Boing Boing 

Michael Madsen talks to Boing Boing about his hot sauce

Actor Michael Madsen came to my house to talk about his line of hot sauces. My favorite is his hot mustard. I put it on a frankfurter and devoured my "Reservoir Dog."

Video preview of 50 Girls 50 and Other Stories, by Al Williamson

I didn't know that Fantagraphics posts videos of the books it publishes, but I'm glad they do. Here's one for an excellent book it just released, 50 Girls 50 and Other Stories, by Al Williamson. It's part of The EC Comics Library.

Barely old enough to drink when he joined the EC Comics stable, Al Williamson may have been the new kid on the block, but a lifetime of studying such classic adventure cartoonists as Alex Raymond (Flash Gordon) and Hal Foster (Prince Valiant) had made him a kid to reckon with — as he proved again and again in the stories he created for EC’s legendary “New Trend” comics, in particular Weird Science and Weird Fantasy.

As a result of Williamson’s focus, it’s possible to compile all of Williamson’s “New Trend” EC work into one book — which Fantagraphics is finally doing here. Sci-fi aficionados should note that although most of the stories were written by Al Feldstein, 50 Girls 50 features three of EC’s legendary Ray Bradbury adaptations, including “I, Rocket” and “A Sound of Thunder” — and a unique curiosity, a strip adapted from a short story submitted by a teenage Harlan Ellison.

Williamson ran with a gang of like-minded young Turks dubbed the “Fleagle Gang,” who would help one another out on assignments. Thus this book includes three stories upon which Williamson was joined by the legendary Frank Frazetta, and one story (“Food for Thought”) where Roy Krenkel provided his exquisite alien landscapes, to make it one of the most gorgeous EC stories ever printed.

As a supplementary bonus, 50 Girls 50 includes three stories drawn by Fleagles sans Williamson: Frazetta’s Shock SuspenStories short “Squeeze Play”; Krenkel’s meticulous “Time to Leave”; and Angelo Torres’s “An Eye for an Eye,” an EC story that famously fell prey to censorship and was not released until the 1970s. As with other Fantagraphics EC titles, 50 Girls 50 includes extensive story notes by EC experts.

Student says f-word outside of class, college nearly ruins his career

Ted Balaker says: "A 30-year-old college student, husband and father of two, studying to be a paramedic says 'fuck' outside of class, and his professor gets offended. She threatens him with detention (he's 30!), the administration boots him from the class and nearly ruins his career."

"I was persecuted by my college for saying the word 'fuck' in conversation with another student after class."

In 2010, Isaac Rosenbloom was a student at Hinds Community College in Mississippi. He was disappointed to receive a grade of "74" on an exam, and after class ended he walked outside and complained to a fellow student, "This grade is going to fuck up my entire GPA."

After overhearing the comment, Rosenbloom's professor, Barbara Pyle, berated him for cursing and threatened to send him to detention. Says Rosenbloom, "I countered with, 'I'm 30 years old. This is college. There is no detention.'"

Rosenbloom didn't get detention, but the husband and father of two children received something worse: Administrators booted him from Pyle's class. The punishment jeopardized his financial aid eligibility and could have derailed Rosenbloom's plans to become a paramedic.

Then FIRE got involved.

"If it wasn't for FIRE," says Rosenbloom, "I wouldn't have a career. I would be delivering pizzas instead of saving lives."

Student says Fuck outside of class, college nearly ruins his career

Bwaag… Whep?

Some music to get your weekend started! (Thanks, D.S. Deboer in G+ BB Community!)

Iranian scientist invents machine that predicts the future

Telegraph: “I have been working on this project for the last 10 years,” said Mr. Razeghi. “My invention easily fits into the size of a personal computer case and can predict details of the next 5-8 years of the life of its users. It will not take you into the future, it will bring the future to you.” (Thanks, Steve in G+ BB Community!)

$20 spy pen camera

The kind of gadget that 007's Q would have spent thousands of dollars to make in his lab. Now the price of an Ian Fleming novel. (Thanks, Kenny in the G+ BB community!)

Travis Louie's monsters in Seattle

NewImageSeattle's legendary Roq La Rue Gallery is moving from its longtime Belltown location to a beautiful new space in Pioneer Square! Congratulations, Kirsten! This month is your last chance to visit the current digs, and there's quite a send-off show opening tonight. Monster keeper Travis Louie has a new solo exhibit of paintings hanging until May 4! "Monsters On Their Day Off" is a series of portraits of Louie's elegant beasts during their down time. The paintings are also viewable online. Above, Baxter:

Baxter worked as a butler for an eccentric oil baron in 1898. His father was a Krampus who emigrated from Bavaria in the 1860's and married a school teacher from Piscataway, New Jersey. Baxter grew up to be erudite and purposeful. he had a fascination with the wonders of the world particularly insects. During the warmer months on his days off he would wander through the town marveling at nature.

Travis Louie "Monsters On Their Day Off"

Plague Nation excerpt

Here's an excerpt from Dana Fredsti's Plague Nation, sequel to the zombie novel Plague Town.

Ashley Parker was a ordinary woman who was also a “wild card,” immune to the emerging zombie plague, drawn unwillingly into a shadowy paramilitary organization. Having stopped the wave of the undead that swarmed their facility, the worst is yet to come, as the plague begins to manifest in key locations worldwide.

Read Excerpt

WA grants MSFT $1.5B tax amnesty, resorts to taxing dance-clubs to make up shortfall

Jeff Reifman sez,

After granting Microsoft amnesty on its $1.5 billion Nevada tax dodge, state tax collectors are aggressively targeting Seattle dance clubs and night clubs over an obscure 'opportunity to dance' tax. Auditors search the Internet to find out whether people dance at specific clubs. One clubowner reports an auditor told him: 'You have the opportunity to dance, and we verified it by 8 or 10 different references on Yelp.'

"My auditor came in with an obituary of a girl who committed suicide,"says another club owner. "When I argued that we aren't primarily a dance club -- we have 'No Dancing' signs up everywhere -- she flashed this obit that said the girl liked to dance at [our club].

The Legislature gave up $100 million annually to Microsoft so it can target the city's music scene to try to make up $880,000. The Century Ballroom, a popular dance club, is holding ongoing fundraisers to offset its $250,000 in back taxes. Dancers are effectively funding Microsoft's Nevada tax dodge.

Seattle Dance Clubs Fundraise to Pay Microsoft’s Tax Bill (Thanks, Jeff!)

Nano Quadcopter open source tiny drone kit

Crazyffff Designed by Bitcraze, the Crazyflie Nano Quadcopter is an open source development kit to make your own tiny drones. It's $173 from Seeed Studio Depot and looks like great fun to make and fly! "Crazyflie Nano Quadcopter Kit 10-DOF with Crazyradio"

North Miami mayoral candidate threatened by Vodou

Above is Anna Pierre, singing her 1990s Creole-language tune Suk Su Bon Bon. Pierre is currently running for mayor of North Miami, Florida, but she claims that sinister forces are trying to knock her out of the race. She's found evidence of Haitian Vodou spells left on her doorstep. “I found little dolls with needles in it. They put a lot of pennies at front of my office door,” Pierre told the Miami Herald. “I’m from Haiti I know what it is… (But) I have people in Haiti, Canada, and the U.S. praying for me. I have Jesus with me.” I briefly lived in Miami and had several friends whose relatives, usually grandparents, took Santería magic and ritual very seriously. I'm sure Haitian Vodou is also more common in that region than one might think. (via The Anomalist)

Celebrate Herbie Hancock's birthday with Rockit! (1984)

I posted this several years ago, but as it's Herbie Hancock's 72nd birthday today, so let's celebrate by watching Herbie Hancock and friends perform Rockit at the 1984 Grammy Awards. That's Grand Mixer D.S.T. scratching on the B-side of Fab Five Freddy's "Change The Beat."

Dubai police's Lamborghini Aventador patrol car

NewImage

In Dubai, the fuzz drive Lamborghinis. Also, BMW 5 Series, Chevy Camaros, and Dodge Chargers. (Laughing Squid)

The important business of mess-resistant toddler snack containers

Today's Cool Tool is about the Munchkin Snack Catcher, a container with a multi-flapped lid. You fill it with whatever your toddlers or sysadmins like to eat, snap the lid on, and hand it to them with the confidence that they aren't going to spill everything on the floor.

It turns out there are other solutions for mess-resistant snacking.

Boon Snack Ball. You don't even have to fill it with a snack. This Kubrik-like container stares down the child until he or she is frightened away.


Gyro Bowl. This is designed to challenge kids to knock the snack out of the gimbaled bowl. A simple shake defeats it!


Munchkin Click Lock Super Suction Bowl. Paging Kathie Lee.

Debut of the Picturephone

In this press conference, Microsoft finally reveals its plans for Skype.

Explain why Jews are evil

Dan Amira writes,

An unnamed English teacher at Albany High School who wanted to "challenge" his/her students to "formulate a persuasive argument" tasked them with writing an essay about why "Jews are evil," as if they were trying to convince a Nazi official of their loyalty

Time for a teacher training day!

Kmart wants you to ship your pants

By Kmart, via Kottke and ★interesting.

World noticing US microbreweries

"Once widely mocked, US beer is now popular globally", writes the BBC's Jon Kelly. "Why is the world buying in to the American brewing revolution?"

Google plans sci-fi style supercomputer

Farhad Manjoo: "Google has a single towering obsession: It wants to build the Star Trek computer." [Slate]

Salt is beautiful

Alan Taylor offers a gallery highlighting the Strange Beauty of Salt. Previously: Dead Sea Salt Formations.

How to: Become a tenured professor at Harvard

You have, at some point, probably heard an academic wistfully daydream about what it would be like to have tenure, or (alternately) moan about the process that it takes to achieve that dream. Tenure is a promotion, but it's more than just a promotion. For instance, it's a lot harder to fire a tenured professor — something that is meant to make it easier for them to research and speak out on what they want without fear of administrative crackdowns. As a result, getting tenure can be a process that is nothing short of labyrinthian. This piece in the Harvard Crimson by Nicholas Fandos and Noah Pisner describes the phone-book-sized dossiers, decade-long preparations, and secret tribunals that are all a part of the standard Harvard tenure process.

DC introduces its first openly transgender character

Alysia Yeoh, Batgirl's roommate. [HRC]

It's time to eat insects

Not only are insects a more resource-efficient food source than meat (and more nutritious, to boot), you're also already eating them, writes Mary Hall at Mind the Science Gap. Insect parts are considered unavoidable, natural "defects" in foods and the FDA makes allowances for them, including up to 30 insect parts per average chocolate bar, up to 10 whole aphids for 2.5 cups of spinach, and up to 10 fly eggs (or, if you prefer, 5 eggs and one maggot) per serving of tomatoes. It all sounds gross, but when you consider all the benefits of bug eating (and the fact that many, many reviews proclaim them to taste delicious) it might be best to think of this news as a wakeup call. You're eating bugs already. Why not do it intentionally?

5 steps to not being bamboozled by bad science reporting

Can you trust the headlines in your newspaper? What can you actually learn from reading message boards and random Facebook forwards? If you aren't sure what to believe, this guide by Gabrielle Rabinowitz and Emily Dennis can help. It describes how to track "digested" information back to an original, scientific source, the questions to ask, and the red flags to for — all of which will help you sort bunk from stuff that's actually worth talking to your friends about. The problem, of course, is that this can be a lot of work. Essentially, they're describing a lot of what journalists do when we're writing a story about a scientific topic.

Ordered list of credible fictions

I love Bruce Sterling's "Design Fiction Slider-Bar of Disbelief," a list of fictions in ascending order of credibility:

9.4 New age crystals, lucky charms, protective pendants, mojo hands, voodoo dolls, magic wands

9.3 Quack devices, medical hoaxes

9.3 Fantasy “objects” in fantasy cinema and computer-games

9.2 Physically impossible sci-fi literary devices: time machines, humanoid robots

9.2 Perpetual motion machines; free-energy gizmos, other physically impossible engineering fantasies

9.0 State libels, black propaganda, military ruses; missile gaps, vengeance weapons, Star Wars SDI

8.9 “Realplay” services, “experiential futurism” encounters, military and emergency training drills, props and immersive set-design, scripted personas

8.8 Online roleplaying scenario games

8.7 Net.art interventions, diegetic performance art, provocative device-art scandals

8.6 Guerrilla street-theater; costumes, puppets, banners, songs, lynchings-in-effigy, mock trials, mass set-designed Nuremberg rallies, propaganda trains

8.5 Fake products, product forgeries, theft-of-services, con-schemes, 419 frauds

Spoiler alert: the list ends with these:

1.0 Engineering specifications, software code

0.5 Historical tech assessment of extinct technologies, the “judgement of history’

0.0 The ideal and unobtainable “objective truth” about objects and services

Design Fiction: The Design Fiction Slider-Bar of Disbelief

The Lancet: You do, in fact, know something, John Snow

The editors of The Lancet (the long-running British journal of medicine) issued a correction this week for several rude statements and a rather terse obituary that it published in the 1850s. All of these relate to John Snow, the epidemiologist famous for figuring out that cholera was spread by contaminated water. The trouble with this: Snow's evidence-based arguments stepped on the toes of a former Lancet editor who believed strongly that such diseases were caused by bad air — and who had, as a consequence, led an initiative to ban tanners, soap makers, and other smelly professions from the city of London. Snow had testified before Parliament that bad air could not possibly cause disease. A feud ensued.

Celebrate the first interplanetary holiday!

Tonight is Yuri's Night — a holiday celebrating the first human spaceflight. You can throw a Yuri's Night party yourself, or simply join one of the 340 parties that are already scheduled. Scheduled events range from the ubiquitous "let's drink vodka shots in a Russian restaurant" to more kid-friendly, telescope-centric themes. And this year, you can even virtually join the Mars Curiosity Rover as it throws itself the first Yuri's Night party to be held on another planet. (Which, frankly, sounds a little lonely and sad, so hopefully people turn up for the virtual side of that shindig.)

Update on Maine hermit arrested after 27 years' living in the woods


Photo: Reuters

Update: Patrick adds, "Maine crime writer is dubious about the veracity of a great deal of that Maine 'hermit' story."

More of the story has come out about the Maine hermit that David blogged about on Wednesday. When Christopher Knight was 19, he abandoned his plans (documented in his high-school yearbook) to become a "computer technician" and moved to the Maine woods. That was 27 years ago. Since then, he's been living as a hermit in a secret camp supplied by high-end food and camp-gear he burgled from other campsites, cottages, homes, and "Pine Tree Camp, a facility for special needs people." After decades of evading locals, he has finally been arrested and is awaiting trial. One local cottage owner, Dave Proulx, says he experienced "more than a dozen break-ins," he attributes to Knight, and says Knight "was a fussy eater," who "never made off with meat that wasn't in its original packaging," and claims that he once chased Knight to a dock, only to lose Knight in a daring canoe escape.

Authorities filled two pickup trucks on Thursday as they took apart Knight's camp, later displaying what they were calling evidence for local folks to sort through to try to recover their stolen goods. There were several Nintendo Game Boys and a wristwatch, along with shovels, rakes, coolers, cooking gear, a coffee pot and toilet paper.

Authorities said Knight used logs on the ground as a makeshift commode, and at one point attached an antenna to a treetop so he could get reception on a battery-powered TV in his tarp-covered camp.

Christopher Knight: inside the Maine hermit's lair [AP]

"You published my age!" IMDd case rejected

An actress who sued the Internet Movie Database for publishing her age has lost her case. [BBC]