Boing Boing 

Toddlepuff Game

Ilan Schifter, a recent graduate of NYU's ITP, came up with a inflatable game-space for toddlers called ToddlePuff. Here's how Ilan describes it:
ToddlePuff is an inflated interface that incorporates 16 proximity sensors and acts as a game controller for toddlers. It surrounds the child and encourages full body motion. It blocks the toddler's eye sight to create an immersive experience and is wider than a toddler's arm span to encourage movement. An animated children's story is displayed on a screen and told through the speakers. Images of characters from the story are placed on different locations inside the interface. When a character blinks on the screen, the child needs to find the matching image on the surrounding inflated walls and touch it to resume the story. The interaction inside ToddlePuff develops orientation, coordination and speed.

ToddlePuff sketch.jpg Here's a link to a video of two young sisters playing ToddlePuff. Even without the inflatable environment, kids may enjoy the "Flat for Rent" story, available, ToddlePuff.com.

BBtv: Friday recap + Unicorn Chaser - Joel of Boing Boing Gadgets in "UHHHHHH."


As is our newly minted tradition, Boing Boing tv ends the holiday week with a Unicorn Chaser.

In today's edition, Boing Boing Gadgets' Joel Johnson, who trekked out into the wilderness for this previous episode, returns there to perform the nerdcore anthem embedded above -- UHHHH. (MP4 Link).

Not a single one of these grunts was repeated. All were taped in the order they appear in this remix, the morning after Joel was nearly bitten by a snake, doing a gadget review out in the wilds.


Perhaps you were too busy stuffing yourself with turkey this week to catch all of this week's BBtv goodness. I'll embed a recap below.

BBtv/Offworld: Status Report Edition, Brandon's Still a Death Gnome

Boing Boing Gadgets: Joel Reviews T-Mobile Cameo Picture Frame

Boing Boing tv Update: Virgin WiFi, Obfuscated Code, Comment Poetry, Downfall Housing Remix

web zen: shopping zen 2008


shopsin's general store
baby leo
funkyzilla
sumolounge
demeter fragrance
mudpuppy magnet monsters
butter ny
green chair press
field notes: the kit
bird song organ
chicken bag
krappy
gun rack organizer
elsewares
global home

previously on web zen:
shopping zen 2007

Permalink for this edition. Web Zen is created and curated by Frank Davis, and re-posted here on Boing Boing with his kind permission. Web Zen Home and Archives, Store (Thanks Frank!)

Cute turkey cupcakes


Now these are some cute turkey cupcakes, as seen in Bridgett Lee's Flickr stream.

turkey cupcakes (Thanks, Marilyn!)

Boing Boing's Holiday Gift Guide part three: Gadgets and stuff

Here's part three of the ongoing BB holiday giving guide, where I round up the bestselling items from this year's reviews on Boing Boing. Today it's gadgets and stuff (basically, anything that's not a book or a DVD or CD) and Boing Boing Gadgets's Joel Johnson's kicked in some of his faves, too!

Don't miss part one: kids' books and books and media about kids and part two: fiction!

Uranium Ore

Uranium ore for sale on Amazon
Original Boing Boing post

Gloom

Gothy card-game challenges your ability to create misery
Original Boing Boing post

Fluxx

Nomic card game
Original Boing Boing post

Alice in Wonderland Tattoos

Alice in Wonderland temporary tatts
Original Boing Boing post

Gerber 22-41770 Artifact Pocket Keychain Tool

Adorable Gerber pocket multitool
Original Boing Boing post

Leatherman 830850 Skeletool CX Multitool

A full-featured Leatherman tool whose every non-essential surface has been swiss-cheesed with holes to lighten its weight to a mere five ounces.
Original Boing Boing post

Nexcare Duct Tape Bandage

Nothing butches up your wounds like an official duct tape band-aid.
Original Boing Boing post

686 Original Snow Toolbelt

Belt buckle with integrated toolkit
Original Boing Boing post

msiwind150.jpg
MSI Wind U100 Netbook Most netbooks have about the same specs, but the Wind is a favorite for how easily it can be hackintoshed into running OS X. Original BBG coverage
selkbag150.jpg
Lippi Selk' Bag 1 It's a sleeping bag you can wear around the house, footie PJs for adults. Original BBG review
sanyoxacti150.jpg
Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG9 Camcorder More functions than a Flip Mino, with replaceable flash memory and a real optical zoom. Original BBG Coverage

Little Brother UK launch at Forbidden Planet tomorrow

A reminder that tomorrow is the UK launch and signing for Little Brother at Forbidden Planet in London -- 1PM! You can also pre-order signed copies through the Forbidden Planet site. Hope to see you there!
Saturday 29, November, 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Forbidden Planet London Megastore,
179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR

Our Price: £6.99

Little Brother UK launch/signing at Forbidden Planet London, Nov 29

NYT on Guantánamo "Nothing has been more damaging to the United States than the violation of the legal principles at the heart of the American idea."

Today's NYT has an op-ed by Roger Cohen giving thanks that our next president is a constitutional lawyer.
Of the 770 detainees grabbed here and there and flown to Guantánamo, only 23 have ever been charged with a crime. Of the more than 500 so far released, many traumatized by those “enhanced” techniques, not one has received an apology or compensation for their season in hell.

What they got on release was a single piece of paper from the American government. A U.S. official met one of the dozens of Afghans now released from Guantánamo and was so appalled by this document that he forwarded me a copy.

Dated Oct. 7, 2006, it reads as follows:

“An Administrative Review Board has reviewed the information about you that was talked about at the meeting on 02 December 2005 and the deciding official in the United States has made a decision about what will happen to you. You will be sent to the country of Afghanistan. Your departure will occur as soon as possible.”

That’s it, the one and only record on paper of protracted U.S. incarceration: three sentences for four years of a young Afghan’s life, written in language Orwell would have recognized.

We have “the deciding official,” not an officer, general or judge. We have “the information about you,” not allegations, or accusations, let alone charges. We have “a decision about what will happen to you,” not a judgment, ruling or verdict. This is the lexicon of totalitarianism. It is acutely embarrassing to the United States.

That is why I am thankful above all that the next U.S. commander in chief is a constitutional lawyer. Nothing has been more damaging to the United States than the violation of the legal principles at the heart of the American idea.

Roger Cohen on Guantánamo

Freakin' Friday's Silver Lining

Mark posted on Boing-Boing last year this article on Fake News that I wrote, which examined the retail numbers cited by the National Retail Federation about sales over Thanksgiving, and so-called Black Friday. I made the point that this news is fake news, coming from a press release generated by a retail trade organization and then spoon-fed to us by uncritical reporters. While the stories credit the source, the headlines give the impression that the retail industry wants, using numbers they provide. (Reporters like a story with specific numbers, no matter how contrived they are. Independent backup for the numbers is never provided.) There's every reason for NRF to present numbers that favor their view that consumers will be buying more. It's like asking the fox to count the eggs in the hen house and report on the health of the chickens.

This is the post-Thanksgiving weekend story last year, written almost whole-cloth from the NRF press release.

Blockbuster Black Friday Weekend Sees Sales Near $28 Billion
145 Million Shoppers Hit Stores and Internet, Up From 133 Million in '04

Washington, DC, November 27, 2005--The ceremonial kickoff to the holiday season began with a great deal of fanfare as 145 million shoppers flooded stores and the Internet hunting for popular electronics, clothing, and books. An NRF survey conducted by BIGresearch found that the average shopper spent $302.81 this weekend, bringing total weekend spending to $27.8 billion, an incredible 21.9 percent increase over last year's $22.8 billion.

A year later, the retail outlook is a little different with a little less fanfare. I wondered what the NRF website was saying in advance of Black Friday. Do they still want you to believe more people are going to come out and buy? The answer is "yes, but." Instead of "more than last year," the idea is "more than you think."

Here's the pre-Thanksgiving press release, which prepares us for a "big surprise", saying the Black Friday will have a silver lining.

Preliminary Black Friday Survey Suggests Lower Gas Prices, Pent-Up Demand Offer Silver Lining for Weekend Shopping

Washington, November 25, 2008 – As retailers prepare to open their doors at the crack of dawn this Friday, many could be in for a welcome surprise. According to a preliminary Black Friday shopping survey conducted by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation, up to 128 million people will shop this Friday, Saturday or Sunday. According to the survey, 49 million people will definitely hit the stores while another 79 million are waiting to see the weekend deals before making any decisions. This number is down slightly from the 135 million people who said they would or may shop over Black Friday weekend last year.

I went to Google News, typed in "Black Friday Silver Lining" and a CNNMoney story popped up. A cut-and-paste specialist, I mean, reporter, Julianne Pepitone made this story for CNN:

Black Friday retailers hope for silver lining

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Black Friday shopping is expected to decline slightly, but pent-up demand and lower gas prices may provide a small silver lining for the suffering retail industry, according to a survey released Tuesday.

Up to 128 million people said they will shop on the Friday, Saturday, or Sunday after Thanksgiving, down from 135 million the previous year, according to a survey by National Retail Federation (NRF).

Seriously, CNN should just cite NRF as the author of the story.

Now, look at last year's story which cited 145 million shoppers. This year the number for last year is down to 135 million, which means they overestimated last year by ten million or this revised number allowed them to say that numbers would be "down slightly" when comparing it their equally fictional 128 million for this year.

Here's my favorite part of the fairly literal PR-to-news translation:

In fact, a full 49 million people said they would "definitely" head to stores, while 79 million said they would decide after seeing the weekend deals.
Imagine asking that many "full" people, "in fact", people full from Thanksgiving, saying "definitely." If this were an election story, and you had this kind of poll data, you wouldn't write that "up to 128 million" had made up their mind to vote. You'd write that two-thirds were undecided.

Happy Thanksgiving from BBtv: "Hazy Day" music video fave


Today, the Boing Boing tv crew takes the day off for time with family, friends, and food. We revisit one of our favorite good-vibe animation episodes, a lovely video from Bill Barminski. Perhaps you missed it? Do watch now.


Butterflies, wah-wah pedals, and one-eyed yeti, ahoy! The Boing Boing tv crew is proud to return to the work of one of our favorite multi-media savants, Bill Barminski of Walter Robot Studios. The filmmaker, composer, illustrator and animator shares this new video work, a hypnotic flight of fancy for his music project, the Subatomic Nixons. Enjoy the "Hazy Day," and happy weekend, everyone. Special thanks to Barminski and Christopher Louie, and all of the Walter Robot team. Here are previous BBtv episodes featuring their work.

India: Mumbai Attacks, Day Two; tech speculation


This post is an open thread for folks who'd like to share coverage, insight, or first-person accounts of the attacks in Mumbai. Some Boing Boing readers in yesterday's comment thread had friends or loved ones in the area at the time -- I hope all are well.

Global Voices has special coverage of the ongoing events -- a very comprehensive feature with links is here, and Sameer has an update here.

Looking through coverage last night, I noticed some speculation about an email said to have been sent to news organizations in India identifying the attackers as "Deccan Mujahideen" -- specifically, there are reports that this email was traced back to an IP address in Russia. Apparently, some state officials in India are saying that this is one of the pieces of evidence that suggests foreign involvement, but I don't know enough to judge whether that's likely (and I haven't seen the email). The fact that email evidence and IP analysis are now part of the story is an interesting new development, though. 24 hours after the first attack, the identity of those responsible has not been confirmed, and the crisis is ongoing.

Who knows, though -- the whole "Deccan Mujahideen" thing may be smoke. This Foreign Policy article is worth a read, on that note.

One must always be suspicious when a "new" terrorist organization crops up. Today's horrific attacks in Mumbai were claimed by a previously unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen. But one India journalist claims the pattern of the attacks suggests that Lashkar-e-Taiba, a nasty Islamist organization based in Lahore, Pakistan, and with a significant presence in Kashmir and links to al Qaeda, may be to blame.

Here's where it gets interesting -- and I stress here that I am just speculating. Lashkar-e-Taiba's main goal is to expel India from Kashmir. In the past, some have accused elements of the Pakistani military and intelligence services of having ties to the group. Pakistan's government has always hotly denied such accusations.

(thanks, Oxblood)

Previously on Boing Boing: India: 80+ Reported Dead, 200+ injured in Bombay Terror Attacks

Turkey-shaped Jell-O® Mold: 2008 Competition


Boing Boing buddy Danielle Spencer points us to the winners of the "Turkey-shaped Jell-O® Mold: 2008 Competition," which we've posted here on Boing Boing for several years. My favorite is the S'Mores Turkey, above, because I can imagine myself eating it and rather enjoying it. Danielle's lofty writeups make the list even more fun. Behold, her appreciation of "Bubby's Matzoh Turkey."


In this stunning mis-en-matzoh-ball-soup, we are brought back to the original site of sustenance: the womb. Floating, trussed, lulled in a warm bath of chicken broth, we experience the original state of undifferentiated oneness, of satiety. Grand Prize Winner [by popular election] for "Best Overall Turkey" By Satya K. & Frank H.
Below, another outstanding entry, showcased in video: Turkey Festorama From Nepal!, by Michael Daube and William Purcell.


Boing Boing's Holiday Gift Guide part two: Fiction

Here's part two of my Boing Boing Holiday Gift Guide -- wherein I list the bestselling items that have been reviewed here in the past twelve months. Today, it's fiction. Don't miss yesterday's Kids' stuff and stuff about kids post, too! (Note that some of these titles appeared on yesterday's kids' list -- I wasn't sure how to handle cross-referencing for items that qualified for more than one list, so I just duplicated them for people who wanted to dive straight into the fiction list -- say -- rather than picking through the kids' list too)

Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology
(John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly)
Post-Cyberpunk Anthology shows how sf has changed since the Mirroshades era
Original Boing Boing post

Halting State
(Charles Stross)
Halting State: Heist novel about an MMORPG
Original Boing Boing post

Interface
(Neal Stephenson)
Neal Stephenson's underappreciated masterpiece
Original Boing Boing post

Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse
(John Joseph Adams)
Anthology of apocalyptic fiction
Original Boing Boing post

Futures from Nature
(Henry Gee)
100 short-short sf stories from Nature Magazine
Original Boing Boing post

The SFWA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent
(James Morrow and Kathryn Morrow)
A chance to read sf from outside of the Anglo Bubble
Original Boing Boing post

Little Brother
(Cory Doctorow)
My bestselling young adult novel about kids who hack for freedom
Original Boing Boing post

The Starry Rift
(Jonathan Strahan)
Science fiction anthology for teens
Original Boing Boing post

Steampunk
(Ann and Jeff VanderMeer)
Steampunk: the anthology
Original Boing Boing post

Distraction
(Bruce Sterling)
Bruce Sterling's visionary novel Distraction: still brilliant a decade later
Original Boing Boing post

The Yiddish Policemen's Union: A Novel
(Michael Chabon)
Wonderful blend of hard-boiled and Yiddish ironies
Original Boing Boing post

Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales Of The Here And Now
(Cory Doctorow)
A six-edition series of comics adapted from my short stories by an incredibly talented crew of writers, artists, inkers and letterers
Original Boing Boing post

Goodnight Bush: A Parody
(Gan Golan, Erich Origen)
A Goodnight Moon satire for the electoral season
Original Boing Boing post

Saturn's Children
(Charles Stross)
Stross's robopervy tribute to the late late Heinlein
Original Boing Boing post

Crooked Little Vein: A Novel
(Warren Ellis)
Comic net-perv novel that would make Goatse blush
Original Boing Boing post

Random Acts of Senseless Violence
(Jack Womack)
Unflinching, engrossing, difficult coming-of-age story
Original Boing Boing post

Boy Proof
(Cecil Castellucci)
A compassionate young adult novel about a weird, smart, angry girl
Original Boing Boing post

Cycler
(Lauren McLaughlin)
Smart YA novel about sex and sexuality
Original Boing Boing post

Anathem
(Neal Stephenson)
A great story, set in an alternative reality where people take long-term thinking seriously
Original Boing Boing post

The Armageddon Rag
(George R.R. Martin)
Sex, death, blood and rock-n-roll
Original Boing Boing post

How to Ditch Your Fairy
(Justine Larbalestier)
Hilarious kids book about the problems with fairies
Original Boing Boing post

Nation
(Terry Pratchett)
Moving and sweet young adult novel about science, superstition and decency
Original Boing Boing post

The Graveyard Book
(Neil Gaiman)
Spooky, magical retelling of The Jungle Book in a graveyard
Original Boing Boing post

The Forever War
(Joe Haldeman)
Classic anti-war sf novel to be a Ridley Scott film!
Original Boing Boing post

Zoe's Tale
(John Scalzi)
Scalzi's smart-ass young-adult sf thriller
Original Boing Boing post

Liberation: Being the Adventures of the Slick Six After the Collapse of the United States of America
(Brian Francis Slattery)
A magical road-novel about America in collapse, Bradbury meets Kerouac
Original Boing Boing post

Tony Benn's inventions


Yesterday, I blogged about the audiobook of the latest volume of Tony Benn's diaries, an inspiring look at the life of a passionate, brilliant retired politician who refused to accept the invasion of Iraq as necessary or inevitable.

Now iRoy reminds us that Benn isn't just Britain's longest-serving parliamentarian -- he's also an inventor, the creator of the "backbencher" ("a rucksack with stool attached") as well as a car-mounted easy-chair, a totally bad-ass pocket-protector, a briefcase that turns into a lectern, a magnetic map for logging your parking spot, and the "seat-case," a suitcase that turns into a chair.

Tony Benn's world of invention (Thanks, iRoy!)

"A fruitfull and liberall harvest"

Pilgrim's blog -- 1623.

[I may not here omite how, notwithstand all their great paines and industrie, and the great hops of a large cropp, the Lord seemed to blast, and take away the same, and to threaten further and more sore famine unto them, by a great drought which continued from the 3. weeke in May, till about the midle of July, without any raine, and with great heat (for the most parte), insomuch as the come begane to wither away, though it was set with fishe, the moysture wherof helped it much. Yet at length it begane to languish sore, and some of the drier grounds were partched like withered hay, part wherof was never recovered. Upon which they sett a parte a solemne day of humilliation, to seek the Lord by humble and fervente prayer, in this great distrese. And he was pleased to give them a gracious and speedy answer, both to thier owne and the Indeans admiration, that lived amongest them. For all the morning, and greatest part of the day, it was clear weather and very hotte, and not a cloud or any signe of raine I to be seen, yet toward evening it begane to overcast, and shortly after to raine, with shuch sweete and gentle showers, as gave them cause of rejoyceing, and blesing God. It came, without either wind, or thunder, or any violence, and by degreese in that abundance, as that the earth was thorowly wete and soked therwith. Which did so apparently revive and quicken the decayed come and other fruits, as was wonderfull to see, and made the Indeans astonished to behold; and afterwards the Lord sent them shuch seasonable showers, with enterchange of faire warme weather, as, through his blessing, caused a fruitfull and liberall harvest, to their no small comforte and rejoycing. For which mercie (in time conveniente) they also sett aparte a day of thanksgiveing. This being overslipt in its place, I thought meet here to inserte the same.]
Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford.

May your Thanksgiving bring "no small comforte and rejoycing."

Record labels are b0rked

In a barn-burner of an interview, academic Bethany Klein of the University of Leeds discusses the fundamental broken-ness of the record industry and the growing acceptance of acts that license their work for commercials. Klein's just finished a book, As Heard on TV: Popular Music in Advertising, which explores the subject in depth.
Major labels function with the assumption that 90 percent of artists they sign are going to fail – that should have been a red flag for everybody. I mean that’s a bizarre business model in any arena. But particularly in the cultural arena, the idea that the system through which culture is transmitted is dictated entirely by profit should concern us, because that’s going to narrow the types of culture that are transmitted. And then, on top of that, the alternative venues of distribution are stuck in the shadows of these major labels. So it’s not like there’s a viable alternative, necessarily, for artists who don’t fit into this very narrow range that can become the 10 percent that are profitable and popular.
ROCK STAR! (Brought to You by HUGE ADVERTISER!) (via Anil Dash)

Pie hat!


Now here's a festive holiday crochet project: a hat shaped like a scrumptious pie! They will see you in the street and they will shout, "Delicious head, delicious head, delicious head!" but you will only smile to yourself and think, "Yes, and the zombies love me too, for my brains are wrapped in a tasty layer of pie."

Holiday Pie-rets (via Neatorama)

Disabled boy to lose his tiny pony because the neighbours don't like the smell

A disabled boy in a rural Ontario town may have to give up the miniature pony that he rides as part of his therapy and for his basic mobility. The family's neighbours (who border on a friggin' cow farm) have complained about the smell.

The boy can’t walk or crawl, and Emily is part of his therapy regime.

“When we take him off the pony he cries. Even if he’s tired he doesn’t want to leave her,’’ his mother, Antonia Spiteri, said today.

But at the end of July, the town notified the Spiteris the pony had to be removed due to the complaints...

‘‘The cows go right up to their property too. We thought, ‘You’re kidding – seven cows to one miniature pony?’ We were quite shocked by what we thought was a joke at first.”

Caledon bylaw enforcement manager Glenn Blakely said the Spiteris’ one-acre property is zoned as rural residential and is too small to house a miniature pony.

Town threatens to evict disabled boy’s pony (via Mighty God King)