Boing Boing 

Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the founding editor-in-chief of MAKE. He is editor-in-chief of Cool Tools and co-founder of Wink Books. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects

How to cut a bell pepper without getting seeds everywhere

A good video that shows you how to prep a pepper for cutting.

A fake Harvard diploma costs $650

Zack Crockett of Pricenomics looks at the fake diploma business.

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Watch a video of people watching a VR porn video

Here's a video of people wearing the Oculus Rift VR goggles and watching 3D VR porn. Language is NSFW.

X-ray shows SpongeBob SquarePants inside of child

A youngster in Saudi Arabi swallowed a SpongeBob SquarePants pendant and was taken to the hospital for treatment.

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I found a better pair of pet nail clippers

nail-clippersMy cats will tolerate having their nails clipped for about 45 seconds before they start to squirm out of my lap.

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DEA has been scanning millions of license plates so it can confiscate people's assets


The Drug Enforcement Administration has been collecting information about millions of people in the US with a semi-secret networks of automated license plate-readers. Its main purpose is for enabling law enforcement to take people's money without charging them of any crime:

The program was started to assist the controversial civil asset forfeiture program which allows law enforcement to seize a suspected criminal’s property without the suspect ever being convicted of the alleged crime.

But it is also useful for police and politicians to stalk and spy on people they hold a personal grudge against:

Backchannel reported in December that police have used their access to license plate readers to stalk former colleagues, and IB Times revealed earlier this month that Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) used location data to smear a political rival.

Image: Shutterstock

Bill Hicks' 12 Principles of Comedy

This advice from comedian Bill Hicks (who died of cancer in 1993) is applicable to many other activities besides stand-up comedy.

  1. If you can be yourself on stage nobody else can be you and you have the law of supply and demand covered.
  2. The act is something you fall back on if you can’t think of anything else to say.
  3. Only do what you think is funny, never just what you think they will like, even though it’s not that funny to you.
  4. Never ask them is this funny – you tell them this is funny.
  5. You are not married to any of this shit – if something happens, taking you off on a tangent, NEVER go back and finish a bit, just move on.
  6. NEVER ask the audience “How You Doing?” People who do that can’t think of an opening line. They came to see you to tell them how they’re doing, asking that stupid question up front just digs a hole. This is The Most Common Mistake made by performers. I want to leave as soon as they say that.
  7. Write what entertains you. If you can’t be funny be interesting. You haven’t lost the crowd. Have something to say and then do it in a funny way.
  8. I close my eyes and walk out there and that’s where I start, Honest.
  9. Listen to what you are saying, ask yourself, “Why am I saying it and is it Necessary?” (This will filter all your material and cut the unnecessary words, economy of words)
  10. Play to the top of the intelligence of the room. There aren’t any bad crowds, just wrong choices.
  11. Remember this is the hardest thing there is to do. If you can do this you can do anything.
  12. I love my cracker roots. Get to know your family, be friends with them.


Ohio cop gets criminal charges for swiping camera from disabled woman


Yellow Springs, Ohio police Sgt. Naomi Penrod must be surprised that she is being criminally charged for twisting the arm of a disabled woman to swipe her video camera. After all, other cops get away with murder.

From WYSO:

Penrod has been accused of twisting the arm of a resident who was filming her when police arrived on Nov. 5th to check on an eviction notice. An internal investigation determined that Penrod had committed a "hostile act," which she's appealing.

From WHIO:

Sgt. Naomi Penrod is facing three misdemeanor charges, of interfering with civil rights, assault and disorderly conduct, according to Yellow Springs Village Manager Patti Bates, who declined to give further details.

Here's a recording of the 911 call that the disabled woman made after the incident.

Penrod gets her paid vacation "until the criminal case has been resolved."

15 unique illnesses you can only come down with in German

sad-pretzelHörsturz is a sudden loss of hearing caused by stress. Frühjahrsmüdigkeit is "spring fatigue," the opposite of spring fever. Putzfimmel is an obsession with cleaning.

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Tiny kitchen-knife sharpener does the trick


The Kitchen IQ Edge Grip 2-Stage Knife Sharpener set me back $6 but it was worth it.

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Robot snowplow from Japan eats up snow, poops out bricks

Yuki-taro is known in this part of Japan as the friendly snowbot.

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Watch: how to laser etch metal surfaces to make them either love or hate water

Researchers at the University of Rochester are laser etching the surfaces of metal in ways that make them attract water or repel water. The video here shows how remarkably effective the treatment is. [via]

Seagulls dislike robot seagull

Mike Evans (who runs the fantastic activity blog, Secret Dad Society) tried out his radio-controlled papier mache seagull on a flock of seagulls. They disliked it this time as much as they did the first time. Don't give up Mike!

Fake bank in China scams $32 million from customers

fake-bankPromising 2% a week interest, this phony Chinese bank, "with LED screens and counters manned by people dressed like bank staff" took victim's cash and kept it for themselves. They operated for a year, raking in $32 million.

Police want Waze to remove cop-spotting feature

Sheriffs are demanding that the Google-owned Waze navigation app remove a safety feature that alerts drivers about police cars parked on the side of the freeway.

With zero evidence to support their argument, the sheriffs say the feature is a stalking tool for cop-killers.

I suspect the real reason cops don't like the feature is because it encourages people to drive under the speed limit, which results in fewer speeding tickets and lost revenue from fines.

A Waze spokeswoman, Julie Mossler, said the company thinks deeply about safety and security. She said Waze works with the New York Police Department and others around the world by sharing information. Google declined to comment.

"These relationships keep citizens safe, promote faster emergency response and help alleviate traffic congestion,'' Mossler said.

French couple forbidden from naming their child Nutella

nutrition“The name ‘Nutella’ given to the child is the trade name of a spread. And it is contrary to the child’s interest to be wearing a name like that can only lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts.” - Judge's ruling against French couple who wants to name their baby after a hazelnut-cocoa spread.

The Big Book of Maker Skills: tools and techniques for building great tech projects

I know Chris Hackett from my days as editor-in-chief of MAKE. This guy knows his stuff.

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The Soviet space dogs who took giant leaps for mankind

Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says: "Lisa Hix has just written a very cool piece about Laika, Belka, Strelka, and the other canine cosmonauts who paved the way for Russian Yuri Gagarin's maiden orbit of the Earth in 1961. With interviews and images supplied by the author and publisher of Soviet Space Dogs, Lisa's story answers questions about how these animals were selected for training, how they relieved themselves in space, and what sort of welcome they could expect if they returned safely to Earth (not all did)."

Dogs had a history of scientific experimentation in the USSR. Petrovich Pavlov had used them to great effect in his studies of the reflex system. Despite this, apes were initially considered as they more closely resemble man in many ways. Dr. Oleg Gazenko, one of the leading scientists of the space program, even visited the circus to observe the famous monkey handler Capellini, who convinced him that monkeys were, in fact, problematic. They required intense training and numerous vaccines and were emotionally unstable. (Cats did not tolerate flight conditions; that was later proved by French missions in 1963.) The decision was made: Dogs would be the first cosmonauts.

This week's best gadgets

This week Mark and Jason compare tea makers and Xeni talks about her Hario Japanese coffee products.

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The map of the continental United States contains an elf making chicken

From Futility Closet: "He’s known as Mimal, after the states that make him up: Minnesota (hat), Iowa (head), Missouri (shirt), Arkansas (pants), and Louisiana (boots). Fittingly, the chicken is Kentucky and the tin pan is Tennessee."

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The colorful 3D art of El Grand Chamaco

El Grand Chamaco is an artist from Los Ramones, Mexico.

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WATCH: Incredible archer shows his speed-shooting skills

Lars Andersen is an amazing archer. He is the opposite of modern competitive archers who are stationary and shoot at distant targets. His runs and jumps on walls while he shoots, maintaining deadly accuracy. He can fire three arrows in 0.6 seconds. He can leap in the air to catch and arrow, load it, and hit a target before his feet hit the ground.

He's almost as good as the slingshot guy!


Lars explains:


An archers with a quiver on his back is a movie icon which is widespread throughout the world. But putting arrows in a quiver on your back is not a good solution.

It is bad in motion and the archer cannot see his own arrows, as he has an enemy in front of him. He must focus on his quiver, which makes him vulnerable.

Past archers often had different types of arrows simultaneously in his quiver but since the quiver is on his back, he cannot see which arrow he takes.

Placing the quiver in the belt solved most problems, and if the archer is horseback, the quiver could be placed on the horse in front of the rider. These methods were the most common ways to use a quiver.

The round divided target:

The two dimensional target is not known from the past. Historical targets were not flat, but three dimensional.

Quiver, arrows in the bow hand, arrows in the draw hand:

I think there has always been an evolution in archery. Archers from even the earliest times have gone from using quivers, to arrows in the bow hand, and ultimately, to hold arrows in the draw hand.

Going from the quiver to holding the arrows in the bow hand is not difficult, it can be learnt. You get the arrow in front of you, so you do not have to focus away from an enemy.

It is far better in motion, so there are many advantages over a quiver. There are today archers which are really good with this method.

Keeping the arrow in the draw hand provides a wide range of benefits, but it assumes that one can draw and shoot in a single movement automatically.

If you must use multiple movements or have to use your fingers on the bow hand to get the arrow in place, then it is far better to go back and keep the arrow in the bow hand.

Double draw

I have for many years experimented with drawing with both hands simultaneously so while your hand with the arrow pulling the string behind, while bow hand is pushed forward, this providing more power on the arrow. when I 2 years ago made the video "Reinventing the fastest forgotten archery" I had seen many historic pictures of a low half drag, and then I thought it would be interpreted as past archers only drew the bow short, but today I think it is more likely that the images show a double draw.

To hit an arrow in the air:

I have currently tried 14 times (everything is filmed)

For me this is the ultimate archery, which I until recently had thought was impossible.

it can be done, but requires the handling of the bow and arrow to become completely bodily.

you may not have time to aim or think, and you must first be completely convinced you hit, you see, "feel" the incoming arrow and shoot in an instant.

do not attempt this.

I / we have been in doubt about whether this should be shown, because we were afraid that someone gets hurt if they try to emulate it,

I trained for many years and spent a really long time before I tried it the first time.

For several years, I along with my friends Peter and Ask also trained with harmless buffer arrows where I often have shot their arrows down and before we switched to proper arrows I had very safely hit 5 harmless arrows in a row.

It will not be shot with a very strong bow (but it's still dangerous) The arrow that fired at me is a light bamboo arrow with metal tip, I'll shoot back with a heavy aluminum arrow so I'm sure that the incoming arrow flexes when they hit together.

The archer shoots at me normally sits behind one large safety sheet, but in the video is filmed with the sheets pulled away, so you can see what is going on.

I hope to try again during the summer outside, with an HD camera in slow motion.

Do I hit everything?

I use a lot of time practicing, and it can take a very long time before I learn a new skill. For instance, when I got the idea of jumping to grab and enemy’s arrow before I land, it took me months to learn, where for a long time, the arrows would fly everywhere, until I learned to handle it.

[Thanks, Joe Sabia!]

SkyMall files for bankruptcy

Everyone's favorite inflight microbe spreading vector, the Skymall catalog, is filing for bankruptcy protection.

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USA McDonald's fries have 14 ingredients. UK McDonald's fries have 4.

Here's a followup to my earlier post about McDonald's fries. In 2013 Food Babe posted the ingredients for McDonald's fries in the US and in the UK.

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Mythbusters' Grant Imahara reverse engineers McDonald's fries and learns they have 19 ingredients

Grant Imahara visited McDonald's fry factory and found out what they are made of. Keep in mind this video series was made by McDonald's and I don't know if McDonald's had a final say on what went into it, but it's still interesting to see how these fries are made and how many ingredients are used to make them: 19 (really, 14, since some of the ingredients are used twice during the process).

Last night, my wife roasted potato slices and the only ingredients she used were potatoes, olive oil, and salt. They tasted great.

UPDATE: See my post comparing the ingredients used to make fries in the US and the UK.

Cool $59 pocket synthesizers from Teenage Engineering

Teenage Engineering, makers of the amazing $850 OP-1 synthesizer, have designed three nifty $59 pocket synths: the PO-12 "rhythm" drum machine, the PO-14 "sub" bass synth, and the PO-16 "factory" melody synth. The Verge has a first look.

Despite their spartan design, the synths have a host of smart features that make these devices far more powerful than they might appear. Each device has two 3.5mm ports, which lets you output audio to a mixer as well as chain all three devices together, with a master unit setting the tempo and patterns for the other "slave" units to follow. Another low-tech (but no less useful) design decision is the small wire stand on the back that lets you prop up the devices for easy use on a table. Even the power source is clever — the PO series runs on two AAA batteries, something I haven’t used outside of remotes in years.

Someone at ESPN copy and pasted the wrong link


Someone should make a utility that prevents you from copying and pasting links to porn. [via]

Gweek audio experience: How to 3D print your family

Our guest this week is Maggie Tokuda Hall. She writes books for children and stories for adults.

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eBoy is making a San Francisco Pixel Poster

Our pixel pushing friends at eBoy are making one of their famous city Pixel Posters for San Francisco. It's long overdue! They are funding it via Kickstarter. (Above: eBoy's Tokyo Pixorama from 2007)