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

Parents under investigation for allowing their kids to go outside

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv have two kids, age six and ten. They let them walk home together from the park. Someone saw the kids walking without an adult chaperone and called the cops.

From Reason:

At the door the police officer asked to see my husband's ID, but did not explain why. When he refused, she called for backup.

A total of six patrol cars showed up.

Alexander then agreed to get his ID and went to go upstairs. The officer said—in front of the kids—that if he came down with anything else, "shots would be fired." She proceeded to follow him upstairs, and when he said she had no right to do so without a warrant, she insisted that she did.

Our 10 yr. old called me crying and saying that the police were there and that Daddy was going to be arrested.

Now the parents are under investigation. [via]

WATCH: Seagull wishes monkey would share stolen sandwich

Criminal simian oblivious to the hungry seagull standing next to him. [via]

The version of Shaq's Gold Bond Powder commercial where his face takes a psychedelic trip is the best version

WATCH: Soccer hooligans take the escalator

I wish this escalator was taking them to the cornfield. Where is Billy Mumy when you need him? [via]

WATCH: Ghost chases crying man driving backwards

According to the Daily Record, the terrified dudes in the car are yelling "Move the car backwards," and "Faster! Faster!" in Arabic. Both reasonable things to shriek, given the circumstances. The area of Blackburn, England where this was filmed is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a monk who was murdered there 372 years ago this month.

WATCH: 2 Chainz schools Nancy Grace about weed prohibition

Screechy plastic replicant lady Nancy Grace gets a lesson from 2 Chainz about the dangers of weed prohibition.

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NASCAR driver says his ex-girlfriend is a trained assassin

Image: AFFDC

Image: AFFDC

Patricia Driscoll (head of the national charity, the Armed Forces Foundation) went to court to obtain a protective order against her ex-boyfriend, NASCAR driver Kurt Busch. She says Busch assaulted her last year. In his defense, Busch testified to the court that Driscoll is a trained international killer.

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Gadgets 022: RGB LED Lightbulb, KontrolFreek joystick extender, Photive 5 Port Multi-USB Charger

This week Mark, Xeni and Jason recap their holidays and current favorite gadgets — a remote controlled color changing light bulb, Xbox joystick extender, and a multi-USB charger.

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The Paderno spiral vegetable slicer looks shoddy, but it is awesome


The Paderno spiral vegetable slicer is made of plastic and it looks like it would snap into pieces as soon as the crank is turned, but don't let its appearance fool you. This thing has a set of three sharp blade attachments that make short work of sweet potatoes (and, I assume, the sweet potato's evil cousin, the white potato).


Using one of the three blade attachments, you can shred, chip, or thinly slice vegetables. The hand-cranked operation is pleasingly, almost effortlessly, smooth.


When you are done peeling the potato, you're left with a cute non-hallucinogenic mushroom.


I tossed a couple of potatoes into a skillet with salt and coconut oil.


Then I fried the potatoes, gently flipping them from time to time, until a lot of the water burned out and I ended up with with something that looked like bacon and tasted better than bacon. This stuff is crack to me. I could eat it all day, every day.

Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer ($33)

UPDATE: Xeni has one and reviewed it last year.

Crayola's Facebook page gains thousands of new followers after it was hacked and flooded with porny jokes

The Crayola Facebook page enjoyed a flood of new followers after someone hacked its Facebook page and began posting immature sexual jokes. Many commenters said that while the jokes were inappropriate for children, they were kind of funny.

Why is boxing still a sport?

This is brutal. [via]

The cops who shot a homeless man have been charged with murder

Two Albuquerque police officers who shot and killed a mentally ill homeless camper last year have been charged with murder.

The encounter was caught on video that appears to show disproportionate use of force, although the Albuquerque Police Department continued to insist the shooting was justified for months following the incident.

Now the APD's luck appears to have run out. Prosecutors have announced that two officers who fired lethal rounds into Boyd's body, Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez, will be charged with murder.

WATCH: Police hose down crowd of sports fans with pepper spray and tear gas

Revelers in Ohio get treated to a chemical hosedown by heavily militarized police.

Art Forms in Nature – Eye-popping art prints from an eccentric scientist

Zoologist and artist Ernst Haeckel (1834 - 1919) had some odd ideas about the origins and evolution of life forms. That’s understandable, because at the time, scientists were just beginning to accept Darwinism. Haeckel himself was a champion of Darwinism, but he added Lamarckism and some unpleasant conjectures about race into his philosophical worldview. I’m not much interested in his religio-scientific ideas, though. It’s his drawings that fascinate me.

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How to win at rock, paper, scissors

In 2005 a Japanese electronics firm decided to sell its collection of four French impressionist paintings. Christie’s and Sotheby’s courted the company. The CEO asked the auction houses to play a game of Rock Paper Scissors to determine who would sell the paintings. The representative for Christie's researched Rock Paper Scissors strategies, and used the advice of one of his co-worker's children: “Everybody knows you always start with scissors.” This proved to be good advice in this case, because Sotheby's chose Paper. Christie's sold the paintings for $17.8 million, and earned a $1.9 million commission.

William Poundstone (author of many books I've enjoyed, including Big Secrets, Fortune's Formula, Prisoner's Dilemma, and an entire book about Rock Paper Scissors) starts off his article about Rock Paper Scissors strategies with the above anecdote. He looks at strategies involving statistics (in pro tournaments Rock gets thrown 35.4%, Paper 35%, and Scissors 29.6%), doublethink, tells, scripts, and pattern recognition. His conclusion:

  • Scissors is the least popular choice, and men favour rock. Both are reasons to choose paper in a one-shot match.
  • Announce what you’re going to throw and do it. Most players figure you won’t go through with it.

WATCH: Funny woman reviews "As Seen on TV" junk products

Last night my 11-year-old daughter showed me videos of her favorite YouTube stars. My favorite of her favorites is Bunny Meyer, a young woman from Pearland, Texas who buys gadgets advertised on TV and demonstrates them on her video series "Does This Thing Really Work?" I couldn't stop watching these videos because Bunny does a great job of testing the products -- plastic ice cream makers, detangling brushes, cat toys, magic tricks, and tip-proof snack bowls. As you might expect, most of the products she tests are garbage -- they are difficult to assemble, are made from fragile materials, and don't work. She is doing a great service in revealing how shoddy these infomercial products are. My daughter said Bunny has taught her to avoid "As Seen on TV" products.

Amplified speaker for smartphones doesn't need pairing


My sister gave me the BoostPlus Near Field Audio speaker for Christmas. I was happy for the kind thought, but since I already have three or four Bluetooth speakers, I wasn't overly excited about getting another one.

But when I used it I learned that it is not like a Bluetooth speaker. It doesn't need to be paired via Bluetooth. You just set your phone on it and it starts playing. This feature makes it a great kitchen gadget. When I'm cooking or washing the dishes, I use it to listen to podcasts and to Spike Priggen's excellent Pop-Psych, Garage & Freakbeat playlist on Spotify. When it's my wife's turn for KP duty, she listens to her podcasts on her phone (she can't be bothered with Bluetooth pairing and so before we got this thing she would just crack up the volume on the phone and listen via the built-in speaker).

The downside is that the audio quality is not as good as a Bluetooth-paired amplified speaker, but for podcast and garage music, I don't care - the convenience factor makes up for the low-fi sound.

iFrogz IF-BSP-GRN BoostPlus Near Field Audio Speaker for Smartphones and Digital Music Players ($23)

Gentleman tries to bite tortoise, but tortoise bites first

turtleThe Austrian Times says Bao Yu was inebriated when he picked up a tortoise in a market stall so he could eat it alive. The tortoise bit him on the lip and did not let go until security guards put the tortoise "still attached to his lip in the water of a tank reserved for terrapins."

Tortoise Puts The Bite On Boozer That Tried To Bite Off Its head [via]

WATCH: Woman who can bark like a dog uses her skill to surprise people


Here's how to decide whether to keep a book or get rid of it

I own more books than I can read in a lifetime. I need to try out Erik Knutzen's system for cleaning his bookshelves.

The book was released to the universe if:

  • I had read it and absorbed the information
  • The library has a copy
  • It does not give me joy
  • I don’t think I’ll ever read it
  • My interests have changed
  • I read part but don’t think I’ll read the rest

I kept the book if:

  • It’s a volume I refer to for reference on a regular basis
  • It gives me joy
  • It’s especially beautiful as an object (only one or two books actually ended up in this category — I’m not a book collector)
  • I really intend to read it
  • I want to re-read it

Former TSA officer reveals widespread misery there

Being a TSA officer is a dream job for sadistic sociopaths, but for people who are able to sympathize, it's a nightmare. "I hated it from the beginning," writes former TSA officer Jason Edward Harrington, in an essay published in Politico Magazine. He recounts the daily shame of having to confiscate nail clippers from pilots (to prevent the pilots from using them to "hijack the very planes they were flying"), jars of homemade apple butter ("on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security") and a bottle of champagne from some Marines returning home from Afghanistan who wanted to share it with a young soldier who'd lost his legs to an I.E.D.

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Zine and DIY publishing fest at Meltdown in LA, Jan 31

zineMELT is coming to celebrate the world of DIY and independent publishing. On January 31st, 2015 zineMELT will bring together artist, writers, crafters, zinesters from around Los Angeles to gather at Meltdown Comics to display and sell their goods. Please mark your calendars and come out to support your local artist.

If you bake, you need a non-stick silicone baking mat

baking-sheetFor the last few months, Cory, Jason, and I have been writing about how much we love silicone cookware. I was joking with Jason that we could start a Silicone Enthusiast podcast. Maybe we will. In the meantime, here's another silicone thing I love: my non-stick silicone baking mat.

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The Mills Brothers: Swing It, Sister (1934)

Donald Mills, Harry Mills, Herbert Mills, and John Mills: The Mills Brothers perform "Swing It, Sister" in the 1934 film Strictly Dynamite.

Note the excellent mouth trumpet action, a jazz-era vocal technique that imitates the sound of a trumpet. Try it!


Bill Cosby made a joke about his rape accusations during stand-up routine

Bill Cosby performed his stand-up routine in Canada last night, and made a joke about his widely-alleged propensity to drug women and rape them while they are unconscious.

According to tweets from Richard Warnica, a reporter with the Toronto-based newspaper National Post who was at the show, Cosby told a woman getting up for a drink that "you have to be careful about drinking around me."

The audience first gasped and then, according to Warnica, applauded Cosby.

That's not surprising, considering this audience willingly paid money to be entertained by Cosby.

Foie gras ban in California ruled unconstitutional

A federal judge on Wednesday lifted California's ban on the sale of foie gras, a delicacy made from fatty duck or goose liver. He said the law was unconstitutional because it interfered with existing federal poultry regulations.
The plaintiffs argued that states can't interfere with federally approved poultry products because they're already covered by the Poultry Products Inspection Act. That law gives the federal government exclusive powers to determine what ingredients belong in poultry. The plaintiffs said it was therefore illegal for California to require foie gras to be made from birds that weren't force-fed.

"California cannot regulate foie gras products' ingredients by creatively phrasing its law in terms of the manner in which those ingredients were produced," [U.S. District Judge Stephen V.] Wilson wrote in his ruling.

Foie gras is traditionally made by sticking a tube into a fowl's throat and force feeding it corn, which causes its liver to accumulate fat deposits.

Foie gras ban is overturned

To-do lists are evil. Schedule everything.

Cal Newport is the author of the excellent career advice book, So Good They Can't Ignore You (Read Kevin Kelly's review). Eric Barker of Barking up the Wrong Tree interviewed Newport to find out how he schedules his time.

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Perpetual motion device unveiled at CES

I was sad that Steorn stopped boasting about its Orbo perpetual motion machine a few years ago. But I'm happy now that AuroraTek announced its perpetual motion machine. Unlike Orbo, which used fickle "delayed magnetic field propagation" to bend the laws of thermodynamic, the AuroraTek device uses the much more sensible "negative time domain" to output more energy than it uses. Shut up and take my money!

Hair-raising knife throwing performance nearly ends in death on live TV

Digg's highlights: "1:17 — slightly cuts a finger, 1:30 — almost hits another one, 3:15 — 1-2cm from death, 4:45 — trying to clean blood with shoe."

Maybe the knife-thrower always does it this way to make the performance more thrilling?

Lottery ticket with $500,000 prize was a "misprint"

John Wines was pleased when the scratch-off lottery ticket he bought at a New Mexico gas station turned out to be worth $500,000. But when Wines tried collect his prize, an employee of the New Mexico Lottery robbed him of his pleasure:

“We did find a flaw in that particular pack of tickets and it’s been reported to our printer. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I did complete a reconstruction of your ticket and it was not a winner.”

The New Mexico Lottery offered Wines $100 in lottery tickets as a token of their sympathy.