Hurrah! Spider Robinson's put up another installment of his podcast (it's been understandably erratic for the past few years, as Spider and his family were doubly afflicted by cancer). As always, it features some great blues, jazz, roots and eclectic music (including some great tracks by Jeff Healey and Mose Scarlett as well as a Folk Uke's delightful tribute to poop) and a wonderful excerpt from his The Free Lunch.
The Free Lunch is Spider's 2001 contribution to the themepunk canon, a smashing novel about the greatest theme park ever made:
What if the world was so terrible that your only hope for a happy life would be to hide away in the world's greatest amusement park...Dreamworld? In The Free Lunch, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Spider Robinson transports us to Dreamworld, a place where everybody has fun, dreams can come true, and the only sadness is when they close for the night.
With his perceptive grasp of human emotions and his deft hand at humor, Robinson masterfully tells the take of Mike, a young teen who escapes our own dark, tormented near future into a dream--into Dreamworld. There he meets Annie, another refugee who has built a life in the underworld of this fantastic amusement park, perhaps the last vestige of innocence left in the world. But it is tainted by a dark secret--a ruthless competitor, who can't possibly create an attraction that's as much fun as Dreamworld, has decided that if he can't beat Dreamworld, he might as well destroy it. There's another threat to Dreamworld. Suddenly there are more trolls at the end of the day than were there in the morning...and nobody, not even Mike or Annie, knows where they're from. But it's up to them and their passion for preserving this last haven of joy in a world of horrors to save Dreamworld...and Earth's future.
Spider on the Web
The first time Merle Rasmussen played Dungeons & Dragons, he thought it was a Halloween game.
“It was October 1975, and I was an 18-year-old freshman at Iowa State University. My roommate got this game filled with skeletons and undead monsters. I had no idea.” The role-playing bug had bitten him, but fantasy wasn’t his genre. So that same year, he started writing a game set in a modern world, the spy game that would become Top Secret.
Janelle Shane trained a recurrent neural network with a data-set of more than 2000 ancient proverbs and asked it to think up its own: “A fox smells it better than a fool’s for a day.”
Jeff writes, “7 years after ‘grassroots mapping’ the BP spill when journalists were denied access, the open source community Public Lab is back with an even more accessible Do-It-Yourself way to take aerial photos: the Mini Balloon and Kite Mapping Kits.”
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]