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

There are 15 cities in China with over 10 million people

How many of these Chinese megacity names do you recognize? I recognize maybe five, probably four.

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Congress is fed up with DEA chief Michele Leonhart


DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart has received a vote of "no confidence" from members of the House Oversight and Government Reforms Committee. Leonhart has stood idly by as her agents have run berserk, murdering and torturing innocent people, spying on Americans, fabricating evidence, participating in sex parties funded by Colombian drug cartels, ignoring science, and doing other things you'd expect only from the worst kind of criminal syndicate.

From AlterNet:

Here's just a selection of the controversies surrounding the agency since she took over in 2008, or which involve her own long history with the agency:

  • The Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General currently has six open investigations into numerous DEA scandals, including the massacre of civilians in Honduras, the use of NSA data to both spy on virtually all Americans and to systematically fabricate evidence, and controversial uses of confidential informants.
  • Leonhart herself has been at the center of several scandals, including the House of Death scandal in which the DEA may have turned a blind eye to torture and murder, and the Andrew Chambers scandal, in which the DEA rehired a confidential informant with a history of lying.
  • DEA conflicts with Obama administration policy. Last year, Leonhart publicly rebuked President Obama for admitting that marijuana is as safe as alcohol, told members of Congress that the DEA will continue to go after marijuana even in states where it is legal despite DOJ guidance stating otherwise, and spoke out against bipartisan drug sentencing reform in Congress that the Obama administration is supporting.
  • Last May, The DEA created a political firestorm this week when it seized seeds bound for a Kentucky hemp research program that was approved by Congress. Then Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the incident "an outrage" and the Kentucky Agriculture Department sued the DEA.
  • The DEA’s refusal to acknowledge science. DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart has on several occasions ignored science and overruled the DEA’s own administrative law judges on medical issues relating to marijuana.

Drug reformers, who have long criticized Leonhart's last-century attitudes and approach to drug policy, were calling for her head.

I assasinated Marilyn Monroe: retired CIA agent's deathbed confession (UPDATE: LIES)


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The FBI lied about hair samples for over 20 years


The FBI admitted that, for over 20 years, it gave flawed hair sample testimony in hundreds of trials, reports the Washington Post. Ninety-five percent of the testimonies were skewed to favor prosecutors.

From a review of of 342 cases, it was found that 268 cases used hair evidence provided by the FBI. Of those 268 trials, 257 trials had flawed hair testimony. About 1200 cases have not yet been investigated. In 700 of those cases, police or prosectors have not responded to requests for more information.

Thirty two defendants in these flawed evidence trials were sentenced to death, and 14 of the defendants have either been executed or died in prison.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said it best: “These findings are appalling and chilling in their indictment of our criminal justice system, not only for potentially innocent defendants who have been wrongly imprisoned and even executed, but for prosecutors who have relied on fabricated and false evidence despite their intentions to faithfully enforce the law.”

Watch Adam Savage and Battlestar Galactica's Aaron Douglas build Cylon models

I'm loving Adam Savage's One Day Builds show for Tested, where he and a special guest build models and shoots the breeze. In this episode, Adam is joined by Battlestar Galactica's Chief Tyrol (aka Aaron Douglas) to assemble and paint Cylon model kits.

In the episode, Adam offers a tip for painting models. Paint in the order you get dressed: skin first, then hair, then clothing, starting from layers closet to the skin and moving outwards.

cylon-2 cylon-1

Aaron Douglas as Battlestar Galactica's Chief Tyrol

Science Babe goes after Dr. Mercola, Food Babe, Dr. Oz, et al

sci-babeYvette d'Entremont, an analytical chemist, started Science Babe as a way to satirize the questionable claims made by Vani Hari on her Food Babe site. But Science Babe has become more serious of late and d'Entremont is taking on every popular health quack on the Web.

James Fell of Ask Men profiled Science Babe to get her perspective on promotors of bro and babe "science."

From the article:

Mercola: “If someone sends me a link from Dr. Mercola I don’t even look into it anymore,” Yvette said. “I just tell them it’s bullsh*t because he’s probably the worst online doctor out there. One of things that really bothers me about him is that the anti-vax movement is one of the more dangerous kinds of pseudoscience out there, and if you Google vaccines the first link you see is the CDC, which is what you want because it’s a reputable source of scientific information. But the next website that comes up is Mercola, and it’s just conspiracy theory nutjob stuff, and it’s horrible that a parent looking for a good information can be directed to that.”

Food Babe: [W]hile some of the more quacktacular natural health type blogs have rallied to Vani Hari’s defense after Yvette’s exposé, most of the media has been supportive of the more sciencey Babe. “I can see that the mainstream media is treating her differently now,” Yvette said. “Before they saw her as this sweet, healthy food advocate, but now the media is starting to be more skeptical of the information she’s providing.” And while Vani was able to bully Subway into (unnecessarily) changing their bread recipe, it’s doubtful that any other companies will allow themselves to be pushed around by the Food Babe in the future.

Unintelligible 90s Rock Band Guy

Brought to you by Frederick Scott, the same guy who gifted us with "This is a Trent Reznor Song".

John Edgar Park, producer at Disney Research, shares his favorite tools


Over at Cool Tools we interviewed my good friend John Edgar Park, who is one of the most interesting people I know. When he is not combing the streets for street sweeper blades to turn into picklocks, or practicing impossible yoga positions, or roasting his own coffee, he's doing secret things at the research wing of Disney Imagineering. Kevin Kelly and I asked him to tell us about some of his favorite tools, which you can learn about in this episode of the Cool Tools Show, and by reading the show notes (Why not subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode?)

Crazy Cube, a magic trick that lets you read minds

Like Jason's beloved Hot Rod, the Crazy Cube is an inexpensive and easy trick you can keep in your pocket and pester your friends with.

Tell the spectator to place the die in the small bottle with their selected number facing up (or down, which is what I prefer to tell them). Tell them to cap the bottle. Then, put the small bottle upside down into the larger bottle and cap it. Have them hold the jar. Look into their eyes, and after a non-creepy amount of time, tell them the number. You are right!

Here's a video:

1991 promo video for Sizzler reveals that the 90s were much, much worse than the 1970s

This Sizzler restaurant video is all about freedom. The freedom to wear fake cowboy hats or his-and-her jogging headbands.

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TSA officers in Denver fired for giving free (and unsolicited) groin massages to passengers


Two TSA agents were fired for an alleged scheme to allow one of the agents to grope the passengers of his choice at the Denver airport.

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Security director of Iowa lottery awards himself with a $14.3 million winning ticket

lottoWhy is this former information security director of the Iowa state lottery not smiling? Because he made a nifty self-deleting computer program designed to give him a $14.3 million winning ticket and got caught, say officials.

[Eddie] Tipton, now 51, waited more than a year before attempting to anonymously claim the ticket through a Bedford, N.Y. attorney named Crawford Shaw, the Lottery Post reported. The ticket ultimately expired, and Tipton's lame luck ran out when another lottery employee recognized him making his prohibited purchase in security footage from a QuikTrip gas station in Des Moines.

Florida gentleman arrested for selling "Legit Counterfeit $$" on Craigslist


Tony Jerome Torbert Jr., 20, is facing 20 years in prison for "possession of counterfeit currency with intent to defraud." He was arrested after the Sheriff received a hotline tip that someone was offering "Legit Counterfeit $$" on Craigslist.

[Speaking of counterfeit money, here's an old post from Boing Boing that has an audio clip of my favorite voice mail from a drunk, angry reader.]


US gov't will now reluctantly confirm or deny your inclusion on its "No Fly List," if you ask

People who think they may have been banned by the federal government from flying on commercial planes will now be able to find out for sure whether or not they are one of the unlucky 47,000 estimated members of No Fly List.

The change in posture comes in response to a series of lawsuits from individuals who claim they’ve been wrongly included on the list. Specifically, the government is responding to a lawsuit brought by a 19-year-old US citizen who was detained in Kuwait in December 2010 and prevented from returning to the United States.

Gulet Mohamed claimed he was subject to torture in a Kuwaiti detention facility, and efforts to return home to the states were thwarted since his name appeared on the No Fly List. He was not facing any charges in Kuwait or the US before his arrest.

Screen shot of Boing Boing circa 1993

Boing-Boing-wellThis is what Boing Boing looked like when its online home was The Well. This is a photo from a book Gareth Branwyn and Sean Carton wrote, called Internet Power Tool Kit.

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Attack on Titan anthology is $5


My 12-year-old daughter introduced my wife and me to the immensely popular Attack on Titan TV animated series (it's on Netflix). We quickly tore through all 25 episodes and loved it in the same way we love zombie movies, Game of Thrones, and Guillermo del Toro's The Strain.

In short, the story takes place in a future where the human race has been nearly wiped out by giant humanoids who eat people for fun. The remaining humans live in land enclosed by three tall concentric walls. They have no electricity or gasoline engines, and are constantly being attacked by the titans, who seem incapable of (or unwilling to) communicate with people.

Now that we must wait for the second season (and the upcoming live action movie), we've started reading the manga, which came before the TV series, and extends way beyond where the first season of the TV show left off. Amazon has a good deal on the first Attack on Titan anthology, which collects issues 1-4 of the Manga. It's just $5 and runs 208 pages. I know I'm late to the party, here -- I imagine a lot of you are familiar with the show, but if you have not, you are in for a treat.

Note: Attack on Titan is gory and intense. I think 12 is good age to start with the series. I wouldn't give it to a younger child.

Pop-Up Magazine comes to LA: 4/19/2015

Pop-Up Magazine is a spectacular night of storytelling/performance/music/film packed into a 100-minute extravaganza. It's coming to the beautiful Ace Theatre in downtown Los Angeles on 4/19 (this Sunday), and tickets are going fast.

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