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16 Apr 13:46

Monkeys may sometimes grieve for dead mates through necrophilia

by Xeni Jardin

A still from the video of a marmoset exhibiting behavior that resembles human grieving.

A sad story of two marmosets documented by animal behavior researcher Bruna Bezerra, who was observing the primates in their northeast Brazil home:
The pair had been the dominant male and female since observations began. When the female fell out of the tree, her partner engaged in a number of behaviors, including embracing her, sniffing at her, chasing other monkeys away, sitting by her, and trying to copulate with her. He also emitted alarm calls normally used when a predator is near. And several months after her death, the male disappeared from the marmoset group, never to be seen again.
More: Do Monkeys Grieve for Fallen Mates? | Science/AAAS. Here's the study, in the journal Primates. There's video, too. [via Ed Yong]

16 Apr 13:29

Finland to offer Tom of Finland gay bondage art stamps

by Xeni Jardin

Worth a trip to Finland after September 2014 just to buy a few and send postcards to conservative US lawmakers or, say, the Pope.

Slate: This fall, the country will begin selling stamps that feature the “confident and proud homoeroticism” of Tom of Finland, an artist renowned as “beyond question the most influential creator of gay pornographic illustration.”

Tom of Finland, aka Touko Laaksonen, once famously said "If I don't have an erection when I'm doing a drawing, I know it's no good."

14 Apr 18:48

A bitcoin knockoff for Insane Clown Posse fans: JuggaloCoin

by Xeni Jardin
Fuckin' cryptocurrencies, how do they work? Fans of ICP who are fed up with using actual US dollars to pay for all-you-can-slurp Faygo and ethanol cocktails at festivals can rejoice with the news of a new, bitcoin-y cryptocurrency. "According to, the currency is designed for the group’s substantial Juggalo community, and is available to purchase now." It was created by a juggalo named Papa Nutt. [Guardian. HT: Dean Putney]

11 Apr 14:25



03 Apr 22:00

Crowdfunding Novena, the fully open/transparent laptop project

by Cory Doctorow

This is pretty sexy but also I think I would immediately destroy it.

Remember Bunnie Huang's fully open laptop? Bunnie and Sean "xobs" Cross prototyped a machine he called the "Novena" in which every component, down to the BIOS, was fully documented, licensed under FLOSS licenses, and was totally modifiable by its owner.

Now, Bunnie and Xobs have teamed up with Sutajio Kosagi for a crowdfunding campaign to take the laptop into production. $500 gets you the board, $1200 gets you a desktop version, $2000 gets you a laptop and $5000 get you a "heirloom laptop" in a handmade wooden case crafted by Portland-area luthier Kurt Mottweiler.

The Novena is "not a device made for consumer home use" -- it has lots of components that are exposed during normal use, has no moisture- or static-resistance built into it, etc. It's intended as a piece of high-quality lab equipment for people interested in the long-term project of building fully open, everyday use computers where surveillance, abusive commercial practices, and other proprietary horribles are substantially harder to accomplish than in the current hardware/software ecosystem.

Noah Swartz notes, "I for one am super excited about it because it's meant specifically for hackers and tinkerers. The motherboard has a Spartan-6 CSG324-packaged FPGA built right into it, and if you opt for the conversion-tablet form factor you also get bunni's own battery controller which allows you to use cheap RC car or airplane batteries instead of expensive laptop specific ones by moving the load balancing circuits off of the battery itself. Also the internals of the case are covered in mounting holes (dubbed the peek array after Nadya Peek: which allow you to affix whatever sort of add-ons you want to the inside of the laptop."

I've put in for one of the laptops. I can't wait.

In the design shown here, you can access the internals without having to remove a single screw – in fact, the laptop opens itself for you. With the slide of a latch, the screen automatically pops open thanks to an internal gas spring. As the internals are naked when the screen is up, this is not a computer for casual home use. Another side benefit of this design is there's no fan noise – when the screen is up, the motherboard is exposed to open air and a passive heatsink is all you need to keep the CPU cool.

Another feature of this design is the LCD bezel is made out of a single, simple aluminum sheet. This allows users with access to a minimal machine shop to modify or craft their own bezels – no custom tooling required. Hopefully this makes adding knobs and connectors, or changing the LCD relatively easy. In order to encourage people to experiment, we will ship desktop and laptop devices with not one, but two LCD bezels, so you don't have to worry about having an unusable machine if you mess up one of the bezels!

The panel covering the “port farm” on the right hand side of the case is designed to be replaceable. A single screw holds it in place, so if you design your own motherboard or if you want to upgrade in the future, you're not locked into today's port layout. We take advantage of this feature between the desktop and the laptop versions, as the DC power jack is in a different location for the two configurations.

Finally, the inside of the case features a “Peek Array”. It's an array of M2.5 mounting holes (yes, they are metric) populating the extra unused space inside the case, on the right hand side in the photo above. It's named after Nadya Peek, a graduate student at MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms. Nadya is a consummate maker, and is a driving force behind the CBA's Fab Lab initiative. When we designed this array of mounting bosses, we imagined someone like Nadya making their own circuit boards or whatever they want, and mounting it inside the case using the Peek Array.

Novena (Thanks, Noah!)


02 Apr 12:14

"Let me Bing it on my Zune" comes from my friend Sharkey, who has binged many a thing on many a zune

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April 2nd, 2014: OKAY YES changing Dinosaur Comics to a comic where the pictures constantly change was only for April Fools' Day, I GUESS. I guess this is why all those tech companies test the waters by launching new features on April 1st, huh? You can play off your hopes and dreams as a joke.

If you want to recreate this experience, add "&butiwouldratherbereading=onaprilfoolsday2014" to the end of any qwantz comics URL, or, to recreate it EVEN HARDER, add "&butiwouldratherbereading=somethingthatwilldestroymybrain".

There are a bunch of other overlays too! If you are vision-impaired in the way that means reading black text on white is tricky, there's also a "white-on-black" inversed version (assuming your browser supports it: Chrome does). Turns out this feature has legitimate uses!

One year ago today: welcome to a world where the word "reputation" doesn't exist and everything is understood in terms of corporations

– Ryan

31 Mar 04:54

ps please distribute this content to your professional audience of influencers across various verticals on linkedin

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whoah, you can get to be or not to be in the latest humble bundle!

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March 31st, 2014: ECCC was amazing and also the best. Thank you everyone who came out! It was... the most fun?? I will write more about it later when I am less exhausted!


One year ago today: beach-based fun times, FINALLY

– Ryan

25 Mar 16:23

Gallery of space colony art from the 1970s

by Mark Frauenfelder

Here's a terrific gallery of images from NASA's archives imagining life in space colonies. They were made in the 1970s so everything and everyone looks like they are from the 1970s.

Space Colony Art from the 1970s


22 Mar 03:00

Assistant AG admits he doesn't understand what Weev did, but he's sure it's bad

by Cory Doctorow
Andrew “weev” Auernheimer is serving a 41-month sentence for visiting a publicly available webpage and revealing that AT&T had not secured its customers' sensitive financial information. Now, weev's lawyers are appealing, and in the opening day's arguments, Assistant US Attorney Glenn Moramarco admitted I don’t even understand what [Auernheimer actually did.]" Then he compared it to blowing up a nuclear power-plant.

22 Mar 23:57

Homemade cider


Opened the first of our homebrewed ciders today. I think it needs at least another week in bottles, but it definitely tastes boozey and tasty!

Homemade cider

21 Mar 21:07

2048, an addicting web game

by Jason Weisberger

I beat this this weekend! It combines powers of two and smashing things, my two favorite things.

2048 is a super addictive tile matching game.

I apologize if you lose a few hours of your life.

The insanely high score is that of my girlfriend not me.


22 Mar 01:18

by yasmine

Every night at my house.

Sleeping is overrated anyway.

18 Mar 16:49

NSA recording all the voice calls in one country; 5-6 more countries in the pipeline

by Cory Doctorow

A new Snowden leak reveals that all the voice calls in an unnamed country are recorded and saved for 30 days on a rolling basis, with millions of voice "cuts" (clippings) harvested from the corpus for long-term storage by the system. The system, called MYSTIC, has been running since 2009, and its search tool, RETRO, has been fully operational against a whole country's phone calls since 2011.

President Obama has stated that " the United States is not spying on ordinary people who don't threaten our national security" -- this is a hard statement to square with the idea of recording all the voice calls made in an entire country.

The Washington Post article detailing the programs states at least five more countries are now covered by MYSTIC, with a sixth coming online.

The emblem of the MYSTIC program depicts a cartoon wizard with a telephone-headed staff. Among the agency’s bulk collection programs disclosed over the past year, its focus on the spoken word is unique. Most of the programs have involved the bulk collection of either metadata — which does not include content — or text, such as e-mail address books.

Telephone calls are often thought to be more ephemeral and less suited than text for processing, storage and search. Indeed, there are indications that the call-recording program has been hindered by the NSA’s limited capacity to store and transmit bulky voice files.

In the first year of its deployment, a program officer wrote that the project “has long since reached the point where it was collecting and sending home far more than the bandwidth could handle.”

Because of similar capacity limits across a range of collection programs, the NSA is leaping forward with cloud-based collection systems and a gargantuan new “mission data repository” in Utah. According to its overview briefing, the Utah facility is designed “to cope with the vast increases in digital data that have accompanied the rise of the global network.”

NSA surveillance program reaches ‘into the past’ to retrieve, replay phone calls [Barton Gellman and Ashkan Soltani/Washington Post]


16 Mar 19:00

Studio gives Kickstarter Veronica Mars movie backers substandard, DRM-crippled "rewards"

by Cory Doctorow

Ryan writes, "I was a backer of the Veronica Mars movie, one level of backer got you a digital download of the movie. They ended up going with Warner Bros owned/backed Flixster. So for me I have an apple TV and a Roku. Flixster doesn't support appleTV or airplay, the Flixster channel for the Roku will crash anytime you try to watch anything. Flixster also will not allow you to watch the movie on a computer that has dual monitors."

The studio will allow you to buy a better experience on a non-Flixster service, send them the bill, and get a refund (but only if you complain first).

There's a copy of the movie on The Pirate Bay with more than 11,000 seeders, which means that this Flixster business is doing precisely nothing to deter piracy, and is only serving to alienate megafans who voluntarily donated money to see this movie made, and to subject the studio itself to potential millions in administrative costs and refunds to investors who were forced into the retail channels.

The studios can't conceive of an "audience" that has an active role in, or any right to, the media they enjoy: not even when that "audience" is more properly viewed as the product's investors. What's more, they're the angel investors who bought in when the product was highly speculative and assumed 100% of the risk; the studio is just the VC who came along to put in a round of safe money after the project had proven out. In any real business-setting, the angels would be suing the pants off of the VCs and winning.

DRM has become a cult-belief among some studio execs, a point of pride without recourse to rationality. When your religious dogma causes you to lock the movie's investors out of the movie itself, perhaps it's time to reconsider your dogma.

They claim this is all studio restrictions but I find that laughable being that the movie is a Warner Bros movie Flixster is a Warner Bros service and If I purchased the movie on iTunes or Amazon or downloaded via a bittorrent I could watch it on my AppleTV in HD

Many unhappy comments regarding this choice on the kickstarter page also.

There's also no GNU/Linux version of Flixter, so your reward for being a GNU/Linux user who gave your personal, actual money to make this movie is a kick in the pants.

Warner Brothers to “Veronica Mars” Backers: Okay, Okay — Use iTunes or Amazon if You Want


12 Mar 15:14

How the NSA plans to automatically infect "millions" of computers with spyware

by Cory Doctorow

A new Snowden leak, detailed in a long, fascinating piece in The Intercept, explains the NSA's TURBINE initiative, intended to automate malicious software infections. These infections -- called "implants" in spy jargon -- have historically been carried out on a narrow, surgical scale, targeted at people of demonstrated value to spies, due to the expense and difficulty of arranging the attacks.

But TURBINE, which was carried out with other "Five Eyes" spy agencies as part of the NSA's $67.6M "Owning the Net" plan, is intended to automate the infection process, allowing for "millions" of infections at once.

The article mentions an internal NSA message-board posting called "I hunt sys admins," sheds some light on the surveillance practices at the NSA. In the post, an NSA operative explains that he targets systems administrators at companies, especially telecoms companies, as a "means to an end" -- that is, infiltrating the companies' networks. As Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher point out, this admission shows that malware attacks are not targeted solely or even particularly at people suspected of terrorism or other crimes -- rather, they are aimed at the people who maintain the infrastructure of critical networks and systems to allow the NSA to control those systems.

The malware that TURBINE implants can compromise systems in a variety of ways, including hijacking computer cameras and microphones, harvesting Web-browsing history and email traffic, logging passwords and other keystrokes, etc.

The implants being deployed were once reserved for a few hundred hard-to-reach targets, whose communications could not be monitored through traditional wiretaps. But the documents analyzed by The Intercept show how the NSA has aggressively accelerated its hacking initiatives in the past decade by computerizing some processes previously handled by humans. The automated system – codenamed TURBINE – is designed to “allow the current implant network to scale to large size (millions of implants) by creating a system that does automated control implants by groups instead of individually.”

In a top-secret presentation, dated August 2009, the NSA describes a pre-programmed part of the covert infrastructure called the “Expert System,” which is designed to operate “like the brain.” The system manages the applications and functions of the implants and “decides” what tools they need to best extract data from infected machines.

How the NSA Plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with Malware [Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald/First Look]


07 Mar 18:13

jtotheizzoe: kenobi-wan-obi: bouncingdodecahedrons: Carl...




Carl telling us how (not) to science.

"conclusion: dinosaurs" is still my favorite rebuttal to just about anything tbh.

Second perhaps only to “Therefore: aliens”

seems legit

03 Mar 05:00



I will never stop loving Hackers. NEVER.

03 Mar 12:40

shouts out to all the artists who got excited in panel 2; i am here working everyday to get you kissed up on.

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March 3rd, 2014: Janek sent me this Professor Science he made and... I kinda love it??

One year ago today: registered symbol can mean you, as a legal entity, do indeed like to party down

– Ryan

24 Feb 21:01

Silicon Valley: Mike Judge's new HBO series

by Mark Frauenfelder

Oh good, new television for me to be enraged by.

Silicon Valley is a new comedy series premiering April 6th on HBO. It's created by Mike Judge (Beavis & Butt-Head, Office Space, Idiocracy).
Silicon Valley was co-created with comedy veteran Alec Berg (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm). The eight-episode first season will feature four directed by Judge, two directed by Berg, and one apiece from Tricia Brock (Breaking Bad, Girls) and Maggie Carey (The To-Do List).

Silicon Valley: Mike Judge's new HBO series


23 Feb 15:21

Ask yourself.

Ask yourself.

22 Feb 15:43

25 Synonyms for 'Pussy Riot,' for news presenters who'd really rather not say 'pussy' on-air

by Xeni Jardin

What I imagine Wolf Blitzer's facial expression was the first time he read the words "Pussy Riot" off the teleprompter.

Pussy Riot. Image: Denis Bochkarev

The outlaw Russian activist organization Pussy Riot reportedly chose their name as a clever troll: one of the group's members said she thought it'd be a way to provide a little fun for English-speakers who followed their story. And she was right. Every time I see CNN's Wolf Blitzer say "Pussy Riot," or hear a dry NPR anchor's voice intone those two words, I think I'm going to die laughing. Pussy Riot finally managed to do what generations of feminists before them could not: they normalized the word "pussy."

But I asked Twitter to help me come up with some more "polite" synonyms for news anchors who still wince when they have to say the p-word on-air. Here's the list, some of which are my own, some of which others must take blame for.

• Vagina Riot
• Cuntastrophe
• Cooter Commotion
• Ladybits Rampage
• Vajayjay Melee
• Birth Canal Brouhaha
• Hoo-hah Kerfuffle
• Beefdrape Diatribe
• Frontbottom Fracas
• Labial Lawlessness
• Rosebud Rumble
• Bearded Clam Shenanigans
• Muffin scufflin'
• Cooch Confrontation
• Down There Donnybrook
• Labia Fray-bia
• Front-butt Fiasco
• Munch Bunch
• Apocalips
• Violencia del Vulva
• Meat-Curtain Mayhem
• Nookie Disagreement
• Honeypot havoc
• Fanny Free-for-all
• Tumult Near Mons Pubis (*also a great title for a post-apocalypic sci-fi erotic novel)

(Thanks, everyone: @joshgondelman, @Beschizza, @scottpierce_au, @orelhoes, @arfisk, @bonniegrrl, @KingDouyeAlfred, @KellySGerner, @birdsnfrogs, @cuadcosgrove, @capnmarrrrk, @beebigelow, @iD4RO, @BarrSteve, @emraeoh, @jesusdiaz, @ginalou, @janice_e, @gwynskid, @laurasbadideas, @nieljacoby, @proeat, @gargreguan, @dkesserich, @lekevbo, @queerveganrun)


19 Feb 11:06

From my new book, It’s a Punderful Life - Out...

From my new book, It’s a Punderful Life - Out NOW!
Available at all good (and not so good) bookstores.

17 Feb 20:00

Forensic reconstruction of a Crystal Head Vodka skull

by Cory Doctorow

Nigel, a Scottish forensic artist, did this facial reconstruction job on a bottle of Crystal Head Vodka, yielding up a glimpse of how the grotesque crystalline monsters whose skulls are harvested by the Crystal Vodka people might look.

Crystal Head Vodka Forensic Facial Reconstruction


16 Feb 05:00

February 16, 2014

Hey geeks with kids! My friends at EvoS are doing a kickstarter for a kids' book about evolution:

12 Feb 16:03


12 Feb 15:33

jephjacques: I really liked today’s XKCD and decided to do a...


I really liked today’s XKCD and decided to do a little Dinosaur Comics style thing with it!

10 Feb 18:38

oldnewengland: Tree Frog commune in Guilford, Vermont in the...


Tree Frog commune in Guilford, Vermont in the 70s. 

now this is a commune that speaks my language

03 Feb 05:00


Perhaps you need a crash course in taking hints. Here's your first lesson: We're not actually walking somewhere together; I'm trying to leave this conversation and you're following me.
01 Feb 01:00

Rob Ford Valentines

by Cory Doctorow

$8 gets you six of SScotty 2 Naughty's Valentines cards themed for Toronto's crack-smoking, drunk-driving, thug-beatdown-commissioning lout of a mayor, Rob Ford. They sport slogans like "I must have been in one of my drunken stupors when I fell for you" and "I refuse to resign my love for you." Genius! And romantic.

Six Toronto Valentines - Mayor Ford (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)


30 Jan 23:18

"I was asked in an interview once: You’re writing another book with a female lead? Aren’t you afraid..."


Today at a bar I pointed out to my boyfriend that a power tool ad was entirely men (it was montage of dudes building things, including a man with a young child) and he was like, "Yes, but this add (for pizza) is also all men" and I was like "INDEED."

I was asked in an interview once: You’re writing another book with a female lead? Aren’t you afraid you’re going to be pigeonholed? And I thought, I write a team superhero book, an uplifting solo hero book, I write a horror-western, and I write a ghost story. What am I gonna be pigeonholed as?

Has a man in the history of men ever been asked if he was going to be pigeonholed because he wrote two consecutive books with male leads? Half of the population is women. I lose my temper here. And it’s certainly not at you. It’s just this pervasive notion that “white male” is the default. And you have to justify any variation from it.

- Kelly-Sue stating the fucking obvious to anyone who actually pays attention and being no less inspiring for it. Hero. (via kierongillen)