Boing Boing 

Guy Fawkes mask stencil

Here's some handy, infringealicious clip art for the discriminating Anon who wants to make a statement without paying a royalty: a Guy Fawkes mask, suitable for urban art, dress-up, and silkscreening.

Guy Fawkes Mask clip art (Thanks, @crisnoble!)

Cover art for Western Gunfight magazine

Screen Shot 2012-02-06 At 9.06.17 PmOne of the quieter scenes from a story in Western Gunfight magazine, illustrated by George Wilson. The high bid on this piece of original art stands at $1!

GEORGE WILSON (American, 1921-1999). Western Gunfight cover. Oil on board. 22 x 14.5 in. (image). Not signed

Boing Boing on Jeopardy!

Boing Boing was a clue on Jeopardy! tonight. "Who was Steve Jobs?"

Edward Norton and Daria Werbowy launch Prada Phone by LG 3.0


Mr Norton also added: "It was a pleasure collaborating with PRADA and LG, both Global brands with impeccable reputations for being the most innovative and respected in their fields."
How nice of Mr Norton to write that sentence for the press release!

Earthmoving: a prequel to indie sf feature Sierra Zulu

Johannes sez, "Cory was so kind to post my TEDxVienna talk on monochrom's feature film project SIERRA ZULU. I wanted to give you guys an update. Today we released a short film: EARTHMOVING. It's the prequel to SIERRA ZULU. We thought that's a good way to expand on the backstory and give the folks something to see while we are still working on getting the feature film financed and (hopefully) done. We have a bunch of great actors (e.g. Jeff Ricketts, who was part of Firefly or Star Trek: Enterprise) and our crew at Golden Girls Filmproduktion (Vienna) was absolutely wonderful."

Earthmoving: A Sierra Zulu Prequel (Thanks, Johannes!)

Preview video of "John Romita's The Amazing Spider-Man: Artist's Edition"

I've always enjoying studying the original art for comic book pages, because it's fun to look at the washes, white-out marks, pen lines, blue pencil lines, erased pencil, and brush lines. You can learn a lot from them.

IDW's Artist's Editions (I've not seen a copy in person) print scans of original comic art pages, and judging from this video, they seem to go a long way in getting the look of original comic art pages. Here's the video for John Romita's Amazing Spider-Man Artist's Edition (above).

IDW proudly presents John Romita's The Amazing Spider-Man: Artist's Edition, collecting six complete stories by the great John Romita, arguably the definitive Spider-Man artist. Each page is scanned from the original art, same size as drawn, and in full color (in insure the best possible reproduction). This Artist's Edition measures 12 x 17 inches and each book is shipped in a custom cardboard box for maximum protection.

While appearing to be in black and white, each page was scanned in color to mimic as closely as possible the experience of viewing the actual original art—for instance, corrections, blue pencils, paste-overs, all the little nuances that make original art unique. Each page is printed the same size as drawn, and the paper selected is as close as possible to the original art board.
I just found out that there are Wally Wood, Dave Stevens, Walter Simonson Artist's Editions. They are sold out, of course. You can buy copies on Amazon for hundreds of dollars. If you want the Romita one, I suggest you get hopping.

Video from the opening of Epcot Center's Spaceship Earth

Dan R sez, "This corporate news piece from the opening of 'Spaceship Earth' has plenty to offer the casual to semi-rabid technology fan who is also partial to World's Fair-esque exhibits about the FUTURE! Great footage of 'Spaceship Earth's' exhibits abound, and the film also features other highlights of EPCOT, including Exxon's 'Universe of Energy,' replete with animatronic dinosaurs."

I got trapped on Spaceship Earth during opening month (it had been going down sporadically all day, resulting in heroic queues), just as we reached the top. After a long wait at the apex, we all got to walk down the stairs to get out. It was my first look backstage at a ride. It was seminal.

Chronicle News Update: EPCOT (Thanks, Dan R!)

Romania's prime minister doesn't know why he signed ACTA, Czech Republic's out

The EU's Eastern European constituents have been under enormous trade pressure to sign onto ACTA, the copyright treaty negotiated in secret at the behest of the US Trade Rep and the entertainment lobby. There's widespread rebellion in Slovenia, Poland and Bulgaria, and now Romania's Prime Minister has admitted, "he did not hold any information on the circumstances in which Romania had adopted the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement." Meanwhile, the Czech Republic's reviewing its ACTA involvement.(via TechDirt)

Talking camera issues threats to people visiting communal garden

[Video Link] "Camden council in north London have recently installed this talking camera that issues threats to residents at Walker House."

Dick Tufeld, voice of Lost In Space's Robot, RIP

 WordPress Wp-Content Uploads 2012 01 Tufeld I had missed this sad news, but Dick Tufeld, the man who gave Robby the Robot his voice on Lost In Space, died last month. He was 85. Along with his famous catchphrase "Danger, Will Robinson!" and the intro to Lost In Space, Tufield's voice was also heard at the beginning of "Voyage To The Bottom of the Sea."
Dick Tufeld (IMDB, thanks Charles Pescovitz!)

Beautiful transfer of a 1957 color home movie of Disneyland

This restored 1957 home movie of a Disneyland visit, from the Disney History Institute, is an absolute treat. I love the rare footage of the Frontierland pack-mules and the Jungle Cruise as it was before the jungle really grew in; I'm likewise captivated by the sight of the (by modern standards) harshly metallic and dangerous-looking conveyances for small children. From The Disney Blog:

The Disney History Institute scores big again with a vintage color film from 1957 Disneyland. DHI uses the same transfer process that Ken Burns does to get his amazing footage and the result is something with the truest and brightest colors I’ve ever seen from Disneyland’s early days.

1957 Disneyland Film is a Treasure

Petition to uncloak secret copyright treaty

A welcome White House petition for our American readers' consideration: a request to make the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty negotiation more transparent. This bland-sounding treaty is, in fact, the successor to ACTA, negotiated in the strictest secrecy. A recent leak from the TPP smoke-filled rooms revealed that negotiators are considering regulating incidental copies made in buffers, a deep foray by regulatory fantasy into engineering reality. (via Techdirt)

Stop-motion film about an entomologist's nightmare

Stop-motion film about an entomologist's nightmare

MikeyP sez, "Filmmaker friends of mine have a lovely melancholy stop-motion film (about a tiny entymologist with a lightbulb for a head) they're hoping to get into the Australian short film festival Tropfest via the audience vote.If you have a second, and feel so inclined, pray click the link, scroll to the right to find 'Re-Collection',* and if you like the film, please vote for it. Even if you choose not to vote for my friends, Tropfest is worth checking out if you like short films. I think all of the finalists' films are viewable from the Tropfest YouTube channel. It's a good festival. * Or you can use the search box. Yes, Tropfest's system is a bit convoluted, and yes, it probably favours the first films in the list. But that's how it is."

TROPFEST's Channel - YouTube (Thanks, MikeyP!)

Video: OK Go's "Needing/Getting"

Here is OK Go's excellent video for "Needing/Getting." And yes, it was done "in partnership" with the maker of that particular car. According to the video description, the car "was outfitted with retractable pneumatic arms designed to play the instruments, and the band recorded this version of Needing/Getting, singing as they played the instrument array with the car… There are no ringers or stand-ins; Damian took stunt driving lessons. Each piano had the lowest octaves tuned to the same note so that they'd play the right note no matter where they were struck."

Tom Marcinkco's wonderful sf, free for Kindles

My friend and oft-times workshop mate Tom Marcinko, a very talented writer and critiquer, has just put seven of his previously published sf stories into the Kindle store for what he calls "the amazingly low price of absolutely nothing." He's getting back to work on new fiction after a long hiatus, and this is his way of marking the occasion. How can you resist a free sf collection with a story in it called "The Nixon Wrangler's Tale"?

An ardent missionary beams to another galaxy--but finds his convictions and personality altered in transmission.

A bounty hunter pursues a replicant from out of history. This is not called termination. It is called “impeachment.”

Aliens invade a globally depressed Earth with a sinister weapon: A new line of curiously addictive consumer products.

Superheroes must control their powers. Or a shadowy government agency will do it for them.

Plus the Second Coming, with a special guest appearance by the Patron Saint of Television.

Welcome to seven adventures in space, time, and from under the floorboards.

These stories were previously published in Realms of Fantasy, Interzone, Rosebud, Science Fiction Age, and other respected venues.

Tom is the person who introduced me to Mystery Science Theater 3000, and is a very happy mutant indeed.

Astronauts and Heretics

Be a Book Giver on World Book Night

This is the first post from the fine folks of the American Library Association, which recently launched a member interest group called Library Boing Boing. They will be posting now and again as LibraryLab.

On April 23, 2012, tens of thousands of people in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, and Germany will go out into their communities to spread the joy and love of reading by giving away free books. All you have to do to participate is register by midnight EST tonight.

The goal is to have 50,000 people give a book to a stranger or to people you might know but believe aren’t frequent readers. Go to a coffee shop, a hospital, a park, a church, a community center, an after-work party, a local school, or even just give them away on your daily train ride. WBN will give you 20 specially-produced, not-for-resale World Book Night editions to randomly give away. There are 30 titles to choose from for all types of readers. Basically, if you love any of the books included in the program, you can get free copies to share with others.

Read the rest

Robot gaze: what are the aesthetics of computer vision systems?

Timo's video "Robot readable world" is made up of stitched-together found footage from computer vision systems, "exploring the aesthetics of the robot eye." It was inspired by Matt Jones's essay The Robot-Readable World, and it reminds me Laura Mulvey's idea of the Male Gaze.

Robot readable world

Mathematicians: You must have at least 17 clues to solve Sudoku

A recent mathematics study showed that you have to have at least 17 clues on a Sudoku grid in order for the puzzle to be solvable. You could make the game easier, by adding more clues. But if there are fewer than 17 clues, then the game becomes impossible to solve. In this video, mathematician James Grime explains how the researchers figured this out.

Video Link

Via Grrlscientist and The Guardian


New life for old malls

There are too many malls in America, and too many vacancies in them. So city planners are looking for other ways to use all that square-footage. The New York Times has a neat story about some of the different ways derelict shopping malls are being repurposed: As deconstructed residential/retail centers catering to desires for a more "Main Street" environment; as churches and city government offices; and even as community gardens. (Via Dennis Dimick)

Do the dead outnumber the living?

 ~Squires Gursky Pics Gursky Union Rave

Andreas Gursky "Union Rave" (1995)

In 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke wrote ""Behind every man now alive stand 30 ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living." That's no longer true. These days, there are apparently 15 dead for every living person. Still, the living clearly do not outnumber the dead. Not even close, according to new research from the Population Reference Bureau. according to new research from the Population Reference Bureau. The TL;DR is that "There are currently seven billion people alive today and the Population Reference Bureau estimates that about 107 billion people have ever lived," according to a BBC News article. Of course, the vast majority of history is based on educated guesses. The first homo sapiens weren't too interested in acquiring census data. It wasn't until the 18th century or so that the best ongoing data was collected about such things. "Do the dead outnumber the living?" (BBC News)

Zapping the brain into "expert" mode

The "flow state" is how neuroscience researchers describe that zone you can get into when you're doing something that you've become highly skilled at. It's a zen-like place in your brain — that state where you lose track of time doing something that you enjoy doing for its own sake, and where the job of doing the task seems to become something you don't even have to think about. You just do it, and you do it right.

The catch, of course, is that usually it takes a lot of heavy work to get to the point where the flow can take over. This is where Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hours of practice comes into play. But, over the years, scientists have learned that there are some ways around that 10,000-hour rule. Some people just seem to pick up on the flow easier than others, for instance.

If your brain isn't just naturally inclined toward the flow, though, there is the option of zapping it into line. This is called transcranial direct current stimulation—basically running a very small electric current through specific parts of the brain. In some studies, and for some tasks, it's been shown to induce a feeling very much like a flow state, and possibly make it easier for people to get to a high level of skill faster. Last spring, Pesco wrote about some of the research that's being conducted on this intriguing but still-not-proven technique. Recently, New Scientist reporter Sally Adee tried it out, and saw a significant short-term improvement in her ability to spot and hit targets in a video shooter game.

The mild electrical shock is meant to depolarise the neuronal membranes in the region, making the cells more excitable and responsive to inputs. Like many other neuroscientists working with tDCS, Weisend thinks this accelerates formation of new neural pathways during the time that someone practises a skill. The method he is using on me boosted the speed with which wannabe snipers could detect a threat by a factor of 2.3

It's not yet clear why some forms of tDCS should bring about the flow state. After all, if tDCS were solely about writing new memories, it would be hard to explain the improvement that manifests itself as soon as the current begins to flow.

One possibility is that the electrodes somehow reduce activity in the prefrontal cortex - the area used in critical thought, which Csikszentmihalyi had found to be muted during flow. Roy Hamilton, a neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, thinks this may happen as a side effect of some forms of tDCS. "tDCS might have much more broad effects than we think it does," he says. He points out that some neurons can mute the signals of other brain cells in their network, so it is possible that stimulating one area of the brain might reduce activity in another.

The first thing I thought of when I read this: The way drinking one (but not more than two) beers can change the way I approach a billiards game. It doesn't improve my skills, per se—I don't suddenly become graceful with a pool cue. But when it's a game that I have some skill at already, like table hockey, one beer is often just enough to allow me to stop over-thinking and just play the game ... making it feel like I'm better at it then than I am stone-cold sober. I'd be really interested to know if/how these experiences are related.

Scenes from the 1970 Encylopedia of Home Improvement

How to Be a Retronaut's gallery of images from the 1970 edition of the "Encylopedia of Home Improvement" are like shots from a never-aired episode of The Brady Bunch where the family took over management of The Madonna Inn and did a little light redecorating.

Encylopedia of Home Improvement, 1970

Video: From The Mouth of The Sun's "Sitting In A Roofless Room"

Last month, I posted about the gorgeous droning ambient music of From The Mouth of the Sun. People really seemed to dig it! Carter Gunn created this video for their track "Sitting In A Roofless Room" from video footage courtesy of the fantastic Prelinger Archive. The song is on From The Mouth of The Sun's new album, Woven Tide, which you can listen to right here. And you can purchase it directly from Experimedia.

Video of Iceland's lake monster


An Icelandic man captured video of what some suggest is the Lagarfljótsormur, a lake monster residing in the lake Lagarfljót in the eastern part of the country. Others suggest it's a fishing net. I prefer the former. Stories of the Lagarfljótsormur date back to 1345. From Iceland Review Online:

According to legend, it was at first a tiny worm which was placed on a ring of gold to make the gold grow.

When the owner of the ring returned she noticed to her great terror that the worm had grown immensely but not the gold. She tossed the ring and worm into Lagarfljót where the worm continued to grow.

Video here: "Er þetta Lagarfljótsormurinn?"(

English language news here: "Iceland 'Lake Monster' Captured on Film?" (Iceland Review Online)

UPDATE: Over at Cryptomundo, Loren Coleman says "Frankly, this video shows something that looks like a constructed snake-like object, with rigid sections, being propelled through the water." "Iceland River Monster? Or Robotic Hoax?"

Jolly Green Giant in a dickie

The Jolly Green Giant was always the most ambiguous and slightly threatening of the tinned food mascots. Tilt your head and squint and this is a cruel titan who's toying with the mortals at his dinner table before turning them loose for the Wild Hunt. Plus: Mexicorn!


Sol LeWitt kippah

 Jmuseum Assets Product Images Pamdacjmnkgjfgkf This is a Sol LeWitt yarmulke created by the Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek temple in Chester, Connecticut. LeWitt, a member of the congregation, helped design the temple. "Sol LeWitt Kippah" (Thanks, Jill Miller!)

Sex is Fun podcast: How sexism affects your sex life

I've been doing periodic appearances on Sex is Fun, a sex-positive podcast aimed at providing fun, informative sex ed. for grown-ups. Last time I was on the show, we talked about some funny animal sex studies and what they can and can't teach you about human sexual behavior. This time around, we talked about a couple of recent studies focusing on sociology and sex.

In particular, we focused on a study from last fall that surveyed students at the University of Kansas to find out how men's and women's internalized sexism affect their relationships with each other. If you've ever watched one of those shows about so-called "pick up artists" and wondered, "Who the hell are the women falling for this crap!?", then this is the show to listen to.

Check out the podcast at the Sex is Fun site!

Image: IMG_9459, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from jon_knox's photostream.

U.S. Air Force defends cyberspace in Entertainment Liaison Video pitch

This is the U.S. Air Force's pitch to the entertainment industry, a smorgasbord of mil-porn to delight anyone who loved shows such as Airwolf and The A-Team. The objective is to help productions, from teen-magnet Hollywood epics to seniors' detective show "Monk", get the details right—and, of course, to put the taxpayers' latest hardware on show.

Hitherto available only in teaser form online, the full-size version was yielded by a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Government Attic.

"The industry's gateway to an extraordinary arsenal of aircraft, equipment, credible personnel and locations," intones Fake Morgan Freeman. "Their mission: protect and project the Air Force and entertainment media, including film, tv, video games, comic books and more."

The Air Force's Entertainment Liaison Office offers uniformed extras, on-set technical advice, research trips and even script feedback. Michael Bay totally has his own personalized tankard under the bar at this place.

Graffiti artist in Urbana, Ill. has an upbeat message for you

This bit of graffiti, spotted by entomologist and photographer Alex Wild, seems like the perfect way to start off a Monday morning. Thanks, anonymous tagger! I feel better already!

Report: U.S. drones also killed rescuers after strikes

Razani Base, Waziristan,Aug. 1938, from which British and Indian forces suppressed a local insurrection.
Photo: Brian Harrington Spier, under CC

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that drones targeted funeral mourners and rescuers responding to prior strikes. One government official, granted the veil of anonymity by The New York Times, would not deny that it had done so. Instead, he or she suggested that to "malign the efforts" was to "help Al Qaeda succeed."

Glenn Greenwald notes that the New York Times broke its own policies on source anonymity to run the quote.

The Bureau’s journalists and researchers spent months engaged in the painstaking and difficult task of gathering documentation on the effects of the top secret U.S. drone program in Waziristan — producing extraordinary findings — only to find themselves and their sources, many of whom are local villagers whose children have been killed, depicted as Al Qaeda’s witting or unwitting allies the very next day in The New York Times, by some senior government official too frightened to put his name on his accusations and aided (as always) by a newspaper that has repeatedly vowed to stop these practices.

It looks like the price of continued access to "senior counterterrorism officials" is that you must, now and again, launder their dirty political opinions.