Boing Boing 

Grandpa sings the pig song

[Video Link] Thanks, Erin! (Via Orangette)

Trailer for bobcat Goldthwait's movie God Bless America

[Video Link] Er…

On the auction block: Adrian Tomine's 1-Page Story "The Donger and Me"

From a 2001 issue of Giant Robot magazine, this one-pager by Adrian Tomine has a bid of $500.

Adrian Tomine's cathartic one-page comic strip describes his personal feelings about actor Gedde Watanabe's portrayal of Long Duk Dong, in the John Hughes film, Sixteen Candles. This strip was used as a tie-in to an NPR All Things Considered "In Character" segment about the character.

Adrian Tomine Complete 1-Page Story "The Donger and Me" Original Art (2001)

Fnord -- the new Boing Boing T-shirt

Here's a closer look at the design. And I forgot to say that it's Rob's design!

"Those who know don't say, and those who say don't know."

Purchase includes membership in the Church of [ ---------- ].

Buy one today!

Don't forget about our other fancy decorated jerkins and tunics:

Boing Boing Critter - Baby Snapsuit

Boing Boing - It Followed Me Home

Boing Boing Monkey

Boing Boing Critter

Boing Boing Beetle

Paved with good intentions: When energy efficiency backfires

Right now, I'm reading The Conundrum by David Owen. It's a really interesting book about some of the unintended consequences of the way we approach sustainability and environmentalism.

I'm going to post a full review soon, once I get all the way through it, but so far Owen is making a couple of key points: One that I agree with, and one I think he's oversimplifying a bit. I agree with this: You can't shop your way out of climate change. The tendency to turn environmentalism into a set of luxury lifestyle choices is a huge problem—doing nothing to solve our energy issues and perpetuating an idea that sustainability is "for" some people and not for others.

Owen also talks a lot about the rebound effect (or, as it's sometimes called, Jevons Paradox)—a very real problem that affects our ability to reduce emissions caused by energy use. Basically, it works like this: when you reduce energy use through energy efficiency, you get the same amount of work for less energy investment. That's good. But saving energy also saves money. That saved money often ends up spent in ways that consume energy. In the end, some measure of the energy you thought you saved through energy efficiency ends up not actually being saved. It just got consumed in another place. The result is good for the economy, but maybe not so good for the climate, depending on how the energy in question was produced.

So far, Owen seems to be taking the position that the rebound effect will always negate all the environmental benefits of energy efficiency programs. From the research I did while working on Before the Lights Go Out , my upcoming book on the future of energy, that's probably not correct. Like I say, I'm not done with Owen's book yet, so I'll let you know what he has to say on this issue in more detail later. But I wanted to bring it up now as an excuse to link to an in-depth FAQ on the rebound effect that I co-authored with Karen Turner, an economist who is one of the few people actually studying how the rebound effect works in the real world.

A lot of the statements made about the rebound effect are based on "common sense" logic and computer models that don't necessarily portray consumer behavior in a realistic way. People like Turner, who do empirical research on the subject, present a more nuanced view.

This FAQ—which is basically a transcript of my first interview with Turner, done 2010—will help you understand why rebound happens, why it's not strictly a bad thing, and what (if anything) we can do to make energy efficiency a useful tool in the fight against climate change.

Read The Rebound Effect: Some Questions Answered

Shameless plug: My book, Before the Lights Go Out , comes out April 10th!

Image: Efficient, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from trekkyandy's photostream

Steampunk Magazine is back!

Magpie Killjoy sez, "SteamPunk Magazine, the oldest-known journal of steampunk fiction and culture, has returned after a two-year hiatus. This 110-page issue covers everything from the fine art of urban exploration to how to sew a lacy cuff. There are articles discussing the girl gangs of New York City in the 19th century as well as our own Steampunk Emma Goldman's take on drunken history. We interview crafters, cellists, and producers of smut. Opinion pieces about steampunk and occupy. A serious-minded piece about airship pirates. As always, the magazine is produced under a Creative Commons license and is freely downloadable in addition to being available for purchase in print. We've also anthologized the first seven long-out-of-print issues, which had been featured here on BoingBoing, into a single, 450-page anthology." SteamPunk Magazine #8 (Thanks, Magpie!)

Mickey Mouse vs. Crass t-shirt

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On the heels of the official, and sadly discontinued, Mickey Mouse vs. Joy Division "Unknown Pleasures" t-shirt, culture jammers Cuboopop printed up Mickey Mouse vs. Crass shirts and shopdropped them at a Disney Store. You can also purchase them online for a very limited time directly from Cubopop. (Thanks KevinVanCamper, via Submitterator!)

Retro Apple iPhone cases

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Schreer Delights is selling these fun iPhone cases until, as Gizmodo writes, they get "sued into oblivion." I dig the Mac Classic model but I would prefer a faux Netwon case, like the one someone sketched out a couple years ago. Schreer Delights (Thanks, Ari Pescovitz!)

A futurist prediction that came true

Sure, it's fun to post old pages of mid-century science magazines and make fun of the predictions that never came true—flying cars! Weather control!

But it's equally, if not more, enjoyable to read predictions for things that actually happened. These are the things that remind us that the world we live in today is pretty goddamn amazing. Teacher Michael Poser sent me one such prediction that he and his students found in The Science Year Book of 1947, a sort-of proto-aggregator that compiled reprints of stories in science magazines. This quote came from a Scientific American article entitled "Microwaves on the way":

In peacetime microwaves are slated for an even more spectacular career… Private phone calls by the hundreds of thousands sent simultaneously over the same wave band without wires, poles, or cables. Towns where each citizen has his own radio frequency, over which he can get voice, music, and television, and call any phone in the country by dialing. Complete abolition of static interference from electrical devices and from other stations. A hundred times as much “space on the air” as is now available in the commercial radio band. A high-definition and color-television network to cover the country. And, perhaps most important of all, a nationwide radar network to regulate all air traffic and furnish instantaneous visual weather reports to airfields throughout the land. By such a system, every aircraft over the United States or approaching it could be spotted, identified and shown simultaneously on screens all the way from Pensacola to Seattle.

What an awesome find! I don't know about you, but I pretty much take for granted all the things that short wavelength radio waves (i.e. microwaves) do for me every day. It's amazing to see something that has become so blase talked about like the wonder of technology it actually is.

Image: mercury m3 sunbury microwave mast, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from osde-info's photostream

Building a better spaceuit

It is no secret that spacesuits are heavy. The full spacesuit worn on the space shuttle, including life support system, clocked in at 310 pounds. At the same time, these suits are bulky, and hard to move around in. So researchers are looking for alternatives—skinnier suits that would weigh less, be more maneuverable, and maybe even have the bonus of helping to support the muscles and skeletal system, which can take a beating during prolonged periods of weightlessness.

Txchnologist has a story up right now about the quest for a better spacesuit. It includes a in-depth look at the BioSuit, which Pesco wrote about here back in 2007. But there are other approaches being explored, as well.

One concept I found particularly interesting might not do much to solve the bulk issue, but could make a big difference for astronaut muscle tone.

In this case, the engineers hope to retain astronauts’ muscle and bone strength by affixing cell phone-size gyroscopes to their arms and legs to imitate gravity. “The property of these control-moment gyroscopes is that they resist changes in angular momentum and thus could apply a couple of pounds of force (torque, in reality),” [researcher Kevin Duda] says.

With a pair of the rechargeable battery-powered units on each appendage—forearms, upper arms, calves and thighs—the astronauts would feel resistance to motion that would to some degree simulate that of normal gravitational force. When floating in deep space or near asteroids, the gyroscopic units, perhaps installed in backpacks, could help astronauts to stabilize their attitude so as to “maintain orientation toward the task at hand to boost operational efficiency.”


3D printed apparatus for collectively operating a manual typewriter

Max Lupo's Thingiverse archive contains all the parts necessary to allow three people to slowly type one phrase over and over again on a typewriter, by operating a complex machine called "the convenient typer."

This is an apparatus designed to allow three people to conveniently type out a specific phrase: it is as it is

Each person must time their actions specifically, and operate their portion of the device with care.

This device was made to be a performance at a local art-event. Its operation is (of course) far from convenient, but it does type out the most true thing I have ever known.

The Convenient Typer

HOWTO make fairies in a jar

Combine glowstick gunk and diamond glitter in a sealed jar and shake -- voila, fairies!

It's a fake. But this one isn't. Same idea: glowstick gunk in jar (no glitter).Thanks to commenter BeckyLikesOwls for the tip!

(via Super Punch)

Muscles leggings make you look like you've been flayed from the waist down

Robbo sez, "James Lillis, a designer with Black Milk Clothing, has come up with a freaky-awesome set of muscle leggings which allow you to celebrate the human anatomy without getting all Gray's Anatomy and actually flaying yourself. I think they are remarkably delicious."

In a kind of Hellraiser/Slim Goodbody way.

Muscles Leggings (Thanks, Robbo!)

Debunking the record industry shill who said that his amendments to Canada's proposed copyright law are no big deal

Michael Geist sez, "Barry Sookman, lawyer and registered lobbyist for the Canadian Recording Industry Association (now Music Canada), the Motion Pictures Association - Canada, and Canadian Publishers Council, has an op-ed in the National Post claiming that concerns that proposed amendments to Bill C-11 could result in SOPA-style rules in Canada are the stuff of wild claims and hysteria.

"The short response is that Sookman's column - along with his clients - downplay the dramatic impact of their proposed amendments. Their proposed amendments to C-11 would radically alter the bill by constraining consumer provisions, heaping greater liability risk on Internet companies, and introducing website blocking and Internet termination to Canada. Several of these provisions are very similar in approach to SOPA in the U.S. and the comparison is both apt and accurate. Moreover, the column leaves the false impression that Bill C-11's digital lock rules are standard when they are widely opposed by numerous stakeholders that Sookman would not dare to call anti-copyright. There is much more to take issue with in the column and I've done so in paragraph-by-paragraph format in the post."

"Bill C-11 Is No SOPA": My Response (Thanks, Michael!)

Zigzag bookcase shows Ikea a thing or two about not shipping air

"REK is a bookcase that grows with your book collection," writes Reinier De Jong Design on its official website. "The more books the bigger the bookcase gets. The zigzag shaped parts slide in and out to accomodate books in the resulting voids. REK will always be full, regardless of the quantity of books. Also the books can be arranged according to their sizes. The narrow spaces are excellent for magazines."

Price is "on request", unfortunately, which suggests I'll be sticking with my cheapo Billies for the time being.

REK bookcase [via Jessamyn West]

The Art of Living, by Grant Snider

I love this comic by Grant Snider. He's selling it as a poster, and has lots of other insightful and funny posters on his website, Thought Balloon Helium. (Via This isn't Happiness)

Leg waxing for giants


Ḅǐŕĉȟ & Ḃåàãǧò is a Danish Institut for Moderne Hudpleje (Modern Huge People)

Here's their list of services (Translated from Danish):

Voks af hele benet (folks who are hellishly big) = Kr. 375,-

Underben (undersized folks) = Kr. 200,-

Ryg (regular folks) Kr. 250,-

Bikini linie (belly button lint removal) Kr. 150,-

Armhuler (spackling of arm holes) Kr. 150,-

Overlæbe (a once-over of the labia) Kr. 100,-

Underansigt (taint polishing) Kr. 100,-

Arme (military wax) = kr. 175,-

Leg waxing for giants (Via Photoshop Disasters)

My daughter and friend's language game decoded by university linguistics department

Ryan Tronier, producer of The Browser on KSL radio, did a segment about the language game my daughter and her friends speak. He says,

I sent the recording of your daughter to the linguistics department at the University of Utah on Monday. One of the PhD students decoded your daughter’s language game. We put together a segment on gibbersh yesterday afternoon. It was fun. We featured your audio and we found this doctor and attorney who still speak their own version of gibberish to each other.

Here's the excerpt from the radio show

Could the Death Star destroy a planet?

 Wikipedia En F F9 Death Star1 Could the Death Star really destroy a planet? Back in 2008, I posted that astrophysicist and mathematician Jeanne Cavelos, author of The Science of Star Wars, speculated that indeed, the Death Star could be that deadly. Last year, another group of scientists published a paper addressing the same question. And these researchers from the University of Leicester's Department of Physics and Astronomy came to the same conclusion. According to the paper abstract, "A simplified planet is used giving an energy required to destroy as 2 x 1027 J. Since the Death Star's power source has a much greater energy output it is feasible to destroy a planet with such a space station." Of course, such a space station doesn't exist. But, well, yeah. "That's No Moon" (PDF, via Astrobiology Magazine)

Bodybuilder can go from ripped to flabby in a few hours

Furious Pete, a body-builder, shows how with just a few hours' preparation he can look absolutely ripped or paunchy and out of shape. He starts by doing a brief, intense exercise and cosmetic regime and produces photos that make him look like he's rippling with muscle and completely devoid of body-fat. Then he eats a few "bloating" foods and drinks, waits a few hours, and shows how the result is to make him look like he's several kilos overweight and badly out of shape. The point is to demonstrate that "before and after" miracle weight-loss photos can be trivially staged without any underlying changes to physical fitness.

Shocking Before and After Transformation in 5 Hours - EXPOSED! (via MeFi)

Steve Silberman reports on synaesthesia

Steve Silberman says:

Perry Hall is a born synaesthete who "hears color and light, and created an iPhone/iPad app called Sonified to let his synaesthesia "loose in the wild, as he puts it. I take Hall's gift as a jumping-off point to talk about Nabokov's "freakish gift" for seeing letters in color, and several recent studies of color-grapheme synaesthesia and other forms of the phenomenon, including a kid with Asperger's syndrome who was inadvertently taught to see emotional "halos" around people's faces.

Inside the Mind of a Synaesthete

Trailer for Iron Sky, a crowd-sourced sci-fi epic

[Video Link] This is going to be the most awesome movie ever.

In the last moments of World War II, a secret Nazi space program evaded destruction by fleeing to the Dark Side of the Moon. During 70 years of utter secrecy, the Nazis construct a gigantic space fortress with a massive armada of flying saucers.

When American astronaut James Washington puts down his lunar lander a bit too close to the secret Nazi base, the Moon Führer decides the glorious moment of retaking the Earth has arrived sooner than expected.
Trailer for Iron Sky, a crowd-sourced sci-fi epic

Steve Albini's cooking blog

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Steve Albini, guitar genius of Big Black, Rapeman, and Shellac, and producer of albums by Nirvana, The Pixies, and hundreds of other bands, is also a delightful food blogger who posts recipes he makes for his wife Heather. Last week, he cooked these yummy-looking saffron potato cashew pancakes. The blog is called mariobatalivoice. Albini says, "The name comes from the way I bring her food in bed and present it to her using an imitation of Mario Batali's voice from TV." mariobatalivoice (Thanks, UPSO!)

Sarriugarte and Mate's Serpent Twins snake vehicles

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Above is video of the incredible Serpent Twins, two slithering vehicles created by the incredibly talented maker couple Jon Sarriugarte and Kyrsten Mate. You may recall that Jon and Kyrsten are the creators of such exquisite biomechanical transports as the Golden Mean snail car that I wrote about in MAKE here and the zippy Electrobyte trilobite car. The Serpent Twins are in the running for the Boca Bearings 2012 Innovation Competition grand prize of $10,000 that will be awarded to the best "innovative mechanical project that utilizes ball bearings, roller bearings, linear bearings or any form of full ceramic or ceramic hybrid bearings anywhere in the application." Jon and Kyrsten say that if they win they'll use the prize money to "buy a stacker trailer to transport our beasts to events like Maker Faire, schools, and festivals to inspire the next generation of artists, engineers and makers." All I can say is that they have my vote.

Vote for The Serpent Twins

More about the The Serpent Twins

Supreme Court Justice appears on Sesame Street, adjudicates disputes

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor did a guest appearance on Sesame Street. She sits down for coffee with Maria, but their chat is interrupted by a series of storybook characters who ask her to adjudicate their grievances. The judge is wise and equitable, and favors arbitration over formal legal remedies. A good approach.

Sesame Street: Sonia Sotomayor: "The Justice Hears a Case." (via MeFi)

The BBC tracks down a troll

Not a funny or clever sort of troll; just a bottom-feeder who specializes in writing racist remarks on online memorials. [BBC via Waxy and Metafilter]

Freelancer advice image macro

Nick Douglas devises a new advice macro, but not before checking his tweets again and organizing the client email list and making sure the icons on his desktop are lined up nicely.

Obama tries out MAKE's Extreme Marshmallow Shooter

[Video Link] Joey Hudy is one of Maker Faire's superstars and we were so excited to see him demo his “Extreme Marshmallow Shooter” in the White House. Here's a fun video of the President giving it a try.

Would you like to make an “Extreme Marshmallow Shooter” yourself? MAKE has Jody's complete plans here.

Joey Hudy Goes to Washington

Collector of 19th century 3D "devil tissues"

In the latest episode of The Midnight Archive, the show's creator Ronni Thomas shares his own collection of 19th century 3D devil tissues. Also known as diableries, they're a particularly unique species of hand-painted color stereogram depicting "Satan's daily life in hell," as Thomas says. "Stereoscopic Terror"

Facebook's funny accounting has "active users" who never use Facebook

The NYT's Andrew Ross Sorkin quotes Barry Ritholtz's digging into how Facebook's IPO documents define "active" users and finds that many of them may never visit the site. Facebook counts you as "active" if your only involvement with the service is setting it up to republish your Twitter feed, or if you click "Like" buttons but never log in to the actual service. This should matter to investors, since Facebook earns no advertising revenue from those users, though it may earn some other income by reselling the private details of their browsing habits as gleaned from its tracking cookies.

In other words, every time you press the “Like” button on, for example, you’re an “active user” of Facebook. Perhaps you share a Twitter message on your Facebook account? That would make you an active Facebook user, too. Have you ever shared music on Spotify with a friend? You’re an active Facebook user. If you’ve logged into Huffington Post using your Facebook account and left a comment on the site — and your comment was automatically shared on Facebook — you, too, are an “active user” even though you’ve never actually spent any time on

“Think of what this means in terms of monetizing their ‘daily users,’ ” Barry Ritholtz, the chief executive and director for equity research for Fusion IQ, wrote on his blog. “If they click a ‘like’ button but do not go to Facebook that day, they cannot be marketed to, they do not see any advertising, they cannot be sold any goods or services. All they did was take advantage of FB’s extensive infrastructure to tell their FB friends (who may or may not see what they did) that they liked something online. Period.”

Those Millions on Facebook? Some May Not Actually Visit (via Memex 1.1)