Boing Boing 

Dean Putney

Software developer and GIF archivist in San Francisco. Follow me on Twitter.

Boing Boing co-sponsoring the Robot Film Festival in SF!

The 3rd annual Robot Film Festival is coming to San Francisco this weekend and Boing Boing is proud to be a media sponsor! This Saturday and Sunday (July 20-21), come explore the relationship between humans and robots through a series of film showings, live performances, and a day-long film workshop.

Here's why Robot Film Festival is a must see:

• It takes place in Bot & Dolly's incredible robotic camera equipment workshop
• BeatBots, maker of the adorable Keepon robot, is organizing the event this year
Famed comedy robot Data is getting a new sidekick, Scotty
• Robots, people dressed as robots, people doing the robot, robots filming movies, robots robots robots!

Obviously it's bound to be a blast. Come welcome the Robot Film Festival to San Francisco with us!

Tickets available on Kickstarter
Robot Film Festival

UPDATE: Kickstarter finished successfully! You can still get tickets on EventBrite.

Crazy naked man attacks BART passengers, performs gymnastics

Video Link

On May 10th, a completely naked man entered the 16th street BART station in San Francisco and began attacking people, spitting, urinating and doing gymnastics moves on railings and turnstiles. BART police eventually shut down the station to arrest the man.

Yesterday, this NSFW video of the incident hit YouTube. Be warned that it's no joke: it's a naked man attacking vulnerable passers-by in public.

Cost analysis of a toilet wipe

The folks at Dollar Shave Club have a new product out: One Wipe Charlies, a peppermint-scented toilet wipe they claim is better than normal toilet tissue. Their video sure is flashy, but how much more will it cost me? Is this worth the cost?

One Wipe Charlies are selling for $4 for 40 wipes. That's a dime a wipe, and I'll buy the claim that it only takes one. At my house we order our TP in bulk from Amazon: Ultra Plush 3-ply double rolls from Quilted Northern for $25.94 per 48 pack. Shipping included. It's surprising how convenient it is to just have this show up at the door.

Each roll has 176 sheets, and with 48 rolls that comes to about $0.0031 per sheet. If you're allowing a dime a dump, you can run all the way up to 32.5 sheets before you match the cost of a One Wipe Charlie. That's a fifth of a roll! You're probably managing to get the job done in 10-12 sheets, around 3 cents per.

Sorry, Charlie. No fancy marketing is going to get me to triple my budget in this department.

Quilted Northern Ultra Plush 3-ply double rolls, 48 pack at Amazon

Today: SFMOMA's farewell procession, co-presented by Boing Boing

This is it, folks. Today at 6PM the SFMOMA closes to begin its three year long expansion. It'll be reborn sometime in 2016 clad in shining armor, engulfing the rest of its current city block. Get in your last run through the current exhibits, explore a new corner of the building before it changes.

Join me and David at the museum at 5:30 for the farewell procession. Local artist Desiree Holman is curating the procession, which recasts the Young American Patriots fife and drum core and Dance Sanctuary dancers as docents for the future. You're encouraged to come in your best future time traveler costume, and Teri Sage from TS I Love You Hats will be helping everyone make awesome tin foil future hats as well.

This will be my 56th visit to the museum. For the last year and a half I've been coming almost every week, writing software, meeting friends and making new ones on the rooftop sculpture garden. It's been a great pleasure to learn so much about art, people and myself. While it's painful to have to be away for so long, I have great faith that the museum's future will be spectacular. Come celebrate that with us.

SFMOMA Countdown Celebration: May 30 - June 2
RSVP on Facebook

Oculus Rift founder dies in accident

Andrew Scott Reisse, one of the founding developers behind the incredible Oculus Rift virtual reality headset was hit by a car while walking yesterday. The car was being pursued by police, and struck two other cars before running a red light and hitting Reisse. Reisse was pronounced dead at the scene. [ABC Local]

Boing Boing co-presents SFMOMA's closing festivities!

After this Sunday (June 2), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will be closed to visitors for three years as they begin their massive renovation to accomodate the incoming Doris and Donald Fisher Collection. But for the next four days they're celebrating the museum's future with free admission for everyone and lots of activities, culminating with a performance art marathon and farewell procession on Sunday co-presented by Boing Boing!

The final 24 hours are jam packed with activities and celebrations: the live performance marathon starts on Saturday evening and changes out every half hour. They'll also be finishing up their Sweded version of Christian Marclay's The Clock, and this is the last 24 hour showing of the real piece in the museum.

Finally, come join us for the farewell procession on Sunday to look to the future of the new building. Local artist Desiree Holman is curating the procession, which recasts the Young American Patriots fife and drum core and Dance Sanctuary dancers as docents for the future. You're encouraged to come in your best future time traveler costume, and Teri Sage from TS I Love You Hats will be helping everyone make awesome tin foil future hats as well. We hope to see you there!

SFMOMA Countdown Celebration: May 30 - June 2
RSVP on Facebook

Joe Biden's response to 7yo's "if guns shot chocolate bullets" letter: best thing ever

The letter reads:

Dear Myles -

I am sorry it took me so very long to respond to your letter. I really like your idea. If we had guns that shot chocolate, not only would our country be safer, it would be happier. People love chocolate.

You are a good boy,

Joe Biden

7-year-old boy gets handwritten letter from Biden

BRASSFT PUNK: Brass band covers of Daft Punk classics

If you're still thinking about Daft Punk after yesterday's excitement around Random Access Memories, you might appreciate this masterful New Orleans brass band cover EP of a few of their classics. Their Kickstarter to cover Get Lucky is also fully funded with four hours left!

BRASSFT PUNK Thanks, SQ!

Review: Disunion, the VR guillotine simulator

Last week, Cory posted about Disunion, the guillotine simulator for the Oculus Rift headset. This weekend, I got a chance to "play" the virtual reality game—which amounted to getting my head virtually chopped off.

Though this is a far cry from the Oculus Rift's peaceful "Tuscan villa" demo, the experience is just as immersive. Your entire vision is filled with the in-game world, and the headset itself is unobtrusive, like wearing a large pair of ski goggles. After a few minutes, you lose track of the real physical space you're in. So much so, in fact, that the slight inconsistencies between the game and your head movements can make you seasick.

But it's a pretty good start on experiencing things you can't in real life—death being the ultimate example.

Read the rest

In one month the SFMOMA closes for three years for renovation

If you're in the Bay Area and like modern art, now's the time. On June 2nd, the SFMOMA closes to begin a three year long renovation. There will be some exhibits at other museums through them, but the main building will be under construction.

Brew your own Bendërbrāu

Over in the /r/homebrewing subreddit, user hatchetthrower has recreated one of my favorite fictional brews: Bendërbrāu, a homebrewed beer from Futurama made entirely inside Bender the robot's chassis. The recipe for the clone is pretty dead on: it's a steam beer as suggested by the label in the show, uses space-aged sounding Zythos hops (Galaxy was out of stock), and Rush 2112 yeast because Rush is one of Fry's favorite bands.

Check out the rest of the discussion on Reddit, as well as this Bender fermenter build for ultrafans.

Automate collecting wonderful things

Sponsored by For information about Rackspace, go to Rackspace.com/open.

One unique and special treat in working as Boing Boing's web developer has been to see how truly prolific writers do their work. Not only are they all hugely practiced at writing, but they've each developed a process and a format for creating or curating content that enables them to write more and quickly. I've spent the last couple years trying to cheat a bit at collecting large volumes of curated content by putting as much of the work as possible onto computers.

My main experiment with rapid blogging is the animated GIF section of my media blog. I love animated GIFs, and I'd picked up a habit of saving my favorites to a folder on my desktop. A year and a half ago I moved that folder to my Dropbox's Public folder, which syncs all the files out to the cloud and lets anyone view them in their browser. Then I set up an IFTTT action to slurp new files into the blog. And then I forgot about it and went about my business.

With basically no added effort I've posted over three thousand GIFs to my blog. It averages six new posts a day, sometimes I'll post thirty at a time when I find a bunch of good ones. IFTTT can connect to lots of other services, so I've set it to push out GIFs to my Tumblr as well. It's a great treat to scroll back through hundreds of fun images I've saved, and I often find myself pleasantly surprised by what I've posted.

This method of curating things gives some neat advantages over other sharing services. When you set up the rules for posting and IFTTT or another automated system does the legwork, you create limitations to what you can post in the process. It forces an editorial voice: now I know I'm going to only post GIFs by saving them to that folder, so all I have to worry about is whether they fit the collective whole. Applying this process to other content types proves to be very successful: a friend and I have collected nearly an album a day on our shared music blog for nine months through some really simple custom scripts to ease the process. I never run short of excellent tunes now that we've collected it so quickly.

Building large collections of content, even if it's focused at dumb GIFs or indie music albums, is easier than ever. Spend some time thinking about the parts of the process you can automate for your collections and start enjoying them more.

What schools should really teach

A video, "What most schools don't teach," circled the Internet this week, particularly among my developer friends. In it, a stream of famous figures in the software world make a compelling case for why you–everyone–should learn how to program. As a software developer and lover of code, I was excited to see such a great job of showing good reasons to support coding education.

Halfway through, however, someone says "jobs".

Read the rest

Geohot says the darndest things

I found out yesterday that George Hotz, the hacker most known for unlocking the original iPhone and hacking the PS3, is now studying at my alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University. CMU has a bash.org clone for saving ridiculous quotes in IRC and around the computer science campus, and geohot already has some great ones in there.

amwatson: George, you have to start working on the assignment! If you don't, you won't have time to run on the supercomputer!
geohot: Don't worry. I have my own supercomputer!
amwatson: ...You have your own 256-core machine?
geohot: Yeah! Well, I have a botnet...
<geohot> I'm permitted to own Sony products. I'm just not permitted to touch them inappropriately.
< Tony0> I like geohot's method of forcing himself to suck less with vim
< Tony0> apparently he rebound the arrow keys to backspace.
< gwillen> I,I vim is properly appreciated in the original Klingon

Oh, geohot! More great quotes at cmubash.org. Thanks, Dannel!

Bring in the cats.com

Sometimes you just need a fountain of cats set to rap music. HEY GRIFF, BRING IN THE CATS.

Coin rolls on treadmill for an hour

This dime rolls for a little more than 58 minutes at 3.4 miles an hour. It traveled a little over five miles in that time. Check out 38:30 when the experimenter sticks his head in frame and stick around for the analysis at the end.

Coin rolling on treadmill via burritojustice

Largest collection of microcars up for auction today

The world's largest collection of microcars from the Microcar Museum in Madison, Georgia is on the auction block today and tomorrow. Put together by a single collector– Bruce Weiner, a former executive at Dubble Bubble –the collection of rare cars and memorabilia is being split up mostly because the fun part for him was collecting them, not storing them. Most of the good cars like this 1947 Rovin D2 are expected to sell between $20,000 and $40,000.

World’s largest microcar museum to close, head to auction | Hemmings Blog Thanks, Tony!

LeBron asks Khan Academy

Khan Academy has a short series of videos featuring LeBron James asking science and statistics questions, with his "good friend Sal" answering them. They cover stuff like the odds of LeBron making three free throws versus one three pointer and what muscles you use when you shoot a basket. They're an engaging introduction to Khan Academy's videos.

How to clip your fingernails in space

I found this video in Reddit's Learn Useless Talents section. In my reality this won't be useless for long!

Horde of space GIFs

4chan's worksafe GIF board– a treasure trove of excellent content before it hits the social media tracts –has a great thread of space GIFs up now. I've selected a few of the best here.

Read the rest

Live action Toy Story

Jonason and Jesse—two incredibly dedicated and talented maniacs—have created a shot-for-shot live action recreation of Toy Story. They've kept the toys' voices and some of the soundtrack, but Andy and the family are played by real people and all the sets and toys are real. Wowowow!

Read the rest

The Golden Key

George MacDonald's The Golden Key is a classic fairy tale in the truest form. A young boy hears a tale from his great-aunt about a golden key at the foot of the rainbow, and charges into Fairyland to find it where the indescribably beautiful colors end. Find it at the end of this Gutenberg collection of fairy tales or in this Kindle version, it's long enough for three or four story times. [Thanks Phill!]

An Unexpected Twist

Andy Borowitz tells the harrowing tale of his near-death experience with severe intestinal trouble. A good poop joke should not go unappreciated, and this is a brilliantly told 18-page poop joke. Give it a read on your lunch break.

Census Dotmap: a dot for every person in the United States

Cartography and data analysis nut Brandon M-Anderson put together this impressive zoomable map of the United States with one dot for each of the 308,450,225 people recorded by the 2010 census: oddities revealed include people living in "abandoned" areas or parks. A Redditor stitched the tiles into a huge image.

Golden eagle snatches kid

One second this eagle is gliding around above a park, majestic, then moments later it swoops down and tries to grab a toddler. It's just so sudden and unexpected: the bird looks small when it's far away, but oh god nope that's one of those Hobbit-carrying guys and little red monkey hat is off to Mordor.

It may not be real, but damn it's a good fake. There's more info here.

Video Link: Golden eagle snatches kid

Hatch's Fugus are the cutest digital pets ever

More than a year ago, my friend Phill showed me an iPhone app he was working on: a revamp of Tamagotchi, an adorable little pet you take care of on your phone. My digital pets normally starve alone in a huge pile of their electronic feces, but Hatch was different. It was detailed and rich, with beautifully done art by David Lanham. I've loved playing with it throughout its development, even when it used to burp in your pocket at inappropriate times.

I've been pestering Phill for months to release it so other people could play it too, and today they're finally announcing that you can adopt one of these squishy little guys in preparation for the app release.  Get one of these cuties early!

Hatch: Adopt a Fugu

Beautiful snowflake catching music generator

A while back, my friend Rich Vreeland, AKA Disasterpeace, made a Flash game called January where you catch snowflakes on your tongue and each plays a soft, pining note. Rich has been busy lately making music for other video games, but he just pushed out a big update to January. The new version trims down on the storyline in favor of a more capable music generator. It has auto-pilot functionality, a selection of keys to choose from, a pentatonic mode, and the ability to save your generated compositions as MIDI files.

Check out the new version of January and the original version.

You have better things to do than buy earbuds

Busy people like you and I don't have the time nor the inclination to navigate the sea of earbuds out there, so I turned to Wirecutter to find out what they recommended as the best earbuds. They've got a fine recommendation in the $100 category, and now that I've got a pair of them I can verify that they're great. Here's the executive summary as to why:

• Excellent sound, with a little extra bass.
• Flat cable shows you where twists are so they really never get tangled.
• Controls and microphone work with the iPhone and are unambiguous and easy to click.

One important note not on Wirecutter: get these memory foam tips with them. I tried the rubber inserts and molding my own earplugs (from two materials even!) but they always slip out or don't seal properly in my ear. With these foam tips you'll get a nice seal in your ear to project the sound, and they're practically earplugs on their own so you can't hear anything but the music even when it's quiet.

Velodyne vPulse in-ear headphones and Comply memory foam tips

More thorough review at Wirecutter

Teddy bears with terrifying human teeth

Mrs. McGettrick's Fuggler Emporium on Etsy specializes in adorable teddy bears... with creepy artificial human teeth. Some of them have little plastic weapons, but all of them share a disturbing "I have seen the void" gaze.

 The products' descriptions are great as well:

It's been said that I need a hobby. Here it is. The moral of this story? Be careful what you wish for. My house is filled with these creatures now, and my husband has a sadness about it all. He rocks back and forth, eyes seeing some distant, unknown horror, fingers coiled loosely around our old, trusty shotgun, uttering cryptic warnings to all who come near.

SMALL PRINT: Mrs McGettrick's Fugglers are not suitable for small/medium/oral fixated children, as there is a risk that small parts could come loose and present a choking hazard. Colours may vary from the photographs, due to monitor settings, flash, and my inability to use a camera. Mrs McGettrick's Fugglers are made in a house containing a cat. A cat who pulls out her own fur in an attempt at shocking nudity, and who walks like Nosferatu. If you have cat allergies, I might suggest you avoid buying from this shop. Mrs McGettrick's Fugglers are not suitable for people who don't appreciate cuddly toys with uncannily realistic teeth jutting out from their mouths. Mrs McGettrick's Fugglers are not suitable for people who have ever harboured a suspicion that toys can come alive at night.

Mrs McGettrick's Fuggler Emporium via reddit

Finest mechanical bird song of 1890

This lovely mechanical contraption is designed to mechanically recreate bird song. The video uploader says this was made about 120 years ago in Paris, probably by Blaise Bontems who was known for this type of automaton. It's a fascinating, delicate device!

The Finest Bird Song of 1890