8-bit Zardoz

As I somehow missed this fantastic intro to a nonexistent 8-bit Zardoz game last year, perhaps you did, too! Animator Nick Criscuolo writes: "I realize the audio isn't entirely 8bit, more like 8/16 bit. Maybe more like Amiga game music than Atari or Nintendo. I just couldn't imagine it without the Zardoz voice." [VIDEO LINK. Submitted by jeans] Read the rest

How a kid paralyzed by a flawed firearm tried to take it off the market for good

Brandon Maxfield was a young teenager left paraplegic in a shooting accident. The gun manufacturer knew of a safety issue in their cheapo pistols, but chose not to alter the design. After a jury found it partially responsible for Maxfield's injuries, it declared bankruptcy to avoid paying him. But he had an idea: to buy the company's assets at auction, thereby preventing it from reforming under a new name. Read the rest

Amazon.com has a great price on 50-packs of whippets right now.

Today I learned that if you really, really, really like whipped cream (and I am not implying that this product can be used for any other purpose), you can buy 50-packs of Whippets for $99,999 on Amazon (Regular price: $28.99). Put me down for three, thanks. Read the rest

A gallery of indecipherable Captchas

Arne tried to comment on the Breaking Bad post and was presented with a bunch of ridiculously indecipherable Captchas. Here are just a few of the ones he was challenged with:

Sorry, Arne!

By the way: Arne's comment: "Here's a song they used in that same episode." Read the rest

A Chinese version of Batman's origins

Craig Yoe pointed me to this delightful Chinese version of Batman's origins, found on a dollar store toy.

Chinese dollar store offers wonderfully insane backstory for Batman Read the rest

Desktop jellyfish tank

One of my favorite projects in MAKE magazine is Alex Andon's pet jellyfish tank from Vol 27. It's not hard to make, but people who don't want to build a tank on their own should look into Alex's Desktop Jellyfish Tank. It's a Kickstarter project with a $3,000 goal, but so far almost $80,000 has been pledged. If you place $350 or more you get a desktop jellyfish tank and starter kit.

Desktop Jellyfish Tank Read the rest

Gale Boetticher's karaoke video and notebook from Breaking Bad

[Video Link] A few people think that chemist Gale Boetticher from Breaking Bad is a Boing Boing reader. I agree! Above, the complete "Major Tom" karaoke video from Season 3, episode 4.

I think they should publish a facsimile of Gale's notebook. Read the rest

Dirty Girls Ministries is on a crusade against the evils of female masturbation

Thank goodness someone is taking on the female masturbation epidemic that's plaguing our great nation.
The No Stones recovery group is part of an organization called Dirty Girls Ministries that [Crystal] Renaud launched in 2009 after suffering from her own self-described pornography addiction. She says she wanted to help other women recover from their X-rated fixations by connecting with them online and holding meetings at her local church. But her use of the terms porn and addiction may be misleading. The growing group of 100-plus members who participate in the forums say that they masturbate or view porn—which they define as including erotica and romance novels—twice a week or less. For most of us, that would hardly be considered excessive. But to Renaud, it indicates an epidemic of addiction, one that can be treated by helping women stay “clean” of masturbation.

Dirty Girls Ministries is on a crusade against the evils of female masturbation (Image: Linda Zacks) Read the rest

Realistic "toy" gun found in sandbox

My 5-year-old son found this buried in a sandbox at the public playground near our house. It's plastic. I described it to Mark who instantly determined that it was an Airsoft gun. In fact, it's available for $4 via Amazon. According to the Airsoft entry on Wikipedia:
Federal law in the United States requires that a 6 mm (0.24 in) orange tip to be present on all "toy guns" (including airsoft replicas) while being imported into the United States. These brightly coloured tips show the difference between real and replica firearms, which helps to ensure safety. However, when playing on a field, no orange tip is needed. The federal regulations do not require the owner to keep the muzzle painted after acquiring their airsoft gun. Few players choose to keep the tip, whether for safety or another reason, and some switch their orange-painted flash hiders with more realistic ones shortly before playing while at the field's staging area.
Either somebody popped the orange tip off this one or, like many models in the Airsoft product shots, it never had one. I guess I'm just surprised these things are still so readily available. And that one turned up in a playground sandbox. I'm glad no police officers happened upon the kid who was brandishing this "toy" before it was buried. And if they did, I hope the young person followed these words of advice from AirSplat.com, the "Nation's Largest AirSoft Retailer":

If you are confronted by a police officer while transporting or playing with your airsoft gun, stay calm and follow their orders to the letter.
Read the rest

Greatest Hugo acceptance speech of all time?

Behold! The greatest moment in modern Hugo Award history, as Chris Garcia has a complete (and utterly charming) meltdown when he realizes that he's won a Hugo for Best Fanzine for Drink Tank. I was so close as to be in the splash-zone, and it was a wonder and a delight to behold (yes, I know there's an ad -- it's worth it).

Best Fanzine - The Garcia Moment (via Scalzi) Read the rest

Gorgeous machined Stirling engine kits

Hermann Böhm's metal Stirling engine kits are some of the most beautiful machines I've ever seen, real triumphs. They run about as much as one of them fancy toothpaste squeezers, but they're about ten thousand times cooler, and somehow don't have the same oligarch factor.

(Thanks, Chris!)

Read the rest

Reality is the ultimate God game

[Video Link] Scott Beale says: "South Korean artist June Bum Park creates wonderful forced perspective videos in which his hands seem to guide the actions of people, cars, and machines." Read the rest

Sweatshirt Monster episode of Leave it to Beaver

Screenshots from the "Sweatshirt Monster" episode of Leave it to Beaver (1962).

Read the rest

Gregory Euclide's Bon Iver cover art available as a print

I've posted before about painter/sculptor Gregory Euclide who casts nature for his magnificent landscape dioramas and blends moss, Blackberry Lily seeds, hair, and snow into his pigments for paintings that seem to grow off the canvas. I was thrilled to see that indie folk band Bon Iver commissioned Euclide to create the cover art for their lovely and majestic new eponymous album and single. Now, Euclide and David B. Smith Gallery have released a print of the album cover in a limited edition of 500. It's 24" x 24" inches, signed, numbered, and printed on archival photo rag paper. The prints are $225 each with half the profits going to Agapé Riding Center and the Greater Mankato Area United Way Connecting Kids Program.

Gregory Euclide Prints

After the jump, "Making the Bon Iver Album Art" videos Part 1 and Part 2. Read the rest

Japan: Areas around Fukushima, contaminated with nuclear fallout, may be off-limits "for several decades"

Japan's Daily Yomiuri reports that land within a 3km (about 1.8 miles) of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant "likely will be kept off-limits for an extended period--possibly for several decades" because contamination levels of radioactive substances in this zone are so high. A related report in the New York Times, drawing from several Japanese news sources, says a government statement to this effect is expected soon—and that affected communities are within 12 miles (19km) of the plant.

The formal announcement, expected from the government in coming days, would be the first official recognition that the March accident could force the long-term depopulation of communities near the plant, an eventuality that scientists and some officials have been warning about for months. Lawmakers said over the weekend — and major newspapers reported Monday — that Prime Minister Naoto Kan was planning to visit Fukushima Prefecture, where the plant is, as early as Saturday to break the news directly to residents. The affected communities are all within 12 miles of the plant, an area that was evacuated immediately after the accident.

The government is expected to tell many of these residents that they will not be permitted to return to their homes for an indefinite period. It will also begin drawing up plans for compensating them by, among other things, renting their now uninhabitable land. While it is unclear if the government would specify how long these living restrictions would remain in place, news reports indicated it could be decades. That has been the case for areas around the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine after its 1986 accident.

Read the rest

Ricky Schroeder and emotional films in science

The still above is from the tearjerker ending of the 1979 film The Champ, starring Ricky (RICK, damnit!) Schroeder. It's apparently a "go to" clip in psychology experiments to study emotional triggers and depression. It became the industry standard after 1988 when UC Berkeley psych professor Robert Levenson and then-grad student James Gross launched what became a multi-year effort to identify film clips that were exceptionally useful at eliciting single emotions from viewers. From Smithsonian:
“In the old days, we used to be able to induce fear by giving people electric shocks,” Levenson says.

Ethical concerns now put more constraints on how scientists can elicit negative emotions. Sadness is especially difficult. How do you induce a feeling of loss or failure in the laboratory without resorting to deception or making a test subject feel miserable?

“You can’t tell them something horrible has happened to their family, or tell them they have some terrible disease,” says William Frey II, a University of Minnesota neuroscientist who has studied the composition of tears.

But as Gross says, “films have this really unusual status.” People willingly pay money to see tearjerkers—and walk out of the theater with no apparent ill effect. As a result, “there’s an ethical exemption” to making someone emotional with a film, Gross says.

In 1995, Gross and Levenson published the results of their test screenings. They came up with a list of 16 short film clips able to elicit a single emotion, such as anger, fear or surprise. Their recommendation for inducing disgust was a short film showing an amputation.

Read the rest

India: mass graves discovered, holding bodies of thousands of civilians "disappeared" in 1990s insurgency war

New York Times: "Thousands of bullet-riddled bodies are buried in dozens of unmarked graves across Kashmir, a state human rights commission inquiry has concluded, many of them likely to be those of civilians who disappeared more than a decade ago in the brutal insurgency in the troubled region." Read the rest

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