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Con Ed transformer explosion in Manhattan

A transformer exploded at the Con Edison plant on 14th Street in Lower Manhattan. Watch it happen above, starting at 3:00. (Thanks, Sean Ness)

Music for Sleeping Children (Video)

I have long been a fan of Charlie White's photography (I first learned about him when I saw Understanding Joshua, which knocked my socks off). His new project is called Music for Sleeping Children.

Music for Sleeping Children is an experimental collaboration between internationally recognized visual artist Charlie White and Mercury-nominated musician and producer Boom Bip (also known as Bryan Hollon). The project stems from White's investigations of the representation of American adolescence, and was born from a relationship forged between White and Hollon in 2009 when they collaborated on "We Like to Shop," a simple clap-along song from White's experimental cartoon, OMG BFF LOL that Hollon converted into a throbbing club track for the work's US premier at the Aldrich Museum. From there, White and Hollon set out to realize a far more ambitious project conceived by White as the marriage of in-depth teen interviews, discussions, and studio projects with pop, electronica, hip hop and experimental composition. Working in tandem, White and Hollon fashioned the concept of each track around the original studio recordings of teen girls ranging in age from 12 to 16. From eager enthusiasms, to exuberant chants, to adolescent melancholia, Music for Sleeping Children underscores the complex tensions resonant in the teen voices while transforming each girl into a popular music form of her own. Magical, uncomfortable, and original, Music for Sleeping Children is an artwork, an archive, and an album.

More about Music for Sleeping Children

Boing Boing Daily Digest 004 10/29/2012

Commentary on a few of my favorite Boing Boing posts of the day, plus what I did over the weekend. Please let me know what you think of these (criticism is welcome).

NYC Mayor Bloomberg's ASL interpreter Lydia Callis has her own fan-tumblr

A woman identified by NY Mag as Lydia Callis, the ASL interpreter at New York mayor Mike Bloomberg's side during tonight's Sandy update, was like a human emoticon for one of the nation's most expressionless mayors. Now she has internet fans, animated tribute GIFs, and her very own fan-tumblr. (Update: Her name is misspelled on the Tumblr and in the NY Mag report, according to NYC City Hall Bureau Chief @davidwchen.)

Exploding electrical wires sparking fires in NYC

I'm monitoring the FDNY scanner frequency tonight, and one of the issues the first responders are having the hardest time with is illustrated in this video. Power lines downed from the Sandy storm sparking electrical fires, endangering people in the water and structures nearby. FDNY is having great difficulty responding to many of these incidents, due to flooding. (Tina Amini)

Apps for Kids 32: Cobypic

In this episode of Apps for Kids, we talk about a coloring book app for iPhone called Cobypic.

Click here to play episode. Apps for Kids is Boing Boing's podcast about cool smartphone apps for kids and parents. My co-host is my 9-year-old daughter, Jane Frauenfelder.

In this episode of Apps for Kids, we talk about a coloring book app for iPhone called Cobypic. It's 99 cents in the iTune store.

If you're an app developer and would like to have Jane and me try one of your apps for possible review, email a redeem code to

Listen to past episodes of Apps for Kids here.

To get a weekly email to notify you when a new episode of Apps for Kids is up, sign up here.

Rescue video: Sandy sinks tall ship HMS Bounty replica off NC; 14 saved, 2 missing (updated)

3:30pm ET: A 180-foot, 3-mast replica of the 18th century tall ship HMS Bounty sank on Monday, Oct. 29 during the epic surf and winds from Hurricane Sandy, 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, North Carolina. Sixteen people were aboard when the ship went down midway through its journey from Connecticut to Florida.

Fourteen people on the ship made it to life rafts and on to safety, thanks to a dramatic rescue by the US Coast Guard documented in the video above. "On scene weather was reported to be 40 mph winds and 18-foot seas," according to the USCG statement. "The vessel is reportedly sunk, but the mast is still visible."

Two crew members remain missing: Captain Robin Walbridge, and Claudene Christian (Twitter, web). According to various reports, Christian is a distant relative of original HMS Bounty crew member Fletcher Christian, the original Master’s Mate who seized command of the ship during the historic mutiny.

Update, 715pm ET: Christian is now confirmed dead. Her body has been recovered. The Coast Guard has an ongoing aerial search under way for the two missing crew members.

This was the same HMS Bounty replica that was featured in the 1962 Marlon Brando film Mutiny on the Bounty, as well as various Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

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Gawker, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post experience Sandy downtime after power knockout

As others have quipped, if you're a celebrity, now is the time to do something stupid. Hurricane Sandy has achieved what Anonymous could not: the ultimate pop culture publishing blackout trifecta. . From tweets by those affected, looks like the culprit was a Sandy-caused power outage in Lower Manhattan, where Buzzfeed, HuffPo, and the Gawker network of sites all have data centers.

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Monkey rides on a goat walking a tightrope

As you can see in this detail from a larger photo, the monkey looks concerned. But the goat appears to know what he's doing. And here's a related post.

Dying old satellites jeopardize future storm coverage

In the NYT, a story about "endangered satellites" that orbit the earth and provide essential data for tracking storms like Hurricane Sandy. But because of "years of mismanagement, lack of financing and delays in launching replacements," they could begin falling apart—with no functional plan in sight to maintain those resources.

Man steals phone on subway

It's a good idea to keep your wits about you when riding the Budapest subway. (They caught him.)

Buddy Bradley in the comments says: "According to the news report, he's been doing this phone theft thing regularly on Metro line 3. Part of his schtick is to act drunk or drugged, so as to disarm people around him into thinking he wouldn't be able to react fast. But it backfired on him as another passenger was suspicious of this behavior and started filming him. They caught him by showing the video to the police, who could identify and locate him since he just got out of jail. Back to the clink!"

Sandy's getting bad

(Via instacane)

Halloween greetings from Antarctica

Henry Kaiser is kind of our man on the inside in Antarctica. He works there every year as a film maker, turning science into movies. He sent this awesome Halloween greeting from underneath the sea ice.

Bonus: He also sent us a video taken at the same spot — only this has 100% fewer wacky masks and 100% more sea anemones.

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How Adrian Tomine came up with his first New Yorker cover

Optic Nerve cartoonist Adrian Tomine wrote a great piece for The Thought Fox about how he came up with his popular (and first) cover for The New Yorker. It includes a lot of preliminary sketches.

If you’ve lived here your whole life, you probably just think of the subway as a way of getting from point A to point B. But to me it was fascinating the way subway cars sometimes run alongside each other, just inches apart, and occasionally line up at the same speed. Sometimes you make eye contact with someone in the other train, which is usually more awkward than anything else, but I turned it into something kind of romantic or wistful.

Françoise saw some potential in this one, and I have to give her credit for one crucial addition. You’ll notice in this original sketch that the books are just blank, like they’re just generic, random props. She made the suggestion of putting some detail on the books so it would be clear that the two people are reading the same book, and that ended up being the most important, memorable part of the finished image. It would probably be better for my career if claimed this idea as my own, but it’s too late now.

(This cover was used as the cover image for Adrian's book, New York Drawings. Listen to my interview with Adrian on Gweek, and take a look at a gallery of images from New York Drawings.)

My First New Yorker Cover by Adrian Tomine

All the Bonds, fighting themselves

(Video link) Brad Hansen, the very nifty editor of the viral hit "The Lion King Rises," has pitted nearly every cinematic incarnation of James Bond -- Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig -- in a series of head-to-head death matches. Admit it -- you've always wanted to see which version of himself Bond could kill. Do you agree with the results? (Thanks, Brad!)

Wingsuit flight documentary

Beautiful new mini-documentary on wingsuit champ Espen Fadnes. Titled "Split of a Second," it was directed by John Boisen and Björn Fävremark.

Ye olde hurricane analysis

The above is an excerpt from the entry on hurricanes in A New and Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, published in 1763 by the delightfully named "A Society of Gentlemen".

The entry contains information on how natives of the Caribbean were said to be able to predict hurricanes — portents that center around the color of the sky and the phases of the Moon. I'm curious whether any meteorology fans and experts out there can offer insight on that. Read the full entry. (It's short.) And let me know. Does this sound like stuff that would line up with what we know about hurricanes today?

Also: Helpful tip. "F" is pronounced "S" here.

I got this from someone on Twitter, but managed to lose my notation of who during today's ridiculous airport runaround. So, anyway, thank you! If this is you, let me know and I'll get your name on it.

Time travel or illusion?

Amazing magician Jamie D. Grant, whose Send Wonder project I shared several months ago, sent this fairly dramatic video last night.

Jamie claims time travel is real and he can prove it. I'm certainly watching!

Auction of laptop used by Clinton to email John Glenn in space


Hurry, hurry, this is your chance to own the Toshiba Satellite Pro that President Bill Clinton used to email John Glenn in space on November 6, 1998. Apparently, the laptop belonged to a member of Clinton's medical staff who helped the president send the email to orbit. The laptop is listed at $125,000. Wonder how much RAM is in it. "Bill Clinton computer -Presidential email on it, to John Glenn in space!"

Machine tricks moths with sexy smells, sprays them with deadly fungus instead

Here's an ingenious method to stop diamondback caterpillars from eating crops. It involves luring male moths into a machine that exudes sex pheromones. When a moth enters the machine, it gets covered with fungal spores (Entomophthorales?). The frustrated moth then flies back to the crop in search of a real female moth, but in short order the fungus starts eating the flesh of the moth. When the moth dies (it's shown in the video here stuck on a leaf) it decomposes into a moldy mess. The mold spores then drift off its body and infect the caterpillars around it, which undergo a similar fate. Then the crops are harvested so that humans can enjoy eating vegetables covered with bugs that were killed by a pathogenic (to caterpillars, anyway) fungus.

Skeletal rocker: rockin' bones

I don't know what's more tragic: that I missed out on the chance to bid on this skeletal rocking chair, or that I didn't think to search for its like when we were shopping for a nursing chair after my daughter was born.


NBC's Up All Night gets more episodes, is changing completely (again)

This kind of thing is usually reserved for sweeps week, but it's not a stunt: NBC's single-camera comedy Up All Night, starring Will Arnett, Christina Applegate, and Maya Rudolph, will be changing mid-season to a multi-camera format with a live studio audience. It's not even the first huge change the show has seen in its second season; the premise last year involved Applegate's character working for Rudolph's talk show, Ava, while Arnett's character took on the role of stay-at-home dad. This season, Ava was canceled, Arnett went back to work, and Applegate is now a stay-at-home mom. Okay, acceptable to flip a storyline on its head to change things up. And now, it will be an entirely different show.

The show will run through December, fulfilling its original 11-episode order as a single-camera show. In February, it will return to production for five more episodes as a multi-camera show. This was all based on an idea by executive producer Lorne Michaels, who thought this might be a good idea based on the strong performances by Applegate and Rudolph when they (separately) hosted Saturday Night Live.

While it's rare for a show to basically turn itself inside out, it does happen. Deadline points out that Happy Days was shot in multi-camera format until its third season, when it made the same exact switch as Up All Night. (The laugh track it used for the first two seasons was just canned dead people.) They also did away with one whole family member. So, the next thing we can expect to happen on Up All Night -- the long-awaited return of Chuck Cunningham! I called it!

Photo credit: NBC

(via Deadline)

Crashed car sculpted from painted people


Look closely. Those are seventeen people that artist Emma Hack painted and contorted into the shape of a smashed car. See how she did it below. (thanks, Sean Ness!)

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Cops raid free poker tournament

America, did you suddenly feel safer after masked police officers "in full riot gear" and "weapons drawn" raided an openly-advertised, no-money poker tournament at a Florida bar?

The Magical Professor

Todd Landman is a professor of government at the University of Essex. He's also a talented stage magician and mentalist. Now, Landman has combined his love of teaching with his passion for illusion to become the world's first official Visiting Professor of Performance Magic, an appointment at England's University of Huddersfield's new Magic Research Group. Oh, if only I could audit. From the University:


Landman… delves deeply into the history and heritage of magic and believes that it enables the world to be viewed with a fresh sense of wonder.

“We are trying to rescue magic from its worst faults – which is cheesy guys in cheesy ties with rabbits in hats!” he says. “We are interested in the deeper side of things.”

He has a special fascination for renaissance men such as Dr John Dee and Sir Isaac Newton – scientists, astronomers and mathematicians who also practised astrology and alchemy. And today, the study of magic allows for “different ways of knowing the world”, according to Dr Landman.

"Magical mysteries of visiting prof"

Hurricane horse guy

It wouldn't be a legitimate hurricane without an almost-naked guy in a horse head costume running around during some poor local news person's live shot. This happened in DC. There's a GIF too. Update: This is the guy! Jimmy Kruyne of Washington, DC. He planned the whole thing, but didn't expect it to go viral. His tweeted triumphant self-portrait below.

He's okay but he's no Hurricane Bear.

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$5 SIM card cutter

Here's a handy device to cut older SIM cards to fit newer phones, like the iPhone 5.

The Nano SIM Cutter takes any regular or micro size and trims the excess off to provide you a precision cut nano SIM. It's simple, you insert your SIM card with the contacts facing downwards, push the SIM card all the way in, and push down on the lever. The cutter will provide you with a perfectly cut nano SIM card every time! These Nano SIM Cutters are built from hi-quality stainless steel to ensure high precision cutting.

Nano SIM Card Cutter (for iPhone 5) w/ 3 Nano SIM Card Adapter

Wind map shows Sandy's gusts

The surface wind data in this beautiful wind map from comes from the National Digital Forecast Database. It's basically an art project, not guaranteed to be scientifically perfect, but it's dramatic stuff today during Hurricane Sandy:

These are near-term forecasts, revised once per hour. So what you're seeing is a living portrait. (See the NDFD site for precise details; our timestamp shows time of download.) And for those of you chasing top wind speed, note that maximum speed may occur over lakes or just offshore.

If you're looking for a weather map, or just want more detail on the weather today, see these more traditional maps of temperature and wind.

There's a beautiful animated version, too.

Carved cedar mask with carved skull inside


Anthony Santell carved this magnificent "transformation mask." Santell was inspired by ritual transformation masks made by the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast and Alaska. Those masks are actually wearable and, according to Wikipedia, are operated by "pulling a string to reveal an inner, human face carved in wood. "Transformation Mask" opened and closed (via Neatorama)

This week's recap of The Walking Dead finally catches up with Andrea and Michonne -- and the Governor [SPOILERS]

Last night's episode of The Walking Dead took us away from the prison and back to Andrea and Michonne and their misadventures in zombieland. When we last saw Andrea, she was what doctors call "seriously illin'," and she reminded us of this by puking, if her zombie-like makeup job was not evidence enough that she was under the weather. But good news -- they have found help! What's the catch? Their help arrives in the form of Merle Dixon. And later, the Governor. But he seems so nice! Nothing like that greasy-haired Gov from the comics... right? Wrong. Also noteworthy: a helicopter with more survivors in it! Oh, and there they go, plummeting into a tree...

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