Watching this classic video of Kinako, born in a Japanese pet shop, eating a rice ball is a delightful way to start my Friday.
In-Sight has published parts two and three of a massive six-part interview with Rick Rosner, my high school friend who went to high school for a decade, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, was the subject of an Errol Morris documentary, and became a writer for Jimmy Kimmel.
But the better question is, “Can we be in charge of our thinking?” That is, can we think without bias? Consciousness is always playing tricks on us, because consciousness is a product of evolution, not a pure product of a desire to give us the most complete and accurate view of the world. (But we don’t need to be products of evolution for our brains and biology and consciousness to have hidden agendas. The biases are there, regardless of what put them there. Just ask any grad student in psychology about what must be thousands of experiments which show that consciousness gives us a highly filtered and biased and monkeyed-with view of the world. Each of us is our own Fox News.)
There are a bunch of parasites that transact business by messing with the brains of their victims – parasites that make mice attracted to cats (toxoplasmosis) or bugs attracted to light – so they get eaten and pass on the parasite to the next host in their life cycle. The hosts’ brains have been hijacked. To some extent, everyone’s brain is hijacked by what our genes want us to do.
Great fun to watch our pal Gareth Branwyn (senior editor of bOING bOING when it was a zine) interviewed by Leo Laporte on the most recent episode of Triangulation. Gar says it's the best interview he's ever done. He talks about how he self-published his new book, Borg Like Me, and his long amazing career as a writer, artist, and editor.
Jessica Joslin collaborated with Annabel de Vetten-Peterson of Conjurer's Kitchen to make a delicious Belgian chocolate replica of her sculpture, “Morrigan.”
Handmade from white chocolate, this exquisite piece of edible art comes beautifully packaged in a black box with a small print of the original sculpture. Available in the USA for $35 and in Europe for £22.50.
It will also be available for $25 at Firecat Projects, during the exhibition of The Immortal Zoo at 2124 North Damen Ave. Chicago. Oct. 24-Nov 22.
A shirtless driver decides to show a metal gate who is boss. But the gate has a different idea in mind. [via]
A Dutch artist plans to make a ring out of compressed Chinese smog, which is even cooler than the Quisp meteorite ring which came in boxes of the cereal in the 1960s. By Mark FrauenfelderRead the rest
From my friend Brent Bushnell of Two Bit Circus:
A modern take on the traveling circus, STEAM Carnival is a crazy reimagining of the classic carnival using high-tech amusement and amazing inventions. Attractions include a midway loaded with lasers mazes, walls of buttons, huge leisure games, a Fireball Dunk Tank, a robot bartender and other interactive experiences. There are also hands-on workshops, contests, and artisanal carnival food. The inaugural event is in Los Angeles 10/25-10/26. On 10/23 there’s a special Hacker Preview — a free sneak peak of STEAM Carnival aimed specifically at developers, entrepreneurs, and engineers. IBM is sponsoring and has allocated prize money for app demos relating to games, art, music, and learning. They’ll get exposure to a large audience, and could actually win money!
STEAM Carnival Boing Boing readers can use the code BOING for $5 off
On This Week in Science:
Kiki talked stem cells; not the controversial side of things, but the straight up science of figuring out more about these populations of cells as they exist inside our bodies throughout our lives. It looks like we have a lot to learn. Also, she brought up a story about using filament proteins from nerve cells to produce brush-like coatings for materials. Better living through... biology?
Justin talked about finding the base materials for a potential new family of antibiotics in bacteria found on turkeys. Then he delved into the immune system strengthening powers of estrogen in women, and pills full of poo for people with bowel issues.
Blair's Animal Corner brought collaborative hunting by crocodiles into sharp focus, as well as news about the collapsibility of bird wings, and how geckos climb down.
The second half of the show was hot with talk of western droughts, oil rigs outpacing coral reefs for fish productivity, giant carnivorous kangaroos, a new idea about asymmetry involving the Higgs particle, Ebola updates, and why we dance when we hold our pee.
"Spawn of Gerrymander" is a series in which some of our favorite illustrators use their talents to help us see the true shape of political mapmaking in the twenty-first century:
Over the course of this week, this series will present graphic visualizations of six gerrymandered U.S. Congressional districts, created by six dynamite illustrators: Joe Alterio, Steve Brodner, Lisa Congdon, Jennifer Daniel, Oliver Munday, and Leif Parsons.
Above and below, Steve Brodner's "Bleeding Liberty" map for Pennsylvania's Seventh Congressional District.
The dog is a great listener, but I still wouldn't want to be the guy with the padded arm. [via]
Matt Brailsford combined an old cassette player with a Raspberry Pi. When you insert a cassette (that has has an NFC tag associate with a playlist), it streams music from Spotify.
Inside the cassette player, all the standard components have been removed and in their place a Raspberry Pi and several helper modules have been added: an NFC tag reader, which you can just see through the hole in the metal frame top left -- the red printed circuit board (PCB); an amplifier which is the blue PCB below that -- the original volume potentiometer is connected to this to control the volume; and a custom circuit board to connect the buttons of the cassette player to the Raspberry Pi's General-purpose input/output (GPIO) via micro switches glued beneath the buttons.
From Futility Closet: a cool little paper boomerang.
Mathematician Yutaka Nishiyama of the Osaka University of Economics has designed a nifty paper boomerang that you can use indoors. A free PDF template (with instructions in 70 languages!) is here.
Hold it vertically, like a paper airplane, and throw it straight ahead at eye level, snapping your wrist as you release it. The greater the spin, the better the performance. It should travel 3-4 meters in a circle and return in 1-2 seconds. Catch it between your palms.