Massive fertilizer plant explosion in West, TX

A fertilizer plant in West, Texas caught fire and exploded last night. According to one eyewitness, "Every house within about four blocks is blown apart." The small town is north of Waco, and the early details are horrifying, including the collapse of a crowded nursing home. People reported hearing the explosion 45 miles away. The tweets have more detail, as does this MeFi thread. A sense of the size of the explosion can be garnered from this video. Read the rest

TODOCAT: a cat-meme-based to-do-list manager

Soma of the Brooklyn Brainery created TODOCAT, a to-do list manager based on the elegant cat meme. I fucking hate cat memes, but I love to-do lists. I love this cat meme to-do list manager.

TODOCAT (via Waxy) Read the rest

The secrets of bomb forensics

At the New Yorker, Paige Williams visits forensic chemist Adam B. Hall to talk about the surprising things you can learn about bombs and their makers by looking at the effects they produce — from the type and color of the smoke, to the smell that lingers in the air, to what the "boom" sounds like. I'd take Hall's speculation about the Boston Marathon bombings with a grain of salt (he's making his judgements from low-grade video and isn't part of the investigation), but the process he describes is absolutely fascinating. Read the rest

Rep Steve Israel trying to score points with 3D printed gun hysteria

Michael Weinberg from Public Knowledge sez "Last week, Rep. Steve Israel introduced a bill designed to regulate firearms that cannot be found by metal detectors. The bill makes a passing reference the 3D printing, which is fine. But the rhetoric that Rep. Israel is using to promote the bill is both muddled and overblown, and focuses almost exclusively on 3D printing. He sent a letter to his fellow Members of Congress titled 'Co-Sponsor Legislation to Ban 3D Printed Guns.' This is a problem." Read the rest

Comic book keyboard

A nice find from our G+ BB Community member D.S. Deboer. Read the rest

At least 34 people have died in earthquakes in Iran

A 6.3 earthquake and one with a magnitude of 7.8 hit Western Iran in the course of just a week. These are largely rural areas, with a lot of mud brick buildings that tend to collapse when the earth shakes. It's hard to say how many casualties there are, in total. Scientifically speaking, the earthquakes were also fairly interesting, writes Chris Rowan at Highly Allochthonous. They happened in different — in fact, totally opposite — ways, with the smaller one happening as plates crashed into one another and the larger caused by tectonic plates moving away from each other. This was along the same plate boundary. How's that work? Rowan has the details. Read the rest

Wired Magazine's 1992 media kit

Brian sez, "Fasten your seatbelts for a trip back in time, to 1992, when a tiny little startup called Coconut heard, in August 1992, that a new magazine was brewing, something called WIRED. We contacted them, they sent us a media kit. I kept it. Enjoy."

You have to remember that the World Wide Web was in its infancy. Not everybody had email. If you wanted to contact somebody you used the phone or wrote a letter for the most part. Unless they were on The WELL or worked at one of the few companies that had Internet and email. And most didn't.

So I made a few inquiries and found out WIRED's phone number in August 1992 and gave 'em a call. I spoke with Coco Jones, an ad sales rep who was just starting out on long media career. She sent me a WIRED Media Kit, which for some crazy reason I've kept for 21 years. I doubt anyone's seen this thing in 21 years, including me.

Revisiting the Original 1992 WIRED Media Kit (Thanks, Brian!) Read the rest

HOWTO make Wonder Woman bracelets out of toilet paper rolls

Here's a great tutorial for making your own glittery superhero paper bracelets out of toilet-paper rolls. The trick is to use blue painter's tape backing to keep the cardboard intact while it's all gluey.

This may seem like a strange way of doing things - to cut and then stick back together etc - but we went through a couple of versions of this before the toilet roll pieces survived - when you paint the toilet roll it tends to collapse go floppy. This was the best process we came up with.

After you have cut, taped and stuffed your toilet roll you are ready to: - paint (allow to dry) - apply a light layer of glue and then roll in glitter (allow to dry) - seal on the glitter by applying a layer of gluey glaze (1 part glue to 2 parts water) (allow to dry) - add some super hero gems/sparkles

Once all your paint, glitter and glue is dry remove the newspaper and painters tape from inside and round of the corners.

Paper Roll Craft: Super Hero Bracelets (via Craft) Read the rest

Goodnight Moon as a horror movie

Did the children's book "Goodnight Moon" help put you to sleep as a little kid? Not anymore.

OMNI Magazine collection on the Internet Archive

The complete run of Omni, one of my all-time favorite magazines, is now available for free on the Internet Archive! In its late-1970s and 1980s heyday, Omni was a wonderful blend of technology, science, art, fiction, futurism, and high weirdness. It really inspired my own writing and interests. OMNI Magazine Collection (via Warren Ellis)

In fact, as I've posted before, if I could launch a new Boing Boing print magazine I'd want it to have this logo, courtesy of Mr. Beschizza:

UPDATE: Rob now says that this is what Boing Omni would look like... Read the rest

Gweek 089: Marina Gorbis, executive director of Institute for the Future

Earlier this month, Boing Boing posted an excerpt from Marina Gorbis's fascinating new book, The Nature of the Future: Dispatches from the Socialstructed World. As David wrote, the book is "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." David and I spoke with Marina about The Nature of the Future for this edition of GWeek.

When Marina was a child, growing up in the Soviet Union, she lived with her sister and widowed mother, a medical doctor at a government clinic in Odessa. Her mother’s salary was meager, and her mother wasn’t a member of the privileged communist party elite, and yet Marina says she and her sister enjoyed a life filled with the arts, good food, fashionable clothes, travel, and education. It was all possible, she says, because her mother knew the value of social capital. “Social connections,” Marina writes, “were a powerful currency that flowed through [my mother’s] network of friends and acquaintances, giving her access to many goods and services and enabling our comfortable, if not luxurious, lifestyle.”

Marina never forgot this lesson about the incredible power of networked individuals, and it directed the course of her professional life. For the past 7 years, Marina has been the executive director of the Institute for the Future, an independent, non-profit research organization and creative design studio in Palo Alto California where David is also a researcher. Read the rest

Zipper Club: fundraising a comic for kids with congenital heart defects

Dave sez, "THE ZIPPER CLUB is a comic focusing on survivors of childhood congenital heart defects, written by a survivor of such a condition himself. It's on Indie-GO-Go in hopes to put out a first print run. Part of the proceeds will go to the AHA and part of the run will be distributed to pediatric cardiac care centers for the kids who will truly benefit from it."

At age 8, Cliffy Goldfarb was the recipient of an emergency heart transplant. At age 9, Cliffy is now struggling to cope with the limitations his still recovering body is undergoing, and the fact that because of this, he has trouble relating to his peers. When his mom suggests spending his summer at Camp Bravehearts, a place for kids living with heart defects like his own, he has some trepidations about going this camp for “special” kids, but soon learns his worries were all over nothing when he meets a young girl named Rosie who introduces him to a group of new friends who encourage him by showing off their surgical scars to one another and inducting Cliffy into “The Zipper Club”.

Welcome to THE ZIPPER CLUB! (Thanks, Dave!) Read the rest

Winner of the 2013 Pulitzer for Feature Photography

Javier Manzano won the 2013 Pulitzer Price for Feature Photography for this photo of two rebel soldiers in Syria, taken on October 18, 2012. Yes, those are bullet holes. All of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize Winners were announced on Monday. Read the rest

Man of Steel trailer #3

New Man of Steel trailer with scenes of Krypton, Jor-El, Lara, Pa, young Clark, bearded Clark, shirtless Clark, supervillains, Lois, Superman, and the icy Fortress of Solitude...

Video: Nirvana's first live performance of "Teen Spirit," 22 years ago today

Twenty-two years ago today, Nirvana played "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for the first time in public.

Homophobic attorney general, foiled by Constitution, announces Plan B

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (@KenCuccinelli), the blow job foe who failed to trick the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit into forgetting the Constitution, announced his plans to unleash an army of homophobic robots designed to break down doors and apprehend same sex couples. Here are two different designs. (Images via X-Ray Delta One) Read the rest

Vintage cyanotype photos

Over at House of Mirth, esteemed vernacular photo collector Robert E. Jackson posts about the allure of collecting cyanotypes with some wonderful examples. The ghostly image above is from the collection of Erin Waters. Jackson posted this fascinating bit from the cyanotype Wikipedia entry:

The English scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschel discovered this procedure in 1842. Though the process was developed by Herschel, he considered it as mainly a means of reproducing notes and diagrams, as in blueprints. It was Anna Atkins who brought this to photography. She created a limited series of cyanotype books that documented ferns and other plant life from her extensive seaweed collection. Atkins placed specimens directly onto coated paper, allowing the action of light to create a silhouette effect. By using this photogram process, Anna Atkins is regarded as the first female photographer.
"Collecting Cyanotypes" Read the rest

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