The Magic Castle's 1990 television special

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One of the rare public glimpses inside Los Angeles' legendary Magic Castle.

Absolutely one of my favorite places on Earth! I try to visit every time I'm in L.A. Read the rest

What we think about when we try not to think about global warming

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In this episode, psychologist Per Espen Stoknes discusses his book: What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming.

Stoknes has developed a strategy for science communicators who find themselves confronted with climate change deniers who aren’t swayed by facts and charts. His book presents a series of psychology-based steps designed to painlessly change people’s minds and avoid the common mistakes scientists tend to make when explaining climate change to laypeople.

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This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries taught by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Everything we now know about the universe—from the behavior of quarks to the birth of entire galaxies—has stemmed from scientists who’ve been willing to ponder the unanswerable. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.

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This episode is also brought to you by Mack Weldon who believes in smart design, premium fabrics and simple shopping. Read the rest

Music video features trash-talking UN smackdown

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The official video for Nobody Speak, by DJ Shadow and Run The Jewels, was directed by Sam Pilling and stars Igor Tsyshkevych and Ian Bailey as very NSFW diplomats on a tear.

The video depicts a meeting of leaders that quickly descends into chaos, a scene not unlike what is unfolding in governments around the globe... Says DJ Shadow: "We wanted to make a positive, life-affirming video that captures politicians at their election-year best. We got this instead.”

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Save 73% on this premium vaporizer bundle

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These days, the vape market is saturated with low-quality products, making it nearly impossible to separate the gems from the duds. The Atmos Rx Dry Herb Vaporizer stands out from crowd for two reasons: its impressive battery life and durable construction.

This high-end little gadget is compact enough to fit in your pocket, and packs a powerful punch, too — up to 72 hours of vaping on a single charge.

The ceramic heating chamber is wickless and heats dry herbs or waxy oils, meaning you get the freshest pulls without all the gunk. And the included e-liquid adapter and two different e-liquid flavors mean you can vape whichever way you prefer (because some of us just prefer oils to dry herbs).

Vaporizer-Review.com calls the AtmosRx “one of the best pen-style vaporizers on the market, thanks to its durability and long battery life.”

Grab this deal with free shipping for just $59.99 (that’s 73% off the retail price) in the Boing Boing store. Read the rest

How to change people’s minds on social issues with "deep canvassing"

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Oddly enough, we don’t know very much about how to change people’s minds on social issues, not scientifically. That’s why the work of the a group of LGBT activists in Los Angeles is offering something valuable to psychology and political science – a detailed map of uncharted scientific territory.

Over the last eight years, and through more than 12,000 conversations, The Leadership LAB has developed a new kind of persuasion they call deep canvassing. Volunteer’s go door-to-door, talking to strangers, and often change their attitudes about things like same-sex marriage and transgender rights.

Unfortunately, the first scientist to measure the technique’s effectiveness also committed scientific fraud by copy/pasting some data from another study and cutting corners in other ways, creating a wave of negative publicity that threatened the reputation of the people who created the technique, even though they were just the subjects of the study and not involved in the wrongdoing.

In the show, you will meet two scientists who uncovered the fraud and got the paper retracted, and then decided to go ahead and start over, do new research themselves, and see if the persuasion technique that the original researcher was supposed to be studying truly worked.

Can you reduce prejudice with a single 20-minute conversation? Can you flip people’s opinions in just one encounter? Learn what the latest science has to say about deep canvassing in this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast.

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This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Read the rest

How the "separate spheres" ideology is still affecting us today

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Common sense used to dictate that men and women should only come together for breakfast and dinner.

According to Victorian historian Kaythrn Hughes, people in the early 19th Century thought the outside world was dangerous and unclean and morally dubious and thus no place for a virtuous, fragile woman. The home was a paradise, a place for civility, where perfect angelic ladies could, in her words, “counterbalance the moral taint of the public sphere.”

By the mid 1800s, women were leaving home to work in factories, and they were fighting for their right to vote and to get formal educations and much more – and if you believed in preserving the separate spheres, the concept that men and women should only cross paths at breakfast and dinner, then as we approached the 20th century, this created a lot of anxiety for you.

Despite their relative invisibility, a norm, even a dying one, can sometimes be harnessed and wielded like a weapon by conjuring up old fears from a bygone era. It’s a great way to slow down social change if you fear that change. When a social change threatens your ideology, fear is the simplest, easiest way to keep more minds from changing.

In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast, we explore how the separate spheres ideology is still affecting us today, and how some people are using it to scare people into voting down anti-discrimination legislation.

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This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron who sets the highest quality standards for their community of artisanal suppliers, family-run farms, fisheries and ranchers. Read the rest

Maine Gov. LePaige: people of color are the enemy

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Paul LePage, the Republican governor of Maine, told reporters that people of color are the enemy in his state. Read the rest

This innovative pan makes for great food and minimal clean up

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If you’re like us, you occasionally get ambitious with your dinner and try to cook multiple sides plus a main dish. These efforts usually end as a cold meal plus a pile of dishes to wash.

MasterPan Multi-Sectional Meal Skillet makes it super easy to make multiple dishes at once without the hassle. This heavy gauge bottom pan is divided into five sections and is specifically designed to distribute heat flow so you can cook multiple dishes at once, all on the same burner.

Now you can spend less time cooking, less time cleaning, and way more time eating. Plus, there are no heavy metals, lead, cadmium, or PFOA in the pan, meaning your food won't be full of toxins. For a limited time, you can get free US shipping and 50% off the MasterPan in the Boing Boing store. Read the rest

The long and twisted tale of the Nibbler arcade game

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Never heard of Nibbler? You’re not alone. Nibbler was one of a handful of arcade games produced in the early 80’s by Rock-Ola Manufacturing Company, a company better known for its stylish jukeboxes. Designed by programmers Joe Ulowetz and John Jaugilas, Nibbler is the bastard lovechild of the Pac-Man and the cell phone game Snake, which you may remember playing on your 2001 Nokia handheld. Oft-maligned by classic arcade gamers as less worthy than games like Donkey Kong, Dig Dug or Defender, Nibbler is actually a fun and fairly addictive game which starts out easy and steadily ramps up difficulty as the player advances through levels of mazes. Since only about 1,500 Nibblers rolled off of the assembly line, it was a somewhat rare find in the arcade scene of the day, especially when compared to the hundreds of thousands of Pac-Man cabinets that proliferated, yet interest in Nibbler has endured into the modern era, spearheaded by a coterie of die-hard Nibbler fanatics. You see, what made Nibbler special is that it held a secret, it was the first game of its era that could be played to one billion points and beyond.

The secret was discovered by Tom Asaki, who at the time was an undergraduate at Montana State University studying physics. The founding member of the “Bozeman Think Tank,” Tom had been one of the early arcade pioneers who cracked Ms. Pac-Man (on which he held world records) and he quickly mastered Nibbler. Tom soon noticed that the score counter kept adding places and noticed that the game could hold at least nine digits. Read the rest

Smári McCarthy: a pirate who goes after corporate criminal ships

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As the former editor-in-chief of the technology project magazine MAKE, I’ve learned that makers don’t limit themselves to simply making things. Their urge to be an active participant in the world around them means that they also have a strong desire to make the tools, processes, systems, and organizations that empower other people to do the same. One example is Safecast, a global volunteer-centered project that developed a low cost collaborative monitoring network to measure radiation levels in Japan after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Safecast has not only generated the world’s largest open dataset of background radiation measurements, it has also established a standard for collaborative environmental data measurement projects.

Similarly, another program benefiting from maker enthusiasm is the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a non-profit collaborative organization consisting of a large number investigative groups and media from around the world. The chief technologist of OCCRP is an astonishingly prolific activist and maker named Smári McCarthy.

A short version of McCarthy’s resume includes co-founding Iceland's Pirate Party and the Icelandic Digital Freedom Society, doing pioneering work in the field of digital fabrication, and helping establish Iceland’s first Fab Lab. It was at the OCCRP where McCarthy co-developed, along with OCCRP executive director Paul Radu, something called the Investigative Dashboard Project, a web-based tool to help journalists conduct forensic research across millions of documents and scraped databases, including the ones from the Panama Papers, the mind-bogglingly massive leak financial and legal records that revealed the hidden offshore holding companies used by corporations, wealthy individuals, and criminals to hide their money, evade taxes, and conduct illegal business transactions. Read the rest

Wine saver pump

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My wife has been using this wine saver vacuum pump for several years now. It creates an airtight vacuum in the bottle to preserve the wine.

The pump comes with two rubber stoppers with one-way valves. You insert the stopper into a partially full wine bottle, then suck the air out with the pump. It looks like a little bike pump. After several strokes, you'll hear a "click," which means you've drawn out as much air as you're going to be able to remove. At $8.50 am Amazon, it's paid for itself many times over. Read the rest

North Korea launches Netflix-like streaming propaganda service 'Manbang'

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, shown here, is not going to like this themed hackathon at all.

Despite its name, Manbang is not a gay male pornography service. Kim Jong-un's regime unveiled the service today as a propaganda-filled streaming service delivering on-demand videos to televisions through a set-top box.

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Tobin's Spirit Guide

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"The architect's name was Evo Shandor. I found it in Tobin's Spirit Guide. He was also a doctor, performed a lot of unnecessary surgery. And then in 1920, he started a secret society... " -- Dr. Egon Spengler

If you are a Ghostbusters fan, you've been hoping, since 1984, to get your hands on a copy of Tobin's Spirit Guide. Here it is!

Fantastically illustrated by Kyle Holtz, and written by Erik Burnham, Tobin's Spirit Guide shares the backstory of many familiar Ghostbusters ghosts and demons. From Class 5 Free Roaming Vapors to Vigo the Carpathian, they're all here!

Certainly a fun book to have in your collection!

Tobin's Spirit Guide via Amazon Read the rest

Bone is possibly one of the best fantasy series ever told

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Bone: Coda (25th Anniversary Special) by Jeff Smith Cartoon Books 2016, 136 pages, 6.4 x 8.9 x 0.5 inches (softcover) $13 Buy a copy on Amazon

If you haven’t read Jeff Smith’s Bone series, just stop. Stop reading right now, mid sentence, and go pick up his masterpiece. It’s wonderful. Quite possibly one of the greatest fantasy stories ever told. Once you’ve read that and fallen in love with Smith’s humor and characters, then you can appreciate this follow-up that gives you a reason to revisit the Bone Brothers.

If you aren’t familiar with the Bone series, this coda won’t interest you. It’s a companion piece that includes interviews of Smith, an oral history by comic historian Stephen Weiner, and early illustrations of the Bone characters. I found it compelling to hear that Bone was a story that almost wasn’t. But through determination, some luck, and careful maneuvering, Smith was able to get the comic off the ground. It’s great inspiration for any independent artist out there.

But the best part about this book is that there’s a new Bone story to be had! The brothers and Bartleby are still in route back to Boneville, when in true Bone fashion things go awry. It’s not a long story, or a deep one, but it’s a reminder about everything that was so great about this series. It’s a little heartbreaking that Smith makes a point to define coda as “the concluding passage of a piece or movement, typically forming an addition to the base structure.” Hopefully we’ll see more from this world, but for now this is a pretty good sendoff. Read the rest

Before Breitbart, before Trump, Bannon bullied people in Biosphere 2

Steve Bannon, head of  Breitbart News, was named to the new position of campaign chief executive officer. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The Breitbart chief and Trump campaign CEO's sexist bullying was evident in the early days of Biosphere 2 in Arizona, then a quasi “space colonization” and environmental research project.

Stephen K. Bannon, who recently took a leave from running Breitbart.com to become Donald Trump’s chief campaign executive, once bullied women in the historic environmental research project known as Biosphere 2.

He called a female science researcher who wrote a report about safety concerns a “deluded” “bimbo,” and threatened to “ram it down her (expletive) throat.” He also threatened to “kick her ass.”

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Gentleman angry over sap cuts down tree, which falls on his house

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Raymond Mazzarella of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania thought he would teach a tree a lesson. The tree was in his neighbor's yard and had dripped sap on his parked car. He retrieved his chainsaw and went to work on the 36-inch wide trunk. The tree landed on his apartment building.

The apartment building was condemned and evacuated. Mazzarella was sent to the hospital.

Upon his release Monday afternoon, a neighbor saw Mazzarella trespassing near the apartment house and called police. When the neighbor confronted him, Mazzarella punched him. The neighbor pulled out a stun gun to protect himself. Mazzarella then started hitting him with a baseball bat.

Mazzarella is charged with assault and harassment and is locked up in the Luzerne County jail on $10,000 bail.

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Family gets food poisoning from feast to celebrate surviving food poisoning

Salmonella. Image: Wikipedia

“We don’t get it. First we were poisoned and then sacrificed an animal for God as a sign of gratitude for gaining our health back. Then we were poisoned once again, as well as the neighbours. May God save us from the worst. Food poisoning became our nightmare.” -- Alattin Erdal, one of more than 20 people who were hospitalized after eating a tainted animal at a feast meant to celebrate their recovery from a bout of food poisoning.

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