Hustler's MBA: a "modern curriculum" for four years of self-directed learning

"The Hustler's MBA" is a modest proposal for a four-year alternative to university for recent high-school grads. Its proponent and originator, Tynan, suggests that four years spent learning to play poker, travelling, reading books for pleasure, writing daily, learning to program, socializing, eating well, chasing your curiosity, and starting a business is a "modern curriculum" that will provide you with useful skills, an inflation-proof income source, and "produce people better prepared for real life than college."

Apart from playing poker and eating well, that more or less describes the four years I spent after high-school (once I'd dropped out of several universities, that is), and it did serve me very well indeed.

2. Travel a lot. For the first year, learn a foreign language that interests you. Start with three months of Pimsleur tapes, then get a local tutor. That should cost about $1000 for the first year, and will yield results FAR greater than a class in school. After the first year your self-education will be paid for by poker, so start traveling for three months every year. That should cost around $8k at the most, probably more like $5-6k. When traveling, education comes to you in the form of perspective. You understand other cultures and other people, and will get to practice your foreign language in its native setting. I would also combine travel with watching documentaries about the history of that place. I learned a lot about Rome after visiting, and now I'm kicking myself for not educating myself first.

3. Read every single day for at least an hour. Books get lumped in with other reading like magazines and blogs, but they're actually far more valuable. The amount of value an author compresses into a book is often astounding. There are books I've paid $10 for that have completely changed my life. If you read for 1-2 hours on average, you'll read around a hundred books per year. I do this now and find it to be one of the most valuable uses of my time. Read at least 50% non-fiction, but fiction is good, too. In school you would probably read 12 books a year at most.

The Hustler's MBA

Second sleep: a period of wakefulness in the middle of the night

I just had dinner with my friend Emily Hurson, a talented actor, singer and all-round hoopy frood. When I asked her about her longtime struggle with insomnia, she mentioned that her life was much better since she embraced second sleep, a period of wakefulness in the middle of the night. According to its proponents, this sleep pattern is the one that humans naturally fall into when they don't have electric lighting, and was common until a few hundred years ago. I've been reading up on it this morning and I'm intrigued. Emily sez, "I've embraced that not getting 8 hours of sleep in a row is okay. When I wake up in the night, sometimes for a few hours, I don't get frustrated or worried about a lack of sleep." Have any of you tried it? Discuss it in the comments.

See also: The myth of the 8-hour sleep Cory

Gweek 069: Ned Vizzini, author of The Other Normals and writer for Last Resort

Click here to play this episode. Gweek is Boing Boing's podcast about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, board games, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.


My guest this week is Ned Vizzini, an award winning author and television writer with a new young adult novel called The Other Normals. He’s written for the New York Times, Salon, and the L Magazine. In television, he has written for Season 2 of MTV's Teen Wolf and currently writes for ABC's Last Resort. He is the co-author, with Chris Columbus, of the forthcoming fantasy-adventure series House of Secrets. (The drawing above is from Ned's Flickr account. It was drawn by his wife, Sabra Embury, and is in the set "Art from and Inspired by 'The Other Normals.'" Ned says: "This is a fish-monster (or batrachian) in the book drawn by my wife. In the book they actually have legs. My wife says, 'That was my attempt to help you visualize one of the characters.'")


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In this episode, we talked about:

The Other Normals, by Ned Vizzini. "It's about a 15-year-old role-playing game geek who goes to summer camp and falls into an actual fantasy world and has to put all his gaming knowledge to the test against monsters."


Be More Chill, by Ned Vizzini. "It's about a kid who gets a pill in his brain that tells him how to be cool all the time."


Stranger Magic: Charmed States & The Arabian Nights, "a new nonfiction overview of the 1,001 Nights. I took a lot from 1,001 Nights in writing The Other Normals. I love the John Payne translation which Sir Richard Burton is alleged to have plagiarized -- one of those cases where the flashier author who was better at self-promoting got the credit."


Last Resort "It's about a nuclear submarine captain who gets questionable orders to fire Pakistan. When the captain asks to have those orders clarified he is fired upon. He has to take his nuclear submarine to a South Pacific island and take refuge there and set himself up as the world's smallest nuclear nation."


"One of the books we have in the 'Last Resort library': The 48 Laws of Power. Really scary must-read for anyone who wants to get ahead -- or understand sociopaths. (Last Resort is a political thriller, so it helps)."


Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms


"I got Johnny Ramone's Commando on Kindle (released this year) and I think it's an interesting example of a book that some claim MUST BE enjoyed as a hardcover which is actually just fine on digital."


Slash, by Slash


And much more!

Past episodes of Gweek: 001, 001, 002, 003, 004, 005, 006, 007, 008, 009, 010, 011, 012, 013, 014, 015, 016, 017, 018, 019, 020, 021, 022, 023, 024, 025, 026, 027, 028, 029, 030, 031, 032, 033, 034, 035, 036, 037, 038, 039, 040, 041, 042, 043, 044, 045, 046, 047, 048, 049, 050, 051, 052, 053, 054, 055, 056, 057, 058, 059, 060, 061, 062, 063, 064, 065, 066, 067, 068, 069

People from 0 to 100 years in 150 seconds (video)

Kanaal van Filmersblog says:

In October 2011 I started documenting people in the city of Amsterdam, approaching them in the street and asking them to say their age in front of the camera. My aim was to 'collect' a group of 100 people, from age 0 to 100. At first my collection grew fast but slowed down when it got down to the very young and very old. The young because of sensivity around filming or photographing children and the very old because they don't get out of the house much. I found my very old 'models' in care homes and it was a privilege to document these -often vulnerable- people for this project. I had particular problems finding a 99 year-old. (Apparently 100 year-olds enjoy notoriety, but a 99 year-old is a rare species...) And when I finally did find one, she refused to state her age. She simply denied being 99 years old! But finally, some 4 months after I recorded my first 'age', I was able to capture the 'missing link' and conclude this project.
"Life is long if you know how to use it." -- Seneca.

'100' (from 0 to 100 years in 150 seconds)

PSY foam-art


Redditor DivineBaboon posted an unattributed photo of an espresso drink with a beautiful PSY (of Gangnam Style fame) portrait in the foam.

My friend ordered a cappuccino and this is what he got.. (i.imgur.com)

The Pax Vaporizer: 'fropheads rejoice!

[Video Link] Have you ever wondered what J.R. "Bob" Dobbs smokes in his pipe? It's the dried flower petals of the Habafropzipulops plant! (Street parlance: 'frop.) 'Frop is not a drug, and as little as 100 microdobbs is needed to achieve desired results.

From SubGenius pamphlet #2:

Like to smoke a little of what's in "BOB's" Pipe? Membership in the Church as an ordained SubGenius Minister makes you eligible to be on the waiting list for VAST SHIPMENTS of the LEGAL IMMORTALITY HERB, HABAFROPZIPULOPS (or "FROP" for short) -- the mind-inverting flower which grows only by moonlight on the graves and droppings of dead Tibetan holymen and fullblood Yetis. 'FROP is not only safer than your cheap Conspiracy street drugs -- it's PERMANENT, TOO. No more "coming down!" No matter how much 'Frop you ingest, YOU CAN NEVER AGAIN GET LESS HIGH. Interested?

And Everything2 describes 'frop thusly:

Habafropzipulops is not merely safe, but beneficial -- nay, even necessary -- to bodily health. We encourage our children to partake of it copiously, to their little heart's abundant desires.

As a legally ordained SubGenius Minister, I consider it my duty to enjoy Habafropzipulops around the clock. (I even set my alarm to awaken me in the middle of the night so I don't cheat myself out of a dose.)

But I have difficulty enjoying my sacrament in peace, because my apartment complex is filthy with pinks and glorps who have the loach's phone number on speed-dial so they can have me busted at the fist whiff of 'frop. (Even though the Supreme Court declared the use of sacramental 'frop to be well within the bounds of the religious freedoms provided by the Constitution, 'frop users are still harassed by hired thugs of the treasonous cage dwellers and assouls who inexplicably control the planet.)

But I have found a way to enjoy 'frop without alerting the sniffing simians next door. It's a bit of alien technology called the Ploom Pax. Although it was designed for tobacco (Ayn Rand's third favorite mind-altering drug of abuse) I found it to be ideal for vaporizing the 23 pharmacologically-active compounds found in 'frop. Sleek and free of greebling, the Pax looks like it might have been designed by Jonny Ives. An internal lithium battery heats the 'frop to a temperature high enough to release the active ingredients but not enough to cause the 'frop to combust. So there's no smoke and much less telltale odor.

To turn the device on, you merely pull out the retractable mouthpiece. An LED indicator light makes it easy for even the most spaced-out 'frophead to figure out the heating status and battery status of the unit. When the battery loses its charge, you simply drop the unit on the included charger.

Eventually the pink boys will catch on to the Pax and try it out with weed, but I have no idea if it works with Conspiracy street drugs. I'm sticking with 'frop.

Ploom Pax

Dirty translation of the Iliad, 1797

Nat sez, "Homer's Iliad set to bawdy verse. The Preface sings true, even today:"

Good people, would you know the reason
I write at this unlucky season,
When all the nation is so poor
That few can keep above one whore,
Except the lawyers -- (whose large fees
Maintain as many as they please) --

"The translation itself is just as fiery:"

Ready to burst with vengeful ire,
That made his bloodshot eyes strike fire,
Atrides, with a vengeful scowl,
Replies, The devil fetch your soul!
I've a great mind, you lousy wizard,
To lay my fist across your mazzard.
Son of an ugly squinting bitch,
Pray who the pox made you a witch?
I don't believe, you mongrel dog,
You ken a handsaw from a hog;
Nor know, although you dare thus flounce,
How many f---s will make an ounce;

A Burlesque Translation of Homer (1797) (Thanks, Nat!)

Rolling Stone interviews Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, and Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez at the same time

Who is this handsome bunch? Just four of the greatest living cartoonists on Earth: Jaime Hernandez, Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes, and Gilbert Hernandez. They were interviewed simultaneously by Sean T. Collins in Rolling Stone. (Photo by Meredith Rizzo)

Gilbert: It's funny: When Ghost World came out and Dan was nominated for the Oscar, I could just picture someone like Gwyneth Paltrow saying, "Dan Clowes' comic book . . . "

Clowes: And she did!

Gilbert: It was the most bizarre prediction ever. I just picked her out of a hat – I bet you somebody like that's gonna say it.

Clowes: I was sure she was gonna pronounce my name wrong, but they must have coached her. I thought that would be the perfect thing, to have the cute girl in class pronounce your name wrong when you're in the Science Fair.

Ware: A defining moment.

Gilbert: And this is probably the first time she ever mentioned a comic book in her life, and a few years later she's in Iron Man.

Ware: And Scarlett Johansson went on from Ghost World to do another comic book movie.

Clowes: I have to say she had such disdain for comics. [Laughter] They were the lowest.

Ware: I find it amazing that the stuff that I got made fun of and jumped in the hallway for reading, and spat upon -- literally, some guy spit in the coat pocket of my jacket -- is now mainstream culture.

Clowes: I saw an attractive teenage couple on the subway saying "Should we see Thor?" When I was a teenager, if I'd said, "Hey, wanna come over to my mom's house and read my original Kirby issues of Thor?" I'd have been peppersprayed.

Q&A: Comix Stars Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware and Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez

FORM1: a new, $2300 high-resolution 3D resin printer on Kickstarter

FORM1 is a new 3D printer that's taking pre-orders via Kickstarter. It was invented by MIT Media Lab students and brought to product stage through private investment, including some investment from friends of mine whose judgment I trust, like Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus Software. I've met with some of the founders a few times, and handled the printer's output, and they really do produce of the most amazing 3D printed objects I've ever seen, in a wide variety of low-cost consumable materials. The starting price to get your own is $2300.

The results are amazing: the Form 1 can print layers as thin as 25 microns (0.001 in) with features as small as 300 microns (0.012 in) in a build volume of 125 x 125 x 165 mm (4.9 x 4.9 x 6.5 in). This means you can print complex geometries with the exquisite details and beautiful surface finish that will make your creations stand out...

A key advantage of the Form software is the ability to precisely generate thin, breakable support structures that serve their purpose during printing but are easily removed afterward. Test users have delightfully compared this part removal to a feeling almost like separating Velcro. You can finally print those designs with crazy overhangs!

FORM 1: An affordable, professional 3D printer

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong: YA webcomic "full of teenagers building homemade robots in their basement"


Comics awesomecreator Faith Erin Hicks (Zombies Calling, Friends With Boys) is serializing a new comic online called "Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong," adapted from a Prudence Shen YA novel. When the serialization is done, the whole thing will be published between covers by the marvellous FirstSecond books. FirstSecond's Gina Gagliano describes it as "full of teenagers building homemade robots in their basement." Sounds like my kind of thing!

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong (Thanks, Gina!)

The Plot Against Occupy

A worthy piece of reporting over at Rolling Stone, on "how the government turned five stoner misfits into the world's most hapless terrorist cell," in the spirit of COINTELPRO. Snip: "Nothing was destined to blow up that night, as it turns out, because the entire plot was actually an elaborate federal sting operation. The case against the Cleveland Five, in fact, exposes not just a deeply misguided element of the Occupy movement, but also a shadowy side of the federal government." A former FBI counterterrorism agent now with the ACLU describes the government's actions as "manufacturing threatening events."

Rainbow over the Andes (photo)

Boing Boing reader Ben Leshchinsky shares this wonderful photo in the Boing Boing Flickr pool and says, "About 10 km from the ancient city of Machu Picchu, we had the good fortune of seeing a magnificent rainbow over the Rio Urubamba in the Andes Mountains of Peru. Moments like this evoke remarkable feelings of introspection and wonder."

Zombie lawn-gnomes feast on a pink flamingo


Chris and Jane's Place on Etsy will sell you this delightful tableau for your front yard, in which zombie gnomes are depicted feasting on a felled and mutilated pink flamingo. $55 cheap.

This is a sorry sight indeed. A poor helpless Lawn Flamingo has been taken down by zombie gnomes: Nose-less Ned, Greedy Gary, and Bartolomeu.It seems like an unlikely kill until Bartolomeu broke the elegant beasts leg and brought it crashing to the ground. Where they pounced upon their helpless victim and began their feast. So we say "Bye Bye Birdie, I'm going to miss you so, Bye Bye Birdie, Why'd you have to go?"

All of these Gnomes are hand painted and hand casted. We make our gnomes out of a very sturdy mix of hydrostone and cement, and use all purpose outdoor weather sealer to protect your paint. We have been getting so many orders so please give us 7-8 weeks for us to mail them out to you.

Zombie Gnomes: Bye Bye Birdie (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Kawaii Catastrophe: Japanese insurance brochure depicts adorable disasters that can befall your home

Author Matt Alt, who lives in Tokyo, writes:

Kawaii. The aesthetic of Japanese cute. You love it or hate it, but you can't escape it, as Hiroko and I learned when renewing the insurance on our house. Japan being Japan, the pamphlet that explains the different levels of coverage features helpful super deformed illustrations of the catastrophes that can befall homeowners. We aren't insuring our house through Playskool. One of Japan's biggest banks gave this to us.

Check out the rest of the illustrations.

Jet pack 'Rocketeer' hopes to fly from SoCal coast to Catalina Island, set world record | 89.3 KPCC

LA radio station KPCC reports that "Newport Beach adventurer Dean O'Malley will try to set a world record this weekend when he flies from Newport to Catalina Island using a new type of jet pack, powered by water." Yesterday, some very surprised beachgoers and a few tourist watched as O'Malley gave a demonstration. He revved up his jet pack and flew over Newport Harbor, landing off Bayside Beach, then wading back to shore to discuss his plan to fly 26 miles to Catalina Island using a "JetLev." More: Newport Beach jet pack 'Rocketeer' hopes to fly to Catalina, set world record (image: Ben Bergman/89.3 KPCC).