Boing Boing

3.4235218509047 (1556)
Posted by motoman 04/17/2009 @ 14:07

Tags : boing boing, blogs, blogosphere, internet, technology

News headlines
El Efecto Streisand As Guatemala Arrests Twitterer - Techdirt
Boing Boing even points out that Central American news organizations are referring to "el efecto streisand" to describe how much attention this is generating. As the guy who coined the term "the Streisand Effect," in the first place, I have to admit...
Yogurt that keeps on giving - Mother Nature Network
Eating local, healthy foods is apparently helping Boing Boing's Xeni Jardin save money too. At GOOD, Xeni shares her easy yogurt-making instructions: “It takes maybe 20 minutes of actual work and attention, zero equipment beyond stuff I already had in...
Ypulse Essentials: Vitaminwater For MySpace Music, Children's Book ... - Ypulse
a comparative study in emo culture and 19th century romanticism) (via Boing Boing) - Death threats on People's Dirt (the gossip site we mentioned in yesterday's Essentials. The posts have been traced to a Tennessee teen who may face criminal charges)...
Google Morocco Not Hacked, Company Insists - InformationWeek
Boing Boing's co-editor reviews ETech Conference highlights on global warming, social networking and privacy threats. A screen shot posted by Haddad suggests that Google's Moroccan Web site was defaced. But according to a Google spokesperson,...
John Gaeta Talks About Ninja Assassin with Boing Boing - First Showing
by Alex Billington In one of the few times we'll ever link to the website Boing Boing, they've posted a new interview with visual effects supervisor John Gaeta. While he's best known for his work on The Matrix trilogy and Speed Racer, Gaeta also worked...
Virgin Offers Absinthe on Flights - MyFox Raleigh
Boing Boing reports that in addition to selling absinthe, Virgin is also expanding the number of its planes with in-flight wi-fi Internet access. "Absinthe + internet + idle time?" wrote Boing Boing's Xeni Jardin. "Can't wait to read the mile-high...
Ignition Entertainment Launch Boing! Docomodake Website - Electronic Theatre
Take a wild bouncy ride with your favourite Boing! Docomodake mushrooms as Ignition Entertainment unveils - the all-new dedicated website for the upcoming funky-fungus action game, Boing! Docomodake for NintendoDS....

Boing Boing

1990 Boing Boing logo, from a t-shirt

Boing Boing (originally bOING bOING) is a publishing entity, first established as a magazine, later becoming a group blog.

Boing Boing started as a zine in 1988 by Mark Frauenfelder and Carla Sinclair. Issues were subtitled "The World's Greatest Neurozine". Associate editors included Gareth Branwyn, Jon Lebkowsky, and Paco Nathan. Along with Mondo 2000, Boing Boing was an influence in the development of the cyberpunk subculture. Common themes include technology, futurism, science fiction, gadgets, intellectual property, Disney and left-wing politics. The last issue of the zine was #15.

Boing Boing became a Web site in 1995 and later relaunched as a weblog on January 21, 2000, described as a "directory of wonderful things." Over time, Frauenfelder was joined by three co-editors: Cory Doctorow, David Pescovitz, and Xeni Jardin. All four Boing Boing contributors are, or have been, contributing writers for Wired magazine.

In September 2003, Boing Boing removed their Quicktopics user-comment feature without warning or explanation. Bloggers commenting on the change at the time speculated that it stemmed from "identity impersonators and idiot flamers" pretending to be co-editors. Xeni Jardin was also a guest on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer to discuss the Washington Post's decision to remove their comments section, and spoke from her experience at Boing Boing. In August 2007, a redesigned site was launched, which included a restored comment facility, moderated by Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

In 2004, the project incorporated as Happy Mutants LLC, and John Battelle became the blog's business manager. Boing Boing has twice won the Bloggies for 'Weblog of the Year', in 2004 and 2005.

The site added advertising over the course of late 2004, placed above and to the left and right of material, and, in 2005, in the site's RSS feed as well. Editor Cory Doctorow noted that "John said it's going to be harder to make a little money to pay your bandwidth bills than it will be to make a lot of money and have a real source of income from this." Boing Boing is a prominent member of the blog network Federated Media Publishing Inc.

Boing Boing featured a "guest blogger" sidebar, then stopped the series in summer of 2004. In 2008, the "guest blogger" series resumed, with guests posting in the main blog for two-week periods. Guests have included John Shirley, Karen Marcelo of Survival Research Laboratories, Johannes Grenzfurthner of monochrom, Rudy Rucker, Gareth Branwyn, Wiley Wiggins, Jason Scott of, journalists Danny O'Brien and Quinn Norton and comedian John Hodgman.

In September 2006, Boing Boing introduced a weekly podcast, Boing Boing Boing, intended to cover the week's posts and upcoming projects. The show's cast consists of the Boing Boing editors accompanied by a weekly guest. In the same month, Boing Boing introduced a second podcast called Get Illuminated, which features interviews with writers, artists, and other creatives.

The site's own original content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license, as of August 2008.

A "unicorn chaser" is a concept created by Boing Boing editors as an antidote to blog postings linking to sites containing disgusting or shocking images. The antidote contains a picture of a unicorn and was launched first in August 2003 as a reply to a picture of a rash that editor Mark Frauenfelder posted in an attempt to get readers to diagnose it for him. The text posted with the image came with the title "And now, we pause for a Unicorn Moment." It was used as an antidote for pictures of a brain tumor, a man who pumped up the skin of his face with saline solution, many different ways to clean your earwax and a lengthy discussion of the internet video "2 Girls 1 Cup".

On May 18, 2007, Boing Boing announced that Virgin America, as part of its "Name Our Planes!" campaign, would be naming one of its new aircraft "Unicorn Chaser," after having asked Boing Boing to suggest a name.

Added during the format change on Aug 28 '07, BoingBoing gadgets is a blog about personal and consumer electronics, written by Joel Johnson, a former Gizmodo editor and Dethroner founder; John Brownlee, a fellow Gawker alumnus and founder of Ectoplasmosis; and Rob Beschizza, formerly a writer and blog editor at Wired.

John Brownlee left in February of 2009 under undisclosed circumstances. Lisa Katayama, a Japanese tech blogger, and Steven Leckart, a computer journalist, joined in April 2009.

In October 2007, Boing Boing started a new component, Boing Boing TV, that consists of video segments, produced by its co-editors in conjunction with DECA, the Digital Entertainment Corporation of America. The episodes appear online, as well as on Virgin America flights.

Sex blogger Violet Blue has been mentioned, interviewed and once contributed at Boing Boing. On the June 23, 2008, Blue posted on her blog, Tiny Nibbles, that all posts related to her had been deleted from Boing Boing, without explanation . The LA Times featured an interview with Blue that cast the silence on the part of Boing Boing on the matter as 'inexplicable', causing a controversy as Boing Boing "has often presented itself as a stalwart of cultural openness". A heated debate ensued after a brief statement on the Boing Boing site regarding this action stated; "Violet behaved in a way that made us reconsider whether we wanted to lend her any credibility or associate with her. It's our blog and so we made an editorial decision, like we do every single day". In commentary attached to that blog entry, "many commenters surmised that they had something to do with Blue's suing to stop a porn star from also using the name Violet Blue," and many commenters found the removal troubling, but Xeni Jardin said that she hoped she would not have to make the reasons public.

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Xeni Jardin

Xeni Jardin (SHEH-nee zhar-DAN, IPA: /ʃɛniː ʒɑr'dæn/) (b. 1972) is an American weblogger, digital media commentator, and tech culture journalist. She is known for her position as co-editor of the collaborative weblog Boing Boing, as a contributor to Wired magazine and Wired News, and as a correspondent for the National Public Radio show Day to Day. She has also worked as a guest technology news commentator for television networks such as CNN, Fox News and ABC.

Jardin was born in Richmond, Virginia on August 5, 1972. Her father, artist Glenn B. Hamm Jr., died in August 1980 of ALS. She left home at age 14, but remained in school in Richmond. Xeniflores is not her given name, but rather a nickname that stuck during her travels through Mexico and Guatemala. For some time after she returned, she used the name Xeniflores Jardin Hamm and now uses a shortened version, Xeni Jardin. Prior to becoming a journalist, she was site editor for travel agency Traveltrust, then Supervisor of Enterprise Web Technology for Latham & Watkins before working at Quaartz, an internet calendaring startup.

Her career as a journalist began in 1999 when she was associated with Jason Calacanis's Silicon Alley Reporter, first as a contributing editor, and later as Vice President of Silicon Alley's parent company, Rising Tide Studios. In 2001 she became a freelance writer for Wired and other magazines, and in 2002 she began contributing to Boing Boing after Mark Frauenfelder met her at a party and invited her to be a co-editor. Jardin has also written op-ed pieces for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. She has also been the main source of an article in The Age talking about the cultural relevance of Wikipedia articles, and the source for a New York Times article discussing Boing Boing's part in the creation of the Flying Spaghetti Monster internet meme.

Jardin is also involved in television and radio work. In 2003, she began contributing the "Xeni Tech" segment for NPR's show Day to Day, and has appeared as a guest on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer to discuss the Washington Post's decision to remove their comments section (a step Boing Boing had also taken). She has also made appearances on CNN, Fox News and ABC World News Tonight. and featured on the BBC Radio 5 show Pods and Blogs discussing her work at Boing Boing.

Her work at Boing Boing has provoked some critical response. In March 2005, Jesse Andrews created a script for GreaseMonkey that filters out Boing Boing posts by Jardin. In March 2006, Matthew N. Sharp created, which criticizes and parodies Jardin's posts on Boing Boing. Jardin posted a link to the site on Boing Boing and described it as "a total hoot" (the link is now removed). A June 2008 controversy over Jardin's "unpublishing" of posts and links associated with sex blogger Violet Blue in the wake of a falling-out led to discussions about journalism ethics and standards and media transparency.

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Violet Blue (author)


Violet Blue is an American writer, podcaster, blogger, editor, sex educator, and sex columnist.

Blue is a blogger who writes a weekly sex column for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her podcast is Open Source Sex, in which she reads erotica and talks about topics such as fetishes and oral sex. She also has a video blog. Blue wrote a feature about porn for women which was published in the July 2007 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. She lectures at San Francisco Sex Information on the topics of oral sex and fetish. Blue is the author of several books on sex and has edited several volumes of erotica anthologies. Her first book was an erotic anthology she edited titled "Sweet Life: Erotic Fantasies for Couples" was published in December 2001 by Cleis Press.

She was a crew member of industrial machine performance art group Survival Research Labs from 1996 to May 2007.

In October 2007, Violet Blue launched the DRM-free publishing venture Digita Publications, releasing audiobooks and ebooks in several open formats on a variety of sex-related subjects.

Around June 2008, there was controversy in the blogosphere after Violet Blue posted on her blog claiming that the blog Boing Boing had removed all posts referring to the author (estimated by a Los Angleles Times blogger to number at least 70) from the site. A heated debate ensued after a brief statement on the Boing Boing site regarding this action stated: "Violet behaved in a way that made us reconsider whether we wanted to lend her any credibility or associate with her. It's our blog and so we made an editorial decision, like we do every single day". Boing Boing editor Xeni Jardin said that she hoped she would not have to make the reasons public. Most of the removed blog posts have been republished under the Creative Commons license by a third party at

In February 2009, there was more controversy in the blogosphere after Violet Blue was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle discussing racism and porn.

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Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Teresa Nielsen Hayden (born March 21, 1956) is an American science fiction editor, fanzine writer, essayist, and teacher. She works for Federated Media Publishing where she edits the comment section for the blog Boing Boing. Nielsen Hayden has been nominated for Hugo Awards five times.

Born Teresa Nielsen, she grew up in a Mormon household in Mesa, Arizona, but was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1980. In her youth, she served as a page in the Arizona House of Representatives. She appended Hayden to her name upon marrying the former Patrick Hayden in 1979; he also took her name, becoming Patrick Nielsen Hayden. The two of them were active members of science fiction fandom and collaborated on various fanzines, including the Hugo-nominated Izzard.

In 1985, she and her husband were TransAtlantic Fan Fund delegates to Europe for Eastercon. Over the next few years, the Nielsen Haydens published at least three TAFF trip reports. From 1985 to 1989, she served on the editorial board of The Little Magazine, a poetry magazine.

She is a former managing editor and, now, consulting editor at Tor Books. In 1994, a collection of her essays, Making Book (ISBN 0-915368-55-2), was published by NESFA Press. It is now in its third printing. The second printing is the preferred edition.

She is also one of the regular instructors for the writing workshop Viable Paradise.

Outside the science-fiction community, Nielsen Hayden is probably best known for her weblog, Making Light, where she writes about a wide range of subjects such as animal hoarding, publishing scams, astroturfing, and global political events. She is the first recorded Internet editor to practice disemvoweling of the entire text of offensive posts; the term itself was coined in a Making Light post by Arthur Hlavaty. She has since become comments moderator at the popular blog Boing Boing. In June, 2008, a controversy on Boing Boing concerning the "unpublication" of all articles that mention Sex-Columnist Violet Blue has generated criticism of some of her moderation techniques, including disemvowelment.

Nielsen Hayden has narcolepsy, for which she had been taking Cylert until the Food and Drug Administration withdrew the drug from the marketplace. In September of 2008 she had what appeared to be a heart attack; paramedics were summoned immediately, and at this writing she appears to be making a full recovery.

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In the fields of Internet discussion and forum moderation, disemvoweling is a technique used to censor unwanted postings such as spam, internet trolling, rudeness or criticism and yet maintain some transparency, both of the act and the underlying word. Disemvoweling (also spelled disemvowelling) appears to model the word "disemboweling" and involves removing vowels from questionable text, either as a form of self-censorship or as a technique used by forum moderators and newsgroup operators. The net effect of disemvoweling text is illegibility or legibility only through significant cognitive effort; thus the technique helps to suppress unwanted comments.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden developed the technique in 2002 for internet forum moderation on her blog Making Light. It was implemented in 2007 on the blog Boing Boing when she joined as community manager. Regarding the use of disemvoweling to police internet blog comment sections, Xeni Jardin, co-editor of Boing Boing, says of the practice, "the dialogue stays, but the misanthrope looks ridiculous, and the emotional sting is neutralized." Also, Boing Boing producers claim that disemvoweling sends a clear message to internet forums as to types of behavior that are unacceptable. Gawker Media sites adopted disemvowelling as a moderation tool in August 2008, further popularizing its use.

In July 2008, New York Times reporter Noam Cohen criticized disemvoweling as a moderation tool, citing a June 2008 dispute about the deletion of all posts on Boing Boing that mentioned sex columnist Violet Blue. In the Boing Boing comment threads resulting from this controversy, Teresa Nielsen Hayden used the disemvoweling technique. Cohen noted that disemvoweling was "Not quite censorship, but not quite unfettered commentary either." A subsequent unsigned case study on online crisis communication asserted that "removing the vowels from participants’ comments only increased the gulf between the editors and the community" during the controversy.

On October 30, 2008, Time magazine listed disemvoweling as #42 of their "Top 50 Inventions of 2008," despite its having been developed six years earlier. The Time article made no mention of Teresa Nielsen Hayden or Boing Boing.

In the fields of Internet discussion and forum moderation, disemvoweling (also spelled disemvowelling) is the removal of vowels from text.

The technique has been facilitated by plug-in filters to automate the process. Because the letter y is sometimes a vowel and sometimes a consonant, there are a variety of ways to treat it. To remove it only where it is used as a vowel is not easily automated. Aside from an "all-or-nothing" approach, one option is remove a y only at the end of words, where it is virtually always a vowel.

The word follows the standard patterns of English orthography; i.e., it may be spelled either disemvoweling or disemvowelling, with the former generally preferred in U.S. English and the latter preferred in Commonwealth and Irish English.

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Paco Nathan

Paco Nathan, circa 1997

Paco Nathan (born 1962) is a computer scientist, author, and performance art show producer from San Luis Obispo, California, who established much of his career in Austin, Texas.

He studied mathematics and computer science at Stanford University, specializing in UI design and AI, with Doug Lenat as graduate advisor. He received a teaching fellowship during 1984-1986, under the direction of Stuart Reges, to create a course called CS1E, as a peer-teaching introduction to using the Internet, informally called "PCs for Poets". It has since grown to become the popular Residential Computing program on campus.

Nathan collaborated with Robby Garner on one of the first web chatterbots, named Barry DeFacto, in 1995. The two have worked together on several related projects, including the JFRED open source project for developing Java-based chat bots. They used JFRED in BBC Television's "Tomorrow's World MegaLab Experiment" and attained a 17% Turing percentage during what was the largest online Turing test at the time.

He was a co-founder (with Jon Lebkowsky) and president of FringeWare, Inc., and the editor of FringeWare Review. FringeWare, founded in 1992, was one of the early commercial sites on the Internet. It experimented with mixing subcultural analysis and ecommerce, hence the name "fringe" + "ware". Through work at FringeWare in support of small press publishers and fringe subcultures, Nathan also helped produce a series of performance art shows during 1997-1999, including events for Robert Anton Wilson, Survival Research Laboratories, Church of the Subgenius, RTMark, and Negativland. FringeWare was later used as a pattern for part of the organization of the Viridian design movement.

Nathan has written for several other publications including O'Reilly Net, Wired magazine, Whole Earth Review, Mondo 2000, and was a contributing editor for Boing Boing during the early 1990s. His first article for Mondo 2000 about the IBVA brainwave interface system was credited as inspiration for the song Hi-Tech Hippies by Yellow Magic Orchestra. Other popular writings have included a parody (nEurorAncid) of the cyberpunk novel Neuromancer, and court-room reporting on behalf of a newly-launched Wired magazine during the federal trial of Steve Jackson Games v. US Secret Service.

More recent work has focused on applying aspects of Systems Theory for computer network applications. Nathan led an engineering team at Symbiot to develop software for monitoring and visualizing risk metrics of complex network security systems. That work received an Apple Design Award in 2004, was cited as a source for the United Nations UNCTAD Information Economy Report in 2005, and spun off as an open source project called OpenSIMS. During his period at Symbiot, Nathan helped pioneer a controversial "hands on" college program in network security at Austin Community College, for which he received a NISOD Award for Teaching Excellence in 2003.

Some of the technology at Symbiot emerged from an earlier project created by Nathan, called The Ceteri Institute, which used complex systems modeling to analyze aspects of transnational corporations. That effort followed from several years of writing, speaking, and political organizing on behalf of anti-corporate activism. During the period of 1999-2002, he summarized that material in a series of papers and lectures about Corporate Metabolism.

Paco Nathan currently works as the technical director for HeadCase Humanufacturing, combining previous experience in chat bots and ecommerce. He sometimes writes online using the pseudonym "Hugo Junot".

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Source : Wikipedia