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Encounter with a New Mexico "internal border" checkpoint

Paul sez, "Man is illegally detained at an internal border patrol checkpoint in New Mexico for nearly a half hour, not being allowed to leave and at first told that he wasn't being detained until the border patrol eventually told him he was being detained for unspecified reasons. He recorded the entire exchange on video, and spends most of the time asking when he is free to go. Eventually the patrol gives up and allows him to leave, but not before making threatening gestures, warning him that New Mexico police were on their way, and accusing him of criminally blocking traffic when he was asking to leave and wasn't given permission."

Abusive Border Patrol Agents NM Checkpoint (Thanks, Paul!)

Make: Talk 016 - Joel Murphy, Co-Creator of the Pulse Sensor


In this episode of the Make: Talk podcast I interviewed Joel Murphy. He's an artist living in Brooklyn and owns a business designing and fabricating electro-mechanical projects for artists and designers. He teaches Physical Computing at Parsons the New School for Design, and he owns Rachel’s Electronics, an online store for electronics kits and breakout boards. He's the co-creator of the Pulse Sensor, an Arduino compatible sensor that measures heart rate beats per minute. (Here's a how-to article about making a headband with the Pulse Sensor in MAKE, Volume 29).

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How I fixed an iPhone with a Q-Tip

On Saturday night my 15-year-old daughter texted me that her iPhone was broken. Her friend had spilled salad dressing on it while they were at dinner. The speakers and microphone no longer worked. No phone calls, no music. I thought that the phone would have to be replaced. When I got home I googled iPhone water damage speaker not working. The first result was a page on Saw Tun's blog called "How to fix the iPhone speaker problem (water damage)." He wrote:

Problem: The iPhone speaker works fine when headphones are plugged into it. However, as soon as the headphones are removed, there is no sound emitted from the iPhone. In other words, the iPhone speaker doesn’t work. My phone wouldn’t ring and I couldn’t hear any sound from the iPhone. This happened to my phone after it was water damaged.

Solution: Find a q-tip. Insert the q-tip into the headphone jack of the iPhone. Swivel the q-tip around for a bit and clean the inside of the headphone jack. Once I did this, the problem was magically fixed!

I had my doubts, but I tried it. It didn't work. I used another Q-tip. Still didn't work. But, the Q-tips smelled like oil and vinegar salad dressing. So I kept on sticking them into the jack. After the fifth or sixth Q-tip, Lana Del Rey started singing through the phone.

Thank you, Saw Tun!

Death of Film: scenes from Kodak plant demolition

Jesse Brown sez, "My uncle, the amazing photographer Robert Burley, captured the death of analog photography: the demolition of Kodak plants, the rapid downfall of the film photography industry, the sudden obsolescence of neighbourhood photo shops and subway photo booths. Naturally, he did so on film. His book, Disappearance of Darkness, was just released, and some of the gorgeous, haunting images are featured today on CNN's website."

Sandy: charging phones with wood stoves

NewImage The other day in Brooklyn, BioLite set up a mobile phone charging station using their wood stoves that double as thermoelectric generators. John Del Signore snapped this photo for Gothamist. "Oh, Just Brooklyn Survivalists Charging Cell Phones With Camp Stoves As The National Guard Rolls By" (Thanks, Anthony Townsend!)

A is For: All of Us - Standing Up for Reproductive Rights

When we founded A Is For, we envisioned people from all walks of life: men, women, gay, straight, trans, religious, and atheist standing together to show the world that women’s rights are human rights. Now, just a few months later, we see that happening before our eyes in our A Is For launch video. People--both familiar and new--are wearing the scarlet A, standing up for reproductive rights, and telling the world what their A stands for. There’s some funny shit in there, too.

As each person tells the camera what their A stands for, the common bond between them becomes apparent: when the rights to one's own physical autonomy and self determination come under attack, everyone has an obligation to stand up and speak out. Because if you think it can’t happen to you, you’re sadly mistaken.

This project doesn’t end after Election Day; it will continue until women’s reproductive choices are no longer held hostage by the agendas of politicians and churches. We’re in this for long haul and we’d love for you to join us. To find out how to get your own A ribbon, and to become a part of this project, please visit A is For.

A is For all of us.

Warren Ellis on the dismal American election

It's been so long since Transmetropolitan ended that I sometimes forget how totally incandescent Warren Ellis is when he's talking politics. His latest Vice column, "My Last Column About the Presidential Election (Really)," was a good reminder.


President Obama's fairly grim, toothless, meandering and perfunctory presidency gained excellent contrast from an assemblage of GOP candidates so demented and corrupt that even to so describe them would be an insult to the many hard-working demented and corrupt politicians extant today. It was an array of desperate, shambling criminals (and Jon Huntsman, who presumably was there on a bet) that may have been unprecedented, even in the stinking cesspool of American politics, in its lunatic evil. The "winner" of the GOP race was always going to be the one who didn't shit themselves on stage. But the GOP itself couldn't win, because, of the bunch running, the best you could hope for was a candidate who didn't shit themselves on stage.

Which is exactly what the Republican party got. A man who's only coherent when he's lying. Any solid political points he might have made have been washed away in a tide of dissembling, flipflopping and outright bullshitting. Broad swathes of the party fail to summon enthusiasm for him. The Koch brothers, who could surely have amassed mighty forces to Romney's advantage, have provided only perfunctory support. And his mealymouthing about Big Government have put him on the wrong side of not only New York but also New Jersey, whose well-liked Republican governor Chris Christie has been effusive in his praise of the President even as Romney was being pelted with his own words about disbanding the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

My concern is this. The radical elements in the GOP will be able to claim that Romney was never their guy, and will take the next four years to place some genuine nutters, with serious backing, in line for the 2016 candidacy. Not the scrag-ends and barrel-scrapings they slapped on to the stage for this year's farce. The idea of the Democrats being conscious and organised enough to have a real player in place for 2016 – because there's no way in hell they can run Joe Biden -- is kind of funny.

My Last Column About the Presidential Election (Really)

Sneak peek at my Quarterly.co package of Fantastic Plastic gadgets and novelties

Quarterly Co. is a "subscription service for wonderful things." They "send people physical items in the mail from influential contributors of their choice."

Quarterly kindly chose me as an "influential contributor." Here's a glimpse at one of the items in my first package of goodies:

As an editor of Boing Boing, Mark Frauenfelder turns the big, bad Internet into quick hits of joy. His Quarterly theme, Fantastic Plastic, does something similar for real life: He’s sending humble gadgets that pick you up and throw you for a loop. We’re about to wrap #MLF01, and it’s a blast.

As Mark writes, “Plastic items are excellent gifts——precisely because they have little intrinsic value, the love and thoughtfulness of the giver stands out.” So basically, they’re inexpensive and they make you look caring. Grab the next round for the fun-lover in your life now.

Mark's Quarterly picks

Good news if you've always wished that The Walking Dead and Robot Chicken would hang out together

Maybe you were unhappy about a favorite character's departure from The Walking Dead. Maybe you're annoyed about how much the show differs from the comics. But maybe you'd just like to see some old-school stop-motion animation on the show, like the dancing undead girlfriend in Evil Dead 2. Well, Adult Swim's official source for stop-motion pop culture commentary, Robot Chicken, has just given us a sneak-peak at Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman's debut on the show...and it looks like he's having a less than splendid time! We've provided a tease, but get a look at the full picture at E! Online. (via Robot Chicken on Twitter)

The other man behind the mouse: Floyd Gottfredson

This post is sponsored by Disney's Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two the video game:

People who know me know enough to run away when I start talking about Carl Barks, the late great Disney comic book artist and writer. Barks is in my top-3 list of cartoonists (along with Jack Kirby and Robert Crumb). My friends are aware that once I get started talking about Carl Barks, I can go on and on about what a fantastic craftsman and yarn spinner he was. (Fantagraphics is republishing all of Barks' duck comics in a handsome hardbound series called the Complete Carl Barks Disney Library.)

I'm a duck snob, so I never paid much attention to Mickey Mouse. That turned out to be a mistake. In the past couple of years I've become acquainted with Disney's most prolific Mickey Mouse cartoonist: Floyd Gottfredson through the release of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse: "Race to Death Valley," a compilation of his newspaper comic strips, published by Fantagraphics. Boy, was I missing out!

Born in 1905, Gottfredson got a job at Walt Disney Studios in 1929 as an apprentice animator. A year later he was asked to temporarily fill in on the Mickey Mouse daily newspaper comic strip, which Walt Disney had originally scripted. This short-term assignment ended up lasting 45 years. For the first four years or so good Gottfredson scripted, penciled, and inked every strip by himself. After that he focused on plotting and penciling, leaving the inking and dialogue to other talented artists and writers that he collaborated with.

Gottfredson's Mickey is a plucky, goodhearted imp, bursting with energy and impulsively eager for adventure. Mickey and his pals (Horace Horsecollar!) are very much a product of the Great Depression -- resourceful and always on the lookout for a way to make ends meet, with a fondness for get rich quick schemes. The strips are loaded with action, adventure, romance, exotic locales, perilous cliffhangers, and dastardly villains, such as pirates, mad scientists, and heartless bandits. The artwork is lively and expressive.

The long-running stories in the Mickey Mouse strip came to an end in 1955. In an effort to cater to short attention spans, Disney ordered Gottfredson to stop doing serials, and to make Mickey a daily gag strip instead. The daily panel gag strip ran until 1975. (I don't remember much of the daily panel gag Mickey strips, but what I do remember did not impress me.)

Barks will always have a special place in my heart, but I've added Gottfredson to my short list of great American cartoonists.

Trailer for Alan Moore's first film: "Jimmy's End"

Jimmy's End is a 30-minute short film by Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins. Judging from this trailer, it's going to be gloriously weird. The full thing will be out on Nov 25. The production company notes, "Notably the films are Moore’s first work written specifically for the screen and made with his ongoing creative involvement and blessing."

Jimmy's End (Thanks, TMAA!)

John Cusack is going to play Rush Limbaugh in a biopic -- will it be CGI?

A new biopic about [insert politically biased job description here] Rush Limbaugh was recently announced, and while the rumored directing choice makes perfect sense -- Betty Thomas, who directed the Howard Stern semi-biopic Private Parts -- the person in talks to play Mr. Limbaugh is the comparatively young and svelt John Cusack, who is also interested in producing. Okay, so I've been offline for a while, what with Sandy knocking out my power for a week and stuff. But considering the weight Cusack will have to gain to play this role, similar to how Robert DeNiro packed it on to play Jake LaMotta, has anyone made any jokes about this movie being called Raging Bullshit yet? Surely, I can't be the first. (via Movieline) Jamie

Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun -- exclusive excerpt: "Remote-Controlled Water Blaster"

Illustration by Mister Reusch

The following project is excerpted from Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun, by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen, designed by Tony Leone, published in October by Bloomsbury.

I wrote the introduction to Unbored, and it is probably the best do-it-yourself and activity book for children I've seen. The variety of projects is astounding, and it's modern and appealing to kids and adults. Many contemporary kids' activity books are rehashes of the old "Handy Book For Boys and Girls" that aren't much fun and, in my opinion, not very accurate. If you take a look at those old books, you might come to the same conclusion as me that the authors didn't make the sail boats, wind carts, truss bridges, and other projects. Unbored, on the other hand, has real projects that were actually tested out. Here's an example of a real project from Unbored, which was written by my friend, John Edgar Park.

SOAK AND DESTROY: Remote-Controlled Water Blaster

Written and photographed John Edgar Park

Want to keep your brothers, sisters, and friends from breaking into your secret fort to dig through your comic books? Build a remote-controlled motorized water blaster so you can soak them while sneakily savoring the moment from a safe distance!

Read the build instructions

All-black sugar skulls of Mario, Alien, LEGO minifig, and other icons

NewImage

Last year, I posted about BB pal Jonathan Koshi's brilliantly-reimagined pop culture calaveras, the decorated skulls associated with the Dia de los Muertos. Now, Koshi has released a new limited print run of his letterpressed skull series featuring Spy vs. Spy, Alien, Mario, and other characters. This special series, titled "Molasses," is black ink letterpressed on black paper, and damn they look sharp. They're 12" x 12", printed on heavyweight recycled paper, and cost just $42 each during the presale that ends this Saturday (11/10). You can see the skulls in person at a group show at San Francisco's Campfire Gallery opening November 10.

"Molasses" print presale

"Molasses" show info at Koshi's blog

Interview with cartoonist Joost Swarte

Bob Knetzger alerted me to a Comics Journal interview with Joost Swarte, who I mentioned last week because he has a new book called, Is That All There Is? Bob says: "Very interesting interview with Joost Swarte. Didn't know he studied industrial design and that he does lots more than comics… and that he coined the term clear line.'"

From David Peniston's introduction to the interview:

Where Le Corbusier is better known for his architecture than for his paintings, collages and drawings, Swarte has moved in the opposite direction, making a name for himself first as a cartoonist and illustrator and in more recent years branching into architectural work and stained-glass widows, even creating furniture and fonts. He has worked with architects on the design of the Toneelschuur Theater in Haarlem and is a major consultant and contributor to the design of the Herge Museum in Belgium. Swarte founded Stripdagen, a biennial international comics festival in Haarlem, in 1990 and has himself been the subject of many exhibitions, including the World Exposition of Joost Swarte, which has traveled throughout Europe. I had Swarte’s home phone number from my contact in Germany, a comics dealer named ebi wilke. So one Monday morning in February, I pick up the phone and place an international call to a number in the Netherlands — in Haarlem to be precise. I tell the woman who answers, “I’m looking for Joost Swarte,” and after a short pause, a low but confident, friendly, male voice, with a slight Dutch accent announces, “Joost Swarte.” (pronounced Yost Svarta). I come straight to the point: “Can I interview you? Would now be a good time?””

“You mean now, over the phone?“ he asks incredulously.

“Well, yes, I guess so …” So I get started. My first question stumps him and he doesn’t know what to say at first. He has to think about it for a while before he says anything and then he proceeds to answer my question in no less than 741 words. He is very articulate, well versed in art, architecture and the history of industrial design, as well as music and comics. And, I might add, he speaks fluent English.

The Joost Swarte Interview