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Any hopes that the recent change in Communist Party leadership would signal a relaxing of online restrictions in China appear to have been dashed after state media revealed plans for the roll-out of real-name registration for all internet users.…
Trevor Pott reveals his server room's crash-test dummies
Part one Every systems administrator needs a test lab and over the course of the next month I am going to share with you the details of my latest.…
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This magnificent raw turkey cake (orange and rum spice cake) was created by London's Sarah Hardy. Yum!
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The happy mutants at MonkeyBrains, the San Francisco hacker-friendly ISP, have launched a $350,000,000 IndieGoGo campaign to buy their own satellite ("North Korea just launched a satellite; we want to as well"). Some fun facts about MonkeyBrains: it was founded by Rudy Rucker, Jr (son of the archduke of mutantcy, cyberpunk writer Rudy Rucker [Sr]); it is the basis for the fictional ISP pigspleen.net in my novel Little Brother; and they want $350,000,000. Also: if the satellite thing doesn't work out, they want to use the money to fill San Francisco with high-speed fiber optics that aren't run by crappy telcos.
A quick internet search reveals that this is the cost for getting a satellite into orbit:
* Satellite manufacture: $150M
* Satellite launch: $120M
* Launch insurance: $20M
* In-orbit insurance: $20M
* Satellite operations (15 years): $15M
Our initial research seems to indicate having a satellite in orbit may not speed up your internet at all. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_Internet_access#Geostationary_unsuitable_for_low-latency_applications]. However, if more research doesn't bode well for a geostationary satellite, we will take all of the $325M to fund either:
* Fiber to the home.
* A balloon tethered to the Farallon islands.
* a hovering drone over the Bay.
Test your knowledge of the year's most stimulating stories
How much do you remember about what really mattered in 2012? You're about to find out.…
Not as fast as a Japanese train
Readers may wish to skip to the video, below, if they’re too holidayed to want to read too many words. For the rest: a group of Aoyama Gakuin University researchers has demonstrated a magnetic-levitation disk that can be moved using lasers.…
I found this while tidying up a filing cabinet yesterday. Wow. I feel old. I think my subscription started with issue #9. This account is long closed and the address 15 years out of date, so I don't mind posting it.
Boing Boing started out as a print zine in 1988. Here is a cover gallery.
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Boing Boing | Public Resource liberates global building codes, include the Eurocode -- free the law!
Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez,
Public.Resource.Org today released 10,062 public safety documents covering 24 countries and 6 regions, including the European Union. The release is documented in a README file and accompanied by 12 tables of supporting documentation.
Some of these standards were obtained directly from the web sites of national standards bodies, such as Ecuador and Thailand which make their standards freely available. A couple thousand were scraped from the World Trade Organization web site, which maintains a repository of mandatory notifications made by member countries. We spent $180,410.73 to obtain the rest of the documents, such as the mandatory building code of Europe, the Eurocode.
These standards were published in order to promote public education and public safety, equal justice for all, a better informed citizenry, the rule of law, world trade and world peace, this legal document is hereby made available on a noncommercial basis, as it is the right of all humans to know and speak the laws that govern them.
This law is your law. Enjoy!
Thom Buchanan of The Pictorial Arts says of this mind-boggling Wally Wood illustration:
This piece by Wally Wood, which I don't think was for EC [the comic book company that published MAD, Weird Science, and Tales from the Crypt], is genius for its organized complexity—seemingly effortless in its execution. Zoom in on the figures and see how fully realized they are! I cannot overuse the word when it comes to EC guys—they were geniuses!
Boing Boing | Ability to sit and rise from the floor is closely correlated with all-cause mortality risk
In 2002, over 2000 people between the ages of 51 and 80 were asked to sit on the floor using as little hand- or knee-support as possible. They were then asked to stand up without resorting to using their hands or knees if they were able. The results were recorded. By the end of October 2011, 159 subjects had died. It turns out that most of the people who died were the ones who needed the most support while performing the task. Only 2 of the 159 people who died had been able to sit down and stand up unsupported: "These differences persisted when results were controlled for age, gender and body mass index, suggesting that the sitting-rising test score is a significant predictor of all-cause mortality."
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"Ha ha ha ha ha. I get it on video." (Via Arbroath)
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There's something nice about going into a well-maintained, well-thought-through shop -- indeed, there's a whole genre of fiction about this. But the dark side of retail is the sprawling American megamall, the original killer of the downtown and the mom-and-pop shop, which turned the public square into a private space and brought crushing sameness to the land.
So while we lament the Internet's deleterious effect on the friendly used bookstore, let's not forget to celebrate the its even harsher effect on malls:
A report from Co-Star observes that there are more than 200 malls with over 250,000 square feet that have vacancy rates of 35 percent or higher, a "clear marker for shopping center distress." These malls are becoming ghost towns. They are not viable now and will only get less so as online continues to steal retail sales from brick-and-mortar stores. Continued bankruptcies among historic mall anchors will increase the pressure on these marginal malls, as will store closures from retailers working to optimize their business. Hundreds of malls will soon need to be repurposed or demolished. Strong malls will stay strong for a while, as retailers are willing to pay for traffic and customers from failed malls seek offline alternatives, but even they stand in the path of the shift of retail spending from offline to online.
This in turn creates further opportunity for online commerce. If I were thinking of starting a new retail brand right now, I would unquestionably start it online.
[The Atlantic Cities/Jeff Jordan]
See also: DeadMalls.com
Dawn is breaking over last day of the annual Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg, Germany. CCC is the meeting of the Chaos Computer Club (also CCC), a group of German hackers hanging out together since 1981. Congress (as it is also known) is one of the great gatherings of tribes in the hacker world -- which, in the time it has existed, has gone from being a tiny, sometimes gothy and mathematically inclined subculture to being a big, elitist community whose work, values, and aesthetics touch the lives of billions of people. CCC has grown and flowered with the community.
The mad and beautiful landscape of the conference this year covers four floors of a Hamburg conference center like and electrical/human forest undergrowth. The topics range as wildly as technology itself. Sessions include the mathematics of factoring (cracking) RSA encryption, the state of the surveillance state in Russia, SCADA vulnerabilities, often in critical infrastructure, Romantic poets, and massively hacking tamagotchis. The halls and "assembly" areas for affinity groups all full of the interests of hacker culture: coding tables, hackerspaces, lockpicking, blinky lights, food hacking, etc. The undercurrents and background noise of the conference saturate in the hallway track. Legal crackdowns and the rising surveillance states crowd on in on us from outside, old fights over misogyny, sex and violence, and exclusion riddle the event from within. And through it, also the revitalization of friendships that are, in some cases, four days wide but decades deep. The starts and ends of countless projects, some of which will amuse us all, some fail, and others that will in time shape the world.
The hacker community that comes together at CCC is an extraordinary thing, physical and ethereal, a communion of wizards and fools, often trading roles through the day.
This year's theme is Not My Department, ominously lifted from Tom Lehrer's song about Wernher von Braun and the nuclear age. It's a self-conscious choice, a sign of growing awareness that this community is poised to sit in a position of strange power in the 21st century -- without yet knowing what kind of ethics should accompany that position. A nest of geeks whose real-world influence has grown out of all proportion in the last 30 years, these hackers, coders, and makers are struggling with the weird machine they have created in the heart of the world.
ONCE-THE.ROCKETS/ARE-UP..WHO>CARES-WHERE.THEY/COME-DOWN. THAT'S N.O-T/MY-D/E.PA/R.T-ME-N-T. 2.9-C/3
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Piglisi sez, "Experimenting with double-tracking his voice and guitar, Buddy Holly recorded a demo for a song he'd composed (by himself, despite his producer/manager taking half the songwriting credit). A scratchy acetate survives."
* Buddy Holly's first-ever recording, from 1949
* Rave On Buddy Holly: tribute album streaming now
* Buddy Holly's secretly recorded contract negotiation with Decca
* What was in Buddy Holly's plane-crash overnight bag?
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It is only wafer-thin, and no cheque required
Linux in 2012 It's been a rough year for Linux on the desktop. More specifically, it's been a rough year for GNOME-based Linux on the desktop. But a glimmer of hope may have appeared thanks to a Mint-flavoured distribution of the open-source operating system.…
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Fruity tech maker comes a cropper in China
Apple got a nasty post-Christmas present in China on Thursday when a Beijing court hit it with a 1.03m yuan (£102,000) fine after ruling the fruity tech titan was responsible for applications which appeared on its App Store containing unlicensed content.…
No free lunches here - unless you're Zuck or Google
Thank the Zuck! We should all remember Mark Zuckerberg as we sing Auld Lang Syne this year. Facebook's photographic landgrab via its freshly acquired Instagram service has helped put some vital perspective onto 2012 - bringing home issues that were abstract or buried by political posturing.…