link

(Thanks Avi!)


(Via Boing Boing.)

Ten Commandments Congressman can't name them

Saturday, June 17, 2006
11:24 PM

Ten Commandments Congressman can't name them: "Cory Doctorow:
In this video, Stephen Colbert nails Georgia Representative Lynn Westmoreland, a Congressman who's co-sponsored a bill to require the display of the Ten Commandments in the House of Reps and the Senate. After bantering with Westmoreland for a couple minutes, Colbert says, 'What are the Ten Commandments?'

Stephen Colbert: What are the Ten Commandments?

Lynn Westmoreland: What are all of them?

SC: Yes.

LW: You want me to name them all?

SC: Yes.

LW: Uhhh.

LW: Ummmm. Don't murder. Don't lie. Don't steal. Ummmmm.

LW: I can't name them all.

Link, YouTube Mirror

(Thanks, Mapletree 7!)


(Via Boing Boing.)

Backstage tours of Walt Disney World

Saturday, June 17, 2006
11:24 PM

Backstage tours of Walt Disney World: "Cory Doctorow:
The Washington Post has a great feature on the Backstage Tours at Walt Disney World. I took several of these when I was researching my novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, and they were always fantastic. If there's anything cooler than seeing the masterful illusions created in Disney World's parks, it's seeing behind them and watching them being created and maintained.

Our private boat through the venerable Jungle Cruise revealed stagecraft secrets such as the hidden heaters used to warm the tropical plants and the actual words uttered by the animatronic cannibal ('I love disco,' believe it or not).

And that doesn't even count such sworn-to-secrecy dish as how they keep the Safari Adventure lions on that viewing rock (air conditioning), what employees really think of certain daily performances ('Cinderellabration, the Loudest Show on Earth') and just who that is in the Mickey costume (a petite woman, most likely).


(via The Disney Blog)


(Via Boing Boing.)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

MacBook Is Time's Gadget Of The Week

Saturday, June 10, 2006
12:00 AM

MacBook Is Time's Gadget Of The Week: "Time has selected Apple's MacBook as its 'Gadget of the Week.'

The MacBook is a powerful and affordable option, especially for people who are uncertain about their Windows future. The next version, Vista, might be a success, but wit..."

(Via MacRumors.)

Friday, June 9, 2006

The World Of Bats

Friday, June 09, 2006
09:58 PM

The World Of Bats: "I have always had a great interest in bats. Hearing stories of vampire bats and the warnings from my parents about bats trying to get into my long hair, just gave me more incentive to find out all I could about them. When I was young I would go out to an old farm on the edge of town and search the old barns and buildings looking for any signs of bats. Most often all I found was bat shit on the floors and walls. I did on occasion see them flying around at night in the light of the streetlight at home. Included is a short story of an encounter with a bat."


The Digital Story: Grab Shot 39 - "Cat Eyes"

Friday, June 09, 2006
11:19 PM

The Digital Story: Grab Shot 39 - "Cat Eyes": "
Weekly digital photography podcasts, photo tips, reader submitted pictures, equipment reviews and more.
show notes


Grab Shot 39 - 'Cat Eyes'

'I recently visited my parents and had my camera just in case,' said Kevin Miller. 'I found Mandy reasonably cooperative and took these while lying on the floor. My dad saw me spread out on the hall floor and thought perhaps I had had a heart attack.'
Kevin was just fine... he's a photographer. He used a Canon 30D, F4.0, 1/60, ISO 200, with flash.
If you have an interesting candid you'd like to share, take a look at our Submissions page, then send us your Grab Shot. If we publish it, you'll receive an ultra cool custom carabineer keychain.
Read More: Grab Shots
Posted by dstory on June 1, 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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Anti-Christ to be nice guy?

Friday, June 09, 2006
09:51 PM

Anti-Christ to be nice guy?: "Whenever I imagine the anti-Christ, I imagine a super nice guy, universally beloved. Well-dressed, clean-shaven—he won’t look like he’s from Hell.

He’ll be charismatic. Philanthropic. It will seem like he cares about you, personally. He’ll have an air of quiet moral earnestness, like Jimmy Stewart or Gregory Peck.

If he makes something (movies, software, soft drinks, shoes) people will love his products. If he’s a politician he will be loved by left and right.

You won’t know he’s the anti-Christ. In fact, he would be the last guy you suspect.

He’ll have a wonderful speaking voice, and you’ll just love to listen to him talk. Everybody will."


Bookcase from beyond the Singularity

Friday, June 09, 2006
09:50 PM

Bookcase from beyond the Singularity: "Cory Doctorow:

This month's 'Found' section in Wired -- which features photoshopped images of futuristic artefacts -- is a great one: a bookcase full of titles from the future. On the list: 'Our Hive Mind, Ourself'; 'The Way to Program Poker'; '2- and 3-Brane Quantum Geometry for Dummies' and my favorite: Francis Fukuyama's 'The End of History: This Time For Sure.'



(Via Boing Boing.)

Princeton's Art of Science Competition winners

Friday, June 09, 2006
09:45 PM

Princeton's Art of Science Competition winners: "David Pescovitz:
Princeton University has posted the 56 works they've selected for their 2006 Art of Science exhibition. These are pieces 'produced in the course of research or incorporating tools and concepts from science.' Electrical Engineering grad student Qiangfei Xia's 'Easter Bonnet' won third prize in the competition and I think it's stunning.

 ~Artofsci Gallery2006 Images 2

From his description of the artwork:
A laser pulse melted a tiny piece of metal on a silicon chip, resulting in an unexpected shape that looks like a very, very small Easter bonnet. An unintended dust particle serves as a decorative flower on its top. The size of the bonnet in this photo, measured from left to right, is about 45 micrometers, half the diameter of a human hair.

Link (via


(Via Boing Boing.)

Lab Notes from UC Berkeley, June issue

Friday, June 09, 2006
09:44 PM

Lab Notes from UC Berkeley, June issue: "David Pescovitz:
My latest issue of Lab Notes from UC Berkeley's College of Engineering is online. I hope you enjoy it! In this issue:

 Labnotes 0606 Chrzan2
* Computing Material Truths: How computers are used to simulate the mechanics of new nanomaterials

* Nuclear Detective: An ultra-high resolution radiation detector

* A Logical Approach to Computer Security: Computational logic to identify malware



(Via Boing Boing.)

Psychoactive drugs before prohibition

Friday, June 09, 2006
09:42 PM
oldye drugs of choice

Psychoactive drugs before prohibition: "David Pescovitz:
The University at Buffalo Addiction Research Unit hosts a fun gallery of psychoactive drugs that were legal during the late-19th through mid-20th century. For example benzedrine inhalers (racemic amphetamine) could be bought OTC until the 1950s. The Web site even shows a Pan Am airline menu offering a Benzedrine inhaler as a 'service item' for your flying comfort, along with a toothbrush, sewing kit, and kleenex. From the site:

 Aru Benzedrine

The prohibition of psychoactive substances has evolved gradually in the United States and in Europe. The opium-containing preparation laudanum had been widely available since the 18th century. Morphine, cocaine, and even heroin were seen as miracle cures when they were first discovered. During the mid to late 19th century, many manufacturers proudly proclaimed that their products contained cocaine or opium. A few, like Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup for infants which contained morphine, were more guarded in divulging their principal ingredients. By the beginning of the 20th century, problems with habitual use of cocaine and opiates was becoming increasingly apparent. This led to the removal of these substances from some products (e.g., Coca Cola) and to the introduction of the Pure Food and Drug Act (1906) in the United States which required the listing of ingredients on product labels. Nonetheless, standard narcotic remedies like paregoric remained readily available into the early 20th century, and Benzedrine inhalers were marketed without prescription until the early 1950s. Codeine wasn't removed from most over-the-counter cough suppressants until the early 1980s.

Link (via Mind Hacks)


(Via Boing Boing.)

DIY Impeachment

Friday, June 09, 2006
09:38 PM

DIY Impeachment: "Mark Frauenfelder:
Jodin Morey says:

Impeach Bush yourself! This is much more than just a petition.

There's a little known and rarely used clause of the in the rules for the House of Representatives which sets forth the various ways in which a president can be impeached. Only the House Judiciary Committee puts together the Articles of Impeachment, but before that happens, someone has to initiate the process.

That's where we come in. In addition to the State-by-State method, one of the ways to get impeachment going is for individual citizens like you and me to submit a memorial. has created a new memorial based on one which was successful in impeaching a federal official in the past. You can find it on their website as a PDF.

You can initiate the impeachment process yourself by downloading the memorial, filling in the relevant information in the blanks (your name, state, etc.), and sending it in.

More information on the precedent for submitting an impeachment
memorial, and the House Rules on this procedure, can also be found at
the above address.

If you have any doubts that Bush has committed crimes warranting
impeachment, read this page.

If you're concerned that impeachment might not be the best strategy
at this point, read the
bottom of this page.



(Via Boing Boing.)