"Claque": how Trump revived the ancient practice of paid applauders

Trump launched his campaign in front of an "audience" of actors paid $50/each to wear campaign shirts and cheer wildly, and he's brought his paid cheering section with him into the presidency, bringing along staffers to applaud at key moments during his press conferences and other appearances. Read the rest

Data shows that male animals are not naturally promiscuous, nor are females naturally reticent

It's a commonplace that in the natural world, males attempt to mate with multiple females, while females attempt to entice males into being monogamous; this is attributed to the high cost of producing an egg and bearing children (or laying eggs) for females, and the low cost of sperm production for males. Read the rest

Artist creates dimensional scenes on old plates by precisely sandblasting through successive layers

Caroline Slotte is a sculptor in Finland who layers old, decorated china plates atop one another, then carefully removes material from successive layers with precision masking and sandblasting and carving, created 3D scenes with gorgeous depth. Read the rest

The Abominable Mr Seabrook: a sympathetic biography of an unsympathetic, forgotten literary legend

William Seabrook was once one of America's foremost literary stars; now he is all but forgotten. Seabrook travelled the world, writing a series of (decreasingly sympathetic) accounts of indigenous people and their culture, outselling the literary giants he kept company with, and who pretended not to mind the women he paid to let him tie them up and keep around his home. In The Abominable Mr. Seabrook, graphic novelist Joe Ollman presents an unflinching look at Seabrook, his literary accomplishments and failures, his terrible self-destructiveness, and the awful spiral that took him from the heights of American letters to an ignominious suicide after his discharge from a psychiatric facility.

Financial Times columnist advocates imprisoning dirty corporate executives

Rolls Royce just arranged for a "deferred prosecution" with UK prosecutors over revelations that it had committed jailable offenses by bribing overseas officials in order to secure their business; under this arrangement, prosecutors have allowed Rolls Royce to pay to have the prosecution halted and to have their executives immunized from criminal repercussions for their actions. Read the rest

HP's Nonpology

The "nonpology" is a corporate standard: a company does something terrible, and then it tells you it's sorry that you found its behaviour upsetting. But HP's October 2016 public statement on its secret, aftermarket attack on its customers' property has made important advances in the field of nopologyology.

Accounting fraud admission wipes £5.5b off BT's valuation

The former UK national phone company BT announced that it's writing down the value of its Italian operation by £530m because it has been committing accounting fraud for years, triggering a mass sell-off of its shares, wiping £5.5b off the company's valuation. Read the rest

Guillotine watch: Paris has become a high-risk zone for the super-rich

The criminals of Paris have targeted super-rich visitors in a string of daring robberies -- one gang broke into Kim Kardashian's hotel room, tied her up, and stole millions in jewels; another carjacked a pair of rich Qatari sisters' Bentley and made off with $5.3m in valuables; another one tried to rob Bollywood star Mallika Sherawat after gassing them, but botched the job. Read the rest

RIP, Larry Smith, traveling science fiction bookseller

Larry Smith is a mainstay and fixture of America's science fiction conventions (as well as many overseas events); he's someone I've conversed with dozens of times, and, like John Scalzi, I always made a point of signing his stock because I knew that anything I signed for Larry would go all around the nation. Read the rest

Why Trump brings clapping, laughing sycophants to his press events and appearances

The press reported cheering at Donald's press conference and at his address at the CIA memorial, and it turned out to be his staffers, an entourage of fawning sycophants paid to clap. It's funny, at first. Then you realize that it's a grotesque headgame that is only going to get worse. Read the rest

Guinea pigs devour Brussels sprouts

Enjoy the intense wheeking joy of an entire clan of guinea pigs feasting on the remains of their defeated enemies.

Correction: An earlier version of this post referred to the noises made by the Guinea pigs as "squeaking." The noise they are making, indicative of begging at mealtime, is called "wheeking." Boing Boing regrets the error. Read the rest

UPDATED: Ransomware creeps steal the entire St Louis library system

Update: The library system has recovered access to its computers.

The libraries of St Louis, MO have been crippled by a ransomware attack that has shut down the public terminals the library provides to the poor and vulnerable of St Louis, as well as the systems used to process book and material lending (the catalog is on a separate, uninfected system). Read the rest

A comic about the Republican plan to replace Obamacare

Michael Goodwin and Dan Burr are the author/illustrator team who created Economix, a fantastic comic-book explanation of history of the world economy. (Here's my review of Economix.)

Michael and Dan teamed up to create a free online comic about the Republicans’ best plan to replace Obamacare. ("Spoiler: Their best ain’t good.") Read the rest

LED headlamp on sale for $8

I bought this LED headlamp in 2015, and I use it at least twice a week. You can adjust the brightness, and has an option to turn it off and on by swiping it with your hand. It's great for barbecuing at night, repairing stuff, and walking in the dark. If you have never used one, you don't know what you're missing. It includes 3 AAA batteries. $8 is a great deal. Read the rest

Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters: Inside His Films, Notebooks, and Collections

If you were one of the lucky Del Toro fans who got to see the At Home With Monsters show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art this year I hope you found the photo-mural of his house on the way out and took a selfie there — it looks like YOU are right there inside Bleak House, Del Toro’s home of monsters! (see my pic above). Seeing that show was about as close as any of us will ever be to getting inside to see his collection. If you missed the show, then this book is the next best thing.

Any fan of horror, sci-fi, and Del Toro films like Hellboy, will love this handsome book designed to go along with the museum show. The legendary film director’s collection of original art, movie props and extraordinarily realistic life-size figures is truly amazing. His appetite is omnivorous and wide-ranging from low- to high-brow and everything in between: William Blake etchings, pulp novels and comic books, Japanese woodblock prints, Simpsons vinyl collectibles, Phillip Guston paintings to Todd Browning Freaks stills, and much, much, MUCH, more. Also included, are pages directly from Del Toro’s own notebook with sketches and notes for his films, including Pan’s Labyrinth and Blade.

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters: Inside His Films, Notebooks, and Collections by Guillermo del Toro (Author), Guy Davis (Illustrator), & 3 more Insight Editions 2016, 152 pages, 8.0 x 0.8 x 10.0 inches, Hardcover $20 Buy one on Amazon Read the rest

Amy Walker impersonates Trump to empathize with him

Amy Walker is well known for her celebrity impersonation and accent demonstration video. Here, she practices impersonating Trump as an exercise to better understand him. This video fascinated me. I love it when people experiment on their own nervous systems like this.

This is not a parody. It's an exercise in #CourageousCompassion. Empathy. To understand President Trump from the inside out, that I may know myself better - especially any part of me that I'd not identified with and projected onto him. To see all as equal. As one.

As Meryl Streep said, "We have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy."

Read the rest

Listen: I Can't Keep Quiet, an anthem for the Women's March

More than 8,000,000 people have watched this video of a flashmob choir performing "I Can't Keep Quiet," a song by LA musician MILCK, who performed it at Saturday's Women's March. Read the rest

Next page