Month: November 2016

Pay just $1 and learn to code online

code2017

You don’t need to get an advanced degree and take out massive loans to become a coder. This bundle of 10 courses was designed to teach anyone to code at home for less than it costs to go out for dinner.

I was particularly impressed with this new 2017 bundle because it includes courses on the latest and most relevant technologies. While most affordable coding courses start and end with basic HTML, this bundle covers everything from iOS coding to Python to Google Go and Scala. Google Go and Scala, in particular, are two of the most relevant skills you can have while applying for a coding job with a top tech company.

To purchase this bundle, you have two simple options. You can seriously pay just $1 and get a 38-lecture JavaScript course (valued at $99). If you would like to bring home lifetime access to all 10 courses and 156 hours of training, just beat the average price – currently just $15.10.

Click here to check out the bundle in the Boing Boing Store, and start learning a new, profitable skill.

And don’t forget to check out the Boing Boing Store’s new 2016 Holiday Gift Shop:

…read more      

Eutelsat, freed by Paris court ruling, pays Russia’s RSCC long-due $424 million

eutelsat-36c-larger

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Eutelsat has paid its Russian counterpart, Russian Satellite Communications Co. (RCSS) a long-overdue bill of more than 400 million euros ($424 million) despite an ongoing legal battle between the Russian government and the shareholders of the former Yukos oil company.

The payment followed a ruling by the Paris Court of Appeal concluding that RSCC should not be considered an arm of the Russian government and thus liable for the government’s debts.

Moscow-based RSCC and Eutelsat confirmed on Nov. 24 confirmed that the payment had been made, ending an uncomfortable chapter in the the fleet operators’ dealings. The Eutelsat and RSCC satellite fleets have overlapping coverage and the two companies have used each other’s capacity on occasion.

The former Yukos shareholders are continuing to battle in French courts for the right to seize payments by French companies to Russian government entities following an international arbitration body’s 2014 decision saying the Russian government illegally appropriated the Yukos assets and dissolved the company.

Among the Yukos shareholders left holding worthless Yukos equity were Hulley Enterprises Ltd. of Cyprus, which has devoted considerable energy to use French law to claw back some of the funds.

Still unresolved: Arianespace’s debt to Roscosmos for Soyuz rockets

The Nov. 23 Paris Appeals Court ruling has no effect on a parallel appeal dealing with around 300 million euros that launch service provider Arianespace, of Evry, France, owes to the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

Roscosmos is Arianespace’s counterparty to the contract under which Russian companies provide medium-lift Russian Soyuz rockets for use by Arianespace from Europe’s Guiana Space Center spaceport in French Guiana.

The Russian government on Oct. 21 sent formal warning to the French government that it wanted a resolution of the Roscosmos payment by March 2017 or it would take France to court for violation of a 1989 bilateral treaty. The warning included references to unspecified other Euro-Russian space projects, suggesting that these might suffer if the legal stalemate continued past March.

The letter, sent to the French prime minister’s office, said Europe’s Galileo positioning, navigation and timing network, now being assembled in space thanks to the Europeanized Soyuz vehicle, is an example of Russia’s assistance to Europe.

Hulley Enterprises had grouped together more than a dozen Russian entities, including RSCC and Roscosmos, arguing that for all intents and purposes they are part of the Russian government. As such they are legitimate targets for collection of Russian government debt.

RSCC countered that it operates its business as a private-sector company and does not distribute its cash to the government or seek government aid to pay the company’s debts.

An earlier Paris court had agreed with the RSCC argument but its judgment had come with an order that no money be disbursed until a further court ruling. The Nov. 23 decision by the Paris Court of Appeal included no such payment-suspension order, and Eutelsat apparently transferred the money the same day.

“The positive ruling was achieved thanks to professional efforts of RSCC specialists and French lawyers acting on behalf of RSCC,” RSCC said in a …read more

Was Jesus an extraterrestrial?

et_god

In 1954, a London taxi driver named George King received an extraterrestrial mental telegram informing him that he’s been deemed the voice of the Interplanetary Parliament. Motivated by his new cosmic position, he launched the Aetherius Society to spread the spiritual teachings of extraterrestrial gurus like Buddha, Sri Krishna, Confucius, and Jesus. Sure, why not. King died in 1997 but the Aetherius Society lives on. MEL Magazine‘s Jonathan Parks-Ramage paid them a visit:

“The biggest reason why the Aetherius Society is here, why the Cosmic Masters came to earth, is because the Mother Earth has to change,” Keneipp says. “She’d held herself back for hundreds of thousands of years because she’s providing mankind a home to evolve. She’s been told by the karmic lords that she can no longer hold herself back. And so the big push by the Cosmic Masters is to raise as many people up so that they will be able to get to a point where they will enter a new age here on earth.”

Essentially, the Society’s goal is to lift Mother Earth’s burden with love and prayer, a task helped by descended Cosmic Masters like Jesus and Buddha.

Inspired by his new religion, Keneipp soon abandoned the pre-med program at SIU, deciding instead to moved to Los Angeles in 1978. Keneipp devoted his life to the church, working directly with George King as he expanded his religion. I ask Keneipp what it was like to work for King during those formative years.

His response surprises me. “[King] could be very hard, as you would hear other masters of yoga would be in India. They weren’t politically correct and gooey and friendly. They could be extremely harsh and hard and pull you up. [King] expected you to give the best all the time.”

Jesus was an alien(MEL Magazine)

…read more

A gauge to accurately measure the force profile of a keypress

253

Annoyed by reviews of keyboards that describe mechanical switches the way men in bow ties describe wine, HaaTa spent fabulous amounts of money constructing a custom gauge that generates meticulously accurate graphs of the pressure profile of keypresses.

I take keyboards way too seriously. However, unlike most of you, I’m an engineer. This means I need facts, data, and real evidence before I can form an opinion. And this lack of actual information has always bothered me when it comes to how the keyboard community at large tends to review switches.

Similar in function to charts of speakers’ frequency response, the gauge anchors subjective experience in empirical data that can be verified independently of manufacturers’ claims. There are good and bad sides to this sort of thing. On one hand, it burns off technophile mysticism and helps prevents it from being sold on to low-information consumers. On the other hand, the desire to free phenomena from human experience is futile.

28264497256_561ea865b2_b

…read more

Homestuck was the "internet's first masterpiece"

02295

Andrew Hussie’s Homestuck was a vast, sprawling, impenetrable, hostile webcomic, and it only become harder to define as its popularity grew and its volume stretched toward a million words…

If you ask a fan, you get a flood of enthusiastic nonsense: It’s… well, it’s a webcomic, but sometimes it’s more like an old-school text-based roleplaying game. It’s about a group of kids who are playing that game, and also cause the end of the world…. It’s about growing up, but there’s also time travel, and of course we can’t forget about the alien trolls! and there’s like, complex four-dimensional romance! and really touching moments, and surreal humor, and so many callbacks, self-references, and running jokes I don’t know what it’s even about except for itself, I mean, the author appears as a character, and then gets killed, and the fourth wall isn’t just broken: fourth walls are a tool used by the characters to travel from the… well, see there are lots of universes, and dream universes-

What it was, writes Ben Tolkin, was the first true work of internet art. Participation in the vast, sprawling, impenetrable, hostile subculture around it was an integral part of the storytelling experience.

Homestuck is the first media directed at people for whom the Internet is a way of life, the constantly connected, information-rich community, rather than the individual viewer. Homestuck may not have been written by all of us, but it was written for all of us; since its beginnings as a forum game, Hussie’s writing can only be read by a team constantly supplying each other with knowledge.

That last line is key: people younger than 35 or so grew up drowning in decontextualized knowledge, an experience fundamentally alien to people who became sentient before the age of Google. When Hussie took a yearlong break to plan the ending, Homestuck’s “moment” passed and didn’t flash back upon his return.

And now that it’s over, you can never experience Homestuck.

Do I recommend Homestuck? Should you drop everything and start reading it?

You can’t. Homestuck is over, and I mean over, not just that it isn’t updating. “Homestuck,” the masterpiece, was the event, the community, the shifting pace of updates, the constant chatter between fandom and author. Homestuck is done. If you missed it, you missed it. It may still be worth reading the comic, but it won’t be Homestuck. Despite the Internet’s ability to catalog forever all pre-existing forms of art, all audio and video and text, humans have a knack for making art out of whatever can’t be preserved. Hussie was a sculptor of communities, and this community has dissipated.

Plowing through the comic itself or buying the print editions is like buying a DVD of Woodstock. It doesn’t matter how well they played or how pretty they were; what mattered was being there.

If you still love the internet, you owe it to yourself to read Tolkin’s review of Homestuck in full. It’s long… but it’s not 800,000 words long.

<img src="http://media.boingboing.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/1-u3oWjxNyXgKdigFANSJGMA.png" alt="1-u3oWjxNyXgKdigFANSJGMA" width="2000" …read more

Donald Trump's 100 day plan: the good, the bad, and the terrifying

050-056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8

On Naked Capitalism, Gaius Publius parses through Donald Trump’s “100-day action plan” (just the public parts, not the parts leaked by the bumbler Trump wants to put in charge of the DHS), and calls out the few bright spots (killing TPP, improving NAFTA) and the terrifying remainder (accelerating climate change, deploying a national campaign of stop-and-frisk, all but destroying public education).

(more…)

…read more

Whaling: phishing for executives and celebrities

050-056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8

A fraudster’s term of art, “whaling” refers to phishing attempts targeted at “C-level corporate executives, politicians and celebrities” — it’s a play on “phishing” (attacks that trick users into downloading dangerous files or visiting attack sites by impersonating known sources) and “whales” (a term of art from casinos, referring to high-stakes gamblers).
(more…)

…read more

Trump's DHS plan leaked by Kris Kobach, who thinks more about Sharia law than folders

cxzwvw6ucaat5ev

Kansas Secretary of State and noted xenophobe Kris Kobach, who is in line to run Trump’s DHS, was photographed by the AP yesterday at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse holding the secret 100-day plan for the Trump DHS. By blowing the photo up, we’re able to learn an awful lot about what’s in the cards.
(more…)

…read more

The Portable February grabs the reader like an LSD-dosed college professor who hijacked a tourist bus

tumblr_ofj6zkHh1e1t3i99fo8_r1_1280

With 100 frames of incongruously playful observation connected only by authorship, wit, and uncanny brilliance, The Portable February is a Cliff’s Notes thesis on existence, told in line drawings and one-liners by author, poet, and musician David Berman. Randomly exposing the vaudevillian arc of history, Berman extracts the extraordinary from the ordinary. He brings a furied ennui to every moment, grabbing the reader like an LSD-dosed and recently-ousted college professor who hijacked a tourist bus, calmly calling out the sights and overlooked absurdities of American life armed with a keen wit, a soft spot for pop culture, and the occasional ax to grind.

Just flipping through this book, one might say, “This guy can’t even fucking draw,” but the crudeness of his visual accompaniment is intentional.

In this visual follow-up to his critically-acclaimed book of poetry, Actual Air, David Berman tasks himself with contemplating the missing socks in the laundry load of life. Able to portray human futility in one frame, as in “The Soul and its Shtick,” the book’s visual simplicity belies the complexity of thought, as in “Humbled by the Void,” while a casual humor defines another, like “Daytime Television.” In frames like “Irrational 15th Century Battle Scenes,” and “’We’ stands for ‘warn everybody,’” his playful love for humanity emerges, and in the sweet “All culture strives, folks,” you can take his beneficent observations to heart.

Berman’s inner and outer battles seep into the pages and the juxtaposition of impossibly insightful and wicked smart ideas hung on spare, but potent, frames is pure Berman. Whether intentional or not, the book’s seemingly simple title, The Portable February, reflects the author’s dual perspectives, as February is a seemingly benign but scathing month. With the ebullience of the holidays deflating like a wheezing balloon into the bleakness of the purgatory of winter, the mercifully short month brings a pointless patina to each of its 28 days. Valentine’s Day, February’s lone holiday, provides a pink and red glimmer of hope and distraction, yet it’s a day often spent alone, sad, disappointed, possibly suicidal, or, if coupled, hated by everyone else. It’s no coincidence it’s also when the highest rate of suicide occurs in the U.S. What February lacks in joy, it at least mercifully makes up for in brevity. Fittingly, The Portable February gives us a playful guide to the futility of existence in a format you can carry.

The author has spoken publicly about his own near-miss with suicide and the turnaround that came as a result, and his work has always defied categorization, rarely adhering to a recognizable niche in any medium. Though critically acclaimed in every field he endeavors, his output has been sparse since 2009, when he dissolved his band, The Silver Jews, to focus on opposing his Washington lobbyist father, Rick Berman, who 60 Minutes dubbed, “Dr. Evil.” In his announcement, Berman described his father as a “despicable man…a sort of human molester. An exploiter. A scoundrel. A world historic motherfucking son of a bitch,” and vowed, “In …read more

Thuraya joins Internet of Things industry group

Dubai John Karwoski Cityscape

WASHINGTON — Mobile satellite services operator Thuraya announced Nov. 21 that it is joining an industry group that develops standards for the “Internet of Things” (IoT), a market that has the potential to generate significant demand for satellite services in the coming years.

The Dubai-based company has become the second satellite operator to join the LoRa Alliance, a nonprofit that creates IoT standards. It follows Inmarsat, which became a member in February this year, helping the organization factor in the capabilities of satellite technology when creating new standards.

IoT is a somewhat misunderstood term used to describe networks of connected sensors and devices. As a market, IoT devices have become a frequently cited new opportunity for both terrestrial and space-based telecommunications providers. Tellingly, communications company Ericsson reported in June that it now expects IoT devices to eclipse mobile phones as the largest category of connected devices in 2018. Satellite operators, many of which provide backhaul services for cellular data, are eyeing IoT as a potentially lucrative new source of revenue, though many are not yet sure how to enter this market.

The LoRa Alliance believes satellite telecommunications companies can provide backhaul services for IoT devices using the organization’s LoRaWAN standard for connecting low power wide area (LPWA) networks. These networks are frequently used in rural or isolated areas often outside the reach of mobile network operators, thus creating an opportunity for satellite operators to fill the connectivity gap.

Users of the LoRaWAN specification can now connect their devices over Thuraya’s network. “Standardization generates volume, and the methodology and approach of the LoRa Alliance will help us develop long-term opportunities on a significant scale,” said Thuraya product manager Marwan Joudeh in a Nov. 21 statement.

Thuraya’s decision to join the organization comes as it is planning its next-generation satellite system, known as Futura. Thuraya is currently raising capital for the geostationary orbit system and expects IoT demand to shape its development.

Since forming in March 2015, the LoRa Alliance has grown its ranks to more than 400 members. Aside from Thuraya and Inmarsat, other notable members that provide satellite services and technology include Swisscom, du, and Globalsat Worldcom Group.

The LoRa Alliance’s LoRaWAN is one of many standards competing for dominance in the IoT market. Others include random phase multiple access (RPMA), ultra narrow band (UNB), and Sigfox, who is a customer of Eutelsat. Sigfox, based in Labege, France, closed a 150 million euro ($160 million) Series E funding round on Nov. 18 to fast-track the expansion of its network to soon reach global coverage.

SpaceNews.com

…read more

Uncategorized

Beginners set of watch repair tools

91VNqMia0NL._SL1500_

I may not be able to fix a broken watch, but I do not blame this set of tools.

I have a dead self-winding Bulova I wanted to see if I could puzzle out, and fix on my own. That did not work out, but these tools are wonderful to have around. I can open cases of watches I previously had to take in for battery replacement, and changing, or resizing bands got a lot easier.

I find I use this set for a lot more than trying to fix a watch, too. Eye glasses repair and just about anything that needs tiny screwdrivers and picks will benefit from keeping this toolkit handy.

At least my Timex Mickey is running again.

Readaeer® Portable Watchmaker Watch Repair Tools Kit Set Back Case Opener Adjuster Remover via Amazon

…read more

Cool animated opening for David Blaine's "Beyond Magic"

Screen-Shot-2016-11-21-at-9.11.18-AM

https://vimeo.com/191998961

Buck, the director of this animated video, says, “David Blaine approached us to make an animated intro for his latest magic special, a palette cleanser to get people excited for a bumpy night ahead. Inspired by David’s mind-bending magic and the Paul Auster penned script which was voiced by Christopher Walken in the style of a side-show barker, we crafted a hero’s journey of sorts, a psychedelic trip into the spectacle of the real.”

…read more

UK regulator rules joke about Queen having sex "breached rules"

queen-elizabeth

British regulators determined that a joke about Queen Elizabeth II having sex “breached” broadcasting rules.

The edition of the show, which aired in April this year, featured a panel of comedians who are given a subject which they have to prove is not funny. If the audience does laugh, the subject passes to the next contestant.

Panellist Russell Kane was asked to explain why there was nothing funny about why the Queen, who has four children, must have had sex at least four times in her life.

“Four times we have to think of republicanism as we imagine four children emerging from Her Majesty’s vulva,” said Kane to audience laughter.

Ofcom ruled that the quips, uttered on BBC Radio 4, were “not justified”. Moreover, “the potential for offence was increased by the fact that these remarks were broadcast on the Queen’s 90th birthday”.

The show, Don’t Make Me Laugh, was cancelled in the wake of the controversy, which led to a staggering 12 people writing in to complain.

I can’t immediately find a clip of the segment in question, so you’ll instead have to make do with some amusing media navelgazing over a previous instance of British lese majeste, wherein the line “I’m so old my pussy is haunted” was repeated in Streisand-esque fashion in a watchdog show.

No sanctions were reported other than Ofcom’s stern telling-off. But whatever you do, don’t talk about Queen Liz getting into bed with Donald Trump.

UPDATE: I believe this is the episode in question, but haven’t got a timestamp for you yet:

…read more

UK regulator rules joke about Queen having sex “breached rules”

queen-elizabeth

British regulators determined that a joke about Queen Elizabeth II having sex “breached” broadcasting rules.

The edition of the show, which aired in April this year, featured a panel of comedians who are given a subject which they have to prove is not funny. If the audience does laugh, the subject passes to the next contestant.

Panellist Russell Kane was asked to explain why there was nothing funny about why the Queen, who has four children, must have had sex at least four times in her life.

“Four times we have to think of republicanism as we imagine four children emerging from Her Majesty’s vulva,” said Kane to audience laughter.

Ofcom ruled that the quips, uttered on BBC Radio 4, were “not justified”. Moreover, “the potential for offence was increased by the fact that these remarks were broadcast on the Queen’s 90th birthday”.

The show, Don’t Make Me Laugh, was cancelled in the wake of the controversy, which led to a staggering 12 people writing in to complain.

I can’t immediately find a clip of the segment in question, so you’ll instead have to make do with some amusing media navelgazing over a previous instance of British lese majeste, wherein the line “I’m so old my pussy is haunted” was repeated in Streisand-esque fashion in a watchdog show.

No sanctions were reported other than Ofcom’s stern telling-off. But whatever you do, don’t talk about Queen Liz getting into bed with Donald Trump.

UPDATE: I believe this is the episode in question, but haven’t got a timestamp for you yet:

…read more

Knit mermaid blankets

71fwibcy7jl-_sl1026_

Laghcat’s $24 knitted mermaid tail blankets come in kids’ (56″x28″) and adults’ (71″x35.5″) sizes and 40 color schemes/styles; the thousands of positive reviews praise the construction as being robust and durable (and feature photos of “mermaids” lounging cozily around their homes in their tail-blankets), and the blankets can be machine washed and tumble-dried. (via Incredible Things)

…read more

When Mike Pence came to Hamilton, the cast added a special afterword, just for him

050-056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8

Vice President-elect Mike Pence went to see Hamilton last night; he was booed on the way to his seat, but afterward, the cast acknowledged him with a brief set of remarks written by the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda: “We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf all of us.”
(more…)

…read more

The Snoopers Charter is now law in the UK: "extreme surveillance" rules the land

050-056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8

Britain’s love-affair with mass surveillance began under the Labour government, but it was two successive Conservative governments (one in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, who are nominally pro-civil liberties) who took Tony Blair’s mass surveillance system and turned it into a vicious, all-powerful weapon. Now, their work is done.

(more…)

…read more

Twitterbot experiment suggests that public disapproval by white men can reduce harassers' use of racist language

050-056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8

NYU PhD candidate Kevin Munger made a set of four male-seeming twitterbots that attempted to “socially sanction” white Twitter users who habitually used racial epithets (he reasons that these two characteristics are a good proxy for harassment): the bots could be white or black (that is, have names that have been experimentally shown to be associated with “whiteness” or “blackness”) and could have 2 followers or 500 of them.
(more…)

…read more

“Standards and norms” needed in space, Pentagon experts say

Winston Beauchamp, the deputy under secretary of the Air Force for space, talks with SpaceNews about the issues the Defense Department is studying this summer as part of the Space Portfolio Review, what the Pentagon has learned from a new joint space operations center with the intelligence community and the role of hosted payloads. Credit: SpaceNews video still

WASHINGTON — The international community needs to establish expected patterns of behavior in space, despite ongoing worldwide political tension, top Pentagon space experts said.

“There is an erosion of some of the commonly accepted standards and norms, and there’s concern about that as folks around the world have tried to find advantage, find seams,” said Winston Beauchamp, the deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for space. “That’s part of the reason why we want to codify our norms and behavior in space because it is such an important domain, not just for us but for humanity.”

Speaking at a Nov. 17 summit hosted by the Defense One website, Beauchamp said that the danger of collision and debris in orbit means that nations must work together to avoid those risks, even if they have somewhat tense relations – such as between the U.S. and Russia or U.S. and China.

“We need to be able to operate in space both to advance our state of technology and eventually get the human race off this planet onto another planet,” he said. “We can’t do that if we have to try to fly through a shell of debris.”

Rear Adm. Brian Brown, head of the Navy Space Cadre, said that norms often develop overtime, and that the U.S. is leading on developing them.

“Much like the maritime laws that we have, they established over time by safe and responsible behaviors and patterns of life,” he said. “That is something we are pushing for in a lot of different areas, so we don’t have miscalculations in space.”

Because of the long-lasting effects that could come from destroyed satellites and the resulting debris, the U.S. military is taking a defensive mindset, said Brown, the deputy commander for the Joint Functional Component Command for Space at U.S. Strategic Command.

“Everything is about not having a war extend to space,” he said.

Even in peacetime, to avoid collisions the U.S. is warning satellite companies and other nations when there’s a risk of collision, Brown said.

“There are norms and behaviors that are already out there that the U.S. is leading on,” he said. “If you look at basic safety of flight things that we do today, there are specific standards for low Earth orbit and geosynchronous orbit where we provide conjunction warnings if two satellites ,or a satellite and a piece of debris, come within proximity.”

Were another nation to attack U.S. assets in space, Beauchamp said the Pentagon wouldn’t automatically respond in kind.

“It’s important to note that if something were to happen in space, our response wouldn’t necessarily be in space,” he said. “If someone were to do something, we would respond in a time and place of our choosing, primarily because we wouldn’t expect something to happen in space in isolation. It would be an extension of some conflict that would be occurring terrestrially.”

SpaceNews.com

…read more

Bigelow calls on Trump to sharply increase NASA spending

Robert Bigelow, founder and president of Bigelow Aerospace, apparently had second thoughts about his first tweet. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

HOUSTON — Space entrepreneur Robert Bigelow said Nov. 17 that he believes that the Trump administration should as much as double NASA’s budget in the coming years and make plans for a human return to the moon.

Bigelow, the founder of commercial space habitat developer Bigelow Aerospace, argued in a speech at the Spacecom conference here Nov. 17 that such a dramatic, and arguably long-shot, increase in NASA funding was essential to the future of both the agency’s exploration efforts and business plans of commercial ventures, as well as affordable to the nation.

“I propose that NASA should have, beginning in fiscal year 2019, an annual budget equal to at least one percent of total yearly federal spending,” Bigelow said. The Obama administration, in its fiscal year 2017 budget proposal, requested $19 billion for NASA, less than half a percent of the overall request of more than $4 trillion.

Part of the reason for the additional funding, he said, is to deal with inefficiencies with some of NASA’s programs. “It is no surprise that NASA needs a greater allowance just to offset the politics, much less what’s needed to really get going,” he said.

The increase would also be used to support more ambitious space exploration efforts by NASA, such as lunar exploration. “The new White House needs to make a real commitment to this nation’s space future,” he said, specifically citing lunar bases and industrial activity. “The reason I’m focusing on the moon is because the business case for the moon is potentially substantial compared to the business case for Mars, and the financial requirements are of no comparison.”

Bigelow said he believed the nation could afford that jump in NASA’s budget because he expects economic growth in the country overall to increase significantly after Trump takes office, although he did not elaborate on how he reached that conclusion. “With this increase, the United States can easily afford NASA’s one percent, and even more,” he said.

In comments after his talk, he said he hadn’t been in direct discussions with anyone on the Trump transition team about his proposal. He was also optimistic that the next administration could increase NASA’s budget despite dealing with competing priorities, such as infrastructure redevelopment. “If you have a growing economy, it lifts all boats,” he said.

Bigelow’s support of Trump — he called Trump’s election an early Christmas present for the country and for NASA — is not surprising. In January, Bigelow joined the social network Twitter and immediately expressed his support for Trump. “What this country needs is an inspirational space program. I’ll bet @realDonaldTrump could do it,” he tweeted.

Bigelow was not the only person at the conference to support significantly increasing NASA’s budget. “NASA receives a pittance of the federal budget,” said Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), chairman of the House space subcommittee, in remarks delivered by video at the conference Nov. 15.

Babin, though, was not optimistic about a doubling or any other large increase for the agency. “As much as I would be thrilled to see NASA’s budget …read more

Office Depot techs accused of faking malware infections to meet sales targets

050-056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8

Seattle’s KIRO TV made undercover visits to Office Depot stores in Washington state and Oregon and asked the technicians working in the store’s “PC Health Check” to evaluate a working, uninfected PC; four out of six times, Office Depot technicians diagnosed nonexistent virus activity and prescribed $200 worth of service to get rid of it.
(more…)

…read more

Promised auction for popular .blog domain canceled

dollar stacks

After Automattic (makers of WordPress) announced its control of the .blog top-level domain, Chris Chidle paid more than $200 to pre-register chris.blog. He did so under the expectation that, as Automattic had promised, domains with multiple applicants would go to auction. Eventually he was told someone else won the domain—no auction necessary! He got a refund, but wants to know why Automattic took money for an auction that wasn’t going to happen.

My interpretation is this: we yanked your domain and aren’t going to let you have it or bid on it until we find a way to make more money from it. After all, we have to recoup the $19M we spent to buy the TLD. …

A few weeks back, before I had inquired about the auctions, I thought to check get.blog to see if anything had changed. chris.blog was still $30/year, but christopher.blog was $2,000/year! I tried some other common first names and many had annual fees in the thousands, while a few were still pegged at $30/year. My guess is that the cheap ones already had applications, then Automattic panicked and raised the prices on the rest.

At Hacker News, at least two more people report similar stories of their .blog fees being refunded and the domains no longer being available. The implication seems to be that the auctions failed to attract the pre-bid interest Automattic expected, so it began proactively marketing short and trademarky domains to private parties on the sly.

All domains are auctionable, but some are more auctionable than others. This is a huge warning to anyone thinking of registering under a newfangled, privately-operated TLD: what’s to stop your landlord evicting you, or raising the rent?

…read more

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast covers Westworld episode five, "Contrapasso"

ep05-ss09-1920

Now that Boars, Gore, and Swords has switched to full coverage of HBO’s Westworld, they’ve returned to their schedule of posting episodes following that night’s airing. For this week’s “Contrapasso,” Ivan and Red are joined by comedian Allison Mick to discuss ever-expanding fan theories, dude robot full frontal, and Ed Harris’s frontier medicine. They’ve also concluded their Patreon-exclusive coverage of the Great British Bake Off finale, so kick in a buck for some high-class cake talk.

To catch up on previous episodes of Westworld, previous seasons of Game of Thrones, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon.

…read more

Kodachrome, Pt. 1

Slide copy

This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network:

Color slides were once the state of the art in family photography — vibrant, immersive, ubiquitous. So ubiquitous, in fact, that millions, maybe billions of them survive. A conversation with midcentury pop culture expert Charles Phoenix: What can we learn from the vast shadow world of abandoned slides about the way we used to live in our homes?

If you like what you hear, please drop by the iTunes Store and leave the show a rating and/or review. And don’t forget to subscribe:

iTunes | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS

…read more

Man attempts illegal soak in acidic Yellowstone hot pool: reduced to wallet and flip-flops

mammothhotsprings

Via a Freedom of Information Act request, Yellowstone National Park recently reported the tragic details of an accident last summer, where a 23 year old man dissolved after an illegal attempt to bathe in Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park. He had gone 200 yards past the legal tourism area with his sister, who was recording on her cell phone when the incident happened. Luckily, that video has not been released.

Though search and rescue was attempted, Deputy Chief Ranger Lorant Veress remarked, “in a very short order, there was a significant amount of dissolving” due to the churning, acidic water. The man was reaching down to test the temperature, with the intent to “hot pot,” aka bathe in the steaming water, when he slipped and fell in.

Reports Wyoming’s KURL news:

Search and rescue rangers who arrived later did find the victim’s body in the pool, along with his wallet, and flip flops. But, a lightning storm stopped the recovery efforts. The next day, workers could not find any remains. Veress says the water was churning, and acidic.

He remarked, “In a very short order, there was a significant amount of dissolving”

Veress said the park posts warning signs for important reasons, “… because it is wild and it hasn’t been overly altered by people to make things a whole lot safer, it’s got dangers. And a place like Yellowstone which is set aside because of the incredible geothermal resources that are here, all the more so.”

Yellowstone is meant to be wild and preserved as such, so the park posts warning signs for this very reason. Despite the signs and the accident, a week later, a Chinese tourist also left the visitors boardwalk and illegally tried to collect water from the same spring to use for its “medicinal purposes.” Collecting any of the park’s resources, including water from hot springs, is a federal violation and the man was heavily fined. Walking on the fragile crust of the thermal springs causes irreversible environmental damage.

How the hot springs were formed, from the Yellowstone website:

At Yellowstone each year, the rain and melted snow seeps into the earth. Cold to begin with, the water is quickly warmed by heat radiating from a partially molten magma chamber deep underground, the remnant of a cataclysmic volcanic explosion that occurred 600,000 years ago.

After moving throughout this underwater “plumbing” system, the now hot water rises up through a system of small fissures. Here it also interacts with hot gases charged with carbon dioxide rising up from the magma chamber. As some of the carbon dioxide is dissolved in the hot water, a weak, carbonic acid solution is formed. In the Mammoth area, the hot, acidic solution dissolves large quantities of limestone on its way up through the rock layers to the hot springs on the surface.

It is not known why the FOIA report was requested, but the incident does provide an option out for those unable to tolerate …read more

Man attempts illegal soak in acidic Yellowstone hot pool: reduced to wallet and flip-flops

mammothhotsprings

Via a Freedom of Information Act request, Yellowstone National Park recently reported the tragic details of an accident last summer, where a 23 year old man dissolved after an illegal attempt to bathe in Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park. He had gone 200 yards past the legal tourism area with his sister, who was recording on her cell phone when the incident happened. Luckily, that video has not been released.

Though search and rescue was attempted, Deputy Chief Ranger Lorant Veress remarked, “in a very short order, there was a significant amount of dissolving” due to the churning, acidic water. The man was reaching down to test the temperature, with the intent to “hot pot,” aka bathe in the steaming water, when he slipped and fell in.

Reports Wyoming’s KURL news:

Search and rescue rangers who arrived later did find the victim’s body in the pool, along with his wallet, and flip flops. But, a lightning storm stopped the recovery efforts. The next day, workers could not find any remains. Veress says the water was churning, and acidic.

He remarked, “In a very short order, there was a significant amount of dissolving”

Veress said the park posts warning signs for important reasons, “… because it is wild and it hasn’t been overly altered by people to make things a whole lot safer, it’s got dangers. And a place like Yellowstone which is set aside because of the incredible geothermal resources that are here, all the more so.”

Yellowstone is meant to be wild and preserved as such, so the park posts warning signs for this very reason. Despite the signs and the accident, a week later, a Chinese tourist also left the visitors boardwalk and illegally tried to collect water from the same spring to use for its “medicinal purposes.” Collecting any of the park’s resources, including water from hot springs, is a federal violation and the man was heavily fined. Walking on the fragile crust of the thermal springs causes irreversible environmental damage.

How the hot springs were formed, from the Yellowstone website:

At Yellowstone each year, the rain and melted snow seeps into the earth. Cold to begin with, the water is quickly warmed by heat radiating from a partially molten magma chamber deep underground, the remnant of a cataclysmic volcanic explosion that occurred 600,000 years ago.

After moving throughout this underwater “plumbing” system, the now hot water rises up through a system of small fissures. Here it also interacts with hot gases charged with carbon dioxide rising up from the magma chamber. As some of the carbon dioxide is dissolved in the hot water, a weak, carbonic acid solution is formed. In the Mammoth area, the hot, acidic solution dissolves large quantities of limestone on its way up through the rock layers to the hot springs on the surface.

It is not known why the FOIA report was requested, but the incident does provide an option out for those unable to tolerate …read more

America's top spy won't stick around to watch Donald Trump wield his doomsday device

clapper

James Clapper, the US Director of National Intelligence, has tendered his resignation. He says he will serve through the handover to the new administration, whereupon Donald Trump will inherit an arsenal of cyberweapons and a $52B/year army of 107,000 secret, unaccountable spies that Clapper has strengthened and emboldened in one of the most sustained and successful exercises in empire-building in US governmental history.
(more…)

…read more