Think of the children (Thanks, Steve!)
Kevin Kelly says:
The takeover of the US by the Security-Corporate Complex is documented by mainstream press. It is worse than I thought.
According to Dana Priest and William M. Arkin of The Washington Post, "Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States. ... An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances. ... In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings -- about 17 million square feet of space."
Cookbook comics! Penis lizards! Worm deers! One-armed men! There’s something for everyone in this edition of Comics Rack. And one-armed foodie alternative animal enthusiasts, get ready to get your socks knocked off!
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen
By Lucy Knisley
If you find a more delightful book than Relish this year, please let me know. I’ll say right now that the odds are pretty slim. Lucy Knisley shuffled together a memoir and a cookbook into a cohesive collection of short stories that illustrate her life in food, the product of two parents who seared food obsessions into her DNA. The highlight has to be the tale of adolescent rebellion colored with pink hair and Lucky Charms -- a processed food defiance against epicurean parents. Can’t say I actually went so far as cooking any of the recipes contained here -- after five years in this apartment, I’m not entirely sure my pre-war oven even works -- but the tale of traveling to Mexico with a best friend who’s forced to leave a $200 stash of adult magazines behind a airport toilet, that stuff’s universal.
Read the rest
Ben sez, "The first ever synthetic biology Kickstarter is about growing glowing plants. Using synthetic biology and Genome Compiler software, they are ready to input bio-luminescence genes into a mustard plant and have it be naturally glowing. Meant more as a hint of things to come and what can be achieved with synth bio."
It's ambitious, but the project's lead looks like he has the necessary experience. Still, as with all ambitious Kickstarters, you should be prepared to lose your dough.
We are using Synthetic Biology techniques and Genome Compiler’s software to insert bioluminescence genes into Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant and member of the mustard family, to make a plant that visibly glows in the dark (it is inedible).
Funds raised will be used to print the DNA sequences we have designed using Genome Compiler and to transform the plants by inserting these sequences into the plant and then growing the resultant plant in the lab.
Printing DNA costs a minimum of 25 cents per base pair and our sequences are about 10,000 base pairs long. We plan to print a number of sequences so that we can test the results of trying different promoters – this will allow us to optimize the result. We will be printing our DNA with Cambrian Genomics who have developed a revolutionary laser printing system that massively reduces the cost of DNA synthesis.
Transforming the plant will initially be done using the Agrobacterium method. Our printed DNA will be inserted into a special type of bacteria which can insert its DNA into the plant. Seeds of a flowering plant are then dipped into a solution containing the transformed bacteria. The bacteria then injects our DNA into the cell nucleus of the seeds which we can grow until they glow! You can see this process in action in our video.
Over in the /r/homebrewing subreddit, user hatchetthrower has recreated one of my favorite fictional brews: Bendërbrāu, a homebrewed beer from Futurama made entirely inside Bender the robot's chassis. The recipe for the clone is pretty dead on: it's a steam beer as suggested by the label in the show, uses space-aged sounding Zythos hops (Galaxy was out of stock), and Rush 2112 yeast because Rush is one of Fry's favorite bands.
Thanks to our lovely sponsor ShanaLogic, sellers of handmade and independently-designed apparel, jewelry, prints, and other unique items. Now available, Maiden Voyage's "Phrenology of a Gentleman Tee," printed on a 100% super-soft cotton lightweight charcoal grey shirt! Also, Mother's Day is May 12 and ShanaLogic put together an excellent Mother's Day Gift Guide filled with cats, birds, hearts, sloths, monkeys, tentacles, and other fine motifs. Shana says, "Free USA shipping on orders over $50!" ShanaLogic
It seems we love mine collapses at Boing Boing. The earlier posts got me to thinking about the Lake Peigneur disaster. The story is amazing but oh so familiar, a wayward oil company makes an error and mistakenly drains a lake into a salt mine. It is incredible and you can watch!
Previously on Boing Boing:
Our friend Clive Thompson is in the spotlight in this week's "This is How I Work" feature on Lifehacker.
What apps/software/tools can't you live without?
I'm a pack rat when it comes to research. I like to save everything, because you never know when it'll be useful. I write primarily long-form magazine pieces and books, each of which takes months to report and sometimes years to gestate, so I often find myself realizing an interview or study I encountered three years earlier is suddently useful now. So I lean heavily on tools for finding and saving everything.
For face-to-face interviews, I use a Livescribe pen, which is invaluable even though the software is kind of creaky. I use Skype out for most of my phone interviews, and Call Recorder to save those files. I have a Scrivener database for my research—whenever I read anything interesting, I make a note about it and paste in any relevant passages. The note-writing is a crucial part of the task for me, because it requires me to slow down and make sense of what I’m reading, instead of just blindly clipping and saving everything.
In 24 charts, the Washington Post reveals how George W. Bush's presidency screwed up the country and the rest of the world for many years to come. Health, employment, the GDP, public services, the Middle East, and almost every other measurable condition of civilization's health and welfare were severely damaged by Bush's policies, all of which were enacted to make rich people richer. In achieving that goal, Bush's presidency was a resounding success.
Even if you don’t blame the [debt] crisis on Bush, at least half the debt is directly attributable to his policy choices. Racking up debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and some have even argued that surpluses can be economically dangerous, but for whatever it’s worth, Bush played a big role there. It’s also worth noting that Bush was increasing the deficit at a time when the economy was expanding — which is exactly the opposite of what Keynesians believe makes sense, and which also made it more difficult for the country to respond to the recession.
Geoscientist Matt Kuchta explains why wet sand makes a better castle than dry sand — and what you can do to make your sand fortress even more impenetrable. Hint: The secret ingredient is window screens.
Nicko from the Sunlight Foundation sez, "I thought you'd be interested in a new browser extension and webtool from the Sunlight Foundation called Churnalism. It extracts article text from any site you'd like it to run on and compares it against a corpus of press releases, articles from Wikipedia and much more. If a significant amount of text from what you're reading matches something in our database, an alert banner appears on your browser and you can click through to see a side-by-side comparison. I imagine every editor would want to run this on their stories before they publish!"