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Boing Boing

Brain candy for Happy Mutants

Last Build Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2018 15:50:11 PST


Playboy is suing Boing Boing - but linking is not copyright infringement

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 15:46:09 PST

A few weeks ago we were shocked to learn that Playboy had, without notifying us, sued us over this post (we learned about it when a journalist DM'ed us on Twitter to ask about it). Today, we filed a motion to dismiss, asking the judge to throw out this baseless, bizarre case. We really hope the courts see it our way, for all our sakes. Playboy’s lawsuit is based on an imaginary (and dangerous) version of US copyright law that bears no connection to any US statute or precedent. Playboy -- once legendary champions for the First Amendment -- now advances a fringe copyright theory: that it is illegal to link to things other people have posted on the web, on pain of millions in damages -- the kinds of sums that would put us (and every other small publisher in America) out of business. Rather than pursuing the individual who created the allegedly infringing archive, Playboy is pursuing a news site for pointing out the archive’s value as a historical document. In so doing, Playboy is seeking to change the legal system so that deep-pocketed opponents of journalism can shut down media organizations that displease them. It's a law that they could never get from Congress, but which they hope the courts will conjure into existence by wiping us off the net. It's not just independent publishers who rely on the current state of copyright law, either. Major media outlets (like Playboy!) routinely link and embed media, without having to pay a lawyer to research the copyright status of something someone else posted, before discussing, explaining or criticizing it. The world can't afford a judgment against us in this case -- it would end the web as we know it, threatening everyone who publishes online, from us five weirdos in our basements to multimillion-dollar, globe-spanning publishing empires like Playboy. As a group of people who have had long associations with Playboy, reading the articles (really!) and sometimes writing them, we hope the judge sees it our way -- for our sakes... and for Playboy's. You can read our motion here, and EFF's press release here. We'll have more to say after the judge issues his ruling. Here's the introduction from our motion to dismiss: This lawsuit is frankly mystifying. Playboy’s theory of liability seems to be that it is illegal to link to material posted by others on the web — an act performed daily by hundreds of millions of users of Facebook and Twitter, and by journalists like the ones in Playboy’s crosshairs here. Defendant Happy Mutants, LLC (“Happy Mutants”) is the corporation behind Boing Boing, a blog created and written by five people to share “mostly wonderful things.” For three decades, Boing Boing has reported on social, educational, political, scientific, and artistic developments in popular culture, becoming one of the Internet’s leading sources of news and commentary. Plaintiff Playboy Entertainment Group Inc. (“Playboy”), an entertainment behemoth with a notable history of defending freedom of the press, is suing this much smaller but important news site for reporting on the existence of a collection of Playboy centerfolds and linking to that collection. In other words, rather than pursuing the individual who created the allegedly infringing archive, Playboy is pursuing a news site for pointing out the archive’s value as a historical document. The facts pleaded in Playboy’s First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) do not state a claim for either direct or contributory copyright infringement. With respect to direct infringement, Playboy alleges that third parties — not Boing Boing — posted the collection at issue, and that Boing Boing made reference to that collection with a hyperlink. As for secondary liability, Playboy does not allege facts that could show that Boing Boing induced or materially contributed to direct infringement by any third party. Playboy’s claim fails for these reasons alone. What is more, Playboy’s own allegations show that further amendment would be futile. Boing Boing’s post is a noninfringing fair [...]

#FISA: Senate passes bill to give NSA 6 more years of warrantless surveillance on Americans

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 14:58:24 PST


The U.S. Senate today passed a bill that will renew the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance program for six years with no substantive changes. It's bad news, say privacy and security advocates, but not a surprise.


Just 30% of people interviewed in 134 countries approve of U.S. leadership under Trump

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 14:40:12 PST


People in 134 countries rated their approval of U.S. leadership at an all-time low under President Donald Trump in a new Gallup poll released one year after he took office. The souring of global opinion toward America is most likely to benefit Russia, China, and European nations such as Germany.


Trump personally made decision to curb Bannon's testimony to House Intel Committee

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 14:21:54 PST


President Donald Trump himself made the decision and gave the executive order “to curtail the testimony of former chief White House political strategist Steve Bannon before the House Intelligence Committee,” FP reports, citing ”two people with firsthand knowledge of the matter.”


Report: Trump told porn star to spank him with 'Forbes', maybe one with him & Ivanka on cover

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 13:46:23 PST


Get your barf bag handy before you read this post. We're not joking.


Snubbed by an airport: Chris Christie denied VIP entrance at Newark

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 13:19:22 PST


Sick burn, EWR. The crooked as heck governor of New Jersey has barely been out of office for three whole days, and he gets escorted out by a cop when attempting to waddle his way into Newark International Airport's VIP entrance.


Prince meets The Muppets (1997)

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 12:00:42 PST


On September 13, 1997, Prince, who had changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol, was the special guest on "Muppets Tonight." I like how he didn't take himself too seriously! But then, how could he with this crowd. P> "Episode 201: The Artist Formerly Known as Prince" (Muppet Wiki)

New model of Panasonic's nose hair / ear hair trimmer for $13

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 11:43:50 PST


I've owned the earlier model of Panasonic's nose hair and ear hair trimmer for over ten years, and it still works perfectly. I've never had the sharpen the blades. (Can they even be sharpened?) It's easy to clean - just turn it on and run it under water -- the "'Vortex Cleaning System' draws in water from all sides and spins through the trimmer for easy nasal hair trimmer cleaning in seconds." It uses a single AA battery, which lasts months, even for a astonishingly hirsute personage such as myself.

The new model features some kind of "advanced micro-vacuum system designed to quickly and neatly collect and deposit nose, ear and other trimmed hair particles into an easy-clean collection chamber." It's regularly $15, but is on sale for $12 on Amazon when you click the little green coupon button on the product page.

Joe Arpaio's senate run will help a Democrat get elected

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 11:19:50 PST


Paul Waldman, a senior writer with The American Prospect magazine and a blogger for The Washington Post, says democrats should be thanks that racist criminal nutcase Joe Arpaio is running for the Senate. And on the outside chance he wins, he won't be able to do much more damage than the average GOP senator anyway.

From The Week:

Republican primary voters gripped in a Tea Party fervor nominate the nuttiest candidate in the race, who then proceeds to lose what would have been a winnable election. There was Todd Akin, who in the red state of Missouri torpedoed his 2012 bid by telling an interviewer that rape and incest exceptions for abortion bans weren't all that important because "if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down." There was Richard Mourdock of Indiana, who blew his own Senate candidacy two months later on the same subject, saying that if a woman is raped and gets pregnant "it is something that God intended to happen." There was Sharron Angle, who lost a 2010 race to Harry Reid in Nevada after saying all kinds of controversial things, including that "if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies." And then there's my favorite, Christine O'Donnell of Delaware, who not only inflated her resume but was forced to air an ad that began with the words, "I'm not a witch." For Democrats, these candidates' missteps were like deus ex machinas that appeared out of nowhere to rescue them from electoral defeat.

Silverybield Foss, a tiny game with a terrific ending

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 11:16:28 PST


Silverybield Foss is a simple, very low-fi walking simulator by Twisted Tree (of Proteus fame) that knows where you're going. You'll arrive (using arrow keys) in just a few minutes.
The location is loosely based on Carlingill in the Howgill Fells in Cumbria, UK. The name "Silverybield" comes from the (unrelated) location in this news story, which I felt was too nice a word not to use. Bield is an old dialect word for shelter. Foss is the Old Norse word for waterfall, usually found as "force" in place names. You can read more about Cumbrian toponyms here.

If you get snagged between two locations flipping between one another, trying moving right instead of up.

Dylan Farrow speaks on TV for first time about her sexual assault allegations against Woody Allen

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 11:00:46 PST


Dylan Farrow was seven years old when she told her mother, Mia Farrow, that her father, Woody Allen had sexually molested her. She described the assault in detail in a 2014 open letter published in The New York Times. Today she went on CBS This Morning to talk about the alleged assault.

Incredible meteor over Michigan

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 10:52:08 PST


“I went to turn and I noticed a ball of flame coming at an angle,” Danny McEwen Jr. told the Detroit News. "...It just blew up into a bunch of sparks. I didn’t even know what to think. It was kind of odd how orange the sky was behind me and this blaze of flame out of nowhere.”

A brilliant meteor tore through Earth's atmosphere around 8pm on Tuesday night over southeastern Michigan. The United States Geological Survey measured the rumble as equivalent to a magnitude 2.0 earthquake.

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From the Washington Post:

(NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office lead Bill) Cooke said the fireball was caused by a small asteroid about one to two yards in diameter, moving at 28,000 mph. When it entered into the atmosphere, he said, it heated up and began to melt away, producing the bright light that people saw...

In the case of the Michigan meteoroid, NASA’s Cooke said, “there are probably meteorites on the ground in southeast Michigan right now. . . . I’m sure the meteorite hunters will be out in force.”

More at the Detroit News: "Hunt on for spec of space rock that shook Michigan"

Colbert reads porn star Stormy Daniels sex affair with Trump

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 10:24:49 PST


In 2011, before she signed her non-disclosure agreement with Trump, porn actress Stormy Daniels gave a detailed account of her 2006 sex affair with Trump to InTouch magazine. During last night's airing of The Late Show, Stephen Colbert read some of the choice bits.

  • When she arrived, he was wearing sweatpants, and they ended up eating in his hotel room."
  • "He told me...I was someone to be reckoned with, beautiful and smart just like his daughter."
  • "...he showed off a magazine cover featuring himself."
  • "When I came out, he was sitting on the bed and he was like, 'Come here.' And I was like, 'Ugh, here we go.'"
  • "...he let down his guard and became sheepish. It was almost like he was so taken with me that I could move him around like a puppet."
  • "I actually don't even know why I did it."
  • "...but I do remember while we were having sex, I was like, 'Please, don't try to pay me.'"
  • She described the sex as 'textbook generic.'

EFF to NSA: you scammed your way to another six years of warrantless spying, and you'd better enjoy it while it lasts

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 10:23:37 PST


Last week, cowards from both sides of the aisle caved into America's lawless spy agencies, and today bipartisan senators reprised that cowardice to ensure that the Senate would not get a chance to vote on amendments to the renewal of Section 702, the rule that has allowed the NSA to conduct mass, warrantless surveillance on Americans in secret, without meaningful oversight or limits. (more…)

Yay for glass iPhone screensavers!

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 10:07:23 PST


Yet again an OMOTON iPhone screen saver spared me a trip to the Apple Store.

I can credit these screensavers for having taking a hit that'd have cost me $100+ many times over the last year, and again this week! It had been almost 6 months since I'd busted a one of these, but all it takes is a second of inattention and...

I just ordered a new set. Easy to apply, the peace of mind OMOTON's screen savers provide me is more than worth the effort.

Make sure to get the right one for your model phone!

OMOTON 9H Hardness HD Tempered Glass Screen Protector for Apple iPhone 8 Plus / iPhone 7 Plus, 2 Pack via Amazon

Watch students at a frat party suck on a Wii Remote thinking it's a vape

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 10:04:49 PST


One way to get out of paying airline pet fees is to stuff your beloved pet inside your checked baggage right between the multiple sweatshirts you’re never going to wear. The downside is you’ll have to spend the rest of your life being a complete piece of shit.

Pennsylvania TSA agents foiled such an attempt when workers discovered a 6-month-old kitten being stowed away in a bag at Erie International Airport, according to SFGATE.

A couple is accused of storing the kitten, named Slim, inside a checked bag earlier this month while returning home from traveling for the holidays. Slim is currently in the custody of the local Humane Society.

Even more surprising is the TSA was actually able to stop a restricted item from getting past security.

Image: George Hodan

Flybrix: "rebuildable, crash-friendly drones" made from Lego

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 08:53:43 PST


Flybrix kits allow you to turn a variety of Lego builds into little copter-drones that you can fly with an app or a Bluetooth joystick. (more…)

Trains in Japan may be disguised as barking dogs to ward off deer

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 08:44:19 PST


Those pesky deer loitering around Japanese railroad tracks are certain to be no match for expected train technology featuring the sound of barking dogs.

Tokyo railway researchers say the “dog yaps” are effective at disbanding deer and saving them from being struck by trains, which often lead to delays, according to the Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun. Besides the woof mechanisms, the Railway Technical Research Institute is hoping to outfit trains this year with “deer snorts” used to warn fellow deer of potential danger.

The likely unintended consequence is all the undelivered mail to homes built next to the train track.

Via The Asahi Shimbun:

In tests, a 3-second-long recording of a deer’s snort and 20 seconds of a yapping dog were aired from aboard a running train car between evening and late at night, the time of the day when deer typically make frequent appearances. Deer were sighted only 7.5 times per 100 kilometers from aboard the trains, about 45 percent less than when no measures were in place.

Image: Sui-setz

Google makes machine learning image classifier available to the public

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 08:43:07 PST


Google's Cloud Automl Vision system -- a machine-learning-based image classifier -- is now available to the general public; anyone can sign up to the program, upload a set of 20-10,000 images and train a new model with them, which they can then use. (more…)

Sexist midcentury ads re-created, flipping gender roles

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 08:39:24 PST

Visual artist and photographer Eli Rezkallah has turned the tables on some of the most nauseatingly-sexist (and 100% real) midcentury ads in his latest project, In a parallel universe. He writes: Last Thanksgiving, I overheard my uncles talk about how women are better off cooking, taking care of the kitchen, and fulfilling “their womanly duties”. Although I know that not all men think that way I was surprised to learn that some still do, so I went on to imagine a parallel universe, where roles are inverted and men are given a taste of their own sexist poison. “In a parallel universe” is a series of fictional images, recreated from real ads in the mad men era, that question modern day sexism: showing it through a humorous light to spark a conversation through role play - a conversation that we need to have, uncles. Click on each image to enlarge and take note of the cat litter scooper used in place of a plastic kids shovel in one of the Leggs' ads!: photos by Eli Rezkallah, used with permission (Bored Panda)[...]

This is what a wedding cake for some Kazakh one percenters looked like

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 08:39:23 PST


Reportedly costing $179K, this elaborate cake wowed guests at a wedding Sunday in Kazakhstan. Styled like a castle, the one-ton cake featured many moving parts including a small horse-drawn carriage that brought small representations of the wedding couple to the front door of the castle. From there, the figurines were whisked up to a balcony near the top of the cake.

Watch for yourself:

AKIPress named the bride and groom and their social status:

The groom Amirzhan is grandson of a Shymkent oligarch Serikzhan Seitzhanov, bride Aruzhan is daughter of Kairat Satybaldy, a Kazakh businessman, nephew of the president of Kazakhstan.

Interestingly, the impressive cake was crafted by Renat Agzamov (shown below), a former Russian boxing champion turned pastry chef.

Rough translation:

Realized the most complicated international project🔥 the diameter of the cake is 3 meters, the height is 4.2 (with the trolley). Weight about 1500kg. With such a size to deliver blanks to another country - it's VERY complicated! But we managed, because we have the strongest team of professionals in the world! 🔥🔥🔥 Before exporting the cake to the hall - exactly 3 days without sleep, but the result is worth it! I thank my team for a powerful leap into space. 🚀 I just appreciate and respect everyone😘❤️. I thank the host for very warm and sincere reception "! How pleasant it is to work when you are loved, valued and respected. " Well and most importantly - happiness for young and prosperity


Apple says no to app that detects net neutrality violations

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 08:31:34 PST


Motherboard reports that a university professor created an app that detects net neutrality violations -- that is, when service providers block, throttle, prioritize or otherwise interfere with legal internet use. It's like a speed-test app, same as all the others, but with more detail and a serious research goal in mind. Apple, sadly, finds it contains "objectionable content" that lacks "direct benefits" to its users, unlike utilitarian AppStore mainstays such as iFart: The Original Fart Sounds App and Thump Trump.

An Apple App Store reviewer told Choffnes that “your app has no direct benefits to the user,” according to screenshots reviewed by Motherboard. According to Apple’s reviewer, the app contained “Objectionable Content,” a catch-all for apps that Apple doesn’t want to let into its App Store. Apple is blocking the app and no one is quite sure why, including Choffnes; neither Apple nor Verizon responded to requests for comment for this article.

Wehe is is designed to be part of Choffnes’s research work to determine geographic and carrier-related differences in video throttling. When you open the app, you are presented with a consent form that “invites you to take part in a research project.”

Can't imagine why deep academic research, performed by the general public at the app layer when the Senate is one vote from enshrining Net Neutrality in law and permanently undermining the federal regulator that ISPs spent years capturing, might set off alarm bells in the walled garden at the world's most profitable phone company

Amazon's useless "transparency reports" won't disclose whether they're handing data from always-on Alexa mics to governments

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 07:50:43 PST


Amazon was the last major tech company to issue a "transparency report" detailing what kinds of law-enforcement requests they'd serviced, and where; when they finally did start issuing them, they buried them on obscure webpages deep in their corporate info site and released them late on Friday afternoons. (more…)

Hawai'i emergency notification system password revealed in photo about problems with Hawai'ian emergency notification system

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 07:41:39 PST


Hawai'ians and the rest of the world want to understand why they were warned of their imminent demise -- what kind of bad design choices could allow such a thing to happen? (more…)