Boing Boing 

Replacement ear grown on an arm

A woman whose exterior ear was removed during her fight with cancer has grown a replacement ear made from starter-tissue harvested from her rib, which was cultured and scaffolded on her arm. Once the ear was ripe, it was removed from her arm and affixed to the side of her head.

“I thought of this exact strategy many years before and really was looking for the right patient to try it on,” said renowned plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Patrick Byrne.

Byrne used cartilage from Walters’ ribs to stitch together a new ear matching her right ear. He then implanted it under the skin of her forearm, where it grew for months.

..Byrne later surgically attached the ear and its blood vessels. Then surgery Tuesday added shape and detail to the ear.

Hopkins Doctors Grow New Ear On Woman’s Arm (via /.)

(Image: Johns Hopkins)

Sleight of hand, without hands

Here's a video of a Mahdi Gilbert card magic show at Magic-Con 2012. Madhi's a 20 year old magician from Toronto, whose arms and hands are affected by a congenital condition. His sleights and routines are rather novel, adapted for his anatomical quirks, and his mastery is indisputable. PeaceLove, the magician who sent in this video, notes that the second half is better than the first. There are plenty of other videos of his work on YouTube, including this interview.

Mahdi Gilbert performs miracle at Magic-Con 2012 (Thanks, PeaceLove)

Mind bending music mash up

Joshua Glenn says: "Singer-songwriter, music critic and theorist Franklin Bruno has discovered that if you play Terry Riley's pioneering minimalist song 'In C' (1964) at the same time as Marc Cerrone's influential 1976 disco song 'Love in C Minor,' the results are mind-bending!"

WSJ trend story of the week: ending "jerky shame" by adding adjectives, increasing price of dried meat products

Meat jerky "is like Greek yogurt for men."

Gangnam Style as a "literal" music video, remixed without music (video)

[Video Link] by UK-based remixer Moto2h via Flux.

Howard Rheingold's Mind Amplifier ebook

Howard Rheingold sez, "I have been interested in mind amplifiers since I wrote my 1968 Reed College thesis on brain biofeedback and the future of consciousness. This short e-book contains all kinds of goodies I've always wanted to put in my books -- embedded videos, rollover definitions. And I've been wanting to connect the dots between McLuhan, Engelbart, Illich, and Ostrom. I'm using this 60 page ebook as a text for a course on Think-Know Tools. Here is the blurb on the TED books site:"

Instead of asking whether the Web is making us stupid, Howard Rheingold turns that question around and asks how designing and using digital media mindfully could make us smarter. What if humans could build tools that leverage our ability to think, communicate, and cooperate? Humans invented social learning, speech, writing, alphabets, printing, computers, and the Internet, which means we should be systematically directing the evolution of intellectual augmentation. Mind Amplifier: Can Our Digital Tools Make Us Smarter? examines the origins of digital mind-extending tools, and then lays out the foundations for their future. Rheingold proposes an applied, interdisciplinary science of mind amplification. He also unveils a new protocol for developing techno-cognitive-social technologies that embrace empathy, mindfulness, and compassion -- elements lacking from existing digital mind-tools.

New TED Book: Mind Amplifier

Dick Will Make You Slap Some Body

[Video Link via Sean Bonner] Alexyss K Tylor, Atlanta, GA-based public access cable television host and Vagina Power Coach.

Read the rest

Two cats just hanging out in a frying pan (video)

[Video Link] From Shironekoshiro.

Shocking: NBC series "Parenthood" nailed the experience of breast cancer

Jody Schoger, writing about a rare instance of a TV show getting the cancer experience right: "Most women diagnosed with breast cancer aren’t feeling sick to begin with.  They walk from the land of the well into the land of the bald, the nauseated, the medical record number, the breastless and the reconstructed. Then they are encouraged to stay positive about all this, as if failing to do so will somehow impede their survival. Think about that.  It makes no sense."

A website for elaborately handmade barrister's wigs

I was waiting in line in a coffeeshop recently, when I looked over the shoulder of a guy at a nearby table and saw this website: legaltailor.com. The Hong Kong-based company claims their primary clientele are legal professionals, but Judicial cosplayers and barrister fetishists can also plunk down hundreds to thousands of dollars for handmade wigs stitched from the finest Australian and Mongolian pony hair, with their name embroidered inside. The one shown above on the stand is about $2,500, and looks to me like a big old curly mullet.

Great Graphic Novels: Promethea, by Alan Moore

GreatgraphicnovelsLast month I asked my friends to write about books they loved (you can read all the essays here). This month, I invited them to write about their favorite graphic novels, and they selected some excellent titles. I hope you enjoy them! (Read all the Great Graphic Novel essays here.) -- Mark

Promethea, by Alan Moore (and others)

Alan Moore is a literary titan whose medium happens to be comic books: deal with it. The fact is, Moore is positively Joycean in the way he packs layers of meaning into words and, unlike Joyce—or Pynchon, or Wallace—he has the whole playground of image to play with as well.

The substantial success Moore attained with his scripts for Watchmen, From Hell, V for Vendetta, and other titles—and the substantial disappointments he suffered as those graphic masterpieces were translated to the screen—both allowed him and drove him to focus on more insular, idiosyncratic work… one can almost hear him muttering, ‘make a movie of this you effing bastards,’ as he completed his pornographic masterwork Lost Girls, or the swirl of Cabala, sex magick, metaphysics, and superhero mythology comprising the work I extol here, Promethea.

Read the rest

Origami TIE Fighter


Martin "starwarigami" Hunt made this lovely TIE Fighter origami piece for London's MCM Comic Expo and contributed it to the Boing Boing Flickr Pool, along with several other marvellous creations. The photo notes state: "Folded from a 2 by 1 rectangle cut from a sheet of 150gsm A1 craft paper. For a B.O.S. display at the 2012 MCM Expo in London."

TIE Fighter

eBook Review: Warm Moonlight

Warm Moonlight is the second Kindle Single I've read by Joseph Wurtenbaugh. I really like his style!

Warm Moonlight reveals a former 20's gun moll turned grandmother, sharing a supernatural story of their family past with her granddaughter. While the story isn't the most original and you've heard it before, Wurtenbaugh does a wonderful job of drawing you in. Do not, however, expect a repeat of Old Soul, which was told from the pov of a microscopic parasite/symbiote, this story is very different.

Joseph Wurtenbaugh's Warm Moonlight

Star Wars meets Rushmore meets Breakfast Club: Jedi High

Vincent sez, "A hard-working group of film students from Oak Park High in Winnipeg, Manitoba made this intergalactic cinematic mashup, which is an homage not only to Star Wars, but also The Breakfast Club and Rushmore."

Jedi High (Thanks, Vincent!)

Thomas Jefferson, enthusiastic, brutal slaver

Update: Be sure to read Annette Gordon-Reed's rebuttal to Wiencek's biography.

Marilyn sez, "My historian friend Henry Wiencek was distressed when he found, halfway into his research on Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves a new book about Thomas Jefferson, that generations of historians had been covering up Jefferson's dark side: he wasn't the lenient, soft-hearted, reluctant slave owner that he'd been made out to be. He found he could make money by raising slaves and selling them, and he allowed the littlest boys who worked under miserable conditions in his nail factory to be beaten if they were disobedient. Preview of the book in this month's Smithsonian Magazine."

We can be forgiven if we interrogate Jefferson posthumously about slavery. It is not judging him by today’s standards to do so. Many people of his own time, taking Jefferson at his word and seeing him as the embodiment of the country’s highest ideals, appealed to him. When he evaded and rationalized, his admirers were frustrated and mystified; it felt like praying to a stone. The Virginia abolitionist Moncure Conway, noting Jefferson’s enduring reputation as a would-be emancipator, remarked scornfully, “Never did a man achieve more fame for what he did not do..."

Once, a missing bundle of rod had started a fight in the nailery that got one boy’s skull bashed in and another sold south to terrify the rest of the children—“in terrorem” were Jefferson’s words—“as if he were put out of the way by death.” Perhaps this very bundle was the cause of the fight.

...The critical turning point in Jefferson’s thinking may well have come in 1792. As Jefferson was counting up the agricultural profits and losses of his plantation in a letter to President Washington that year, it occurred to him that there was a phenomenon he had perceived at Monticello but never actually measured. He proceeded to calculate it in a barely legible, scribbled note in the middle of a page, enclosed in brackets. What Jefferson set out clearly for the first time was that he was making a 4 percent profit every year on the birth of black children. The enslaved were yielding him a bonanza, a perpetual human dividend at compound interest. Jefferson wrote, “I allow nothing for losses by death, but, on the contrary, shall presently take credit four per cent. per annum, for their increase over and above keeping up their own numbers.” His plantation was producing inexhaustible human assets. The percentage was predictable.

In another communication from the early 1790s, Jefferson takes the 4 percent formula further and quite bluntly advances the notion that slavery presented an investment strategy for the future. He writes that an acquaintance who had suffered financial reverses “should have been invested in negroes.” He advises that if the friend’s family had any cash left, “every farthing of it [should be] laid out in land and negroes, which besides a present support bring a silent profit of from 5. to 10. per cent in this country by the increase in their value.”

...And this world was crueler than we have been led to believe. A letter has recently come to light describing how Monticello’s young black boys, “the small ones,” age 10, 11 or 12, were whipped to get them to work in Jefferson’s nail factory, whose profits paid the mansion’s grocery bills. This passage about children being lashed had been suppressed—deliberately deleted from the published record in the 1953 edition of Jefferson’s Farm Book, containing 500 pages of plantation papers. That edition of the Farm Book still serves as a standard reference for research into the way Monticello worked.

...It was during the 1950s, when historian Edwin Betts was editing one of Colonel Randolph’s plantation reports for Jefferson’s Farm Book, that he confronted a taboo subject and made his fateful deletion. Randolph reported to Jefferson that the nailery was functioning very well because “the small ones” were being whipped. The youngsters did not take willingly to being forced to show up in the icy midwinter hour before dawn at the master’s nail forge. And so the overseer, Gabriel Lilly, was whipping them “for truancy.”

The Dark Side of Thomas Jefferson [Smithsonian]

Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves [Amazon]

(Thanks, Marilyn!)

Firing a pistol underwater

Destin from Smarter Every Day captured high-speed images of both a revolver and an automatic pistol discharging underwater; the water perfectly captures and renders visible the gas forces at work in the system (and makes for a beautiful picture).

I performed an experiment to see what the differences were between semi-automatic pistols and revolvers. The advantage of shooting under water is that you can see the boundary of the gas flow fields almost perfectly.

Instead of saving for my kids' college, I make videos using the money I would have saved.

High Speed Video of Pistols Underwater - Smarter Every Day 19 (via Kottke)

(Photo: @VuurwapenBlog)

Dinosaur

The correct answer is, of course, Ankylosaurus.

Smith-Corona's voice letters by post: dead media


Here's a weird bit of dead media: a Smith-Corona audio-letter that used a "Letterpack cartridge" (which appears to be a 3.5" floppy disc) to record and play back personal voice-letters sent by post. The apparatus is a fascinating dead branch in design history, something that looks like it might be descended from a desktop intercom box, and distinctly unrelated to the apparatus we put up to our faces and heads in this era.

This can really be seen as an arbitrage point between high long distance tariffs by monopoly telco operators and a willingness to tolerate delays in personal voice communications.

Where are they now? Smith-Corona

Greek Pastafarian arrested for "Cyber Crimes"


A reader writes, "On September 24, Greece's Cyber Crimes division arrested a 27 year old man on charges of blasphemy, for his website that mocks a well-known Greek monk Elder Paisios, using the name Elder Pastitsios (the even better-known Greek pasta dish). The link is to a Greek blog, which shows a religious procession through the streets of Athens last Friday led by local Pastafarians in protest of the arrest, during which pastitso was distributed to the crowds as a holy blessing. It's being widely reported that the arrest was instigated not by the Greek Orthodox church, but by the neo-Nazi group Golden Dawn, who currently hold seats in Parliament. The Twitter hashtag for the story is #FreeGeronPastitsios."

Αναλυτικό ρεπορτάζ από τη λιτανεία και περιφορά του παστιτσίου στα Εξάρχεια

Princess Vader goes to Disneyland


This little girl reportedly visited Disneyland with her parents in her adorable princess Vader Hallowe'en costume, taking it for a test drive. Rsharich, the redditor who posted the pic, doesn't mention how the day went, but I assume it was, you know, epic.

Friends took their daughter dressed like this, all day, to Disneyland (i.imgur.com)

Great Graphic Novels: The Cereal Killings by James Sturm

GreatgraphicnovelsLast month I asked my friends to write about books they loved (you can read all the essays here). This month, I invited them to write about their favorite graphic novels, and they selected some excellent titles. I hope you enjoy them! (Read all the Great Graphic Novel essays here.) -- Mark

The Cereal Killings by James Sturm

James Sturm is probably best known as the founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies, a school dedicated to creating comics and as the artist and writer of Eisner -- winning comics like The Golem’s Mighty Swing. But it was his first Fantagraphics title, The Cereal Killings, that knocked me out.

Sturm created a parallel fantasy world populated by the beings that worked as kid cereal mascots. Sturm re-imagined beloved cereal mascots as anthropomorphized animal/humans who gather at the local bar to reminisce on the good old days of the cereal business. There’s Burt, a chain-smoking loudmouth rabbit, Snip, the ruthless elphin president of KelCog Cereal Company, and Carbunkle, the middle-aged agent who pitches new cereal ideas and represents his old friends. If you can picture a pugnacious fifty-year old Trix rabbit, an insulin-crashing Cuckoo Bird, and a DiggEm Frog with food issues, all with real-life problems of failing careers, petty jealousies and corporate intrigue, you’ve got the picture.

Sturm cuts between the present-day story line of a “cereal killer” with flashbacks of the “cerealebrities” in their early glory days. His art has a personal, expressive line that works well to communicate the rough edges and tough breaks in the lives of the aging mascots. Slick cereal box art and tv commercial storyboards are used as an effective foil and contrast with the gritty realities of martial stress, alcoholism, and death.

Says Sturm: “These characters function both as cultural icons and as individuals, real men and women with all the dreams, frailties and hungers that shape all our lives.”

And the business aspects of kid’s cereals are woven throughout: new brands are proposed, designs for premiums are evaluated, and healthiness of kid cereals is questioned. Here’s Schmedly the elephant with Carbunkle at the bar:

(By the way, think the story is exaggerating the “controversy” of a Crunch Berry? I refer you to a recent lawsuit: On May 21, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California dismissed a complaint filed by a woman who said she had purchased "Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries" because she believed it contained real fruit. You can’t write this stuff!)

Each issue of The Cereal Killings has a familiar comic book format with additional short stories; mock cereal ads, full-page portraits, and letters to the editor. Great stuff! The comic ran for nine issues, ending in 1995.

Does Sturm ultimately pull it off, this parable of redemption in a cereal bowl? The fantastical conclusion uses dream imagery and leaves the final interpretation to the reader. I found it to be an engaging tale in an imaginative world.

Fox News broadcasts a live suicide

Yesterday, Fox News aired live footage of a man in Phoenix shooting himself in the head. According to the Times of India Fox got so excited about following a carjacking suspect in a high-speed chase that they forgot to cut the feed (which ran on a five-second delay) when he got out of his car, ran a short distance, pulled out a pistol, put it to his temple, and committed suicide.

"He's looking kind of erratic, isn't he?... It's always possible the guy could be on something," said Smith in a running commentary, unaware of what was about to happen.

Turning into some bushes, the suspect then pulled out a handgun, put it to his right temple and collapsed.

On air, Smith shouted "get off it! get off it!" in a plea to his studio colleagues to halt the live feed.

In the hours that followed, YouTube scrambled to delete the video almost as quickly as its users were posting it, saying it violated its terms of service.

US carjacking suspect shoots self in head... live on TV

Boppo the Bad Breath Clown (vintage ad)

Image Link. A cheerful, totally non-creepy ad from days of yore, scanned and uploaded to the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by reader v.valenti.

Free/open math textbook written in three days

Here is a free/open upper secondary mathematics textbook written in a single daythree days by a group of Finnish math teachers, working together in a "booksprint." Related news: California's passed a bill establishing 50 "open source" (CC-BY) textbooks for core lower-division college courses (though, as a poster on Slashdot notes, this still has to be funded in the California budget, which is a place where many good ideas go to die). (via Hacker News)

Why can't pacemaker users read their own medical data?

In this ten minute TEDx talk, Hugo Campos explains his frustration with the fact that his pacemaker is designed to let his doctor read his biometric status, but to stop the patient from doing the same. As a result, Campos isn't able to use his pacemaker as a diagnostic tool to help make good choices about eating, exercise and other activities. He writes,

I have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) for primary prevention of sudden cardiac arrest. I have been fighting for my right to access the data collected by the ICD for about 3 years now, without much success. Data about my heart is regularly collected from the implanted device by its manufacturer over remote monitoring.

The modern ICD is a sophisticated computer capable of detecting and treating malignant arrhythmias. It is also capable of wireless telemetry, a feature that is used by all device manufacturers for remote patient monitoring. Today, there are about 5 top manufacturers of pacemakers and ICDs and 1MM patients being remotely monitored on a regular basis. Not a single one of these patients is allowed access to their device's data.

I am sure you'd agree that this is an objectionable practice and it must be stopped.

TEDxCambridge - Hugo Campos fights for the right to open his heart's data

Vancouverites! Coming to Kidsbooks!

As part of my Pirate Cinema tour I'll be coming to Vancouver's Kidsbooks on Oct 21 at 7PM. You've got to buy a $23.50 ticket, but it comes with a copy of the book, which normally retails for $25. Kidsbooks is one of the last independents standing in Vancouver, and they're a great store, so we really want to make the event a big success for them.

TV news programs ignore false claims in the thousands of political ads that pay their bills


Josh Levy from Free Press sez, "My colleague Tim Karr just released a report exposing the billions spent on political ads around the country -- and how that money is pocketed by local TV stations. Are these stations offering any local news coverage to debunk the lies in these ads? Are they exposing the deep-pocketed interests behind the groups buying ad time? The short answer is: No. The local stations we looked at in the report provided no local stories exposing the special interests behind these ads, and only one station among the 20 surveyed devoted even a few minutes to investigating whether these ads told viewers the truth."

Here are some details from our new report, Left in the Dark: Local Coverage in the Age of Big-Money Politics:

* The Super PACs vs. Justin Bieber: The hundreds of hours of local news that aired in the two weeks prior to Wisconsin's June 5 recall election included no stories on the 17 groups most actively buying time on Milwaukee's ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC affiliates. While these stations were ignoring the impact of political ads, they found time to air 53 local news segments on Justin Bieber.

* Fact-Check Fail: The ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC affiliates in Charlotte, Cleveland, Las Vegas and Milwaukee did not once fact-check the claims made in political ads placed locally by the nation's top-spending Super PACs and independent groups, even though these groups had spent tens of millions of dollars on frequently deceptive ads in those markets.

* Hush Money: Cleveland's four affiliate stations provided no coverage of the Koch brothers-funded group Americans for Prosperity, despite airing the group's anti-Obama attack ads more than 500 times. Americans for Prosperity has reportedly spent more than $1.5 million to place ads on Cleveland television stations.

* News Out of Balance: Affiliate stations in Tampa aired on average more than 200 political ads a day throughout August. Yet only one station, WTSP, devoted news time to fact-checking any of the most prominent groups buying these ads. In a single segment running less than three minutes, WTSP rated an Americans for Prosperity ad as false, a finding that didn't stop the station from running the group's anti-Obama ads more than 150 times that month.

TV Stations Accept Political Ad Cash -- and Leave Viewers in the Dark (Thanks, Josh!)

Nude Psychotherapy (vintage seventies magazine ad)

"Be the first on your block to know about nude psychotherapy." A 1970s-era magazine ad, scanned and shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by Boing Boing reader v.valenti.

Mystical experiences without significance

Ed from Aeon sez, "The Scottish science fiction writer Ken MacLeod, (Intrusion, The Night Sessions) has a short essay in Aeon magazine exploring two strange sensations. Each one sounds like a mystical experience, but 'solves no problem, conveys no insight, and yet leaves me with an impression of significance'. Are they mere glitches in the mechanism by which his brain makes meaning? Are they rare or common? Do they mean anything?

"Aeon is a new online magazine about nature, culture, ideas and experience. One of its themes is finding new ways to grapple with spirituality, whatever it might be."

When I tell people about it they either look blank or say: ‘Oh! You mean you have that too?’ But it isn’t a bond between us, not a secret, just a peculiarity, an anomaly, perhaps as random a feature of our minds as the ability to roll one’s tongue is of our bodies. It solves no problem, conveys no insight, and yet leaves me with an impression of significance. It has an aftertaste, but no taste. That impression, that aftertaste, may be its empty secret: it may be a tiny glitch in the process by which our brains find meaning in sense.

Like someone is there (Thanks, Ed!)

US naval analyst on science fiction space warfare

NewImageForeign Policy magazine interviewed naval analyst Chris Weuve, a former US Naval War College research professor, about space warfare in science fiction.

Has sci-fi affected the way that our navies conduct warfare?

CW: This is a question that I occasionally think about. Many people point to the development of the shipboard Combat Information Center in World War II as being inspired by E.E. Doc Smith's Lensman novels from the 1940s. Smith realized that with hundreds of ships over huge expanses, the mere act of coordinating them was problematic. I think there is a synergistic effect. I also know a number of naval officers who have admitted to me that the reason they joined the Navy was because Starfleet Command wasn't hiring.

"Aircraft Carriers in Space" (Thanks, Todd Lappin!)