Boing Boing 

Interactive laser-cutter

Constructable is an experimental laser-cutter from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam. It uses a light-pen to direct the cutting beam, so that you can draw the cuts freehand, in realtime, rather than designing a pattern that is fed to the cutter. Basically, it transforms the cutter into a hand tool, rather than a programmable plotter.

Personal fabrication tools, such as laser cutters and 3D printers allow users to create precise objects quickly. However, working through a CAD system removes users from the workpiece. Recent interactive fabrication tools reintroduce this directness, but at the expense of precision.

Constructable is an interactive drafting table that produces precise physical output in every step. Users interact by drafting directly on the workpiece using a hand-held laser pointer. The system tracks the pointer, beautifies its path, and implements its effect by cutting the workpiece using a fast high-powered laser cutter.

Hasso-Plattner-Institut: constructable (via Kottke)

Andy Stott's "Numb" (music video)

"Numb," from haunted house/dub producer Andy Stott's glorious new record Luxury Problems. On this release, Stott collaborates with his childhood piano teacher, an opera singer named Alison Skidmore.

Death of a cyborg


Here's Shorra's "Death of a Cyborg," and it's lovely.

(via Kadrey)

Judge Dredd will PUNISH YOUR BOING!


Sara sez, "Found this in an old Judge Dredd comic (scan attached). In the 22nd century, when Boinging is outlawed, only outlaws will Boing. Includes great snippets such as:

"Give me a hundred credits Ma. I gotta Boing®!"

"Terminal Boing®"

"I always knew I would die... on duty... but not like this... not an ILLEGAL BOING®"

"They found the boy two days later, deep in Mutieland. A Mutie band had adopted him as their Boing® God."

"Well it made me laugh so I thought it would crack y'all up."

(Thanks, Sara!)

Cincinnati Comic-Con kicking off on Kickstarter

Tony Moore sez, "My name's Tony Moore. I'm a comic book illustrator known for my recent years at Marvel doing wacky runs on Punisher, Venom, and Deadpool, and also for my early work on The Walking Dead. I've thrown in with some of Cincinnati's finest to launch a major destination comic book convention, as found on the coasts, in Cincinnati. We're striving to build something bigger and better than the area has ever known. We have quick access to 7 major cities, and the scene is hungry-- in Cincinnati, thriving comic book stores outnumber actual bookstores. To help raise initial funds, we're on Kickstarter. The industry support so far has been incredible, to say the least, and the list of attending creators is growing every day. I'm truly honored to be a part of this thing."

Gilda's Club affiliates changing their name because Gilda Radner died way too long ago

Four affiliates of the cancer support community Gilda's Club, formed and named in honor of the legendary Saturday Night Live comedian Gilda Radner (who died of ovarian cancer in 1989), have decided to drop Gilda's name for an incredibly depressing reason: the younger patients don't know who she is. "...[O]ur college students were born after Gilda Radner passed, as we are seeing younger and younger adults who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis,” said executive director of Gilda's Club Madison, Lannia Syren Stenz. "We want to make sure that what we are is clear to them and that there’s not a lot of confusion that would cause people not to come in our doors." According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the national organization will slowly phase in the new name, Cancer Support Community, and phase Gilda out. I feel like there's a "there's always something" joke in this, but I'm too sad to think of one. (via Gawker)

Scientific American: Live Chat Weds. 12:30 P.M. EST on What Good Is a Home 3D Printer?

Earlier this week, MAKE published its Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing, which explains what 3D printing is and what you can do with a 3D printer. The heart of this special issue is a side-by-side review of 15 different low-cost 3D printers.

Tomorrow I'm participating in a live chat with the editors of Scientific American about 3D printing. Here are the details:

A live 30-minute online chat will begin at 12:30 P.M. Eastern on Wednesday, November 28 with editor and tech maven Mark Frauenfelder of boing boing and MAKE magazine, who will discuss what you might do with a 3D printer, a machine that can copy the specs from a digital computer file to fabricate a solid object layer by layer.

Frauenfelder will answer questions about whether 3D printers will become a revolutionary new technology like the personal computer or smart phone, or remain a toy for hobbyists. Will a 3D printer ever be able to function as a digital hardware store, printing out new parts as needed? An alternative scenario: It might just spit out cheap plastic tchotchkes. The theme of this chat was inspired by a skeptical blog post by Scientific American senior editor Gary Stix, which drew several contrary reader responses. We invite you to post chat questions in advance below.

Live Chat Weds. 12:30 P.M. EST on What Good Is a Home 3D Printer?

Insane CGI disco-video for teat-cup liners

Ray sez, "I was looking for teat cups to build a simple hand vacuum pump milking machine for our new pet goat. And I found this website for milking machine teat cup liners, with the associated disco dancing promotional video.

ClassicPro - Silicone Liners (Thanks, Ray!)

Kevin Costner's Waterworld actually considered for adaptation

Shocking! A.V. Club shares that the SyFy channel may make a TV series out of Costner's terrible flop. "Syfy's reasoning is that Waterworld continues to be a decent performer every time they air it—and as Nielsen boxes are not currently capable of measuring ironic and/or drunk viewing, it's considered a big enough hit to think about revisiting Kevin Costner's postapocalyptic panorama of pee-drinking and jet skis on a weekly basis, despite it being one of the most legendary flops of all time."

Canadians: write to Parliament about keeping generic pharma available to poor countries

Dave Ng writes, "Tomorrow, the Government of Canada will go through the second reading of Bill C-398. This is essentially important discussion over the fate of a law that would allow a measured approached for the production of life saving generic medicines within Canada. These generics are life saving in the sense that with this law in place, meds that are needed but currently far too costly in developing world economies (due to patent protection) can reach those who dignity, and frankly their lives, are at stake. I've written about this before, but have updated this piece to reflect the current policy situation. I strongly feel all Canadians should read about this Bill. My post starts:

Dear Canadians:

On Wednesday, a very important piece of policy will be discussed in parliament. It's called Bill C-398 and it deserves our attention. It seems that it has been challenging for some to see its merits, and so, I'd like to take moment to clarify what it's all about. It turns out that it's not just important -- the narrative is compelling as well: it has a rich history of political intrigue; it is a story where viruses factor in prominently; it has a plot that involves armies of angry grandmothers; and above it all, learning about Bill C-398 can literally save lives.

If you agree with the sentiment of the piece, he strongly urges you to sign this quick petition, which in turn is sent to the folks in Parliament who need to hear your voice.

A moment of your time: about Bill C-398 and how Canadians can contribute to global health (Thanks, Dave!)

Zombie Flamingos!


Zombie Flamingos are just the perfect accessory for the home that has everything!

Zombie Flamingo (via Geekologie)

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Mass Effect Trilogy's Mordin Solus and other esteemed extraterrestrials

This post sponsored by MASS EFFECT TRILOGY. Own the award-winning saga. Out now.

Image

Once you're immersed in the Mass Effect Trilogy, you'll come to know Mordin Solus, seen above center. A Salarian from the planet Sur'Kesh, Solus is a professor and geneticist who was formerly an operative in the Special Tasks Group. "Lots of ways to help people," Solus famously said. "Sometimes heal patients; sometimes execute dangerous people. Either way helps.”

Of course, Solus, featured in Mass Effect 2 and 3 of the Mass Effect Trilogy, is only the latest otherworldly celebrity in a long line of excellent on-screen extraterrestrials. Here are some other ETs we've known and loved...

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Neil Patrick Harris "dreams in puppets" in a new web series on the Nerdist Channel!

(Video link) The Nerdist Channel on YouTube has something new and wonderful for you to watch: The first episode of "Neil's Puppet Dreams," starring puppet-dreamer Neil Patrick Harris! And when I say "first," I mean "first in a series," so there will be more! It premiered today, and Nerdist had a little sit-down with their newest star, who might want to look into Unisom if these are the kinds of dreams he's going to have every week. (via Nerdist)

It's a wonderful(ly boring) life in Bedford Falls! The argument for Pottersville

In a 2001 piece on Salon (unearthed by the one and only Frances Martel, formerly of Mediaite), Gary Kamiya puts his weight behind Pottersville, the so-called filthy, dirty slum of George Bailey's alternate universe in It's A Wonderful Life that was supposed to turn him away from suicide and back to the glorious mundanity of Bedford Falls. As it turns out, Pottersville is probably way more fun -- and exactly what George had been looking for! Maybe not the Girls Girls Girls, but the spontaneity? The excitement? The parties? Yes! Go on with your bad self, George Bailey! Violet will be waiting for you! (Thanks, Frances!)

Mark's book and game picks on Bullseye

From Public Radio International's Bullseye with Jesse Thorn:

Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder joins us this week to share some all-time favorites: a great dungeon crawler for iOS called Sword of Fargoal and Chandler Burr's The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession, a fascinating book exploring the science of scent.

For more interviews about the best in pop culture, comedy, and recommendations every week, visit us in iTunes, our RSS feed or www.maximumfun.org

Innovative MIT-area bookstore needs fresh owner, ideas


Lorem Ipsum books, a bookstore in Cambridge, Mass, is up for sale. Cambridge is one of the great bookselling towns of the world, and Lorem Ipsum was founded as a project by an MIT Media Lab grad named Matt Mankins, to explore sustainable business-models for brick-and-mortar bookselling. Now Mankins has moved to NYC to be CTO of a big magazine publisher, and he's taken to Hacker News to solicit buyers and ideas for the store (which is losing money).

I started Lorem Ipsum Books 9 years ago with the belief that bookstores were an important part of our community--and that they needed to innovate in order to survive.

Freshly out of graduate school at MIT the bookstore was started with the notion that integrating Internet-sales into a traditional brick-and-mortar bookstore was the way forward for small retailers. Rather than run from technology, we were going to embrace it to provide a new sales channel. With a group of friends I built this new way forward, creating Lorem Ipsum Books in Inman Square, Cambridge.

Lorem Ipsum benefited from a custom-coded inventory system that automatically listed our inventory for sale at other online partners like Amazon.com. It was fun to use, efficient, and worked. For awhile there, it looked like this dual-listing was the answer to bookstore's problems. Then supply-ballooned, demand remained the same, and prices dropped.

We tried many things, but were unable to get the store from red to black.

They just deleted our Wikipedia page, citing progress as being 'unremarkable'. Clearly something has to be done...

It's time to innovate again.

The bookstore needs fresh ideas, a radical change in thinking, and a reimagining of the role of the bookstore in the future. I don't want to shut the store down, but may be forced to. Instead, I'm looking to pass the store to other keepers--other innovators--hands.

Cambridge bookstore, founded as an online/offline hybrid, takes to web to look for new owner (Thanks, kingLuma!)

Two prints by Amy Crehore


Artist Amy Crehore has two prints for sale. Check them both out on her website. Above: Krampus Silk Screen (3-color silk screen, only 18 prints in edition).

Beautiful art from used glasses of Scotch (Plus some nifty fluid mechanics)

After you drink some Scotch, there's usually a thin film of the liquor left clinging to the bottom and sides of the glass. If you leave it out overnight, it'll dry and be a pain to wash off in the morning. But the same dried booze leavings can also be the beginnings of some really lovely art.

Ernie Button takes photos of the waving, swirling patterns left behind on Scotch glasses. This one — part of a series called Vanishing Spirits — is a picture of glass that once held a nice measure of Balvenie.

The idea for this project occurred while putting a used Scotch glass into the dishwasher. I noted a film on the bottom of a glass and when I inspected closer, I noted these fine, lacey lines filling the bottom. What I found through some experimentation is that these patterns and images that can be seen are created with the small amount of Single-Malt Scotch left in a glass after most of it has been consumed. It only takes a very thin layer of Scotch to create; the alcohol dries and leaves the sediment in various patterns. It’s a little like snowflakes in that every time the Scotch dries, the glass yields different patterns and results. I have used different colored lights to add 'life' to the bottom of the glass, creating the illusion of landscape, terrestrial or extraterrestrial.

Interestingly, there was a recent article that was published in the Journal of Nature (I think) by Dr. Peter Yunker on the Suppression of the Coffee-Ring Effect by Shape-Dependent Capillary Interactions i.e. how are coffee rings made. I contacted him to see if he could see any obvious connection between the two liquids and the rings / patterns they create. He got back to me and unfortunately could not explain what was happening with the Scotch.

That paper Button mentioned was published in 2011. It explores the physics of particles suspended in liquid — not just coffee, but lots of things. Turns out, if you put a drop of liquid on a solid surface, it will tend to dry in a circular shape. As it dries, anything suspended in the liquid will migrate to the outside of the circle. If you put a drop of coffee on a table and leave it to dry, what you'll get is a round spot ringed by a narrow band of dark coffee gunk.

Why does the gunk form a ring, instead of evenly covering the whole circle? Yunker's research showed that it has to do with the shape of the particles that make up the gunk.

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The original Boy Meets World stars will play parents in the Disney Channel sequel

It wouldn't be a Boy Meets World sequel series without the titular "boy," so it was reassuring news to hear that said boy, Ben Savage, would be reprising his role as Cory Matthews in the Disney Channel's upcoming Girl Meets World pilot, about his character's fourteen-year-old daughter. He won't be alone, either -- he'll be joined by Danielle Fishel, who played his TV wife Topanga Lawrence. Really, it would have been downright stupid to do a show about Cory and Topanga's kids without the original actors (though Disney definitely still would have made it without them).

My first thought upon hearing this news was "Yay!" My second thought was "Aren't they, like, 23? A little young to have a teenage kid." After a quick Wikipedia check, I was clearly mistaken. When they got married on Boy Meets World in 2000, Cory and Topanga were in college and could have been around eighteen or nineteen, putting them in their early thirties now, as well as their real-life counterparts. They'd be very young parents, for sure -- but it's 100 percent feasible. And it's not the young parenthood that's throwing me: it's realizing that Savage and Fishel did not inexplicably cease to age after the show ended and are, indeed, full-on grownup persons. Which means that since I'm the same age as they are, I must be a full-on grownup person, too. And there's your (my) sobering, smacky-in-the-face entertainment news of the day.

Girl Meets World is, as of right now, just a pilot for a potential series, which will be told from the point of view of Cory and Topanga's daughter, Riley. So, in case it is picked up for series, maybe there won't be a whole lot of Mom and Dad on screen, as much as we'd all love to relive the 1990s and the joyful snacktime that was ABC's T.G.I.F. lineup.

Exclusive: Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel Officially Join Girl Meets World Pilot [TVline]

Teen and parents drowned attempting to save dog

ABC News reports that a Northern California teen and his parents both drowned after a 'sneaker' wave swept their dog into the sea. The teen attempted to help and got into trouble, his parents went in after him. The dog managed to return safely to shore.

Terrifying ghost-elevator prank

Here's footage of a vicious and terrifying prank from a Brazilian candid-camera show, in which victims were put in an gimmicked elevator whose lights went out, allowing a small girl in horror-makeup to sneak out of a hidden compartment and "appear" when the lights came back on, ready to scream at them.

Extremely Scary Ghost Elevator Prank in Brazil (via Super Punch)

New study identifies physiological evidence for "chemobrain" in cancer patients

A study presented this week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) offers new evidence that chemotherapy can create changes in the brain that affect cognitive function. Using PET/CT scans, researchers detected physiological evidence of chemobrain, a common side effect of chemo in cancer treatment.

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Covert assassin weapons from North Korea

CNN reports on the arsenal discovered on the North Korean assassin arrested in Seoul last year: a poison-dart pen, a pen-pistol, a flashlight-gun, and more.

Disguised to look like a Parker ballpoint pen, it contains a poison needle and is practically impossible to identify as a weapon.

The second pen shoots a poison-filled bullet which penetrates the skin and releases the toxin and the third weapon is a flashlight, loaded with up to three bullets. They all look completely innocuous but all three will kill...

... That target was anti-North Korea activist, Park Sang-hak, who has since been given round-the-clock police protection by South Korean authorities. We showed Park the footage of the weapons intended for him. He was shocked.

'Poison' pen mightier than sword for would-be North Korean assassin (Thanks, polymorf!)

Google’s driver-less cars and robot morality

In the New Yorker, an essay by Gary Marcus on the ethical and legal implications of Google's driver-less cars which argues that these automated vehicles "usher in the era in which it will no longer be optional for machines to have ethical systems."

Marcus writes,

Your car is speeding along a bridge at fifty miles per hour when errant school bus carrying forty innocent children crosses its path. Should your car swerve, possibly risking the life of its owner (you), in order to save the children, or keep going, putting all forty kids at risk? If the decision must be made in milliseconds, the computer will have to make the call.

Assange blames right-wing US pols for funding block that cost Wikileaks at least $50 million

Julian Assange today accused "hard-right" American lawmakers of pressuring credit card companies to block more than $50 million of donations to Wikileaks, which published thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables and other leaked documents. The European Commission today announced it was unlikely Visa Europe, MasterCard Europe and American Express Co violated EU anti-trust rules by blocking the processing of donations to WikiLeaks.

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Moment of Twitter zen: people arguing with typo-correction bot

If you like to laugh at other people's textual foibles, @StealthMountain on Twitter is for you. (via Jon Tennant)

Hip Deep Angola radio series, part 3: A Spiritual Journey to Mbanza-Kongo

ANTONIO MADIATA, player of the lungoyi-ngoyi, the 2-stringed Kongo viola.

Ned Sublette writes, "This summer I had the tremendous experience of going to Mbanza-Kongo, in the north of Angola, where I recorded material for an episode of Afropop Worldwide Hip Deep and a still unfinished piece of writing."

You can hear it on Soundcloud, and it has also been broadcast on PRI affiliate stations around the US.

"Meanwhile, it's being broadcast against a background of turmoil in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo," Ned adds. "See this and this."

I've written about the earlier installments in the series, and encourage you to listen and enjoy. More about this chapter, below.

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Last wish of married lesbian soldier dying of breast cancer: "Let DOMA die before I do"

Charlie Morgan, a 47-year-old career soldier in the late stages of metastatic breast cancer, says she hopes to live long enough to see the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) overturned, so that her wife will receive the benefits that a widow in a hetero couple would receive. “I’m praying that they take it up soon,” Morgan told the Washington Post in a phone interview from her home in New Durham, NH “It’s my motivation for staying alive. I really need to be alive when they actually do overturn DOMA, otherwise Karen is not guaranteed anything.” Read the rest here.

How Phoenix is becoming more like Minneapolis (and vice versa)

We talk a lot about chain stores and the way their proliferation takes away the individual character of American cities, replacing it with a homogenized urban landscape of Wal-Marts, malls, and Applebees*. But some scientists think businesses and buildings aren't the only thing making our cities look more alike.

The ecology of cities could be homogenizing, as well — everything from the plants that grow there, to the number and density of ponds and creeks, to the bacteria and fungi that live in the soils. My newest column for The New York Times Magazine explains why ecologists think cities are becoming more alike, and what it means if they're right. The really interesting bit: The effects aren't all uniformly bad.

“Americans just have some certain preferences for the way residential settlements ought to look,” Peter Groffman, a microbial ecologist with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., recently told me. Over the course of the last century, we’ve developed those preferences and started applying them to a wide variety of natural landscapes, shifting all places — whether desert, forest or prairie — closer to the norm. Since the 1950s, for example, Phoenix has been remade into a much wetter place that more closely resembles the pond-dotted ecosystem of the Northeast. Sharon Hall, an associate professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, said, “The Phoenix metro area contains on the order of 1,000 lakes today, when previously there were none.” Meanwhile, naturally moist Minneapolis is becoming drier as developers fill in wetlands.

Why does any of this matter to anyone who’s not an urban ecologist? “If 20 percent of urban areas are covered with impervious surfaces,” says Groffman, “then that also means that 80 percent is natural surface.” Whatever is going on in that 80 percent of the country’s urban space — as Groffman puts it, “the natural processes happening in neighborhoods” — has a large, cumulative ecological effect.

Read the rest of the story at The New York Times Magazine

*Or, possibly, Applebeeses.

Image: Taken by Ben Schumin, used via CC.

Valie Export's "Space Seeing/Space Hearing" video art (1973-74)

Pioneering video artist Valie Export's "Space Seeing/Space Hearing" (1973-1974) is edited from a performance piece in which she was recorded by four cameras.

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