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

Why people have the urge to squeeze cute animals to death

When I was a kid my friend and I caught some little frogs. My friend liked his frog so much he smothered it to death in his hand. Lenny, the mentally challenged giant in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, squeezed living creatures to death because he loved them so much. Why do people do this? Two Yale graduate students, Oriana Aragon and Rebecca Dyer, are conducting experiments to find out.

Dyer's hypothesis:

Some things are so cute that we just can't stand them. We think it’s about high positive-affect, an approach orientation and almost a sense of lost control. It’s so adorable, it drives you crazy. It might be that how we deal with high positive-emotion is to sort of give it a negative pitch somehow. That sort of regulates, keeps us level and releases that energy.

"This aggression may be the brain’s response to the overwhelming joy incurred by such creatures (similar to how some people cry when intensely happy)."

Why Do We Smother Cute Things?

Flying concrete chunk startles crowd watching demolition

Judging by the half-hearted "ow" uttered by the unseen victim, it was probably just a glancing blow.

What happened to the man clinging to the back of a fast-moving car?

North Carolina drivers were surprised to see a man clinging to the back of a car going 60 mph on a freeway yesterday. One family shot a video of the incident. "The family says they saw the man on the back of the car break the back windshield and climb inside. They say a woman was driving the car with a child in a car seat inside." No one knows what happened to the car or its passengers. (Via Arbroath)

Giantess crushes cars with her bare feet

"Miz Caramel Vixen is back for more car crushing action!" (Via Weird Universe)

Babes in Toyland reform: "Time to rock some more"

Babes in Toyland, the great Minnesota punk trio that formed in 1987 has reformed after disbanding in 2001. Above, a Pasadena City College radio video from last week in which lead vocalist and guitar player Kat Bjelland and bass player Maureen Herman made the announcement.

I emailed drummer Lori Barbero to get her take on the news. She wrote:

Plan one is to get together in the same room for the first time in 15 years. We've all seen each other, but the three of us have not been together at once. I know we all had a great time during our first bout together. We're older now, and we have done a lot, individually, over the past decade. Time to rock some more. Looking forward to it. I was in an accident, and haven't played for over a year. We'll see how it pans out. I will have to relearn how to play differently, that's for sure.

I interviewed Eric Fredricksen, who (along with Chris Skarakis and Jon Motley) co-founded an LLC called Powersniff for the purpose of pooling funds and logistics for getting the Babes together again. Eric and his partners are former band mates and music fans, and worked together with Maureen on Project Noise, a nonprofit video production foundation. (Note: I'm on the board of Project Noise.)

What is it about Babes that appealed to you?

Well, we're all fans of the band for starters, and speaking for myself, at least, I remember the unique place they had in the music scene back in the late 80s and early 90s. We're also all good friends with Maureen and have always loved the idea of her getting the band back together after all they've gone through. So, once Maureen reconnected with Kat, it was a no-brainer for us to try to facilitate them getting back together. And I'm pretty much dying to see them play together.

Me too! What are the plans so far? A new album? Videos? a tour?

Our plan to all get together in May fell apart so we're rescheduling for this summer some time, so we are in the very early stages of the reunion. So early that it hasn't even happened yet. So all that is very much an open question, but I think everyone is eager to move this along quickly as soon as the stars align. So we'll start with the band playing together, and I expect that will lead to a new song or two at least. Certainly some live shows. It'll be a lot easier to figure it all out when we're all in one room. Six-way conference calls are horrible things.

What is the next big step? Studio time?

Kat and Maureen have been relearning their old songs together some, but Lori is still in Austin, so the next step is getting them just playing together. They'll probably meet up for about a week to practice in Chris' barn. After that probably a show or two on the quiet, and we'll go from there.

Alligator encounter causes man taking selfie to crash bicycle

Killian, Louisiana. (via Arbroath)

TwentyWonder is a carnival of the mind: 6/28/14 in Los Angeles

20TwentyWonder was forged from the explosive alchemy of the Hodgson Brothers’ (Jim Hodgson-Artist, Joel Hodgson MST 3000) early Superball gatherings which began in 1996. SuperBall was the grand shapeshifting expo of art, music, dance, food, comedy, and humanity that would become a template for modern gatherings like TEDx, Mindshare, Everything Is, and even mashups of music and comedy like Festival Supreme. It was a party that began in the backyard of a rented house in Burbank and became an annual event, a Super-Party, a highly-anticipated creative collaboration that drew gifted, industrious people from all over Los Angeles and far beyond. Five years ago, when Jim Hodgson became the director of DSALA (Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles), SuperBall was re-invented, reimagined, and reborn as TwentyWonder. TwentyWonder’s mission is to celebrate the amazing things that happen when people and ideas from many different cultures and disciplines converge.

There are plenty of ways to contribute to the cause at this amazing event. Boing Boing friend Tim Biskup and Ego Killers are drawing caricatures of TwentyWonder guests throughout the night. $20 for a "mean" portrait and $40 for a "sweet" portrait. And with a nod to Willy Wonka, you can buy chocolate TwentyWonder Bars with golden tickets hidden inside. Prizes include tickets to Mexican Masked wrestling or Nine Inch Nails at the Hollywood Bowl. Also: On the website is an opportunity to donate to the Ambassadors Fund which makes it possible with people with Down Syndrome to attend TwentyWonder who would not be able to attend otherwise.

To get an idea of what this about, go to the TwentyWonder website. All of the proceeds from the evening will benefit Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles (DSALA).


Rainy Day Psychedelia: Seattle’s 1960s Poster Scene About to Get Its Day in the Sun

"Seattle artist Scott McDougall is doing a Kickstarter (through July 15) for a new book called Split Fountain Hieroglyphics: Psychedelic Concert Posters From the Seattle Area, 1966-1969, which will feature some 200 rare examples of Seattle psych," says Ben Marks.

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Bike commuter super transformer bag full of stuff

Check out all the stuff that Long Now Foundation Director of Operations Laura Welcher brings with her on her daily bike commute in the San Francisco Bay Area. There's an awful lot in her bag, but it makes sense!

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Frankie Lymon singing "I'm Not A Juvenille Delinquent"

Here's 13-year-old Frankie Lymon singing "I'm Not A Juvenille Delinquent." Sadly, twelve years later this immensely talented singer would die of a heroin overdose in his grandmother's basement.

Quiz: could you have adult ADHD?

I took this short quiz and my score was 5: "ADHD may be likely."

75 questions about science and other great books

winkssWink is a website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. My wife, Carla Sinclair, is the editor. We take lots of photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed:

Typewriter Art: A Modern Anthology – A handsome collection of this little-known art form

The Where the Why and the How – 75 questions that can’t be conclusively answered by an iPhone

Letter Fountain – A stunningly well-crafted bible of typography

Adventure Time: A Totally Math Poster Collection - Featuring 20 Removable Frameable Prints

Stencil Republic – 20 laser-cut, brown-paper stencils bound on perforated pages

The Good Life Lab – Moving from a high-powered life in New York to off-the-grid living in New Mexico

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

100 great cartoonists pay tribute to Winsor McCay

This is exciting - Locust Moon Press in Philadelphia is publishing a giant-sized tribute to the great Winsor McCay (Little Nemo, Gertie the Dinosaur). They already have met their initial funding goal on Kickstarter.

Locust Moon Press has spent the last two years assembling the LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM anthology, in which many of the world's finest cartoonists will pay tribute to the master and his masterpiece by creating new Little Nemo strips, following their own voices down paths lit by McCay. Taking on the same giant, broadsheet newspaper-sized canvas as McCay, artists such as Michael Allred, Paul Pope, Yuko Shimizu, J.H. Williams III, Charles Vess, David Mack, J.G. Jones, Craig Thompson, Paolo Rivera, Carla Speed McNeil, Bill Sienkiewicz, P. Craig Russell, Ronald Wimberly, Denis Kitchen, Jill Thompson, Stephen R. Bissette, Gabriel Bá & Fábio Moon, Farel Dalrymple, John Cassaday, Cliff Chiang, and over a hundred more have all done some of the very best work of their illustrious careers.

Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream

Memoir of sexual follies and misadventures in '00s Oakland

Our friend Janelle Hessig illustrated Brontez Purnell's funny, NSFW memoir, The Cruising Diaries. It's a collection of Purnell's "various sexual follies and misadventures around '00s Oakland. Taco truck blowjobs, 'shrooms, Santa - everything you could want from an illustrated sex memoir and much, much more." Get a copy from Gimme Action.

Favorite apps and tools of Creative Good founder Mark Hurst

Mark Hurst, CEO and founder of Creative Good, is our guest on the Cool Tools Show this week. Our highly productive discussion yields tips on how to properly rinse your text, type more efficiently, and learn Mandarin Chinese in your spare time.

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