A teacher at Pennridge High School in Pennsylvania gave students an assignment that included biographical snippets from the life of poet Maya Angelou. Some people are upset.
From Detroit News:
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The assignment focused on Maya Angelou and her autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” It provided a math formula that asked: “Angelou was sexually abused by her mother’s ——— at age 8, which shaped her career choices and motivation for writing.” Pennridge High School students needed to use the formula before deciding whether the answer was boyfriend, brother or father.
Electric eels are incredible animals. Besides being able to shock animals, it uses radar to locate prey. This 1950s film features a happy scientist and his beloved pet eel, Joe, who happily shocks five people in the office with his superpower.
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Zine publisher Jonno Revanche says he likes zines because they are not connected to a network infected with crap: clickbait, tracking, trolls, etc.
From his piece in The Guardian:
There’s a liberty to creating, or witnessing subversive material knowing that it won’t be monitored, that the information is contained only within the pages of the zine. The trustworthiness of a physical object in our current age is strangely compelling. Links shared via Facebook or messenger apps can be intercepted, logged, or dispersed otherwise into the ether. Especially for teenagers, zines counter the anxiety and subsequent frantic deletion of browser history so that your family can’t see it. Hide it under your bed instead, or in a zipped inner sanctum within your school bag.
(Thanks, Kathi!) Read the rest
Anker generally makes high quality electronic gear, and judging by the reviews on Amazon, the tiny SoundCore Nano Bluetooth speaker is no exception. It's got a battery life of 4 hours, and can be recharged with the included Micro USB charging cable (which also can be used as a way to connect the speaker to a computer instead of Bluetooth). Read the rest
Fleb is a puzzle designer and puzzle collector. In this video, he shows how to fit a wooden square into a bag that looks too small. "Square in the Bag" was the 2012 Puzzle of the Year and was created by Hirokazu Iwasawa. Read the rest
This happened in 2010, but it is worth watching. A reporter who has questions about how public money is being spent meets a passive-aggressive communication director who can't keep his hands to himself.
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Here are 10 amusing sucker bets from Richard Wiseman's book, 101 Bets You Will Always Win. Read the rest
I've read a few of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels and they are a lot of fun. James Bond is much more flawed and weird in the books than he is in the movies. Right now Amazon is selling the Bond series for $2 a book as Kindle editions. But if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited (I do) you can read them for free. Here's a link to a join Amazon Kindle Unlimited with 30-Day Free Trial. Read the rest
Author, futurist, and agnostic mystic Robert Anton Wilson died 10 years ago today. Carla and I interviewed him for the first issue of bOING bOING in 1987. In fact, one of the main reasons we started Boing Boing was to have an excuse to interview him.
Here's what I wrote on the 5th anniversary of Bob's death:
“I regard belief as a form of brain damage.” ― Robert Anton Wilson
Tomorrow marks the fifth anniversary of Robert Anton Wilson's death. Bob was a writer of fiction and non-fiction, most notably the Illuminatus! trilogy (co-written with Robert Shea) and the non-fiction memoir Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati. In all, he wrote 35 books, countless articles and essays, and a couple of plays and screenplays.
Bob was an intensely curious, intellectually playful, and profoundly insightful person and his writing and talks influenced my world view more than any other writer. He wrote about conspiracy theories, government nuttiness, the future, Freemasonry, quantum physics, magick, occult and paranormal phenomena, human behavior, mental models, psychedelic drugs, cult psychology, and the nature of reality. He had a knack for giving straightforward explanations of hard-to-grok concepts without stripping them of their power or complexity. Before I read RAW's books, the world was confusing and mysterious. After I read his books, the world became much more confusing and mysterious -- but in a good way! Bob converted me from atheism to agnosticism (which, in his words, means "never regarding any model or map of the universe with total 100% belief or total 100% denial"). Read the rest
Somehow, this bike got caught on an electric fence, and these three guys are having a hell of a time getting it unstuck. I've never seen people so downright joyful about getting jolted with 10,000 volts. Read the rest
Alvarortega has a YouTube channel of animated videos of Beatles (and solo) music. Really fun stuff! Read the rest
Kodak's Ektachrome film, developed in the 1940s, was a favorite of National Geographic photographers. But digital cameras flatlined the sales and it was discontinued in 2012. A revived interest in film cameras has prompted Kodak to revive the beloved 35mm film. Look for it later this year.
From Kodak's press release:
Ektachrome Film has a distinctive look that was the choice for generations of photographers before being discontinued in 2012. The film, known for its extremely fine grain, clean colors, great tones and contrasts, became iconic in no small part due the extensive use of slide film by National Geographic Magazine over several decades.
Resurgence in the popularity of analog photography has created demand for new and old film products alike. Sales of professional photographic films have been steadily rising over the last few years, with professionals and enthusiasts rediscovering the artistic control offered by manual processes and the creative satisfaction of a physical end product.
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Train Global says: "I made a song using a weird phone call my friend sent me from his pest control job." He reports in the comments, "Apparently she only had a few ants in her house." Read the rest
It looks like a big piece of ice started spinning in a river current. As it rotated, irregular chunks broke off until it formed a circle. Read the rest
In 1972 billy barr (he spells it lowercase) was a Rutgers University environmental science student and did some research in Gothic, Colorado, a ghost town built around a silver mine. The native New Jerseyan returned after graduation and has lived in the town as its sole full-time resident ever since. He has also taken meticulous snowfall and temperature measurements, which have proven valuable to climate scientists.
From Oddity Central:
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“The trend I see is that we’re getting permanent snow pack later, and we get to bare ground sooner,” barr says. “We’ll have years where there was a lot of snow on the ground, and then we lose snow sooner than years that had a lot less snow just because it’s a lot warmer now.”
Our friend and frequent Boing Boing contributor Clive Thompson has a piece in the January/February issue of Smithsonian magazine entitled "Rage Against the Machines." He explores the 19th century Luddite Revolution, the first rebellion against automation, comparing it to the upcoming robot workforce revolution.
I didn't know that pre-industrial textile workers were well-paid and had lots of free time. No wonder they fought so hard against textile automation!
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At the turn of 1800, the textile industry in the United Kingdom was an economic juggernaut that employed the vast majority of workers in the North. Working from home, weavers produced stockings using frames, while cotton-spinners created yarn. “Croppers” would take large sheets of woven wool fabric and trim the rough surface off, making it smooth to the touch.
These workers had great control over when and how they worked—and plenty of leisure. “The year was chequered with holidays, wakes, and fairs; it was not one dull round of labor,” as the stocking-maker William Gardiner noted gaily at the time. Indeed, some “seldom worked more than three days a week.” Not only was the weekend a holiday, but they took Monday off too, celebrating it as a drunken “St. Monday.”
Croppers in particular were a force to be reckoned with. They were well-off—their pay was three times that of stocking-makers—and their work required them to pass heavy cropping tools across the wool, making them muscular, brawny men who were fiercely independent. In the textile world, the croppers were, as one observer noted at the time, “notoriously the least manageable of any persons employed.”
But in the first decade of the 1800s, the textile economy went into a tailspin.