The Candy Hierarchy 2015: your essential guide to Halloween treats


(View this graphic as a huge PDF)


It’s always about the candy. The Candy Hierarchy is full up with this “joy induction” measurement, this thing that the co-principle investigators (PIs) Cohen and Ng go on about each year. From 2006 to 2013, the PIs conducted a longitudinal study, more or less guided by PI expertise and whim (or whimsical expertise) and possible corporation sponsorship. Research by others in the field sought to refute the findings, obviously unsuccessfully. Yet the PIs were so moved by the yearly outpouring of commentary that they opened up the study to additional data sources, namely people. People who the PIs surveyed. Or is it whom? Anyway, nobody cares - this is about sugar. The 2014 Candy Hierarchy was thus defined by data analysis of 43,767 votes obtained from 1286 individuals. Good for them. But not good enough for science. Because the 2015 Candy Hierarchy doubled down and reworked the whole thing with all kinds of more stuff. This hierarchy therefore presents the newly calculated 2015 rankings, based on a total of 518,605 data points obtained from 5459 individuals in a randomized fashion. It also provides the raw data from a secondary study that sought to understand the character of the survey takers, or rather how character affects joy induction. It’s all in there, just go check out the figures. TRANSCRIPTION OF THIS MORNING’S CONFERENCE PROCEEDING DISCUSSION, WITH DR. COHEN AND DR. NG.

BC: Don’t you love how they call us Dr.?

DN: I don’t mind. Read the rest

Get high-end Fulltouch blackboard chalk from Japan before it disappears forever


The Blackwing of chalks, Fulltouch is beloved of mathematicians who despair now that the manufacturer, Hagoromo, is out of business.

Gizmodo's Sarah Zhang explains this legendary … chalk.

The first thing you notice is a shiny, clear coating on the outside — it feels like a thin layer of enamel. That sounds like a minor design element, but it cuts down on the biggest annoyance with chalk: dusty fingers.

Academics are breathless with awe at this incredible … chalk. Satyan Devadoss, a Williams College math professor, writes of the "Dream chalk."

There have been rumors about a dream chalk, a chalk so powerful that mathematics practically writes itself; a chalk so amazing that no incorrect proof can be written using this chalk. I can finally say, after months of pursuit, that such a chalk indeed exists.

I have just bought a $60 box of chalk.

I do not own a blackboard.

Hagoromo Fulltouch White Chalk 72pcs [Amazon referral link]

Read the rest

Artisanal pencil shop opens in Lower Manhattan


Caroline Weaver likes pencils so much she has a tattoo of a pencil on her arm. Weaver is the owner of the newly opened C. W. Pencil Enterprise, a preciously tiny retail store in Lower Manhattan. From Molly Young's NY Times profile:

The store is organized with the space-saving rigor of a ship’s cabin. Pencils are displayed upright in glass jars labeled with their origin: Japan, Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Tennessee. Framed vintage advertisements on the wall depict the likes of Booth Tarkington shilling his favorite pencils. (Tarkington’s advice to young writers: “Use pencils. Write on thick paper. Sharpen two or three dozen rather soft pencils before you work. Use pencils with erasers on them — and use the erasers!”)

The store has an impressive inventory of dead stock (which you can order online). A 1950s era Blackwing 602 runs $60.

(Thanks, Sally!) Read the rest

Last-minute gift ideas

Welcome to this year's Gift Guide, a piling-high of our most loved items from 2014 and beyond. Books, comics, games, gadgets and much else besides!

LISTEN: Dr. Monkey's Retro Scans

Our guest this week is Steve Denton, AKA Dr. Monkey. Steve is an internet scourge, sometime writer, full time smart aleck, and an unrepentant gadfly in the ointment of life.

The Candy Hierarchy, 2014

David Ng and Ben Cohen performed acts of science (realistic ones) in order to determine, once and for all, a true and empirical understanding of which Halloween candies induce the most joy and despair. With more than 40,000 of your votes duly recorded, the results below are indisputably unassailable.

Blackwing602: a new website about the creative process

Here's a shout-out to our sponsors at Blackwing602, a website about the creative process and creative people. Blackwing602 has stories about notable Blackwing users, like Walt Disney and Moises Chiullan. As you might know, I love the Blackwing 602 pencil, and have used it for many years. If you'd like to experience Blackwing for yourself, buy a dozen right here. Read the rest

LISTEN: A conversation with cartoonists Gabrielle Bell and Ruben Bolling

Mark caught up with two of his favorite cartoonists, Gabrielle Bell, who has a new autobiographical book out, called Truth is Fragmentary, and Ruben Bolling, who announced his upcoming series of illustrated kids' books, called Emu Club Adventures.

Blackwing Slate journal - notebook with pencil holster

I like my new Blackwing Slate journal, which our friends at sent me to review. The paper has the perfect tooth for a Blackwing pencil, and comes lined or unlined. Best of all, it has a holster for the pencil, which solves the vexing problem of where to stash my pencil.

Read more about the Blackwing Slate at Read the rest

Forbidden Island [Gweek 148]

Our guest Kent Barnes chatted with Dean and me about the magic of Brooks Brothers 346 non-iron shirts, a cooperative board game called Forbidden Island, crowdfunding for fun and swag, and lots more.

Sponsor shout out:

I'm happy that is a Boing Boing sponsor because I love their Blackwing pencils. They have a unique ferrule, a removable eraser, and high-quality graphite. Blackwings come in three models and you can select the model that's right for you at's Blackwing page.

Update: My friend Bob Knetzger just emailed me and attached this photo of Max from Mad Men holding a Blackwing. Read the rest

Pop culture pencils

Glasgow's Popculturepencils makes custom pencils that come in threesomes which spell out fannish messages, For example: "He's dead Jim," "Beam me up Scotty" and "Live long and prosper." Or: "Sedagive?" "What hump?" and "Put the candle back." Very nice: now, put 'em on rebooted Blackwings. (via Geekymerch) Read the rest

Boing Boing Gift Guide 2013

Welcome to this year's Boing Boing Gift Guide, a piling-high of our most loved stuff from 2013 and beyond. There are books, gadgets, toys, music and much else besides: click the categories at the top to filter what you're most interested in—and offer your own suggestions and links!

Sponsor Shout-Out: and the Blackwing 602 Legacy Edition

Support Boing Boing by supporting our sponsor - grab a box of Palomino Blackwing Legacy Edition pencils here. Read the rest

The Candy Hierarchy, 2013

Read the rest

Sponsor Shout-Out:

I want to thank for sponsoring Boing Boing. You might be aware that I love their Blackwing 602 pencil. Recently introduced a new Blackwing model: the Pearl. I have to say this is my favorite Blackwing yet. The graphite is ever-so-slightly softer than the 602, making a rich dark line with very little pressure. It's perfect!

My daughters swiped the 12-pack of Pearls I ordered, and I had to get another. I'm asking my wife to buy me a gross for my birthday.

Support Boing Boing by supporting our sponsor - grab a box of Palomino Blackwing Pearls here. Read the rest

Pencil revolution

Here is the best website about pencils. The Atlantic's Rebecca J. Rosen sings its praises:

So, the obvious question is, why pencils? What is it about pencils that merit this sort of attention, this level of devotion? Johnny Gamber, the site's creator and leader, answered that for me over email. What draws him to pencils are "their relative simplicity." But, at that same time, that simplicity obscures an object that, as Gamber sees it, is "amazing," if you just look closely enough. "While mostly made of wood, graphite and clay, they are wonders of engineering," he writes. "Even terrible pencils are made with astounding precision.

Yes, of course, the author loves our house instrument, the Blackwing 602. Read the rest

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