Boing Boing 

Carla Sinclair

Carla Sinclair is the co-founder of bOING bOING, the founding editor-in-chief of CRAFT magazine, and editor-in-chief of Wink. She has written several books, including Net Chick, The Happy Mutant Handbook, Signal to Noise, and Braid Crazy.

Woman suing Starbucks for allegedly serving drink with cleaning solution


Cheryl Kingery of Davis County, Utah says she ordered a cup of coffee from Starbucks, but was given a serving of Urnex cleaning solution instead. This caused esophagitis, as well as nerve damage, Burning Mouth Syndrome, loss of taste and more. The incident occurred at the Clinton, UT location in 2012 and has cost her over $186,000 in medical expenses and lost wages so far. She expects that "future economic damages will exceed $1.3 million." Starbucks is investigating, saying "The safety of our customer is our highest priority."

Watch: Clinton's amusing parody of GOP climate change deniers

Starring the lot of GOP 2016 contenders, Hillary adds a bit of entertainment to her campaign with this parody of climate change deniers in the form of a classic monster movie.


Fugitive caught after being spotted in horror film photos


I imagine most fugitives would want to keep a low profile, but not so for Jason Stange, of Olympia, WA, who was found guilty of armed bank robbery in 2006. Rather than show up for probation, after a 117-month sentence, he was busy playing the part of a deranged Planned Parenthood doctor in the low-budget horror film, Marla Mae. Then last week, an article ran in The Olympian about the movie with lots of photos of 44-year-old Stange. Finally his days in the spotlight caught up with him. According to The News Tribune:

Brandon Roberts, the film’s producer, called Stange a talented actor who was well-liked by the cast and crew. He said the film was rewritten to suit Stange, who had “really nailed the audition” and brought a different element to the role than what the film’s creators originally sought.

Filming had just ended, and everyone was checking out the article in Friday morning’s newspaper when Stange headed out in his costume to buy cigarettes, Roberts said. Agents arrested Stange and allowed him to return the costume to the filming location.

Stange's leading role will remain in the film, which is scheduled for release in 2016.

OgoSport Discs let you play volleyball, Frisbee, or paddle ball

My daughter got a Mini OgoSport Discs set as a gift last March and we finally broke it open last week. It has quickly tied first place with bocce ball as our new favorite outdoor summer game. Like miniature portable trampolines, these 12-inch discs can send the “ball” (a rubber stringy pom) bouncing higher than a hundred feet and are perfect for a game of Ogo-style volleyball (volleying without a net or formal rules). You can also throw a disc like a Frisbee, or play it like paddle ball without the attached elastic string. Lightweight and small enough to toss into a backpack, I look forward to packing it up the next time we head for the beach.

See more photos at Wink Fun.

Mini OgoSport Discs
by Ogo Sport
Ages 4-99
$28 Buy one on Amazon

Robot-staffed "Weird Hotel" in Japan unveiled today


Imagine checking into a hotel with a robotic dinosaur receptionist behind the front desk. You then hand your bags over to the bell-bot, or trolley robot that takes them to your room. Welcome to the Weird Hotel, or Henn na Hotel in Japanese. Unveiled today to reporters, the hotel will open to the public on Friday in Sasebo, Japan (a part of Nagasaki). The dinosaur receptionist mentioned above, who speaks English, will share the front desk with a female humanoid who blinks and speaks Japanese. The hotel also uses facial recognition instead of keys, and has a "doll-like hairless robot" working as concierge to answer simple questions about the goings-on in the area. There are a few human employees, including the bed-makers and some hidden security folks monitoring the cameras. At $80 per night, and no tips, it seems like quite the bargain for Japan. For more details, click here.

William Shatner was none too pleased with his green Star Trek costume


On a panel at Comic-Con last Thursday, William Shatner shared his opinion about the green shirt he had to wear as Captain Kirk on Star Trek. And it wasn't favorable. The problem was it was just too darn snug, making him feel uncomfortable. "It was a little embarrassing after lunch to have that tight green thing on." And, according to CinemaBlend, it wasn't just the lunches that made him self-conscious.

Besides the practical inconveniences, there was clearly an element of embarrassment from walking around the studio lot wearing something that one might guess to be the Easter Bunny’s karate gi. This is especially true considering that it was a time when westerns still dominated and science fiction was generally ostracized.

But Shatner was good-natured in his wardrobe dissing and complimented costume designer Bill Theiss for all of his hard work. For more details on Shatner's past and future costumes, click here.

Smart trash cans in NY expanding Wi-Fi hotspots


Some of New York's public trash cans do more than just collect junk. A few hundred of them can detect when they're too stinky, when to compact the trash, and when it's time to empty them. And now they are also about to expand their Wi-Fi hotspot program.

Waste management company Bigbelly equipped two of its smart bins with wireless internet in downtown Manhattan last winter, providing 50 to 75 megabits per second. That's fast enough to download an HD movie in nine minutes, or upload 200 photos in about 27 seconds.

The company now wants to turn more of its several hundred garbage and recycling bins in New York City into Wi-Fi hotspots. Bigbelly is applying for a grant from the Mayor's Office to install the Wi-Fi garbage cans in underserved neighborhoods. The company also plans to conduct more pilot tests this year, and fully deploy units in the fall if they get Board approval.

The city is also replacing payphones with free charging stations and other smart perks.

Edmond: The Moonlit Party hearkens back to the golden era of Golden Books

With vivid colors and charming humanized animals, Edmond: The Moonlit Party looks like a neon version of a Richard Scarry book. And its heartwarming story is just as delightful. The book starts off with Edmond, a sweet but anti-social squirrel who lives in an old chestnut tree. He spends his days making nut jam and colorful pompom hats and seems content enough. But sometimes he gets lonely. One night his neighbors – including Mr. George Owl, Harry the bear, and Ant – throw a festive party. Too timid to venture outside, he goes to bed in tears. Until Mr. George Owl knocks on his door and shows Edmond a night he’ll never forget. Edmond is an unpretentious tale of friendship and individuality that hearkens back to the endearing golden era of Golden Books.

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Edmond: The Moonlit Party
by Astrid Desbordes (author) and Marc Boutavant (illustrator)
Enchanted Lion Books
2015, 32 pages, 9 x 11 x 0.5 inches
$9 Buy one on Amazon

Watch: Man drives backwards for miles through L.A.'s busy streets

A man driving an Audi decided to go on a joyride last Thursday - in reverse. For miles, the mysterious driver with a female passenger winded his way down the Hollywood hills backwards, crossing over yellow lines and almost hitting a pedestrian.

Several times, the Audi crossed the double-yellow lines, narrowly missing oncoming traffic. When the vehicle approached busy Hollywood Boulevard, still in reverse, the driver maneuvered around other cars and into the left turn lane.

"It definitely was a shocker for me," said Kevin Zanazanian, who recorded the video on his phone. The realtor said he first noticed the Audi around 4:45 p.m. Thursday afternoon near Mulholland.

Police are still looking for the driver, whose car sported car dealer plates.


Officer suspended after refusing to kill baby bears


A mama bear with two cubs made a habit of sneaking into a mobile home in British Columbia, Canada and raiding the freezer. On one of these visits, conservation officer Bryan Casavant was ordered to kill all three bears. But after putting down the mama bear, he didn't have the heart to kill the babies.

Despite being ordered to put them down, Casavant tranquilized the cubs and took them to a veterinary hospital, where they were deemed to be in good health. The cubs, named Jordan and Athena, were then taken to a recovery center run by the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington.

For his good deed, Casavant is now suspended from his job and under investigation. Fortunately, he's got a lot of public support for his heroic act.

At the time of this writing, an online petition calling on B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak to reinstate Casavant has attracted nearly 152,000 signatures. It only needs around 48,000 more to reach its goal of 200,000.

Make that 47,999.

Ted Cruz sore that NY Times won't let him cheat his way onto best-seller list

8570524219_6fda50508f_o Ted Cruz must not have a lot of confidence in his new book, A Time For Truth. Rather than let the book makes its way to the top on its own, he and his publisher Harper Collins resorted to sneaky tactics to ensure high sales. They paid people to buy the book.
In essence, The Times accused Cruz’s publisher of trying to buy its way onto the bestseller list by having a firm like Result Source hire thousands of people across America to individually purchase a copy of A Time For Truth, in the hope that some of those retailers are on the secret list of booksellers who report their sales to the Times, or that the aggregate purchasers will simply be too high for the Times to ignore.
Conservatives are furious with The New York Times, saying it should be okay for the presidential hopeful to buy his way onto the Bestseller List. The NYT, however, says they have “uniform standards" they follow and these standards don't include enticing book consumers with cash. A Time for Truth? Hardly.

Deliciously designed product mascots that have lured consumers for decades

Quick! When you think of cereal, who says, “Theeey’re great!” Who’s the suave yet finicky cat peddling Nine Lives? The patch-eyed comic punk selling gum? The creepy yet charitable fast food clown? If you answered Tony the Tiger, Morris the Cat, Bazooka Joe, and Ronald McDonald, you’ll love the Mr. Product books, by product design aficionado Warren Dotz (author of Dog Food for Thought and Cat Food for Thought, also reviewed on Wink).

Associating products with characters started off in the 1800s with simple easily-recognized trademarks (for instance, Quaker Oats, whose original trademark in 1877 was “a lean and austere Quaker holding a scroll that displayed the word “Pure”). But these simple trademarks soon evolved into product characters with full-on personalities, many of whom starred in their own comic books and T.V. commercials.

Meet Mr. Product Volume 1 and Mr. Product Volume 2 by advertising art historian Warren Dotz are packed with advertising’s most recognizable product mascots, spanning around 60 years between the two books (Volume 1 covers 1920s-1970s while Volume 2 focuses on 1960-1985). Each book starts off with a nice bit of “spokes-characters” history, followed by page after page of colorful, whimsical, deliciously designed ads that have lured us suckers, er, consumers to buy their products for decades. It's interesting that both volumes were released on the same day – each with the same amount of pages – and I'm not sure why, as they could both have been seamlessly packaged within the same covers. But they do make a cute pair.

See sample pages from these books at Wink.

Man's two cute "puppies" grew into wild bears


In 2013, Wang Kaiyu, a Yunan resident in China, bought two cute black puppies, one male and one female, who were playful and well-behaved. And then they started to show signs that were unusual for dogs. For one thing, they never barked. They also grew to more than 100 pounds each. Two years later Kaiyu finally figured out his beloved pets weren't in the canine family at all. 

It wasn't until Wang saw a pamphlet about endangered wild animals that he realized he had raised two Asian black bears, a Category 2 protected species, by accident. He decided to give the cubs up to the Forest Public Security Bureau in the hopes that they would be able to re-home them.

The teenager cubs are now at the Yunnan Wild Rescue Center where they seem to be happy and healthy.


Venomous spiders found in New Zealand grapes


If you live in New Zealand, put down the grapes. Since Friday, at least ten poisonous spiders have been spotted in imported grapes, including 5 black widows, 2 sac spiders, and 1 brown widow. One of the black widows was spotted by a childcare teacher in Wairoa, NZ.

The teacher, Aira Bremner, told The Wairoa Star she was washing a bag of Mexican red seedless grapes when she noticed a black spider tumble out and fall onto the chopping board. The spider was identified by MPI [Ministry for Primary Industries] as a black widow.

New Zealand isn't the only country finding spiders in their grapes. In early June, a man from Leamington Spa, England, found a nest of black widows in his grapes, with lots of baby spiders running around the fruit. In both cases, the grapes were imported from Mexico.

Planes and stocks both freeze this AM over computer glitches


It's a strange morning when stocks and planes are both shut down due to two separate computer glitches. First it was United Airlines at 8am ET, who was forced to ground all of its departing planes in the U.S. for nearly two hours, affecting 4,900 flights worldwide. Of course this caused huge delays for passengers, which could last for days. Just a couple of hours later, The New York Stock Exchange had to shut down for the day after a technical glitch "froze computers on the market's fabled trading floor." According to The Washington Times:

One of the world’s biggest stock exchanges had seen shares trending down throughout the morning because of economic crises in Greece and China, but all trading halted at 11:32 a.m. as data on trades and prices apparently stopped coming into the traders’ computer screens. Nearly an hour later, the market was still down...

As the shutdown pass the hour mark, the NYSE issued a new statement saying the shutdown was attributable to an “internal” computer malfunction and was not the result of an outside cyberattack.

I know it's most likely just a coincidence, but it's an interesting one.


Gentleman leaps onto Broadway stage to charge his iPhone


If you thought you've seen it all when it comes to iPhone rudeness and stupidity, think again. A fellow in the audience at the Booth Theater in New York had a sudden urge to charge his phone, and spotted an outlet on stage. So he jumped onto the set of Hand to God and tried to plug in his phone. But alas, the phone outlet was just a prop. Thanks for the good laugh, Mashable.

Bear in Minnesota zoo hammers glass barrier with rock and shatters it


Yesterday, as Minnesota zoo visitors watched, a grizzly bear decided to give them some action. The bear picked up a rock the size of a basketball and slammed it into the exhibit's glass barrier.

Robin Ficker, a visitor from Maryland, said he was watching “the bears wrestling with each other and looking at the people” shortly after the zoo opened at 9 a.m. Then one of the animals “picked up from the bottom of the pool a rock that had to weigh 50 pounds. And while many people were standing there, he slammed it against the glass several times,” Ficker said.

According to one of the zoo's employees, Tony Fisher, the bear was just clowning around. "He didn't know what he was doing. He was just being a bear." Maybe. Or maybe he had something else on his mind.

No one was hurt, and the exhibit is temporarily closed until the zoo can fix the pane.