Boing Boing 

Zombie sleep mask

In the Boing Boing store: Zombie Sleep Masks. One of these is going in my "most comfortable man in the sky" airplane kit -- a carry-all with a tiny two-temperature sleeping bag, hot water bottle, fuzzy sleep socks, freshly pressed cotton pyjamas, and a sleep mask.

Zombie Sleep Mask

The GOP's War on Women

[Video Link] MoveOn's new ad spot features women repeating brain-curdlingly misogynistic comments made by prominent members of the Republican party.

The GOP's War on Women

Heatgate or Hype? Thermal imaging of new iPad vs. iPad 2 (photo)

Apple's newest iPad, (R) and its predecessor, the iPad 2, are pictured with a thermal camera in Berlin March 22, 2012.

Consumer Reports effectively launched "heatgate" hysteria this week, when it reported test results showing that the new iPad reached temperatures of 116 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Celsius) after 45 minutes of running an intense action game, or up to 13 degrees F (8 degrees C) hotter than the previous iPad under similar conditions. Consumer Reports, of course, was central to the earlier iPhone 4 "antennagate" storm.

But other reviewers have different findings on temperature/stress-tests with the 2012 iPad. Time disagrees that the issue is a problem. ZDNet has a contrary take on things also. And the Gruber. And Macworld, and The Loop, and CNET, too.

Read the rest

The most disgusting trading cards ever made: exclusive Boing Boing preview!

Img 0682 (All images copyright 2012 The Topps Company, Inc., used by permission.) My kids and I have become deeply engrossed with the book Garbage Pail Kids, a fond look at the Topps bubblegum trading cards that were art directed by Art Spiegelman 25 years ago. This book, published by Abrams ComicArts, has all 206 images from the Garbage Pail Kids stickers produced in 1985 and 1986.

Below, a gallery of some of our favorites along with an excerpt of the great artist John Pound's essay about the creation of the cards. Incredibly, he painted one per day!


Popping Out Garbage Pail Kids, by John Pound

The early 1980s saw punk rock, personal computers, Rubik’s Cubes, Star Wars sequels, video games, Reaganomics, and AIDS.

In California I was painting lurid underground comix covers, heavy metal–style art prints, and fantasy book covers. Meanwhile, in New York, while creating comix, Art Spiegelman was also art directing Topps Wacky Packages stickers, which parodied products sold in stores. In 1984, Art called and asked if I could paint a few Wacky Packages. I loved humor art, so it sounded great. I did nine paintings from their gag roughs.

One idea, sketched by Mark Newgarden, was “Garbage Pail Kids,” a parody of Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. But that image was never printed when Topps decided to do a whole series of Garbage Pail Kids stickers. They asked several artists to each draw some idea sketches plus a color rough to show how the cards might look. I got carried away, doing about fifty pages of loose sketches, with lists of ideas and names. I planned to redraw the six best ideas to look more professional, and send those in. But my wife, Karen, said, “Don’t redraw. Send them everything. They already know you can paint.” Wise words. Topps liked the ideas and sketches I sent in, and the color example, so they asked me to paint forty-four stickers for Garbage Pail Kids (only forty-one were used). Art said having all the paintings done by one artist would give the set unity.

Read the rest of John Pound's essay and see more disgusting cards

Australia's government won't disclose its secret copyright meetings because knowing what went on isn't in the public interest

On TechDirt, Glyn Moody reports the outrageous news that the Australian government refuses to release any substantive information on the secret copyright enforcement meetings it held, redacting nearly the entirety of the documents before releasing them to a Freedom of Information request. The government also claims that it can't release a list of attendees because it doesn't have such a list -- that is, the government doesn't know who was invited to its secret, eyes-only copyright meeting. Most orwellian is this, though, from the Attorney General's office: "Disclosure of the documents while the negotiations are still in process, would, in my view, prejudice, hamper and impede those negotiations to an unacceptable degree. That would, in my view, be contrary to the interests of good government -- which would, in turn, be contrary to the public interest."

What this really means is: "All hell will break loose when the public finds out what is being discussed behind closed doors. So what we're going to do is to come up with an agreement in secret, and then present it as a fait accompli, without offering citizens any options to change anything substantive. By contrast, to release the documents, and allow the public to have a say in how they should be allowed to use a critical 21st-century technology, would be contrary to the interests of this very good government, which by definition is identical with the public interest."

Australian Gov't: Not In The Public Interest For The Public To Be Interested In Secret Anti-Piracy Negotiations

Happy Birthday, William Shatner

Actor William Shatner celebrates his 81st birthday today. He is best known for his role in the Star Trek television series and films, but has had a long and wildly varied career that... continues to... boldly go where no man has gone before, one might say.

Captain James T. Kirk was a constant presence in my home, growing up—my dad was a huge Trekkie. I think it's fair to guess that many Boing Boing readers also consider this character, and Shatner's broader body of work, a formative part of their lives as nerds.

I recently attended his one-man-show, "Shatner's World," in Hollywood. It was a hoot. You should catch it when it comes to your town. The fate of Star Trek: The Original Series was closely linked to that of the American space program in the late 1960s, and Shatner tells some wonderful anecdotes about the historic ties to NASA in his touring performance. My favorite? His visit to Kennedy Space Center to see the Apollo LEM up-close, and a funny prank the astronauts and engineers played on him. But I won't blog any spoilers, go see it yourself.

Also, his most recent book, Shatner Rules (2011), might help you make sense of the universe. To the extent that the universe really makes any sense, that is.

Happy birthday, Rocket Man.

Read the rest

Adam and Jamie's fun new show: Unchained Reaction

[Video Link] Our MythBusting pals, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, have a new series on the Discovery Channel called Unchained Reaction. It airs Sundays at 10PM (the new season of MythBusters is on Sundays, too). Here's an exclusive peek at the upcoming episode, which features a team of engineers from NASA vs. a team of Special Effects & Prop Animators. The theme is "Fire & Ice".

Each week's episode pits two teams from different backgrounds (rocket scientists, special effects masters, construction workers, engineers, among others) to build a wild and elaborate chain reaction contraption. The teams receive identical materials and five days to complete their journey before series judges Jamie and Adam, and a guest judge each week decide the winner. The guest judges range from Academy Award winning special effects make up artist Rick Baker to engineering professor Adrian Hightower from Harvey Mudd College. The program also features Charles Haine who serves as a mentor to the contestants.

It's a fun show that will not disappoint anyone interested in math, science, engineering, special effects, fire, technology, construction, design, explosions, and bigger than big chain reaction machines.
Unchained Reaction

Landmark ruling for LGBT rights in Chile

Via the New York Times: In Chile, a judge who lost custody of her daughters in 2004 because she is a lesbian will now receive damages, after an Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling. Karen Atala will get $50,000, and $12,000 to reimburse court costs. Not much comfort after being separated from your kids by the state for 6 years, but the ruling sets an important precedent in the region.

Gay cruise not so gay after two arrested on "buggery" in Caribbean

Via The Associated Press, news that two men on a cruise from Palm Springs through the Virgin Islands were arrested Wednesday in Dominica, where sex between two men—"buggery"— is a crime. According to their lawyer, the couple was enjoying the cruise, had downed a few cocktails, and were swept up by the beautiful scenery... so they spontaneously got it on in clear view of folks on land.

Police Constable John George said police boarded the cruise ship and arrested the two men on suspicion of indecent exposure and "buggery," a term equivalent to sodomy on the island. The cruise was organized by Atlantis Events, a Southern California company that specializes in gay travel. President Rich Campbell, who is aboard the cruise, said in a phone interview earlier that he thought the two men would be released. He later said in an email that the company has organized many trips to Dominica and would "happily return."

Cruise ticket buyer, beware. (thanks, Antinous!)

We Are All Radioactive, a documentary series

Lisa Katayama says:

Last summer, TED film director Jason Wishnow and I went to Japan to visit a small fishing village destroyed by the tsunami. We'd heard from a friend that something unique was happening there -- in the absence of official aid from the government and NGOs, a team of young surfers was spearheading reconstruction efforts and teaching fishermen how to make a living now that they couldn't fish. We decided to film these surfers and fishermen as they went about their everyday lives. And when we left, we gave them digital waterproof cameras so they could continue to document their own experiences from their own point of view.

We started releasing the resulting footage online on 3.11.2012 (the 1-year anniversary of the earthquake) on our website, We're working with a team of top editors and sound designers to produce each episode professionally, and we're only unlocking new episodes only as they're funded.

The characters in the film -- who are living with this reality every day -- are following this film via Facebook and are among our biggest supporters.

We're just about $6000 away from reaching our crowdfunding campaign goal, and we're also looking for private donors or sponsors that can fund an episode in exchange for some major credit love.
We Are All Radioactive, Chapter 2

Cock rock ambient


Willoughby, Ohio's StPaulAtTheEndOfTheWorld slows down FM radio classics like Boston's "More Than A Feeling" and Alan Parsons Project's "Eye In The Sky" into lush, orchestral drone. He calls it "Cock Rock Ambient." You can join the fun too by using the open source Paul's Extreme Sound Stretch software.

StPaulAtTheEndOfTheWorld (via Dangerous Minds, thanks Patrick Kelly!)

Crazed giant beast hand-cranked automaton in action

Dug sez, "This video profile of automata-maker Dug North includes a better view of the 'Crazed giant beast hand-cranked automaton prototype' featured on Boing Boing back on August 2nd, 2011."

Automata (Thanks, Dug North!)

Racist pants

Abercrombie & Fitch (It's a rogue reseller!) should think of a better name for these pants.

UPDATE: Xeni says "Network Solutions Whois reveals that the domain is owned by, a Chinese company. Abercrombie & Fitch Inc doesn't control any of the content."

Here's a similar case reported in The Consumerist.

Monstrous, grotesque and awesome sculptures of Thomas Kuebler

Thomas Kuebler's sculptures are a little bit Bosch, a little bit Jaffee, a little bit Wolverton, and a little bit EC Comics -- and a whole lot of awesome.

After two and a half decades of working in the corporate world of toy design prototypes and bringing robots to life in the animatronics field, Thomas Kuebler opted to explore his full creative potential as a freelance artist. Armed with the tools of his trade, a supportive wife, and the odd inhabitants of his own personal fiction, he set forth on a new mission to bring the world inside his head to life. His award-winning silicone character sculptures range in venue from museums to private collections to the offices of DC Comics and have been featured in publications such as Spectrum and Rue Morgue. Kuebler and his wife currently reside in North Carolina.

THE GALLERIES OF Thomas Kuebler (via Neatorama)

Tim Ferriss explains how to hyperdecant wine

I don't know anything about wine, but I love the audacious idea of using an immersion blender to hyperdecant wine in 20 seconds. Tim Ferriss explains how in the video above. I'm really looking forward to Tim's new book, The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life, due out in November!

Pond - "Moth Wings" (MP3 download)

Sound it Out # 22: Pond - "Moth Wings"

I’ve been thinking about getting a medical marijuana prescription for my insomnia, and it occurs to me that that's probably also the only thing that would make Pond sound even better to me than they already do. I’m confident that no bud was spared during the two weeks they spent in an remote farmhouse making their new record Beard, Wives, Denim.

Pond shares a few members with fellow Australian stoner rock band Tame Impala, who we featured here last year. My favorite song on the new Pond record is“ Moth Wings”, and I challenge you to listen to it and not shake your thing.

Click the little arrow on the widget below to download "Moth Wings" - one week only!


P.S. Yes, there was also a terrific Portland, OR band called Pond back in the 90’s.


Tim Leary's floatation tank for sale

You can own Timothy Leary's sensory deprivation tank! The Samadhi Tank Company delivered the tank to Tim the month before he died. I don't know how often Tim used it, but I remember seeing it in the corner of his bedroom. Tim's tank is on eBay for a Buy It Now price of $20,000 with the proceeds going to the nonprofit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. In the late 1980s, I experimented with a similar tank a few times myself but stopped because it was causing me to de-evolve into a primitive man. Your mileage may vary. "Samadhi Floatation Tank Originally Owned by Timothy Leary"

"Unseen Titanic" in NatGeo magazine: first ever complete views of wreck

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COPYRIGHT© 2012 RMS TITANIC, INC; Sonar mosaic developed by Remus Operations Group (WHOI) and Waitt Institute. Visible for the first time through sonar imaging, the remains of the ship and its contents sprawl across a thousand acres of gently sloping seafloor. Combined with optical mosaics of individual artifacts, this map of the main wreck area will help experts explore, manage and protect the Titanic as a long-term archaeological site.

See that little thing on the left side? It's a photo of the Titanic.

The April 2012 edition of National Geographic magazine features the first ever complete views of the legendary wreck, made from thousands of high-resolution images, in its current state as it rests on the seafloor.

Ipad Ngm April 2012 Cvr

The wreck sleeps in darkness, a puzzlement of corroded steel strewn across a thousand acres of the North Atlantic seabed. Fungi feed on it. Weird colorless life-forms, unfazed by the crushing pressure, prowl its jagged ramparts. From time to time, beginning with the discovery of the wreck in 1985 by Explorer-in-Residence Robert Ballard and Jean-Louis Michel, a robot or a manned submersible has swept over Titanic’s gloomy facets, pinged a sonar beam in its direction, taken some images—and left.

In recent years explorers like James Cameron and Paul-Henry Nargeolet have brought back increasingly vivid pictures of the wreck. Yet we’ve mainly glimpsed the site as though through a keyhole, our view limited by the dreck suspended in the water and the ambit of a submersible’s lights. Never have we been able to grasp the relationships between all the disparate pieces of wreckage. Never have we taken the full measure of what’s down there.

Until now. In a tricked-out trailer on a back lot of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), William Lange stands over a blown-up sonar survey map of the Titanic site—a meticulously stitched-together mosaic that has taken months to construct. At first look the ghostly image resembles the surface of the moon, with innumerable striations in the seabed, as well as craters caused by boulders dropped over millennia from melting icebergs.

On closer inspection, though, the site appears to be littered with man-made detritus—a Jackson Pollock-like scattering of lines and spheres, scraps and shards. Lange turns to his computer and points to a portion of the map that has been brought to life by layering optical data onto the sonar image. He zooms in, and in, and in again. Now we can see the Titanic’s bow in gritty clarity, a gaping black hole where its forward funnel once sprouted, an ejected hatch cover resting in the mud a few hundred feet to the north. The image is rich in detail: In one frame we can even make out a white crab clawing at a railing.

Here, in the sweep of a computer mouse, is the entire wreck of the Titanic—every bollard, every davit, every boiler. What was once a largely indecipherable mess has become a high-resolution crash scene photograph, with clear patterns emerging from the murk. “Now we know where everything is,” Lange says. “After a hundred years, the lights are finally on.”

Titanic Mm7985 Rmst 3D 004-1
COPYRIGHT© 2012 RMS TITANIC, INC; Produced by AIVL, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Modeling by Stefan Fichtel. Ethereal views of Titanic's bow (modeled) offer a comprehensiveness of detail never seen before. See the rest of the gallery

11 days until the release of “The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist”! (…plus your chance to win an autographed copy today)

…and the countdown continues.

Clowes Juvenilia


Alvin says: "For today we have artwork by young Daniel Clowes. He created these drawings between the ages of 6 and 18. What kinda kid draws Spiro Agnew and Gerald Ford with his crayons anyway?"

The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist will be available April 1st. Order a copy today from your local bookseller, the publisher, or Amazon. OR: Enter our contest for a chance to win a copy of the book autographed by Clowes. Throughout the countdown, one winner will be picked at random every day, so check for the daily code. To enter, send an email to with your mailing address (no PO boxes please) and put in the subject line today’s contest code: lloydllewellyn.

See gallery here

The Beyond: 1981 Italian horror film soundtrack reissued

 Albums E158 Mcnail Omg8 Mond-002 Gatefold Outer The Beyond is Lucio Fulci's 1981 Italian horror film about a hotel that just happens to be built on top of a gate to… Hell! Fabio Frizzi's soundtrack is a classic of Italian horror scores and is now being reissued by the Mondo label. More info over at OMG Vinyl:

"Announcing “The Beyond: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” LP – Coming from Mondo"

Video: Diana Gameros, live at Yoshi's

Diana Gameros, my favorite singer/songwriter in San Francisco, performs soulful, passionate, and modern music infused with her Latin heritage. Born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Gameros creates authentic, inspiring music that reflects the 21st century experiences of a young indie artist at the borderlands between cultures, languages, and genres. Diana recently performed with a full band at the famed Yoshi's Jazz Club. I missed the gig but it was apparently quite fantastic. I'm happy that several videos from the show are now available on YouTube. Above, her song "SB 1070" about one of the nastiest anti-immigration laws in US history. And here are two more performances from the Yoshi's concert: "Libre y Serena" and "Clara," a cover of a song by the Uruguayan band No Te Va Gustar.

Mysterious booms in Wisconsin

I've posted before about mysterious booming sounds from unidentified sources that have rattled people in California, New York, and elsewhere. Now, the small town of Clintonville, Wisconsin has been rocked the last few nights by weird booms. The city government has now hired an engineering firm to try to identify the cause of the noises. From the Associated Press:
If the firm finds the epicenter, it will try to pinpoint its depth and what is causing it. The city will spend $7,000 on the effort, but (city administrator Lisa) Kuss said "it's possible we'll never have a definitive answer."

The city set up audio and video recorders overnight Wednesday but didn’t capture anything. There was at least one loud boom at 5 a.m.

"Clintonville noises: City's equipment fails to tape mystery booms" (AP, thanks, Matt Drudge!)

"After 3 nights, sleepless Wisconsin town longs for relief from mysterious loud booming noises" (AP)

Katniss has nothing on Iza Privezenceva

[Video Link] Compare this casual, everyday bodkin-plinkage with the glossy and lurid X-Factor equivalent.

Sparkle and grunt: The sounds of a solar flare

I really dig science that makes the inaudible audible. Earlier this month, I posted a link where you could listen to seismic waves from the Tohoku earthquake converted into sound. A couple years ago, we had sounds from space—plasma waves converted into sound.

This video, from and the University of Michigan, turns a coronal mass ejection from March 7th into some fantastic sounds—some resembling tinkling bells, and others sounding more like a 7th grade boys' locker room.

Via Steve Silberman

The weird glowing millipedes of Alcatraz

 Quest Files 2012 03 Alcatraz Millipede Bl-E1331595647469-640X360

National Park Service workers were using black lights to conduct a rat census (!) on Alcatraz last month when they accidentally discovered these strange glowing millipedes. From KQED QUEST:

Some millipedes species are known to fluoresce under black light, but National Park Service officials say it is the first recorded evidence of such millipedes on Alcatraz. UC Davis entomologists are hard at work determining whether the millipede is a known subspecies of Xystocheir dissect (Wood) the species commonly found around San Francisco Bay.

Alcatraz Island is far enough from the mainland for a new species to evolve, though it would take millennia for that to happen. New subspecies or not, California is known for being the only place in the world with bioluminescent millipedes.

"Millipede Mystery: A New Fluorescent Subspecies on Alcatraz?"

Meanwhile, in species-naming news

Rudyard Kipling has a crocodile. (Via Jacquelyn Gill)

Scientific calculator in Minecraft

SgtGodswordBerserker has implemented a multi-function scientific calculator using Minecraft, a project that echoes the earlier projects to build a CPU and a 3D printer using the game engine and its primitives.

Specs: 6 digit addition and subtraction, 3 digit multiplication, division and trigonometric/scientific functions. (The reason these are only 3 digits is because multiplication and division would take a long time to decode/complete/encode. Also, the fraction display is hard enough to build for 3 digits, let alone 6 - 6 digit RAM would not only be massive, but a bit pointless since the curves follow the same pattern surrounding the peaks.). Graphing y=mx+c functions, quadratic functions, and equation solving of the form mx+c=0.

The screen and keypad were always meant to be the main feature of this machine. The main display boasts 25 digits. Square root signs are displayed and can change to accommodate any number of digits. Square root signs, add, minus, multiply and divide signs are displayed at appropriate times, and there is a full fraction display. The 7-segments for the fractions are the smallest possible, being only 3 wide, and stackable vertically and horizontally.

...The calculator itself is just over 250x200x100 blocks. It contains 2 6-digit BCD number selectors, 2 BCD-to-binary decoders, 3 binary-to-BCD decoders, 6 BCD adders and subtractors, a 20 bit (output) multiplier, 10 bit divider, a memory bank and additional circuitry for the graphing function.

Minecraft Scientific/Graphing calculator - Sin Cos Tan Log Square root (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Grooming a baby sea otter

It's not just adorable! Grooming is actually an incredibly important part of keeping this baby sea otter healthy. Joanne Manaster visited the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and came back with a whole post for the PsiVid blog about the science of cute baby animals.

When an otter is raised by humans, there are many skills they need to learn, including how to feed themselves, groom themselves, and to sleep in the water. Unfortunately, once they are habituated to humans, they will not gain the skills needed to hunt, so cannot be released into the wild. On the other hand, the otter raised by the surrogate will gain all necessary skills and may be released to the wild in the future.

That's why Toola—the world's most influential otter—was so important. Those habits, including grooming, are a big deal in the wild.

From Shedd’s website: “Keeping the pup’s thick fur clean, dry and fluffed is essential to her survival. Sea otters are the only marine mammals that aren’t wrapped in an insulating blanket of blubber. Instead, they have about 1 million hairs per square inch of skin, divided into an outer layer of thick guard hairs and an inner layer of dense, wooly underfur honeycombed with millions of tiny air pockets. The layers work together to keep water out and body heat in. If the fur becomes matted or fouled with pollutants such as oil, cold sea water penetrates to the otter’s skin and the animal can quickly succumb to hypothermia. Otters shed their fur gradually and throughout the year so that they are never without this vital protection.”

Read more about baby sea otters—and baby sloths!—at the PsiVid blog.

The book reader of the future, 1935

 Wp-Content Uploads 2012 03 The-Book-Reader-Of-The-Future-April-1935-Issue-Of-Everyday-Science-And-Mechanics
Gentlemanwith relaxes with his e-book reader and laudanum kit.

From the April, 1935 issue of Everyday Science and Mechanics.

(Via The Retronaut)

"Little Boxes" performed on little boxes

Robbo sez, "The band Walk Off The Earth performs Malvina Reynolds' song 'Little Boxes' - on boxes. In fact the whole set for this music video is made of cardboard. Really cool and a sweet rendition of the tune. Most people know the song now as the opening theme for 'Weeds" but when I was a kid we'd make all sorts of cool shit out of cardboard and we'd sing along to a scratchy 78 we had of Pete Seeger doing the tune. With my own son I've had years of fun making cardboard crap including an intensely awesome Iron Man costume for Halloween. He carries on the tradition although now that he's in his teens he's into building detailed replicas of weapons from Halo - and he doesn't sing the song as he's doing it. Ah well."

I absolutely love this song. Weirdly, I first heard is in Spanish -- the Victor Jara rendition -- and then heard the same Seeger version that Robbo mentions. This one is just lovely.

Little Boxes - Walk off the Earth