Boing Boing 

Hand-cranked penny-dispenser allows anyone to work for minimum wage

Blake Fall-Conroy's "Minimum Wage Machine" is a penny-dispensing Rube Goldberg machine that "allows anybody to work for minimum wage."
Custom electronics, change sorter, wood, plexiglas, motor, misc. hardware, pennies (approx. 15 x 19 x 72 inches)

The minimum wage machine allows anybody to work for minimum wage. Turning the crank will yield one penny every 5.04 seconds, for $7.15 an hour (NY state minimum wage). If the participant stops turning the crank, they stop receiving money. The machine's mechanism and electronics are powered by the hand crank, and pennies are stored in a plexiglas box.

Minimum Wage Machine (Work in Progress) (via Make)

Virtuoso cocktail shaker does his thing

Here's Japanese mixologist Kazuo Uyeda demonstrating his "hard shake" technique. Whatever he's mixing looks delicious.

ginza hard shake (via Kottke)

Charity jewelry auction for Interstitial Arts Foundation

Author Ellen Kushner writes in on behalf of the lovely Interstitial Arts Foundation, saying

To celebrate the release of Interfictions 2, their (our?) second original anthology of interstitial writing (edited by Delia Sherman & Christopher Barzak), the Interstitial Arts Foundation (promoting "art made in the interstices between genres and categories...disciplines, mediums, and cultures") invited artists & crafters to create original pieces based on stories in the book. (We did this months in advance, so all the artists got sneak peeks at the unpublished stories they chose.)

The results include a bookmark sewn with little bits that "make alien things seem oddly familar" like Theodora Goss's story "The Child-Empress of Mars," a glass bottle containing fragments of Shira Lipkin's story "Valentines" recorded in multiple mediums, and a cocktail hat embellished with semi-precious stones, refrigerator magnets, sequins, and an origami frog, all caught in a net along with words, inspired by Camilla Bruce's "Berry Moon."

Bidding runs through December 8th, and stuff will be shipped in time for the holidays. All funds raised will go toward further interstitial art projects, including anthologies, exhibitions, and salons. The IAF is dedicated to supporting and inspiring art that crosses, falls between, or breaks apart borders -- such as the pieces in this year's auction! We were amazed at just how interstitial the actual works turned out to be - and many of the artists have thanked us for giving them space to experiment and stretch their usual boundaries.

Interstitial Arts Foundation Auctions (Thanks, Ellen!)

Washington State to Microsoft: why aren't you paying your taxes?

Jeff sez,

Last week, Microsoft told Seattle's KUOW: 'We pay all our tax obligations everywhere we are, properly.' Today, Microsoft Tax Dodge, a new website focused on the company's royalty tax dodge, challenged CEO Steve Ballmer today to live up to his spoken commitment to transparent business practices: 'At this point, I think it's reasonable to ask Microsoft to back up that claim with a public explanation of the company's licensing operations. In that spirit, will you tell the public how it is that Microsoft has avoided paying Washington State's B&O Royalty Tax for the past 12 years?' Washington State currently faces a projected $2.6 billion deficit. In addition to the ethical and public relations issues that crumbling bridges and overcrowded schools (Seattle recently considered making D a passing grade) present to the state's most profitable company, the compa ny also faces deeper scrutiny of the legality of its tax practice.
An Open Letter to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer: Quit Dodging Washington Taxes (Thanks, Jeff!)

(Image: WEB DEVELOPERS!, a Creative Commons Attribution photo from Nick, Programmerman's photostream)

Disused call-box turned into world's smallest lending library

Steve sez, "A traditional red phone box has been recycled into one of the UK's smallest lending libraries - stocking 100 books, CDs, and DVDs. The phone booth was bought from British Telecom for £1, and it looks like something right out of a Doctor Who episode." [ed: technically, the Tardis is a police call box, which is green blue, not red] [/comicbookguy]

Users simply stock it with a book they have read, swapping it for one they have not...

"This facility has turned a piece of street furniture into a community service in constant use."

A resident dreamed up the idea when the village lost its phone box and mobile library in quick succession.

Phone box has new life as library (Thanks, Steve!)

(Image: Phone box and bus stop, Cheriton, Hampshire, a Creative Commons Attribution photo from Mike Cattell's photostream)

Juggling is good for you in lots of ways

Here's Scot Nery's list of eight reasons why normal people should learn to juggle. My old roommate, Possum Man, was a hell of a juggler, and though he took it up as physiotherapy for an arm injury, it quickly built to an avocation. Flaming torch and machete juggling was always a favorite at our parties.
#2 Got The Hunchies?
The average person spends 312 hours per day at a computer. Your back and neck get outta whack, your wrists start hurting and your legs fall asleep. You can combat this crappy feeling by doing light exercise - juggling is perfect. To hone the art of juggling, you need to think about standing up straight, relaxing, and using your hands correctly.

#3 I can't de-stress you with my eyes
It's nice to learn something new, do something active and get away from what seems important in your life. You can lose your tension through tons of hobbies, but juggling is a great combination of physical activity, brain stimulation, joy of success, and visual stimulation. Here's another scientific study...

8 Reasons Normal People Should Juggle

(Photo: WJD2008 - 7 JUGGLING BEANBAGS, a Creative Commons Attribution photo from madaboutasia's photostream) (via Kottke)

Change, alright -- at Little Green Footballs

"An extraordinary moment in the political blogosphere," noted @Greatdismal on Twitter, and I agree. "Feels like some rare astronomical event, something we hear about but don't bother hoping to see," he added -- "somebody changing their mind." Why I Parted Ways With The Right, at Little Green Footballs (yeah, you read that correctly).


Good news! Climate change means better wine, with a higher alcohol content. From the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Chapter 1, "The consequences of warming are already detectable in wine quality, as shown by Duchêne and Schneider (2005), with a gradual increase in the potential alcohol levels at harvest for Riesling in Alsace of nearly 2% volume in the last 30 years. On a worldwide scale, for 25 of the 30 analysed regions, increasing trends of vintage ratings (average rise of 13.3 points on a 100-point scale for every 1°C warmer during the growing season), with lower vintage-to-vintage variation, has been established (Jones, 2005)."

Sherrifs speak on "Pulp Fiction" screenwriter's jailhouse tweets

"He really messed up. He could have done nine months out of a year sentence, and not even in lock up for killing someone. Now he is going to do the remainder of that time in county jail." Ventura County Sheriff's spokesman Ross Bonfiglio on the matter of Roger Avary's jailhouse tweets, previously blogged on BB first here and later here.

Racist driving book written by Balloon Boy dad

1031_richard_heene_book_02.jpg Richard Alan Heene, best known for orchestrating the Balloon Boy hoax in October, once wrote a really bad supposed-to-be-funny book called The Official Offensive Driving Handbook. It includes racial stereotypes illustrated by exaggerated photos of buck-toothed "Orientals," turbaned "Towelheads," and "Bros" in Cadillacs. The book appears to be no longer in stock on Amazon. Balloon Boy's dad — not smart, not funny [TMZ]

Energy Literacy 3: Energy, Power, Carbon.  The basic concepts of energy literacy.


Saul Griffith is an inventor and entrepreneur. He did his PhD at MIT in programmable matter, exploring the relationship between bits and atoms, or information and materials. Since leaving MIT, he has co-founded a number of technology companies including,,,, and

How do we measure energy and power?

If you would like to quantitatively understand the relationship between your lifestyle, global energy use, and climate change, you need to establish the language with which you can translate between these things. There are many different ways we use energy, many different ways we produce energy, and many different consequences environmentally. Power and energy are being measured around us all of the time. You get your electricity bill in kilowatt hours (kWh), your gas bill in Therms or British Thermal Units (BTUs), your car's performance is measured in horsepower, and your lightbulbs are rated in watts. To compare these things you need a common set of units, and we've already encountered 4 different units (kWh, BTU, Hp, W), and two different concepts - energy and power -- and we've only just started.

The first problem with comparing these things is that some of them (BTUs and kWh) are measures of energy consumed, and some of them (horsepower and watts) are measures of power. To add to this confusion, some of them are measures of primary energy (barrels of oil equivalent, or metric tons of coal), some are measures of net electrical power at your outlet (W), some are measures of thermal energy or heat, and some are measures of net mechanical power (Hp at the wheels of your car). To wade your way through all of this, you need an intuition for the difference between energy, and power. Energy can actually be an abstract concept, while people often have a more intuitive understanding of power-- "my car has 200 horsepower!˝

Read the rest

Sophie Madeleine plays "Don't Think Twice It's All Right" on ukulele

Here's Sophie Madeleine (aka Balls of the Rocky and Balls duo) playing Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice It's All Right" on the ukulele.

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Latest Improv Everywhere perfomance: man gets "lost" at Knicks game

Charlie Todd says: "For our latest mission, Agent Lathan pretended to get lost during a Knicks game. Throughout the second half he kept appearing further and further away from his assigned seat with a confused look on his face." After a while, a bunch of people started calling out to Rob.

Where's Rob?

Read the rest

Cute Apple parody from The Sun

This seems a great illustration of why taking a positive, light-hearted tone makes the message. If there'd even been a hint of resentment or mean-spiritedness in this ad (for one of Murdoch's papers!), it would just invite ridicule.

Drew Friedman draws Frank Sinatra

My favorite living portrait artist Drew Friedman offers his take on Frank Sinatra. The fine art prints, in an edition of just 35, are $165 each. From Drew's site:
 Drewfriedman Images 7047575999-1 This portrait of Frank Sinatra by Drew Friedman captures the Chairman of the Board during the 1950s, when his persona defined sophisticated swinging. Frank knew how to hold a note, his liquor, and a dame. In button-down mainstream America, Sinatra oozed free 'n easy; on the opposite side of the cultural divide, Ol' Blue Eyes didn't have to behave like a beatnik to convey cool....

Sinatra performed with the élan of an artist who had no serious competitors. The nonchalant gestures never undercut the passion in The Voice, and his smooth delivery always hinted at power in reserve. Ten years after Frank's passing, his recordings continue to enchant old fans and seduce new ones. A personality larger than life, a legacy bigger than death. "Whatever else has been said about me personally is unimportant," he claimed. "When I sing, I believe. I'm honest."

Frank Sinatra by Drew Friedman

Mother Jones on mints for your vagina

Jen Phillips at Mother Jones has an essay about Linger, an “internal feminine flavoring.” 
Linger-Mints A little digging revealed that Linger is made/distributed by a company called Admints, which just happens to make trade show mints.  And the Linger samples just happen to have have the exact same shape, taste, and ingredients as Admint’s sample mints. So how does Linger manage to pass off breath mints as vaginal Tic Tacs in $7.99 packs?  Despite the salacious creation story and testimonials on its site (”It gets a little warm as it starts to dissolve which took just under an hour. Then, it is SO good!!”), the mint is labeled “for novelty use only.”  This is a common practice in the sex-products industry, explains Charlie Glickman, the education program manager at Good Vibrations.  It gives manufacturers some cover if something goes awry, he explains. “They could say, ‘It’s just a novelty toy. You weren’t actually expecting to use this were you?’”  And if you actually do expect to use Linger to “flavor the woman in a manner that is safe and effective,” be warned: its primary ingredient is sugar, which is not safe for the vagina.  It messes up the pH and can lead to a really painful yeast infection, a condition that definitely doesn’t make someone want to “linger.”
Vagina mints (Via Sociological Images)

Royal Society puts 60 seminal scientific papers online

The Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge (aka The Royal Society) is celebrating is 350th birthday next year. Spun out in part of the fantastically cool Invisible College, the Royal Society's members have included Isaac Newton, Robert Hooke, Charles Darwin, Tim Berners-Lee, Lise Meitner, Stephen Hawking, Marie Curie, Francis Crick, and countless other smart folks. The organization kicks off its big anniversary year with Trailblazing, a new interactive timeline that includes 60 choice articles from the journal Philosophical Transactions. From the Royal Society's announcement :
 Wikipedia Commons 9 9D Sprat Leading scientists and historians have chosen 60 articles from amongst the 60,000 published since the journal first began in 1665. Trailblazing will make the original manuscripts available online for the first time alongside fascinating insights from modern-day experts who are continuing the work of scientific giants such as Newton, Hooke, Faraday and Franklin and making vital new breakthroughs of their own in areas such as genetics, physics, climate change and medicine.

Highlights include:

• The gruesome account of an early blood transfusion (1666)

• Captain James Cook's explanation of how he protected his crew from scurvy aboard HMS Resolution (1776)

• Stephen Hawking's early writing on black holes (1970)

• Benjamin Franklin's account of flying a kite in a storm to identify the electrical nature of lightning - the Philadelphia Experiment (1752)

• Sir Isaac Newton's landmark paper on the nature of light and colour (1672)

• A scientific study of a young Mozart confirming him as a musical child genius (1770)

• The Yorkshire cave discovery of the fossilized remains of elephant, tiger, bear and hyena heralding the study of deep time (1822)

Royal Society's Trailblazing (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)

Image: "Frontispeice to Thomas Sprat's A History of the Royal Society (1667)"

Arrington ends CrunchPad project

Mike Arrington writes that the CrunchPad project has self-destructed over greed, jealously and miscommunication. Short version: the hardware partner tried to screw him and it is now lawsuit time. This is a real shame, because the low-end tablet had a great design, was open to hackers, and represented a valiant independent effort to break into a market dominated by enormous corporations.

Report: Sarah Palin "bus tour" a hoax, more like "private jet tour"

Sarah Palin's "bus tour" to promote her new book simply isn't. Joe McGinniss reports she's in fact flying around America on a private jet, specifically a luxurious "Gulfstream II 12-passenger jet rented from Universal Jet Aviation of Boca Raton, Florida, at a cost of more than $4,000 per hour."

World's cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant

After reading about Michelin's famous guide and its undercover inspectors in a recent issue of The New Yorker, it was fun to learn about the cheapest restaurant that has been awarded a highly-coveted star, "a hole-in-the-wall canteen in Hong Kong that offers dishes for less than $1.50."

Gay-bashing woman humiliated for wearing hideous skirt


An angry loser (right) came to Syracuse University to make a fool of herself by spreading pathetic hatred and was treated to a happy mutant style stunt by this smiling student, named Chris Pesto (left).

I decided that because this woman thought it was okay to make me feel uncomfortable in my home, I would retaliate and make her feel just as uncomfortable, if not more.

This woman was wearing a ankle-length corduroy skirt, which, as we all know, is a fashion nono. So, in order to make her feel uncomfortable, I stood next to her and held a sign that said Corduroy skirts are a sin! I don't think I have ever drawn so much attention in my life. SO many people asked to take a picture with me, I got laughs, high fives and there were the few that even cursed off the woman standing behind me.

As I drew interest to what was going on with myself and the woman with the hateful sign, I started to draw a crowd that stood with me in support. Before I knew it I had 100+ people holding signs for gay rights asking people to honk their horns to support. I was interviewed by a news station, and more than 5 student organization papers, and the post standard of syracuse.

I never expected anybody to come stand by me and support and I appreciate it so much that everyone came! It meant so much and it proved to those ignorant people that we aren't afraid, and we will put up a fight.

I'm proud that Syracuse has such a homosexual friendly community.

Corduroy Skirts are a Sin

17 particularly peculiar Beach Boys songs

Keith Phipps assembled a list of "17 particularly peculiar Beach Boys songs." They may be peculiar, but they're also a lot of fun to listen to.

(Via Michel Leddy, who asks "how could he have left out “I’m Bugged at My Old Man”?)

Collin Cunningham of MAKE builds an infrared heart monitor

I love the electronics videos Collin Cunningham produces for Make: Online. Not only does he describe his projects in an entertaining way, he also scores the trippy music for them.

After checking out a few projects involving IR heart monitors, I decided to have a go at the interface myself. Seen above are the results of my first experimentation with pulse oximetry. Getting the setup up and running satisfactorily required a bit more time and tinkering than I'd expected - especially after reversing a premature mod to my emitter/detector pair. The next version I try will either use a higher output emitter (see Charles Martin's version) or some amplification hardware (as used in Meng Li's sensor).

Collin's Lab: Infrared heart sensor

The poster that convinced Switzerland to ban minarets

stopp_poster.png Taken from RYTC's photo of a billboard. There are currently four minarets in all of Switzerland, each pointed threateningly at (from?) one quarter of the nation. The poster's minarets resemble those of the Hagia Sophia, a nice touch given the mindset at hand. The eyes, however, resemble those of David Bowie, emerging from some very serious moonlight. Previously.

Jesus on clothes iron

Mary Jo Coady of Methuen, Massachusetts spotted Jesus Christ on the bottom of her iron. Apparently, seeing Jesus on the iron has reminded Coady that "life is going to be good." From the Associated Press:
 Images 2009 11 27 Image5801353 The 44-year-old Coady was raised Catholic. She and her two college-age daughters agree that the image looks like Jesus and is proof that "he's listening."

Coady tells The Eagle-Tribune she hopes her story will inspire others during the holidays. She says she plans to keep the iron in a closet and buy a new one.

"Mass. Woman Sees Image Of Jesus On Her Iron"

Scientists engineer fake meat

Scientists in the Netherlands successfully engineered pork-like meat in a lab recently, according to the Telegraph. No report on how it tastes yet, but it's possible that faux beef could be gracing our dinner tables within five years.

1971 Woolworth TV commercial for LPs

TV commercial from another time. (What is the music playing in the background?) (Via Bedazzled!)

Concept design for gun-shaped camera



This design for a gun-shaped camera is unlikely to be mass-produced. It looks easy enough to make one with a 3D printer, though.

Report: US to order 30 - 35,000 more troops to Afghanistan

President Obama is expected to order 30-35,000 more troops into Afghanistan, to "finish the job," over the next twelve to eighteen months. If the plan is implemented, US troop levels in that country will have tripled under his presidency.

Cute purses made out of coconuts

3801814923_e7236ff8bf_b.jpg Erik of Afrigadget found these cute bags made out of coconuts on Lamu Island, off the coast of Kenya, while traveling with his daughter. As he points out, it's one example of a great way for locals to make money from tourists using local resources that might otherwise become garbage. Coconut + Zippers = Handbags