Boing Boing 

3D printed Goatse ear-plugs

The final item from today's Shapeways rummage is Artfulshrapnel's "GOATSEarring," a tribute ear-plug: "The worst ear plug the internet has to offer."

GOATSEarring Standard Gauges

Infringe-a-licious Tokyo tee: best Star Wars shirt ever?

Writer and comics creator Brian Michael Bendis (Twitter) is in Tokyo, and tweeted a series of infringment-spotting snapshots today. The Stormtrooper/Star Wars shirt he found and photographed, above, makes me weep with desire.

Olbermann sues Current TV for $50-70 million

Wow, wow, wow, wow. If you'd like to read the court documents, here's a 43-page PDF.

Well-dressed children

Izismile has collected 19 unsourced photos of extremely well-dressed children. Does anyone know where young Joker here comes from? TinEye search came up blank.

So Young, Yet So Hip (19 pics) (via Geisha Asobi)

Update: Here's the source: it's Redditor H1Ben1's young fellow (thanks, HarshLanguage!)

Net censorship and pro-ana: How should social media sites deal with self-harm culture?

Antonio A. Casilli at BodySpaceSociety, a "blog for recovering social scientists," has an interesting post on understanding "pro-ana"/"pro-mia" on social media sites like Pinterest and Tumblr. Snip:

On February 23rd, 2012 Tumblr announced its decision to turn the screw on self-harm blogs: suicide, mutilation and most prominently thinspiration – i.e. the ritualized exchange of images and quotes meant to inspire readers to be thin. This cultural practice is distinctive of the pro-ana (anorexia nervosa), pro-mia (bulimia) and pro-ED (eating disorders) groups online: blogs, forums, and communities created by people suffering from eating-related conditions, who display a proactive stance and critically abide by medical advice.

A righteous limitation of harmful contents or just another way to avoid liability by marginalizing a stigmatized subculture? Whatever your opinion, it might not come as a surprise that the disbanded pro-ana Tumblr bloggers are regrouping elsewhere. Of all places, they are surfacing on Pinterest, the up-and-coming photo-sharing site.


Twitter sues spammers

Twitter, on its blog, declares legal war on companies providing tools to spammers.

This morning, we filed suit in federal court in San Francisco against five of the most aggressive tool providers and spammers. With this suit, we’re going straight to the source. By shutting down tool providers, we will prevent other spammers from having these services at their disposal. Further, we hope the suit acts as a deterrent to other spammers, demonstrating the strength of our commitment to keep them off Twitter.

Good for them.

Livestream of Dan Clowes event at Meltdown

UPDATE:Here's the recorded video.

If you would like to see my interview with Daniel Clowes, along with the Enid Coleslaw cosplay contest and other festivities that are being held to tonight to celebrate the release of Daniel's monograph, The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist, then watch it on the livestream above! The stream will be live from 6-10pm.

Snarky and funny illustrated account of a day at the New York Toy Fair

Writer and illustrator Lisa Hanawalt snuck into the New York Toy Fair and wrote/illustrated a very funny, very snarky account of it for The Hairpin. My wife used to go to Toy Fair every year for work, and she always made it sound like a cross between a season in hell and Willy Wonka's toy factory.

The Toy Fair isn't for kids. The show's held yearly at the Javits Center, Manhattan's main convention facility (a.k.a. massive gray box), and it's full of serious adults in business suits with corporate accounts. It's not supposed to be fun. We'll see about that!

Toy Fair badges are only available for pros, so my boyfriend's mom generously registered me and my friend Tim as employees of her chia seed company. My badge says "CHIA POWER/Assistant Buyer." We'll avoid walking by chia products for fear of having to hold our own in a chia conversation.

I want to pretend we're here for legitimate reasons, so Tim and I work out a cover story, "we distribute chia products, but we're looking to branch out into toys and athletics." That totally sounds like a thing, right?

The Toy Fair

New book shows you how to make Lego guns

[Video Link] Jack Streat, the 17-year-old boy who made the AK-47 out of Lego pieces in the video above, has landed a book deal. LEGO Heavy Weapons will be released in May by No Starch Press.
From LEGO guns mastermind and 17–year-old YouTube sensation Jack Streat comes LEGO Heavy Weapons, a collection of complete building instructions for four truly impressive, 1:1-scale replicas of the world's most iconic firearms.

LEGO Heavy Weapons will show you how to build brick-based models of:

- A massive Desert Eagle handgun, with working blowback action
- The compact but deadly AKS-74U assault rifle with folding stock
- A bolt-action Lee Enfield sniper rifle (a.k.a. Jungle Carbine) with bipod and scope
- A pump action SPAS combat shotgun

Each set of instructions includes a complete parts listing, so you can find (or special order) any hard-to-find bricks. The book's illustrated, step-by-step building instructions will be clear to anyone who's ever played with LEGO bricks, and the biggest models will challenge and delight even the most serious builders.
LEGO Heavy Weapons

Podcast: Neil Gaiman's "The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains"

Starship Sofa has just podcasted Neil Gaiman's novelette "The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains," which won this year's Locus Poll Award for Best Novelette. Here's the text of the story, and above is a video of Neil reading from it.

You ask me if I can forgive myself? I can forgive myself for many things. For where I left him. For what I did. But I will not forgive myself for the year that I hated my daughter, when I believed her to have run away, perhaps to the city. During that year I forbade her name to be mentioned, and if her name entered my prayers when I prayed, it was to ask that she would one day learn the meaning of what she had done, of the dishonour that she had brought to my family, of the red that ringed her mother’s eyes.

I hate myself for that, and nothing will ease that, not even what happened that night, on the side of the mountain.

I had searched for nearly ten years, although the trail was cold. I would say that I found him by accident, but I do not believe in accidents. If you walk the path, eventually you must arrive at the cave.

StarShipSofa No 232 Neil Gaiman, MP3 link (Thanks, Tony)

Dave Pell's NextDraft: great daily e-newsletter

Nextdrrr-1 You're probably familiar with Dave Pell's excellent Tweetage Wasteland essays about online culture that appear with some frequency at Gizmodo, NPR, and his own site. Dave recently started a terrific daily email newsletter called NextDraft, a roundup of news links (far beyond just tech) that strike him as curious, important, or freaky. As a diehard news addict, Dave has a very Boing Boingy curatorial eye and mind. And thankfully his writing is witty without being snarky. NextDraft is more proof for me that there's still a bright future for smart, pithy email newsletters with a distinct voice. Here are just a few bits from today's NextDraft:

* Many worried that the digital writing on the wall spelled doom for the book industry. Well, it turns out that some of us are actually reading more now than we did in the past. That's certainly true for the 21% of Americans who have read an e-book in the past year. According to the latest numbers from Pew, those who consume books digitally are among the most voracious readers, read more now than they did before, and still read printed books as well

* Eighteen years after his death, The Hollywood Reporter looks at Kurt Cobain by the numbers. + Please observe a moment of loudness for Jim Marshall. The "Father of Loud" and man behind the Marshall Amp has died at 88.

* If you buy a hybrid, how long will it take before your gas savings equal the extra dough you paid for the car? It can be more than a decade.

NextDraft: The Day's Most Fascinating News by Dave Pell

3D printed Sierpinski tetrahedron

The second item of note from my rummage on Shapeways this morning is Wahtah's Sierpinski tetrahedron, a fractal pyramid with 499,994 faces.

Sierpinski tetrahedron

What was your first book crush?

What books do you cringe at having loved? Nadia Chaudhury collects the teen-age literary crushes of 30 popular writers.

The feelings are so strong and obsessive. The books seem smart, sophisticated, cool; the characters in them say and do such great things, they seem like guides sent to teach you how to be that way too. But then the crush goes, and the object of one's former affection becomes an embarrassment—or at least the memory of you quoting them so seriously does.

It's heartwarming to realize that no matter how cheesy Dragonlance/Forgotten Realms books are, they insulated me from Ayn Rand at a most vulnerable age.

Flaming muscle-car stroller

Kaiser21 and child show off this flaming tailfined auto-stroller at the 2010 June 5 Monthly Muscle Car Show in Plano, TX. Papa Kaiser notes, "This little stroller won first place in the Open Car class. It has air-ride, lights under the car, and even fire out of the tailpipes!"

Brady Cash Custom Cadillac Baby Stroller (via DVICE)

Dropbox ups free bonus space to 16GB

Dropbox just made it so that  I  you can get up to 16GB of storage by referring new users to the awesome, life-changing free-of-charge cloud service. Noobs also get the same bonus for being referred, too. Let's get this pyramid scheme rolling, people. Update: I'm maxed out. Scroll down to the comments and give your fellow readers some.

Cancelled student loan debt creates tax nightmare

When Kim Thompson was diagnosed with a tumor that resulted in "the removal of most of her small intestine, a pulmonary embolism, and 12-hour-a-day IV feeding sessions" she had to quit her job and go on total disability. Her $91,000 student loan was forgiven, but the IRS hit her up with a $26,000 tax bill. From an article at

201204051131As a former social worker with a Master’s degree, Thompson says she’s not intimidated by government forms. She filled out all her paperwork to file for disability on her own, for example. However, even though she spent hours researching the rules surrounding cancellation of debt income, she found no relief for her situation. She tried calling the IRS for assistance. The first time she called, she says the IRS representative hung up on her. The second time, she says she waited on hold for over an hour and was then told to call back [after] she filed her tax return. She claims that ultimately she was warned that if she couldn’t pay the amount due, the IRS would put a tax lien on her house and report her to the credit reporting agencies. (We’ve reached out to the IRS a number of times on this and other issues relating to the 1099-C, but to date haven’t gotten a response.)
Cancelled student loan debt creates tax nightmare

Report: Mac trojan claims 500k machines

A trojan horse has emerged to take control half a million Macs, according to Russian antivirus company Dr. Web. Exploiting a vulnerability in Java, the naughty software connects to a remote host and modifies web pages displayed in your browser. Jacqui Cheng at Ars Technica:
Variations of the Flashback trojan have reportedly infected more than half a million Macs around the globe, according to Russian antivirus company Dr. Web. The company made an announcement on Wednesday—first in Russian and later in English—about the growing Mac botnet, first claiming 550,000 infected Macs. Later in the day, however, Dr. Web malware analyst Sorokin Ivan posted to Twitter that the count had gone up to 600,000, with 274 bots even checking in from Cupertino, CA, where Apple's headquarters are located.

At Daring Fireball, John Gruber wonders why there's so little news about it:

The weird thing to me is that if true, this sounds like the worst malware problem Mac OS X has ever seen — yet there doesn’t seem to be any hysterical media coverage about it. Hypothetical Mac security problems often get hysterical coverage; now we apparently have an actual security problem and it’s no big deal?

If this is for real, perhaps it's simply taken news media by surprise. Traditional "Mac virus" stories—the ones that turn out to be bullshit—are fed to us in readily-publishable form by analysts or the sort of researchers who help Symantec with its press releases.

Low-fi lullabies from Brother Sun, Sister Moon

 Catalog Wp-Content Uploads 2012 03 Bssm-Cassette

Brother Sun, Sister Moon is a hazy, droney, dreamy collaboration between New Zealand vocalist Alicia Merz (Birds of Passage) and instrumentalist/beat maestro Gareth Munday (Roof Light). Lovely low-fi, cross-genre lullabies. It's $6 for the digital album or around $12 for a cassette that also includes a digital download. Vinyl also available from Denovali Mailorder. From the project description:

The self-titled album is a trip through sun-dappled pop music, glistening with Alicia’s vibrant vocals reminiscent of Vashti Bunyan and neatly complimented by a haze of lo-fi instrumentation akin to the distorted experimentation of SLOWDIVE and MY BLOODY VALENTINE. Unafraid to extend their musical reach beyond this, the record ventures into the futuristic beat world channeling influences such as FLYING LOTUS and MADLIB, while traversing vast technicolour electronic sounds that call to mind BOARDS OF CANADA and the ambient tape manipulation of Matthew David.

"Brother Sun, Sister Moon" (via OMG Vinyl)

Videogame zinesters

Don't start a band. Make video games. [The Verge]

Malware targeted at Syrian activists can operate webcam, disable AV, keylog, steal passwords

A fake PDF purporting to contain information on "the formation of the leadership council of the Syrian revolution" is circulating. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Eva Galperin and Morgan Marquis-Boire report, it's bad news for people who install it.

The latest surveillance malware comes in the form of an extracting file which is made to look like a PDF if you have file extensions turned off. The PDF purports to be a document concerning the formation of the leadership council of the Syrian revolution and is delivered via Skype message from a known friend. The malware installs a remote administration tool called DarkComet RAT, which can capture webcam activity, disable the notification setting for certain antivirus programs, record key strokes, steal passwords, and more. It sends this data back to the same IP address in Syrian IP space that was used in several previous attacks, including the attacks reported by CNN in February, the Xtreme RAT Trojan EFF reported in March, and this sample from March 21st.

Syrian Internet users should be extremely cautious about clicking on suspicious-looking links, or downloading documents over Skype, even if the document purportedly comes from a friend.

Campaign Targeting Syrian Activists Escalates with New Surveillance Malware

Neuroscience and the sound of food

 Wp-Content Uploads 2011 06 Bacon Icecram University of Oxford neuroscientist Charles Spence:
"We’ve shown that if you take something with competing flavors, something like bacon-and-egg ice cream, we were able to change people’s perception of the dominant flavor—is it bacon, or egg?—simply by playing sizzling bacon sounds or farmyard chicken noises."
"What Does Sweetness Sound Like? (Smithsonian)
The ice cream above is fake, but the research is real.

Man with massive collection of bird tchotchkes


Lawrence Cobbold, 38, collects bird tchotchkes -- bird ornaments, bird thimbles, bird refrigerator magnets, bird mugs, bird pictures, bird jigsaw puzzles. He really really digs birds. His collection of more than 20,000 bird-related items takes up his entire home near Plymouth, England. The Plymouth Herald profiled Cobbold:

 Wp-Content Uploads 2012 04 Vbirdplatt On average he spends two hours before work and two hours at night rearranging, tidying and cleaning…

Lawrence's dad Tony used to keep up to 300 budgies, canaries, cockatoos and finches for over 20 years and thinks that could be where his son's interest with birds started.

Tony has also been organizing car boot sales for over 15 years.

"It's lovely, a great hobby. His house is like one big car boot sale except no one is buying or selling," Tony said.

"Man with 20,000 bird ornaments has no room left to live at home"

3D printed Möbius strips loaded with ball-bearings

I had a bit of a rummage on the Shapeways marketplace today and came up with some 3D printed gubbins that I'm intrigued by. First up is Stop4Stuff's "Twin Rail Mobius," a set of nested Möbius strips that can be loaded with ball-bearings.

A half shell and 3 rails form a bearing-like structure to encapsulate a train of 6mm balls in a mind-warping cage with a twisting, fascinating movement bringing to life the only pendent of its kind in the world.

Includes a 4mm loop for attaching to a necklace or leather cord.

See the photographs with retro-fitted 31 6mm chrome steel ball bearings... in the bottom photo, the balls have been heated until they 'blue'... check out the video to see how they move by clicking on the little icon below the camera above.

Twin Rail Mobius can-take-a-ball - Pendant

Mark Dery's new essay collection: I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts

Boing Boing contributor Mark Dery has just published "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams," a long-awaited compendium of his oft-brutal, usually funny, and always-brilliant writings on the curious, bizarre, and downright dark crevices of our culture. The collection includes such evergreens as Gray Matter: The Obscure Pleasures of Medical Libraries, The Prophet Margin: Jack Chick’s Comic-Book Apocalypse, Straight, Gay, or Binary? HAL Comes out of the Cybernetic Closet, and dozens of other classics. If you enjoyed Mark's BB features "(Face)Book of the Dead" or "Aphrodites of the Operating Theater: On La Specola’s Anatomical Venuses," look no further than this new book for your next monstrous dose of Dery. Once you've read it, give it a permanent home on your bookshelf next to Umberto Eco's "Travels in Hyperreality" and JG Ballard's "A User's Guide to the Millennium." "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts," with an intro by Bruce Sterling and glorious cover photo by Morbid Anatomy's Joanna Ebenstein, is one for the library. Here's what Mark Frauenfelder and I wrote as a blurb for the book jacket:
 Wp-Content Uploads 2012 04 Derybook Mark Dery's cultural criticism is the stuff that nightmares are made of. Those things about ourselves that are best left unsaid? Dery dwells upon them. He's a witty and brilliant tour guide on an intellectual journey through our darkest desires and strangest inclinations. Along the way, he shows us how it all fits together, and ultimately leads us to all fall apart. You can't look away even if you want to, and when it's all over you can never unsee what Dery has shown you. His pen's reservoir is filled with aqua regia and the nib is made from barbed wire.
"I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams" by Mark Dery

Moon boxes and mystery men

See the box in this photo? It's more interesting than it looks. This is a box that went to the Moon.

Astronauts used the boxes to collect and bring back to Earth nearly 50 pounds of moon rocks and soil ... Each of the boxes was machined from a single piece of aluminum, "seamless except for the lid opening, which had a metalized gasket that firmly sealed when closed."

The photo comes from the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.—a research facility that participated in the Manhattan Project and later was involved in designing equipment for the Apollo Project. Journalist Frank Munger writes about Y-12 and other parts of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the Knoxville News Sentinel.

This photo, which he posted on his blog, is also interesting because nobody knows who the three guys in the photo are. Munger was hoping that Boingers might be able to offer some leads.

Read Frank Munger's blog post

Shredding company's awesome logo

Snapped yesterday near my flat in east London, this Irish shredding company's logo on the back of their truck. Talk about "does what it says on the tin!"

Awesome logo on hard-drive-shredding service's lorry, Brunswick Place, Hackney, London, UK

The child brothels of Bangladesh (and an odd link with cattle and chemotherapy)

Hashi, a 17-year-old sex worker, embraces "husband" (known as a "Babu") inside her small room at the Kandapara brothel in Tangail, a northeastern city of Bangladesh.

Many young and inexperienced prostitutes have "lovers" or "husbands" who normally live outside the brothel occasionally taking money and sex from them in exchange for security in this male dominated society. She earns about 800-1000 taka daily ($9.75 - $12.19) servicing around 15-20 customers every day. Hashi is one of hundreds of mostly teenage sex workers living in a painful life of exploitation in Kandapara slum's brothel who take Oradexon, a steroid used by farmers to fatten their cattle, in order to gain weight and appear "healthier" and more attractive to clients. Picture taken March 4, 2012.

Here's a longer Reuters story about the plight of young prostitutes in Bangladesh, and the phenomenon of using this drug to enhance sex appeal.

The news item is a few weeks old, but I stumbled on it today while researching the origin and side effects of a steroid my oncologist is giving me during chemotherapy. Surprise: It's the same drug. I never knew breast cancer patients had so much in common with cattle and Bangladeshi child sex workers.

(REUTERS/Andrew Biraj)

64th Annual Conference on World Affairs in Boulder

Next week is one of my favorite times of the year, when I get inundated with smart people and interesting ideas, like some kind of geeky Christmas. For the second time, I'll be a speaker at the University of Colorado-Boulder's Conference on World Affairs (Mark will be there too!). The Conference is unlike anything I've been to anywhere else. It brings together artists, writers, musicians, scientists, politicians, journalists—a whole stew pot of interesting people—to talk about things that matter to them right now.

To create the panel topics, the organizers have all the speakers send in a list of things we can talk about at an expert level and things we just like to talk about. Then they use those lists to decide what subjects the conference will focus on. All the panels are free and open to the public. And they're all incredibly interactive. More than half the time at any panel is given over to audience Q&A.

Last year, I ended up talking about everything from comic books to the future of transportation. It's a blast, and I'll be posting some stories to BoingBoing next week about cool things that I learn watching some of the panels. But if you're in the Boulder area, you should really try to make it out. It's an event that truly captures the Happy Mutant spirit.

The panels I'll be speaking on next week.

The panels Mark will be speaking on next week.


Federal agents raid medical marijuana school on Oakland

[Video Link]

Drug Policy Alliance's Ethan Nadelmann talks about the raid at Oaksterdam University in the San Francisco Bay area. He speaks with Trish Regan and Adam Johnson on Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart."
Sign the petition to Obama to stop the medical marijuana raids.

Previously: Oaksterdam 'Cannabis' University raided by DEA

Complete scans of 70s electronic music magazine Synapse

Twelve issues of electronic music magazine Synapse, covering fall 1976 to summer 1979, are scanned and ready for your perusal at Cyndustries.

SPECIAL THANKS TO: Doug Lynner, Angela Schill, Seth Nemec, Chris August, Greg Leslie, Scott Stites, Steve Cunningham, Fred Becker, Yves Usson, John Mahoney, Michael Bacich, Mark Glinsky, Peter Forrest, Tim Parkhurst, George Kisslak, Chris Maxfield, Al Okada, Russell Brower, and Roger Luther at

Reviews, interviews, fascinating ads and technical discussion are all in abundance. [via Nerdcore, Dangerous Minds, MetaFilter]