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Racists cancel San Francisco rally

posted: 25 Aug 2017

The racist bigots planning to rally in San Francisco's Crissy Field have cancelled their event, citing fear of violence and the fact that they'd be far out-numbered.

Joey Gibson, the rally’s organizer and the founder of the conservative group Patriot Prayer, said that he believed that “tons of extremists” would be coming to his event and that it could become dangerous.

“We’re not going to have a rally at Crissy Field,” Gibson said in a Facebook Live broadcast. “It doesn’t seem safe. A lot of people’s lives are going to be in danger tomorrow.”

Another rally in Berkeley on Sunday will go on, Gibson said, citing a conversation he had with Amber Cummings, the organizer of that event. “We’re excited to go into Berkeley. We’re going to put our effort and our resources into Berkeley,” Gibson said.

He blamed politicians like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee for characterizing the San Francisco rally as a white nationalist event, which he said would attract people with extreme views.

“After several conversations with the police and understanding the situation of what’s going on, we’ve decided that tomorrow really seems like a setup,” Gibson said. “We decided to go ahead and take the opportunity to not fall into that trap.”

And some protesters could still show up at Crissy Field on Saturday even with the official event called off.

The “free speech” rally had attracted a broad backlash from residents and local leaders since deadly violence broke out at a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month. While organizers with the Portland-based Patriot Prayer insisted they denounced white supremacy, past events organized by the group have attracted neo-Nazis and devolved into violence.

The organizers said they would hold a news conference Saturday at 2 p.m. in San Francisco’s Alamo Park and that they wouldn’t talk more about their reasons for canceling the event until then.

Via the Mercury News

Go home, bigots.

Trump pardons Joe Arpaio

posted: 25 Aug 2017

President Donald J. Trump today pardoned the lawless racist and former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. He was found guilty of criminal contempt in a case about racial profiling. Of course he was Trump's first pardon.

(more…)

Mueller investigating Flynn's role in seeking Clin

posted: 25 Aug 2017

Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team of investigators are looking into whether former Trump cabinet member Mike Flynn may have been part of an effort to get a hold of Hillary Clinton’s emails, hacked by Russia.

(more…)

Bomba-style retro flip clock

posted: 25 Aug 2017

I've always wanted one of these, and now I can get one pretty cheap! The KABB Modern Digital Flip Clock is $44, comes with black or white number flaps, and runs off a single D battery. It looks a bit cheap in the photos—I certainly don't think it'll pass for a vintage Bomba—but that hardly matters, as it's just another totem of my anxious and obsessive grasping at nostalgia for a technological age I am too young to have experienced, a timeless jumble of false comfort doomed to be discarded in a convulsion of minimalism that is itself merely another manifestation of the deracinating consumer identities to which we are all measured against and fed to like krill.

Nice gift for dad, though!

North Korea fires 'several' ballistic missiles int

posted: 25 Aug 2017

North Korea has launched what is likely to be multiple short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast into the Sea of Japan, according to South Korea's military.

(more…)

The skeuomorphic hell of music-making apps

posted: 25 Aug 2017

Audio plugins are renowned for their insane efforts to mimic real-life hardware UI, right down to 70s'-style dials and warped burl paneling. If they could smell of sweaty pleather, they would. John Lagomarsino takes us through his favorite ones and tries to figure out why on Earth all this is so.

Alone, each plugin is hideous in its own unique way. A panel of 3D knobs here, a pixelated oscilloscope there. But when a project really gets cooking, one can amass eight or ten of these interfaces overlapping each other on the screen at once, and that's when skeuomorph hell really comes into focus. I don't know why audio software has looked like this for the better part of two decades, but I'd like to honor these sins of UI with a tour of some of the most egregious examples.

Pop Tarts replaces model's eyes with mouths in nig

posted: 25 Aug 2017

I am become death, destroyer of worlds.

https://twitter.com/PopTartsUS/status/890261476266696704

Behold my works! Corinthian Leather: the collected political nightmare photoshops.

Boomers are news-illiterate couch vegetables stuck

posted: 25 Aug 2017

A Pew Research study found that "younger adults are more likely than their elders to read the news," but there are other ways of seeing the data.

Overall, more Americans prefer to watch their news (46%) than to read it (35%) or listen to it (17%), a Pew Research Center survey found earlier this year. But that varies dramatically by age. Those ages 50 and older are far more likely to prefer watching news over any other method: About half (52%) of 50- to 64-year-olds and 58% of those 65 and older would rather watch the news, while roughly three-in-ten (29% and 27%, respectively) prefer to read it. ... our research also reveals that, in the digital realm, [younger adults] often get news at equal or higher rates than older Americans, whether intentionally or not.

The most literate and literary people in human history.

Bear needs piano lessons

posted: 25 Aug 2017

https://youtu.be/iTPuZYVuGd0

Less musically inclined than the average bear?

People buy products with faces to stop from feelin

posted: 25 Aug 2017

People prefer products that have faces on the packaging, especially when they are lonely, according to a study published online this month in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

From University of Oregon:

This finding, published online this month in the European Journal of Social Psychology, is rooted in people’s fundamental need to belong and their desire to form and sustain relationships. When humans lack these social connections, they often attempt to fill the void in other ways, including through their purchasing habits.

“Previous research linked our need for social connection with consumer behavior and judgment, but very little was understood about the role that visuals play in social connection and brand likability,” [Prof. Dr. Ulrich] Orth explained. “Our study builds on prior research by demonstrating that seeing a face in a brand visual increases a consumer’s liking of the brand, especially if they feel lonely.”

To be effective, the face on the label does not need to be as obvious as the one smiling back at [University of Oregon professor Bettina] Cornwell from the bag of potato chips in the hotel gift shop. Consumers often imagine humanlike characteristics in nonhuman visuals, a process also known as anthropomorphism. Orth explains that loneliness can enhance people’s tendency to exhibit this kind of “wishful seeing” and is most apparent in the case of faces.

“A lack of interpersonal relationships motivates people to actively search for sources of connection,” Cornwell said. “Individuals who are lonely are more likely to find faces in visuals because they so greatly desire this social connection.”

Image: Kevin Harber/Flickr

Meet Pepper, Japan's robot priest that can now con

posted: 25 Aug 2017

Japan is already known for being at the forefront of humanoid robots that take over traditionally human jobs (hotel concierge and elderly companions, for instance). Now they can add robot funeral priests to their list.

Japan's telecommunications company SoftBank just unveiled "Pepper," its robot priest, dressed in Buddhist robes, that can chant Buddhist scriptures, play the drum, and livestream the ceremony for people who can't attend the funeral in person. The demo took place at Japan's "Life Ending Industry Expo" in Tokyo last Wednesday.

According to The Guardian:

The robot was on display on Wednesday at a funeral industry fair, the Life Ending Industry Expo, in Tokyo, shown off by plastic molding maker Nissei Eco.

With the average cost of a funeral in Japan reaching in excess of £20,000, according to data from Japan’s Consumer Association in 2008, and human priests costing £1,700, Nissei Eco is looking to undercut the market with Pepper available for just £350 per funeral.

Pepper (not a name I'd expect a Buddhist priest to have, but this is a robot we're talking about after all) has not yet been hired for a real funeral.

Moonlighting's 'Atomic Shakespeare' episode

posted: 25 Aug 2017

The amazing cast of Moonlighting performed William Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew in character. It was wonderful!

It has been decades since I've watched Moonlighting seriously, but every year or so I rewatch Atomic Shakespeare.

Wikipedia's mindblowing timeline of the far future

posted: 25 Aug 2017

Wikipedia's prediction of far-future events really makes me wish I could stick around to see the red supergiant star Antares go supernova in 10,000 years. "The explosion is expected to be easily visible in daylight." I'm happy I'll miss the 1km asteroid that's likely to hit Earth in the next 500,000 years. Looking farther out, the moon Phobos will collide Mars in 50 million years. Anything alive 2.8 billion years from now will need good air conditions because "Earth's surface temperature, even at the poles," will be 300 °F.

This list "Technological Projects" below is just one of the many different tables in the Wikipedia article:

LED lighting for your tent

posted: 25 Aug 2017

These easy to hang LED lanterns are great camping, working under a car, or really anyplace that is dark!

Invariably I am searching my tent or van for some small item I critically need, but can not find in the dark. These hanging lanterns make it easy for me to just turn on a light and find what I need.

Solidly made, I take one camping wherever I go and have put the spare in my emergency bug out bag.

2 Pack E-TRENDS Portable LED Lantern Tent Light Bulb for Camping Hiking Fishing Emergency Light via Amazon

Watch: Incredible glowing bug moves too lifelike t

posted: 25 Aug 2017

This incredible finger/hand puppet is puppeteer Barnaby Dixon's latest creation. When it's in action, the glowing bug looks more like an animated Pixar character than it does a puppet. Made from light-weight form-fitting plastic, its movements are very lifelike and nimble (it can even pick things up with its delicate hands). Amazing!!

If you like this, here's another one of Dixon's brillant creations: https://youtu.be/-RrBiFI9FZA

Video about differences between visiting North Kor

posted: 25 Aug 2017

Sixty years ago, North Korea and South Korea were one country. Jacob Laukaitis recently spent a week in each country and made a video of the differences he saw. His guide in South Korea was a man who escaped from North Korea. He told Jacob that only the most privileged North Koreans get to live in the capital of Pyongon. He paid human smugglers $30,000 to take him out of the county. He spent three years working on a farm in China to pay off the debt.

Good deal on Tub Shroom hair catcher

posted: 25 Aug 2017

The popular Tub Shroom, which catches hair before it clogs your tub drain, is on sale on Amazon today for $11. It's got 4.3 stars on Amazon with 9,618 customer reviews.

Interview with Wired founder Louis Rossetto about

posted: 25 Aug 2017

My guest on the Cool Tools Show podcast this week is my friend and former Wired editor, Louis Rossetto. Louis co-founded Wired with his life partner Jane Metcalfe. During his five years directing Wired, it won the National Magazine Awards for General Excellence twice and was Adweek's Hottest Magazine of the Year. Wired also pioneered commercial web media, launching HotWired the first website with original advertising and Fortune 500 advertising. Since Wired, he's pursued different obsessions from real estate to helping start and run the high end chocolate company TCHO, to writing his new novel Change is Good. (more…)

Instagram reactivates The Nude Blogger's account

posted: 25 Aug 2017

Instagram's policy on nudity: "We know that there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity on Instagram."

But it appears Instagram made an exception to its policy by reinstating the account of an Australian woman named Jessa O’Brien, 28, who goes by the handle thenudeblogger. A few weeks ago, Instagram blocked her account with no warning. Just as suddenly, they reactivated it.

O’Brien celebrated her victory with a photo of herself holding a sign that says F*CK YOU @INSTAGRAM, writing:

This is me, Jessa, and I am the creatress of The Nude Blogger.

Now, as some of you may know, this account was abruptly, and without any warning whatsoever, deactivated over 3 weeks ago 😤 So apologies I've been a little quiet on this account. #linkinbio for full story 👆🏼

In the midst off all of this, I also set up a secondary account @thenudeblogger_ in the event that this one was not reactivated and just in case something similar happens again. It will be my secondary/backup account, so please do follow this account also 🙏🏽 I will continue to use this account as my MAIN and primary account. Since the deactivation of this account, I have embarked on a tireless crusade against the social media giants to raise awareness about body positivity and expose the contradictory nature of Instagram's blurred guidelines that only exacerbate appalling double standards 🙅🏽The deactivation of my account actually proved to be one of the best things to happen for my message about body-positivity 👊🏼What success we've had! It's been an absolute whirlwind…making headlines all around the world! A win for body-positivity and a win against Instagram ✊🏽

To those of you who have stood united with me, to those of you who believed in me, to those of you who helped me, to each and every one of you who either shared or posted something on my behalf, to the individuals within the media who gave my story a chance and a way to gain traction and spread even further, to the people who didn't just sit back on the issue, to the people who fought for something bigger than a following or popularity on Instagram, to the people who judged me, to the people who tried to tear me down…..THANK YOU 🙏🏽YOU have given body-positivity an even louder voice and a place well-deserved at the forefront of many more people's minds 💖

And to the person, people, robot or reptilian who clicked the button to reactivate my account…YOU have also just made more of a difference than you will ever know…so thank you. You've just helped to show the world that body-positivity and non-sexual nudity are ok. So yes, thank you too Instagram…it's been good ✌🏼And as I always say, LET'S START A DAMN REVOLUTION! ✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽T

A post shared by The Nude Blogger (@thenudeblogger) on

A post shared by The Nude Blogger (@thenudeblogger) on

Here's Instagram's complete nudity policy:

We know that there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity on Instagram. This includes photos, videos, and some digitally created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully nude buttocks. It also includes some photos of female nipples, but photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK, too.

[via Daily Beast]

Watch: Drivers try to warn truck that bucket is up

posted: 25 Aug 2017

The people shooting this video try to warn a truck driver in Texas that the truck's bucket is raised, but the driver is oblivious. And then the truck crashes into a highway sign and takes it out, along with the entire trestle. Never seen anything like this before!

Via ABC 13

Person tests Amazon's "unlimited" cloud storage by

posted: 25 Aug 2017

A fellow who goes by the handle beaston02 wanted to see how unlimited Amazon's "unlimited" cloud storage plan was, so he uploaded 293 years' worth (2 million gigabytes or 2 petabytes) of PornHub videos to his account.

From Motherboard:

Beaston02 told me he stopped recording streams simply because his interest in it waned. "I know plenty of people have labeled me some huge pervert or someone with a huge porn addiction, but that's really not me at all," he said. "I have more of a problem with collecting or hoarding data than I do with porn." He said he used the exercise to learn Python, SQL databases, and how to handle that much data. "The project ran its course, I got the knowledge I was hoping to get, and I just had no interest in it anymore."

While he's no longer running the scripts that collected the porn, he made them available on Github. Another Redditor, -Archivist, took up the cause with the "Petabyte Porn Project," recruiting other hoarders to help continue recording live public cam sessions all day every day. -Archivist told me in a Reddit message that this represents "upwards of 12 terabytes per day." Those helping hoard are close to two petabytes now, stored on Amazon's cloud and mirrored on Google Drive. Amazon did not respond to Motherboard's request for comment.

Amazon canceled its unlimited storage offering in June.

India supreme court rules sexual orientation is a

posted: 25 Aug 2017

India, the world's largest democracy, declares freedom of sexual orientation of fundamental right.

India’s Supreme Court has given the country’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans community the freedom to safely express their sexual orientation. In a historic decision on Thursday, the nine-judge panel declared that an individual’s sexual orientation is protected under the country’s Right to Privacy law.

“Sexual orientation is an essential attribute of privacy,” the decision reads. “Discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual. Equality demands that the sexual orientation of each individual in society must be protected on an even platform.”

The ruling does not obviate existing laws criminalizing or discriminating against queer folk but lays the groundwork for doing so, especially a pending court challenge to Section 377.

Boomers are news-illiterate couch vegetables stuck

posted: 25 Aug 2017

A Pew Research study found that "younger adults are more likely than their elders to read the news," but there are other ways of seeing the data.

Overall, more Americans prefer to watch their news (46%) than to read it (35%) or listen to it (17%), a Pew Research Center survey found earlier this year. But that varies dramatically by age. Those ages 50 and older are far more likely to prefer watching news over any other method: About half (52%) of 50- to 64-year-olds and 58% of those 65 and older would rather watch the news, while roughly three-in-ten (29% and 27%, respectively) prefer to read it. ... our research also reveals that, in the digital realm, [younger adults] often get news at equal or higher rates than older Americans, whether intentionally or not.

The most literate and literary people in human history.

This dino-shaped aquarium is filled with thousands

posted: 25 Aug 2017

For the uninitiated, dinoflagellates are the single-celled organisms behind the eerie algal bloom known as red tide. But some of these tiny marine creatures are capable of producing a beautiful bioluminescent glow, and you can harness their natural light with a Dino Pet, available now in the Boing Boing Store.

This dinoflagellate-filled aquarium is shaped like an apatosaurus to give your home some charming, punny decor that’s also a low-maintenance marine ecosystem. Just give it a shake, and they’ll instantly put on a dazzling blue-green light show that works any time of the day or night. Their reaction is powered only by sunlight, water and the small amount of nutrients included in the Dino Food blend. Just feed your microscopic friends once a week, and you can enjoy their alluring glow for years to come.

You can grab a Dino Pet from the Boing Boing Store for $49.99.

Gorgeous and fascinating look into the science of

posted: 25 Aug 2017

Animal collective behavior is not well understood, but thanks to new technologies, it's possible to isolate individual animals in order to understand how flocks, swarms, herds, and schools move as a group. (more…)

As bacteria build fortresses, scientists seek weak

posted: 25 Aug 2017

Bacteria are extremely adept at building biofilm cities, often in places humans don't want them: catheters, sewer lines, and our teeth, to name a few. Now scientists are working to unlock the structural mysteries in order to eradicate unwanted bacterial buildup. (more…)

Trucker gets tattoo of himself driving his own bod

posted: 25 Aug 2017

Tattoo artist: What you want?
Trucker: Combine my love of trucking and Cartesian mind-body dualism.
Tattoo artist: Say no more.
(more…)

Learn to make corn and eels just like mom's great-

posted: 25 Aug 2017

If you've had a hankering for 18th-century eel succotash, you'll love the early American cooking and crafts on the James Townsend & Son channel. Aside from the recording gear, they commit completely to old school living. (more…)

Half-Life 3 synopsis posted by series writer -- or

posted: 25 Aug 2017

Half-Life 3 is a running joke (or tragedy) among fans of the series who waited more than a decade for it to exist. With publisher Valve's business shifting to its Steam platform and key writer Marc Laidlaw leaving the company, the writing seemed on the wall. Turns out, though, it's on his blog: Epistle 3 is a lightly-cloaked synopsis (already edited by fans to remove obfuscating elements) of what was, in another world, the greatest game of 201A.

a Certain Sinister Figure appeared, in the form of that sneering trickster, G-Man. For once he appeared not to me, but to Alyx Vance. Alyx had not seen the cryptical schoolmaster since childhood, but she recognized him, instantly. "Come along with me now, we've places to be and things to do," said G-Man, and Alyx acquiesced. She followed the strange grey man out of the Borealis, out of our reality. For me, there was no convenient door held open; only a snicker and a sideways glance. I was left alone, riding the weaponized research vessel into the heart of a Combine world. An immense light blazed. I caught a cosmic view of a brilliantly glittering Dyson sphere. The vastness of the Combine's power, the futility of our struggle, blossomed briefly in my awareness. I saw everything. Mainly I saw how the Borealis, our most powerful weapon, would register as less than a fizzling matchhead as it blew itself apart. And what remained of me would be even less than that.

Laidlaw describes it as "fanfic": https://twitter.com/marc_laidlaw/status/900960760481726464

"Isn't everything you have written about half life technically a fanfic?" a twitter user asks.

"Psych!" Laidlaw replies.

My Little Ponies generated by neural network

posted: 25 Aug 2017

Janelle Shane‏ trained a neural network on the names and attributes of My Little Ponies, then shared "some of the worst ones."

I used a program called a character-level recurrent neural network (char-rnn), which looks at examples of text (Pokemon, or Harry Potter fan fiction, or even guinea pig names) and learns to imitate them. I gave the neural network more than 1,500 names from My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Wiki, and let it start learning.

The wrong way to put a motorcycle in a truck

posted: 24 Aug 2017

"Got it!"

This video of a 360ᅡᄎ hand-crafted flipbook of Mt.

posted: 24 Aug 2017

Yes, please! Take my money.

(more…)

Kellyanne Conway says media aren¬タルt 'afraid enoug

posted: 24 Aug 2017

Interviewed by Fox and Friends, Trump surrogate Kellyanne Conway had thoughts on the general response to his rally rage meltdown in Arizona. The media, she says, aren't "afraid enough here."

(more…)

Hurricane Harvey could be strongest storm to hit U

posted: 24 Aug 2017

#HurricaneHarvey could hit landfall late Friday night along the Texas coast as a Category 3 hurricane.

(more…)

Ex-CIA Dir. Brennan: I briefed Congress on Russian

posted: 24 Aug 2017

Former CIA Director John Brennan sent an internal memo to CIA employees last December in which he said some of the members of Congress he'd briefed on the CIA's conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections did not “understand and appreciate the importance and gravity of the issue.”

(more…)

Mondo 2000, influential 90s cyberculture magazine,

posted: 24 Aug 2017

A few years ago, I started seeing evidence of the beginning swells of a nostalgia wave for the iconic 90s "cyberdelic" magazine Mondo 2000 and all things early 90s cyberpunk/cyberculture. One person on Facebook unearthed an old copy of Mondo, photographed it, and gushed all over it in a post. They asked (something like): "What could be cooler than a slick art magazine about virtual reality and cyberpunk, hacking, drugs and mind-alteration, weird art and high-weirdness?" I loved being able to respond: "Writing for it."

[caption id="attachment_542988" align="alignright" width="750"] Original Mondo 2000 t-shirt design.[/caption]

I also noticed, in 2014, when I published my writing collection, Borg Like Me, a lot of the focus in reviews was on the pieces reprinted from that era, from Mondo, bOING bOING (print), and my own zine, Going Gaga. People waxed nostalgic about that birth-of-cyberculture era, the creativity and promise that infused it, and the revolutionary dreams it inspired. Several reviews said: We need to bring some of this back. Stat!

It is perhaps that rising sentiment that has prompted Mondo's equally iconoclastic creator, RU Sirius, to resurface Mondo 2000 as an online blogazine. RU tells Boing Boing about the launch:

It seemed like time. What the world needs now is MONDO sweet Mondo. I mean, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…. aside from wealth distribution, attention spans, and lots of other stuff.

So far, I've found what RU has posted a surprisingly satisfying mix of reprints of old magazine content, summaries/commentaries on the print magazine (and its predecessors, High Frontiers and Reality Hacker), and new content, including new music from RU Sirius and friends. I'm really interested to see where he takes it. He's not able to pay for contributions at this time, but so far, the response of interest to get involved, to write for it, seems high.

Some of the new content includes "cyberpunk patient zero" (as William Gibson once called him) John Shirley, on how we may have to figure out a way to regulate the web after all, an appreciation for Tina Fey's controversial post-Charlottesville sheet cake bit on SNL, and a conversation between Doug Rushkoff and RU Sirius on the early potential and promises of the network revolution and how the bad guys figured out how to hack reality first.

The online premier of Mondo featured a pretty funny annotated editorial from the first issue of the magazine:

MONDO 2000 is here to cover the leading edge in hyperculture. We’ll bring you the latest in human/technological interactive mutational forms as they happen. (COULD PROBABLY RERUN SOME TECH ARTICLES FROM MONDO 2000 MAGAZINE HERE SINCE MOST OF THE THINGS THAT WERE GONNA HAPPEN IN FIVE YEARS ARE STILL GONNA HAPPEN… IN 5 YEARS)

We’re talking Cyber-Chautauqua: bringing cyberculture to the people! Artificial awareness modules. (THE GREAT THING ABOUT 1989 IS THAT YOU COULD JUST SAY STUFF THAT SOUNDS COOL… BECAUSE NOBODY KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT ANY OF THIS SORT OF SHIT) Visual music. Vidscan Magazines. (SOME PROJECT OF ALLAN LUNDELL & TAYLOR BARCROFT ANNOUNCED IN THIS FIRST MONDO ISSUE… IT DIDN’T MAKE IT TO ISSUE #2 … IT’S MEMORIALIZED IN DEAD MEDIA NOW) Brain-boosting technologies. (WELL, HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL FOR THINGS LIKE TRANSCRANIAL MAGNETIC STIMULATION -- I’D LIKE TO TRY IT!) William Gibson’s Cyberspace Matrix — fully realized! (SPEAKING OF BILL GIBSON, HIS ATTITUDE TOWARDS INTELLIGENCE INCREASE THROUGH DRUGS AND TECHNOLOGY IS THAT (PARAPHRASING) UNTIL HE SEES SOME IDIOT SUDDENLY WALKING AROUND BEING A GENIUS, HE’S NOT TOO INTERESTED… WHICH REMINDS ME OF LAWNMOWER MAN)

Sci-fi author and mathnaut Rudy Rucker has contributed a new cyberpunk short story, Fat Stream. It's always a trip and a treat to mainline Rudy Rucker's imagination for a while:

It’s three am, and Zik is vamping a torch song, winding things down. The kazoo raver morphs his razz into big-band swing. The surfer is sculpting cold-light waves. Szex in the boots and gown is doing tai-chi moves. Fine, phine, phyne, vyne. But then Jumpy points his finger at me and — oopsy daisy — I’m screaming. I’m not in control. I’ve been pwned. My voice has rhythms like sentences — but none of the words sounds familiar. My visual field is sweeping in a circle. I see an old-world city. I’m hearing bells.

[caption id="attachment_542987" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Picture of Rudy Rucker from "Fat Stream," Mondo 2000.[/caption]

For you devout post-literate types, you can hear Rudy reading "Fat Stream" on his blog here.

The snark, the high-weirdness, the viewing of things from oddly askew angles, it's all here. I'm sure the singular yippie showmanship of RU Sirius will fully reveal itself too as the new publication accelerates to speed.

I asked RU what sorts of things he has in store for the future of this new incarnation of his beloved brand:

I’d like to do some rematches. People doing the same conversations with the same people these many years later. J.P. Barlow and Jaron Lanier? I’ll see if I can make some of thes happen. Maybe you could re-interview Trent! [I interviewed Trent Reznor from the first Lollapalooza for Mondo No. 5]

Somebody has offered to work on some Mondo VR. That’d be appropriate. May take a bit to get around to that.

I honestly have to say, when I first saw the launch, I thought it might be a simple exercise in nostalgia (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). But this looks far more promising than that. I love hearing these old voices from the magazine again, filtered through Sirius's unique editorial eye. So far, it's been a fun "Where are they now?" (or more accurately, "What are they thinking now?"). I do hope that the contributor's roster expands to include younger, more contemporary voices. It's a fun exercise to think what a publication with the "pirate mind station" mentality of 90s Mondo would look like today. Hopefully, we're about to find out.

Kellyanne Conway says media aren¬タルt ¬タワafraid eno

posted: 24 Aug 2017

Interviewed by Fox and Friends, Trump surrogate Kellyanne Conway had thoughts on the general response to his rally rage meltdown in Arizona. The media, she says, aren't "afraid enough here."

DOOCY: A couple nights ago on television, he said he wondered whether or not the president was fit to be president, fit to serve. If James Clapper is watching right now, what's your message to him?

CONWAY: It's such an absurd analysis, playing armchair psychiatrist. It's not just him. It's a lot of people on TV. I remember — I'm old enough to remember when news stations reported the news and didn't just have a parade of pundits going out there and opinionating (sic) and rendering their opinions and pontificating and conjecturing. And I think it leads to analysis like this because people end up with very little to say. They are not compelled. They are not forced. Nobody demands that they actually report facts and figures. [...] You know, the media and other opinion leaders, they were way too afraid of President Obama and his administration. They're not afraid enough here.

The promise and peril of synthetic biology in 78 m

posted: 24 Aug 2017

Below you’ll find an unhurried interview with Autodesk Distinguished Researcher Andy Hessel. Andy is a prime instigator behind GP-Write – which is, on some levels, heir to the Human Genome Project – and a co-founder of Humane Genomics, which is developing virus-based therapies for cancer.

It’s the fourth episode of my podcast series (co-hosted by Tom Merritt), which launched here on Boing Boing three weeks ago. The series goes deep into the science, tech, and sociological issues explored in my present-day science fiction novel After On – but no familiarity with the novel is necessary to listen to it.

The upside and the downside of synthetic biology are vast and Andy is deeply versed in both. He co-wrote a chilling fictive scenario about a bioterror plot for the Atlantic – but he tends toward relentless optimism when contemplating synthetic biology’s future.

Synbio newbies should find our wide-ranging discussion to be a robust introduction to the field. But Andy’s sophisticated commentary will give expert listeners plenty to chew on. After considering the astounding decades-long drop in the cost of reading DNA (which makes price/performance gains in computing look trivial), we discuss the sudden and accelerating plunge in the cost of writing DNA that does not exist in nature.

Andy explains how this is enabling the explosive rise of a market for metabolic circuits – clusters of genes designed to churn out industrial enzymes and other chemically complex output. This is a giant step down a path toward bioprinting an immense array of tissues (new skin for burn victims, cow-free steaks that could fool a cattleman, and much more), and then onward to boundless breeds of wholly synthetic critters.

You can subscribe to the podcast within any podcast app. Simply use your app's search function (type in "After On") to find and subscribe. To subscribe via your computer on iTunes, just click here, then click the blue “View on iTunes” button (on the left side of the page), then click “Subscribe” (in a similar location) in the iTunes window. Or follow the feed: http://afteron.libsyn.com/rss

KFC's phenomenally creepy Bio-Shock-esque VR train

posted: 24 Aug 2017

This is insane. RELEASE THE BIRDS!

KFC has given us a lot of really odd advertising, but this really something.

Kellyanne Conway laments that journalists are not

posted: 24 Aug 2017

Interviewed by Fox and Friends, Trump surrogate Kellyanne Conway had thoughts on the general response to his rally rage meltdown in Arizona. The media, she says, aren't "afraid enough here."

DOOCY: A couple nights ago on television, he said he wondered whether or not the president was fit to be president, fit to serve. If James Clapper is watching right now, what's your message to him?

CONWAY: It's such an absurd analysis, playing armchair psychiatrist. It's not just him. It's a lot of people on TV. I remember — I'm old enough to remember when news stations reported the news and didn't just have a parade of pundits going out there and opinionating (sic) and rendering their opinions and pontificating and conjecturing. And I think it leads to analysis like this because people end up with very little to say. They are not compelled. They are not forced. Nobody demands that they actually report facts and figures. [...] You know, the media and other opinion leaders, they were way too afraid of President Obama and his administration. They're not afraid enough here.

Martin Shkreli bought a domain with my name in it

posted: 24 Aug 2017

You can find me at beschizza.com, but Martin Shkreli registered "robbeschizza.com" as part of what seems to be a quixotic effort to bother people who write about him. Cyrus Farivar reports that I'm in his Godaddy grab bag.

Shkreli has been offering to sell at least one of the domain names back to the reporters for thousands of dollars. In a public Facebook post, Shrkreli has offered to sell Emily Saul of the New York Post her domain for $12,000. She declined to comment further on the incident.

Robbeschizza.com was registered the same day I linked to a Business Insider story about his initial round of reporter-name domain registrations. Perhaps he just has a bad sense of humor! I wonder if he'll post anything silly there.

https://twitter.com/Beschizza/status/900772217730064384

Watch: 71-year-old drunk driver sideswipes cars, t

posted: 24 Aug 2017

https://youtu.be/JYpt3_sDjgE

71-year-old Carol Rose thought it was a good idea to drink alcohol until she was twice the legal limit, and then get into her car. Oh, and according to the Daily Mail, she claimed she has problems with her sight. Her dash cam took this video of her side-smashing a bunch of cars, destroying parts of them along the way, and passing strolling kids and adults who were fortunate not to get in her way. For the grand finale, she crashes into what looks like a delivery truck, which causes her car to roll. The drunk driver, from Ainsdale, England, got eight months in prison and is banned from driving for three years.

Can you speak dog? Please tell us what this samoye

posted: 24 Aug 2017

Coconut Rice Bear has an important message for the humans, but no one knows what it is.

[via Twisted Sifter]

A post shared by Coconut Rice Bear (@coconutricebear) on

A fantastic chair

posted: 24 Aug 2017

Perhaps this is the chair Socrates was talking about.

Fifty years ago today Yippie activist Abbie Hoffma

posted: 24 Aug 2017

On August 24, 1967, guerilla theater activist Abbie Hoffman and his pals dropped a slew of dollar bills off the balcony of the New York Stock Exchange onto the trading floor below. As Hoffman later said, "“If you don’t like the news, why not go out and make your own?” From Smithsonian:

Participant Bruce Dancis recalled, “At first people on the floor were stunned. They didn’t know what was happening. They looked up and when they saw money was being thrown they started to cheer, and there was a big scramble for the dollars.”

The protesters exited the Stock Exchange and were immediately beset by reporters, who wanted to know who they were and what they’d done. Hoffman supplied nonsense answers, calling himself Cardinal Spellman and claiming his group didn’t exist. He then burned a five-dollar bill, solidifying the point of the message. As Bruce Eric France writes, “Abbie believed it was more important to burn money [than] draft cards… To burn a draft card meant one refused to participate in the war. To burn money meant one refused to participate in society.”

For Hoffman himself, the success of the stunt was obvious. “Guerrilla theater is probably the oldest form of political commentary,” he wrote in his autobiography. “Showering money on the Wall Street brokers was the TV-age version of driving the money changers from the temple… Was it a real threat to the Empire? Two weeks after our band of mind-terrorists raided the stock exchange, 20,000 dollars was spent to enclose the gallery with bullet-proof glass.”

"How the New York Stock Exchange Gave Abbie Hoffman His Start in Guerrilla Theater" (Smithsonian)

North Korea invites Russians to vacation there, pr

posted: 24 Aug 2017

North Korea must be hard up for cash, as they are now promoting themselves to Russians as a tourist destination. In their promotional pitch, they claim that visiting North Korea is "safer than an evening walk in London." (Sounds like one of those exaggerated claims that Trump would say!) They also state that the guests must be "checked" before the trip and will constantly be monitored for "adequate behaviour of the tourist and guarantee his safety," according to The Telegraph. Furthermore, it's "not recommended" to chat with the locals, and taking photos of military facilities is prohibited. Sounds fun!

According to the Telegraph:

Nkorean.ru, a Russian company licensed by North Korea's government, offers organised tours for groups of up to 10 people or individuals "to show the travellers the multi-faceted life of this most closed of countries"...

The most pricey tour, 15 days "full immersion in the culture of North Korea" costing 118,090 roubles (£1558), includes visits to a farm, a mineral water factory, a Buddhist temple, walks in the mountains and an introduction to national cuisine. Visits to numerous museums to founding leader Kim Il-Sung are also on offer.

Other less demanding tours include relaxation on a beach, an aviation show and even a beer festival.

Uh, I think I'll take my adventure vacation elsewhere thank you very much.

Image: Stefan Krasowski

Steven Mnuchin and Louise Linton may have used a g

posted: 24 Aug 2017

The Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) filed a Freedom of Information Act requesting "the justification for [Treasury] Secretary Mnuchin's use of a government plane, rather than a commercial flight, for a trip that seems to have been planned around the solar eclipse and to enable the secretary [and his white savior memoirist spouse Louise Linton] to secure a viewpoint in the path of the eclipse's totality." From CREW:

On August 21, 2017, Secretary Mnuchin and his wife Louise Linton travelled to Lexington, Kentucky, purportedly for the Secretary to present remarks along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at a luncheon sponsored by the Louisville chamber of commerce, Greater Louisville Inc. Afterward, Secretary Mnuchin and his wife “headed to Fort Knox…to tour the bullion reserve at the Army post and view the eclipse.”

The requested records would shed light on the justification for Secretary Mnuchin’s use of a government plane, rather than a commercial flight, for a trip that seems to have been planned around the solar eclipse and to enable the Secretary to secure a viewpoint in the path of the eclipse’s totality. At a time of expected deep cuts to the federal budget, the taxpayers have a significant interest in learning the extent to which Secretary Mnuchin has used government planes for travel in lieu of commercial planes, and the justification for that use.

Even weirder than the eclipse is the part where Mnuchin and Linton "toured the bullion reserve" at the Fort Knox. Is that a regular duty for the Treasury Secretary, to go there with a clipboard and count the gold bars. "Yep, all accounted for Mr. President!"

Linton was in the news earlier this week for posting a photo of herself and her husband walking deboarding a U.S. government jet, commenting, "Great #daytrip to #Kentucky! #nicest #people #rolandmouret pants, #hermesscarf, #tomford sunnies, and #valentinorockstudheels."

When another Instagram user wrote, ""Glad we could pay for your little getaway. #deplorable." Linton unleashed with a sarcastic, condescending rant:

"Aw!!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable! Do you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol. Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? Either as an individual earner in taxes OR in self sacrifice to your country? I'm pretty sure we paid more taxes toward our day 'trip' than you did. Pretty sure the amount we sacrifice per year is a lot more than you'd be willing to sacrifice if the choice was yours. You're adorably out of touch. Thanks for the passive aggressive nasty comment. Your kids look very cute. Your life looks cute. I know you're mad but deep down you're really nice and so am I. Sending me passive aggressive Instagram comments isn't going to make life feel better. Maybe a nice message, one filled with wisdom and hunanity [sic] would get more traction. Have a pleasant evening Go chill out and watch the new game of thrones. It's fab!"

[via The Week]

Best deal yet on the AmazonBasics travel case: $7.

posted: 24 Aug 2017

I bought this small travel case in 2011 for $14 and use it whenever I travel. Here's an article I wrote for Cool Tools a few years ago about the stuff I carry in it. It's still in great condition. Amazon has it at an all-time low price of $7.10.

The highly-influential 90s cyberculture magazine,

posted: 24 Aug 2017

A few years ago, I started seeing evidence of the beginning swells of a nostalgia wave for the iconic 90s "cyberdelic" magazine Mondo 2000 and all things early 90s cyberpunk/cyberculture. One person on Facebook unearthed an old copy of Mondo, photographed it, and gushed all over it in a post. They asked (something like): "What could be cooler than a slick art magazine about virtual reality and cyberpunk, hacking, drugs and mind-alteration, weird art and high-weirdness?" I loved being able to respond: "Writing for it."

[caption id="attachment_542988" align="alignright" width="750"] Original Mondo 2000 t-shirt design.[/caption]

I also noticed, in 2014, when I published my writing collection, Borg Like Me, a lot of the focus in reviews was on the pieces reprinted from that era, from Mondo, bOING bOING (print), and my own zine, Going Gaga. People waxed nostalgic about that birth-of-cyberculture era, the creativity and promise that infused it, and the revolutionary dreams it inspired. Several reviews said: We need to bring some of this back. Stat!

It is perhaps that rising sentiment that has prompted Mondo's equally iconoclastic creator, RU Sirius, to resurface Mondo 2000 as an online blogazine. RU tells Boing Boing about the launch:

It seemed like time. What the world needs now is MONDO sweet Mondo. I mean, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…. aside from wealth distribution, attention spans, and lots of other stuff.

So far, I've found what RU has posted a surprisingly satisfying mix of reprints of old magazine content, summaries/commentaries on the print magazine (and its predecessors, High Frontiers and Reality Hacker), and new content, including new music from RU Sirius and friends. I'm really interested to see where he takes it. He's not able to pay for contributions at this time, but so far, the response of interest to get involved, to write for it, seems high.

Some of the new content includes "cyberpunk patient zero" (as William Gibson once called him) John Shirley, on how we may have to figure out a way to regulate the web after all, an appreciation for Tina Fey's controversial post-Charlottesville sheet cake bit on SNL, and a conversation between Doug Rushkoff and RU Sirius on the early potential and promises of the network revolution and how the bad guys figured out how to hack reality first.

The online premier of Mondo featured a pretty funny annotated editorial from the first issue of the magazine:

MONDO 2000 is here to cover the leading edge in hyperculture. We’ll bring you the latest in human/technological interactive mutational forms as they happen. (COULD PROBABLY RERUN SOME TECH ARTICLES FROM MONDO 2000 MAGAZINE HERE SINCE MOST OF THE THINGS THAT WERE GONNA HAPPEN IN FIVE YEARS ARE STILL GONNA HAPPEN… IN 5 YEARS)

We’re talking Cyber-Chautauqua: bringing cyberculture to the people! Artificial awareness modules. (THE GREAT THING ABOUT 1989 IS THAT YOU COULD JUST SAY STUFF THAT SOUNDS COOL… BECAUSE NOBODY KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT ANY OF THIS SORT OF SHIT) Visual music. Vidscan Magazines. (SOME PROJECT OF ALLAN LUNDELL & TAYLOR BARCROFT ANNOUNCED IN THIS FIRST MONDO ISSUE… IT DIDN’T MAKE IT TO ISSUE #2 … IT’S MEMORIALIZED IN DEAD MEDIA NOW) Brain-boosting technologies. (WELL, HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL FOR THINGS LIKE TRANSCRANIAL MAGNETIC STIMULATION -- I’D LIKE TO TRY IT!) William Gibson’s Cyberspace Matrix — fully realized! (SPEAKING OF BILL GIBSON, HIS ATTITUDE TOWARDS INTELLIGENCE INCREASE THROUGH DRUGS AND TECHNOLOGY IS THAT (PARAPHRASING) UNTIL HE SEES SOME IDIOT SUDDENLY WALKING AROUND BEING A GENIUS, HE’S NOT TOO INTERESTED… WHICH REMINDS ME OF LAWNMOWER MAN)

Sci-fi author and mathnaut Rudy Rucker has contributed a new cyberpunk short story, Fat Stream. It's always a trip and a treat to mainline Rudy Rucker's imagination for a while:

It’s three am, and Zik is vamping a torch song, winding things down. The kazoo raver morphs his razz into big-band swing. The surfer is sculpting cold-light waves. Szex in the boots and gown is doing tai-chi moves. Fine, phine, phyne, vyne. But then Jumpy points his finger at me and — oopsy daisy — I’m screaming. I’m not in control. I’ve been pwned. My voice has rhythms like sentences — but none of the words sounds familiar. My visual field is sweeping in a circle. I see an old-world city. I’m hearing bells.

[caption id="attachment_542987" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Picture of Rudy Rucker from "Fat Stream," Mondo 2000.[/caption]

For you devout post-literate types, you can hear Rudy reading "Fat Stream" on his blog here.

The snark, the high-weirdness, the viewing of things from oddly askew angles, it's all here. I'm sure the singular yippie showmanship of RU Sirius will fully reveal itself too as the new publication accelerates to speed.

I asked RU what sorts of things he has in store for the future of this new incarnation of his beloved brand:

I’d like to do some rematches. People doing the same conversations with the same people these many years later. J.P. Barlow and Jaron Lanier? I’ll see if I can make some of thes happen. Maybe you could re-interview Trent! [I interviewed Trent Reznor from the first Lollapalooza for Mondo No. 5]

Somebody has offered to work on some Mondo VR. That’d be appropriate. May take a bit to get around to that.

I honestly have to say, when I first saw the launch, I thought it might be a simple exercise in nostalgia (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). But this looks far more promising than that. I love hearing these old voices from the magazine again, filtered through Sirius's unique editorial eye. So far, it's been a fun "Where are they now?" (or more accurately, "What are they thinking now?"). I do hope that the contributor's roster expands to include younger, more contemporary voices. It's a fun exercise to think what a publication with the "pirate mind station" mentality of 90s Mondo would look like today. Hopefully, we're about to find out.

Researchers encoded a film clip in DNA and store i

posted: 24 Aug 2017

In an astonishing step forward in biomolecular computing, Harvard researchers encoded a 19th century film clip in DNA and stored it inside living bacteria. Later, they sequenced the bacterium's genome and decoded the film. From IEEE Spectrum:

To get a movie into E. coli’s DNA, (neuroscientist Seth) Shipman and his colleagues had to disguise it. They converted the movie’s pixels into DNA’s four-letter code—molecules represented by the letters A,T,G and C—and synthesized that DNA. But instead of generating one long strand of code, they arranged it, along with other genetic elements, into short segments that looked like fragments of viral DNA.

E. coli is naturally programmed by its own DNA to grab errant pieces of viral DNA and store them in its own genome—a way of keeping a chronological record of invaders. So when the researchers introduced the pieces of movie-turned-synthetic DNA—disguised as viral DNA—E. coli’s molecular machinery grabbed them and filed them away.