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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

Confessions of a gold-and-diamond-buying scam artist


Fascinating article in Lapham's Quarterly by philosophy professor Clancy Martin, who worked as a swindler in a crooked Houston coin shop in the 1980s.

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What is a puzzle jug, and how to make one

Artist Michelle Erickson reveals the secret of an 18th-century amusement called a puzzle jug by making a beautiful replica.

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How two small-town crooks built an epic empire of fake art

Caitlin Randall at Narratively wrote a fascinating article about father-son con artists from Northern England who sold at least 120 forged antiquities to museums, galleries, and auction houses.

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Station Eleven: great post-apocalyptic novel on sale as a Kindle ebook for $3


I've read 83% of Station Eleven on my Kindle, so I don't know whether it has a interesting ending or not (I'm one of those lowbrows who doesn't like books without a satisfying conclusion), but I am loving it so far.

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Why Better Call Saul's opening title sequence sucks

Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, creators of Better Call Saul chat about how they came up with the show's intentionally awful opening sequence.

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The Libet experiment: is free will just an illusion?

Harry Shearer narrates this short BBC cartoon about Benjamin Libet's experiments that suggest free will is an illusion.

Photos of cyclone devastation on Pacific island nation of Vanuatu

"Drone footage taken by ABC cameraman Brant Cumming shows some of the destruction wrought by Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu's capital, Port Vila."

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Trial for con men who "sold" US embassy in Rome to man for €580,000

Three men and one woman are being tried for selling property they didn't own to a German businessman.

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Nation in uproar after cartoon breast revealed on Nickelodeon cartoon

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 8.36.22 AM

The March 5th episode of Nickelodeon's Oggy and the Cockroaches showed a framed photo of a topless cartoon character.

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White House exempts itself from Freedom of Information Act

Remember back in 2008 when President-elect Obama promised to run the most transparent White House in history? Well, you might remember, but President Obama seems to have forgotten.

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Adam Savage's build notes for his Overlook Hotel maze from The Shining

Last month we posted this video of Adam Savage building a better-than-realistic model of the Overlook Hotel maze from The Shining. Adam has now written some highly-entertaining and illuminating build notes about his ambitious undertaking.

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Romance of Canada: new work by Ryan Heshka [NSFW]

Head on over to the Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea in Milan for the opening reception on March 26th for Ryan's Heshka's show, "Romance of Canada."

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Wireless Bluetooth keyboard for $17

keyboardMy 11-year-old has been using an old keyboard on her hand-me-down computer setup. Some of the keys are worn down to the point of being blank.

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Drone's eye view of a scary bike trail

Marshall Mullen recorded Michal Kollbek riding the White Line in Sedona, AZ.

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Why "It Follows" is the best horror movie in over a decade

I stopped being scared or creeped out by horror movies about 20 years ago, but when Carla and I watched It Follows on Saturday night we were both freaked out of our wits.

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School pretends boy's leaf is marijuana, suspends him for a year

Do not bring a leaf  of any kind to Bedford Middle School  or vice principal Wilson will go ballistic on your ass. (Wikimedia)

Do not bring a leaf of any kind to Bedford Middle School or vice principal Wilson will go ballistic on your ass. (Wikimedia)

An 11-year-old boy was caught with a lighter and a leaf in his school backpack. Three separate tests on the leaf have come back negative for marijuana, so the school did the sensible thing and suspended the boy for a year.

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How to make a smartphone microscope

Kenji Yoshino of MAKE shows you how to make a powerful microscope from "the focus lens from a cheap laser pointer or two, and about $10 worth of materials from the hardware store."

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Photos of beautiful treehouse apartments in Italy

Architect Luciano Pia designed 25 Verde, a 63 unit apartment complex in Turin, Italy.

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US Postal Inspection Service set up hidden camera to capture faces and license plates


A Denver TV news program discovered a hidden camera installed at a post office in Golden, Colorado, which was "positioned to capture and record the license plates and facial features of customers." An hour after the camera was discovered it "was ripped from the ground and disappeared."

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Take the intelligence test that Thomas Edison gave to job seekers

Thomas Edison's test for job applicants was leaked in 1921. Gizmodo has all 146 questions, with answers supplied.

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Los Angeles sunset reflection

Photo by Sarina Frauenfelder.

How Amazon's Fire TV Stick paid for itself

I bought the Amazon Fire TV Stick video streamer at the pre-order price of $20. It's now $39, but still a good deal. Here's why:

[UPDATE: Never mind about the below! A commenter told me you could switch to SD in Apple TV's system settings. Even with this discovery, the longer movie rental expiration window of the Fire Stick makes it worth it. - Mark]

My wife and buy a lot of TV shows (like the Twin Peaks-esque Bates Motel, our current obsession), and we used to buy them on Apple TV. But Apple TV sells only HD versions of TV episodes (for $2.99) and movies, which cost more than the standard definition versions (that you can buy using iTunes on Mac OS, which in inconvenient). I don't mind standard definition shows because, 1) they download faster than HD files, 2) are less prone to stopping for a buffer refill, and 3) look good enough. Like Apple TV, the Fire Stick sells $2.99 HD episodes, but it also sells $1.99 SD episodes. Because we buy SD episodes of TV shows and movies, we quickly saved more than the price we paid for the Fire Stick.

And since we are Amazon Prime members we get to see exclusive content, like the excellent Amazon series Bosch, based on Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch police novels, and selected HBO series. It also streams Netflix, YouTube, Vimeo, and other services.

Finally, in many cases the movie rental period for the Fire Stick is longer than iTunes avaricious 24-hour rental period, which forces you to rent a movie again if you don't finish it the first night. For instance, Big Hero 6 is $4.99 ($5.99 HD) on Fire Stick and you get access to it for 72 hours. Apple gives you just 24 hours to watch it.

Fire Stick is going to offer HBO GO in April. When that happens, I'll have little reason to use Apple TV.

World's worst prank - always positive pregnancy test

Want to make a friend or loved one hate you? Give them this. I'm not linking to the online store that sells it because it's too awful.

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You are invited to your cousin AJ Jacob's family reunion!

A.J. Jacobs (shown here with his [very distant] cousin Olivia Wilde) and a group of researchers are building the world's largest family tree. To celebrate, A.J. is holding the world's largest family reunion, and since you are related to him you are invited!

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How to make a mealworm farm

"Mealworms are one of the easiest, cheapest, and most space efficient ways to raise protein for you or your animals."

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Ground-level video of 2011 Japan tsunami

I've not seen this particular video of the 2011 Japan tsunami, but it shows just how nightmarishly devastating it was.

Please give this pastor $65 million so he can buy a private jet


There's only one way for Pastor Creflo Dollar to "continue to spread the gospel of grace around the world" and that's by donating $65 million dollars so he can have a Gulfstream G650 jet. You are asked to "Sow your love gift of any amount." [via]

The Secret Service's history of booze, bullets, bombs, and hookers

To celebrate the Secret Service's latest booze-fueled incident, in which a drunken agent crashed a car into a White House Security barricade and possibly ran over a bomb, Bloomberg's Arit Johnson takes a look at a few other recent Secret Service escapades:

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Hiné Mizushima's lovely felt Apple Watch

The talented Hiné Mizushima, is an illustrator, slow crafter, doll maker, and puppet stop-motion animation video artist living in Vancouver. Her latest creation is this clever felted Apple Watch.

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Australia’s top medical research organization finds homeopathy worthless

pills Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council reviewed 225 research papers on homeopathy and came to the conclusion that "there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective."