Critical Mass 20th Anniversary Bike Angel Poster by Mona Caron

This September 28th will mark 20 years since the founding of Critical Mass in San Francisco in 1992. While Critical Mass remains a controversial subject in its place of birth, it has spread to hundreds of cities in dozens of countries, and become a truly global phenomenon. In September, bicyclists from around the world will be coming to San Francisco to celebrate the anniversary.

To mark the occasion, San Francisco muralista Mona Caron has created a stunning poster, revising her “Bike Angel” character from the poster she created in 2002. Check it out:

Says Mona:

10 years ago I drew a poster for the 10th anniversary of the bicycle movement Critical Mass. Hard to believe it’s been a decade! This mere fact called for a remake. So here’s the sequel: an aged bike sprite with a new generation, plus a little reminder of good old CM etiquette tucked in, and an homage to a random assortment of rad bicycle people from SF and around the world.

If you’ve wandered around San Francisco long enough, you’ve likely spied Mona’s stunning, detailed murals. We wrote about her work back in 2010.

The poster is available to purchase from the sfcriticalmass.org site, and you can also download free jpgs of the image from the associated Flickr page.

A Brief History of John Baldessari, Narrated by Tom Waits

Many people know conceptual artist John Baldessari as “the guy who puts dots on people’s faces.” But did you know that he is 6’7″ and that his wifi password is 123456789B? This short documentary tells you all you need to know about Baldessari, crammed into 6 minutes, with gravelly narration by Tom Waits. The film was commissioned by LACMA in 2011 for their “Art + Film Gala” honoring Baldessari and Clint Eastwood, and was directed by Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman.

EFF’s Dark Strong Encryption Saves Lives T-Shirt at DEF CON

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is heading to Las Vegas this week for DEF CON 19, the elite conference that gathers hackers, crackers, journalists and FBI agents together under one roof to discuss all things cyber.

To commemorate, EFF has produced a special shirt by Robots & Monsters charity demigod Joe Alterio. The shirt looks cool enough under ordinary light conditions, but walk under a black light and super-secret computer codes are revealed. And if you walk into a completely darkened room (where most hackers spend their time), the shirt glows in the dark to reveal a very important message: STRONG ENCRYPTION SAVES LIVES!

The shirt is only available at DEF CON, but EFF has other great swag available when you join or renew online, including their new Bit-Blaster Mecha shirt, designed by yours truly.

For more information on encryption and how it does, in fact, save lives, check out the handy encryption advice to be found on EFF’s Surveillance Self Defense site.

Fair Use School: A Reply to YouTube’s Copyright School

Last April, YouTube came up with a new way to help its users understand copyright law. Alleged infringers would be required to watch Copyright School — a short, humorous clip in which everyone’s favorite cartoon characters, the Happy Tree Friends, explain the finer points of copyright law. That’s all good as far as it goes. But the advocacy group Public Knowledge pointed out that the video tended to gloss over an important question for many YouTube users, and that is fair use. Public Knowledge challenged their members to come up with a response video that explains fair use, and how, in some cases, making use of copyrighted material without permission is perfectly legal. Here’s the winning entry, from Patrick McKay:

To learn more about your rights if one of your videos is removed from YouTube, check out EFF’s guide to YouTube removals.

Credit is Due, The Attribution Song by Nina Paley

Awesome cartoonist and free culture activist Nina Paley has produced “Credit Is Due”, another of her great minute meme videos, encouraging those of us who like to share and re-mix the work of others to be sure and give credit where credit is due. Check out Nina’s blog post for more on the subject.

And there’s also Nina’s book Misinformation Wants to Be Free, collecting some of the great comics Nina has used to explore ideas about copyright, free speech and intellectual property.