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HOWTO bake a cake inside the skin of an orange


Here's a cute idea from CHOW and Chris Rochelle for baking chocolate cakes in campfire coals, using scooped-out orange peels as molds:

Cut the tops off about 10 oranges and scoop out the pulp. Fill the oranges three-quarters of the way with chocolate cake batter (cake mix works fine), then put the orange tops back on and wrap each orange in aluminum foil. Place directly onto the smoldering coals of the campfire, avoiding any intense flames, and cook for about 30 minutes, turning once or twice.

I've had sorbet served in an orange and pate served in an orange (AKA "meat fruit). Both were delicious. You could probably do a whole meal inside of citrus peels.

Step Up the S'more: 7 Ideas for Campfire Treats by Chris Rochelle (via Neatorama)

Folding electric car inches toward the market


Some concrete dates and prices for the Hiroko Fold, a folding electric car that can park in teeny places and turn with "zero radius." The following is from PSFK's Yi Chen:

Researchers from MIT’s Changing Places group and DENOKINN have developed a convenient and eco-friendly car to commute around the city. The Hiriko Fold is an ultra-compact vehicle that can fold upright to fit into tight parking spaces. We first wrote about Hiriko Fold earlier this year, and now it’s been confirmed that the electric car is expected go on sale in 2013 for around $16,000.

The car is able to carry two passengers and is capable of traveling up to 75 miles between charges. The vehicle would also be equipped with zero-turn radius wheels that allow it to move sideways, making parallel parking a less frustrating maneuver. Some of the Hiriko Fold models are on trial in European cities for testing, and the group believes that the compact car would be popular in cities like Berlin, San Francisco, and Barcelona.

MIT’s Tiny Foldable Electric Car Will Retail For $16,000 (via Engadget)

Ecuador claims UK threatens to barge in to embassy and grab Assange

The government of Ecuador says British authorities have threatened to barge into Ecuadorean embassy in London if officials there do not comply with demands to hand over Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been hiding out there while his request for asylum is considered.

"We are not a British colony," said the country's prime minister in a press conference today. "The days of the colony are over."

More at the NYT. If the claims are true, the threat to invade another country's embassy is unprecedented in the UK—particularly since Assange has not been charged with a crime. As I write this post, Wikileaks' twitter feed is publishing tweets that vans of police have surrounded the building. A decision on Assange's asylum bid is expected soon.

Declan McCullagh at CNET:

Police showed up at Ecuador's London embassy this evening, hours after the Ecuadorian government accused the U.K. government of threatening a raid to nab Wikileaks editor Julian Assange. A live video feed from citizen journalist James Albury showed police in the outer lobby of the red brick building, which is also home to private apartments and Columbia's embassy. But it wasn't clear whether police had entered the Ecuadorian embassy itself, which would be an extreme breach of diplomatic protocol.

Live-tweeters at the scene: Humunculus Flannel, James Albury.

Live video here. Alternate live stream here.

Read the rest

How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick's Robotic Resurrection, by David F. Dufty

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NewImageHow to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick's Robotic Resurrection, by David F. Dufty is about the creation of the Philip K. Dick android head, and how it vanished.

Two people are chiefly responsible for making the Philip K. Dick android head: David Hanson, a sculptor/animatronic artist who makes lifelike rubber heads, and Andrew Olney, a software engineer who worked on natural language tutorial software. They teamed up at the University of Memphis, and with barebones funding, they built a robot head that looked like the late science fiction writer. The head had a plastic skull (made on a 3D printer). Motors, pulleys, and wires were attached to the skull, and to a special rubber that Hanson had formulated called "frubber," which mimicked the elastic properties of human skin. Face recognition software and a camera mounted on the robot gave the PKD android the ability to lock eyes with humans it conversed with.

To give the android the gift of gab, Olney uploaded a massive database of PKD's novels and interviews into a databased, which indexed the content. When a person spoke with the android, one of its multiple computers translated the speech into text. Another computer queried the database and synthesized something for the PKD android to say. Another computer controlled the android's frubber face as it recited the words.

Dufty does fine job of on-the-ground storytelling, presenting the late night coding and soldering sessions, mad-scrambles to meet deadlines, small and major victories, and petty bureaucratic hassles that Hanson, Olnet, and their colleagues experienced over the course of a couple of years.

Many people familiar with the PKD head know that it disappeared after Hanson left it in the overhead bin on a flight he was on, and forgot all about it until he was out of the airport. When he remembered and contacted the airline, the head was gone. It has never been recovered.

Buy How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick's Robotic Resurrection on Amazon

Read other Boing Boing posts about the PKD android head

Public school encourages students to "practice punishment" during math homework

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It's no carrots, all sticks at Tom Heck's son's middle school. Click the thumbnail to see the entire page.

Where Do We Come From? Where Are We Going? The Ancestral Health Symposium 2012

"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots." —Marcus Garvey

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(Lindsay with Paleo Solution author Robb Wolf at AHS11)

I'll start with a disclaimer: Many of you have family, friends, or coworkers who credit their weight loss, disease management, amazing hair, or other miracles to the so-called caveman diet, much to the eye-rolling chagrin of others. I'm one of those people: once a gangly nerd with weak and painful joints thanks to my genetic legacy, the autoimmune disorder ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Terrified at the prospect of being on immunosuppressants for the rest of my life and intrigued by rumblings of this weird fad diet helping AS sufferers reverse symptoms, I gave paleo a shot. And I don't hurt anymore; I'm thriving. And it left me wondering what other wonders we might discover in the past.

What has come to be known as the paleo diet has been around since the 1970s, but in recent times (thanks to the advent of the decidedly-non-paleolithic Internet), it's really exploded in popularity. Of course, anything popular enough begets a conference. Paleo is no exception. This past weekend, the Harvard Food Law Society and the Ancestral Health Society joined to present the second annual Ancestral Health Symposium, which momentarily infested Twitter under the hashtag #AHS12. I attended (and fervently live-Tweeted) the inaugural symposium both this year and last year. With that experience, I can say that there is something happening in what has been dubbed, tragically, the paleosphere.

AHS12 wasn't only about food, or eating like a caveman. Ancestral health starts with food, but it doesn’t end there. There was a tangible frisson in the air at Cambridge, as if the chaos of the Twitterverse commentary was manifesting physically in the room. In this weird interdisciplinary mishmash of a conference, couched in a niche diet with an unfortunate name, there is a real movement brewing. MDs and naturopaths, policy makers and anarcho-libertarians, lunatic farmers and social media gurus and scientists of every stripe seem to be asking the same thing: where did we come from? Where can we go from here?

Read the rest

Kickstarting a fun card-battling game

Darren sez, "Obsidian Abnormal is the creator of Commissioned, a madcap webcomic with zombies, gnomes, ninjas, cats and nerds. So Obsidian and I made a card game that pits them against each other - 3v3: Commissioned. It's a unique spin on deck-building. While every card has the normal attack values, defense values and special abilities on it, you can only use a third of three different cards to cobble together a hand."

Premiums for this Kickstarter include a ride in an airship! Darren's also the guy who did Monster Alphabet, another great Kickstarter project.

3v3 is a unique battling card game. Every hand you draw three cards. Each card has an attack, a defense and a special ability, but you have to pick which card is your attack, which is your defense and which is your ability. Then you play your three cards against your opponent's three cards.

You can score up to three points in a hand, and the first one to 10 points wins the round. But every time your opponent scores a point, you have to remove a card from your deck. This creates a fast-paced and fun gaming environment, with quick thinking needed to pick which cards to send to the scoreboard.

3v3: The Commissioned Comic Card Game

Bike helmet with signal lights controlled by head tilting


Last night I went to Crash Space, a hackerspace in Los Angeles, to see the cool things that its members have been working on. One of my favorite projects was Naim Busek's "Bike Luminance," a signal light that you can attach to a bike helmet so drivers can see where you are and where you plan to go. When you tilt your head back, the bright LED light strips blink red. When you tilt forward they turn green. When you tilt your head to one side or the other, the light strips become turn signals.

He's seeking funding on Kickstarter

The NFL kindly reminds everyone that some women actually really love football

Condoleezza Rice and I have very few things in common, but here is one thing we can probably break bread over without too much shouting: NFL football. Good gravy, do we both love football. (And from the looks of the jersey she's wearing, we share a predilection for wide receivers.) But even while we may differ on teams -- Rice is a Cleveland Browns fan, I bleed blue for the New York Giants -- at least we both be sure of one thing: the NFL is recognizing its lady fans more and more, like in its latest ad campaign featuring the former Secretary of State and several other notable gridiron girls. I won't say it's been impossible to find women's apparel in actual team colors (rather than pink and/or covered in glitter), because it's quite available and becoming easier to find all the time. But nothing annoys me more than the commercials that perpetuate the stereotypes of by portraying a bunch of dudes "getting ready for the game" while their hapless "football widows" go make them snacks. Thanks, but some of us female humans are actually more interested in watching that game ourselves (and eating those snacks). Like me and Condi. (Good luck with your Browns, LOL.)

So, thank you, NFL, for rolling out this new ad featuring a variety of women who love the game and are ready to wear the team colors in shirts that were made for them. As someone who likes sports and doesn't care who knows, I find this awesome.

Condoleezza Rice models Cleveland Browns jersey in NFL ad [AdWeek]

Michael Sporn Animation's video for "Cavern" by Liquid Liquid (1983)

In 1983, Michael Sporn Animation Studios produced this terrific video for Liquid Liquid's "Cavern," released by seminal downtown NYC music label (and shop!) 99 Records. Of course, the "Cavern" bassline became the foundation of Grandmaster Melle Mel's pioneering hip hop track "White Lines (Don't Do It)." Much more from Michael Sporn Animation at the company's Splog.

Judge throws out FBI wiretapping case in interest of protecting state secrets

U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney threw out a lawsuit against the FBI for illegally spying on Muslims in Orange County, CA. "The state secrets privilege may unfortunately mean the sacrifice of individual liberties for the sake of national security," he explained. (Via Reason) Mark

Visualzing 3D printing statistics

Stephen sez, "A few months ago I became fascinated by 3D printing and have read some of your work on the subject. Then I came across some stats by The Journal of Peer Production and decided to make a really short video using the results."

3D Printer Community Survey Results

DIY tooth removal (video)


[Video Link] (Via Arbroath)

Micro sonic grenade for $5

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From one of my favorite blogs, $5 Finds: a Micro Sonic Grenade.

Want to scare the living crap out of somebody? Well nothing better than a grenade explosion sound at 110 decibles. You can set the “explosion” timer to 5, 30 or 60 seconds then BOOM it happens. Battery powered and ready to scare.
Micro Sonic Grenade for $5

New video series from MAKE: "DiResta"


[Video Link] "DiResta" is a a new video series on MAKE.

In each episode, artist and master builder Jimmy DiResta (Dirty Money, Hammered, Against the Grain, Trash for Cash) will let us into his workshop, to look over his shoulder while he builds whatever strikes his fancy. In this episode, Jimmy finds a slab of locust wood at an upstate New York flea market and it instantly calls out "slab bench."

DiResta: Locust Wood Bench