Cool claymation video and tutorials for making your own

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Alexander Unger is an animator and sculptor who makes excellent stop motion instructional videos (like this one on how to bounce things and this one on how to make things fly). Here's a recent claymation video he made, with great use of sound effects.

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Hippo attacks car

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Wikus Ceronie, a welding inspector, describes his encounter with a truculent hippo:

This is my first time ever working in Mozambique and I was on a jolly journey back home to South Africa.

I was crossing the border from Kruger National Park when I noticed a hippo on the bridge. There were people walking around in the nearby vicinity so I automatically assumed this hippo was used to humans. I was quite fascinated by this so I took out my phone to start filming.

Suddenly the hippo turned and just started charging… I braced myself as I realized he wasn’t going to stop. He hit the bakkie head on and then tried biting it. I guess after that he decided he had won because he just turned around and left.

This was terrifying for me because I realized I had nowhere to go and no time to do it in. Beside me was a 50m drop so had he hit me on the side I have no doubt the car would have rolled down the embankment. Even though there was damage done to the bonnet of my vehicle and the door couldn’t open, I’m grateful there were no serious injuries at the end of day.

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Gentleman who smuggled $165,000 worth of gold in his rectum promises to pay it back

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While employed at the Royal Canadian Mint, Leston Lawrence secreted 22 gold "pucks" into his rectum. He removed them and sold them for $165,000. He will be sentenced by Ontario Court Justice Peter Doody (yes, Doody).

From CBC:

Lawrence worked at the mint from July 2008 until March 2015. His job included purifying gold — jewelry, coins and bars purchased by the mint — by melting it, injecting it with chlorine gas and skimming off base metal until the molten gold was 99.5 per cent pure.

Once he believed the molten gold was pure, he was to scoop some out with a ladle, let it cool and then test it for purity. He was supposed to return the pucks into the vat of molten gold after testing.

Lawrence "clearly had the opportunity" to steal the gold because he often worked alone, and the security cameras would not have caught him slipping gold pucks into his pocket, Doody ruled. "His locker contained Vaseline and latex gloves, which could have been used to insert a puck into his rectum," he ruled, adding that there were no cameras in the locker room.

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Englands new £5 notes contain animal fat, angering vegans

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The Bank of England confirmed that its new £5 notes contain animal fat. “There is a trace of tallow in the polymer pellets used in the base substrate of the polymer £5 notes,” it tweeted yesterday. There's a petition underway to replace them with vegan currency.

The new £5 notes contain animal fat in the form of tallow. This is unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in the U.K.

We demand that you cease to use animal products in the production of currency that we have to use.

The petition has 26,260 supporters so far.

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Hyperinflation in Venezuela - merchants are weighing, not counting, currency

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Venezuela's currency is on track to inflate by 720 percent this year. Why? The drop in the price of oil hurt Venezuela's economy, and President Nicolás Maduro thought he could solve the problem by printing more money. It didn't work and now people are starving.

From The Independent:

When the price of oil on the global market collapsed by two-thirds in 2014, Venezuela had little else to fall back on, so a natural reaction would have been for the bolívar to collapse. But Mr Maduro, who succeeded Hugo Chávez following the revolutionary leader's death in 2013, instead tried to control the exchange rate, creating a massive black market for currency.

Figuring out scams to get dollars and then sell them for bolívars became hugely lucrative business for Venezuelans, setting off a feedback loop that drove the inflation rate higher and higher.

In one of Caracas richer neighbourhoods, the owner of a tiny kiosk selling newspapers, cigarettes and snacks told the Washington Post that every evening he quietly stuffs a plastic bag full of the day’s earnings, around 100,000 bolívars (about £42) in notes of 10, 20, 50 and 100 bolívars. Venezuela has one of the highest crime rates in the world, and he said carrying that much cash frightens him.

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Tsujigiri: a ghastly samurai practice

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Tsujigiri is the Japanese word for lopping off an innocent person's head with a sword. My wife, Carla Sinclair, wrote about the origins of this grisly practice in her article for Tofugu.

The reasons for tsujigiri varied, but usually the swordsman slashed at an unsuspecting victim to try out his new katana, to practice a new move, to test his strength, or just for the sheer thrill of it. There was even a superstition floating around that said performing tsujigiri on 1,000 people would heal illness. The victims were usually merchants or peasants.

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Texas lawyers sing about why you shouldn't eat weed in front of cops

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The lawyers of Hutson and Harris wrote and performed a song that explains how eating or throwing away your pot in front of a cop turns a misdemeanor possession charge into a felony offense of evidence tampering. Read the rest

Buy a Dash button for $1, get a $5 credit

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I just bought another Amazon Dash Button for my growing collection of wireless one-push product ordering buttons. (This time, I got the button for Amazon Basic Batteries.) Dash Buttons are usually $5, but you can get one for $1 if you use the promo code CYBERDASH. You'll also get a $5 Amazon credit after your first press. Read the rest

Negative review of a $1,500 Silicon Valley toaster oven

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Mark Wilson of Fast Company cooked a piece of salmon in a $1,500 toaster over called June, which has a built-in camera, temperature probe, Wi-Fi, and artificial intelligence. He says the the oven isn't very good.

[June] required nearly $30 million in venture capital to create. It was the brainchild of the engineer who brought us the iPhone’s camera and Ammunition, the design firm that gave us Beats headphones.

...

But the June's fussy interface is archetypal Silicon Valley solutionism. Most kitchen appliances are literally one button from their intended function. When you twist the knob of your stove, it fires up. Hit "pulse" on a food processor and it chops. The objects are simple, because the knowledge to use them correctly lives in the user. If you get the oven temperature wrong, or the blend speed off, you simply turn it off and try again. The June attempts to eliminate what you have to know, by adding prompts and options and UI feedback. Slide in a piece of bread to make toast. Would you like your toast extra light, light, medium, or dark? Then you get an instruction: "Toast bread on middle rack." But where there once was just an on button, you now get a blur of uncertainty: How much am I in control? How much can I expect from the oven? I once sat watching the screen for two minutes, confused as to why my toast wasn’t being made. Little did I realize, there’s a checkmark I had to press—the computer equivalent of "Are you sure you want to delete these photos?" — before browning some bread.

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Apple profits from scam apps in the App Store

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If you search for “Microsoft Excel” in Apple's App Store, the top result is a $30 “Office Bundle," advertised as a way to "create Word, Excel and PowerPoint Documents." In reality, it's just a bunch of templates for Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, but that's not made clear in the description. The $30 purchase price is split between the publisher (2/3) and Apple (1/3). '

It turns out that the App Store is filled with scam apps like this.

From How-To Geek:

Let’s be blunt: these customers were ripped off, and Apple pocketed $10 each. And you’ll only see these comments if you scroll past the two five star reviews that mention the word “app” numerous times. Both of those reviews, by the way, were left by accounts that haven’t reviewed any other apps in the Store.

Search for other Office applications and you’ll find more template bundles, disguised as official applications to varying degrees.

There are also several $20+ applications that put Microsoft’s free online version of Office into a dedicated browser. Then there are the actual “apps” capable of opening and editing Office files, many of which use terms like “Microsoft Word” in their names. They appear to be slightly modified versions of open source applications, but we’re not about to buy them to find out.

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Motorcyclist exacts revenge on bottle thrower

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This video could be titled "Road Warrior Lite." Read the rest

This guy made a video about his war with a venomous spider infestation

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Here's a fellow whose been plagued with redback spider infestations in his backyard garden. In this video he shows his arsenal of weapons (such as deodorant can flamethrowers) and how he uses them to get rid of the venomous spiders. Read the rest

Video compilation of people accidentally destroying expensive things

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Fail Army put together a video of people (and at least one cat) destroying valuable cars, camera equipment, computers, TVs, boats, houses, and other things. Read the rest

New role playing game has clever text-based ascii animation

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Stone Story is an RPG coming soon to Steam. From the developer:

Stone Story is an RPG set in a dark and vile world. The game's fluid ASCII art is painstakingly animated in plain text by a single insane game developer. Currently in closed alpha, the game features 6 locations to explore, 4 boss fights, mind-blowing ASCII cutscenes and plenty of loot to discover. Much more content is planned once the project reaches beta.

The casual play contrasts with the retro visuals, providing a unique experience that blends nostalgia with modern design principles. One of the game's defining mechanics is that you have no direct control of the player character. You choose what items to equip and which locations to visit, while an artificial intelligence does all the exploring, combat and looting. An expansive item crafting system allows you to combine otherwise disposable items--rewarding experimentation and making full use of all the gathered loot.

Stone Story will be published on the web, Win, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android. Initial language support will be English, Portuguese and Chinese. Further localization will be added based on regional stats.

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How Canadian and US expats celebrate Thanksgiving in Japan

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My wife Carla is executive editor of Tofugu, a very cool website about Japan. She just wrote an article about how USans and Canadians living in Japan celebrate Thanksgiving. She interviewed five people (a few are Boing Boing readers who responded to a request to be interviewed) and they told her how they managed to have a nice dinner in a country where turkeys are relatively rare.

WHAT DO JAPANESE PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THANKSGIVING?

Joel: Not very much. Unlike Christmas and Halloween, school kids tend not to learn much about it other than, "Americans eat turkey." There also seems to be a lot of confusion with young kids regarding turkey versus chicken. Explaining that they are not the same animal results in a lot of baffled looks.

Annamarie: I have found very few people are familiar with American Thanksgiving. Apart from the knowledge that it exists and that we usually eat turkey, most people I’ve spoken to about it are at a loss. This isn’t a bad thing. I appreciate the opportunity to explain both the storybook and historical origins of the holiday.

Katie: I'm still discovering what Japanese folks know about Thanksgiving. Since I work for an American company (Nike) I find most of my coworkers are pretty savvy about things like Fourth of July and other very American holidays, but I can't tell what my neighbors think, or even if it registers on their radar at all. The most interesting insight for me this year was when a colleague said they were going home to visit family for the Obon festival, “you know, kind of like your Thanksgiving holiday.” I thought it was a good sign that he equated Thanksgiving with “homecoming” and not overeating and football games.

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Surge protector has 3 AC outlets and 4 USB outlets for $12

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Amazon has a good deal on the iClever BoostStrip Surge Protector With 4 USB Ports. It's $12 with code SURGEPOW. I just bought one for the kitchen, which is where family and visitors seem to want to charge their phones. Read the rest

American Indian artist forbidden from calling her art American Indian-made

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American Indian artist Peggy Fontenot is in the Patawomeck tribe, which is recognized by the state of Virginia, but not by the federal government. As a result, an Oklahoma state law forbids her from telling the truth about her heritage.

From Reason:

A state law, passed earlier this year, forbids artists from marketing their products in Oklahoma as being "American Indian-made" unless the artist is a member of a tribe recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The Patawomeck tribe is recognized by the state of Virginia, but not by the federal government. Fontenot says she can trace her Native American heritage back to the 16th Century, when the tribe was one of the first to welcome settlers from Europe who landed on the east coast of Virginia. She's been working as an artist since 1983, doing photography, beading, and making jewelry.

"I was born an American Indian. I've always been an American Indian," says Fontenot.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City argues that Oklahoma's law violates the First Amendment by restricting the speech of artists like Fontenot.

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