Boing Boing 

Designer of NYC "Greek coffee cup" has died

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The man who designed the Anthora "WE ARE HAPPY / TO SERVE YOU" blue and white paper coffee cup, an iconic element of everyday NYC life, has died. His name was Leslie Buck, and he was a WWII refugee from Eastern Europe. NYT obit here. (image: Dan Bluestein / Wikimedia - via Instapundit)

Bieb Flag: t-shirt

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"Home screened Justin Bieber / Black Flag logo. Available on small, medium or large Hanes t-shirts. Both groups have caused riots, both embrace DIY." By Josiah Hughes, offered on Etsy.

(found as Eric Steuer's new Twitter icon)

Locus Magazine editors serialize forthcoming novels online

Locus Magazine's Amelia Beamer sez,
I'm serializing my first novel, THE LOVING DEAD (with zombies and a Zeppelin, out from Night Shade in July), online for free starting today, Monday March 8th. My friend and Locus coworker Tim Pratt is also serializing a new Marla Mason novel, BROKEN MIRRORS, starting Monday March 8th. Locus editors do it for free!

What people are saying about THE LOVING DEAD:

"Zombies are all over the place right now, but trust me, you've NEVER read a zombie novel like this! Amelia Beamer's THE LOVING DEAD is about zombies, all right, but it's zombies with Xanax, zeppelins, Trader Joe's, iPhone apps, sex, humor, adventure, NPR, IKEA, and Indiana Jones! It's a rollercoaster ride of a read and a true original!" -- Connie Willis, New York Times Bestselling author of BLACKOUT.

"THE LOVING DEAD is really kind of hot, in a very creepy way. Read it. You know you'd love you some sweet zombie sumpin' sumpin'. Buy it, bitches! Ride this zombie zeppelin of love like there's no tomorrow." -- Christopher Moore, New York Times Bestselling author of LAMB and A DIRTY JOB

Loving Dead serial

Broken Mirrors serial

(Thanks, Amelia!)

HOWTO make Spam Musubi

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My friend Jonathan Koshi, who is Hawaiian, posted his recipe for Spam Musubi. Koshi says, "Over the last 30 years the Spam Musubi has indelibly stamped itself on the local Hawaii menu. They are great snacks, highly mobile, and filling." Here are the ingredients and equipment list, from Notes From The Zeitgeist:
Spam Musubi Fo' Real

1 Can of Spam. Has to be the real thing. No substitutes.
1 Pkg. Roasted Nori Sheets (any kine brand is okay)
3 cups white short grain rice (any kine brand is okay)
Shoyu
Sugar
Salt

Equipment:
Musubi Mold
Rice Paddle
Knife
Cup of water (not for drinking)
Beer (for drinking)
Recipe Time! Spam Musubi

Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry book on sale today!

 200804281510 The e-book version of O'Reilly/MAKE's excellent "The Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry: All Lab, No Lecture," which Mark posted about back in 2008, is on special today for just $10. Use the coupon code DDGHM. Just don't blow up your kitchen. Or at least make sure you're not inside if you do. "Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments"

Man snacks on light bulbs

Wang Xianjun of theLinshui County, Sichuan province, China, allegedly snacks on light bulbs. According to the People Daily, the 54-year-old has eaten approximately 1,500 bulbs since he had his first taste at age 12. This reminds me of an old Guinness Book of World Records I had as a kid that listed a man who ate an entire bicycle. And, of course, Pica syndrome sufferers who eat non-foods. Of course, that's a very real psychological disorder and Wang Xianjun's story may be, er, a slight exaggeration. From the People Daily:
When he was 12 years old, he accidentally swallowed a fish bone, and his parents became very worried. To their surprise, Wang did not feel uncomfortable at all. Then out of curiosity, he boldly picked up a piece of broken glass, and felt no adverse effects after eating it...

However, he does not eat bulbs every day. He sometimes only eats bulb splinters at breakfast, and at most, one bulb each time.
"Chinese man eats 1,500 light bulbs over 42 years"

AT&T asks government to create national censorwall and system for disconnecting accused infringers

In its comments to Victoria Espinel, the American IP enforcement czar, AT&T calls on the government to hold tribunal in which accused infringers will lose their internet access. It doesn't want a full court to evaluate claims of infrigment, just a high-speed, traffic-court-style process by which entire families will lose their lifelines to the electronic society.

AT&T also wants the government to establish a list of banned websites that all ISPs are ordered to block.

But that doesn't mean AT&T is opposed to various forms of "three strikes" or "graduated response" programs meant to deter online copyright infringement; it just wants someone else to implement them. If the government wants to get into the enforcement business, AT&T would be fine with that. Actually, the company would be more than fine with the proposal--it suggests that the government get into the business of adjudicating such cases and dishing out penalties.

This might sound like a role for the courts, but AT&T and rightsholders argue that the current legal process is simply too slow and too expensive to deal wisely with online copyright infringement. Instead, AT&T proposes a "streamlined and reasonable adjudication system for rights holders to resolve civil infringement claims against end users." Call it "court lite..."

Also, AT&T thinks that getting the US government into website blocking would be a pretty terrific idea. AT&T suggests that the Department of Justice "create and maintain a list of international websites known to host and traffic in infringed copyrighted works."

AT&T wants 3 strikes tribunal, government website blacklist

Ronald Reagan's occult interests

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We all know that Ronald and Nancy Reagan consulted astrologers, but apparently the 40th president was also well-versed in the writings of occult scholar Manly P. Hall, most famous for his 1928 tome The Secret Teachings of All Ages. Over at the Washington Post, former BB guestblogger Mitch Horowitz, author of the excellent "Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation," explores the Reagan-Hall connection. From the Washington Post:
Hall's concise volume ("The Secret Destiny of America") described how America was the product of a "Great Plan" for religious liberty and self-governance, launched by a hidden order of ancient philosophers and secret societies. In one chapter, Hall described a rousing speech delivered by a mysterious "unknown speaker" before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The "strange man," wrote Hall, invisibly entered and exited the locked doors of the Philadelphia statehouse on July 4th, 1776, delivering an oration that bolstered the wavering spirits of the delegates. "God has given America to be free!" commanded the mysterious speaker, urging the men to overcome their fears of the noose, axe, or gibbet, and to seal destiny by signing the great document. Newly emboldened, the delegates rushed forward to add their names. They looked to thank the stranger only to discover that he had vanished from the locked room. Was this, Hall wondered, "one of the agents of the secret Order, guarding and directing the destiny of America?"

At a 1957 commencement address at his alma mater Eureka College, Reagan, then a corporate spokesman for GE, sought to inspire students with this leaf from occult history. "This is a land of destiny," Reagan said, "and our forefathers found their way here by some Divine system of selective service gathered here to fulfill a mission to advance man a further step in his climb from the swamps."

Reagan then retold (without naming a source) the tale of Hall's unknown speaker. "When they turned to thank the speaker for his timely words," Reagan concluded, "he couldn't be found and to this day no one knows who he was or how he entered or left the guarded room."

Reagan revived the story in 1981, when Parade magazine asked the president for a personal essay on what July 4th meant to him. Presidential aide Michael Deaver delivered the piece with a note saying, "This Fourth of July message is the president's own words and written initially in the president's hand," on a yellow pad at Camp David. Reagan retold the legend of the unknown speaker - this time using language very close to Hall's own: "When they turned to thank him for his timely oratory, he was not to be found, nor could any be found who knew who he was or how had come in or gone out through the locked and guarded doors."

"Reagan and the occult" (Washington Post)

Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation (Amazon)

The Secret Destiny of America (Amazon)

Asimov's opens to electronic submission

At long last, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine is open to electronic submissions, as opposed to managing the mountains of paper that come into its NYC office every month. Asimov's gets vastly more submissions than it could ever publish, but the willingness to put a paper manuscript in the postal mail is not a good proxy for the ability to write a great story. Asimov's is the first of the big three (Asimov's, Analog and F&SF to open to electronic subs. (via Scalzi)

"Freshly Ground Black People" error boosts book sales

I recently posted about Penguin Group Australia accidentally publishing the Pasta Bible with a typo in a recipe where "salt and freshly ground black pepper" actually read "salt and freshly ground black people." Since news of the misprint broke, sales have increased nearly four-fold, according to TheBookseller.com. The sales numbers are still tiny but, "according to Nielsen BookScan data, sales over the two weeks to 24th April were up 275% on the previous fortnight, from just 48 copies sold to 180." (Thanks, Arkizzle!)

Big Knob controller in Boing Boing Bazaar

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Tristan Shone's "Big Knob" is exactly that: a giant knob for use as a controller in live music performance with a removable detent so it can "click" or turn smoothly. You can buy one in the Makers Market / Boing Boing Bazaar for $225.

This simple device is a heavy-duty CNC machined black anodized knob for use with your expression port on any midi/usb keyboard controller. Simply plug into your expression port and immediately have a 0-128 mappable control knob for use with Ableton Live, Reason, etc.

Currently there are 10 spring loaded detente positions and a hard stop for quantized physical snapping, however by removing the 1-inch chromed steel ball bearing and spring, you can create a smooth position knob controller. The detente disc is made from self-lubricating Delrin which both supports the potentiometer and creates a smooth snap in with the chrome spring loaded ball bearing.

The stainless steel frame is adjustable and clamps onto either your keyboard or table.

Big Knob: $225

Contesting Childhood: On child art competitions

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You might expect this drawing to win a children's art contest.

It's lovely, technically sophisticated, and positive.

So it's no surprise Mirna's picture won first place, elementary school category, in a contest sponsored by a state museum in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, not long after the country's authoritarian regime was overthrown by a student-led movement.

Read the rest

Video: Exploding cupcakes!

Here's a wonderful slow motion video of cupcakes flying out of a 120psi cupcake cannon and into people's faces.

via Gizmodo

Tattoos by food lovers

eggtattoo.jpeg The OC Weekly has photos of a dozen individuals who love a certain type of food so much that they got tattoos of it. Here, a man whose head is covered with eggs, bacon, and hash browns.

One dozen unique food tattoos [via NotCot]

82-year-old man claims he's not had any food or water for 70 years

Prahlad Janim, who claims not to have had food or drink for the last 70 years, is under observation by India's defense research organization in a hospital in India.
He has now spent six days without food or water under strict observation and doctors say his body has not yet shown any adverse effects from hunger or dehydration.  

Mr Jani, who claims to have left home aged seven and lived as a wandering sadhu or holy man in Rajasthan, is regarded as a 'breatharian' who can live on a 'spiritual life-force' alone. He believes he is sustained by a goddess who pours an 'elixir' through a hole in his palate. His claims have been supported by an Indian doctor who specializes in studies of people who claim supernatural abilities, but he has also been dismissed by others as a "village fraud."

This article ran on April 28. I wonder how much longer it will be before the research organization is forced to abandon this foolish experiment.

Man claims to have had no food or drink for 70 years (Thanks, John!)

Video: Salami-sorting robot

Kottke points us to this fun video of a giant machine that sorts salami. Something about the way the salami wiggles on the conveyer belt and the way the robot arms dance as they pick the salami sticks up is really mesmerizing.

Online sex-education game from City Health Office in London, Ontario

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Dan says:

The city health office in London, Ontario, created an online sex-education game that officials hope will appeal to teenagers in that its messages are delivered by a cast of iconic superheroes. According to a February report by Canwest News Service, the players are Captain Condom (who wears a "cap"), Wonder Vag (a virgin girl), Power Pap ("sexually active") and Willy the Kid, with each fighting the villain Sperminator, who wears a red wrestling mask and has phalluses for arms. The characters answer sex knowledge questions and, with correct answers, obtain "protection," but a wrong one gets the player squirted with sperm.

Sex Squad Game (NSFW)

Koko the intersex horse

The story of Koko, the intersex horse. (Thanks, Cheryl Q!)

How the Muslim Association of Malawi feels about a possible polygamy ban

The gender minister of Malawi is trying to pass a polygamy ban, and it's making the Muslim Association of Malawi a bit nervous. From the BBC:
A spokesman for the Muslim Association of Malawi told the BBC the proposed law would discriminate against the country's Muslim minority. He said with about 6% more women than men in Malawi, if polygamy were banned, many women would be left without a husband and become prostitutes.
The secretary general of the association expressed similar sentiments, saying the following:
We are totally rejecting it. There are also other ethnic groups [who practise polygamy] and they also totally reject this... If these people go ahead banning polygamous marriages it means many women will go into prostitution... Every woman has the right to be under the shelter of a man
Oh, and here's the kicker:
I have only one wife, my dear wife... but the moment they proceed with this, I will take a second wife.
Malawi move to ban polygamy angers Muslims

The USB hub designed to make you think of Jesus

USB_protector.jpg Designer Wu Jiang's design for a USB hub is, indeed, another happy experience. [Yanko]

A penis-shortening device

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It's like spam opposite day!

This is a replica of an actual 15th-century invention, created to do exactly what it sounds like. It's from the personal collection of Erwin Kompanje, a medical ethicist fascinated by forgotten medical discoveries.

Of course, while it flies in the face of everything you've learned via Maxim and unsolicited emails, there's a very good reason for the penis-shortener to exist. Frankly, sometimes over-endowment can be a hindrance. A painful hindrance. Kompanje first wrote about this in a research paper published in 2006 in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. If you understand Dutch, you can read more about the penis-shortener—and other forgotten medical advancements—in Kompanje's new book, titled, De Penisverkorter.

A robot that balances on a ball


Erico Guizzo says: "Japanese roboticist Masaaki Kumagai has built wheeled robots, crawling robots, and legged robots. Now he's built a robot that balances and rides on a bowling ball. You say why? Kumagai says why not?"

A Robot That Balances on a Ball

ilomilo: Southend's gorgeous storybook platformer for Xbox Live

Sometimes all you need is 74 seconds to convince the world that they'll want your game, as Sweden's Southend have just proved with their debut trailer for upcoming Xbox Live Arcade title ilomilo. Tick the checkboxes: tiny, innocent fantasy world, puzzling gameplay on the order of underappreciated original PlayStation game Kula World/Roll Away, and I'm pretty sure I already want a toy of that floppy-eared flying dog.

Stross on personal computing in 2015

Charles Stross on why Steve Jobs really hates Flash and what it all means for computer users in general: "The PC revolution is almost coming to an end."

Giant Gundam made of runners

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Danny Choo spotted this giant Gundam-like replica made entirely of runners — the little plastic twigs that attach the kit parts together.

How to make a miniature blacksmithing forge


In Make Vol. 18 Len Cullum wrote an article about how to make a tiny blacksmithing forge. Len builds traditional Japanese style furniture, and uses his forge to make nails and other little iron parts.

In KipKay's latest Make: Online Weekend Project video, he shows you how he made the forge.

Weekend Project: $30 Micro Forge

Air Force "Cyberwarrior Badge" design sucks

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Can you design a better one, Noah Shachtman at Wired's Danger Room asks? Whatever you come up with, I'm thinking: dunk it in drone-kill blood at the end, to really finish it off. (hi-res version here.)

To do in LA: Rich Fulcher (Mighty Boosh, "Tiny Acts of Rebellion") charity auction for Gulf relief

LA folks: Rich Fulcher, whom you may know best from "The Mighty Boosh," or his new book "Tiny Acts of Rebellion," will be hosting a charity auction at Amoeba Music in Hollywood on Saturday May 1, to benefit Gulf relief environmental charities. He'll be signing copies of the (hilarious) new book there too. Should be a fun event.

Signing/reading in Boston tonight!

Hey, Bostonians! Reminder that I'll be at the Harvard Coop bookstore in Cambridge tonight from 1900h-2000h. I'll be signing books and reading a little from my next one, *For the Win*. Hope to see you!

EZTakes: 5,000+ strong DRM-free online video store


Jim sez,
When I co-founded EZTakes, my intention was to create a movie download service that encrypted content with DRM. But after hearing Cory give a speech on DRM at a 2005 indie film conference in Montreal, I decided to launch a DRM-free service. I've continued the fight ever since.

Today, we offer about 5,000 DRM-free feature films that we licensed from over 80 distributors and studios. We've focused on finding the great movies you used to get at that quirky corner video store (when it was in business), and can't find among all the rows of "Avatar" at Wal-Mart. Our catalog includes classics such as Fellini's "La Dolce Vita," movie riffs like the entire Cinematic Titanic (former Mystery Science Theater 3K crew) collection, indie films like "Super Size Me," and campy/cult films such as "Plan 9" and "Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter." Our revenue has grown steadily, and the vast majority of our content partners are pleased with the income they get from us.

We've also rejected the ridiculous restrictions that other download services seek to impose on paying customers. From our Terms of Use: "EZTakes shall not take away, nor attempt to take away, rights related to your use of Content as a consumer, including but not limited to, 'first sale' and 'fair use' rights in the USA, or similar rights held by consumers outside the USA. If we ever say anything different, the foregoing shall take precedence." You can read our entire Terms of Use on our Web site.

We've just re-launched our site with a host of new features. Now when you buy a title from us, you almost always get: a tiny MP4 that plays on most smart phones; a high-quality MP4 that plays on any iPad, iPhone or video-enabled iPod; a downloadable DVD (for some titles) that you can burn and play on DVD players; and you can stream your purchase immediately, even while other versions download (broadband connection permitting). As an added benefit, iPhone and Android users can login to our mobile site (http://m.eztakes.com) to get their purchases streamed to their mobile phones (no download required). We also let our customers re-download, even if it's far into the future. So, I think it's safe to say that we've bent over backwards to give consumers reasons to buy. The "scarce value" we provide is our service, which lets our customers easily enjoy their content when, where and how they want.

It hasn't been easy. We've flirted with DRM. Just last year two major Hollywood studios offered us large catalogs of films, with no upfront payment, if we'd just use a certain vendor's DRM. Last week we walked away from a contract with a large media company because they wanted us to charge for re-downloads. Last year we ditched a deal (after spending tens of thousands on legal fees) when a well-known media company changed their mind at the 11th hour and told us they wanted DRM (even on trailers!).

IMPORTANT: If you look at the EZTakes site from outside the USA, you won't automatically see our entire catalog. Although we've tried, we couldn't always get world-wide rights. Many of our content partners had pre-existing deals with distributors in various territories.

EZTakes (Thanks, Jim!)