Facebook has added support for non-binary genders! Hooray! It looks like a free-form field, but it actually only allows you to select from a list of almost 50 pre-defined genders. Here’s that list:
Female to Male
Male to Female
Let me know if I missed any from the Facebook list! (I’m sure there are some missing from Facebook’s list)
There are still a few issues people are running into such as being forced to choose Son/Daughter for children and “Interested In” is still limited to Female/Male, but at least this is a highly visible step in the right direction.
Filed Under News | 2012-03-11, 15:28
I’ve been fascinated with wingsuit flying ever since the first video I saw a couple years back. I’ve posted about wingsuit flying previously, and I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve shared videos like Jeb Corliss’s Grinding the crack with people. When watching videos of BASE jumpers with wingsuits I always have the thought, “When are they going to pull their parachute?” What if the answer was “they aren’t”?
Gary Connery plansto be the first person to do exactly that. In April of 2012 he will be the first person to jump from a helicopter with a wingsuit but no parachute. It will all go down in the UK, in the Ridge Wood area, just northeast of Henley-On-Thames. Gary will be jumping from a helicopter at a modest, but still dangerous, height of 2,400ft. He will quickly accelerate to around 80mph, then glide at 60mph (while falling at 22mph) almost a mile away to land in a box rig. (A box rig is a large stack of cardboard boxes commonly used in the stunt industry to cushion falls like this 150ft jump). Approximately 200ft away from the box rig, Gary will need to flare his custom made wingsuit in an attempt to bring his gliding speed down to 50mph and his vertical falling speed to 15mph before not-so-gently landing in the pile of cardboard.
Jumping from high places and flying in wingsuits is obviously nothing new to Gary. He has over 880 skydives and 450 BASE jumps under his belt, and has spent the last 8 years focusing on wingsuit flying. He’s also an experienced stuntman who’s done a number of jumps for movies such as The Beach, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as well as an experienced stunt coordinator for dozens more. Check out his IMDb page as well as videos of him flying through the infamous “Crack”, and doing a 60ft jump into a box rig.
Gary Connery, much like Jet Man Yves Rossy, is doing this all with the help of a watch company. The British based company Bremont is sponsoring this attempt at breaking a world record of being the first to land a wingsuit. In addition, Gary is working closely with Tonysuits, a wingsuit manufacturer, to make a custom designed wingsuit that will help him land this attempt. Best of luck to Gary and I can’t wait to see the video!
The non-profit, open source suborbital space endeavor out of Denmark known as Copenhagen Suborbitals had a successful launch of their rocket today. The rocket, designed to carry a human into suborbital space launched in a test run with a human dummy payload this time. As you can see it was a success, with the rocket reaching about 2 miles (final calculations are still being done) before engine cut off and then parachute deployment. The engine burned for 21 seconds and the largest amateur rocket reached supersonic speeds. The parachutes were deployed while the rocket was on the way down rather than at the apex of the trajectory. The speed of the rocket returning to earth is believed to be the cause of the parachute getting destroyed. The rocket sustained some minor damage upon impact, but was successfully recovered with the dummy in good shape. This launch provided Peter Madsen and Kristan von Bengtson, Copenhagen Suborbital’s founders, with lots of data to help build better rockets.
As I mentioned, Copenhagen Suborbitals is non-profit and open source. If you’d like to help support them, they’ll gladly accept donations.
Filed Under News | 2010-01-22, 14:32
You would think that a site as “large” as Mahalo would be respectful of Creative Commons, as well as the quality of the information they are providing. Mahalo bills itself as “a human-powered search engine and a knowledge sharing service…” but it turns out they’re using algorithms to provide some of this knowledge. Algorithms that get it embarrassingly wrong sometimes.
There was a math teacher by the name of Heather Kennedy that was found guilty of sleeping with one of her 16 year old students. Mahalo has a page on her. On that page Mahalo is crawling Flickr and Google for related images. Great, automating information retrieval is useful in some case. However, presenting it on a page where it’s intended to be informational without specifying that this is simply a search for images based on keywords is bad form. Especially when Mahalo bills itself as “human-powered” and hand picked information. Either Heather Kennedy has had facial reconstructive surgery multiple times or Mahalo is automatically searching for images using the keywords “Heather Kennedy” and Creative Commons.
Only Mahalo apparently doesn’t understand Creative Commons, even thought their own content is licensed as Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Most people classify their images as Creative Commons with Attribution, which requires anyone using the photos to “attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor”. In addition, many people specify that their images can’t be used for commercial purposes. Mahalo links to the image, but doesn’t give proper attribution, and it could very easily argued that Mahalo is for commercial purposes with the half a dozen ads on the page.
But what really gets me personally is the fact that Mahalo was using an image my friend, Rubin Starset, posted on Flickr that contains several friends (one with the last name “Kennedy”) and my fiance, Heather. It was the headline image with no links to the source or attribution. It’s obvious why this would come up in a search for “Heather Kennedy”, but it’s absolutely not related and was not attributed.
After contacting Mahalo, it appears they’ve pulled it as well as all images on the Heather Kennedy page, but if you look at any other pages you’ll see the very same method of retrieving images in use.
On Saturday, we pulled Dance Dance Immolation out of storage for the first time in almost two years, dusted it off and got it running again. The event was “How To Destroy the Universe Part 6”, an industrial party held at the new NIMBY location in Oakland. We ran one of the longest and most problem-free runs in the history of DDI. BoingBoingTV came and filmed and we had a chance to shoot the infamous sfslim with fire. We also got to shoot fire at several Noisebridge members, the newest blogger for Laughing Squid (Burstein), and a bunch of others. Many photos and videos were taken. My photos can be found in this Flickr set and this album on Vimeo.
If you’ve never seen Dance Dance Immolation, here’s what it looks like in action:
I didn’t think I’d be posting more about the Inauguration, but the stories about the Purple ticket line and the infamous “Purple Tunnel of Doom” are gaining steam. The Huffington Post has a great round-up of info on it and I figured I’d share the Google map that I put together after the Inauguration because I wanted to see where exactly we were all day. Little did we know that we were actually under the Mall most of the day. Here’s a link to the map with photos and all.
And here’s a list of my Twitters from the Inauguration: http://tinyurl.com/edrabbitinaug09
I’ve been meaning to sit down and write up a blog post about our Inauguration experience (the good and bad), but I haven’t gotten anywhere close to finishing it. It’s rapidly approaching that point of no return where I know I won’t actually get it done, so I figured I’d post some photos for people that were interested in hearing about it. This is just a sampling of the photos I took. You can see the full sets on Flickr:
20090120-Barack Obama’s Inauguration
Out and About around D.C.
There are also some videos I streamed from D.C. here and some others here.
Last two people to make it through the police barricade as the crowd/mob surged towards the gate. I would have been the last one to quickly squeeze past the cops and barriers, but Heather got pulled through since we had locked arms to avoid being separated in the crowd. A quick (almost scarily unthorough) security pat down and we sprinted to get a view of the swearing in that would happen minutes later.
We scored a spot right at the fence for the first block of Obama’s motorcade that would later join up with the entire parade. It was a long cold wait, but we got a chance to wave at the new President as he rolled by.
Some more videos from the Inauguration and the seemingly never-ending Purple Line.
I was surprisingly able to stream a couple of Qik videos while waiting in line for and during the Inauguration of Barack Obama. I’m amazed that the cell networks held up, let alone allowed me to stream video. Here they are:
Walking down the loooong line for the Purple ticket holders:
Still waiting in line:
Catching part of Obama’s speech:
Just got back from picking up our tickets from Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s office. So excited to actually have them in my hands. Only 5 more days!
We’ve got seats in the North Standing (or Purple) area. If we get there early enough we might actually get a decent spot in the center! Here’s a map of the Inauguration “seating” for the different tickets: