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Papercraft skull with moving jaw

Back in August, the Skull-a-Day blog (a new skull, every day!) ran this papercraft skull with moving jaw -- including a downloadable PDF so you can print and assemble your own. Timely! Link (via Paperforest)

HOWTO Make a killer werewolf costume

Matt sez, "MissMonster has been creating incredible monster costumes for years. This year she's made a really intense werewolf costume all by hand. She's posted an in-depth tutorial on Instructables." Link (Thanks, Matt!)

Book price-fixing: good, bad, or just weird?

O'Reilly Radar's Peter Brantley has a great rumination up today about the economics of print publishing in Germany (where all new books , used, new, damaged or whole, have to be sold for the same price) and Switzerland (where this stricture has been dropped).
Here then is a meaty nugget, because it discloses that economic policy impacts not just the range of commerce in books that prevails within an economic zone (such as a country); economic and social policy also impact what gets read, and by whom. If one can take the question crassly, then it devolves to the consideration of whether should our economic and social policies encourage a diversity of reading, or encourage the greatest magnitude of reading.

It is easy to oversimplify this argument: a nation that through its economic doctrines encourages the development of an oligopoly of bookstores begets a readership of mass-market book consumers, vs. a nation in which multitudes of small bookshops thrive encourages the development of a richer cross-section of arts and science. Historically this has been tied up in questions of selection and curation: indies stock a smaller range of titles, but with either 1) greater in-store variation across the types of authors and publishers represented, or alternatively 2) deeper exposure of a specific type of literature (e.g. show me a B&N that can match the collection of City Lights in San Francisco, or St. Mark's in New York).


Skull-watch of Mary Queen of Scots

Watchismo has a nice little feature on Mary Queen of Scots' skull-shaped silver watch:

Not long before Mary Queen of Scots had her own head chopped off, she had this bone chilling silver skull watch made. The case is opened by dropping the under jaw, which turns upon a hinge, while the watchworks occupy the place of the brain.

Story written using only Cat in the Hat words

J Robert Lennon has composed a passable short story using only words found in Dr Seuss's The Cat in the Hat:
My mother was gone. It was a bump on her head, a big bump. I did not know; mother did not tell me. When she did, I fell. "No," I said. "No, not you! Do not go!" But there was no way. She sank fast, that was good. I let her go.

Then one day I saw Sally. We went out for fish. I had cat fish; Sally had something funny, with a big tail.

"What is that thing?" I said.

"This?" A bite. "Fish!"


A shake of the head. "No."

Link (via Kottke)

See also:
Cat in the Hat meets Sputnik
Dr Seuss/Bob Dylan mashup: Dylan Hears a Who

Early Bill Watterson rarities

Here's a collection of rare early Bill "Calvin and Hobbes" Watterson's toons from The Kenyon Collegian, his college paper from Kenyon, Ohio. They're a little edgier than the Calvin and Hobbes strips (but not as funny). Link (Thanks, Pat!)

See also:
Real-snow versions of Calvin and Hobbes's gory snowmen
Interview with Bill "Calvin and Hobbes" Watterson's mom
Will there be a Calvin and Hobbes movie?
Calvin and Hobbes slipcased complete collection coming
Bill Watterson reviews the new Charles Schulz bio

Derelict bank-vault photos

Jase sez, "I was doing a promo shoot for a friend's band. Their practice space was on the top floor of this old building, but they'd seen this old, disused bank vault in the basement. From now on, every time I picture intricate steampunk metalworking, I'll picture the inside of that vault door." Link (Thanks, Jase!)

Bogus "tractor beam" video

Museum of Hoaxes found this video that purports to show an audio speaker that pulls objects towards it.
Picture 2-90 Obviously it's fake. Audio speakers will not create a gravity field. But I'm not sure how they created the special effect. (Not that I know much about creating video effects.)

Perhaps they used some kind of fancy editing software. Or perhaps they did it a really low-tech way -- moving the objects one frame at a time to make it appear as if they were sliding towards the speaker. If they did it the latter way, they managed to make the sliding effect look very smooth.

How do you think it was done? Link

Videos of Ramana's levitations

Bijdendijk Here is a video of Wouter Bijdendijk, a Dutch magician who performs as Ramana, levitating outside the White House. He has, er, risen to the occasion in many famous locales, including Times Square.
Link to White House levitation, Link to NYC another levitation on YouTube, Link to Ramana's site (via Cabinet of Wonders)

Obama will support filibuster of any bill granting telecom immunity

The so-called "Austin Mayor" says:
Sen. Barack Obama will back a filibuster of any Senate FISA legislation containing telecom immunity, his campaign has just told Election Central. The Obama campaign has just sent over the following statement from spokesman Bill Burton: "To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets

Today we saw a electric roller skates, Venn diagram of Playstation 3 models, a multi-track audio editor for Windows Mobile PDAs, handy little depth of field calculators (which I was then told are as old as the hills), a new version of the dead-in-the-water PocketSurfer2, a new sleep-tracking watch with REM cycle history software, perhaps the most badass motorcycle in recent memory, a new cheapish Wacom Cintiq tablet screen, a self-adjusting wrench, Japanese manhole covers (and I don't mean Hard Gay's tailor), the just-high-enough-tech EpiSurveyor project, a strange clock that tells time with only noise, a watch with a barometer and more, a plug-in Prius, cameras that are starting to come with ample embedded memory, a spy mirror clock, and Gmail <3ing IMAP.

Robert Shea, Illuminatus! co-author

Mike Shea says:
The author of the Cleveland Okie blog sent me some questions about my father, Robert J. Shea, the co-author of the Illuminatus! trilogy with Robert Anton Wilson. I thought you might be interested to learn a little of the other half of the Shea / Wilson team.

More information about Bob Shea and his work, including a Creative Commons licensed copy of his book, All Things Are Lights, is available at

Picture 1-116 Q: Supposedly the idea for ILLUMINATUS! came from when your father and Robert Anton Wilson were sitting in a bar after work in Chicago, and your father suggested that it would be funny to write a novel that took seriously all the various crackpot conspiracy theories that were sent in to the Playboy Forum, which your father edited. Did your father ever give you his version of this story?

A: Yep, a lot of the themes in ILLUMINATUS came from when RAW and he worked at Playboy on the adviser. All of the crazy conspiracy theories gave them the idea to write a book that tied them all together. He never gave me his side of the story, really, but he didn't believe in all the conspiracy theories. He was pretty practical. He never trusted the government, however (who can blame him?), so he wouldn't put something past them like the Kennedy assassination, but he never really got too bent about it all. He was very scientific in his thought and believed in Occam's razor: the simplest explanation is likely the right one.


$1m painting found in trash


Martin says:

The Independent has this report today on New Yorker Elizabeth Gibson who found a painting in a rubbish skip in Manhattan, which turned out to be Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo's 'Three People', a painting stolen from storage years ago, and worth $1 million!

She had it hanging on her wall for months before the gallery stickers on the back of the frame led her to investigate more. The painting has now been returned to its owner who bought it as a gift for his wife in the 70s.

Gibson will get only $15,000, the original recovery offer.

From the Independent:
Four years ago, Ms Gibson spotted a 38in by 51in canvas in a skip on the city's Upper West Side and claimed it as her own. The picture – of three standing figures in blurred yellow, orange and purple – looked rather good on her living room wall. It would probably still be there if Ms Gibson's curiosity had not prompted her to try to find out more about the work. Her researches revealed not only its identity but its value – about $1m (£500,000).

A few months after finding the picture, Ms Gibson spotted Tamayo's signature in the upper right-hand corner and stickers on the back from a series of galleries – including one in New York which said it had no record of the work.

About a year later, she got the first inkling of what she had found when a friend brought her auction catalogues which showed that Tamayos were selling for $500,000. The friend also had art books, one of which had a Tamayo – her Tamayo – on its front cover. "I was stunned," she said this week.


StormWorm botnet lashes out at security researchers

The Storm Worm botnet (thought to be the largest network of compromised machines in the world) has begun to figure out which security researchers are trying to disrupt its command-and-control systems and knock them offline with unmanagable crapfloods from its zillions of zombie machines.
The worm can figure out which users are trying to probe its command-and-control servers, and it retaliates by launching DDoS attacks against them, shutting down their Internet access for days, says Josh Korman, host-protection architect for IBM/ISS, who led a session on network threats.

“As you try to investigate [Storm], it knows, and it punishes,” he says. “It fights back.”

As a result, researchers who have managed to glean facts about the worm are reluctant to publish their findings. “They’re afraid. I’ve never seen this before,” Korman says. “They find these things but never say anything about them.”

And not without good reason, he says. Some who have managed to reverse engineer Storm in an effort to figure out how to thwart it have suffered DDoS attacks that have knocked them off the Internet for days, he says.

As researchers test their versions of Storm by connecting to Storm command-and-control servers, the servers seem to recognize these attempts as threatening. Then either the worm itself or the people behind it seem to knock them off the Internet by flooding them with traffic from Storm’s botnet, Korman says.

Link (via /.)

Balloon-dog anatomy

Pneumatic Anatomica, an illustration by ~freeny at Deviant Art, shows the notional (and insanely detailed) anatomy of a balloon doggy. Link (via Kottke)

Juvenille bigfoot or mangy bear?

Picture 2-89

Johnny of the Half Sasquatch blog sent me a link to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization about photos of "a possible bigfoot (thought to be a juvenile)." The photos were taken using a motion-controlled camera with an infra-red flash.

I immediately headed over to Loren Coleman's Cryptomundo blog, because I figured he'd have something to say about these photos. His verdict?

The animal is a bear with mange. No trickery was put forth, and it is rather incredible a few people could not believe what was right in front of their eyes with the above.

No photoshopping, no Chupacabear, no juvenile Sasquatch: sometimes a bear is merely a bear.


Transit Maps of the World book -- sheer subway-porn

I got a review copy of Mark Ovenden's "Transit Maps of the World" in the mail today and promptly fell down the rabbit hole with it. The book does pretty much what you'd expect: shows you the maps for pretty much every transit system in the world, with some well-written commentary (history, trivia, graphic design challenges), including historical maps of the major transit systems as well as photos of some incidental artwork, like the stunning Deco covers the French put on the old Paris Metro maps.

This is sheer public transit/map porn, and I'm in love. The challenge of representing the geography and network logic of complex transit systems is a daunting one, and while many of the maps converge on solutions similar to the archetypal New York and London maps, others (like Tokyo and Hamburg) have sui generis solutions that are smart and unexpected.

This is the kind of book that would be incredibly fun to browse with kids as part of a world geography investigation -- and also the sort of thing that makes great bedtime reading if you want to salt your dreams with the possibility of travel to distant cities. Link

Haunted Mansion/Bela Lugosi's Dead mashup: Haunted Bela

In the comment thread for this morning's Hallowe'en-themed mashup album Mashing Pumpkins, BB Reader Howard Hallis points to his stupendous mashup of the narration from the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland with Bauhaus's "Bela Lugosi's Dead," a track called "Haunted Bella" that just works. My day is complete. MP3 Link, Coral Cache Mirror Link

Update: Howard's server is slammed -- just use the Coral Cache Mirror kthxbyebye

Flyer for an awesome dog


This flyer is not for a lost dog, merely for an awesome dog. Link

New hoodies from Gama-Go

Gunsnapples Home

Yeti Home

Our friends at Gama-Go have released a new crop of fabulous looking hoodies for male and female higher primates. The art is by Tim Biskup. XY hoodies | XX Hoodies

Ken Goldberg and Vijay Kumar: reinventing US manufacturing

Does "Made in the USA" have a future? According to UC Berkeley robotics pioneer Ken Goldberg and mechanical engineering professor Vijay Kumar of the University of Pennsylvania, US manufacturing could be revived with a rigorous "science of cost-effective, resource-efficient manufacturing." They published their riff as an editorial in today's San Jose Mercury News. From the essay:
Just as the method to add two numbers together doesn't depend on what kind of pencil you use, manufacturing abstractions can be wholly independent of the product one is making or the assembly line systems used to assemble it. Another precedent is the Turing Machine, an elegant abstract model invented by Alan Turing in the 1930s, which established the mathematical and scientific foundations for our now-successful high-tech industries. Without Turing's theoretical work, the system that typeset this line wouldn't exist.

What's needed today is an analogy to the Turing Machine for design, automation and manufacturing.

Jaime Hernandez's poster for Bob Dylan

 Moderntimes Images Tt.Poster.72 Coop says, "My pal Eddie Gorodetsky is producer of Bob Dylan's amazing XM satellite radio show, 'Theme Time Radio Hour.' Eddie recently commissioned another pal, 'Love & Rockets' co-creator Jaime Hernandez, to create a promotional poster for the show. I've seen this thing in person, and it's insane. Each of the vignettes in the poster is based on the faux-noir voiceover that starts each episode of the show."

IMF head: Dollar could collapse

Uh-oh. The outgoing head of the IMF thinks that the dollar might collapse:
"There are risks that an abrupt fall in the dollar could either be triggered by, or itself trigger, a loss of confidence in dollar assets," Rato said at the close of annual meetings here of the IMF and the World Bank.

The outgoing IMF managing director spoke here as the European single currency hit a new high of 1.4347 dollars and global equity markets plunged amid renewed fears a US credit crunch could pitch the world's biggest economy into recession.


Disney's coprophilic cookbook

Miss Fipi Lele points out this amusing little cook-book: "Cooking with Pooh." Possibly the worst cookbook title ever. Link

Boing Boing tv: Mister Jalopy/Homemade 3D video cams

In today's episode of Boing Boing tv:

Mark talks to Mister Jalopy, a guy who scavenges the world for discarded treasures, often creating some treasures of his own. He shows us the "museum in a jar" he discovered at an LA garage sale. (@0:09-3:38)

And during a trip to Mister Jalopy's garage of delights, Eric Jon Kurland shows off his homemade 3-D movie camera made from scavenged parts, and gets into a stereoscopic camcorder duel with BBtv producer Nihar Patel. (@3:54-end)

Video Link.

Wolfram 2,3 Turing Prize winner announced

Kathryn Cramer tells Boing Boing:
The Wolfram 2,3 Turing Prize winner was announced this morning: a 20-year old engineering student named Alex Smith who learned about the contest from a chat room. Link.

The write-up in Nature is here.

Alex Smith, a undergraduate electrical engineering student at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, has proven that a primitive type of computer known as a 2,3 Turing machine can solve every computational problem there is.

And Stephen Wolfram's blog entry on it is here.

Smith's 40-something page proof is here, proving that the Turing machine is "universal": PDF Link. There's also a piece in New Scientist which has some nice bio material on Alex Smith here.

Scroogled in Russian and Persian

Today, two groups of readers wrote to me to report that they'd translated my story "Scroogled" into other languages: Russian and Persian. "Scroogled" appeared last month in Radar Magazine, a commissioned short story that tells the story of "the day Google became evil." The story was published under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial- ShareAlike license (the first time Radar used a CC license) and it has already inspired translation into French and Spanish.

The Russian translation was undertaken by Ruslan Grokhovetskiy along with "about a dozen" of his friends, and they also whipped up this fan-art poster (also in English and Photoshop source-file) for their translation.

The Persian translation is from Jadi, who hopes that the Persian edition will be enjoyed by "Iranian, Tajik and Afghan audiences."

Link to Russian translation, Link to Persian translation

See also:
Spanish fan-translation of Scroogled
Scroogled: CC-licensed story about the day Google turned evil
Scroogled in the Wall Street Journal

Update: John Walker has some format conversions, too: OpenDocument, PDF, Plain text