Boing Boing 

WILL HE KILL HIMSELF? Aeronaut poster


He Jumps From the Clouds!

Lord Kitchener sings on the boat, 1948


While visiting Ben "Bad Science" Goldacre's flat in London recently, he played me some fantastic cuts off a compilation LP titled "London Is The Place For Me: Trinidadian Calypso In London, 1950-1956." This incredible music hit the global scene during the massive Caribbean migration to the UK starting around 1948. I know next-to-nothing about Calypso, but one signer I was somewhat familiar with is the famous Aldwyn Roberts, aka Lord Kitchener. (Indeed, the record Ben played me was named for Kitchener's best-known song.) Kitchener emigrated to London from Trinidad, via Jamaica. Amazingly, just as Kitchener's boat, the Empire Windrush, pulled into the British harbor on June 22, 1948, a journalist interviewed him about his fledgling career as a singer. As Ben said when he sent me this clip, "It's such a great and improbable thing to have on film. Some guy, getting off a boat, who is shortly to become massively famous, singing into your BBC microphone."

Turn your home into a billboard in exchange for your mortgage payment?

 Money 2011 04 05 Technology Adzookie Adzookie Housead.Top Imaginary Foundation's Nick Philip just IM'd me: "Would you turn your house into a billboard to be free of mortgage payments for a year?" He's referring to the marketing gimmick/PR stunt of Ad firm Adzookie, who are looking to pay people's mortgages in exchange for turning their homes into giant advertisements for the company. (Mock-up seen here.) They haven't painted a single home yet, but the campaign seems to be working anyway. (Ahem.) According to CNN, the company only has $100,000 budgeted for the whole thing, so I'd imagine chances of getting chosen are slim. Anyway, to answer Nick's question... No. I would not. "Turn your house into a billboard, get free mortgage"

Xeni on Chris "@Nerdist" Hardwick's NERDIST podcast

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Comedy genius and true-born nerd Chris Hardwick (@nerdist) invited me to join him as a guest on his very popular and very funny podcast. Here it is! Chris and his friendly LOL-sidekicks and I talked about what would happen if NPR and E! Television got married; the origin of Boing Boing; and the mainstreaming of geek culture.

And here's his touring schedule. His live shows are incredible.

Download MP3, or listen in a flash player here.

Friday Freak-Out: Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" (1970)


Friday Freak-Out: Donovan peforms "Hurdy Gurdy Man" at L'Olympia, Paris, 1970.

Make a short video for Curt Smith's first residency in two years, win prizes

curtsmith1.jpg Photo: Justine Ungaro. Curt Smith (of Tears for Fears) is playing is first solo residency in two years at the Whitefire Theater in Sherman Oaks, CA, beginning next Thursday. Vocalist on the original hit single Mad World -- a song recently remixed here at BB as a backdrop to a collection of game deaths -- Curt & co. liked our video so much they want more! This is where you step in: if you create a video, animation or slideshow that would look good behind a classic Tears for Fears track on which Curt sings lead (such as Everybody Wants To Rule The World and Pale Shelter), or a favorite such as Fake Plastic Trees, Drive or Yellow, it might get featured in one of the dates (April 14, 21 and 28; May 18 and 25; and June 1), as part of a set list centered around Curt's own solo material. We'll feature anything that's selected and there will be FABULOUS PRIZES from the Boing Boing Dungeon of Stolen Review Loaners.

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MotoArt's furniture from recycled plane parts

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Following my post yesterday about Restoration Hardware's Jet Age-inspired chairs, a commenter pointed me to MotoArt's fun sculptural furniture fashioned from old airplane parts. The desk above is a wing flap and the bed headboard/armrest was made from a 747 engine nacelle. MotoArt

All New Square Foot Gardening

Squarefoot Gardening.jpeg I decided to try my hand at gardening again after last having a vegetable garden in college 35 years ago (which I remembered involving a lot of work). After doing some research online I found Mel Bartholomew's squarefoot garden method appealed to my inner geekdom. Bartholomew's method relies on building and gardening in four-foot by four-foot plots/boxes. He then provides details on how to plan the optimal mixture of soil, fertilizer, and supplements to match whatever you want to grow in them. After using the method for three years I am a sold. The method assumes you know nothing, does not require you to be very handy, is inexpensive, takes up a minimal amount of space and water, is very practical and detailed, can easily be entirely organic, requires minimal weeding, and, best of all, yields lots of fresh veggies. What more could you ask for? The other books I looked at required tilling, fertilizing and weeding rows or did not focus on the basics. --John Cowling All New Squarefoot Gardening Mel Bartholomew 2006, 271 pages $12 Don't forget to comment over at Cool Tools and/or submit a tool!

Albums re-imagined as books

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Designer Christophe Gowans created book jackets inspired by rock albums. "What If Your Favorite Album Was a Book?" (Mother Jones)

Faux software interfaces in film

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Access Main Computer File is a marvelous celebration in images of (mostly phony) computer user interfaces from Hollywood. Once there, mouse over the pictures to see the movie name and year. Notably absent is the instant messaging screen from Pretty In Pink's library scene. Above, Weird Science (1985) and Tron (1982). (Thanks, Jess Hemerly!)

And in a similar vein, there's the classic "Let's enhance" montage of faux image enhancement scenes in movies.

Franken wants a balanced war budget

Senator Al Franken has proposed a "Pay for War" resolution that would require Congress to raise taxes and/or cut spending before authorizing new acts of war, so that American foreign adventures can't contribute to the national debt.

"We have to ensure that Iraq and Afghanistan remain anomalies in American history," Franken said on the Senate floor Wednesday. "And that's what my resolution seeks to do. It will ensure that future wars don't make our deficit and debt problem worse. It will ensure that Congress and American citizens must face the financial sacrifice of going to war. And it will force us to decide whether a war is worth that sacrifice."

"In the last ten years our wars have been paid for by borrowing," Franken said. "The Iraq War was accompanied by a massive tax cut. That failed fiscal experiment created the impression that war requires no financial sacrifice. We know that is just not true. The question is who will bear the financial sacrifice, the generation that has decided to go to war or its children and grandchildren?"

Franken wants wars to be paid for (via Reddit)

Bike-seat-clamp with a built-in bottle-opener

Jon sez, "We've designed a bicycle seat clamp with a little bottle opener on the back. We love biking, and wish more people would commute this way. We also love beer- especially Utah's microbrews. We thought it would be a fun project to combine our two loves into a single awesome project. Enter the Nectar and Elixir. These are clean little seat clamps for your bike. Nectar is fixed, and Elixir is quick release. On the back, though, is a little nub that works perfectly as a bottle opener."

They're 70 percent of the way to their Kickstarter goal.

Nectar and Elixir- seat clamp / bottle openers (Thanks, Jon!)

Sketch 3D: turn your napkin doodles into 3D models


Belgian 3D printing shop i.materialise has teamed up with GrabCAD for a service called Sketch 3D. For $80, you can have your napkin doodles and other designs converted into 3D models, suitable for printing at i.materialise or any of its competitors. It's a great way to open up the possibilities for 3D printing to people who don't know how to use 3D modelling software.

i.materialise launches Sketch to 3D, A 3D modeling service for 3D printing

Travis Louie and Kris Kuksi at Roq La Rue Gallery

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 -Z89Sl5Eezn4 Tz5Dr1Uxmbi Aaaaaaaaecc Yqonuk8Rl70 S1600 H3- Opening at Seattle's Roq La Rue Gallery tonight, Travis Louie's astounding new daguerreotype-influenced paintings of Victorian folk "and their pets" Also in the show, the insanely-detailed "post-industrial rococo" sculptures of Kris Kuksi, who we've also previously featured on BB. Above, Louie's "The Family Yeti" (acrylic on board 26" x 20"). Left, Kuksi's "Ode to Herculaneum" (detail). The art is also viewable online. Travis Louie and Kris Kuksi at Roq La Rue Gallery

Tune for Two: a short film by Alfa Primo

Video Link. A short film by Alfa Primo. Mahna Mahna. (Thanks, Joe Sabia!)

Pillow in Space Invaders gingham


Etsy seller Voodoorabbit's AUD35.00 throw pillow is made from custom-printed, eye-wateringly fabulous "Space Invaders gingham."

Handmade Gingham Invaded White Cushion / Pillow Cover 43 x 43cm (via Wonderland)

Libyan rebels paint top of vehicles pink to avoid NATO "friendly fire"

After a recent NATO air strike killed five rebel fighters in Libya, opposition fighters have reportedly begun painting the roofs of their vehicles bright pink as a message to NATO bombers: "we're on your side, do not kill us." (via Danger Room)

FBI releases files on Biggie Smalls murder; still no killer named

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Fourteen years after his death, the FBI has released a set of heavily redacted documents on the murder of Christopher "Biggie Smalls" Wallace, (1972-1997), the rapper known as "Notorious B.I.G." The FBI closed the case in 2005 without determining who killed him. More at Time Magazine.

Mars Science Laboratory + Curiosity Rover: Interview with NASA JPL's Ashwin Vasavada

Video link: An artist’s animation of how MSL and Curiosity Rover will land on Mars. Courtesy NASA JPL.

This week, Boing Boing visited NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a peek inside the clean room where NASA’s next Mars rover, Curiosity, and other components of the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft (MSL) have been built for launch in late 2011 from Florida.

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Software pioneer and ENIAC programmer Jean Bartik dies at 86

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The New York Times has published an obituary for Jean Jennings Bartik, "one of the first computer programmers and a pioneering forerunner in a technology that came to be known as software." She died on March 23 at a nursing home in Poughkeepsie, NY, at age 86. She was the last surviving member of the group of women who programmed the Eniac, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, regarded as the first all-electronic digital computer. (via Jim Roberts)

Photo, via Wikipedia: "Two women operating the ENIAC's main control panel while the machine was still located at the Moore School. 'U.S. Army Photo' from the archives of the ARL Technical Library. Left: Betty Jennings (Mrs. Bartik) Right: Frances Bilas (Mrs. Spence)

Homebrew vote-counting software from Clerk in conservative Wisconsin county gives Supreme Court win to Tea Party darling

Saljake sez, "The Waukesha, WI County Clerk is allowed to design her own vote-counting-software(!) plus it lives off the network on a desktop computer in her office and has zero IT support after 5pm. Today, she found thousands of state Supreme Court votes for Tea Party darling Prosser that she somehow *forgot* to report to the AP yesterday."

If these newly discovered votes are allowed to stand, it will reverse the upset in the state Supreme Court election that saw the judgeship go to a candidate who attracted a large anti-Walker protest vote.

Today's announcement by Nickolaus drew immediate suspicions from Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now, a liberal activist group.

"Wisconsin deserves elections that are fair, clean and transparent," Ross said. "There is a history of secrecy and partisanship surrounding the Waukesha County Clerk and there remain unanswered questions."

Nickolaus, a former staffer for the Assembly Republican Caucus, has been criticized in recent months for her handling of recent elections. The Waukesha County Board sharply condemned Nickolaus after past elections, demanding an audit of her practices last year.

The auditors criticized Nickolaus for moving some sensitive files, such as election results, onto her personal computer.

Newly discovered Waukesha County votes would give win to Prosser (Thanks, Saljake, via Submitterator!)

YouTube rolling out streaming web video service to more partners

Mashable: "YouTube has been dabbling with live streaming across a variety of sectors in recent years -- from concerts to Q&As with U.S. President Barack Obama -- and now the video-sharing site is ramping up those efforts by expanding its live streaming efforts and opening them up to select partners." (via Nick DeMartino)

Beastie Boys' star-studded, hilarious trailer: Fight For Your Right-Revisited

The Beastie Boys' trailer for "Fight For Your Right-Revisited" is a star-studded hilarity of a thing, as silly as you can imagine, funny and just plain great. It's to promote their next CD, Hot Sauce Committee Part 2, which comes out on May 3. I never met a Beastie Boys album I didn't like, and from the sounds of things, this will be no exception. (via Waxy)

US government shutdown could mean Space Shuttle launch delay

Here's one odd effect a government shutdown would have: NASA would likely have to scrub the launch of space shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission, currently scheduled for April 29. If Republicans and Democrats cannot agree to budget terms by midnight tonight, Washington will effectively run out of money and the government will close. If that happens, according to a NASA memo distributed today, only operations critical to protect life and assets would continue. So, operations to support the astronauts on the International Space Station would go on during a shutdown, as would any operations critical to prevent the loss or damage of NASA assets. And if a launch were in progress when the shutdown went into effect, that launch would continue. But for new shuttle launches, and other new projects: an indefinite delay.

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Memo (PDF) and NASA furlough plan here (thanks, Miles O'Brien!).

Marketplace for hijacked computers


Brian Krebs went browsing in an underground proxy marketplace, where criminals rent time on hijacked computers to other criminals who want to use the compromised machines as launching-grounds for untraceable networked attacks. Krebs traced down some of the people whose computers were up for rent and let them know that they were being bought and sold on the underground.
Michelle Trammell, associate director of Kirby Pines and president of TSG, said she was unaware that her computer systems were being sold to cyber crooks when I first contacted her this week. I later heard from Steve Cunningham from ProTech Talent & Technology, an IT services firm in Memphis that was recently called in to help secure the network.

Cunningham said an anti-virus scan of the TSG and retirement community machines showed that one of the machines was hijacked by a spam bot that was removed about two weeks before I contacted him, but he said he had no idea the network was still being exploited by cyber crooks. "Some malware was found that was sending out spam," Cunningham said, "It looks like they didn't have a very comprehensive security system in place, but we're going to be updating [PCs] and installing some anti-virus software on all of the servers over the next week or so."

Is Your Computer Listed "For Rent"?

Dark '70s animation of Japanese fairy tale on tsunamis and death: "The Guiding Jizo"

Matt Alt points ot to a beautiful clip from the 1970s animated show Manga Nippon Mukashibanashi (Animated Japanese Fairy Tales). The legend upon which this particular clip is based is hundreds of years old. Matt writes:

In it, a young mother and child from the island of Kessenuma Oshima happen across a statue called the michibiki jizo -- the guiding bodhisattva. According to local legend, the soul of a person that is about to die appears before this particular jizo the day before they pass away. The mother and child are shocked to see a whole parade of spirits appear before the statue -- male and female, old and young. 

When they return home, the father laughs it off as a figment of their imaginations. But the very next day, when the family is fishing at the seashore, the tide pulls out and doesn't come back in. Minutes later, a massive tsunami wipes out the entire town as the mother, son, and father watch escape to a hilltop. They are the only survivors. 

Given the fact that Kessenuma is in the headlines today for the very same reason, there is no doubt that this "fairy tale" is based on a true story. It's particularly haunting in light of the ancient stone markers that dot the Japanese coastline warning of tsunami from times of old, a literal message to future generations from ancestors long since shuffled off this mortal coil.

[Video Link, 10:42] and Matt Alt's blog.

dj BC mashes up Jay-Z and Brian Eno: ANOTHER JAY ON EARTH


rageear writes, "dj BC returns with his latest mashup album that crosses the works of Jay-Z with Brian Eno. Known for his previous works 'The Beastles', 'Wu Orleans', and 'Glassbreaks', dj BC continues to make fantastically interesting music and shows no signs of stopping."

I just downloaded this and gave it a spin, and as with all dj BC projects, the amazing thing isn't the incongruity of the two sources he combines, but how he finds their underlying similarities and brings them to the fore. I love dj BC's work, and a new album is always cause for celebration.

dj BC presents ANOTHER JAY ON EARTH

Fake-make: counterfeit handmade objects from big manufacturers

Make Magazine has started to publish my old "Make Free" columns online; today, they've posted "Untouched By Human Hands," in which I speculate about whether (and when) big manufacturing companies will start to produce fake "hand-made" objects, and what makers might do in response.
Will the 21st-century equivalent of an offshore call-center worker who insists he is "Bob from Des Moines" be the Guangzhou assembly-line worker who carefully "hand-wraps" a cellphone sleeve and inserts a homespun anti-corporate manifesto (produced by Markov chains fed on angry blog posts from online maker forums) into the envelope?

I wouldn't be surprised. Our species' capacity to commodify everything -- even the anti-commodification movement -- has yet to meet its match. I'm sure we'll adapt, though.

We could start a magazine for hobbyists who want to set up nostalgic mass-production assembly lines that use old-fashioned injection molders to stamp out stubbornly identical objects in reaction to the corporate machine's insistence on individualized, 3D-printed, fake artisanship.

Untouched By Human Hands

(Image: Weaving by the Pool, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from 87739302@N00's photostream)

Tim Minchin's anti-woo poem, animated

Here's a fantastic animated adaptation comic/skeptic/awesomesauce purveyor Tim Minchin's poem "Storm," a verse-form rant about the miseries of woowoo, the glory of science, the delights of skepticism and the miracle of the actual world.

Tim Minchin's Storm the Animated Movie (Thanks, Iguana, via Submitterator!)

Worldreader: ebooks for kids in the developing world

I've recently lent my support to Worldreader, an innovative nonprofit program that distributes ebook readers to children in the developing world and then exposes them to a large library of donated texts from writers from across the world, as well as newspapers and other materials. I was delighted to give them access to all my books (of course), and put them in touch with a large group of other kids' and young adult writers who were happy to do the same (including my hero Daniel Pinkwater, who travelled in and wrote about Kenya and has a real love of Africa).

WR: What advice do you have for kids in developing countries who are just beginning to read and only have recently gotten access to books because of technology advancements?

Cory: I have a couple of pieces of advice about reading. One is that the most dangerous thing in the world is someone who has only read one book. The great thing about reading is that you can triangulate your ideas among lots of different authors, different times, or different place. When you read widely and broadly it shows you that everything is relative. It shows that there is a lot of ways of looking at things, and often times, problems can become solutions if looked at creatively.

The other piece of advice I would give them about reading electronically is to not allow their collections to be tied to one device or platform. Devices come and go, but data can live forever. The only way you can maintain access to them is if you insist on the ability and the right to move the books into any format or any platform you want to.

Writers Changing Lives: A Chat With Cory Doctorow