Growing up, some of my absolute favorite books
were the Borderlands
anthologies -- shared-world stories set in a ficton in which the realm of faerie has returned to Earth, in a city called Bordertown where elves and humans mixed freely and magic and technology worked erratically. These were the precursor of today's urban fantasy, and they were brilliant, bohemian escapist literature that has stood up to many re-readings over the years.
So I was incredibly excited when Holly Black and Ellen Kushner invited me to contribute a story to Welcome to Bordertown, the first Borderlands book in decades. This is a young adult volume, and I wrote a story for it called "Shannon's Law," about Bordertown's first hacker, who decides to use TCP over Carrier Pigeon to route a packet through the Border and break the information singularity that divides the two realities.
Now Holly and Ellen have published the full table of contents to Welcome, which will be out next May 24, from Random House. I've read most of these stories, and let me tell you, you're in for a treat.
Introduction - Terri Windling
Introduction - Holly Black
Bordertown Basics (Letter from the Diggers)
Welcome to Bordertown - Terri Windling & Ellen Kushner
Shannon's Law - Cory Doctorow
Cruel Sister (poem) - Patricia A. McKillip
Voice Like a Hole - Catherynne M. Valente
Stairs in Her Hair (song*) - Amal El-Mohtar
Incunabulum - Emma Bull
Run Back to the Border (song) - Steven Brust
Prince of Thirteen Days - Alaya Dawn Johnson
The Sages of Elsewhere - Will Shetterly
Soulja Grrrl: A Long Line Rap (song) - Jane Yolen
Crossings - Janni Lee Simner
Fair Trade (Comic) - Sara Ryan & Dylan Meconis
Lullabye: Night Song for a Halfie (song) - Jane Yolen
Our Stars, Our Selves - Tim Pratt
Elf Blood - Annette Curtis Klause
The Wall (poem) - Delia Sherman
Ours is the Prettiest - Nalo Hopkinson
We Do Not Come in Peace - Christopher Barzak
A Borderland Jump-Rope Rhyme (poem) - Jane Yolen
The Rowan Gentleman - Cassandra Clare & Holly Black
The Song of the Song (song) - Neil Gaiman
A Tangle of Green Men - Charles de Lint
WELCOME TO BORDERTOWN Table of Contents
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Mike sez, "Lava lakes are extremely rare, extremely beautiful and obviously extremely hot. One of the most spectacular is in the crater of Marum volcano on Vanuatu in the South Pacific. You'd either have to be extremely brave or extremely crazy to try abseiling down towards one..."
Abseiling Towards a Lava Lake - Extreme Video From Marum Volcano, Ambrym, Vanuatu!
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Here's a fascinating and squicky insight into the marvellous symbiosis between carrion beetles and the mites that live on them, courtesy of Greg Laden:
From the carrion beetle's perspective, there is a strong possibility that there are already fly larva (maggots) on the carcass eating it when it arrives to lay its eggs, or soon after. This situation is probably made worse by the fact that house flies are quick and seem to be able to travel long distances, while beetles are slower and travel less far than flies in a given period of time. The only way carrion beetles will ever be able to raise their young in this scenario is to do a better job of accessing or using the mouse carcass than the fly does, so any variation that arises in carrion beetles that facilitates this will be strongly selected for.
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This is known as the life/lunch dichotomy. In the competition for the use of the meaty carcass of a dead mouse, if the fly loses out it gives up the equivalent of lunch ... there are still other opportunities, in this case, poop, for it's young to eat. The carrion beetle, however, may be giving up its life (or the life of its offspring, really) because mouse carcasses are very rare, so if the one carcass it manages to locate is eaten up by fly maggots, it's offspring will not survive.
This is where the mites come in.
The carrion beetle pays a huge cost carrying the mites around wherever it goes, because they are heavy and affect its ability to move and fly.
Proof of things you already suspected: Human society is not more violent today than in the past. Quite the opposite, in fact. (At least, as measured by statistics based on Western European historical records.) Vaughn Bell
turned up this fascinating story from 2003, in which sociologists and historians debate what, exactly, caused the precipitous drop off in the European murder rate
that happened over the course of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Theories include "The Rise of Courtly Manners" and "The Establishment of the Modern State". Read the rest
Did a little girl in the 19th century vomit up an 87-inch intestinal worm? Or, is funky doctor handwriting misleading everyone, and the worm was only a measly
8 1/2 inches long? This may well be the best debate ever
. Read the rest
Photographs of the aurora borealis can't really convey what it's like to be sitting in the woods, staring at a black, perfectly normal sky and suddenly begin to see quivering green tracers slither across it. The photos are proof that we're not just all tripping balls up here in the northerly latitudes, but if what you really want is the experience—or something resembling it—the Canadian Space Agency can help.
Their AuroraMax Live project* turns a camera on the skies above Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and sends the resulting images direct to your portal on the Intertubes. Right now, I'm looking at it, and all I see is an inky, star-speckled night, ringed by a few trees. But, frankly, not seeing auroras on demand is part of the experience. If you want to improve your chances of catching them, try checking around midnight, Mountain Time, or you can read the aurora forecasts. (Live filming starts at 10:00 p.m., Mountain, and video from the previous night replays starting at 10:00 am.)
If you want to be a lousy cheater, there's also a sped up montage from the previous night that you can view on the AuroraMax Gallery page.
The webcam will be active for five years, centered around 2013, when the current 11-year cycle of sunspot activity is expected to reach it's peak.
Via Wired, and Submitterated by Jen
*Maybe this is my lack of sleep talking, but I find the loop of nighttime forest sounds that plays on the home page of this site really rather soothing. Read the rest
A couple of years ago, I used a Dremel tool to grind off the twin spigots on my espresso maker's portafilter. (Here's how to make one.) The result is called a "naked portafilter" (also called a "bottomless portafilter" or "crotchless portafilter").
Why make a naked portafilter? Four reasons:
1. You can observe the changes in color of the liquid espresso as it comes out of the filter, which is useful for timing your shot.
2. The espresso looks beautiful as it comes out (see some photos here).
3. It will accept a "triple shot" filter basket.
4. It's a good way to learn how evenly you tamped your coffee grinds into the filter basket -- if you did a poor job, the espresso will come on in multiple streams.
I'm not a very good tamper, and often a tiny spray of espresso will squirt off to the side, hitting the counter, the machine, or me. It's a big mess. My friend Kent Barnes, also a naked portafilter enthusiast, suffered the same plight, but unlike me, he did something about it. He found a silicone cupcake liner that fits over the filter basket and cut a hole through it. Now the errant streams are reigned in, without losing the benefits of the bottomless portafilter.
Kent bought his silicone baking cups at Daiso (a Japanese "dollar" store chain), but any silicone cupcake liner with a top diameter of approximately 3-inches will do. You can trim off the top until you achieve the diameter needed to fit the filter basket. Read the rest
Jesse Thorn of The Sound of Young America sends this gem in, and explains:
Brian Stack is a friend of mine, and a writer on Conan (Conan fans would know him as one of the Slipnutz, or maybe as the Ghost Crooner, Artie Kendall). He's been writing for them for many years, but before that, he was in improviser in Chicago. When he was 19, he was an intern at a public access station, and he made this video report. The subject is Del Close, with whom Stack had just started his first class at the Improv Olympic. Close is known as the "guru" of improv — he's basically the guy who created modern improv comedy, which is, in turn, the source of all most all modern American comedy that doesn't come from standup. He was mentor to everyone from Bill Murray to Chris Farley to the Upright Citizens Brigade. The video is in black and white, because Brian accidentally set the camera to "monitor" mode, but it's a totally amazing time capsule and about 10 minutes of wisdom from the greatest guru of improvisation.
Video: Del Close, 1986.
When you're done watching it, head on over to Boloney's for dinner! Read the rest
The LA Weekly
reports that The International House of Pancakes has filed a lawsuit against the International House of Prayer
for trademark dilution and infringement. The Pancake purveyors have been using the initials since 1973. While their logos are different, their urls are perilously similar: IHOP dot-com
belongs to the pancake people, and IHOP dot-org
belongs to the religious group. Read the rest
"Captain Salas graduated from the Air Force Academy and spent seven years in active duty from 1964 to 1971. He also held positions at Martin Marietta and Rockwell and spent 21 years at the FAA."
Caleb alerted me to the news that the "National Press Club hosted some retired military/FAA people who calmly stated that a UFO shut down their missile silo and they were told never to talk about it. Documents were declassified later. Other similar events turn out to be documented. The news was covered by Current's Intel Hub
and The Telegraph UK story"
UPDATE: This following was emailed to me by a "long-time Boing Boing reader and current employee of the National Press Club" who wishes to remain anonymous:
Just wanted to clarify a couple things about this UFO event you posted on:
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These guys just rented a room at the Press Club for their own purposes. Anyone can do this, and they frequently do -- everything from press conferences to bar mitzvahs to television shows to elaborate pranks by The Yes Men have been held here in recent months. The UFO guys just attach our name to their event in an effort to give themselves some credibility. The Disclosure Project (for instance) continues to call the event they held here in 2001 a "Press Club Event," which it was not.
The Club's position on these things is related to its position on the First Amendment: Basically, that people can come here and say whatever they want, but the Club doesn't endorse (or condemn) them.
There is a reason I'm a landscape photographer; People drive me up a wall. My friend Ryan and I have a constant back-and-forth over how boring it is to photograph things that largely don't move vs. trying to capture that fleeting moment in street photography. This weekend Ryan gave me yet another reason to avoid people when carrying my camera -- as we've read on BB, street photographers are still being victimized and harassed. While many of us understand that photography is a right and only under certain circumstances can you be banned from taking a photo in public; surprisingly mall cops, petty bureaucrats and even our own police are constantly over-stepping boundaries and harassing photographers.
Ryan was harassed for using an antique camera in public. He blogged his story here. Someone thought he was taking upskirt photos from a long distance with a Twin Lens Reflex camera. Its pretty impossible. Shortly after sharing his story, Ryan flooded me with examples of other photographers being harassed in similar ways. Blake Andrews, a street shooting colleague of Ryan's, had a near identical experience (except it was children he was accused of inappropriately photographing.)
Anyhow, its wrong. Photographers have rights and if you love to take pictures you should know them. Bert Krages has prepared The Photographer's Rights page and offers a pdf to help you know what is ok to photograph (most everything,) what isn't, and what to do if someone wants to question you. The Photographer's Rights
Taking Photos In Public Places Is Not A Crime
NYPD directive on the legality of public photography to print and ... Read the rest
Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell has become so fixated on a particular gay University of Michigan student that he runs a blog about the student called "Chris Armstrong Watch."
Roger Ebert writes:
Study Shirvell closely here [video abo. You may, as I do, see a prim, repressed, rigid fanatic.
As Cooper pointedly asks, would you want this man representing you? Cooper refers to Shirvell representing a hypothetical gay person. I am straight, and I gotta tell you, I wouldn't even want to be on the same internet with him.
Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell: A singularly peculiar Assistant Attorney General (Submitterated by Librarybio) Read the rest
is launching a new series of books called Deep Focus, dedicated to taking some of today's wittiest writers and setting them loose on the cult film classics of the 70's and 80's.
So far, I've had the pleasure of reading galleys for the first two, Jonathan Lethem's deconstruction of John Carpenter's They Live, and Chris Sorrentino's homage to Death Wish. These are fun little books - little, meaning a hundred or so pages and in a tiny fits-in-your-back-pocket format suitable for reading anywhere at anytime. And they justify all the nights spent watching reruns of these films, never sure if we were allowed to like them as much as we do - even after we see through to their obvious faults. This book series considers such films "deliberate" B-movies.
I read Lethem's time-coded analysis of They Live on an airplane while I watched the film on my phone, for the perfect DIY mini-Criterion experience. Lethem is one of my favorite writers anyway, but experiencing him wax on about Nada and the ghouls was perhaps the highlight of my summer reading. Here he is on Shephard Fairey's original OBEY campaign, which began as a reaction to the "obey" signs revealed beneath ordinary advertisements when characters in the film wore "Hoffman glasses":
Fairey's interventions occupy the same uneasy middle ground as They Live itself: on the one hand, the termite arts of graffiti or of the deliberate B-Movie, marginal activities carrying a subversive potential past the sentries of high art. Read the rest
Cincinnati Bengals player Chad Ochocinco launched his own cereal earlier this month to much fanfare. But when a family dialed the 800 number printed on the box to reach the Feed The Children charity the athlete endorsed, they instead were greeted by a recording offering phone sex. Ooops. From WCPO.com:
Tara Sand and her family, including her 9-year-old daughter, called 1-800-HELP-FTC on speakerphone.
"You do have to admit it is kind of funny. When we dialed it for the second time, I sat there and thought 'are you kidding me?' Nobody has found this yet?" said Sand.
Ochocinco helped launch the cereal on September 7. He autographed boxes for fans at the Kroger Store in Newport, Ky.
As of Thursday morning, the boxes were pulled from the shelves at Kroger grocery stores until the marketing company for the cereal can be reached and the misprint can be evaluated.
"Sex line misprint on Ochocinco's cereal
" (Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!)
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