Boing Boing 

Podcast horror story about wanting to fly

This week on the most excellent Pseudopod horror podcast, David Nickle's fantastic story "The Inevitability of Earth," a tale about the ignobility of those who would fly:
When Michael was just a kid, Uncle Evan made a movie of Grandfather. He used an old eight-millimeter camera that wound up with a key and had three narrow lenses that rotated on a plate. Michael remembered holding the camera. It was supposedly light-weight for its time, but in his six-year-old hands, it seemed like it weighed a ton. Uncle Evan had told him to be careful with it; the camera was a precision instrument, and it needed to be in good working order if the movie was going to be of any scientific value.

The movie was of Grandfather doing his flying thing -- flapping his arms with a slow grace as he shut his eyes and turned his long, beak-ish nose to the sky. Most of the movie was only that: a thin, middle-aged man, flapping his arms, shutting his eyes, craning his neck. Grandfather's apparent foolishness was compounded by the face of young Michael flashing in front of the lens; blocking the scene, and waving like an idiot himself. Then the camera moved, and Michael was gone -

And so was Grandfather.

Dave's got a new short story collection coming soon, available for pre-order: Monstrous Affections.

Pseudopod 144: The Inevitability of Earth

MP3 Link

Pseudopod podcast feed

Mickey-ears skull ring

The Great Frog's Michael Mouse Ring is a sweet chunk of chunky, infringing silver: a skull in Mickey ears.

Michael Mouse Ring

Young Conservative rappers explain Jesus, Ayn Rand, and ANWR drilling

In this short video, sneering rappers from the young conservative movement bust rhymes about drilling in Alaska, forcing women to bear foetuses to term, eliminating social programs and merging Church and State. Lines include: "Three things taught me conservative love: Jesus, Ronald Reagan, plus Atlas Shrugged;" and "Everyone can succeed because our soldiers bleed."

It's (apparently) not a parody.

Why Conservatives Can't Dance

Structure of the Sun papercraft


Among the free papercraft downloads at Canon's website is this beautiful model of the structure of the sun -- a perfect project for a sunny weekend!

Structure of the Sun (via Make)

FBI terrorist interrogator on the uselessness of torture and the efficacy of cookies

A former FBI interrogator who successfully extracted secrets from senior Al Qaeda members using psychological tricks has gone public with his feelings on the ineffectiveness of torture. As he explained on CBC's As It Happens, torture is especially bad when you've got a "ticking bomb" situation, as a good psychological interrogator can establish rapport in hours, while torturing Al Quaeda suspects required dozens of sessions with waterboards and days of sleep deprivation to get any intelligence (and what it got, no one trusts):
Ali Soufan, a former FBI interrogator, revealed in an article being released in June that Osama Bin Laden's bodyguard opened up about the 9/11 terror attacks only after being offered -- sugar free cookies.

Bin Laden lieutenant Abu Jandal is a diabetic, Soufan said, and wouldn't eat sugar cookies he'd been offered.

"Soufan noticed that he didn't touch any of the cookies that had been served with tea: 'He was a diabetic and couldn't eat anything with sugar in it,' Time's Bobby Ghosh wrote. "At their next meeting, the Americans brought him some sugar-free cookies, a gesture that took the edge off Abu Jandal's angry demeanor.

"We had showed him respect, and we had done this nice thing for him," Soufan told Ghosh. "So he started talking to us instead of giving us lectures..."

"It took more questioning, and some interrogators' sleight of hand, before the Yemeni gave up a wealth of information about al-Qaeda -- including the identities of seven of the 9/11 bombers -- but the cookies were the turning point," Ghosh writes.

"After that, he could no longer think of us as evil Americans," Soufan said. "Now he was thinking of us as human beings."

Cookies, not torture, convinced al Qaeda suspect to talk, FBI interrogator says (Thanks, Mark!)

How Chryslers are made: chipper stop-motion film from 1939 World's Fair

Ben sez, "A film from the 1939 World's Fair showing a Chrysler being built in Stop Action animation. Originally filmed in 'Three-Dimensional Polaroid Film.'"

Man, this thing has got it all: golden age World's Fair, that fantastic chipper music, dancing brightly colored machine-parts... I want to crawl in and nestle among the sparkplugs.

Exclusive: Chrysler Builds a Car (Thanks, Ben!)

Friday Night Zappa

(Rudy Rucker is a guestblogger. His latest novel, Hylozoic, describes a postsingular world in which everything is alive.)

Sooo...it's Friday night again.

How about a playlist of thirty or so videos by Frank Zappa!

We miss you, Frank.

Guide to some of the military's rock bands

Over at Playboy.com, the inimitable Jack Boulware surveys the greatest of the military rock bands. Some are "official" while others, called "kix bands" by the Navy, are in it just for the, er, kicks. From Playboy.com:
Battlebandddddd Hang Ten aka US Navy Pacific Fleet Rock Band

Based at: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Members: Nine

Official Description: “An extensive repertoire encompassing popular music from the 1960's to today's latest hits…everything from rock and pop to disco and light jazz”

Playlist: Guns N’ Roses, Gwen Stefani, Bob Marley

Original Songs: None listed

Bonus: Navy publicity requested control and approval over this story!
"Battle of the Battle Bands"

Alex Pang on Tinkering

Just in time for the Maker Faire Bay Area this weekend, my Institute for the Future colleague Alex Pang wrote a fascinating essay about tinkering. I love the word "tinker." Back in Cincinnati, my oldest brother Mark, a lifelong maker who is now a research scientist and physician, spent his teen years digging around in an electronics hobbyist supply shop called The Tinker where resistors and capacitors were sold by the pound. From Vodafone Receiver:
What is interesting is that at its best, tinkering has an almost Zen-like sense of the present: its 'now' is timeless. It is neither heedless of the past or future, nor is it in headlong pursuit of immediate gratification. Tinkering offers a way of engaging with today's needs while also keeping an eye on the future consequences of our choices. And the same technological and social trends that have made tinkering appealing seem poised to make it even more pervasive and powerful in the future. Today we tinker with things; tomorrow, we will tinker with the world.

What is tinkering? Discovering that certain snack tins can be used to make an antenna that extends the range of your wi-fi network, using electric toothbrush motors to power small robots, building a high-altitude balloon that takes video of the edge of space, are all examples of tinkering. It is technical work and a cultural attitude. Tinkering is customizing software and stuff; making new combinations of things that work better than their parts; and discovering new capabilities in or uses for existing products. Despite its fascination with things and bits, it is resolutely human-focused: you don't make things 'better' in some dry technical sense, you make them work better for you. Tinkerers modify everything from cars, computers, and cellphones, to virtual worlds and computer code. They are driven by a desire to experiment, to make existing technologies more useful, and to customize them to better suit users' needs.

According to MIT professor Mitch Resnick, tinkering might look at first like traditional engineering, but it is very different. Both are about designing and making things; but engineering tends to be top-down, linear, structured, abstract and rules-based - a highly formal, organized activity, meant to be carried out in (and in the service of) large organizations. Tinkering, in contrast, is bottom-up, iterative, experimental, practical and improvisational: informal and disorganized, accessible to anyone who is willing to learn (and fail) and it doesn't follow any plan too closely.
"Tinkering to the future"

Web Zen: Feline Zen


05.29.09 : feline zen 2009

Sorry I'm Late: stop-motion film



Sorry I'm Late is a fantastic stop-motion short film by Tomas Mankovsky. It was shot from above using a still camera. (Thanks, Carrie!)

ME BIGFOOT. ME ON TWITTER.


@hellobigfoot. Usually, him one does following, but now it is your turn.

If you don't have any of the books already, do yourself a favor. If nothing else, you can use one as a shield when he sneaks into your tent and tries to make off with all your granola and bullets. Here they are:
* In Me Own Words: The Autobiography of Bigfoot
* Me Write Book: It Bigfoot Memoir
* Bigfoot: I Not Dead

(Thanks, Graham Roumieu, and thanks for turning me on to the books like 5 years ago, Susannah Breslin!)

Pick The Perp

Cannabissss
Pick The Perp is a fun site where the aim is pick the perpetrator of a crime from a line up.
"Booking mug shots and related information is gathered from arrest records from open sheriff's web sites in the United States of America. Those appearing here have not been convicted of the arrest charge and are presumed innocent. Do not rely on this site to determine any person's actual criminal record. "
Pick The Perp (Thanks, Steven Leckart!)

Wiki on using IT in curriculum

My mom (who has a Ph.D. in early childhood education) sez, "What does teaching and learning look like in the 21st Century? What about 21st Century learning spaces? How can Bloom's Taxonomy be applied to the Digital world? Check out Andrew Churches' wiki where 21st educators are invited to share in this emerging conversation."

Educational Origami (Thanks, Mom!)

Where Euro Parliament candidates stand on digital rights

Glyn sez, "If you're in Europe you may be considering who you should vote for in the up coming European elections. To help you the Open Rights Group sent a questionnaire to UK MEP candidates, asking them where they stand on digital rights issues."
Does your privacy, fair copyright, data retention and keeping the internet open matter to your MEP candidates? We've asked the main candidates what they think about four issues ORG campaigns on. You can see how the parties have done - both how many have responded, and what they have said. You can then judge for yourself who deserves your vote. You can also help by asking candidates who haven't responded to give us an answer, which we will then display on the website. All the candidate details are publicly available from party or campaign websites, and where we have found them, we have also added these to our site. If you do contact a candidate, please remember to be polite and helpful.
Do Your MEP Candidates Agree with ORG? (Thanks, Glyn!)

Swiss Writing Knife

(Rudy Rucker is a guestblogger. His latest novel, Hylozoic, describes a postsingular world in which everything is alive.)

boingizknife.jpg

Recently my jeweler daughter, Isabel, made me a great “Swiss Writing Knife” with symbols of seven of the things I’m interested in: A Zhabotinsky scroll (for cellular automata), the Mandelbrot set (for fractals), a robot, A Square (for the fourth dimension), Infinity, a UFO, a Cone Shell (for diving, cellular automata, universal automatism, and SF). It’s gold-colored metal and the little “blades” swing in and out, with the icons in silver-colored metal riveted on.

I tend to adjust the knife according to what kind of story or novel I'm working on, and I keep it by my keyboard as a good luck amulet, or an embodied muse.

boingizjewel.jpg

Isabel's business, Isabel Jewelry is in Pinedale, Wyoming, and she makes most of her sales over the web. One of her customers was in fact Boing's own Cory Doctorow, who had her custom-make a pair of crypto-device wedding rings.

boingizsingers.jpg

As a sometime zinester, Isabel has a cool drawings site as well---check out her "Get Back" story about thongs. Isabel's graphic novel, "Unfurling: The World's Longest Comic Strip," will be on display this November at the SOMArts Gallery in San Francisco, all four hundred or so feet of it!

BB Video - Boiler Bar: Oilpunk Creations + Sexy Burlesque Gyrations


(Download / Watch on YouTube) Today's Boing Boing Video episode is a special pre-Maker Faire warmup extravaganza: the oil-punk creations and sexy burlesque gyrations of the Boiler Bar. Creator and host Jon Sarriugarte (who I first met through SRL) explains:

Oilpunk: is Punk, Hot Rod, Geek, Blue Collar, and Maker Culture mixed together with the Petroleum Golden Age of the last century. It's the intersection of petroleum products, art, and science. It harkens back to a time when hard work, combustion engines and industry shaped us, yet it speaks to the future. It's taking the castoffs of modern industrial culture and objects from the last decade to reuse today. Dirty, greasy, sweaty, it's a work hard, play hard style.

The Boiler Bar is what blue collar out of work down on their luck Bay Area artist decided to do with their spare time and last dollar. Come by and share our delight of the sparkle in the dust of this golden age of petroleum. Drink our hooch and watch the girls sing and dance their way to you heart, then be dazzled by the labor of men spent in seconds in glorious aerial and earthly displays of plenty. And as always ravers and DJ's are welcome to talk.

They'll be at Maker Faire this weekend, and Dorkbot very soon. Here's the Golden mean fan club on facebook for our email list for upcoming shows.

Also in this episode: The snail car! a real-live blacksmith! Who also happens to be a chick! And the Neverwas Runabout, cousin to the giant Neverwas Haul! All of this and more awaits this weekend at Maker Faire Bay Area 2009. Image below courtesy dharmabum90: the Neverwas Haul, being towed by a 90-year-old steam-powered tractor.

Where to Find Boing Boing Video: RSS feed for new episodes here, YouTube channel here, subscribe on iTunes here. Get Twitter updates every time there's a new ep by following @boingboingvideo, and here are blog post archives for Boing Boing Video.

(Thanks to Boing Boing's video hosting partner Episodic, and to Shannon O'Hare of the Neverwas and Jon Sarriugarte of Boiler Bar. And big thanks to BBV guest host Aaron Muszalski and our field producer and shooter Eddie Codel.)