Boing Boing 

Spicy chili kills amateur chef

Andrew Lee, 33, apparently died after making and eating an intensely spicy chili. Lee was apparently in good health and toxicologists are running tests to figure out exactly what killed him. From the Sydney Morning Herald:
The forklift driver from Edlington, West Yorkshire in England, made a tomato sauce with red chillies grown by his father, but after eating it suffered intense discomfort and itching.

Mr Lee went to bed and asked his girlfriend, Samantha Bailey, to scratch his back until he fell asleep.

When she woke in the morning he was dead, possibly after suffering a heart attack, The Guardian said.
Chef dies after eating 'super hot' chili

HOWTO Make a dollhouse out of a gourd

Now this is a handsome and useful redeployment of a gourd: a house for the little people!

I use inexpensive acrylic craft paint because it had great colors and covers very well. Also you can just squirt it right inside the gourd and spread it around.

Decorate your gourd with "curtains". I have used eyelet, fringe and pompoms for my curtains. All are cute. Hang with hot glue or other adhesive.

My rug is a felted sweater scrap, trimmed with scallop shears, and also glued in place. The fluffy rug helps mitigate the uneven floor of the gourd.

Gourd Dollhouse Tutorial (via Craft)

Lost in America as Metaphor for Mortgage Meltdown



Shawn Wolfe says:

This is what happens when an annoying asshole (Wall Street) loses everything in a casino (the stock market) and desperately begs the house (Congress) to "correct" their little mistake (massive bail out), and the house (Gary Marshall) ain't havin' it.

I think it is also instructive here that this scene takes place at 4am. Albert Brooks is in his bathrobe. His pants are basically down. The owner of the Desert Inn is granting him a sit-down and happens to be dressed in a suit and tie and oak desk.

"The Desert Inn has heart... The Desert Inn has heart... The Desert Inn has heart..."

"We're through talking."

Lego-like snap-together bedside lamp

Beingblease's powered aluminum bedside lamp lets kids (and others) customize their lighting with modular, snap-together pieces.

A modular magnetic lamp that is customized through the building of different coloured and shaped pieces. Bedside lamp is universally enjoyed by all ages, is forever changing, playful, and made to stand the test of time.
Bedside lamp

TED Prize for photojournalist James Nachtwey


Laura Galloway says:
The TED Prize, an initiative of the TED Conference granting recipients one world changing wish – is asking bloggers around the world to help in making photojournalist and 2007 Prize winner James Nachtwey's wish come true this Friday, October 3.

Nachtwey wished for help in breaking a news story in a way that demonstrates the power of news photography in the digital age. Nachtwey's work will be simultaneously revealed online, disseminated through numerous media channels, and projected on public buildings throughout the world. The TED Prize organizers have created a blogger page where bloggers can download a badge for their blogs in advance of Oct. 3, find event live event locations, or embed Nachtwey's wish video. On October 3, the site will redirect to reveal the story.

TED Prize for photojournalist James Nachtwey

Crab rides a jellyfish

Crabjellyyyyyy Here's a fun video of a crab hitching a ride on a jellyfish. (Thanks, Kirsten Anderson!)

Mark Jenkins: homeless polar bears art prank

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A Washington DC train station was shut down for a couple hours recently as a bomb squad investigated this "hobo polo bear" standing near a trash can. Turns out, the stuffed animal was part of a collaboration between Greenpeace and prankster artist Mark Jenkins. From an email Mark sent me:
 3241 2881288478 039Ec129Be O We made a series of human-like homeless polar bears and installed them around DC to get people to think about the issue (of melting arctic ice) with more empathy. it seemed people liked them a lot and took pictures of their kids in front of them, etc. but most were removed pretty quickly by the authorities. the last image is one that was met with ill-fate after being deemed a "suspicious package." so the whole thing ended up have a touch of irony to it when compared to the actual situation.
"'Hobo polar bear causes panic in US'" (National Nine News) Greenpeace project page (greenpeace.org), Mark Jenkins project page (xmarkjenkinsx.com)

Previously on BB:
Mark Jenkins: Fake 'living statue' prank
Mark Jenkins: cafeteria pranks
Mark Jenkins: Traffic-Go-Round
Mark Jenkins: Meter Pops
Mark Jenkins casts a human head in packing tape
Mark Jenkins: Tape Babies
Mark Jenkins: Fake People

Apartments Designed to Challenge Residents

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Pink Tentacle has photos and a video of the "Reversible Destiny Lofts" in Japan, designed to physically and mentally challenge people in order to keep them healthy.

To NY-based architect-poets and “reversible destiny” philosophers Arakawa & Gins, comfort deserves only a limited role in the home. In their vision, a home that keeps its inhabitants young and healthy should provide perpetual challenges. A tentative relationship with your environment, they argue, is key to “reversing the downhill course of human life.”

Designed to stimulate the senses and force inhabitants to use balance, physical strength and imagination, the lofts feature uneven floors, oddly positioned power switches and outlets, walls and surfaces painted a dizzying array of colors, a tiny exit to the balcony, a transparent shower room, irregularly shaped curtainless windows, and more.

For rent: Reversible Destiny Lofts (w/ video)

Computer-Generated Sarah Palin Interview

Here's a program that'll generate realistic Palin-style answers for different questions.
Q: What is your foreign policy experience?

I think if you ask that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the people of America are not fully satisfied with all the answers. It's going to be considered also. But again, it's got to put government and it's about putting government back on the verbiage that Senator McCain chose to use them. So we have opportunities for good in the war. You can't blink. You have to be allowed in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be provided the hope that all Americans have, instilled in us, because we're a democratic, we are today with so much collapse on Wall Street, affecting Main Street.

Interview Sarah Palin

(Via Panopticist)

George Hart's Sculptural Barn Raising

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George Hart has a photos of the construction of a "sculptural barn raising" for his Comet! artwork at Albion College on Saturday September 13, 2008.

George Hart's Sculptural Barn Raising

Mister Jalopy Scores a Stingray Bike at a Garage Sale, and Comes to an Interesting Realization

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What Mister Jalopy learned when he found a Stingray bike at a garage sale after looking for one for 20 years:

For all the years of garage saling, I have always wanted, but never found, a Schwinn Stingray. Previously, I have encountered only three. One was being wheeled away from a sale as I approached, another was a pile of parts that a fella was carrying to his car in a laundry basket and the third was a sand blasted frame which I purchased. So, this week, I found the assortment of parts shown in the top photograph. This is not a treasured Stingray rescued from the rafters of grandma's house, but rather a stalled project that somebody had put together over a couple evenings of drunken Ebaying.

Recently, I have figured out that we are in an odd secondary era for this stuff. During the 1970's and 1980s, garage sales were probably lousy with Schwinn Stingrays, but, those virgin bicycles have long been sold, garage saled, garbage dumped or reclaimed by the original owner. Now, when we find novelty bowling statuary, Apple IIs or strike front matchbooks, they are being sold by somebody that paid through the nose on eBay only to get tired of it for the second time.

Garage Sale Report - September 29, 2008

Last Supper Menu revealed: mmm, delicious eels.


New research on Da Vinci's Last Supper suggests that the meal being consumed in this painting was not bread or lamb, as previously believed. "Instead, [John Varriano] writes in a new article in Gastronomica that the 1997 cleaning and restoration of the fresco revealed plates of grilled eel garnished with orange slices." Yeah, if someone fed me that, it'd be my last supper, too. {rimshot} I'll be here all week! Try the eels. Article: The Last Supper Menu: Revealed! (The Food Section / Josh Friedland)

Daphne Guinness Sets Supermodels Ablaze


Above: Thumbnails from a fashion shoot featuring beer heiress (beirhess?) Daphne Guinness in the current issue of Vogue Italia. The spread, titled "The Honourable Daphne Guinness," was shot by Stephen Klein. IMAGES: Part one, Part two. I like the one where she sets the chick on fire. And the other one with the stormtrooper-alien-dudes with crystal laser guns. Here's an interview where she discusses the Surrealist origins of her "weird obsession with armour." (thanks Susannah Breslin!)

Riding Out the Credit Crisis

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There seems to be some appetite on BoingBoing for a more comprehensive but quick-to-grok analysis of the credit crisis and what to do about it. While "I told you so's" are fun in a sick sort of way, I'm passing on this link to my last spring's Arthur Magazine columns(if Dreamhost is still unable to meet the demand for links on that page or here, then see the whole piece in the extended post, below). I'm sharing it as a way to review the steps that led to our current fiasco, explain it in the greater context of centralized currency, and help people not feel so very terrible about it all. (I also mean to introduce you to Arthur magazine, a free coffee-shop distribution I'm proud to write for alongside folks including Erik Davis, Thurston Moore, and Peter Lamborn Wilson - who all write for free, like me.)

...Bush’s tax cuts and other measures favoring the rich led to the biggest redistribution of wealth from poor to rich in American history. The result was that the wealthy–the investment class–had more money to invest, or lend, than there were people and businesses looking to borrow.

The easiest way to bring more borrowers into the system–and to create more of a market for money–was to promote homeownership in America. This is precisely what the Bush administration did, touting home ownership as an American right. Of course, they weren’t talking about home ownership at all, but rather pushing people to borrow money tied to the value of a house. If people could be persuaded to take mortgages on homes, real estate values would go up for those already invested (like land trusts and real estate funds) and banks would have a market for the excess money they had accumulated.

In short, there was a surplus of credit in the system. Americans were encouraged to borrow in the form of mortgages, which created demand for the credit banks wanted to sell. In many cases the credit itself wasn’t even real, but leveraged off some other inflated commodity that the bank or investor may have owned.

Banks and mortgage companies invented some really shady and difficult-to-understand mortgage contracts, designed to get people to borrow more money than they could . Banks didn’t care so much about lending money to people who wouldn’t be able to pay it back, because that’s not how they were going to earn their money, anyway. They provided the money for mortgage companies to lend, and in return won the rights to underwrite the loans when they were packaged and sold to other people and institutions.

Read the rest

Terry Pratchett's NATION: moving and sweet young adult novel about science, superstition and decency

Terry Pratchett's latest novel is Nation and it's like nothing else he's ever written -- except that like many of his books, it is fantastic and brilliant.

Nation is the story of two children: Ermintrude may just be the Queen of England now that a plague has struck down most of the royal family. Mau is the last survivor of the Nation, a tribal people living on a south-seas island that has been destroyed by a tsunami. They are both lost and adrift in the wake of terrible tragedy, flung together on the island of Nation. They both are blessed with doubt about the theologies of their ancestors -- and denied its succour. Together, they discover science, and use it to weld together their people and save them from despair and evil external forces.

Nation is an absolutely sweet book, a story that is part Lord of the Flies and part Treasure Island, with strong and likable characters who are forced to their limits by circumstances. The action is well-paced, the philosophy and science are deftly handled, and there is humor and fear in equal measures.

This isn't a Discworld novel or a Truckers novel -- it's not Good Omens. It's a complete departure for Pratchett and yet is recognizably him, on every page, writing with the same grace and wit we know from his other work. Highly recommended (and would make brilliant bedtime reading, too). Nation (US), Nation (UK)

New Yorker Film Festival: The 5 Scariest Movies Ever?


Ben Greenman of the New Yorker presents his list of the five scariest movies of all time. They are:

1. “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” Tobe Hooper (1974)

2. “The Silence of the Lambs,” Jonathan Demme (1991)

3. “The Body Snatcher,” Robert Wise (1945)

4. “Night of the Hunter,” Charles Laughton (1955)

5. “Mulholland Drive,” David Lynch (2001)

David Lynch is the master of the eerie, which has also been called the uncanny, and his strongest films successfully deliver shock-horror at the conclusion of scenes that are either comically mundane or traditionally suspenseful. Many filmgoers remember “Mulholland Drive” mainly for Robert Blake’s creepy performance or for the lesbian subplot with Laura Elena Harring and Naomi Watts, but the film’s signal moment comes in the Winkie’s scene, which uses a highly traditional location (a diner) and traditional suspense tricks (P.O.V. shots, menacing background music) as prelude to one horrible moment. One respondent to the in-office survey put it this way:

I have seen the movie many times, and every time my chest tightens up and it occurs to me that I might actually die.

He’s not alone. Retrocrush.com selected this scene as the scariest moment in the history of film.

Mulholland Drive is a great movie, but as far as I recall Robert Blake was in Lost Highway, not Mulholland Drive.

The 5 Scariest Movies Ever?

Olympics reach a new low: trademarking the Canadian national anthem and threatening lawsuits over competing uses

The International Olympic Committee has trademarked a line from the Canadian national anthem, "with glowing hearts," and is threatening to sue anyone who uses the line in Canada, as part of the Vancouver Games.

This is par for the course. The IOC is a corrupt, bullying, greedy, hypocritical organization that uses trademark laws to limit the free speech and commerce of people who have the misfortune to attend or live near the games -- for example, in Athens, they forced people to take off or cover up t-shirts that had logos for companies that hadn't paid to sponsor the Olympics; and in Washington, they attacked decades-old businesses named after nearby Mount Olympia.

The Olympics cloak themselves in the rhetoric of international cooperation and development, but everything they touch turns to garbage: totalitarian surveillance camps where corporate greed rules all. The Canadian IOC ought to be disbanded over this -- it's an affront to the entire nation.

Parliament should undo its special legislation that allowed the IOC to assert trademarks over words like "Winter" as well -- our language is not property, it is freely usable by all of us.

. VANOC would only challenge the commercial use of the mottoes if a business began using them to create a specific, unauthorized commercial association with the 2010 Winter Games, said the statement.

O Canada is over 100 years old and, according to the Department of Canadian Heritage, is in the public domain so may be used without permission from the government.

The committee is so serious about protecting the Olympic brand it managed to get a landmark piece of legislation passed in the House of Commons last year that made using certain phrases related to the Games a violation of law.

The list includes the number 2010 and the word "winter," phrases that normally couldn't be trademarked because they are so general.

Olympic mottoes borrow lines from O Canada (Thanks, Dan!)