Shared posts

23 Oct 05:06

Watch this once-lost 'Empire Strikes Back' doc-film from 1980

by Rusty Blazenhoff

"Watch it while you can" is a good advice indeed, as you can almost hear the DMCA takedown notice heading towards youtube...

The Making of "The Empire Strikes Back", the rare 1980 French TV movie documentary about the second film in the Star Wars trilogy, was considered lost until recently. Since clips surfaced a few years ago, it's been considered the "Holy Grail" for Star Wars fans. Directed by late director Michel Parbot, the hour-long film has now been found and posted on YouTube. Watch it while you can.

11 Sep 04:04

Do the Technicolor Yawn with this Technic theme park thrill ride [Video]

by Edwinder


Builder Shadow Elenter dubbed this the “3D Dizzy” and subjected Technic figures to do the Technicolor Yawn (aka barf). This is an imagined thrill ride at a theme park that spins ever so smoothly like a gyroscope and will surely induce nausea and leave anyone vertiginous with the constant spinning and rotation.

This feat took 14 motors that spans from Power Functions to custom SBrick controllers. It weighs almost 115.8 lbs (7.2kg) and measures 54x24x19 inches (90x59x47cm) in its dimensions.

Don’t let the spinning structure steal the show. The ride actually takes you through the full experience from buying tickets to access paths and ramps for the figures. The safety bars are programmed to secure the adrenaline-hungry humans just like in a real-world ride, and the ramp access automatically moves out of the way. Perhaps this will indeed inspire a real-world theme park ride!

Check out the full video here:

The post Do the Technicolor Yawn with this Technic theme park thrill ride [Video] appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

23 Aug 05:53

Street artists subvertise Facebook bus stop ads in London

by Rusty Blazenhoff

Honestifying fb "ads" is maybe the best thing I've seen in a good long while :D

Thanks to the members of a street art project, some bus shelter adverts for Facebook in London were improved by a good ol' fashioned culture jam.

The Protest Stencil is taking credit for these subvertising efforts which altered Facebook's messaging to say, "Fake news is not our friend, it’s a great revenue source," and "Data misuse is not our friend, it’s our business model."

They refer to their work as "honest Facebook ads," writing, "To facebook, you’re not a ‘friend’, you’re the product on sale." Preach it!

(Design You Trust)

image via Protest Stencil

19 Jun 07:56

Nostalgic tour of an endangered institution: the model shop

by Andrea James

The dude claims there's "another" model shop in HEL but within walking distance to the "no videos here" one there's another and a tram-ride towards Pasila/Vallila takes you to another. Those four are the ones I know quickly at least :P

Lindybeige takes viewers on a wistful tour of a Helsinki model shop while remembering the now-closed shop of his youth. (more…)

05 Jun 10:23


Dear Microsoft:

Don't fuck up GitHub the same way you fucked up Skype.

04 Jun 11:01

Microsoft Has Reportedly Reached A Deal To Acquire GitHub

On Friday a news report suggested Microsoft and GitHub were furthering along talks to acquire the popular code hosting site and now a deal has reportedly been reached...
22 Jan 07:12

1:50-scale LEGO U-Boat VIIc is ready to hunt Allied shipping

by Jonathan

It's amazing :o

The destruction of Allied shipping by German U-boats was a spectacular and tragic feature of both World Wars I and II. Luis Peña has recreated the much-dreaded underwater menace and scourge of Allied sailors at 1:50 scale with U-Boat VIIc, the most common class of German submarine.

U-Boat type VIIc 1:50 Scale LEGO Model

The contouring of the ship is beautiful, she looks like a long slender species of whale without flippers. Featuring all things you’d expect on a submarine plus a few extras.

U-Boat type VIIc 1:50 Scale LEGO Model U-Boat type VIIc 1:50 Scale LEGO Model

Small details like the life preserver and the fire extinguisher really help bring this silent predator to life. Most of all I love the humour and character Luis has put into the various scenes throughout the ship.

U-Boat type VIIc 1:50 Scale LEGO Model U-Boat type VIIc 1:50 Scale LEGO Model

The post 1:50-scale LEGO U-Boat VIIc is ready to hunt Allied shipping appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

01 Dec 06:44

What do you get when you cross an X-Wing, a Y-Wing, and an A-Wing?

by Edwinder

This Onith-Wing Starfighter by Ted Andes is so sweet that I think it should be woven into a Star Wars movie. It’s seriously that good — it has all the right elements that make it believable, with both the contours and the lovely muted grey, dark red, and white theme. It reminds me of a cross between a Y-wing with the modified engines of X-Wings with some A-Wings thrown in for good looks. The build is almost without any visible studs to give it smooth and clean lines.

Onith-Wing Starfighter

While it seems that this beauty would not pack sufficient firepower to bring anything down, the underbelly sports a couple more hidden cannons.

Onith-Wing Starfighter

And last but not least, how would a pilot ever be a hero without an astromech companion? Taking a page from the X-Wing playbook, a nice spot for an R2 droid to snuggle in.

Onith-Wing Starfighter

The post What do you get when you cross an X-Wing, a Y-Wing, and an A-Wing? appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

20 Nov 07:02

'Stranger Things 2' episodes imagined as vintage paperback book covers

by Rusty Blazenhoff

Brazilian artist Butcher Billy describes himself as a "pop culture butcher obsessively looking for the perfect cut." I think he's found just that with his latest artworks.

The nine-piece series imagines each episode of Stranger Things 2, from "MADMAX" to "The Gate," as the cover of an 80s-style paperback book. So cool!

Billy's work has been featured several times here on Boing Boing. If his work is your kind of thing, his Instagram is definitely worth following.

(Design Taxi)

03 Nov 06:23

A reel-to-reel tape recorder that’s not really real

by Elspeth De Montes

The digital era has pushed a lot of state-of-the-art technology into vintage obscurity, and one such piece of audio equipment is the reel-to-reel tape recorder. Imagine the tape removed from a tape cassette and wound onto a reel, press a button and twiddle some knobs and voilà, your slightly crackly audio recording will be transferred onto the reel.  Yul Burman has built a great looking LEGO version complete with reels, buttons, twiddly knobs and some bygone bling!

LEGO MOC Reel to Reel Tape Recorder

I want this on my shelf next to Carl Merriam’s vintage LEGO movie projector.

The post A reel-to-reel tape recorder that’s not really real appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

31 Oct 05:51

Digital Resource Lifespan

I spent a long time thinking about how to design a system for long-term organization and storage of subject-specific informational resources without needing ongoing work from the experts who created them, only to realized I'd just reinvented libraries.
30 Oct 06:11

LEGO Ideas 21312 Women of Nasa [Review]

by Andrew

LEGO recently unveiled its latest LEGO Ideas set, 21312 Women of Nasa. The set includes four minifigures depicting women astronauts, scientists, and engineers from throughout the US space program’s history. LEGO sent The Brothers Brick an early review copy of the set, which is due out on November 1st.

21312 Women of NASA

While the minifigures are certainly the heroes of the set, the set also includes three mini-builds, with 231 pieces. When released, the set will retail for $24.99. Given the science-oriented, minifig-centric nature of both LEGO Ideas sets, comparisons to 21110 Research Institute will be inevitable among LEGO fans, and we’ll do our best to compare and contrast them along the way.

The box and instructions

21312 Women of Nasa returns to the traditional LEGO Ideas packaging that 21310 Old Fishing Store did not use — a sturdy box that can safely store the mini-models, minifigs, and their stands after you’ve built them.

The back of the box shows the real-life women with their minifigure counterparts.

21312 Women of NASA

The parts for all three mini-models come in three unnumbered bags. Despite the lack of numbered bags, I was able to comfortably build each part of the set with all the parts dumped back into the box, though a younger builder might get frustrated fishing around in the black box for the right black piece.

21312 Women of NASA

21312 is a slightly larger set than 21110, so the box is correspondingly larger.

21312 Women of NASA

The instruction booklet includes several pages of biographical information about the four scientists and engineers, as well as information about fan designer Maia Weinstock and the team of LEGO set designers who turned Maia’s idea into an official LEGO set.

21312 Women of NASA

The build & mini-models

Each of the mini-builds serves as a stand for one or more of the minifigures. The first backdrop creates a small scene for computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, whose software was used in the Apollo, Skylab, and Space Shuttle programs. The stand uses some surprisingly elegant techniques for what amounts to a small backdrop — the whiteboard attaches vertically with clips.

21312 Women of NASA

The nameplate attaches to brackets on a light gray 3×4 collectible minifigure stand built into the base. This creates a sturdy attachment that might detach more easily if it were built with the more-obvious solution using a 1×4 tile under the nameplate.

21312 Women of NASA

The second mini-model is a rather nice Space Shuttle, complete with Solid Rocket Boosters and External Tank.

21312 Women of NASA

The Shuttle is the latest in a long line of LEGO Space Shuttles, including several mini-models like this one, and it serves as the stand for astronauts Mae Jemison (the first woman of color in space) and Sally Ride (the first American woman in space). However, this is the first Space Shuttle mini-model that includes the boosters and fuel tank.

21312 Women of NASA

Nevertheless, I have to quibble with the color choice for the External Tank, which LEGO has produced at larger scales several times. On sets like 10231/10213 and even the LEGO City 60080 Spaceport, the color of the External Tank is dark orange. It’s a deeply nerdy, nit-picky quibble, to be sure, but I don’t think the bright orange works nearly as well as dark orange would have.

The third and final stand is for astronomer Nancy G. Roman, who was instrumental in planning and designing the Hubble Space Telescope. Naturally, the stand features a mini-model of Hubble.

21312 Women of NASA

The backdrop also includes a printed panel with an image of the Cone Nebula captured in 2002 by Hubble. It’s a fantastic printed piece that would look right at home on a spaceship’s bridge. Hubble itself also includes two 1×4 tiles printed with a solar panel pattern.

21312 Women of NASA

Like the Space Shuttle, the Hubble Space Telescope mini-model captures the shape of the real-life spacecraft wonderfully. The little LEGO Hubble incorporates a garbage can piece, and the aperture door attaches to one of the trash can’s handles.

21312 Women of NASA

The minifigures

As enjoyable as the three mini-builds may be, the main focus of this set is the four people represented by their minifigures. The set includes minifigs depicting four real-life women who’ve contributed to the American space program — astronomer Nancy Grace Roman; computer scientist Margaret Hamilton; astronaut physicist Sally Ride; and astronaut physician Mae Jemison.

Unlike Research Institute from 2014, each of the minifigures includes brand new printed elements. Nancy G. Roman wears fantastic cat eye glasses and a colorful necklace. Sally Ride and Mae Jemison both wear NASA flight suits (Dr. Ride in light blue and Dr. Jemison in orange). Margaret Hamilton wears a black knitted dress.

21312 Women of NASA

All of the minifigs also have double-sided heads, with alternate expressions. I like to think that the “determined” expressions (above) reflect a passion for the scientific method while the “happy” expressions (below) capture the moment of discovery or breakthrough.

21312 Women of NASA

A noteworthy omission is Katherine Johnson, who chose not to participate in the project, though she was included as a fifth minifigure in the original project proposal by fan designer Maia Weinstock. There could be any number of completely understandable reasons why Ms. Johnson chose not to have herself portrayed as a LEGO minifig, ranging from not wanting to be singled out among the amazing, pioneering women she worked with during her career to having no real interest in LEGO, since she’s nearly a hundred years old! But as disappointing as this role model’s omission is, speculating about her motives for not wanting to be included is just that — speculation.

Conclusions & recommendation

In many schools and for many children — myself included, growing up back in the 70’s and 80’s — LEGO plays a pivotal role in fostering a passion not just for creativity more generally but for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) specifically. I feel a deep debt of gratitude toward LEGO for the role it played in inspiring my twenty-year career in technology today. Perhaps caused by past decisions about the default gender for minifigs in professional roles, compounded by continued market success with boys aged 5-12, LEGO continues to have a perception as a “boy’s toy.” The company has made huge strides toward greater diversity in key themes like LEGO City — the current 60141 Police Station features an evenly split police force and even a female burglar! Nevertheless, the company still has a long way to go to level the playing field and attract girls to the toy outside the “pink aisles” with LEGO Friends.

Thus, I wholeheartedly endorse LEGO’s specific attention to the achievements of women in STEM with this LEGO Ideas set, and I hope that it will inspire more young women to choose education and careers that will lead to the next great breakthroughs for humanity. But setting aside the subject matter, this is still an excellent LEGO set on its own merits, with some great printed parts, fantastic minifigs, and fun little display models of the Shuttle and Hubble especially.

21312 Women of NASA

At $24.99 for 4 minifigs and 231 pieces, it’s also a pretty good deal (even better than the $20 for 165 pieces for Research Institute). We highly recommend this set, and hope that LEGO is better able to predict the demand for this set than they did for Research Institute — it deserves to get into the hands of many more people than the very limited run of that earlier set.

LEGO Ideas 21312 Women of Nasa will be available from the LEGO Shop online starting November 1st for $24.99.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

The post LEGO Ideas 21312 Women of Nasa [Review] appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

13 Oct 04:52

Become an Imperial engineer and build your own TIE Fighter [Instructions]

by Elspeth De Montes

The ‘twin ion engines’ in a  TIE fighter help to make these little starfighters fast, agile and perfectly suited for a dog-fight in a narrow trench. Every Star Wars fan surely needs at least one sitting on their desk? Thanks to instructions provided by Inthert, you can build his LEGO version of this iconic starfighter and take on the nearest X-wing.

Sienar Fleet Systems: TIE Fighter: V2 (1)

There are three pages of instructions provided. Page one provides the steps for building the solar array wings…

TIE Fighter Instructions (page 1)

Page two completes the wings and provides instructions to start the spherical central cockpit area…

TIE Fighter Instructions (page 2)

Finally, page three completes the cockpit and shows how to put everything together…

TIE Fighter Instructions (page 3)

Thanks to Inthert for taking the time to make instructions as his TIE-fighter looks to be a fun build.

The post Become an Imperial engineer and build your own TIE Fighter [Instructions] appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

03 Oct 07:29

Sometimes a hex key and a ton of patience are all you need to assemble an excellent cargo spaceship

by Alexander

LEGOLIZE IT MAN enters this year’s SHIPtember building challenge with a stunning spacecraft promoting one of the world’s famous home furniture producers. It’s hard to say whether the assembling process was as hard and exhausting as it is of a some Swedish kitchen table, but at least there are no spare screws lying around.

Olyckan 2

The post Sometimes a hex key and a ton of patience are all you need to assemble an excellent cargo spaceship appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

28 Sep 11:56

Great moments are born from great opportunity

by Jonathan

When most people today hear the name Tesla, you probably think of those snazzy electric cars. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that Serbian-American engineer Nikola Tesla, with or without credit, influenced our modern world in ways that perhaps no man ever has. the_jetboy knows this, creating a fantastic kinetic magnetic tribute to the great inventor. If you include designing the first hydroelectric power plant, advocating Alternating Current, and inventing electric motors, robotics, new ways of harnessing and distributing light – including lasers and X-rays, radio (sorry Marconi), and wireless communication (including TV remotes), then there’s not a lot he hasn’t contributed to today’s modern world.

Nikola Tesla

Inspired by Sensei Yoshihito Isogawa, the builder has also created a video showing this beautiful, magnet-bearing kinetic sculpture in action. One final tantilising piece of Tesla trivia: Teslas are a unit used to measure the strength of magnetic fields.

A final quote from the genius madman inventor himself:

The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.

The post Great moments are born from great opportunity appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

25 Sep 08:20

European Commission spent 360,000€ on a piracy study, then buried it because they didn't like what it said

by Cory Doctorow

It's not the first nor the last time that a study that has an unwanted result is "forgotten" or just ignored.

Estimating displacement rates of copyrighted content in the EU is a 360,000€ study commissioned by the European Commission from the Dutch consulting firm Ecorys, whose mandate was to "research the effect piracy had on sales of copyrighted content" -- the report was completed in 2015, but never made public. (more…)

22 Sep 07:12

Boring, complex and important: the deadly mix that blew up the open web

by Cory Doctorow

On Monday, the World Wide Web Consortium published EME, a standard for locking up video on the web with DRM, allowing large corporate members to proceed without taking any steps to protect accessibility work, security research, archiving or innovation. (more…)

22 Sep 05:58

Project Scope

by CommitStrip

Sounds painfully truthful :p

19 Sep 05:18

Soviet air defense officer who saved the world dies at age 77

by Sean Gallagher

Enlarge / Former Soviet Colonel Stanislav Petrov sits at home on March 19, 2004 in Moscow. Petrov was in charge of Soviet nuclear early warning systems on the night of September 26, 1983, and decided not to retaliate when a false "missile attack" signal appeared to show a US nuclear launch. He is feted by nuclear activists as the man who "saved the world" by determining that the Soviet system had been spoofed by a reflection off the Earth. (credit: Scott Peterson/Getty Images)

Former Soviet Air Defense Colonel Stanislav Petrov, the man known for preventing an accidental nuclear launch by the Soviet Union at the height of Cold War tensions, has passed away. Karl Schumacher, a German political activist who first met Petrov in 1998 and helped him visit Germany a year later, published news of Petrov's death after learning from Petrov's son that he had died in May. Petrov was 77.

Petrov's story has since been recounted several times by historians, including briefly in William Taubman's recent biography of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Gorbachev: His Life and Times. Ars also wrote about Petrov in our 2015 feature on Exercise Able Archer. On the night of September 26, 1983, Petrov was watch officer in charge of the Soviet Union's recently completed US-KS nuclear launch warning satellite network, known as "Oko" (Russian for "eye"). To provide instant warning of an American nuclear attack, the system was supposed to catch the flare of launching missiles as they rose.

That night, just past midnight, the Oko system signaled that a single US missile had been launched. "When I first saw the alert message, I got up from my chair," Petrov told RT in a 2010 interview. "All my subordinates were confused, so I started shouting orders at them to avoid panic. I knew my decision would have a lot of consequences."

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

18 Sep 07:26

Comic: Dropping Science

by (Tycho)
New Comic: Dropping Science
18 Sep 05:45

After CIA complaints, Harvard University disinvites Chelsea Manning as visiting fellow

by Rob Beschizza

A comically sycophantic outcome at Harvard.

Former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell earlier Thursday announced his resignation as a senior fellow at Harvard over its decision to invite Manning. Mike Pompeo, the agency's current director, also canceled a speaking engagement there Thursday night.

"I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a visiting fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility," Kennedy School Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf said in a statement posted on the university's website early Friday

Manning: "The CIA determines what is said and is not taught at Harvard."

The contrast between the two is striking: Morell is an advocate of torture and extrajudicial killings; Manning exposed them.

14 Sep 07:17

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - AAAAH


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Of course, in real life that guy would be clawing his eyes out.

New comic!
Today's News:
07 Sep 07:03

But what if it’s just some crazy guy in a clown suit?

by Iain

In anticipation of the latest screen adaptation of Stephen King’s classic coulrophobia-inducing book IT, builder Tim Lydy has crafted this wonderfully creepy bust of Pennywise the dancing clown. Guess I won’t be sleeping tonight! I also love the added touch of the brick-built origami sailboat.

I think Tim might be a bit of an IT fan, as this isn’t the first time he’s rendered these characters in LEGO. Check out his “adorable” Brickheadz versions too. We all float down here. (shudder)

The post But what if it’s just some crazy guy in a clown suit? appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

04 Sep 05:17

Sega's OutRun hacked into a Tomy toy dashboard

by Rob Beschizza

Behold the most amazing arcade hack in existence: Matt Brailsford, AKA Circuitbeard, crammed Sega's OutRun into a Tomy Turnin' Turbo dashboard. [via]

Some key features are an integrated 3.5” TFT screen, fully usable steering wheel and gear shifter (dashboard turbo light comes on when in high gear), working ignition key for power, true MPH speed and rev counter displays, and a fuel gauge to represent the stage time remaining.

The project itself was quite a big one for me, filled with several moments of frustration, from burnt out potentiometers, to soldering LEDs backwards, multiple TFT screen purchases and more than one change in direction as approaches to problems were found to be inadequate.

All the toy's hardware is hooked up to the game, running on a Raspberry Pi with a PiCade board and Kookye 3.5" display. He worked around the lack of pedals by using the gearshift to accelerate and brake. How he made a physical LED dashboard to show the in-game speed completely escapes me. Genius!

Here's the original mechanical toy, for reference:

29 Aug 05:28

Lego Star Destroyer collision

by Rob Beschizza

Excellent work by Jhaelon Edwards: "Stuck in the house due to intense storms in Houston. Decided to throw this together using two UCS ISDs. It's the scene from Rogue One!"

28 Aug 05:58

It’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks.

by Jonathan

Are you the police?
No mam, we're musicians.

Okay I may have got a little carried away, as it’s not quite the Blues Mobile. Put a giant megaphone on the roof and put a couple of suited, sunglassed musicians in the front seat and I reckon it’d look the part. Slovenian builder Primoz Mlakar has created a wonderful Speed Champions style Police Interceptor. Inspired by vehicles in Ken Block’s Gymkhana 7, the builder has captured the lines and curves of the classic black and white beautifully. Particularly impressive is the use of the tooth piece for a window pillar and the bad robot arms as nudge bars.

Police Interceptor

The post It’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

21 Aug 10:01

All hail Megatron, leader of the Decepticons!

by Edwinder

It's awesome :o

Builder Sam Cheng is back with his Chibi-Transformers, this time, however, defecting to the side of the Decepticons. The leader of all things against good and hoarder of Energon-cubes, Megatron is beautifully sculpted with over 40 points of articulation, and is fully transformable to its weapon form. Sometimes a good amount of tinkering is required to get things right to personal satisfaction. Sam has been at this since April and tried a dozen different methods to achieve the look he wanted. The headpiece is inspired by Moko‘s Megatron. Standing at an estimated 500 elements, the toughest part of the build is making sure that the alternate ‘gun mode’ is totally asymmetrical and in proportion.

1. I am Megatron!

9. Megatron Gun Mode 2

7. Megatron Gun Pew Pews

The post All hail Megatron, leader of the Decepticons! appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

16 Aug 05:45

This clumsy worker robot is having a very bad day

by Mark Frauenfelder

This snazzy looking bipedal robot is off to a good start, but things go haywire in short order. It has trouble setting a package on a cart. Then it knocks things off the shelf, drops the package on the floor, knocks over the cart, and falls down. As one Reddit user said, "I would watch Gordon Ramsay yelling at a group of these things for hours."

He's trying his best ok from Unexpected
07 Aug 06:53

Hear Motorhead's edgy cover of David Bowie's 'Heroes'

by Rusty Blazenhoff

Covers by Motörhead? Count me in!

According to Rolling Stone, Motörhead performed David Bowie's 'Heroes' "live only one time, in June 2015, as an encore at Germany's Aftershock festival." Fortunately for us, it was recorded.

The footage, along with some candid shots of (the late-great) Lemmy Kilmister and the band, make up the song's music video:

Lemmy Kilmister, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee liked to do over their years together in Motörhead, was grab a favourite song by another artist and give it a good old fashioned ‘Motörheading’. To run them through the Motörizer if you will. To rock them, roll them and even give them an extra twist and edge.

In celebration of some of those finest moments, the band will release Under Cöver, a collection of some of their best covers, and a collection which will include the previously unreleased version of David Bowie’s timeless classic “Heroes”. Recorded during the Bad Magic sessions in 2015 by Cameron Webb, and was one of the last songs the band recorded together. “It’s such a great Bowie song, one of his best, and I could only see great things coming out of it from us, and so it proved to be,” says Phil Campbell, “and Lemmy ended up loving our version.” “He was very, very proud of it,” says Mikkey Dee, “not only because it turned out so well but because it was fun! Which is what projects like this should be – fun!”

Under Cöver will be released on September 1st.
04 Aug 05:33

Popehat suspended from Twitter for sharing a threat he received (Update: unsuspended)

by Rob Beschizza

This morning, Twitter covered Ken "Popehat" White's profile page in balloons to celebrate his birthday. This afternoon, it suspended his account for posting screenshots of threats he'd received from another user.

The ranting missive, from a far-right lawyer in Texas whose threatening Twitter postings White had earlier mocked, promises such hatred and cruelty that White will want to kill himself or flee to "escape my wrath."

But it was White's response that fell afoul of Twitter's mysterious rules on posting personally identifying information—even when such information is disclosed and widely publicized.

Twitter is a private company. It has every right to suspend me or kick me off, however foolish its reason. It's got the right to free speech and free association. My rights have not been violated. I am not a victim. When you use a "free" service like Twitter and Facebook, you're buying into the policies and attitudes they pursue, for better or worse. Want a platform with no dumb policies? Create one or pay for one.

For the moment, I doubt this reflects an evaluation by anyone at Twitter that "it's okay for a deranged bigot to threaten people on Twitter but not okay to publish his threats." Rather, this is part of the inevitable result of automating responses to abuse complaints. Now, if Twitter reviews this, and thinks that's the right result — well, that would be something else again.

Twitter is still where the abusive can rail on and on before they get canned, while anyone with an earnest interest in using the site in good faith must adhere to vague, unhelpful policies in how they deal with all that trash.

UPDATE Twitter unsuspended White's account and agreed the original suspension was a mistake. Right on!