The Apprehension Engine: custom musical instrument generates natural nightmare noises

The Apprehension Engine is a custom-made musical instrument designed to produce the scary, tension-building noises associated with horror movies, but without the all-too-obvious digital chopping and synthesizing invariably involved. The result is something organic and seamlessly natural—something that goes beyond fear and fright to nail you to some deep Jungian place so completely you become a part of it. And she says I'm hard to shop for!

Christopher Bickel at Dangerous Minds: “The Apprehension Engine,” as it is called, was created by Canadian guitar maker Tony Duggan-Smith as a “one off” for Mark Korven, who is best known for his soundtrack work on The VVitch.

Compare to the classic analogue horror instrument, the waterphone:

LA peeps: Learn how to paint your own black velvets

In my opinion, black velvet paintings are the gold standard in kitsch wall decor. I'm not ashamed to share that I have no less than eight of them adorning the walls of my home, including a pretty decent Velvet Elvis.

I'm not in Los Angeles, but if I were, I'd be heading to Velveteria (the black velvet painting museum) on July 1 for their black velvet painting class.

Velveteria's "stooge" (his title, not mine) Carl Baldwin, wrote me: You can paint with blacklight paint or regualr acrylics. We are painting fireworks in blacklight. You can paint whatever you want... you can bring wine beer. if you want... All the painting supplies velvet are provided. Sit among the Velvets, get inspired paint your masterpiece.

The museum's co-founder Caren Anderson will be teaching the class which is divided into two separate sessions. The first class is from 2 PM to 5 PM and the second one is from 7 PM to 9:30 PM.

The cost for one of these sessions? Just $20. How could you not go?

Watch: Jeremy Corbyn addresses Glastonbury

The eminently electable Jeremy Corbyn, whose exemplary, inclusive election manifesto rescued the Labour Party (including its traitorous establishment Blairite wing) from history's dustbin and delivered a brutal blow to the nasty Tory party, the man who is arguably the UK's Prime Minister in waiting, addressed a roaring crowd at the Glastonbury Festival, damning war, Trump, austerity and the pitting of one generation against another. It's a hell of a speech.

Philando Castile's killers secretly tried to order Facebook to let them spy on Castile's girlfriend

After shooting Philando Castile dead during a traffic stop -- a killing that was livestreamed on Facebook by Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds -- the police obtained a secret warrant for Reynolds's Facebook account, including her private messages and deleted messages, accompanied by a gag order that banned Facebook from every discussing the warrant's existence.

This butcher's twine dispenser helps keep things in place

This stand stops my spool of kitchen twine from rolling off the counter.

Years ago I bought a loose spool of kitchen twine. My cat constantly knocks it off the counter. I finally finished that spool, and replaced it with this spool on a stand!

Seriously a spool of thread lasts so long that I want a stand for it. I like to keep it on the counter, and not in a drawer. I do not like it on the floor. I don't like it rolling around.

Thoughtfully, this stand even has a string cutter on top!

Regency Cooking Butcher's Twine on Handy Dispenser with Cutter for Meat Prep and Trussing Turkey via Amazon

Poop doping could be the latest performance enhancement craze

Evidently you can be full of the wrong shit. A cyclist, by testing her friends fecal output, determined she needed better critters up in herself to improve her pedal pushing. So she did.

The madwoman behind “poop doping” is Lauren Petersen, a postdoctoral microbiologist at the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine. Petersen has been racing bikes all her life, but as she told The Scientist earlier this month, she’s struggled with chronic Lyme disease since her teen years. She finally rid herself of the disease in 2013, but the intense course of antibiotics she took had ravaged her system and left her with chronic fatigue and stomach problems.

Eventually, she learned that her microbiome (the colony of microbes in her body) was dangerously unbalanced and was not functioning as it should. She was not breaking down any food, and she learned that she was not eligible for a potentially beneficial fecal transplant. So she simply did one herself. As she said, it was a fairly dangerous DIY procedure and it wasn’t fun, but it worked better than she thought it could:

In February 2014, with the support of her family, she recruited a donor and did it herself. “I just did it at home. It’s not fun, but it’s pretty basic. It costs like six bucks to do.” (The $6 being for the drugstore enema kit.) The do-it-yourself solution worked. “Within two months I was a new person,” Petersen says. “I had no more fatigue. I could ride my bike hard three days in a row, no problem.” She started racing four months after her fecal transplant, and was winning races at the pro level soon after that. “Everything changed,” Petersen says.

Petersen’s donor was a fellow elite cyclist, and after analyzing the sample and those of other riders, she discovered an unusually high prevalence of the bacterium Prevotella, which helps synthesize amino acids that help in muscle recovery. Petersen’s analysis of her friends’ craps also showed an abundance of M. smithii, which performs a complementary function. The science is complicated, but in short, a healthy amount of both bacteria types in one’s gut means you can more efficiently process food and then deal with debilitating byproducts like carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

Via Deadspin

Remembering Prisoners of Gravity, the greatest science fiction TV show of all time

From 1989 to 1994, the public broadcaster TV Ontario ran Prisoners of Gravity, a brilliant science fiction TV show that used a goofy framing device (a host trapped in a satellite who interviewed science fiction writers stuck down on Earth) for deep, gnarly, fascinating dives into science fiction's greatest and most fascinating themes, from sex and overpopulation to cyberpunk and religion.

This power pack has a tracker built in, so it will be exceedingly difficult to lose

Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.

The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times on a single charge and it's about the size of a thick wallet. The 9,000mAh battery can even recharge most full-size tablets, and it features both USB-A and C ports for maximum compatibility. It’s rubberized polycarbonate frame is rated for military-grade shock resistance, so you don’t have to worry when it inevitably falls out of your pack. Plus, built-in Tile Bluetooth tracking makes your lost battery easy to locate.

This battery pack is a mobile workhorse designed to keep your devices chugging no matter where you are in the world. You can get the Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack today for $119.95.

Is the host of the new 'Gong Show' really Mike Myers?

No one involved with the reboot of The Gong Show will admit it, but it seems Mike Myers (in a heavy prosthetic disguise) is playing Tommy Maitland, the show's 'British' host.

Ian Crouch of The New Yorker writes:

Yet there is a reason to watch, if only to attempt to make some sense of the show’s host, a rakish late-middle-aged British comedian named Tommy Maitland, who bounds onstage on the first show wearing a tuxedo and a montera (a bullfighter’s cap), and tosses out such catchphrases as “Who’s a cheeky monkey?” and “You’ve got no proof.” Though the audience appears familiar with him, Maitland is not a real person. He is, beneath an accent and a prosthetic mask, Mike Myers—though nowhere in the show’s promotional materials is his name mentioned.

The show, which is executive produced by Will Arnett, premiered last night on ABC.

Review: bug-zapping lightbulbs are worthless

I got one of those bug-zapping LED lightbulbs, in hopes of murdering the flies drifting into my office during the increasingly warm and muggy Pennsylvania summer. I got mine from Home Depot, but the bulbs at Lowes, Wal-Mart and Amazon are all obviously identical. There are two lights in each bulb: an ultraviolet one inside an electrified bug-zapping cage, and a standard 60W-equivalent LED element to light the room. You can have one or both lit simply by turning the light off and on repeatedly within a second: it sounds clunky, but in practice is an ingenious way to cycle the options without adding interface elements.

But it doesn't matter, because they're useless.

I installed my bulb in three locations, moving it every couple of days until a week had passed. As a control, I moved one of those traditional gooey fly strips likewise.

Subjectively, neither did much to stop the flies, a job clearly best accomplished by closing the damn windows.

Objectively, the death tolls were as follows:

Traditional fly strip: 9 bugs, 3 large.

Bug-zapping lightbulb: 4 bugs, all tiny. (The bulb is pictured here, without cleaning)

VERDICT: Don't be tempted: they're not half as good as fly strips and are many times the price. The only advantage they have is not being quite so gross when you throw them in the trash.

The White House banned cameras from press briefings, so CNN sent in a courtroom sketch artist

Bravo, CNN artist Bill Hennessy.

CNN equated the briefing to a Supreme Court argument -- an on-the-record event at which cameras are banned.

Hennessy has been a Washington-based courtroom sketch artist for decades. He has covered a wide range of cases, including the Clinton impeachment proceedings, terror suspect trials, and Guantanamo Bay detainee hearings. He worked for CNN at the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Hennessy's presence highlighted the significant change in White House access that has taken place recently. Press secretaries for Democratic and Republican presidents have held on-camera briefings on a regular basis for the past quarter century. But the Trump White House has been cutting back on the frequency and the length of on-camera briefings.

What's amazing is how angry conservatives are about CNN doing this. I'd call them snowflakes, but they've already melted into salty little puddles.

This man has visited Disneyland 2,000 days in a row

Jeff Reitz of Huntington Beach, California has visited Disneyland 2,000 days in a row and he has no plans to stop. Why? It makes him happy. From ABC7:

Reitz, an Air Force veteran, credits the parks with giving him something to look forward to each day, noting that he enjoys hearing the music as he enters, interacting with the friendly park cast members, and watching the park guests having a good time. He also enjoys the shows and attractions, including one of his favorites, the Matterhorn Bobsleds adventure.

(via NextDraft)

Nazi cache hidden behind a bookcase

A secret passageway led to an trove of smuggled Nazi artifacts, say investigators in Argentina, and their collector is in trouble with the law.

They were put on display at the Delegation of Argentine Israeli Associations in Buenos Aires on Monday. Many Nazi higher-ups fled to Argentina in the waning days of the war, and investigators believe that officials close to Adolf Hitler brought the artifacts with them. Many items were accompanied by photographs, some with Hitler holding them.

"This is a way to commercialize them, showing that they were used by the horror, by the Fuhrer. There are photos of him with the objects," Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich told The Associated Press.

The objects include a device used to measure heads. Nazis believed that one could distinguish a Jew from someone belonging to the supposed Aryan race by head measurements. [Thanks, Matthew!]

Previously: found a locked safe hidden at the back of a closet in my new house

FCC intends to fine man $120 million for making over 96 million robocalls

Federal Communications Commission officials say Adrian Abramovich of Florida made as many as a million illegal telemarketing calls a days, at times using lines reserved for hospital emergencies. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said at a hearing yesterday, “This scheme was particularly abhorrent because, given its breadth, it appears to have substantially disrupted the operations of an emergency medical paging provider. It did this by slowing down and potentially disabling its network. Pagers may be low-tech, but for doctors, these devices are simple and dependable standbys.”

From Miami New Times: According to complaints sent to the FCC, homeowners have said for years that robocalls have been trying to get them to sign up for fake free trips or vacations. The robocalls would tell the victims to "press 1" to hear more about exclusive vacation deals with companies such as TripAdvisor, Expedia, Hilton, and Marriott and then route anyone who fell for the scam to a call center, where the perpetrators would try to hook gullible customers into buying time-shares that had nothing to do with those companies.

Eventually, TripAdvisor got wind of the illegal calling campaigns and launched its own investigation, which traced the calls back to Abramovich, who ran a company called Marketing Strategy Leaders out of 2000 Bayshore Dr., a swanky address in the gated Coconut Grove community L'Hermitage. In April 2016, TripAdvisor tipped off the FCC.

Abramovich will be given to opportunity to respond to the FCC's findings before the fine is imposed.

Image: Jon Phillips

A woman's act of kindness at McDonald's leads to 167 customers who pay it forward

Last Sunday, an older woman in the drive-thru line at McDonald's in Scottsburg, IN told the cashier she wanted to pay for the $36 order of the man behind her. She didn't know him, but he was in a van with four children. She told the cashier, Hunter Hostetler, to tell the man "Happy Father's Day!"

When the man received the free order of food including four Happy Meals, he told the cashier he wanted to pay for the two cars behind him. And so the day went, until by the end of the day, 167 customers had paid it forward, buying someone else's meal.

So who was the woman who started the good samaritan chain?

“I keep looking for her, hoping I see her and can tell her what happened,” Hostetler told ABC News. “I don’t know if she knows, but I hope to see her again so I can tell her.”

Image: Mike Mozart

The wonderful Flair felt tip pen

Paper Mate introduced the Flair felt tip pen in the 1960s. I liked them when I was a kid because the lines were so clean and you could vary the line width. I kind of forgot about them until I was at Maker Faire and my toy inventor friend, Bob Knetzger, said he uses them to produce his wonderful sketches. They are also cheap! Amazon sells a dozen black Flair pens for $6.71. A set of 12 colored ones go for $11.

Johnny Depp's joke about assassinating Trump makes White House "sad."

Last night at the UK's Glastonbury Festival, Johnny Depp asked this rhetorical question of the crowd: "When was the last time an actor assassinated a President?"

I believe that the answer is April 14, 1865, when actor John Wilkes Booth murdered Abraham Lincoln.

The White House's response to Depp's comment? "Sad."

According to an official White House statement, "President Trump has condemned violence in all forms and its sad that others like Johnny Depp have not followed his lead. I hope that some of Mr. Depp's colleagues will speak out against this type of rhetoric as strongly as they would if his comments were directed to a democrat elected official."

Secret Service staff assistant Shawn Holtzclaw told CNN that they are aware of the matter but can't comment further.

UPDATE: Johnny apologized.

Diamond Yoda pendant to be auctioned

This Yoda pendant listed by Heritage Auctions "features full-cut yellow and near colorless diamonds weighing a total of approximately 9.00 carats, set in 14k gold." The estimated value is $2,500 - $3,500. will a lucky Boing Boing reader place the winning bid?

An avatar for all time, Yoda, the wise can be with you always. Instantly recognized as one of the most beloved characters in the Star Wars narrative, this custom made pendant is whimsical and fun. It can be worn on a cord or chain or easily modified by a jeweler to wear as a brooch. Appropriately, Yoda is covered with diamonds, an ancient gemstone that can take billions of years to form. His robe is made of white and yellow diamonds totaling approximately 9.00cttw. A single round brilliant cut diamond held in Yoda’s outstretched hand has a known carat weight of 0.46ct.

Could this single diamond represent a kyber crystal? Or symbolize the Force? To quote Yoda, “Long ago in forgotten times, when the Sith and Jedi fought for control of the galaxy, weapons there were, of unimaginable power. Always at their heart, a kyber crystal was.” Gem quality diamonds are cut to exact proportions to accentuate their ability to reflect light. The dispersion of white light into spectral colors is diamonds’ primary gemological characteristic. Since Yoda lost his light saber in his legendary duel with Darth Sidious, and the lightsaber reflects the Force of the Jedi who holds it, a diamond is the perfect replacement.

Desktop museum for sale contains dinosaur bones, "space gems," and sliver of Steve Jobs' turtleneck

The Mini Museum is a small, self-contained cabinet of curiosity in a lucite box. This third edition contains such wonders as a Spinosaurus bone, rotor from a WWII Enigma machine, sliver of one of Pelé's soccer balls, and a tiny swatch from Steve Jobs' turtleneck. It's $300 (or $129 for a smaller collection). Maybe the next edition will come with Madonna's pap smear! Creator Hans Fex writes:

In 1977, my father was a research scientist and a Director at the National Institutes of Health. Growing up, we had a subscription to every great science magazine - and living near Washington DC we visited the Smithsonian museums and saw dinosaur bones, meteorites, and rockets almost every weekend. My father kept an amazing collection of artifacts at his lab and also at home.

After a trip to Malta, he returned with some artifacts which he embedded into epoxy resin. I had never seen this done before and it was beautiful.

Then, all at once, I saw it... A grand collection within a manageable space that I could share with others.

(via Uncrate)

This guy sued Uber and won after a driver stole $4k of his stuff

Dane Wilcox is the proprietor of FYM Hot Sauce. In December he took an Uber in Boston. When he got out of his car at the end of the trip the driver took off with most of his stuff in the car. Wilcox filed a police report and contacted Uber. "Everything I tried amounted to nothing," he said, "and Uber kept responding with the same response, 'We are not responsible for anything that happens in the car. Drivers are independent contractors and we can’t make them do anything if they say they hadn’t seen your bag.'"

After a lot of sleuthing on his part, Wilcox gathered a bunch of evidence and presented it to Uber.

The Uber rep told me that it was fishy that I happened to have such a preponderance of evidence, and accused me of setting the whole situation up to scam their company. I told him that it was lucky in some respects, like the security video, but I had no interest in doing all of this to scam them; it was a waste of my time and money as well as an insult to my integrity. I was then referred to the Terms and Conditions of the app which says that Uber is not responsible for what happens in the cars. I let them know I had done my research, and just because they make that statement doesn’t mean it is true. No matter how many times I proclaim that I am the King of England, at no point is it a true statement.

Wilcox ended up taking Uber to court, and after two hearings, he won. Uber was forced to send him a check for $4,000.

Wilcox's account of the ordeal is long, but interesting.

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