Boing Boing 

DIY gadget helps spot melanoma

200603301735This home made device built from different color LEDs can help you spot melanoma when you shine it on your skin.
Link (via Make blog)

Meaning of Walt Disney's term "plussing"

I've read that Walt Disney's greatest talent was his ability to get people to do better work than they imagined they were capable of, but it wasn't until I read Ward Jenkin's entry about "plussing," that I knew Disney had a coined a word for it.
200603301733 Walt Disney coined the term plussing as a way of making an idea even better. By telling his workers to plus it, even when they think they nailed it, gave Disney that extra edge when it came to quality animation back in the day. Pixar is a staunch believer in plussing their work. And it shows.

Man builds PC in casting of wife's voluptuous torso

This lusty PC builder took a casting of his wife's torso and built an elaborate water-cooled overclocked PC in it. Link Coral Cache Mirror (via Digg)

Hideous but collectible bigfoot merchandise

200603301713If Bigfoot turns out to be real, and is granted the rights of a human being, perhaps he can sue the companies that have made really ugly toys and games with his likeness. Bubblegumfink has a small but convincing gallery of bad Bigfoot merchandise.

To do in Toronto: Jake Appelbaum photo exhibit

Photos from blogger / hacker / world traveler / shooter Jake Appelbaum are on display in Toronto tonight at his first-ever gallery show, together with photographer Kate Young. "Something Strange Bends Light Our Way" opens tonight at at the Now Lounge, goes for the next few weeks. Congrats, Jake! Link to show details. Image: a portrait shot by Jake on Kodak EIR infrared film.

Fifties bathroom decor link-roundup

Laurie sez, "A couple weeks ago, on my blog about the renovation of my 1951 ranch house, I asked a question, 'What does a 1950's bathroom look like?' That question received some feedback. I think there is a void out in the information world about what 1940's and 1950's bathrooms look like, and people want to know! On this page you'll find my original post along with responses and links to images of 1950's bathrooms." Link (Thanks, Laurie!)

Intelligent brains grow differently

After analyzing 17 years of brain scans of 307 children, neuroscientists have determined that the brains of extremely smart kids grow differently than those of average children. The research was spurred by a previous finding that people with high IQs have a larger frontal lobe of the cortex. The latest news may help scientists understand how intelligence is linked to genetics and childhood experience. From the New York Times:
The general pattern of maturation, they report in Nature today, is that the cortex grows thicker as the child ages and then thins out. The cause of the changes is unknown, because the imaging process cannot see down to the level of individual neurons.

But basically the brain seems to be rewiring itself as it matures, with the thinning of the cortex reflecting a pruning of redundant connections....

One interpretation, (National Institute of Mental Health scientist Judith) Rapoport said, is that the brains of highly intelligent children are more plastic or changeable, swinging through a higher trajectory of cortical thickening and thinning than occurs in average children. The scans show the "sculpturing or fine tuning of parts of the cortex which support higher level thought, and maybe this is happening more efficiently in the most intelligent children," (researcher Philip) Shaw said..

I.Q. scores and measuring intelligence have long been controversial. Brain-imaging studies by Dr. Thompson and the study group have advanced the field by identifying physical features of the brain that correlate with I.Q.

LOVE / HATE baby mittens

At about US$12, these LOVE / HATE baby mittens are exponentially cheaper than the wearable sculpture for adults blogged here a few days ago.

Perfect for your li'l bundle of Robert Mitchum.

Link to store, via And here's an interesting MeFi thread of yore about the origins of the archetypal tat popularized in the movie Night of the Hunter (promo poster below). (Thanks, Susannah!)

Previously: LOVE / HATE knuckle tat gloves

BDSM-themed ad for laser hair removal service

Adrants sez:
Distancing itself from the more barbaric forms of hair removal, Priciderm, with help from its Quebec ad agency Carte Blance, has launched an S & M themed campaign to promote its seemingly less painful laser hair removal process.Two of the ads use the queasiness of S&M to illustrate hair removal doesn't have to be a painful ordeal. A third execution, gets right to the pint with blood in the sink.
Link (Thanks, Reverse Cowgirl!)

Report: US to test 700-ton explosive in Nevada this June

Snip from Agence-France Presse Reuters item by Will Dunham:
The Pentagon plans to detonate 700 tons of conventional high explosives in Nevada in a June 2 test designed to gauge the effectiveness of weapons against deeply buried targets, officials said on March 30.

"I don’t want to sound glib here, but it’s the first time in Nevada that you’ll see a mushroom cloud over Las Vegas since we stopped testing nuclear weapons," James Tegnelia, director of the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, told a small group of reporters.

The test, dubbed "Divine Strake," is sponsored by Tegnelia’s agency and is set to be conducted at the Energy Department’s Nevada Test Site in Nye County, about 65 miles (105 km) northwest of Las Vegas.

Link to Reuters item via (Thanks, John Parres!)

A cursory Google search for "Divine Strake" yields some interesting docs. Link: cover from a 1950's atomic kitsch comic, via

Parts of "Superman Returns" converted into IMAX 3D

The Warner Brothers feature Superman Returns will become the first live-action studio feature to be released in part in IMAX 3D, using a proprietary 2D-to-3D conversion system.

As "colorized" is to black and white movies, "dimensionalized" will soon be for conventional footage which is later converted to stereo. Don't know about that "visual cue" part, though -- snip from press release:

IMAX Corporation will use its proprietary 2D to 3D conversion technology to convert approximately 20 minutes of the film into An IMAX 3D Experience (...) The film will be simultaneously released to IMAX® and conventional theatres on June 30, 2006.

During select sequences of the film, a visual cue designed by Singer will indicate when audiences should put on and remove their IMAX 3D glasses.

Link to press release. (Thanks Warren Betts, and thanks for the correction Mike Stubbs)

Moment of adversynergy zen: NASCAR-branded meat

To the long list of reasons why America is a totally awesome superpower, add this: NASCAR has launched a line of branded meat products. Hey, do they taste like gasoline, or crashed human flesh? Find out here. (Via autoblog, thanks Frank Boosman!)

Reader comment: Stella says,

I was walking around CompUSA today and noticed a Nascar branded laptop: Link. First they take a step into the meat industry and now into computer technology... What's next?
Duhhh, laptops made out of beef that go 200 miles an hour, that's what!

Reader comment: Stacy says,

How about some hearty NASCAR russet potatoes to go with your NASCAR meat? Link.

Reader comment: "j" says,

Here's a NASCAR chainsaw. Just two weeks ago i toured the factory where some of the components of this puppy are made. The other people on the tour all agreed with me that it seemed a bit, um, odd. Or like someone was really stretching a brand name. Frighteningly enough, we were informed that the product sold as fast as they could make them. It's an odd kind of synergy, in a way, i mean, i can really picture NASCAR fans buying and using the hell out of a chainsaw. Call me a generalist, but it's true.

Reader comment: Paul says,

How about a NASCAR "slow cooker" for all of the NASCAR labeled meat and potatoes you find? Link.

Reader comment: Brandon says,

Don't foget the NASCAR romance novels! Link.

Fan-posted chapter of Warren Ellis "Transmetropolitan #8"

A single chapter of Warren Ellis' graphic novel Transmetropilitan #8: Another Cold Morning has been scanned and posted online by a fan. On his blog, Mr. Ellis responds:

Since it’s one chapter out of sixty, and no-one’s trying to earn money off it, and I am lazy benign, I choose not to release the throatfucking hounds of hell upon the criminal Internets pirate responsible.

Instead, I offer it to you to read, and tell you that the story can be found in the collection TRANSMETROPOLITAN: LUST FOR LIFE, available from Amazon and all better comics stores and bookstores.

Link to the scanned excerpt, and you can buy the real deal here. (Thanks, shahryarrakeen) deceased (former) MySpace users

From the website:
Only three things are certain in life. MySpace, Taxes, and Death.

If you have a MySpace account and you die, this is where you will end up. memorializes deceased MySpace users and picks up where a regular obituary leaves off.

Click the MySpace Deaths link at the top to view the latest MySpace Deaths!

Link (Thanks, Matt!)

Women with boob jobs banned from zero-G (DEBUNKED)

This may be the first time in history that Sir Richard Branson has gazed unfavorably on a pair of supersized tits. According to that stalwart of truth and accuracy in reporting, the Sun, women who've had breast augmentation surgery may be banned from  Virgin Galactic flights over fears their implants may explode in microgravity.

Cabin pressures on parabolic flights and in space flights are lower than on regular airplane flights. Snip:

More than 157 people have paid $200,000 each to zoom 400,000 feet above Earth on the Virgin Galactic space "shuttle." Spokesman Will Whitehorn said yesterday that the trip would be safe for 80 percent of people.

(Ed note: Wait, does that mean Whitehorn believes 20% of Virgin Galactic clientele have fake tits?)

He told London's Sun newspaper: "We've discovered there may well be issues with breast augmentation. We're not sure whether they could stand the trip -- they could well explode."

Link to Sun story, and here's a related item on SCENTA blog. (via LAFuturists, thanks John Smart and John Spencer).

Image: at left, an artist's rendition of a Virgin Galactic craft (courtesy Virgin Galactic). At right, a snip from a COOP drawing. Her rack, however, is real.

Reader Comment: This report is bogus, serves me right for linking to the Sun. Dustin Miller says,

The almighty Mythbusters done busted that myth. And they subjected the poor silicone baggies to a near complete vacuum! Link

Reader Comment: Steve says, "Related to your richard branson reference:"

Richard Branson's Aussie sex romp video -- A new viral ad for Virgin's finance arm features boss Richard Branson splashing about in a spa tub sex romp. But will it make you sign up for a Virgin home loan?

Prayer won't heal ya

A new scientific study shows that prayer didn't seem to help patients who underwent bypass surgery. In fact, some of the people who were prayed for did worse. The results of the study of more than 1,800 patients were published in the American Heart Journal. From Reuters:
The patients in the study at six U.S. hospitals included 604 who were actually prayed for after being told they might or might not be; another 597 patients who were not prayed for after being told they might or might not be; and a group of 601 who were prayed for and told they would be the subject of such prayer.

The praying was done by members of three Christian groups in monasteries and elsewhere -- two Catholic and one Protestant -- who were given written prayers and the first name and initial of the last name of the prayer subjects. The prayers started on the eve of or day of surgery and lasted for two weeks.

Among the first group -- who were prayed for but only told they might be -- 52 percent had post-surgical complications compared to 51 percent in the second group, the ones who were not prayed for though told they might be. In the third group, who knew they were being prayed for, 59 percent had complications.

After 30 days, however, the death rates and incidence of major complications was about the same across all three groups, said the study...
Link to Reuters article, Link to the paper in the American Heart Journal (Thanks, Jason Tester!)

UPDATE: My brother Mark best summarized what several readers have pointed out: "Maybe they were praying to the wrong god!"

Radiohead's "Fitter Happier": cool fan-made internet video

Radiohead fan and media designer Matt Smithson cooked up a fantastic little video for the song "Fitter Happier," off the album OK Computer. The tune features a sort of computer-drone voice, and Matt's video unfolds along a series of pages in an imaginary, vintage tech-product manual. It's perfect. Link to video on (via ateaseweb)

Reader comment: -C- says,
Seeing the post on the Radiohead video reminded me of one that a teacher I had in college did in 2000. A very different interpretation. It was and is still a beautiful piece. Link, go to the bottom of the page and choose either quicktime or wmv.

Court TV casting hustlers, con artists, street magicans

The notion that con artists will always have a place in Hollywood is not a new one, but this casting notice is a fun read, nonetheless. If this old BoingBoing reader survey is any indication, they may find quite a talent pool among our readership -- a significant percent of you identified yourselves as "slacker" or "criminal." Snip:
Court TV is currently casting for on-air talent for Takedown 2 (see below). We’re looking for con artists, magicians and experts in the area of street hustling, sleight of hand and other street cons. Must have some connection or expertise to one of these areas. Please no actors.

Takedown 2 SM: In this exciting new series, the con is on! A team of talented former con men and women led demonstrate some of the cleverest cons of all time, offering tips on how to avoid getting conned.

Link (Thanks, TV Guy)

Geek Entertainment TV hits 50 episodes

BB pal Eddie Codel gave me an update on his emerging Geek Entertainment TV media empire:
 Uploadedfiles Ekai-Caterinafakeknowsthecaninesecrettoweb20872 We just hit our 50th episode with Larry Lessig. We caught up with him at the first Creative Commons Salon in SF a few weeks ago. Other recent interviews include Jimmy Wales, Caterina Fake, Bram Cohen, Anil Dash and several pieces from SXSW. One of my recent favorites is the Adaptive Path 5th anniversay episode where we pose the question "What is Adaptive Path?". Many internet rockstars provide a range of answers that probably won't show up in any official Powerpoint presentation.
Congrats, Eddie and Irina! Link

Weak debut for ex-Disney chairman Eisner's talk show

In spite of his formidable star power, former Disney chairman Michael Eisner's new CNBC talk show did not attract the audience network execs hoped. Tuesday's debut of "Conversations with Michael Eisner" netted only 95,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. Link to Hollywood Reporter article.

I think he should have started a video blog, instead. I'd subscribe to his RSS feed. I think he'd have no trouble attracting many times more visitors in that medium.

Eisner interviewed former Imagineering head and Applied Minds cofounder Bran Ferren during Tuesday's debut -- that's really interesting stuff, IMO. I might not stop my life to sit in front of a tv set at 6/9PM on a Tuesday night to watch the show every week, but I wouldn't miss a download. Link to Reuters article.

Also, CNBC effectively has no web presence. redirects to, which doesn't include any teaser content for network shows. I can't find any online promotion for Eisner's show (or others) anywhere, period. <shrugs>.. Okay, here's the recently-launched CNBC site -- it's pretty thin, though. With such vast resources of financial data through MSN at their disposal, I don't understand why this isn't a lot more content-rich. Image: screengrab from video at

Black Velvet Unicorns United Against Earwax Blogposts

Oh, this calls for a unicorn chaser. BoingBoing reader Yetter says,

I've been a reader for a few months now and I like how you follow-up disturbing stories with pictures of unicorns. I have a unicorn painting here in my office that I thought you might enjoy, two unicorns running through outer space.

Link to full-size snapshot of "Unicorns in Space Black Velvet Painting" on Yetter's office wall.

Reader comment: IvyMike says, "The picture of unicorns in space reminds me of this classic bit of Simpsons dialog:"

Marge: Well, I studied art, and this guy's got a real gift.
Warden: You kiddin'? Look -- [shows another painting] he painted a unicorn in outer space. I'm asking you: What's it breathin'?
Homer: Air?
Warden: Ain't no air in space.
Homer: There's an air-in-space museum.

HOWTO convert an NES cartridge to a hard-drive

This HOWTO details a simple and lovely mod that converts a Nintendo Entertainment System cartridge into a bus-powered USB 2.0 2.5" hard-drive enclosure. Link

Update: Krisjohn has provided a mirror of this page.

The ear wax cleaning madness must stop, says reader

Dr. Paul J. Camp, Spelman College, Department of Physics is in the don't-pick-your ears camp:
Plug o' earwax Oh for god's sake, this has gone on long enough.

Ear wax is there for a reason. It has antibacterial properties as well as preventing dirt and bugs from going further into your hearing system. Excess earwax is pushed naturally to the opening of the ear canal, where it is washed away, pushed out as the cerumen glands secrete more wax and also by epithelial migration as your skin goes through its replacement cycle.

From the Mayo Clinic: "Never attempt to dig out excessive or hardened earwax with items such as a paper clip, a cotton swab or a hairpin. You may push the wax farther into your ear and cause serious damage to the lining of your ear canal and even to your eardrum." Wanna go deaf? Stick a bobby pin in your ear. See herefor what it looks like when you've been packing that stuff in for a while.

Even if you don't do that, simply scratching or abrading the skin in the ear canal provides a protected growth site for fungus -- the dreaded swimmer's ear. I had this once when psoriasis broke up the skin in my ear. You don't want it. Also, removal of impacted ear wax, from pushing it further down in the ear, is inevitably very painful.

Now there are a VERY FEW people who have excessive wax secretions and need to have it cleaned out every now and again. The solution to that is a few drops of mineral oil to soften up the wax and, a day or two later, a bit of warm water or hydrogen peroxide squirted up the ear canal.

And for god's sake, don't stick a candle in your ding dang ear. Ear wax cannot be sucked out by a candle. There are easier ways to set your head on fire.

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eBay RAZR auction to benefit UK Open Rights Group

Open Rights Group is auctioning off a new RAZR phone and a signed first-edition hardcover of my novel Eastern Standard Tribe to raise funds for its ongoing operation. ORG is a UK-based technology activist group that I helped found -- its mission is "to preserve and extend traditional civil liberties in the digital world." Link

Bruce Sterling's bumper-sticker designs

Kyle sez, "I commissioned Bruce Sterling to develop some bumper sticker concepts for my make-your-own-bumper-sticker site, and he came up with six pretty cool ones. He also gave me a great interview touching on spimes, cyberpunk, and the 'Centipede' scandal he's been blogging."
I use the word "instantiate" because the older word "manufacture" has the wrong etymology. Manufacturing literally means making something manually, with hands. Somehow the old term drifted into new use for a machine process that likely should have been radically renamed, like "mechafacturing." We lost that opportunity for clarity. In Shaping Things I'm trying to convince people that it's possible to approach physical possessions in an entirely different way than we do today. Tomorrow, they're no longer jealously guarded physical rarities that are hard to replace, they are hard copies whose histories and support processes are in continual flux.
Link (Thanks, Kyle!)

Bragg changes Ledbelly's "Bourgeois Blues" to "Bush War Blues": free MP3

John sez, "Continuing the tradition of Woody Guthrie and many other singers, Billy Bragg has taken a song from the past and updated it with relevent lyrics. Leadbelly's 'The Bourgeois Blues' has been re-made into 'The Bush War Blues' and is available for free download." Link (Thanks, John!)

Byrne/Eno "Bush of Ghosts" tracks re-released under CC

David Byrne and Brian Eno's masterpiece My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts (1981) has been remastered, and two of the songs are now being distributed as multitracks under a Creative Commons license for your remixing pleasure. Snip from website:
This is the first time complete and total access to original tracks with remix and sampling possibilities have been officially offered on line. In keeping with the spirit of the original album, Brian and David are offering for download all the multitracks on two of the songs. Through signing up to the user license, and in line with Creative Commons licenses, you are free to edit, remix, sample and mutilate these tracks however you like. Add them to your own song or create a new one. Visitors are welcome to post their mixes or songs that incorporate these audio files on the site for others to hear and rate.
This is one of my favorite records of all time. This is so freakin' cool. Link (Thanks, jason b)

Reader comment: Andrew Tonkin says,

Yes, that's very good news about the Byrne & Eno reissue & multitracks. One disappointing note - the haunting, original vinyl track "Qu'ran" is still nowhere to be seen. IIRC it was offensive to Muslims, was yanked from the vinyl and never made it to the original CD. Perhaps some vinyl-enabled BB'er might digitize and post this rarity, to the delight of the album's fans?

Reader comment: SoftwareDave says,

Qu'ran is on my copy of the CD (and of course the original vinyl...) - I'm listening to it right now. Maybe it's coz I'm in the UK.

Reader comment: E.W. Brenner says,

here is a link of interest to people who are fond of the song "Qu'uran."

Lileks makes fun of a 1970s Fredericks of Hollywood catalog

James Lileks does another one of his hilarious takes on vintage pop culture ephemera. This time, he dissects an 1977 Fredericks of Hollywood lingere catalog.
Picture 5-2 Class. Pure class. That’s what the entire catalog oozes, and the cover does a brilliant job setting the mood. Because nothing says “alluring, tasteful lingerie” like something that resembles a grocery store circular from Red Owl, a series of arrows that point in the direction of detumescence, and a woman who looks like her head’s covered by a cross-dressing squid.

Link (Thanks, Coop!)

Jill Carroll is free, alive, and well!

American journalist Jill Carroll, who was abducted in Iraq nearly 100 days ago, is free. Link.

David Cook, Washington bureau chief of The Christian Science Monitor: "She was released this morning, she's talked to her father and she's fine." Link.

Best wishes to Ms. Carroll, and to her friends and family, who must be ecstatic today.

Jeff Tynes, Jill's pal and former colleague, tells BoingBoing

Jill is safe and inside the protected Green Zone in Baghdad. She's spoken to her family, saying she was well and the she was treated well. She said she was not sure why she had been abducted. We are all just overwhelmed with joy. Was it Katie's appeal that led to this release? We aren't sure, but the timing seems to suggest that's the case. Whatever the reason, our Jill is released! We just can't wait to see her home again!

 Link to post on Natasha Tynes' blog. The direct link to all Natasha's posts on Jill is here. (Thanks, Jeff Tynes, Glyn Wintle, and the dozens hundreds of BoingBoing readers who wrote in with this great news)

Indiana will observe DST across the state: pity the confused servers

Indiana, a state that straddles two timezones and only spottily embraces Daylight Savings Time, is planning to observe DST on a statewide basis starting April 2. The problem is that PCs don't know about this, which is gonna screw up all kinds of systems, putting them an hour out of synch:
"This is like Y2K except this one is really happening," said university IT spokesman Steve Tally.

Currently, most Indiana computer users set their PCs to a special "Indiana East" setting -- Eastern time that doesn't spring forward every April. Starting this April, however, they'll change their PCs to Eastern Daylight Time. The few who observe Central time set their computers to Central, and will also make the switch. Tally predicts the changeover will create havoc with the widely used Microsoft Outlook calendar application. When the time changes, he said, appointments will still be listed according to the old Indiana East time. The calendars of Central time Outlook users, in turn, will continue to list appointments according to Central time.


See also: Aussie timezone switch borks Exchange Server

Update: Mark sez, "I happen to be an IT manager for a philharmonic orchestra in Indiana and the changeover is going to cause massive problems for anyone who uses outlook as a calendar. By the time this is all said and done, it's going to end up costing businesses in this state a lot of time and money. Perhaps the greatest irony is the fact that our governor pushed the change under the premise that it was going to increase revenue in the state. I've been actively encouraging fellow IT professionals in my area to contact the governor and give him an idea just how much the change is costing their company in money and man hours."