Boing Boing 

Outer Limits trading cards


Zak sez, "Here's some artistic renditions of many of the wonderful, creepy and sometimes rubbery creatures of the Outer Limits, along with the cards' backs! The page links to another site about 1950s/60s monster cards (including MARS ATTACKS) in all their deeply unsettling glory."

These have been online since 2006. They're stupendous.

The Outer Limits!

Go Right

PlanetInfinitesimal knows the way. The music is Michael Nyman's "A Wild and Distant Shore”. [via Waxy] Previously: Game Deaths.

DIY AT-AT Cable Organizer

This beautiful plywood cable organizer is available at Copious.

The DIY AT-AT is constructed in likeness of the Star Wars AT-AT, It's a geeks solution to keeping cables and wires organized at home or in the office. It's made from high grade plywood and it comes flat-packed. Nuts and screws are all included. It can also be painted to the color of your choice!
(Thanks, Cutter!)

Shuttle Enterprise arriving at JFK (big photos)

Two gorgeous photographs shot by C.S. Muncy of the retired NASA space shuttle Enterprise landing at New York City's John F. Kennedy airport earlier today.

The original test shuttle piggybacked on a Boeing 747 jumbo jet. The duo flew from Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC., and landed at 11:22 AM Eastern after flying over famous sights of NYC including the Statue of Liberty, and the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, which is the shuttle's new home. Robert Pearlman has more at Space.com/MSNBC.

Read the rest

Musician Grimes has a new line of rings

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Electropop artist Grimes (aka Claire Boucher) has teamed up with Montreal-based jeweller and sculptor Morgan Black to sell these rings. Clear polymer clay? Maybe!

Pray away the Gaga

photo: Reuters/Lee Jae-Won

Christians attend a prayer meeting being held as they pray to stop the concert of Lady Gaga, at a church in Seoul April 22, 2012. The Christians blame Lady Gaga for promoting indecency and "homosexual love." Gaga performed live in Seoul today, despite the incantations. Below, her performance during the MTV Video Music Aid Japan event in Chiba, near Tokyo, last year.

photo: Reuters/Issei Kato

Babies driving robot wheelchairs (super cute video)

[Video Link]

Here's an amazing feel-good video with which to end your week, via the National Science Foundation. The really awesome footage starts around a minute and a half in.

"James C. (Cole) Galloway, associate professor of physical therapy, and Sunil Agrawal, professor of mechanical engineering -- have outfitted kid-size robots to provide mobility to children who are unable to fully explore the world on their own."

The robotic assistance devices are designed to help infants whose mobility and independence is limited by conditions such as autism, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy.

I understand that these will be among the many exhibits on display at the USA Science Fest at the Washington, DC Convention Center on Sat., April 28th. Babies probably not included.

After Yelp referral leads to $2K moving company ripoff, thoughts on "genuine reviews"

Justin Vincent chose a moving company based on positive Yelp reviews. Things did not work out well. "I spent 40 days without any furniture and quite a few of my belongings have been misplaced – forever." Turns out negative reviews were there, but suppressed. Could smarter design have prevented this? (via @blam)

For the billionaire who has everything: a spaceship

Dylan Tweney has a good read over at VentureBeat on a trend of sorts among the ultra-rich: investing in space exploration startups. "The wonder isn’t that billionaires are doing this, the wonder is that it’s taken them so long."

92 year old WWII vet is DVD bootlegger who sent 300,000 pirated discs to US troops

photo: Todd Heisler/The New York Times

The New York Times has a profile of Long Island resident Hyman Strachman, "a 92-year-old, 5-foot-5 World War II veteran trying to stay busy after the death of his wife."

He is one of the world's most prolific movie bootleggers, and has shipped hundreds of thousands of discs to US troops stationed overseas, at great personal expense. The man doesn't exactly fit the MPAA's pirate stereotype, in age, appearance, or motivation. Better still, who helped him distribute the copied DVDs to soldiers? Army chaplains.

Read the rest

Buildings made of books

Flavorwire has published an image gallery of 10 buildings constructed entirely of books. Above: Home, a self-sustained book igloo designed by Colombian artist Miler Lagos (We've featured this one on Boing Boing before). Dig the rest of Flavorpill's picks here.

SpaceX Falcon 9 engine test will be webcast live (woo, fire! woo, space!)

If you like space and/or rockets and/or awesome flames, you'll want to tune in to spacex.com on Monday, April 30 to watch "a static fire test of the Falcon 9 rocket’s nine powerful Merlin engines in preparation for the company’s upcoming launch." The test is scheduled to begin at 2:30 PM ET/ 11:30 AM PT, with the actual static fire targeted for 3:00 PM ET/ 12:00 PM PT. Actual launch to space is currently targeted for May 7.

Hoax campus advertisement offers students €100 to pretend to be pro-ACTA demonstrators


@jimmy_pirat (a Twitter account with only one post) snapped a blurrycam picture of a campus employment ad that sought students to pretend to be pro-ACTA and hold up photogenic signs, paying €100 for two hours' work. The recruitment agency named in the ad disavows any involvement with it, and has threatened to sue whomever posted it. I wonder who the hoaxter was?

Copyright Lobby Hires Pro-ACTA Demonstrators

Portraits of alien abductees

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Photographer Steven Hirsch attended the International UFO Conference to take portraits of abductees. He also transcribed their stories and asked for illustrations of their experiences. Above: left, Cynthia; middle, a "Blue Arcturian" she met; right, Bruce, who was taken to a moon of Saturn.

"Little Sticky Legs: Alien Abductee Portraits by Steven Hirsch"

"Cat People, Strippers and Telekinesis: Tales From Alien Abductees" (Wired)

Enterprise lands in New York

Enterprissss

The Space Shuttle Enterprise has landed in New York and look who was on board! Ok, they weren't. But this magnificent 1976 photo, previously seen on BB, turned up today in a CNN.com article pegged on the Shuttle's journey to its new home at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. "Shuttle Enterprise has a 'Star Trek' legacy"

Debt confessions of a former priest

Phillip Cioppa was a Roman Catholic priest for 18 years. His starting salary was $8,400/year and when he left in 2001 he was earning $18,000 (after taxes, Social Security and Medicare). To make ends meet, he used a credit card, and found himself in deep debt. He shares his story on credit.com:

In late 1983, I was so proud to receive my first credit card from a major bank. I got the card, which had a $1,000 credit limit, through the assistance of a friend’s sister, as I clearly did not qualify. I swore I would only use it for extreme necessities. However, soon after getting that first card, I began to receive offers for more and more of them. I thought, what could be the harm of having some additional credit cards? After all, I had no savings and made very little money, so the cards would provide me with a “cushion” in times of need. Unfortunately however, I began to rationalize those “times of need” as a dinner here and there, new clothes, and other “essentials.”

I faithfully paid the minimum due on each card every month and was never late with a payment. In return, I was rewarded with increases in my credit limits. Remember that first credit card with a $1000 limit? It soon had a $10,000 limit. However, I did not have to use that card only because I quickly acquired twelve cards! I was credit card rich.

Ah, but then came judgment day. On the day I informed my Bishop that I was leaving active priestly ministry, I took a close look at my finances and discovered that I had accumulated more than $54,000 in credit card debt! I realized that if I stopped using the cards and paid the minimum on each, I would not be out of debt until I was 92 years of age. However, I wasn’t worried. I told myself that because I was single and had no responsibilities other than taking care of myself, my credit card debt was really not a problem. And so I kept using the cards. Then, two years after I left the priesthood, I fell in love and got married. I now owed a whopping $67,500 in credit card debt and realized I was in serious financial trouble.

Debt confessions of a former priest

How the Rotating Snakes optical illusion works

 View Download Id 340263 Name  In the new Journal of Neuroscience, Barrow Neurological Institute researchers present their study exploring why Akiyoshi Kitaoka's "Rotating Snakes" optical illusion is so effective. In fact, it's the cover story! From Science News:

 Content 32 17.Cover Participants held down a button when the snakes seemed to swirl and lifted the button when the snakes appeared still. Right before the snakes started to move, participants began blinking more and making short jumpy eye movements called microsaccades, Jorge Otero-Millan, Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde report in the April 25 Journal of Neuroscience. When volunteers’ rates of microsaccades slowed down, the visual illusion faded and the snakes were more likely to stop moving.

"Snakes swirl in blink (and jump) of an eye" (Science News)

Abstract: "Microsaccades and Blinks Trigger Illusory Rotation in the “Rotating Snakes” Illusion" (Journal of Neuroscience)

Vatican City ATM displays instructions in Latin


Seth Schoen snapped this Vatican City ATM that displays instructions in Latin.

Latin ATM (via Kottke)

DIY: A community of kids who make

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My daughter signed up for this new app and website called DIY, which was made for kids to share photos of their projects. The design and interface is beautiful. (Here's her portfolio.)

Our ambition is for DIY to be the first app and online community in every kid’s life. It’s what we wish we had when we were young, and what we’ll give to our kids. Today we’re releasing a tool to let kids collect everything they make as they grow up.

We’ve all seen how kids can be like little MacGyvers. They’re able to take anything apart, recycle what you’ve thrown away – or if they’re Caine, build their own cardboard arcade. This is play, but it’s also creativity and it’s a valuable skill. Our idea is to encourage it by giving kids a place online to show it off, so family, friends and grandparents can see it and easily respond. Recognition makes a kid feel great, and motivates them to keep going. We want them to keep making, and by doing so learn new skills, use technology constructively, begin a lifelong adventure of curiosity, and hopefully spend time offline, too.

DIY: A community of kids who make

The discovery of DNA

Fifty-nine years ago this week, James Watson and Frances Crick published their first description of the structure of DNA. You can read the full, historic paper online. Note that the "unpublished experimental results and ideas" of Dr. R. E. Franklin get a shout-out at the end. (Via Pourmecoffee)

Paintball with human "fox" as target

In an attempt to satisfy hunters left wanting due to hunting bans in parts of England, UK Paintball is now offering a "fox hunt" where participants target a human dressed in a fox suit. (I just hope this doesn't turn into open season on furries.) Does the idea remind you of Richard Connell's 1924 short story "The Most Dangerous Game," about a rich man who hunts human prey on his private island? Turns out, the two gents who invented paintball in 1976 were inspired by Connell's story! UK Paintball's "Fox Hunt" (via Metro.co.uk)

Your land, my land, island

Uninhabited Market Island in the Baltic Sea is home to an international border between Sweden and Finland that is shaped, convolutedly, like the number 2. The New York Times explains the history behind this, one of the strangest borders in the world. (Via Doug Mack)

Thinking in a different language affects how you make decisions

Back in 2002, psychologist Daniel Kahneman won the economics Nobel Prize for showing that human beings don't have a really good intuitive grasp of risk. Basically, the decisions we make when faced with a risky proposition depend more on how the question is framed than on what the actual outcome might be.

The classic example is to tell a subject that there's going to be a disaster. Out of 600 people, she has a chance of saving 200 if she takes x risk. If she doesn't take the risk, everybody dies. Most people will take the risk in that scenario, but if you present the same situation and frame it differently—"If you take this risk, 400 people will die"—the decisions suddenly flip in the other direction. Nothing has changed about the outcome. But everything has changed in terms of how people feel about the decision they have to make. This is the kind of thing that matters a lot to economics because it helps to explain why economic behavior in the real world isn't always as rational and self-interested as it is in theory.

There's a new study out in the journal Psychological Science that might add another layer of complexity to Kahneman's research. If you're thinking and talking in your native language, you're likely to respond to a risky situation pretty much exactly as in the classic example. But, these researchers found that if you're thinking and talking about the situation in a second language, things change. At Wired, Brandon Keim explains:

The first experiment involved 121 American students who learned Japanese as a second language. Some were presented in English with a hypothetical choice: To fight a disease that would kill 600,000 people, doctors could either develop a medicine that saved 200,000 lives, or a medicine with a 33.3 percent chance of saving 600,000 lives and a 66.6 percent chance of saving no lives at all.

Nearly 80 percent of the students chose the safe option. When the problem was framed in terms of losing rather than saving lives, the safe-option number dropped to 47 percent. When considering the same situation in Japanese, however, the safe-option number hovered around 40 percent, regardless of how choices were framed. The role of instinct appeared reduced.

That's interesting. The researchers tried this basic thing with several different groups of people—mostly native English speakers—and used several different risk scenarios, some involving loss of life, others involving loss of a job, and others involving decisions about betting money on a coin toss. They saw the same results in all the tests: People thinking in their second language weren't as swayed by the emotional impact of framing devices.

One study doesn't prove this is universally true. Even if it is true, nobody knows yet exactly why. But Keim says that the researchers think the difference lies in emotional distance. If you have to pause and really put some brain power into thinking about grammar and vocabulary, you can't just jump straight into the knee-jerk reaction.

Read the rest of Keim's write-up on the study at Wired.com

Via Marilyn Terrell

RIP, man with bullet lodged in head for 94 years

William Lawlis Pace, 103, died on Monday. He held a Guinness World Record for living 94 years with a bullet lodged in his head, behind his ear. From the Modesto Bee:

 Smedia 2008 12 31 19 271-Live P0101 01B1Pace.Standalone.Prod Affiliate.11 Born Feb. 27, 1909, in Wheeler, Texas, Mr. Pace was 8 years old when his brother, Marvin, accidentally shot him in October 1917.

Doctors left the bullet in place, fearing he wouldn't survive surgery to remove it. It didn't stop him from playing baseball and basketball as a boy.

"Man who lived with bullet in head dies at 103"

Six-year-old Ethan W plays "Piano Man"


[Video Link] See more videos of Ethan playing piano here.

(Via Biotv)

Faithful reproduction of the IBM Wall Clock


Kevin Kidney says: "Our brilliant friends at Schoolhouse Electric in Portland have partnered with IBM to reproduce their iconic 1960s standard issue wall clock. It takes me back to childhood, and late afternoons anticipating school to be let out as that thin red second hand ran circles behind the domed glass."

The IBM Wall Clock

Odd corn-removal advertisement

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It looks like she is mounting jewels in her toes.

(Via Phil Are Go)

Douglas Rushkoff interviewed on Motherboard TV


Vice's Motherboard has a good interview with our friend Douglas Rushkoff.

Understanding how things work In order to make them work better is the basic hacker ethos, but Rushkoff has applied it to his broader discussion of the way the culture and politics of the many are driven by the interests of the few. Between his landmark Frontline documentary The Merchants of Cool to his recent book Life Inc., Rushkoff has indexed the risks that capitalism and corporate influence pose to democratic society. Or, to extend the metaphor, he’s sought to show how we the users routinely get screwed by an “operating system” that’s over 500 years old.

“We’re leveraged in so many ways, it’s like, our economy is leveraged to produce more than it can in order for it to survive,” he says. “It’s leveraged to grow. Human beings are financially leveraged now. So how do you roll that back and say, well, you know, ‘this is it’?” Or, rather, “How do you get the good of a zombie apocalypse without the zombies? That’s sort of what I’m trying to help people with.”

Motherboard TV: Douglas Rushkoff in Real Life

Steve Jobs wanted to be Willy Wonka for a day

From Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success, by Ken Segall:

Steve's idea was to do a Willy Wonka with it. Just as Wonka did in the movie, Steve wanted to put a golden certificate representing the millionth iMac inside the box of one iMac, and publicize that fact. Whoever opened the lucky iMac box would be refunded the purchase price and be flown to Cupertino, where he or she (and, presumably, the accompanying family) would be taken on a tour of the Apple campus.

Steve had already instructed his internal creative group to design a prototype golden certificate, which he shared with us. But the killer was that Steve wanted to go all out on this. He wanted to meet the lucky winner in full Willy Wonka garb. Yes, complete with top hat and tails.

Gizmodo: Steve Jobs Wanted to Be Willy Wonka For a Day

Photo grid of famous atheists

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From top left: Mark Twain, Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, Keira Knightley, Stephen Hawking, Bill Maher, John Lennon, Ricky Gervais, Julianne Moore, Keanu Reeves, Bill Shatner, Johnny Depp, Janeane Garofalo, James Cameron, Billy Joel, Jack Nicholson, John Malkovich, Dame Helen Mirren, Sir Richard Branson, Sir Ian McKellan, Albert Einstein, Brad Pitt, Daniel Radcliffe, Jodie Foster, Hugh Laurie, Lance Armstrong, George Carlin, Morgan Freeman, Fred Armisen, Angelina Jolie, Gene Wilder, Penn Jillette, Teller, Dylan Moran, Patton Oswalt, Seth Green, Norm MacDonald, Eddie Izzard, Cillian Murphy, Jeremy Clarkson, and George Clooney.

(Via Nag on the Lake)