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HOWTO make a leather rockabilly Batman cowl

Trevor sends us, "An imgur gallery of how I constructed my leather Rockabilly Batman headgear, based on the artworks of Denis Medri, in 7 easy steps (some easier than others), as part of the Gotham City Rockers group forming for the upcoming Portsmouth Halloween Parade in NH.."

Batman Cowl Process - Imgur (Thanks, Trevor!)

R2D2 rolling luggage

Salvador Bachiller's €95 R2D2 rolling baggage looks great. I know nothing about its materials, handling or build-quality (for all I know, it corners like a 30-year-old supermarket trolley, crumples the first time you fly with it, and scratches if you look at it crosseyed), but it sure is cool-looking.

AZ-2028 ROBOT TROLLEY 60 (via Cnet Crave)

Junebug-like robotic pack mule

Here's a DARPA video showing a robotic pack-mule prototype. I think you're supposed to imagine this thing being on your side, but when I see videos like this, I always find myself imagining what it would be like to be crouching in the underbrush with a couple of terrified children, trying to keep them silent while this thing motors through the uncanny valley around us.

This video depicts field testing of the DARPA Legged Squad Support System (LS3). The goal of the LS3 program is to demonstrate that a legged robot can unburden dismounted squad members by carrying their gear, autonomously following them through rugged terrain, and interpreting verbal and visual commands.

DARPA Legged Squad Support System (LS3) Demonstrates New Capabilities (via JWZ)

Haunted Mansion/Small World mashup tee

Actualchad has designed a Haunted Mansion/Small World mashup tee. He writes, "Just in time for Halloween, the Haunted Mansion has taken on the small world in the battle of which ride is really the scariest. In the style of Mary Scary Blair..."

Is This Small World Actually Stretching? by actualchad (Thanks, Actualchad)

HOWTO make huge, wall-mounted papercraft Minecraft scenery

Jeff sez, "Some gamers need a Railgun, others choose an M1A1, most seem to desire an Energy Sword...but what we need is a pickaxe! That's right, our current favorite diversion from lab work is Minecraft. We didn't want the fun to stop on the screen, so we created giant, 3-D, papercraft Minecraft terrains on our walls and show you how to build your own."

Build 3-D Papercraft Minecraft Terrains (Thanks, Jeff)

Experience the Iranian Internet in central London

Runa from the Tor Project sez, "What is the Iranian Internet? How does it feel to be censored? Filtered? Under constant surveillance? Unsure? Restricted? Oppressed? On Wednesday September 26, Small Media will transform their office in central London into a space where you can really get a feel of how it feels to be oppressed by censorship." (Thanks, Runa!)

Kickstarter: Impossibly goofy! Impossible Project iPhone adaptor

Its crazy. I love it. You can help kickstart the project and buy one at the same time.

(via PetaPixel)

DIY mini photo studio

Here's how Nick Britsky made a nifty mini photo studio.
NewImageOur household is spawning blogs like bunnies. Since I need all the help I could get, I thought it would be good to up my photo game. We’ve been using a bay window to take some of our pictures. So I started researching a mini photo studio solution. The goal was to combine a light tent and an infinity wall all in a desktop model. I started by mocking it up in Sketch-up. The hardest part was figuring out the curve. Sketch-up was a huge help and with little math I figured out the length while leaving a gap to wiggle it in. I used hardboard as it had the most flex and kept me from having to keft plywood.

A Is For About Us: Martha Plimpton

[Video Link] I just finished producing a short video for A Is For featuring Martha Plimpton. It's essentially a quick overview of A Is For and a public invitation to be part of our new awareness-raising campaign. We're asking people to submit a video telling what their A means to them. It will be an ongoing video campaign featuring people's video submissions intercut with some prominent A Is For supporters (so far we have Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman, Amy Poehler, and Tom Morello). The goal is to provide a unifying symbol for the movement and a loud platform for their voices.

Haunted Playmobil set

On eBay, a toymodder called Foiled1 is selling a beautiful, highly detailed Playmobil haunted house: "So what you get is the house, fence, wallpaper and all items seen in photo's (some interior item's may vary)! Watch out for the ghost that comes through the wall! Includes all people and all items seen in photo's (some interior item's may vary). Includes wallpaper, interior items and more! This house was made using some parts with chips, dents, digs and glue, somewhat like a real home. And is made to be used in your Playmobil Victorian mansion."

Lots of exclamation marks and grocer's apo'strophe's!

Playmobil Haunted Halloween Victorian Mansion 5300 custom dollhouse

New chapter in comic strip about underground publisher John Wilcox

I love Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall's comic strip about the colorful and brilliant underground publisher John Wilcox. My only complaint is that it runs so infrequently! They just posted the third chapter.

Chapter Three: Party Time with Bud Waldo

Featuring "Editing Norman Mailer" (a true account of Mailer's brief stint as a columnist for the Village Voice), "Woody Allen Before He was Woody Allen", "An Interview with Jean Shepherd" and bonus early appearances by Paul Krassner and Lyle Stuart. This chapter covers the years 1956 and 1957 in the history of the underground press.

App to speed up audio and video: Swift

[Video Link] Swift Player & Downloader is a useful $0.99 iOS app can speed up or slow down audio and video.

Sex in comic books, part 2


Here's artist Mitch O'Connel's second installment of silly, unintentionally sexual (and other weird) comic book art from the days of yore. (Previous installment)

Sex in Comics Part 2! The top 100 strangest, suggestive and steamy vintage comic book covers of all time!


Phil Hartman's SNL audition reel

Here's Phil Hartman's 11-minute SNL audition from 1985 or 1986, with a guest appearance by Jon Lovitz. It's very funny, very raw, and pure Hartman -- fascinating and sad to see how Hartman's genius shone through from the earliest days.

Phil Hartman SNL audition (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Anatomically correct, full-sized chocolate skulls

Eat Your Heart Out has announced that they'll soon be taking reservations for these anatomically correct, full-sized chocolate skulls at £50 each. They're made by the cats at Two Little Cats bakery.


J.J. Abrams' Star Trek gets an official title that looks like it's suffering from a typo

The official title for Star Trek 2 was revealed by Paramount today, and while I never thought I'd say this about anything or anyone (okay, perhaps a couple of times), I really hope it's dealing with colon issues. The title is Star Trek Into Darkness -- four words, a proper noun that consists of two words ("Star Trek") that is now an active verb ("Trek") that makes this title a prepositional phrase ("Into Darkness"). I really hope that someone mistakenly left out the colon in between Star Trek and Into Darkness, because I think we're approaching Pun Territory, Captain. (via Movieline)

Profile of a cigar maker (video)

Made by Hand / No 4 The Cigar Shop from Made by Hand on Vimeo.

Keith says:

After making portraits on a distiller, a knife maker, and an urban beekeeper, we've focused our camera on The Cigar Shop. In 1974, Dominican immigrant Don Antonio Martinez started a small shop in New York City selling hand rolled cigars. Thirty-Eight years later his son, Jesus, carries on the tradition. The shop combines craftsmanship with community, mixing equal parts work and play.

Perhaps our favorite part of making this film is the way it expands the maker experience outward; it's not just about the artifact, but about the people you make things with and for.

Made by Hand: The Cigar Shop

GoDaddy's DNS servers experiencing extended outage

If you manage your domains through GoDaddy or are hosting a website with them, it's probably down right now and has been for about an hour. Take advantage of this time to find out which ones of your friends use GoDaddy in order to ridicule them. You can start with ridiculing me. GoDaddy's management tools are down too, so you can't really do anything yet if you're affected, but there's more information about what you could do to move away from GoDaddy in this thread on Hacker News.

Skull made from VHS cassettes: Dead Media

Noah Scalin sez, "Dead Media is created from 497 VHS videocassettes that were given to me by several friends and also culled from my personal collection. The piece, which is approximately 20 feet long by 9 feet wide, was built in the style of the skull in Holbein's The Ambassadors and meant to be viewed from only one point and is actually quite distorted in real life. The piece is on display at the TCC Visual Arts Center in Portsmouth, Virginia from this Friday through November 1st after which it will be dismantled and used to create new artworks by the students of Tidewater Community College."

403. Dead Media (Thanks, Noah!)

Quadruplets with their birth-order shaved into their heads

A family of quadruplets in Shenzhen, China have had the numbers 1-4 shaved into their heads by their parents in order to aid in telling them apart:

'Even now, their father can't tell which one is which.

'Sometimes, he punishes the second one for something the third one has done.'

The boys won't be able to get away with shifting the blame for much longer however with their new easily identifiable haircuts.

'Teachers and classmates can't get confused with the big marks on their head,' their mother added.

Mother gives Chinese quadruplets numbered haircuts (via Crazy Abalone)

(Image: a downsized, cropped thumbnail from a larger image by AFP)

James Cameron says Avatar 4 is a prequel to Avatar, does not want people comparing it to Star Wars

James Cameron was not kidding when he said he was just going to make Avatar movies for the rest of his life. In an interview with MTV, he discussed plans for a fourth Avatar movie, an idea he'd been throwing around for a while until he realized that he might have a few more years of being alive on the Earth to make more movies, and he might get bored. So, he might as well. Apparently, the plan is to make the fourth movie a prequel to the other three movies, which sounds like something we've seen before that went, well, not that great for the fans. But don't worry -- Battle Angel is still going to happen. Probably. Five years from now. Maybe.

Read the rest

Bob Marley's "Is This Love" metal remix

Andy Rehfeldt turns Marley metal.

Titan Missile Museum, Tucson, Arizona

Unknown Fields (UF) is a design studio, originating in London’s Architectural Association, that "ventures out on annual expeditions to the ends of the earth exploring unreal and forgotten landscapes, alien terrains and obsolete ecologies." Mark Pilkington, author of Mirage Men and publisher of Strange Attractor, has just led this busload of architects, writers, filmmakers and artists in an exploration of the mythic landscape of the American Southwest, and the stories that it has inspired. Their trajectory took them from Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque New Mexico to Black Rock City, Nevada, via sites of military, architectural and folkloric significance. Mark sent us occasional postcards from the edge. - David Pescovitz

The Titan Missile Museum, Tucson, Arizona

Fifteen miles south of Tucson, 140 feet underground, stands a monumental testament to the apocalyptic technology of the Cold War. Between 1963 and 1982 this was Titan II ICBM Site 571-7, one of 54 such silos operated by USAF Strategic Air Command at three locations around the country. The other two were in Little Rock, Arkansas and Wichita, Kansas, though 571-7 is the only site with all its components still in place.

One-hundred-and-three feet high and 10 feet in diameter, the Titan II had a range of 6500 miles and reached its target approximately 30 minutes after lift off. Each rocket – and there were 18 situated at each site – packed a 9 megatonne charge (almost twice the total explosive force unleashed by all sides in World War II) capable of devastating around 900 square miles in a single blast; a turn of a key selected whether the detonation took place on the ground or in the air.

Four staff lived in the bunker at any one time; initially these were all men, but towards the end of its operational life women also worked on the site. Most of their time was spent performing routine maintenance checks, but if the call to arms was heard, as it was, briefly, immediately after President Kennedy’s assassination, two of them were expected to simultaneously turn the keys that would launch their silo’s missile and erase the future. The missile’s actual target was unknown to its caretakers, and remains classified to this day, though it would probably have been military and was certainly in the Soviet Union. Should one of the crew have suffered a crisis of conscience and refused to start World War III he or she would be shot and replaced by someone else – the crew were expendable, the missile, and its purpose, were not.

The missile launched 58 seconds after the keys were turned, leaving the crew with nothing to do but sit tight and await further orders; they might make use of the designated smoking area in a cramped corner of the control room, or listen to music on the 8-track stereo that once sat here. But what if further orders never arrived? The bunker held enough air and supplies to last 30 days, after which the choice of whether to venture outside or end the wait with a bullet was up to the team. If, as was likely, the Russians had Titans of their own, then the crew needn’t have worried about what to do after the launch: the silo, a probable target, could only withstand a one megatonne strike at a distance of about half a mile. 

Accidents, unfortunately, did happen: in 1965 a fire killed 53 people at a silo in Searcy, Arkansas; this became known as the ‘ghost silo’ and gained a reputation for being haunted. Also in Arkansas, in 1980, a worker dropped a tool which struck a missile, causing a fuel leak and a subsequent explosion that killed one crew member and blew a 760 tonne blast door several hundred feet; the nuclear warhead was thrown clear of the site and mercifully didn’t detonate.

Since the early 1990s the Tucson site has been run by the non-profit Arizona Aerospace Foundation and its thrilling tours are lead by a team of knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers. If you have time, ask for the deep access tour, though this can take over four hours to complete. Among the many highlights, look out for Richard DeSpain’s beautiful drawings of the site in the debriefing room.

Homebrew prosthetic finger seeks funding

Ivan is a American cosplayer who invented a useful and detailed mechanical hand. His demonstration video was viewed widely, and he was contacted by a man in South Africa who had lost his fingers in an industrial accident and could not afford the prosthetics in the market. He asked Ivan if they could collaborate to create a design for low-cost, home-made replacement prosthetic fingers. Now Ivan is looking to raise $5,000 to fund the work.

They mention that the plans are intended to be "open," though they don't promise to use any particular license or to refrain from patenting it. However, this earlier design from the project declares that "All of the information and design contained in this write-up is open and available to the public to be used freely."

Update: Ivan Owen, co-creator of the prosthesis, sez, "thank you for pointing out that Rich and I had failed to include a promise on our main site. That has now been rectified. We have absolutely no intention of patenting the device. Ever. Both he and I are tired of how business has been, in some cases, a hindrance to the development of solutions that can help others. The technology to create what we're making has been around for almost 200 years. The fact that it's still such a widespread problem with so few solutions is maddening, and we want to do whatever we can in our power to change that."

His hand was a hit at NORWESCON and within weeks, the silly little Youtube video he had created to share his awesomeness was getting thousands of views a day.

Little did we know that this would not only lead him to getting numerous orders for pairs of these mechanical hands from fellow goofballs that love to dress up and be a little crazy too, for a director of a play, a plastic version for a team of scientists at UCLA and a major Robotics company…but that one day he would get an email from a man named Rich in South Africa who was curious to see if Ivan could help him find a way to figure out the design he had been working on to restore two of the 4 fingers he had recently lost on his right hand due to a woodworking accident…after looking into a few prosthetics and researching the Xfinger design and being told it would cost him up to $10,000 (US Dollars) per finger…he knew he would never be able to afford this and wanted to design something on his own.

Change The World? (Thanks, Weston!)

Did Timothy Leary supply the LSD for Dock Ellis's no-hitter baseball game? (Probably not)

Lisa Rein from the Timothy Leary Archives sez, "ESPN's Patrick Hruby did a piece a few weeks ago investigating Dock Ellis' claim that he pitched a no-hitter on LSD in 1970. We had a few more details and clarifications to add (regarding the origin of the LSD), and of course, threw in a few more fun pieces of historical Dock Ellis baseball memorabilia."

One of Hruby’s sources said Ellis told him that Leary had been “interested in researching the effect of LSD on professional athletes. The professor had approached the pitcher: Would Ellis take a tab of LSD, play, and then report on the experience?”

Although it sounds like an experiment Tim would have loved to conduct, given his fascination with LSD, baseball, and experiential science, the fact is he was in prison during the 1970 baseball season, nor did he ever mention it to Michael, although they discussed Dock’s feat on several occasions. Dock might have been told the LSD originated with Tim, as the man and the drug were virtually synonymous back then, but there’s no evidence they ever met in person.

Dock Ellis, Timothy Leary, LSD and America’s Favorite Pasttime (Thanks, Lisa!)

Pesco on augmented reality games

Over at our sponsor Intel's My Life Scoop site, I posted a short into to augmented reality games:

 Wp-Content Uploads 2012 09 Wp-Content Uploads 2012 09 Ar Drone Ardrone

In 1901, Wonderful Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum published a short story called “The Master Key” in which the protagonist Rob has invented the “Character Marker,” electrical spectacles that overlay a letter on the foreheads of people to give a sense of their personality. At the end of the story, Rob reflects on his inventions and says that “It’s no fun being a century ahead of the times!” History is catching up with Rob.

"Blended Worlds: Augmented Reality Games"

Memories of shooting Sneakers

In Slate, Stephen Tobolowsky remembers what it was like to shoot the 1992 hacker/caper flick Sneakers, one of the great hacker movies of all time, with an all-star cast that included Robert Redford and Ben Kingsley:

During part of the big action finale, Robert Redford is chased through a secret lab by all of us bad guys. Phil was choreographing the chase and trying to put us in some kind of order of how fast we were running. He said, "Let's do it this way. Ben, you’re the Academy Award winner, we’ll start with you. Then, Tim, the Emmy winner, you’ll be next. Do we have a Tony winner? Anyway, Stephen, you'll be last."

Here is a Hollywood Zen story. We shot on location around Los Angeles and at Universal. The studio has a going concern of little buses that regularly drive through the back lot area with tourists from all over the world wielding disposable cameras. The tour guide has a set patter, "On your right is the shark from Jaws. On your left is Columbo's automobile." While one of the buses was nearing our stage, we were called to the set. The tour bus had to stop while Robert Redford and James Earl Jones crossed in front of it. No one noticed. The guide just kept up with, "On our right is the bicycle from E.T." People were snapping away at the bicycle and were completely oblivious that two of the most famous actors in the world were a few feet away from them.

At the end of the shoot, Phil said the only thing that could make the whole experience of working on Sneakers better was if the lab lost the film. Then we would be able to do it all over again.

Memories of the Sneakers Shoot (via Hacker News)

Three Second City performers join Saturday Night Live, Jason Sudeikis also sticks around

Just in time to start its 38th season this weekend, Saturday Night Live has added three new performers to its roster, all of them discovered through their work at Chicago's Second City: Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong, and Tim Robinson will join the cast as featured performers. In other news, it looks like Jason Sudeikis is staying on, having never offered any reason to believe he's officially leaving. Probably because he'll be playing Mitt Romney for the primetime election specials as well as the late-night show. And then we'll see what happens in November! (via USA Today)

Venus Patrol, gaming art and culture site, launches

Venus Patrol, Brandon Boyer's independent videogame art & culture site, has "really honestly actually finally launched", he reports!

Venus Patrol -- the website dedicated to independent videogames and their crossover with art, music and design which took in in excess of $100,000 in its successful 2011 Kickstarter campaign -- has officially opened at and begun offering daily news and features in search of beauty in all corners of videogame culture.

Founded and edited by Brandon Boyer, who also serves as chairman of the Independent Games Festival and is co-founder of Austin, Texas’s independent game community JUEGOS RANCHEROS, the launch of the website includes new membership packages giving subscribers exclusive games, art and music.

Included in the packages are two Venus Patrol-exclusive games, Gun Godz, the tongue in cheek lo-fi hip-hop first-person-shooter from Vlambeer, creators of Super Crate Box (with a guest appearance by underground hip-hop legend Dose One), and Capsule, an ultra-atmospheric space survival horror from Canabalt creator AdamAtomic.

Venus Patrol is the sequel to Offworld, the game culture site Brandon helmed here at Boing Boing in 2008 and 2009.

Elfquest: Twilight in The Holt

Here's the first page of a new chapter of Elfquest, the long-running series of graphic novels first released in 1978 (Do you want to know more?) Published online-first for the first time here at Boing Boing, a new page of the ongoing narrative will be posted each Monday over the next few months. Read the rest