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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



Cambodia legalizes police corruption

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For people contemplating a holiday in Cambodia, take note: starting in January police officers in that country will personally receive a 70% commission on traffic fines they issue. This new rule, says the Cambodian government, will reduce corruption. It seems like it legalizes corruption, but whatever.

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Dan Pauly's charming Storybook style shacks

I love Storybook architecture, so Dan Pauley's whimsical shacks appeal to me.

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How will Sarah Palin fund her lavish lifestyle as her PAC cash dwindles?

So called "leadership PACs" run by past and current elected officials are little more than slop troughs for politicians to poke their snouts into. And Sarah Palin's SarahPAC is no exception. Slate published a list of SaraPAC's recent expenditures:

  • $230,250 on consultants, including $80,500 to longtime aide and PAC treasurer Timothy Crawford
  • $139,932 on direct mail, produced by conservative fundraising firm HSP Direct
  • $128,482 on postage, printing, and related supplies
  • $82,213 on travel and accommodations, including airfare, hotels, car and SUV rentals, travel agents, and taxis. The Waldorf Astoria in New York City ($4,562) and Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas ($797) were two particularly pricy line items. The $3,854 SarahPAC paid a New York–based limousine company came on Feb. 19, right after Palin appeared at the staging of Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary special, where she sat in the audience next to musician Taylor Swift.
  • $48,000 on speech writing, mostly to Aries Petra Consulting, a small limited liability company registered in Virginia and based in Los Angeles
  • $37,354 on Internet fundraising through Austin, Texas–based Harris Media LLC, which works for numerous conservative politicians

Less than 4% of SarahPAC's overall expenditures went to candidate contributions, even though the PAC's appeals for funds makes a big deal about how contributions will be used to “fight against the liberals like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders,” or “stop the illegal invasion,” or help “defund and investigate Planned Parenthood.”

Unfortunately for Sarah Palin, her gravy train is grinding to a halt. Fox News did not renew her commentator contract in June, the subscription-based Sarah Palin Channel online video site ($99.95 a year) is shutting down this week, and the SarahPAC bank account is at a low-water mark. Again, from Slate:

While SarahPAC’s $562,000 cash-on-hand figure is better than what most political committees could boast, it’s the PAC’s lowest total since mid-2009, the year Palin founded the operation. Since late 2009, SarahPAC has almost always carried more than $1 million on its books and never less than $800,000.

What scheme will this small-town Lonesome Rhodes hustler cook up next so she can keep riding in limos and staying in fancy hotel suites?

See also: Donald Trump says Sarah Palin is a “really special person” who would be great on his presidential cabinet

Hand-crank lantern, flashlight, USB charger ($15)

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This combination flashlight/lantern/USB charger will reward you with 15 minutes of light for for each minute you pleasure it by turning its crank. Amazon has it on sale for $15.

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Hunter S. Thompson talks with Studs Terkel about the Hells Angels (1967)

“I keep my mouth shut now. I’ve turned into a professional coward.” - Hunter S. Thompson in 1967. This is from PBS's excellent "Blank on Blank" series of animated interviews. It is nice to hear Thompson annunciate his words so clearly and crisply. The times I attended his speaking events in the 1980s, he sounded like his mouth was full of pebbles. [via]

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100 Years of Beauty - Episode 10: Germany

Episode 10 of the "100 Years of Beauty" series looks at German hairstyles and make up from the 1910s to the 2010s.

See also:

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TV reporter confronts his alleged identity thief

Steve Noviello, a reporter for Dallas-Fort Worth’s Fox 4 News, learned that someone had checked into his hotel using his credit card number. He called the cops then rushed over to the hotel to confront, Farah Parks, the woman who allegedly used his credit card information to book the room for three days.

The card had the woman's name on it, but Noviello's credit card number. The card was likely to have been manufactured by a criminal enterprise with sophisticated equipment.

Parks remains in Collin County jail on charges of credit card or debit card abuse, records show.

Noviello said Parks used her name on the card to avoid needing Noviello’s information. She allegedly entered his credit card number in manually, knowing her faulty card would fail to swipe.

Parks allegedly racked up hundreds of dollars in charges, although Noviello did not detail exactly how many.

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U.S. home ownership rates drop to lowest level in 48 years

U.S. homeownership rate is 63.4%, the lowest since 1967. Bloomberg blames it on a combination of "stringent mortgage standards and wage growth that hasn’t kept up with surging home prices." As a result, rental vacancy rates a falling and rental rates are increasing.

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Magician, author, and Weekend of Wonder guest Andrew Mayne doing a Twitter Q&A today

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Andrew Mayne, star of A&E's Don't Trust Andrew Mayne and a guest at our upcoming Weekend of Wonder, is doing a Twitter Q&A today starting at 3PM EST. You can use the hashtag #AskAndrew, and ask him about his books, magic, and awesome monkey walking imitation.

Unknown See Andrew Mayne, magician, TV show star, novelist, and inventor, at Boing Boing's three-day extravaganza, the Weekend of Wonder, running Sept. 18-20. A weekend of workshops, tech demons and wild performances, there'll be plenty of fun surprises!

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Interview with Andrew Mayne about his favorite tools on Cool Tools.

Japanese artist goes on trial over "vagina selfies"

In December, we wrote about the unbelievably stupid arrest of Rokudenashiko (nee Megumi Igarashi), a Japanese manga artist who makes art with castings of her genitals. She's actually been arrested twice – once for distributing 3-D printable data of her vagina (really, her vulva or pudendum, for the pudants reading this), and another time for for an art display of whimsical sculptures (described by prosecutors as "obscene objects") at a store in Tokyo. Examples of the obscene objects are shown above and below:

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Rokudenashiko's been in jail awaiting trial, after a judge refused her lawyer's request to release her. Judge Noriki Ando said Rokudenashiko must remain in prison out of a "fear she may destroy evidence or flee."

Rokudenashiko's trial is now underway. Her lawyers will defend the artist by claiming that her "work is not a precise reproduction of the vulva and does not cause sexual arousal."

The Guardian points out the hypocrisy of the case against Rokudenashiko:

Her case has attracted worldwide attention and criticism of the apparent double standards in the Japanese law’s treatment of sexual imagery. While the country has a thriving pornography industry, its obscenity laws ban the depiction of genitalia, which usually appear pixelated in images and videos.

Commentators pointed out the hypocrisy of her initial arrest, which came soon after Japanese authorities resisted pressure to ban pornographic images of children in manga comics and animated films.

If found guilty Rokudenashiko could spend two years in prison for distributing obscene objects.

Here's a profile of Rokudenashiko, showing how she makes her "vagina sculptures."

And here she describes her (successful) crowdfunded plan to make a "pussy kayak":

Interview with Alexander Rose, contestant on the ABC series Battlebots

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Alexander “Zander” Rose is the executive director of The Long Now Foundation, which was founded in 1996 to become the seed of a very long-term cultural institution that fosters very-long-term planning. He was hired to build their clock that lasts 10,000 years. He’s also the founder of the Robot Fighting League, and a contestant on the ABC series Battlebots (airing Sunday nights). In this episode of the Cool Tools Show podcast, Andrew recommends several tools I've never heard of: Knipex Parallel Plier Wrenches, Gear Drive Case Ball End Hex Keys, Bafang Mid Drive eBike kit, Yuba Boda Boda Family Cargo Bike, Chinese High Power Bike Lights, Water Activated Resin Cast Material, and a Skin Stapler (for "people who are not good at suturing"). See the show notes here.

Image: Alexander Rose (r) and Reason Bradley (l) with Bronco.

Every tool box needs a pair of screw removal pliers

A screw with a stripped head can be difficult to remove.

There are a number of ways to remove screws with stripped heads. Lifehacker has a nice article on this subject.

My favorite method of removing a stuck/stripped screw is with a pair of screw removal pliers. They bite into the exposed sides of the screw head and you can twist the screw loose, then finish the job with a screwdriver. It's also a nice brute-force workaround for tamper-proof screw heads. This is the kind of tool you want to have in your toolbox now, instead of having to run out and buy one when it's needed.

If the screw is really stuck, you risk breaking the head off the screw. If that happens, all is not lost. You can try to drill a small hole into the center of the screw shaft and pull out the screw with a screw extractor.

Human and fish insult each other's species

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"The Fish, the Man, and the Spirit" is by Leigh Hunt. It was published in 1836.

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Man decides not to crush caterpillar after noticing it had a human face

"My first thought was to crush it with my cane, then I thought, no, it looks so strange, I'm going to take a picture of it," said Robert Palmer. The Toutle, Washington man was referring to a human-faced caterpillar he happened upon while watering his horse. "I'm going to be 70 in November. And I've never seen a bug with a human face staring back at me," said Palmer.

Cool way to index your notebooks

Gareth Branwyn came across this neat way to quickly find information in your notebooks.

Based on his index of recipe types, [Adam, who runs the blog, High Five] puts the appropriate marking on the outside edge of the page for this Chinese recipe.

And here you can see that by placing corresponding marks on the edges of the pages that map to the recipe index in the back, Adam has organized his recipes for much easier access.

35 women assaulted by Bill Cosby tell their stories in New York magazine

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The new issue of New York magazine has a very powerful cover that is matched only by the photo essay inside. It's about 35 woman who have been sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby. They all posed sitting in a chair for the cover shot. A 36th chair remains empty to symbolize Cosby's victims who have not gone public. grid

‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen

Update: The nymag.com website has been on and offline due to an apparent DDOS attack, so they've put the entire feature on Tumblr to ensure that it will be read.

Portland police officer accused of 7-hour sexual assault gets paid vacation

Portland police officer Jeromie Palaoro is sitting on his couch collecting a paycheck pending the results of an investigation of his alleged sexual assault on a woman who had called the police to report that her boyfriend attacked her. Officer Palaoro was one of the officers who had responded to the call. The woman said that Officer Palaoro came to her hotel at 3:30am the following day in his street clothes but carrying a gun.

From Alternet:

When he came into her room, Reid-James says Palaoro pulled out the gun and set it on the table. He then took off all of his clothes and demanded that she perform sexual acts on him.

According to Reid-James, this sexual assault lasted for 7-hours.

“The police bureau takes misconduct allegations very seriously,” police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson told KATU on Wednesday.

Officer Jeromie Palaoro has a history of misconduct. He was successfully sued last year for forcing his way into a home without a warrant and tracking mud.