Boing Boing
This guy had a stroke after white supremacists doused him in torch fuel and struck him in the neck with torches
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

My friend John Park sent me the following:

This is an article about my old friend, UVa housemate, fellow Glee Club member, and all around wonderful character, D.R. Tyler Magill, who took on Nazis in Charlottesville and has now suffered a stroke.

In the video below we see Tyler doing the right thing, in a smart, calm way, as he chased Nazi organizer Jason Kessler from the podium along with a group of fellow protesters. This, despite having already been doused in torch fuel and struck with torches by fascist thugs as he and a group of 25 students were surrounded by the alt-right mob at the base of the statue on Saturday night. At one point he was struck in the neck, which damaged an artery, leading to his stroke.

He's stable from what we know, and has a fundraising goal to cover sick leave costs, but more publicity about his actions would be a good thing.

I hope Tyler inspires others to be this brave in the face of fascist thugs.

https://youtu.be/4xs_-J3BhUM?t=1m35s

Here's another person who was injured in the same terrorist attack that killed Heather Heyer. Her name is Natalie Romero:

Here's a USA Today article about Natalie. She was in the Junior ROTC.

When there's just way too much crazy Trump news
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

We are all the cat hiding in the sink because an uninvited dog is visiting.

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Samsung and Foxconn to back cable-free phone tech by Tony Fadell of iPod and Nest fame
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

Tony Fadell is best known "one of the fathers of the iPod" at Apple, and as the former CEO of Nest. We've agreed to forget that he led the Google Glass division for a while, too. Today, news broke that the serial inventor and investor is now working with companies including Samsung Electronics and Foxconn's parent company, Hon Hai Precision Industry, to develop new technology that would allow mobile phone devices to “transfer large amounts of data without using wires or WiFi connections.”

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Eclectic Method's latest: 'Goonies Remix'
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

Barcelona-based DJ and music producer Eclectic Method (aka Jonny Wilson) has brought back Mikey, Data, Mouth, Chunk, and the rest of The Goonies gang in his latest remix music video.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda's childhood home movies show him busting out dance moves
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

On The Late Late Show with James Corden, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda said that, while on a recent vacation, he digitized all the VHS home movies he made in his childhood.

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David Byrne: The secret appeal of technology is that it takes away the need to talk to people
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

Writing in MIT Tech Review, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne points out the secret and, in retrospect, obvious driving force behind tech: it reduces the often awkward and unreliable process of dealing with people, so you can buy music without asking friends for recommendations, take a cab without talking to a dispatcher, buy your groceries without speaking with a clerk, and get your money out of the bank without seeing a teller. (more…)

Dig into hard ice cream with this pointy tip scoop
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

The old ice cream scoop we had wasn't really an ice cream scoop. It was a disher, and was more suited for scooping mashed potatoes than ice cream. When the trigger mechanism on it finally broke, I happily got rid of it and replaced it with the OXO Good Grips Solid Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop ($15). This surprisingly heavy scoop is made from a solid chunk of stainless steel with a comfortable rubber grip, and comes with a pointed end that digs right into hard ice cream, especially if you run hot water over it. It's supposedly dishwasher safe but why put it in the dishwasher? Just rinse it and dry it with a towel.

It's okay for Arkansas to block Medicaid funds going to Planned Parenthood, U.S. appeals court rules
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

Today, a U.S. appeals court reversed a previous ruling that barred the state of Arkansas from halting Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, after the release of setup videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion, hard-right media provocateurs.

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Governor Kasich calls Trump's behavior "pathetic" and likens it to Germany in the 1930s
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

Ohio governor and 2016 presidential candidate John Kasich was fired up on the Today Show this morning, speaking out against the way Trump handled the Charlottesville violence over the weekend that lead to the death of a 32-year-old woman and injured many others. Before he was even asked a question he began his criticism.

"Pathetic! Isn't it? Just pathetic...It's terrible. This is terrible."

"The President of the United States needs to condemn these kinds of hate groups. Think about what you have seen!...reminiscent of what we saw in Germany in the 1930s. The president has to totally condemn this...This is a very serious matter"

"There is a bitterness setting in that may not be able to be removed...He's got to fix this and republicans have got to speak out, plain and simple. Who cares what party you're in?"

Kasich was right on the mark with everything he said, until he was asked this: "Would you be willing to be the guy who goes around to republican leaders and say that 'this is our moment, we will tell our president we no longer support him, period."

Unfortunately, Kasich couldn't follow all the way through. He choked. He looked a bit tongue-tied for a split second, and then back-pedaled. "Well Matt, look, he's our president, okay?...He's our president, but he needs to correct what he has said..."

Watch: Full remarks of Susan Bro, mother of Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer, at memorial
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

Here is video of the full remarks by Susan Bro, mother of Charlottesville car attack victim Heather Heyer, at her daughter's memorial service.

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Trump CEO councils disband over President's response to Charlottesville racist violence
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

CEOs on President Donald Trump's business advisory councils today jumped ship via hastily-issued statements condemning hatred and racism. A flood of resignations from Presidential advisory councils followed Trump's bizarrely candid support of the Nazis and white supremacists who marched with torches in Charlottesville this past weekend. As news of the CEO resignations spread, Trump tweeted that it was he who'd decided to disband, not the execs.

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Watch Ronald Reagan scold haters: "This country will not stand for your conduct"
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

Here's a clip from a 1981 NAACP convention speech, where President Ronald Reagan addresses "a few remarks to those groups who still adhere to senseless racism and religious prejudice, to those individuals who persist in such hateful behavior."

"If I were speaking to them instead of to you, I would say to them, 'You are the ones who are out of step with our society. You are the ones who willfully violate the meaning of the dream that is America. And this country, because of what it stands for, will not stand for your conduct.' My administration will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who, by violence or intimidation, would attempt to deny Americans their constitutional rights."

Anyone who continues to work with Trump is complicit in his support of white supremacists
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

CNN's Chris Cizilla: Donald Trump's presidency is headed to a very dark place

The President of the United States has spent the last 24 hours creating some sort of moral equivalency between hate-mongers and those there to protest hate. In doing so, he has handed these white supremacists and neo-Nazis exactly what they want: Cover for their hate-filled rhetoric. Make no mistake: For the bigots and supremacists who gathered in Charlottesville, what Trump said on Saturday and again yesterday marks a major win, a success in their efforts to push their venomous views into the mainstream.

But this is not a surprise. He's been like this as long as he's been a public figure: Donald Trump Has Been a Racist All His Life — And He Isn’t Going to Change After Charlottesville

Consider the first time the president’s name appeared on the front page of the New York Times, more than 40 years ago. “Major Landlord Accused of Antiblack Bias in City,” read the headline of the A1 piece on Oct. 16, 1973, which pointed out how Richard Nixon’s Department of Justice had sued the Trump family’s real estate company in federal court over alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act. ...

Over the next four decades, Trump burnished his reputation as a bigot: he was accused of ordering “all the black [employees] off the floor” of his Atlantic City casinos during his visits; claimed “laziness is a trait in blacks” and “not anything they can control”; requested Jews “in yarmulkes” replace his black accountants; told Bryan Gumbel that “a well-educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well-educated white in terms of the job market”; demanded the death penalty for a group of black and Latino teenagers accused of raping a jogger in Central Park (and, despite their later exoneration with the use of DNA evidence, has continued to insist they are guilty); suggested a Native American tribe “don’t look like Indians to me”; mocked Chinese and Japanese trade negotiators by doing an impression of them in broken English; described undocumented Mexican immigrants as “rapists”; compared Syrian refugees to “snakes”; defended two supporters who assaulted a homeless Latino man as “very passionate” people “who love this country”; pledged to ban a quarter of humanity from entering the United States; proposed a database to track American Muslims that he himself refused to distinguish from the Nazi registration of German Jews; implied Jewish donors “want to control” politicians and are all sly negotiators; heaped praise on the “amazing reputation” of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has blamed America’s problems on a “Jewish mafia”; referred to a black supporter at a campaign rally as “my African-American”; suggested the grieving Muslim mother of a slain U.S. army officer “maybe … wasn’t allowed” to speak in public about her son; accused an American-born Hispanic judge of being “a Mexican”; retweeted anti-Semitic and anti-black memes, white supremacists, and even a quote from Benito Mussolini; kept a book of Hitler’s collected speeches next to his bed; declined to condemn both David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan; and spent five years leading a “birther” movement that was bent on smearing and delegitimizing the first black president of the United States, who Trump also accused of being the founder of ISIS.

I wouldn't normally quote at such length, but it's just the surface of Mehdi Hasan reviews.

Trump's equivocating support of the fine nazis at Charlottesville doesn't mark a change in Trump. But it does knock the lid off the reality show, the veil of cable news blather hung over it all to make it as entertaining a game as possible for the most comfortable Americans.

Plenty of people – liberals and conservatives alike – are happy to attack Trump's most uncompromising enemies in hopes of centering their own opposition to him. But all they succeed in doing is helping him.

Heather Heyer was the first victim at Charlottesville. Let complicity be the second.

What would a new US civil war be like?
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

In March, Foreign Policy asked a number of national security experts to estimate the likelihood of a second US civil war in the next 10-15 years. The average estimate was 35%. This was before Charlottesville. Robin Wright of The New Yorker spoke to, Keith Mines, one of the national-security experts that Foreign Policy polled to find out what a new civil war could look like.

Today, few civil wars involve pitched battles from trenches along neat geographic front lines. Many are low-intensity conflicts with episodic violence in constantly moving locales. Mines’s definition of a civil war is large-scale violence that includes a rejection of traditional political authority and requires the National Guard to deal with it. On Saturday, McAuliffe put the National Guard on alert and declared a state of emergency.

Based on his experience in civil wars on three continents, Mines cited five conditions that support his prediction: entrenched national polarization, with no obvious meeting place for resolution; increasingly divisive press coverage and information flows; weakened institutions, notably Congress and the judiciary; a sellout or abandonment of responsibility by political leadership; and the legitimization of violence as the “in” way to either conduct discourse or solve disputes.

Image: Roosac/Flickr

Company's dystopian promotional video for drone armed with machine gun
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

What a time to be alive.

Duke Robotics brings a fully robotic weaponry system to an airborne platform. TIKAD, which is a proprietary development of Duke, uses the delivery of a unique suppression firing and stabilization solution. TIKAD allows governments to utilize completely new capabilities against terrorist groups and reduce the number of deployed ground troops, and therefore, the number of casualties.

(via Daily Grail)

Fox and other conservative sites hastily nuke posts urging vehicular murder of left-wing protesters
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

Last January, the alt-right website Daily Caller ran a post called "Here's A Reel Of Cars Plowing Through Protesters Trying To Block The Road," in which drivers endangered the lives of protesters while Ludacris's "Move Bitch" played in the background: the post was syndicated to a Fox websites and many other outposts of the right-wing media. (more…)

Racist soap dispenser
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

Chukwuemeka Afigbo‏ of Lagos demonstrates a public toilet soap dispenser that only serves light-skinned people.

Pantone announces new color honoring Prince
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

The Pantone Color Institute announced "Love Symbol #2," a shade of purple honoring Prince. A collaboration with Prince's estate, the hue, actually labeled with Prince's logo, is now the official color of his brand. From CNN:

Pantone has long been the authority on color trends and design. Since 2000, the corporation has released a "Color of the Year" that influences design and marketing. Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, said in a statement that it was an honor to help develop Prince's hue.

"A musical icon known for his artistic brilliance, Love Symbol #2 is emblematic of Prince's distinctive style," she said. "Long associated with the purple family, Love Symbol #2 enables Prince's unique purple shade to be consistently replicated and maintain the same iconic status as the man himself."

I only wanted to see you bathing in the Love Symbol #2 rain.

(Pantone)

Canadian woman banned from US for life after border agent searches phone, finds email to doctor about drug use
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

A 28-year-old woman from British Columbia was banned for life from entering the United States after a US Customs and Border Protection agent searched her phone for two hours and found an email she'd written to her doctor about an accidental drug overdose. Chelsea had gone to a strip club in 2016 for a friend's birthday and one of the women in the party offered her some "cocaine" that turned out to be fentanyl. Her friend died and she was taken to the emergency room and saved after being injected with the opioid overdose antidote naloxone.

When border officials learned about the incident by taking Chelsea's phone and reading her email to her doctor, they informed her that she was being issued a lifetime ban from entering the US.

From Vice:

Canadians have also reported being banned from the US for admitting to smoking weed before. Since Trump has taken office, he's promised to crack down on border security, including the controversial "Muslim ban."

Waivers that temporarily allow entrance to the US like the one Chelsea is currently trying to obtain only last one to five years, so she'll need to get a new one every so often if she plans to keep visiting the States. Waivers cost $585 to apply for and take about six months to be issued.

Chelsea wants to warn others about how deeply they'll search smartphones at the US border. Even in the context of North America's current opioid crisis, which is killing thousands annually in the US and Canada, no extra compassion was given to someone who accidentally ingested fentanyl and nearly died from it. Instead, her story was used as potential evidence against her.

"I understand why they banned me… But it sucks that they used my warning story about doing drugs against me," Chelsea said. "How ironic."

Hospital image in collage: Presidencia de la República Mexicana/Wikipedia

Dogs in Navi Mumbai are turning blue
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

A number of very unusual-looking blue dogs have been spotted in Navi Mumbai, India. Sadly, the cause is industrial waste in the Kasadi river where stray dogs often wade. From the Hindustan Times:

A water quality test at Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation found the waste treatment was inadequate. The levels of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) — the concentration of oxygen required to sustain aquatic life — was 80 milligram a litre (mg/L). Levels of chloride, which is toxic, harms vegetation, aquatic life and wildlife, were also high....

“It was shocking to see how the dog’s white fur had turned completely blue,” said Arati Chauhan, resident of Navi Mumbai, who runs the (Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell). “We have spotted almost five such dogs here and have asked the pollution control board to act against such industries.”

MPCB officials said they had taken cognisance of the complaint. “Allowing the discharge of dye into any water body is illegal. We will take action against the polluters as they are destroying the environment,” said Anil Mohekar, regional officer, MPCB, Navi Mumbai. “We have directed our sub-regional officer to investigate,” he added.

Animal rights activists have, however, wondered whether the move comes too late. “We have only spotted blue dogs so far. We do not know if birds, reptiles and other creatures are affected or if they have even died owing to the dye discharged into the air,” said Chauhan.

This is, er, golf cart body-surfing beer-drinking
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

I bet their parents are very proud.

Occurred on August 9, 2017 / Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, Canada

A few buddies and I were golfing at one of the local courses, the group ahead of us were moving very slow so while we were waiting on them I came up with the idea. We took a few practice laps down the fairway then got out the beers and camera and made this masterpiece.

Tiny robots in a mouse's stomach help heal an ulcer
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

Tiny micromotors about the width of a human hair traveled through a mouse's stomach delivering antibiotics to treat a stomach ulcer. The motors are powered by bubbles. According to the researchers from the University of California San Diego, the microrobot-based treatment proved more effective than regular doses of the medicine. From New Scientist:

The tiny vehicles consist of a spherical magnesium core coated with several different layers that offer protection, treatment, and the ability to stick to stomach walls. After they are swallowed, the magnesium cores react with gastric acid to produce a stream of hydrogen bubbles that propel the motors around. This process briefly reduces acidity in the stomach. The antibiotic layer of the micromotor is sensitive to the surrounding acidity, and when this is lowered, the antibiotics are released...

The next steps are to look at a larger animal study, followed by eventual trials in humans. “There is still a long way to go, but we are on a fantastic voyage,” says (researcher Joseph) Wang.

Kids who attend online charters perform like traditional students who miss the whole year
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes released this study in 2015, comparing the outcomes for students enrolled in online charter schools with comparable students (controlled for grade level, gender, race/ethnicity, free lunch eligibility, English language status, special ed status and historical state achievement test scores) in brick-and-mortar classrooms. (more…)

Run a pixel art sword shop
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

Ben Stewart's Sword Shop is a minimalist buy-and-sell game. Every day, people come into your sword shop wanting to sell your their old gear. And, hopefully, more will come it to buy it.

Everyday you will be offered swords at different conditions and rarities, your goal is to make a profit. This is accomplished by buying swords for low prices and selling them at higher ones. Every sword you buy has a certain chance to sell at night, and if it does, you will see if you have made a profit.

You can plow profits into upgrading the store, or buying fancier swords. It's like running a pawn store, but with gorgeous pixel art stabbers.

It's fun figuring out the basic value ranges for each kind of sword and the materials, and I love its aesthetic and how it puts the exclusive focus on one tiny yet key mechanism of computer role-playing games (cf. my own Character creation is the whole game). However, the mechanism selected is the loot grind.

You quickly realize that you're on that particular treadmill and that the treadmill is randomness within a range: if there is any narrative support for the grind, or interesting "handmade" loot to cherish, I didn't get there before hopping off. Go play it and tell me if I missed something cool.

The mistaken identity of Adolf Beck, "one of the strangest true stories in British legal history"
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

In 1896, Adolf Beck found himself caught up in a senseless legal nightmare: Twelve women from around London insisted that he'd deceived them and stolen their cash and jewelry. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Beck's incredible ordeal, which ignited a scandal and inspired historic reforms in the English justice system.

We'll also covet some noble socks and puzzle over a numerical sacking.

Show notes

Please support us on Patreon!

Weird Al composes 'The North Korea Polka' upon John Oliver's request
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

To appeal to the people of North Korea, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver enlisted the help of "Weird Al" Yankovic to write an accordion-based song about how Americans are not that bad (because North Koreans supposedly love accordion music). The brilliant ditty is called "The North Korea Polka" and the chorus is aptly, "Please don't nuke us, North Korea!"

image via Al Yankovic

5 things to consider when choosing a VPN
August 16th, 2017, 02:43 PM

Whether you’re someone who often works remotely from cafes, airports, or hotel lobbies, or are just concerned with the alarming frequency and specificity of targeted ads in your timeline, you should consider investing in a VPN. But with the myriad of commercial options available, it can be tough to find one with the right balance of features, scale, and price. Here’s what you should expect from a quality VPN, and how much you should be willing to shell out for a subscription:

1. Actual privacy protection

When subscribing to a VPN service, you’re paying for privacy, not a neat way to consolidate your browsing data for advertisers. Sadly, the increased interest in online privacy has given rise to scores of phony mobile VPNs — many of which would love to take over the exclusive rights to your browser traffic from your ISP. If your chosen provider doesn’t mention a no-log guarantee, there’s a good chance they have a side hustle of selling your search history to advertisers or law enforcement.

Additionally, a VPN should ensure that the tunnel they are providing is actually secure. This means offering strong encryption over a variety of data transfer protocols like PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec to maintain compatibility with the most platforms. Just because your bleeding-edge desktop OS supports a certain secure communication method doesn’t mean your 2-year-old smartphone will.

2. Ease of use

There’s no silver bullet for internet security. It’s all about making the right compromise between convenience and strength, and having the world’s most impenetrable data shield doesn’t matter if it’s a pain to use every day. To make sure you’ll actually want to use it, your VPN should be available at the push of a button, preferably with minimal setup. Since you likely spend half of your browsing time on a mobile device, you’ll want something that just works in the background without needing to be monitored.

Speaking of mobile, you’ll also want to make sure you get one that actually has an app for the rectangle that lives in your pocket, as well as every other internet-enabled widget you own. And those people that have a device on-hand for everything from bedtime Netflix to online games will definitely want a VPN that allows multiple simultaneous connections.

3. A wide reach

It’s possible to have a VPN that only lives on a single server, but that’s usually for home sysadmins who want granular control over how their fleet of machines connect to the internet. To get decent speeds over your secured line while making sure your online activity isn’t completely transparent, you should choose a VPN that has enough nodes to offer a painless browsing experience in more than one location.

While the number of servers isn’t as important as how spread out they are, it can be a fairly decent indicator of your VPN’s global sphere of influence. If you are traveling to a country that falls outside of your provider’s range, your VPN connection will be too slow to be useable for even the lightest browsing.

4. Control over your virtual location

Not only does a VPN mask your physical whereabouts, as revealed by your device’s IP address, certain providers offer the capability to completely spoof your location to make services think you’re somewhere you aren’t. This is critically important when traveling in a country that has a track record of internet censorship. Even if you don’t care about declaring your support for the freedom of information, getting around state-controlled roadblocks can be necessary to access work resources internationally. Aside from circumventing censors, faking your IP address can give you instant access to region-locked media, so you can watch all the British television you could ever dream of from the comfort of your home.

5. A not-outrageous price

When it comes to software services, you often get what you pay for. But that doesn’t mean you should pay out the nose for basic online privacy. Free VPNs should be avoided like the plague because there’s no clear incentive for them to guarantee the safety of your personal information. If they are already freely offering a dedicated route for your traffic, there’s nothing stopping them from profiting of your data in any way they see fit. As a rule of thumb, your VPN should never be more expensive than your monthly internet bill.

For a VPN that checks all of these boxes without charging an arm and a leg, take a look at Private Internet Access. They offer robust security and anonymous browsing without collecting any user data. You get 5 simultaneous connections, so you can always have it running on your phone, desktop, game console, wireless router, or smart TV. They have over 3200 gateways in 25 different countries to keep latency low no matter where you are. A two-year subscription usually goes for an already-reasonable price of $166, but it’s available for $59.95 from the Boing Boing store.

North Korea says it won't nuke Guam this week while Kim Jong-Un waits for Trump's next move
August 15th, 2017, 02:43 PM

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will delay a decision on whether to fire missiles at the U.S. territory of Guam as he waits to see what the United States does, the North's state media reported on Tuesday. United States secretary of state Rex Tillerson says any dialogue is all up to Kim.

(more…)

Health insurance premiums to go up 20% for many in 2018 if Trump makes good on threat to stop U.S. payments
August 15th, 2017, 02:43 PM

Health insurance premiums for many people who get their coverage on the ACA/Obamacare individual insurance markets will go up 20 percent next year if President Donald Trump executes on his repeated threats to halt billions of dollars in payments to health insurers.

(more…)

A map for extraterrestrials to find Earth
August 15th, 2017, 02:43 PM

In 1971, astronomer Frank Drake, the father of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, drew a map pinpointing Earth in our galaxy. That diagram, a "pulsar map," was etched on a plaque designed by Frank and Carl Sagan and first carried into space in 1972 by the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft. In 1977, the pulsar map would appear again etched on the covers of the golden records affixed to the the Voyager probes. These days, Frank's original pencil drawing of the map is stored in an old tomato box at his house. (In fact, Frank kindly allowed us to scan it for our book included in our new Voyager Golden Record vinyl box set!) Over at National Geographic, Nadia Drake, one of my favorite science journalists who also happens to be Frank's daughter, tells the fascinating story of this iconic piece of cosmic cartography. From National Geographic:

The question was, how do you create such a map in units that an extraterrestrial might understand?

...To my dad, the answer was obvious: pulsars. Discovered in 1967 by Jocelyn Bell Burnell, these dense husks of expired stars were perfect blazes in both space and time.

For starters, pulsars are incredibly long-lived, staying active for tens of millions to multiple billions of years.

Also, each pulsar is unique. They spin almost unbelievably fast, and they emit pulses of electromagnetic radiation like lighthouses. By timing those pulses, astronomers can determine a pulsar’s spin rate to a ridiculous degree of accuracy, and no two are alike.

But pulsars do slow down, sometimes by a mere but measurable billionths of a second a year. By calculating the difference between a pulsar’s spin rate when the map is found versus the spin period inscribed on the map, an intelligent being could figure out how long it had been since the map was made.

“There was a magic about pulsars … no other things in the sky had such labels on them,” Drake says. “Each one had its own distinct pulsing frequency, so it could be identified by anybody, including other creatures after a long period of time and far, far away.”

"How a NASA Spacecraft May Help Aliens Find Earth" (National Geographic)

Below, Frank showing me his original Pulsar Map drawings: