Boing Boing 

Brits send "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" into music charts after Thatcher's death

It could reach even No. #1, reports The Independent. In contrast to the rather unpleasant street parties, this strikes me as a more perfectly British detractors' send-off for the Iron Lady.

A blog about "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'"

Look! A blog devoted solely to cover versions of "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'."

Mark's book and game recommendations on Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

On the current episode of Bullseye with Jesse Thorn I recommended two "culture picks" --

This week's recommendations come from Boing Boing founder and Gweek host Mark Frauenfelder. His first suggestion is Bunk!, a game for iOS that makes good use of your vocabulary, your friends, and your ability to convincingly make stuff up. Looking for something to read? He also suggests Marijuanamerica [reviewed on Boing Boing], a new book about a man who tours the US to understand America's love/hate relationship with pot.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Big Boi, Catherine O'Hara, and Pop Culture Advice

Rodents of Unusual Size - a documentary about 20-lb rats in Louisiana

I am a huge fan of Chris Metzler's documentaries. He co-directed the unforgettable Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea and the amazing documentary about Fishbone, Everyday Sunshine. He's getting ready to make his next documentary, Rodents of Unusual Size, about 20-lb swamp rats. I can't wait!

When we first heard about the nutria, we couldn't believe it. Why were they here? What did they want? And why did they insist on eating up the entire Louisiana bayou?? The more we heard, the stranger the story got.

Their webbed hind feet and enormous orange teeth were quite peculiar. We learned about the state bounty program that pays hunters and trappers $5 a tail to keep the pests under control. We also found recipes for nutria gumbo and pictures of fashion shows featuring their "environmentally friendly" fur. And then there was the story of the man out on Delacroix Island who raised a pet albino nutria who was "as smart as a dog but held a grudge."

The nutria gnawed its way into Louisiana culture and folklore. Its appetite has moved coastlines. And now the humans are fighting back by turning this invasive species into a resource and starting to eat and wear these rodents for the benefit of a healthy ecosystem.

It’s only fair that this notorious and lovable rodent get its own feature documentary!

Rodents of Unusual Size

Why the majority of people now favor marriage equality

Lisa Wade of Sociological Images posted her comments on a recent Pew survey that explains why the "the majority of Americans are in favor of extending marriage to same-sex couples."

People offered a range of reasons for why they changed their minds. The most common response involved coming into contact with someone that they learned was homosexual. A third of respondents said that knowing a gay, lesbian, or bisexual person was influential in making them rethink their position on gay marriage. This is consistent with the Contact Hypothesis, the idea that (positive) experiences with someone we fear or dislike will result in changes of opinion.

Why the majority of people now favor marriage equality

Exclusive video for Bob Staake's new book, Bluebird

As I've said before, I've been a fan of Bob Staake's illustration ever since David and I stumbled across his ABC and 123 books at SF Moma in 1998. Bob's art is appealing in its simplicity, but it's also sophisticated and wry. No surprise that he has illustrated quite a few New Yorker covers. He does all of his illustration work using a pre-OS X version of the Macintosh operating system and Photoshop 3. He doesn't use a stylus, and instead does everything with a mouse.

It's with great pleasure that Boing Boing gets to premiere the trailer for Bob's new book, Bluebird. He's been working on it for 10 years, and it's a mind-blowing story aimed at 4-8 year olds. It's told without words, and it's about a boy, a bird, and some bullies. I don't want to spoil the story so I'll stop there. I agree with Kirkus Reviews assessment: "Like nothing you have seen before." Is it Bob's magnum opus? I'd say "yes.. so far." Who knows what he'll do next?


Johnny Rotten Reviews “Katy Perry: Part Of Me”

Johnny Rotten is in an unusually jolly mood here. He thinks Katy Perry is an interesting person with an interesting story who sings dull songs.

(Via World's Best Ever)

Tell Me Something I Don't Know 005: Jesse Schell

This is episode 5 of Boing Boing's newest podcast, Tell Me Something I Don't Know. It's an interview podcast featuring artists, writers, filmmakers, and other creative people discussing their work, ideas, and the reality/business side of how they do what they do.

Jesse Schell is the CEO of Schell Games - a video game and transformational game design company, a Professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center, and the author of The Art of Game Design. He is a prolific speaker, well-known for his 2010 DICE talk, "Beyond Facebook", which has had over 1 million views online. His resume also includes stints as a juggler, comedian, and Creative Director for Walt Disney Imagineering.

The best way to keep up with Jesse Schell's many activities is through his website. You should probably follow him on Twitter @jesseschell.

Tell Me Something I Don't Know is produced and hosted by three talented cartoonists and illustrators:

Jim Rugg, a Pittsburgh-based comic book artist, graphic designer, zinemaker, and writer best known for Afrodisiac, The Plain Janes, and Street Angel.

Jasen Lex is a designer and illustrator from Pittsburgh. He is currently working on a graphic novel called Washington Unbound. All of his art and comics can be found at

Ed Piskor is the cartoonist who drew the comic, Wizzywig, and draws the Brain Rot/ Hip Hop Family Tree comic strip at this very site, soon to be collected by Fantagraphics Books.

Follow TMSIDK on Twitter

Subscribe to the Tell Me Something I Don't Know podcast | iTunes

Primate kettlebell

From Joe Rogan's website, Onnit.

Access Copyright Canada goes on anti-fair-dealing war-path

Michael Geist sez,

Months after the Supreme Court of Canada delivered a stinging defeat to Canadian copyright collective Access Copyright by ruling for an expansive approach to fair dealing and the government passed copyright reforms that further expanded the scope of fair dealing, Access Copyright responded yesterday with what amounts to a desperate declaration of war against fair dealing. Access Copyright has decided to fight the law - along with governments, educational institutions, teachers, librarians, and taxpayers - on several fronts. Most notably, it has filed a lawsuit against York University over its fair dealing guidelines, which are similar to those adopted by educational institutions across the country. While the lawsuit has yet to be posted online, the Access Copyright release suggests that the suit is not alleging specific instances of infringement, but rather takes issue with guidelines it says are "arbitrary and unsupported" and that "authorize and encourage copying that is not supported by the law."

Most of Access Copyright's longstanding arguments were dismissed by the Supreme Court this past summer. To suggest that a modest fair dealing policy based on Supreme Court jurisprudence and legislative reforms is "arbitrary and unsupported" is more than just rhetoric masquerading as legal argument. It is a declaration of war against fair dealing.

Access Copyright's Desperate Declaration of War Against Fair Dealing

Snake Oil's secret ingredients

NewImageThere was no actual snake oil in old timey snake oil (except when there was, of course). Rather, most of the lotions and potions sold by early 20th century miracle medicine salesmen actually contained mercury and lead. Now, don't you feel better? University of Detroit Mercy chemists recently analyzed the ingredients of several dozen patent medicine samples from the Henry Ford Museum's collection. From Smithsonian:
Their findings, which they presented yesterday at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Atlanta, were that many of the pills, powders and ointments tested had beneficial ingredients like calcium and zinc—but that others had toxins such as lead, mercury and arsenic.

Back in the day, this was a very trial-and-error kind of field,” (chemist Mark) Benvenuto said in an interview. “The stuff that we think of as dangerous now, though it was dangerous, was as cutting-edge as they had at the time.”

"What’s in Century-Old ‘Snake Oil’ Medicines? Mercury and Lead"

COOP/Pressure Printing car engine fine art print


Seen here is "Hemi-Powered," a new fine art print collaboration by our pals COOP and Pressure Printing's Brad Keech! COOP's model for this beaut was a Dodge 426 Hemi engine (aka "The Elephant") with a Cragar blower. The relief print is 38.5" x 30", available in a limited edition of 25 signed and numbered for the price of $666 (natch). More details on the Pressure Printing blog here.

Former Tennessee legislator "drove 90 MPH while masturbating out window"

Tom Kludt quotes a witness:

"At over 90 miles per hour, he had his penis out [the window]... he was masturbating... and that's when it got really, really bad. I wouldn't look over any more, and I wrote his tag number down on my hand, which I believe he noticed, and he exited very quickly."

I've never heard the euphemism "exited" before, but hey, Tennessee's a pretty weird place. [Talking Points Memo]

Fake Web sites on TV

Almost as much fun as fake software user interfaces on TV are fake web sites on TV!

Cookie Monster charged with assault after pushing child in Times Square

Cookie Monster was arrested Sunday after allegedly shoving a child in New York's Times Square when his mother did not tip him for posing with the boy.

Monster, 33, was charged with endangering the welfare of 2-year old Samay Katkar, who had wandered over to the blue-furred beast when his parents ventured into town for a weekend trip. "The next thing I know, Cookie Monster had already picked up my son and was like, 'Come on, take a picture!'", Kurada told the New York Daily News.

Collapsible "Origami" condoms coming to a penis near you

The Origami is a "radical new condom" inspired by paper-folding techniques and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Designed to slip on more comfortably than easily-torn rolled latex prophylactics, Origami comes in male and female forms, and there's even a special model for anuses of either sex. The creators are testing the designs in clinical trials, and hope to have them available by 2013 2015.

Previously: the prototype.

"Homeless city" in tunnels beneath Kansas City

Police leveling a homeless campsite outside of Kansas City discovered a "hidden community" of transients living in an elaborate series of tunnels, reports KMBC.

Don't hide in commercial trash containers

"A French teenager who had hidden inside a garbage container was crushed to death inside a trash truck in Luxembourg on Saturday, police said." [Reuters]

Bio-hackers, crime journalism, and socialstructing the future


Boing Boing friend Marina Gorbis is executive director of Institute for the Future, a non-profit thinktank where I'm a researcher. Marina has just published a compelling, provocative, and grounded book about how technology is enabling individuals to connect with one another to follow their passions and get stuff done, outside of large corporations, governments, and the other institutions that typically rule our lives. Marina calls it "socialstructing." I call it making the future better than the present. The following is an excerpt from Marina's book, "The Nature of the Future: Dispatches from the Socialstructed World." - David Pescovitz

Putting the Social Back Into Our Economy
by Marina Gorbis

My mother never heard the term social capital, but she knew its value well. In the Soviet Union, where she lived and where I grew up, no one could survive without it, and she leveraged her social capital on a daily basis. It enabled her to provide a decent life for her family, even though she was a widow without much money, excluded from the privileged class of the Communist Party. We never worried about having enough food. My sister and I always wore fashionable clothes (at least by Soviet standards). We took music and dance lessons. We went to the symphony, attended good schools, and spent summers by the Black Sea. In short, we enjoyed a lifestyle that seemed well beyond our means.

How was my mother able to provide all these things on the meager salary of a physician in a government-run clinic in Odessa, Ukraine? Social connections were a powerful currency that flowed through her network of friends and acquaintances, giving her access to many goods and services and enabling our comfortable, if not luxurious, lifestyle.

Read the rest

Watch the latest video posts in our Boing Boing video archives

We've gathered fresh video for you to surf and enjoy on the Boing Boing video page. The latest finds for your viewing pleasure include:

• Lessig's TED talk on fighting corruption in politics with campaign finance reform.
• "Free Pussy Riot" lingerie commercial.
• Lethal weapons from duty-free stores.
• Crossed bedside lamps turn each other off and on.
• Two-headed bull shark.
• Black leopard compared to black house cat.
• "4D printing, where the fourth dimension is time"
• Short video about latte portrait artist.

Boing Boing: Video!

To watch: "NOVA—Australia's First 4 Billion Years: Awakening"

This week on the long-running PBS science program NOVA, a really cool four-part documentary on what the geological history of Australia can teach us about how the earth was formed. My partner-in-crime Miles O'Brien watched this one at a special screening in DC recently with the film's director/host Dr. Richard Smith, and was blown away. Dr. Smith and his team "journey back to the very beginning of the Australian story", with a first stop in Western Australia, around four and a half billion years ago, "where we encounter an Earth shortly after its fiery birth."

Hidden in the red hills of Australia are clues to the mysteries of when the Earth was born, how life first arose, and how it transformed the planet. Experts unveil how the earliest forms of life—an odd assortment of bacterial slime—flooded the atmosphere with oxygen, sparking the biological revolution that made animal life possible. It is the beginning of the great drama of life on Earth.

There's a preview video, and more about each of the documentary's four parts, here.

Remains of poet Pablo Neruda exhumed to determine if he was executed by Pinochet regime

The great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda has long been thought to have died of prostate cancer, but in recent years, his personal driver claims he was murdered by the Pinochet regime. After years of controversy, a judge has ruled that there is sufficient evidence to approve the exhumation of his remains, to try and determine the true cause of his death, just two weeks after the coup. One theory: Neruda was poisoned. The exhumation happened yesterday.

Read the rest

Brain Rot: R Budd Dwyer

Read the rest

Game of Thrones S3E2: Ladies, leave your men at home

The Game of Thrones universe is all about how disadvantages are balanced against advantages: Every major character or faction has a unique set of challenges, and then a trump card. Tyrion Lannister's unfavorable height, scarred face and status as the family black sheep is balanced by his superior wit and endless disposable income; as Queen Regent, Cersei almost has the power she wants -- but then of course, she's tasked with mothering and managing awful Joffrey. Daenerys' dragons were her trump card even when she had nothing else. And young Bran Stark has lost everything, including the use of his legs, but he has "green dreams."

Read the rest

Obvious battery tip of the day

Does screen brightness have a significant effect on cellphone battery life? You betcha. [Wired]

Punk Rock Jesus: media-savvy second coming/reality TV comic

Sean Murphy's Punk Rock Jesus is a rockin' comic about the Second Coming. It opens with a psychotically ruthless show-runner arranging to clone Jesus from DNA salvaged from the Shroud of Turin, implanting a foetus in the womb of a teenaged virgin, all for a reality TV show that starts with auditions for the part of Christ's mother. Gwen, the desperate teen who gets the part, is only one of the many memorable characters who make up the resulting set piece: there's Dr Sarah Epstein, a brilliant geneticist who's been promised funding for a carbon-fixing superalgae if she helps create the clonal Christ; there's Thomas McKael, an IRA soldier turned supergrass turned super-security director, and several others who come to prominence as the story unfolds (including Cola, a genetically engineered tame polar bear).

The story perks along for the first third, as the dismal life of Chris -- as the clone is called -- is run out on the screens of America, and in the high-security compound on an offshore island under constant siege from militant Christian fundamentalists who are torn on the question of whether Chris is the second coming or a mocker. Then there's a turning point where Chris becomes and adolescent and discovers some of the seedier truths about his life and the miserable existence his mother has been forced into all through it.

That's when Punk Rock Jesus is born. To a thudding soundtrack of vintage punk smuggled in on vinyl (CDs would set off the metal detector) Chris gives himself a mohawk, tears his clothes to rags, and surprises his minders by stepping out on stage and declaring himself to be an atheist. In the ensuing chaos, Chris escapes from the network and its evil representatives and makes his way to the drowned TAZ of lower Manhattan where he becomes the front-man for a "the last punk band in the world," the Flak Jackets.

And that's when the story really roars to life, becoming at once sillier and more serious, but avoiding some of the ponderousness of the setup. Serious questions of religion's role in society are raised; rock is bepunkéd; dressing rooms are trashed; the media is expertly dissected. It's a near-perfect rocket-ship ride through some of the best material from comics like DMZ and Transmetropolitan, with a healthy dose of radical atheism and geopolitics thrown in.

It's got pathos, laughs, rage and comeuppances, and awesome punk rock not-giving-a-fuck. What more could you ask for?

Punk Rock Jesus

Creators remember Knightmare, the pioneering VR adventure show

Knightmare was a fantastic childrens' adventure show that ran on British TV in the 1980s. A youngster, wearing a vision-blinding helmet, would be guided around a giant virtual reality castle by a team of his or her peers, which issued instructions from dungeon master Treguard's chambers. Though defined by its technical limitations, Knightmare built a cult following thanks to its pioneering blue-screen setup—hence the blindfolding—and merciless treatment of contestants. The Guardian's Ben Child interviewed creator Tim Child and star Hugo Myatt and found that the production was itself something of a bad dream. Embedded above is the show's intro and a short documentary about it. Then you may enjoy a a selection of deaths.