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  • Designer Makes iPad Cases from Bernie Madoff’s Clothing [PHOTOS]

    We’ve seen a number of iPad cases made from recycled materials, but this just tops the charts: iPad cases made from Bernie Madoff’s salvaged clothing.

    Madoff is an incarcerated American felon, former stockbroker, investment advisor, non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock market, and the admitted operator of what has been described as the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

    After Madoff’s arrest, the U.S. Marshals Service seized and auctioned thousands of items from his New York homes, including his clothing, which designer label Frederick James is now fashioning into iPad cases, via its collection called “The Bernie Madoff.”

    The cases, each being one-of-a-kind, range from $250 to $500. Founder John Vaccaro warns purchasers that the cases are strictly for fashion use and should not be trusted to keep an iPad safe in the case of a drop. Regardless, these cases are selling out as soon as they are posted to the company’s website, by word of mouth alone.

    Take a look at a sampling of the cases Vaccaro has created so far in the gallery below. Would you buy a $500 case made from Madoff’s trousers? Let us know in the comments.

    Ralph Lauren Polo Chino Blue Pants - $350

    Murphy & Nye Sailmakers Pants Orange - $500

    Murphy & Nye Sailmakers Pants Green - $500

    J. Crew Khaki Pants - $250

    Mason's Off-White Khaki Pants - $350

    Banana Republic Gavin Khaki Pants - $250

    Banana Republic Gavin Khaki Pants - $250

    More About: Bernie Madoff, fashion, ipad, iPad Cases

    For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:

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  • Welcome To The Panopticon

    And so it begins. Carnegie Mellon researchers recently combined Facebook profile pictures and PittPatt‘s facial recognition software to identify supposedly-anonymous pictures from a dating site. Now they’re planning to demo a smartphone app that identifies faces by tapping into cloud-based image databases and recognition software. What’s next?

    That’s a question I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Facial recognition via cloud computing is a major plot point in my novel Invisible Armies, which I wrote some seven years ago. When I got mugged in Mexico City a few years back, I promptly started musing about the benefits of a surveillance society. Which is on the way, make no mistake—if it isn’t here today.

    There are cameras everywhere already. I don’t just mean the nearly 5 million CCTVs monitoring Britain, or the similar system planned for New York: I mean the world’s hundreds of millions of phone cameras, all of which will soon automatically upload every picture they take to cloud repositories. Charles Stross has suggested, and I agree, that police will soon wear always-on cameras while on duty, for legal reasons. Meanwhile, Moore’s Law keeps ticking along nicely, making facial recognition software ever faster, more powerful, and more accessible; cameras get ever better, cheaper, and more innocuous; and drones start taking to our skies as well as Afghanistan’s. Add it all up, and we’ll soon spend much of our lives in sight of cameras that can and will identify us by our faces in near-real-time.

    A comment on my recent Google Plus proposal said: “When I go out in public, nobody knows my name unless I tell them. If one were to demand that this be changed, that everyone be forced to wear an ID badge with key facts at all times, one would be denounced as a totalitarian.” Well, soon enough that’s pretty much going to be the case—at least in France, where covering one’s face in public was banned earlier this year, and maybe in Australia and the UK too. There won’t be any point in disabling Facebook’s auto-tagging: a single correctly labelled picture of your face anywhere on the public Internet will be all that is required to cross-reference all other pictures of you ever.

    I don’t mean to be a paranoid conspiracy theorist. Most of this would all still happen without any government initiatives or ban-happy mobs. The death of public anonymity is a natural side effect of improving and increasingly ubiquitous technology. That’s why the ongoing brouhaha about “real names” on Google Plus, and their apparent insistence on digging to China even after realizing they’re in a hole, is actually important. Soon enough, pseudonymity and anonymity will only exist online; in the real world, barring plastic surgery, they’ll be more or less extinct.

    Which is bad news for everyone. Pseudonymity shelters whistleblowers, dissidents, and the vulnerable along with trolls. Everyone assumes that real names make conversations more polite, but I’m not so sure. Here at TechCrunch, we stooped to using Facebook Comments in part for that reason; and it worked at first; but—

    Follow @arishahdadi@arishahdadi
    Ari Shahdadi

    It's amazing how TC comments have completely devolved into the same pit they were before, except with real names attached because of FB.

    (Feel free to prove him right!)

    “There are myriad reasons why individuals may wish to use a name other than the one they were born with,” says the EFF. Over at My Name Is Me, many are cited. Danah Boyd says, “The people who most heavily rely on pseudonyms in online spaces are those who are most marginalized by systems of power.” Ivor Tossell argues, “It’s a given in our system of government that staff need to stay neutral, and never, ever criticize their elected bosses in public … They’re but one group for whom the Internet offers an anonymous outlet. For every anonymous weasel in a political forum, there’s a considerate citizen with an opinion that needs shelter to be voiced.”

    But my favorite citation is this: “Using a pseudonym has been one of the great benefits of the Internet, because it has enabled people to express themselves freely—they may be in physical danger, looking for help, or have a condition they don’t want people to know about,” according to, believe it or not, Google’s Directory of Privacy, back in February. Unidentified, pseudonymous, identified: “We believe all three modes have a home at Google.” Boy, a lot can change in six months, eh?

    Image credit: Jesus Ruiz Fuentes, Artelista.

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  • Humpback whale “says thanks” after being freed from nets

    [Video Link]. In this video, The Great Whale Conservancy (GWC) co-founder Michael Fishbach describes his encounter with a young humpback whale entangled in local fishing nets off the coast of Baja California, Mexico.

    Spoiler: the whale is freed, and she survives. After she is freed, she breaches again and again in a way that suggests she is thrilled to be free and alive (yes, there could be more dull explanations for her behavior, but she sure looks like one overjoyed whale to me).

    Even in the rare cases where humans are able to intervene to try and free whales trapped in fishing nets, this kind of happy ending is rare. I know people here in Southern California who have been involved in emergency rescue efforts, and the sad truth is: even with the best of efforts, they often fail. Knowing that makes this video all the more sweet.

    If you would like to donate to The Great Whale Conservancy‘s efforts, or get involved to help save more whales like this, you can contact Mr. Fishbach at, or contribute here.

    (via Reddit, thanks Susannah Breslin)

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  • Recreating the Dock Ellis "tripping balls" no-hitter on XBox on LSD

    Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio attempted to re-create Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis' infamous no-hitter of June 12, 1970 against the San Diego Padres, pitched while tripping on acid. Daulerio did so by dropping LSD, and re-enacting the game on the Xbox version of MLB2K11. The resulting post is a great read.

    Only once did I feel a brief flicker of hallucinatory terror. We were in a pizza parlor, in the friendly Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn, and I was having difficulty deciding which slice to purchase because even though my stomach said "plain slice" my mind begged for "chicken jalapeño with shredded garlic knots," which wasn't even available but, dammit, it should have been that day. It didn't feel like an unreasonable amount of time had passed. Then a slice of white pie was whooshed out of the giant oven by the pizzaman, and the gurgling cheese appeared angry with me. Maybe I was holding up the line. I ducked behind the soda fountain to refocus my fritzy thoughts for a couple extra minutes until that ricotta stopped messing with me. I ordered two plain slices quickly, then added on a slice of white because I felt the need to assert myself. Hey, white pizza. I eat you. You don't eat me.

    Video, NYO story, Deadspin post, and historical background.


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  • Montage of ships being launched

    If you were never quite sure what happened after the pretty lady broke a bottle of champagne against the hull, you might find this amusing. Apparently, after all the pomp and circumstance, boats are just kind of unceremoniously dropped into the drink.

    Video Link

    Via Alan Simon

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