MakeShop: a hackspace in Dublin

In the Irish Times, Ruth O'Connor documents a Dublin's new MakeShop, a hackerspace launched by the Science Gallery and open to adults and children alike. It sounds like a wonderful place.

Once inside, the staff’s enthusiasm finds them, glue guns poised, creating spinning robots from sawn-up dishwashing brushes and three-volt battery packs. Gearóid Keane one of the facilitators, who helps me make a bird house-shaped clock from a Gay Mitchell election poster, says that “The workshops last around 15 or 20 minutes so we get the kids’ full concentration. We get a wide range of ages but all really interested in what they are doing.”

While the target audience is 15- to 25-year-olds, people of all ages can attend the drop-in workshops. Adults and children sit side-by-side and there is a quiet sense of community interrupted by sudden bursts of laughter and excitement. Fionn Kidney of the Science Gallery says it’s about “Taking DIY and turning it into ‘Doing it Together’. It’s about developing a spark of discovery. We want to help young people find their interests.” Fundamentally, he says, MakeShop is about getting hands-on and creative, encouraging questioning and conversation.

Niall Hunt a 14-year-old from Sandymount in Dublin was making a badge – incorporating soldering techniques with learning about circuits by connecting LED lights to a battery. “I’ve always wanted to try soldering but never had the chance before,” says Niall, who likes the idea of a space where people can try out new things. With an interest in DIY, Niall’s dad John says that MakeShop provides access to materials he wouldn’t have at home as well as being an “ideas space”.

Read the rest

Three hidden photographs found in Mac SE ROM

The folks at the NYC Resistor hackerspace found a Macintosh SE that had been abandoned on a Brooklyn sidewalk and decided to conduct a little "digital archeology."

While digging through dumps generated from the Apple Mac SE ROM images we noticed that there was a large amount of non-code, non-audio data. Adam Mayer tested different stride widths and found that at 67 bytes (536 pixels across) there appeared to be some sort of image data that clearly was a picture of people. The rest of the image was skewed and distorted, so we knew that it wasn’t stored as an uncompressed bitmap.

After some investigation, we were able to decode the scrambled mess above and turn it into the full image with a hidden message from “Thu, Nov 20, 1986“

They say there's more curious data in the ROM that they haven't been able to decipher yet.

Ghosts in the ROM (Via Matt Richardson) Read the rest

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Science fiction of the world

Lavie Tidhar sez, "The Apex Book of World SF 2 is now officially released and available on Amazon and elsewhere. This is the second book in the international SF/F series collecting short stories from around the world, and the only current one of its kind. It particularly focuses on African and Latin American writers, alongside writers from Asia and Europe, and includes Clarke Award winner Lauren Beukes, World Fantasy Award winner Nnedi Okorafor, original fiction from Cuba, India, China and Peru and much more." Read the rest

Delta refuses boarding to Poop Strong man for flying while brown and wearing the security theater shirt I designed

Back in 2007, I designed a shirt for Woot! that featured a screaming eagle clutching an unlaced shoe and a crushed water bottle, surrounded by the motto MOISTURE BOMBS ZOMG TERRORISTS ZOMG GONNA KILL US ALL ZOMG ZOMG ALERT LEVEL BLOODRED RUN RUN TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES. Among the lucky owners of this garment is Arijit "Poop Strong" Guha, who proudly wore it this week as he headed for a Delta flight from Buffalo-Niagara International Airport to his home in Phoenix.

But it was not to be. First, the TSA Delta agents questioned him closely about the shirt, and made him agree to change it, submit to a secondary screening and board last. He complied with these rules, but then he was pulled aside by multiple Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority cops, more TSA, and a Delta official and searched again. No one found anything untoward, but --

The Delta official told Arijit he wouldn't be allowed to board, and neither would his wife. Period.

When Arijit complained about this, the Niagara Transport cops got "aggressive," questioning him further and noting in their discussions that "he looks foreign." Now Arijit understood that the problem was Flying While Brown. The Niagara Transport cops had lots of dumb questions, like why Arijit's wife hadn't taken his last name, why he had opted out of the pornoscanner, and then they sicced the drug-seeking dogs on him.

Delta rebooked them for a flight the next day, but didn't offer Arijit and his wife a hotel room overnight -- and when they turned up at the airport, they discovered that their "confirmed" seats weren't confirmed, and unless eight passengers on the oversold flight agreed to fly later, they wouldn't be getting on that plane, either. Read the rest

DEVO Synthesizer featuring DEVO sounds

I've featured Remo Camerota's work and books on Boing Boing many times. He's a talented artist and designer with a love for robot art. His latest project is an iOS application that lets you design DEVO-inspired robot art and play music using unreleased DEVO sounds. They are seeking $15,000 on Kickstarter.

DEVOBOTS Read the rest

NBC's The Office will end this season

One of television's most successful adaptations of a British show is finally coming to an end. Currently filming its ninth season, The Office will not be back next year, but its original showrunner, Greg Daniels, will return to cap this thing off. What does this mean? Probably guest stars, guest stars, guest stars -- but not necessarily in front of the camera. Like Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston, who is directing an episode of the show's final season today. And Steve Carell will likely make an appearance. Was this ending overdue? Maybe. But there will be two undeniably gaping holes on Thursday nights when this and 30 Rock are both gone. (via The Hollywood Reporter) Read the rest

Grow up, game journalism!

Leigh Alexander on the perpetual adolescence of game culture—and a press corps only too willing to pander to it even as it makes a superficial show of fighting it:

No wonder that when the industry’s most successful creators hear of the demand for maturity and sophistication, all that results are teen-boy tropes. And we gripe in private, but we accept this. Stagnant, emotionally arrested culture isn’t anyone’s fault, it’s just how things are. What do we know about the complex craft of game development, anyway? Let’s stick to what we can comment on: at least the graphics look good, at least someone is trying. The problem is the audience, the marketers, anyone but us.

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Bruce Campbell has seen the new Evil Dead, still swears it's awesome, is probably making a cameo

The Evil Dead Reassurance Tour marches on! The new installment of the classic horror trilogy being directed by Fede Alvarez has just finished principal photography in New Zealand, and Bruce Campbell has seen the footage! He is a producer on the flick, along with Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, and he provided some quotes to Digital Spy that 1. acknowledge how die-hard fans are not taking news of this remake very well, and 2. to quote Michael Bay, they need to chill out.

But since Campbell is not Bay, he uses much different words and actually takes the opinions of Evil Dead fans into consideration. (Read: Is less of a dick about it.) Read the rest

Garage door that looks like a book-case

LA Observed republished this photo of a garage-door painted to look like a magnificent outdoor book-case, apparently ganked from author Robert Crais's Facebook (I don't have a FB account, so I can't verify this).

LA garage door painted to look like bookshelves (via Super Punch) Read the rest

My Geek Culture recommendations on Bullseye

The latest episode of Jesse Thorne's terrific Bullseye radio show and podcast is out, and it includes my semi-regular segment on "Geek Culture recommendations." This week, I talk about "the engaging online / downloadable game Kingdom Rush and David Dufty's tale of robotics in How to Build an Android."

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Michael Jai White, Carl Jones, Rachel Dratch and Jason Brewer Read the rest

Breaking Bad art show in Los Angeles

Fans of Breaking Bad, take note if you're in Los Angeles. Gallery 1988 Melrose has a show from the guys behind Breaking GIFs. I heard about it through Bob "Saul" Odenkirk's Twitter, so it's certifiably awesome. Read the rest

Tool for boring a hole in coconuts

[Video Link] Cleaning stick included. Protip: Use FLVTO to rip the song from the video and play it every time you use your CocoDrill.

CocoDrill Young Coconut Opening Punch Tap Tool on Amazon for $9 (Via Dooby Brain) Read the rest

Pussy Riot solidarity protests: Topless lady with chainsaw cuts down massive crucifix in Kiev


More photos here, some NSFW.

(Via Steven Leckart.)

 Free Pussy Riot [Jasmina Tesanovic] Pussy Riot, sentenced to two years in a penal colony, release new ... Pussy Riot's closing statement Read the rest

Video interview with Doug Fine, author of Too High to Fail, book about cannabis industry

Here's an interview with Doug Fine, author of Too High to Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution.

"How can you have 56 percent of Americans in support of fully ending the drug war, and zero senators in support of it?" asks Doug Fine, investigative journalist and author of new book, Too High To Fail.

Fine sat down with ReasonTV's Tracy Oppenheimer to discuss his time spent in the cannabis capital of California, Mendocino County, and why he thinks this drug can help save the American economy. And it's not just about collecting taxes.

"The industrial [uses] may one day dwarf the psychoactive ones. If we start using it for fermentation for our energy needs, it can produce great biofuels," says Fine, "already, cannabis is in the bumpers of Dodge Vipers."

I interviewed Doug in July about his book. Read it here.

How Cannabis Can Revolutionize Our Economy: Author Doug Fine on "Too High To Fail" Read the rest

For Mr. Akin, from a woman who conceived her child through rape

Writes Maureen Herman, at "A is For..." blog—"Rep. Akin, I’d like you to meet my daughter. I’d like to show you how dead wrong you are when you say that women rarely get pregnant from rape. I’m writing this letter to let you know that you definitely can, because it happened to me, and I have a 9 year old to prove it." Read the rest

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