Boing Boing 

Rogue helicopter pilots and "chameleon lemon-headed coward terrorist pussies."

This one's from ye olde YouTubes way back in aught-six -- but a friend just shared it with me tonight.

"I've been ready to explode like Mt St Helen's since the weekend of May 27th and 28th," says the bowl-haired and beturtlenecked gentleman with the stack of redacted documents. (thanks, misteryes!)

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Glenn Beck intvud by Katie Couric on his definition (or lack thereof) of "white culture." Link (ht: misteryes)

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Ralph Lauren opens new outlet store in the Uncanny Valley


Dude, her head's bigger than her pelvis. From Photoshop Disasters (thanks, Antinous!)

Zork rock anthem

Phil sez, "Errol and Pifie, two members of the 50 Songs in 90 Days songwriting challenge (known as 50/90) have created a nerd-core masterpiece. A rockin' walkthrough to the original ZORK text adventure game."

Walkthrough, MP3 download (Thanks, Phil!)

Apple 1984 ad, updated for 2009

DVD Jon sez, "Apple's been making an increasing number of anti-consumer moves over the last few years, so we thought it was time to remake their 1984 ad to reflect reality."

Big Brother ad by doubleTwist

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Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and John Lennon! The LS Bumble Bee video Link

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Robots Are Taking Over the World (but ukeleles will save us).

Boing Boing reader Patrick Misterovich writes,

My 12 year old son is the singer in a ukulele based indie band called The Scribbles. This video is of a live performance of their song "The Robot Song."

Web Zen: music viddy zen 2009

phenomenal handclap band
sniper twins
ballad of g.i. joe
screaming flailing machine
my territory
domo darko
bear force one
bellyful tv
the take-away shows

previously on web zen:
video killed the radio zen
music viddy zen 2007
music viddy zen 2004
music viddy zen 2003

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, Twitter.

GRISTLEISM: Throbbing Gristle's unusual new "box set"


Richard Metzger writes:

When Boing Boing’s Xeni Jardin and I interviewed Throbbing Gristle in Los Angeles, during the sound-check we were talking to Charlie Poulet, TG’s brilliant sound engineer. There was an insanely trippy song coming over the PA system and I asked him what it was. “Oh, THAT. That is a Buddha Machine—ever hear of one?”

A Buddha Machine is a little plastic box that resembles a cheap transistor radio. It has a built-in speaker and runs continuous tape loops of chanting or soothing, natural, trippy, etc, sounds. They are hipster remakes of the Tibetan prayer loop boxes (they’re ubiquitous all over China) and are manufactured by a company called FM3.

Charlie was running several of them at once to create the amazing sound-scape going on in the background as we spoke. A little while later, Chris Carter hinted that soon TG would be announcing a “special musical project” that involved no CD or MP3s whatsoever. I suspected at the time he was hazily describing something similar to a Buddha Machine. TG-stylee and I was right. Check it out!

Metzger has details here on Dangerous Minds. You can order your very own GRISTLEISM here.

My recent money-related posts at

Here are some of my recent posts about money for

Creditsnap Credit Report Card: A Truly Free Look at Your Credit Record (left): " launched a new, truly free online tool called Credit Report Card, which gives you an easy-to-understand snapshot of your credit report, along with estimated scores from the different reporting agencies."

Should I Buy It? A Flowchart to Help You Decide: "The purpose of my 'should I buy it?' question and the purpose of April's flowchart is the same: to force you to stop and think before buying something. Sometimes, a small delay between impulse and action is all it takes to avoid making an unnecessarily costly purchase."

Immunize Yourself Against Sneaky Sales Tactics: "Using insight gleaned from Dan Ariely's book Predictably Irrational, Jeff Atwood goes through marketers' sleazy tactics, one-by-one, telling you how to avoid falling prey to them."

Can You Save Money with a Self-Watering Gardening Container?: "I bought three 'Ready to Grow Complete Kits' from EarthBox for $55 each and set them up on my deck. Besides all the components (including casters so you can roll the boxes around), they come with potting mix, a bag of organic fertilizer, and a bag of dolomite with trace elements. As the website says, all you need are plants and water."

Using Brain Scans to Beat the Free Rider Problem: "The house I live on is on a private street shard by about 20 other houses. The City of Los Angeles does not maintain the street, so when repairs are needed, the residents must pay for them. Over the last couple of years, a lot of big potholes have formed. Several of the residents decided something needed to be done about it, and sent copies of repair estimates to everyone who lives on the street. If everyone pitched in an equal amount, the price per household would be $2,500 to fix the street. Most of the households paid the $2,500, but a few refused to pay."

The High Price of Ignoring the Future: "Would you rather be given £45 in three days, or £70 in three months? That was the question put to 40,000 people who took part in an experiment conducted by the BBC and the University College of London."

Dan Pink on the Surprising Science of Motivation: "Dan has been studying the psychology of human motivation. In this video, Dan offers some counter-intuitive advice about using financial rewards to incentivize people."

Would You Steal Medicine to Save Your Spouse's Life?: "Heinz broke into the drugstore and stole the drug for his wife. Should Heinz have done that?"

Money Can Buy Happiness, After All, as Long as You Don't Spend it on Yourself : "It turns out that money can buy happiness -- provided you spend it on the right things."

The Curse of Winning the Lottery: "This article reports on the sad fates of eight lottery winners who experienced bankruptcy, drug abuse, and sometimes even prison as a result of winning the lottery."

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the name says it all ---> Link

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One small step for a clown, one giant leap for clownkind.


Space history will be made this week: the first clown launched into orbit. Canadian billionaire Guy Laliberté, the circus entrepreneur behind Cirque du Soleil, was once a street performer. Now he's a space performer. Apparently, he's planning to put on a show during the trip. BBC News, MSNBC, I hope they don't cross paths with the Killer Klowns from Outer Space. (Image: Space Adventures/ONE DROP Foundation)

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Walrus TV interviews Mike Giant Link

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Topps Nutty Initials original art on eBay


The original art for some of Norman Saunders' fantastic Nutty Initials stickers are being auctioned on eBay right now. They were produced by Topps in 1967.

NORMAN SAUNDERS (1907 - 1989) was a prolific commercial artist who produced paintings for pulp magazines, paperbacks, men's adventure magazines, comic books, and trading cards. On occasion, he signed his work with his middle name, "Blaine." These distinctive characters were probably inspired by the work of Basil Wolverton. Painted fairly small, the piece as a whole measures 3.5" x 4.75, and there is some minor paint chipping in the black areas surrounding the monster, and glue residue on the reverse. Very good condition otherwise.
Nutty Initials stickers (Via Anonymous Works)

@BBVBOX: recent guest-tweeted web video picks (

(Ed. Note: The Boing Boing Video site includes a guest-curated microblog: the "BBVBOX." Here, folks whose taste in web video we admire tweet the latest clips they find. We'll post roundups here on the motherBoing.)

  • Jesse Thorn: I'm so disappointed that they left this crazy Russian sailor version of "Let It Be" off that Beatles box set. Link
  • Richard Metzger: It's good to see that Papa John Phillips didn't fuck up all his kids! Link
  • Jesse Thorn: Apparently Tracy Morgan was "the invisible fourth Tony! Toni! Tone!, also called Tony." Link
  • Richard Metzger: Margaret Thatcher Calls the House of Lords, genius funny Link
  • Jesse Thorn: Finally, someone is standing up for the real heroes in the health care reform debate: insurance companies. Link
  • Richard Metzger: Meet Kent French, champion hand clapper! Link
  • Sean Bonner: 28 Days Later reenacted in one minute Link (via @rudy)
  • Jesse Thorn: The Godfather of Soul ripping it up on Letterman in 1982. Link
  • Richard Metzger: Alan Arkin apeshit on Muppet Show Link
  • Sean Bonner: To Live and Ride in LA (on bikes!) Link
  • Richard Metzger: Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day out today in Canada (this and they get free healthcare, too?) Link
  • Richard Metzger: Star Maidens (1975) The security guards wear go-go boots and mini-skirts Link
  • Richard Metzger: Sarah Palin's Running Mate in 2012? The Skoal Rebel think Obama should be impeached! Link (warning: includes generous use of the n-word.)


Zeitoun Book Giveaway Haiku Contest

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Scientific study on subliminals

In 1957, James Vicary famously flashed subliminal advertising messages on a movie screen and claimed it boosted sales of refreshments. Vicary later admitted that he had lied about the results. Since then, the effectiveness of subliminals has been the subject of some debate. A new study from University College London suggests that negative subliminal messages can work, at least in a laboratory setting. The researchers flashed a series of positive (cheerful, etc.), negative (agony, etc.), or neutral (box, etc.) words on a screen but not long enough for them to be consciously read. When the subjects were asked if the words they couldn't consciously have read were positive, negative, or neutral, they accurately categorized 66% of the negative word. From the BBC News:
The researchers found that the participants answered most accurately when responding to negative words, even when they believed they were merely guessing the answer. They were able to accurately categorise 66% of the negative words compared to 50% of the positive ones.

Subliminal advertising is not permitted on television in the UK.

But Professor (Nillie) Lavie said her work could be applicable to marketing campaigns: "Negative words may have more of a rapid impact - "Kill Your Speed" should work better than "Slow Down".

Kill your boredom by reading Boing Boing!!!

"More controversially, a competitor's negative qualities may work on a subconscious level much more effectively than shouting about your own selling points."
"Negative subliminal messages work"

Visionaire magazine: paper-engineered issue

Visionoairrr-1 Gurskyyyyy-1
Issue #55 of ultradesigned fashion/art/culture magazine is a gorgeous slipcased collection of pop-up designed by the likes of Andreas Gursky, Steven Meisel, Sophie Calle, and engineered by Bruce Foster. As Mark F said, watching the lovely promotional video on the Visionaire site is probably nearly as satisfying as actually owning a copy of the issue, which sells for $250. Visionaire: Surprise (Thanks, Gareth Branwyn!)

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind -- fantastic new book about a how a Malawian teenager harnessed the power of the wind

I reviewed The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind for Good. I think it's one of the best books I've ever read. Here's an excerpt of my review:

William Kamkwamba's parents couldn't afford the $80 yearly tuition for their son's school. The boy sneaked into the classroom anyway, dodging administrators for a few weeks until they caught him. Still emaciated from the recent deadly famine that had killed friends and neighbors, he went back to work on his family’s corn and tobacco farm in rural Malawi, Africa.

With no hope of getting the funds to go back to school, William continued his education by teaching himself, borrowing books from the small library at the elementary school in his village. One day, when William was 14, he went to the library searching for an English-Chichewa dictionary to find out what the English word "grapes" meant, and came across a fifth-grade science book called Using Energy. Describing this moment in his autobiography, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (co-written with Bryan Mealer), William wrote, "The book has since changed my life."

Using Energy described how windmills could be used to generate electricity. Only two percent of Malawians have electricity, and the service is notoriously unreliable. William decided an electric windmill was something he wanted to make. Illuminating his house and the other houses in his village would mean that people could read at night after work. A windmill to pump water would mean that they could grow two crops a year rather than one, grow vegetable gardens, and not have to spend two hours a day hauling water. "A windmill meant more than just power," he wrote, "it was freedom."

For an educated adult living in a developed nation, designing and building a wind turbine that generates electricity is something to be proud of. For a half-starved, uneducated boy living in a country plagued with drought, famine, poverty, disease, a cruelly corrupt government, crippling superstitions, and low expectations, it's another thing altogether. It's nothing short of monumental.

Read the rest of my review at GOOD.

(It was very exciting to read that William's favorite magazine is Make!)

Mystery School

Manlyhallalala Mysteryyyyy

Boing Boing guestblogger Mitch Horowitz is author of Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation and editor-in-chief of Tarcher/Penguin publishers.

One of the weirdest and most wonderful sites on the map of spiritual Los Angeles is the Philosophical Research Society (PRS). Occult scholar Manly P. Hall (1901-1990) opened this Mayan-Egyptian-art-deco campus in the Griffith Park neighborhood in 1934. Hall was the author of the legendary encyclopedia of occult lore, The Secret Teachings of All Ages (quoted in the epigraph to Dan Brown's latest novel), and he designed the Philosophical Research Society, or PRS, as his sanctum and school. I'm speaking at PRS this coming Saturday, October 3rd and Sunday, October 4th, at 2 p.m. daily on the history of the occult in America. I'll be considering everything from the career of Manly P. Hall to the growth of "mind power" mysticism. From Occult America:
Hall fancifully spoke of modeling his headquarters after the ancient mystery school of Pythagoras. More practically, PRS provided a cloistered setting where Hall spent the rest of his life teaching, writing, and assembling a remarkable collection of antique texts and devotional objects. His small campus eventually grew to include a 50,000-volume library with catwalks and floor-to-ceiling shelves; a 300-seat auditorium with a throne-like chair for the master teacher; a bookstore; a warehouse for the many titles he wrote and sold; a wood-paneled office (complete with a walk-in vault for antiquities); and a sunny stucco courtyard. Designed in an unusual pastiche of Mayan, Egyptian, and art-deco motifs, PRS became one of the most popular destinations for L.A.'s spiritually curious, and remains so.
Philosophical Research Society

G20 police uses arrested student as trophy in group photo

On his blog, Jonathan Turley writes that this video "appears to show Pittsburgh police during G20 protests using an arrested citizen as a prop for a group photo." That's what it looks like to me, too. (Via The Agitator)

Jokes Cracked by Lord Aberdeen


Bookride (a marvelous blog about dealing in rare books) mentioned Jokes Cracked by Lord Aberdeen, with this sample howler entitled "Another Irish one":

An Irish Census recorder on enquiring - 'How many males in this house?' received the reply - 'Three of course; breakfast, lunch and tea!'
Jokes Cracked by Lord Aberdeen

Harper's Weekly for September 29, 2009

Here's the standout bit from the latest Harper's Weekly Review:
A Pennsylvania judge ruled that a police officer who orally violated five calves was not guilty of animal cruelty, pointing out that it was impossible to know whether the young cows were "tormented" or "puzzled," or even irritated that the policeman's penis was not actually food. "If the cow had the cognitive ability to form thought and speak," reflected Judge James Moreley, "Would it say, 'Where's the milk? I'm not getting any milk.'"

(A NY Daily News article reports that this happened in New Jersey, not Pennsylvania, and that the Judge's name is Morely, not Moreley, as reported in the Weekly Review. The police officer, Robert Melia Jr., , has also been charged with sexually assaulting three girls.)

Harper's Weekly Review by Claire Gutierrez

Android developers pledge to make open equivalents to Google's proprietary apps

Google's legal threat against an open source Android developer who made a replacement phone firmware that ran faster than Google's own slow-and-poky version has sparked a commitment to replace all of Google's proprietary apps with free alternatives. Cyanogen, an Android dev, made much-loved Android OSes that bundled in Google's default apps, like Google Maps, and Google says that this violates their copyrights and has ordered him to stop. They're probably right as a matter of law, but this is infra-dumb as a business question: Google's default Android OS is very slow, and shipping these improved OSes only makes the pitch for Android more attractive.
Google, however, appears to be significantly less permissive on this front than Microsoft. The company's legal department objects to the Cyanogen mod on the basis of its inclusion of Google's proprietary software. They sent Kondik a cease and desist order compelling him to remove the mod from his Web site. The Android enthusiast community has responded fiercely, condemning Google for taking a heavy-handed approach. Even Google's own Android team appears to be frustrated with the legal department's zeal. After the news about the cease and desist broke, Google developer Jean-Baptiste Queru posted a message on Twitter suggesting that he could be pursuing alternate employment opportunities.

Kondik expressed disgust with the entire situation, but has been working with Google to find a reasonable resolution. He remains optimistic that he can accommodate Google's requirements and still make his mod available to users. In a blog entry posted Sunday, he explained how he plans to move forward. The Cyanogen mod will no longer include Google's proprietary applications. Instead, users who have "Google Experience" phones will back up those applications to external media and will restore them after installing the modded ROM. He is building a special tool to facilitate the backup and restoration process.

Irate Android devs aim to replace Google's proprietary bits

HOWTO remember to retrieve food after a playdate

Love this Parenthacks tip: when you put kids' food in a friend's fridge during a playdate, put your keys in with the food and you won't forget to bring it with you.

You won't forget items stored in a friend's fridge if you toss your keys in as well

Can't Take It With You - A Landmark Muslims in America Photo Exhibit

Bassam Tariq is a Boing Boing guestblogger who is the co-author of 30 Mosques. A blog that celebrated the NYC mosques during the Islamic month of Ramadan. He lives in Harlem, NY.

Never before have I seen my community photographed with such dignity and hope . Omar Mullick, an award winning photographer who shoots for National Geographic, NY Times, etc., has traveled all across America for 7 years documenting the elusive Muslim American community.

The photography will be on display at GalleryFCB Thursday, October 8th at 6:00 pm. The gallery runs for the entire month, but please join us at the opening of this historic exhibit. RSVP on the Facebook Event if you can.

Omar has given me the permission to showcase a handful of photos here at Boing Boing.

More images and info after the jump.

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Boneshaker: Cherie Priest's swashbuckling steampunk Seattle story

Cherie Priest's zombie steampunk mad-science dungeon crawl family adventure novel Boneshaker is everything you'd want in such a volume and much more.

Boneshaker is the story of the Wilkes/Blue family, a storied Seattle clan whose three generations unmade and remade the city through a series of scientific and martial adventures that are recounted with great relish and verve. First, there's Leviticus Blue, an arrogant mad scientist who developed a great tunnelling machine (part of a Russian-sponsored competition to improve Alaskan gold-mining) and undermined the city of Seattle, releasing the Blight, a poisonous gas that causes the dead to rise, and to hunger for the flesh of the living. Then, Maynard Wilkes, a prison guard in Seattle, committed an act of great mercy and bravery by releasing the prisoners in his care before they could be blighted, losing his life in the process, and becoming a hero to those left behind the walled-off city of Seattle, and a pariah to the settlers in the Outskirts beyond the wall. Then there's Briar Wilkes, the widow of Leviticus and the daughter of Maynard, who is scraping by in the Outskirts, trying to outrun her reputation but unable to, and unable to escape Seattle because of the great Civil War that is eating America with martial trains and dirigibles and great armies. Finally, there's Ezekiel Wilkes, the son of Briar and Leviticus, who has snuck back into the walled city, wearing an antiquated Blight-mask, to discover the truth about his father.

And that's where the action kicks off, with son and mother chasing one another through the Blighted city of Seattle, avoiding the zombies, befriending the Chinese laborers who run the great machines that suck clean air from beyond the wall into the sealed tunnels beneath the city, trying to escape the clutches of the evil Dr Minnericht, the self-appointed king of Seattle (who may or may not be Leviticus Blue), befriending rogue zeppelin pilots, armored giants, and steam-powered cyborg barmaids.

It's full of buckle and has swash to spare, and the characters are likable and the prose is fun. This is a hoot from start to finish, pure mad adventure.


Bletchley Park gets National Lottery preservation funds

The National Lottery has awarded Bletchley Park -- the site of the invention of modern cryptography and a key piece of computer history -- a £460,500 grant as a start on the £10m worth of desperately needed preservation spending. There's some indication that they'll come up with more money in the future, too.

Don't get me wrong, I'm overjoyed to see Bletchley saved from ruin, but isn't it kind of ironic that the funding to preserve the institute that demonstrated, once and for all, the power of randomness and the dangers of statistical innumeracy is coming from a state-sponsored scam that preys on innumeracy and bad intuition about randomness? I suspect that Turing and co would have sensibly looked at the lotto and said, "Pssht, I have a higher chance of dying before the balls are drawn than I have of winning the jackpot. No thanks."

The grant, announced today, is worth £460,500 - a fraction of the £10m it will take to convert Bletchley Park into a world-class heritage site but it will allow the trust to draw up a detailed plan and go back for more. Combined with other money coming in, including grants from English Heritage and Milton Keynes Council, it should be enough to save Bletchley's famous out-buildings.

Hut 6 at Bletchley Park, where a team of brilliant mathematicians and linguists decoded messages sent by Hitler to his generals, is scandalously dilapidated. Its wooden walls and roof are literally rotting away. It was in this hut that messages brought in by bike messengers from listening stations all over Britain were decoded into German. They were then passed to Hut 3, for translation and analysis.

Huts used to defeat Nazis rescued by £4m grant (via O'Reilly Radar)

@BBVBOX: recent guest-tweeted web video picks (

(Ed. Note: The Boing Boing Video site includes a guest-curated microblog: the "BBVBOX." Here, folks whose taste in web video we admire tweet the latest clips they find. We'll post roundups here on the motherBoing.)


Tweet (#4463252364)

Wonderwall: Ultimate 60s Flick? Link

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