This week, Xeni, Mark and Jason talk TSA-friendly backpacks, aromatherapy to help you sleep, and two travel must-haves for your phablet and vehicle batteries.Read the rest
Street Angel searches for Dr. Pangea’s secret lair, with the help of her friend, the Bald Eagle. By Jim Rugg and Brian MarucaRead the rest
In the latest episode of This Week in Science, Dr. Kiki started the show with a rundown of the 2014 Nobel Prize winners in the science categories, and then moved into news about our rising oceans and hot air hanging out in the north Pacific Ocean.
Justin talked genetics and evolution with respect to red foxes and the tapir rhino connection. Then he got brainy with a story about the mechanism that rabies uses to hitch a ride into the central nervous system.
Blair's Animal Corner consisted of some noise-making baby fish, the sticky stuff used by daddy longleg spiders to catch and hold prey, and finches with home decor color sense.
The second half of the show started out with a discussion about research into the science of death and the experiences that surround it. Then we turned to World Robot Domination with a story about robotic ships being built by the US Navy.
Finally, the show rounded out with a bunch of stories about soap in the environment, the amazing expanding cerebellum, genes and coffee, Ebola updates, and why windmills kill bats.
In our last installment, mad geologist Dr. Pangea escaped a maximum security prison with plans to reform the Pangean supercontinent. In this installment we meet the one assigned to stop him: an 8th grade girl named Jesse Sanchez, AKA Street Angel. By Jim Rugg and Brian MarucaRead the rest
Street Angel, a new comic series by Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca. This issue: insane geologist Dr. Pangea has escaped his maximum security prison cell! What chaos could he wreak?Read the rest
Dr. Kiki started the show with a story about stem cells. European scientists published work showing that they are now able to reprogram adult pluripotent stem cells so that they return to an embryonic-like state. What does that mean? The cells have no memory of their former lives, and have the potential to truly become any cell-type found in the body.
Then it was all about artificial sweeteners: a recent study looked at the effects of various sweeteners on glucose sensitivity. The take-home finding is that artificial sweeteners alter gut bacteria, leading to glucose intolerance in mice, and a poorer glycemic response in a few individuals. It warrants more study, but demonstrates that what we eat can dramatically affect the bacteria within us.
Justin reported on a human origins story that has taken the anthropological world by storm. DNA reveals that Europeans descended from three groups of ancient humans rather than the two that have been accepted for years. Turns out Eurasians are in the mix!
Blair's Animal Corner was full of birds and bugs! Peacocks, the stars of sexual selection, are under scrutiny, and it seems the fabulous tail feathers of the male aren't all that big a drag. Male ash borers, a glittering green insect that is causing trouble in trees across the continental US, are the target of pest management efforts, which now include decoy females that electrocute their male suitors. Oh, and watch out for eggs from backyard chickens: you never know what is in them.
The show's second half began with a discussion of the re-evolution of sweet sensing by hummingbirds - Did you know carnivorous theropod dinosaurs lost the ability to taste sweet things, and to this day, the bird species descended from them can't either?
We talked about apes and man, and proclivities to violence. We didn't make chimps aggressive or murderous. They're just that way naturally. Thank goodness we are more closely related to the Bonobo.
Dr. Kiki always loves to bring up World Robot Domination. Need an indestructible soft robot? Check out Harvard's new bot: it can walk thru fire or snow, and survive being run over.
Other big stories included nanobots tasting wine, and smoking cessation therapy that includes psilocibin.
Designer Paul Bacon is known for developing the “Big Book Look” – commercial, bold and iconic – designing many well known covers from the 1960s through the early 2000s. Mulholland Books designer Lauren Harms tells how his Coma cover was revised for the new edition.Read the rest
Ella Frances Sanders illustrates words held to be untranslatable, to English equivalents, from their native languages.Read the rest
There are a handful of other books about African-American quilts, particularly quilts from Gee’s Bend; each have beautiful quilts to show, but this obscure exhibition catalogue remains my favorite. Whereas other books tend to position the quilts in the context of modern art and abstract painting, scholar and collector Eli Leon focuses on the connection with West and Central African textile traditions.
Leon’s thesis is that African-American quiltmakers, much like jazz musicians, were drawing on the aesthetic traditions of Africa when they began to make quilts to keep their families warm. “[Afro-traditional quiltmakers] favor ‘flexible patterning,’ in which the design is conceived as an invitation to variation; rather than repeat, the pattern may materialize in a sequence of visual elaborations.”
This contrasts sharply with the standard American quilt-making tradition and its attention to precise measurement and exact pattern repetition. Instead, afro-traditional quilters “maintain a generous attitude towards the accidental.”
What makes the essays so great is that Leon is a passionate observer of process, using diagrams to describe variations on a single block pattern and exploring at length the design choices used in specific quilts.
With the help of extensive interviews with African-American quilt makers, Leon creates a language to describe these design techniques. Subtitles like “accumulative creation,” “bimodality,” and “integration of accidentals” hint at what this book has to offer to designers and improvisers of all stripes.
Also worth checking out is Talking Quilts, a series of conversations between Eli Leon and quilter Sherri Lynn Wood about his collection. – Reanna Alder
Accidentally on Purpose: The Aesthetic Management of Irregularities in African Textiles and African-American Quilts
by Eli Leon
2007, 176 pages, 9.4 x 9.5 x 0.5 inches (paperback)
“The Day The Mummy Returned” is a 1971 short story written by Ed Wood, Jr. the American original who gave us Bride of the Monster, Plan 9 from Outer Space, and so much more. It’s presented here for the first time in over forty years since its initial publication.Read the rest
Xeni Jardin reports in from the much-anticipated presentation today in Cupertino, California.Read the rest
Jim Rugg interviews Andrew Neal, who devised a plan to create a dozen variant-edition comic covers for popular series.Read the rest
Explore the art and allure of vinyl records with Death Cab for Cutie bassist Nick Harmer, Wilco and Miles Davis album designer Lawrence Azerrad, and Dead Kennedys/Alternative Tentacles artist Winston Smith. Panel moderated by Boing Boing’s David Pescovitz.Read the rest
In each episode of the Gadgets podcast we recommend technology we love and use. Xeni, Jason, and Mark check out a pro-quality food dehydrator, a camera lens and eyeglass cleaning brush, a cool synthesizer kit, and more!Read the rest