HOWTO make a kids' jetpack

Last September, Moosie made a kick-ass soda-bottle toy jetpack for a flight-obsessed toddler:

Step 1: Spray plastic bottles with plastic primer (I used Krylon Fusion). Let dry.

Step 2: Spray bottles with your favorite silver spray paint (doesn't have to be plastic specific.) Let dry.

Step 3: Adhere bottles to a piece of cardboard, approximately the width of the bottles next to each other. Let dry.

Step 4: Use ribbon to create backpack-like straps. Adhere. (I used duct tape. That shiz works for everything!)

Step 5: Cut crepe paper strips to create flames. Glue the tops of the strips to another piece of crepe paper. Let dry.

Step 6: Accordion fold the top strip of the flames. Glue to the inside of the bottle tops (which are actually the bottom of the jetpack.) Let Dry.

Step 7: Run around the house making flying sounds with your mouth (or let your kid handle this step)

Jet Pack (via Neatorama) Read the rest

All the finest blips and bloops: Kubbi's "Sleet" release listening party

If you like electronic music, there's a great listening party for Kubbi's new album "Sleet" going on right now. The album drops after the listen through finishes at Kubbi's BandCamp page where you can also pick up his two previous (excellent) albums at your own price. Kubbi's one of those catchy musicians I just can't stop listening to. Update: It's over! Go get the album! Read the rest

Homemade R2D2 shorts

The aptly named Productiveslacker (with a kick-ass bio! "a seasonal cast member at WDW and I aspire to become an Imagineer. I am a painter and a t-shirt designer") made these boss R2D2 shorts herself.

They don’t sell R2D2 shorts so I painted my own :) (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

7' fire-breathing, flying dragon built by RC airplane hobbyist

Franceso sez, "Rick Hamel, an American RC airplanes builder, created the Mythical Beast, a radio controlled fire-breathing dragon. It's powered by a Jetcat P80 Kerostart turbine, is over 7 feet long and has a wing span of 9 feet. Beside flying, this scratchbuilt dragon is able to breath fire thanks to a liquid propane and a stun gun circuit. Mythical Beast won Best of Show at the Weak Signal event held in Toledo a few weeks ago."

Drago Volante Sputafuoco Radiocomandato - RC Dragon (Thanks, Francesco!) Read the rest

Event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the mysterious Voynich manuscript

On her wonderful page of "Famous Unsolved Codes and Ciphers" the game developer and recreational code-cracker Elonka Dunin describes the Voynich Manuscript, which is written in an as-yet uncrackable cipher:

At least 600 years old, this is a 232-page illuminated manuscript entirely written in a secret script. It is filled with copious drawings of unidentified plants, herbal recipes of some sort, astrological diagrams, and many small human figures in strange plumbing-like contraptions. Carbon-dated to the early 1400s, it was brought to modern attention in 1912 when it was purchased by Wilfrid Voynich from the collections at the Villa Mondragone, near Rome. Color images of all of the pages can be seen at and Yale's Beinecke Library website (the current owner of the manuscript). The script is unlike anything else in existence, but is written in a confident style, seemingly by someone who was very comfortable with it.

On Friday, May 11, a celebration commemorating the 100th anniversary of the re-discovery of the Voynich manuscript will take place in Rome. The program includes a number of presentations about the history of the Voynich manuscript, forensic investigations, word structure and statistical analysis, and an interpretation of its unusual drawings.

If any Boing Boing readers are attending, we'd love a report!

Conference: VOYNICH 100 -- A Hundred Years from the Re-discovery at Villa Mondragone Read the rest

New Aesthetic eruption

A New Aesthetic eruption I caught yesterday off Brick Lane in east London: this LCD adverscreen displaying rotating, chiding public safety messages beneath a CCTV camera, nestled among the graffiti-daubed old buildings above the cobbled and thronged street.

CCTV and LCD adverscreen with anti-booze PSA, a New Aesthetic Eruption, Brick Lane, Hackney, London, UK.jpg Read the rest

Liar - Thief - Cheat - Selfish - Unsharing - Unloving - Unkind - Disloyal - Dishonorable - Unfaithful

I hope Bernard wasn't upset by the addendum to his grave marker. Read the rest

MAKE interviews bunnie Huang

Phil Torrone interviewed Andrew (bunnie) Huang about the end of his company Chumby, and what he's working on now.

What are you currently working on? I recently saw an open-source hardware radiation detector and HDMI “hack” that’s full shipping product.

Since the end of chumby, I’ve been continuing to produce open source reference designs. One of the wonderful parts of living in Singapore is that even though I made no money from the exit at chumby, I am able to choose a lifestyle where I can engage in non-profit, community-oriented design work. Although Singapore has a reputation for being an expensive city to live in, I’ve found the public housing to be reasonably priced, and combined with a solid public healthcare system, $60/month 100-Mbit home broadband connections, and ubiquitous hawker centers featuring $3 dishes celebrated by Anthony Bourdain, I have everything I need to geek out on a shoestring budget.

A personal goal of mine is to spend a year building things that I care about, as opposed to things that could make investors rich.

MAKE’s Exclusive Interview with Andrew (bunnie) Huang – The End of Chumby, New Adventures Read the rest

Car hits girls sunbathing in road

Impromptu tanning salonTwo 13-year-old girls sunbathing in a rural road were struck by a car Sunday. Police in Beaver County, PA., said that the pair were in fair condition at Pittsburgh's Children's Hospital. The driver was one of the teens' cousins; he was questioned and released by authorities. "They were upset," another relative told WTAE-TV. "It was like the worst thing I've ever seen... I was like crying real bad. Shaking." Read the rest

Building covered in old clothes

The Guardian's Deborah Orr is probably right that the Marks and Spencer "shwopping" initiative is "an ugly word for a dubious enterprise", but I am rather taken with this promotion for the program. M&S is encouraging shoppers to "shwop" -- swap their old clothes for discount vouchers when they buy new clothes at M&S, with the old clothes going to charity -- and to promote the affair, they covered this large Truman Brewery warehouse building off Brick Lane with used clothes, to great effect.

Shwop Read the rest

Mitt Romney beatboxing

[Video Link] Special effects are used here in an attempt to artificially enhance the credibility of candidate Mitt Romney. I hope the public isn't fooled into taking him more seriously because of this video. Read the rest

Rules for chess

The Olympics are still months away, the surface-to-air missiles are still tucked safely in their beds, but already our talented signwriters are practicing night and day for the 100m passive-aggressive signmaking event, judging by this sweet number I photographed yesterday.

Passive aggressive chess advisory, community centre, London, UK.jpg Read the rest

Kitchen Kong Gorilla Whisk in Boing Boing shop

"When I was a child I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things, except for my Kitchen Kong Gorilla Whisk." -- 1 Corinthians 13:11

Available in the Boing Boing Shop! Read the rest

UK judge orders Pirate Bay block

A British court ordered that internet service providers must block access to link-sharing site The Pirate Bay. [BBC] Read the rest

The tech press remembers nothing

Anil Dash on why you can't trust the tech press to tell you about the tech industry. The primary example: rumors of a Google-based blog commenting system as if such a thing had not already lived and died. Read the rest

Victorian change packets: little envelopes for your small change

Julie L. Mellby posts on Princeton University Library's Graphic Arts Collection blog about the Victorian "Change Packet," a little paper envelope that Victorian shopkeepers used to present customers' change (as Abi points out on Making Light, this embodies some odd assumptions, like shopkeepers never shortchanging their customers, and customers not wanting to spend their change at the next shop). These are beautiful items, and have a fascinating history. From The Encyclopedia of Ephemera: a Guide to the Fragmentary Documents of Everyday Life for the Collector, Curator, and Historian (Michael Twyman, Maurice Rickards):]

“Among the refinements of middle-class Victorian shopping was the giving of change not directly from hand to hand but in paper packets. Chamber’s Edinburgh Journal in a review of London shops and shopping (15 October 1853), makes passing note of the custom. A customer seeking to buy a pair of kid gloves ‘is met at the door by a master of the ceremonies, who escorts him to the precise spot where what he seeks awaits him … He walks over rich carpets, in which his feet sink as though upon a meadow-sward; and he may contemplate his portrait at full length in half-a-dozen mirrors, while that pair of gentlemen’s kids at 2s 10 ½ d is being swaddled in tissue-paper, and that remnant of change in the vulgar metal of which coal-scuttles are made … is being decently interred in a sort of vellum sarcophagus ere it is presented to his acceptance’.”

“The envelope, known as a ‘change packet,’ measured some 60 mm (2 ½ in) square and was printed with the legend ‘The change, with thanks’, often in a decorative roundel or other device.

Read the rest

Sponsor shout-out: ShanaLogic

Thank you to our sponsor ShanaLogic, sellers of handmade and independently designed jewelry, apparel, gifts, and other fine products. Mother's Day in the US is coming up on May 13 and this plush Mom Tattoo Heart Pillow (13" x 11"), from ShanaLogic's Mother's Day Gift Guide, would make a lovely present for the right mom. Shana says, "I'm giving 10% off orders over $50 with code: GREAT and 15% off orders over $100 with code: GREATEST" Read the rest

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