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David Pescovitz

David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.

Meteoroid just misses skydiver

A video recently posted on YouTube appears to show a falling meteoroid just missing a skydiver in Norway. Fast forward to 1:31 to see it streak past.

"If you work out the mathematics, the odds of a 1-kilogram- rock (2.2 lbs.) passing within some 30 feet (9.1 meters) of a person on Earth's surface within 10 minutes is about 1 in 500 billion," Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office told Space.com. "You have a 1,000 times greater chance of winning the Powerball lottery."

UPDATE: Over at Slate, Phil "Bad Astronmy" Plait wrote, "It is entirely possible that what the video shows is a smaller rock that fell out of the skydiver’s parachute."

$5 programmable chemistry set inspired by music box

Stanford bioengineer Manu Prakash and his colleagues devised a $5 "chemistry set" that can be programmed to mix various reactants by punching holes in a paper tape and feeding it through the handheld device. Prakash says he was inspired by a hand-cranked music box. This latest device for what Prakash calls "frugal science" is on the heels of his amazing 50-cent folding microscope that I blogged previously.

"Music box inspires a chemistry set for kids and scientists in developing countries" (SCOPE)

New film about Kurt Cobain death conspiracy

Last week was the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide. Soaked In Bleach is a new film mixing historical footage and interviews with dramatizations that dredges up the tired old conspiracy theory that Cobain didn't kill himself, but was murdered by a hit man. Hired by who? One guess. Of course one of stars, at least of the trailer, is the detective Tom Grant who was retained by Love and later claimed that she had paid a hitman to off her hubby. If all this sounds familiar, you must have seen Nick Broomfield's 1998 documentary "Kurt & Courtney."

Mobile phone orchestra TV advertisement

I've seen several artists create "mobile phone orchestras" but I appreciate the multigenerational representation in this example made for SK Telecom, the South Korean wireless operator.

Space history auction on Tuesday

Boot

RingOn Tuesday, Bonhams auction house will put a massive collection of space history items on the block for sale. The Space History Sale features patches, signed ephemera, autographed lunar globe and actual hardware that made it to the moon. For example, at right, the polarizing camera filter used by Apollo 15 astronaut James Irwin is expected to go for $20,000 to $30,000. Above, one of only three known castings of Buzz Aldrin's moon boot, also valued at around $20,000 to $30,000. There's also a Mercury period spacesuit estimated at $8,000 to $12,000.

"We have items that came directly from astronauts, items that they carried into lunar orbit with them, items that went to the lunar surface and items that have lunar dust on them," says Bonhams space history expert Cassandra Hatton.

"Space history auction includes Apollo items, Mercury spacesuit" (AP) (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)

Bonhams: The Space History Sale

Tech-art making class with Kal Spelletich (San Francisco)

Ingenious tech/robot artist Kal Spelletich of Seemen and Survival Research Labs fame is teaching a maker class in San Francisco on creating art involving technology! It sounds fantastic -- a rare opportunity to learn directly from a master of this genre that blends art, science, engineering, cultural criticism, and high weirdness. (Above, a two-minute video survey of Kal's storied career.) Kal says, "We will explore: building installations, carpentry, home-brewing, guerilla gardening, electric wiring, robotics, fire-making, fixing things, plumbing, pnu-matics, pumps, water purification, high-voltage electricity, video surveillance, electronic interfaces, scavenging for materials, cooking alternatives, solar power, skinning a rabbit, lighting, remote control systems, survivalist contemporary art history, and promoting and exhibiting your art.." Kal Spelletich: Research & Survival in the Arts Class

Mozilla CEO resigned

In response to the furor around Brendan Eich's disgusting support of a 2008 bigoted California ballot initiative against same-sex marriage, he has resigned as CEO of Mozilla Corporation, makers of Firefox. (CNN)

In a blog post, Mozilla Foundation chairperson Mitchell Baker wrote:

Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.

We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.

1982 high school yearbook with videogame theme

Prosp

Prosssss

London's IDEA booksellers unearthed this 1982 yearbook, from South Plantation High School in Florida, that has a fantastic hand-drawn video game theme. (via the excellent @ideabooksltd Instagram feed)

Artistically altered 19th century cabinet cards

Cabinetttt

Cabinet cards are a kind of photo portrait mounted on cardboard that were popular in the late 19th and early 20th century. Noted vernacular photography collector Robert E. Jackson not only has a slew of terrific cabinet cards, but he's also interested in how contemporary artists are painting on these old artifacts to transform them into fantastic new works. Over at House Of Mirth, Robert posted some of his favorites. Image above left by Mike Wellins; right, Colin Batty. "The Altered Cabinet Card"

LEGO minifigs are satanic (or at least grumpy)

Untitled

Slawomir Kostrzewa, a priest in Wolsztyn, Poland, is concerned that certain LEGO minifigs are "about darkness and the world of death" and could "destroy (children's) souls and lead them to the dark side." More interesting is that Kostrzewa attempts to back up his argument with research by University of Canterbury professor Christoph Bartneck suggesting that the faces of LEGO figures have become angrier over the years. Kostrzewa's claim is on the heels of his revelation last year that My Little Pony is a "carrier of death."

"Lego the building blocks of Satan, warns priest citing NZ study" (New Zealand Herald)

Professor Bartneck's response to the matter is here: "LEGO is not a tool of Satan"

Seminal "Anthology of American Folk Music" reissued on vinyl!

MG 9926 copy uqdr6f 1

In the late 1940s, avant-garde filmmaker, artist, and mystic Harry Smith scoured his massive collection of 78 rpm blues, country, cajun, jazz, and gospel records to compile what would become one of the most important collections of recorded music in history. The Anthology of American Folk Music, a six-album set with extensive liner notes was released in 1952 by Folkways Records. It was essentially a bootleg and the complete licensing of all the tracks wouldn't be worked out until 1997 when Smithsonian Folkways Recordings reissued the material on CD. The original LPs were kindling for the mid-century folk and blues revival and brought artists like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Mississippi John Hurt, The Memphis Jug Band (above), and countless other pioneering roots musicians to the ears of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Dave Van Ronk, Jerry Garcia and so many more.

"We all knew every word of every song on it, including the ones we hated," Van Ronk has said.

The 1997 CD box set is fantastic, but now, after decades out of print, the vinyl has been reissued in four limited volumes by Mississippi Records, a glorious tiny record label (and store!) in Portland, Oregon. If you dig wax (200 gram, baby!), this is an absolutely essential addition to your collection.

I purchased mine directly from Mississippi Records but they may be out of stock already. If so, try your local independent record shop or perhaps one of the Amazon third party sellers. And if you really search, you might still locate one of the complete sets that comes in a wood slipcase!

Robot symposium at UC Berkeley (Friday!)

Trip

image: Margaret Taormina

Tomorrow, Friday (April 4), UC Berkeley is hosting a free symposium about "Robots and New Media." Organized by BB pal and Cal professor Eric Paulos, the lineup includes such robotics/design/media luminaries as Mark Pauline (Survival Research Labs), Hubert Dreyfus (UC Berkeley), Eric Stackpole (OpenROV), Ken Goldberg (UC Berkeley), and Carla Diana (U Penn.). This will be a mind-blower for sure. As JG Ballard said, robots are the "moral degradation of the machine." Robots and New Media

5 days of TED in one page

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My ultracreative friend Lucy Farey-Jones attended the recent TED conference in Vancouver and left delightfully overwhelmed. The only way she could make sense of what she learned was by mapping it on a single beautiful page.

"Upon my re-entry to the real world, friends, clients and folks at my firm say: ‘How was TED?’ And there is a big pause from me as my brain tries and fails to sum it up," Lucy says. "It’s an impossible question to answer. It’s like being asked ‘How is food?’ or ‘Puberty — how was it?’ Which is where this idea came in. I thought a way to answer this daunting question would be to make a graphic which tries to capture how TED makes me feel. I gave myself the challenge to capture 5 days in one page."

"5 days of TED in one page"

Unicorn Chaser: Peter Grudzien sings "The Unicorn" (1974)

A fine Unicorn Chaser for the chainsaw X-ray post below: Peter Grudzien sings the title track from his 1974 private pressing LP "The Unicorn."

Man survives chainsaw in the neck (X-ray!)

NewImage

This X-ray shows the chainsaw that was embedded in the neck of James Valentine, 21, of Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, when he arrived at the hospital on Monday. After delicate surgery and just thirty stitches, he's now walking around and talking. Valentine said he was at work cutting trees when the chainsaw "kicked back" into his neck. The chainsaw stopped about 1/4 of an inch from the carotid artery that brings oxygenated blood to the head. His coworkers held the blade in place until medics took over. (CNN)