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

Good deal on a 3 year subscription to VPN Unlimited

A VPN (virtual private network) is useful in many ways. Your data is encrypted on your mobile device or computer, so you can use public WiFi without worrying about someone stealing your information (unless it's the NSA, I suppose). VPNs also allow you to visit websites without giving away your location. If you are using a hotel or airport Internet connect that blocks access to certain websites (like Boing Boing) a VPN will allow you to visit them.

I'm using VPN Unlimited on my computers and mobile devices. It's very easy to set up and use (on OSX and iOS, at least). I ran a few speed tests with VPN off and on, and there's not much of a difference. Sometimes it's a bit faster with VPN on, sometimes it's a bit slower.

VPN Unlimited is normally $28 a year, or $60 for three years, but StackSocial is selling a 3-year subscription for $19.

Update: I recommend that you read the comments before you get a subscription. It works well for me, but others have concerns. Also, this is an affiliate link. Our policy on every page of Boing Boing states that Boing Boing is supported by advertising, merchandise sales and affiliate links.

Oliver Sacks on a motorcycle in 1961

I'm a huge fan of Dr. Oliver Sacks. He's led a very interesting life, as a medical researcher, professor of neurology, lover of music, lover of things that explode, and intrepid psychonaut.

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Battery with AC outlet charges laptops

Like all portable chargers, the ChargeTech charges USB devices, but it also has an AC outlet to charge laptops (and other AC devices under 65W). Amazon sells the 12,000 mAH model for $270, but StackSocial has it for $185. The 18,000 mAh model is $205.

WATCH: Kittens vs. robot spider

The big cat likes playing with the disc-throwing robot spider. The kittens take a bit longer to warm up to it.

The physics of levitating street performers

Even when you know how these guys float above the sidewalk, it still is fun to see them. I love their costumes and their quietness on the busy street.

Listen to all ten albums from Brian Eno's Obscure Records label

Brian Eno launched Obscure Records in 1975, and released 10 albums on the label, including his own, Discreet Music. The label closed in 1978. Ubuweb has links to all ten albums.

Obscure Records (1975-78)

Ten albums were issued in the series. Most have detailed liner notes on their back covers, analyzing the compositions and providing a biography of the composer, in a format typical of classical music albums, and much of the material can be regarded as 20th century classical music. The label provided a venue for experimental music, and its association with Eno gave increased public exposure to its composers and musicians.

Vice reporter test drives a fellatio robot

Alejandro Tauber tried out the Autoblow 2, the world’s most “realistic robotic oral sex stimulator for men." tldr; It makes a mood-killing grinding noise, and didn't feel good.

Alabama cop body slams elderly man to ground, paralyzes him


Sureshbhai Patel was taking his morning walk on the the street outside his son's home in Alabama when a concerned resident spotted him and called police to report a "skinny black guy" wearing a "toboggan" in his neighborhood. Police arrived on the scene, and when one officer became frustrated that Patel wasn't complying with his orders to stop "jerking away," he slammed Patel to the ground so hard that it paralyzed him. Patel had been in the US for a week and didn't understand English.

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Listen: interviews with Scott McCloud and Jim Woodring

gold On his RiYL podcast, Brian Heater interviewed two extraordinary comic book people: Jim Woodring and Scott McCloud.

Dirty Needle tattoo art show opens tonight in Detroit


Mitch O'Connell is curating the the "M.O'C" Dirty Needle, an erotic tattoo art show, that opens tonight in Detroit.

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That "Holy Grail" Les Paul is "just a broken-down guitar," says Paul's son

This 50th Annivesary 1960 Les Paul Custom 'Black Beauty' is similar to the 1954 Les Paul that is up for auction

This 50th Annivesary 1960 Les Paul Custom 'Black Beauty' is similar to the A 1954 Les Paul that is up for auction

Geoff Edgers's Washington Post article about the controversy surrounding the upcoming auction of a Les Paul guitar, advertised as "the most important Les Paul guitar of all time," is a fun read. Guitar historians are saying the guitar is not nearly as special as Guitar Player magazine and the guitar's current owner, former Les Paul assistant Tom Doyle, are claiming.

Choice bits from the article:

  • The first Les Paul came out two years earlier, in 1952, and ... those models, not the Custom, evolved into the instrument embraced by Page, Clapton and other guitar gods.
  • "That article is absolute bull, and the whole thing’s as crooked as can be," – George Gruhn, a longtime Nashville guitar dealer and author who has sold dozens of Gibsons to Clapton, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Neil Young.
  • “Hell, I hope the richest, dumbest fucking lawyer in the United States pays a fortune for it.” – Steve Miller
  • On another Les Paul guitar Stavron tried to sell for $500k on eBay, Stavron was told on camera that his guitar wasn’t worth what he had hoped, and he snapped at host Curtis Dowling, going on an expletive-laced rant. “You just think I’m some toadstool that fell off a fucking turnip truck?” Stavron said. “. . . You got a lawsuit on your hands.” Watch the clip here.

The Holy Grail of electric guitars? Auction of a Les Paul ax has split six-string circles.

Excellent animated alphabet by the creator of Windosill

Windosill is one of my favorite online puzzle games. It's quiet and wonderfully strange and comes with no instructions.

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Capybaras enjoy hot springs

Capybaras are my favorite animal, and it makes me happy to see them enjoying a day at a hot springs.

How one stupid tweet blew up Justine Sacco’s life

shameThe NY Times Magazine has an excerpt from Jon Ronson's forthcoming book, So You've Been Publicly Shamed. I got an advance copy of the book. It's about people who've had their lives ruined from online shaming.

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Solar-charging battery for USB devices with massive 20000mAh


The ZeroLemon SolarJuice 20000mAh Battery, which sells on Amazon for $80, is on sale for the next five days at Stacksocial for $50. I'm getting it for an upcoming trip with the family.

Take a look at these robots practicing the life changing magic of tidying up.

It's fun to watch robots arrange batteries coming down a conveyor belt.


Ultra high res timelapse video of Rio De Janeiro

Joe Capra's video of amazing time-lapse shots in Rio De Janeiro using a fancy camera is worth watching full screen.

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"Nut rage" airline exec gets a year in prison

A Seoul court has sentenced the former vice president of Korean Air, Cho Hyun-ah (40), to one year in prison for throwing a temper tantrum on a Korean Air jet when macadamia nuts were served improperly on the runway at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

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Rock your way to crushed garlic


I've yet to find a hinged garlic press that I love. The ones I've tried are inefficient, fragile (especially the hinge, which inevitably fails), and not that easy to clean. I end up having to peel the unused garlic from the inside of the press, and my fingers stink for days. Everyone has their opinion about crushing garlic - my top choice is Joseph Joseph Rocker Garlic Crusher, Press, and Mincer ($14).

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Urban Homestead author Erik Knutzen's favorite tools

This week on the Cool Tools Show, we speak with Erik Knuzten, co-author of Urban Homestead:Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City and Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World.

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iPhone thefts plummet thanks to remote kill switch


Apple added an Activation Lock feature to iOS in late 2013. Since that time, theft of the phones have dropped significantly.

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Make a covert radio pen with bone conduction speaker

My favorite maker of cool stuff is Ben Krasnow. He made an electron scanning microscope from scratch, and makes astronaut ice cream in his backyard laboratory. He's also a great explainer of how he makes he things. In this video, Ben explains how to make a covert radio pen with a bone conduction speaker.

Profile of Other Machine - a desktop CNC milling machine company

I'm very excited about Other Machine's desktop CNC milling machines. Unlike 3D printers, which build parts by adding material (almost always plastic, when it comes to low cost machines), the Othermill cuts away at material (plastic, wood, metal glass, printed circuit boards).

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Mini-documentary about 67-year-old Muscle Beach bodybuilder

Last year I posted a wonderful 15-minute documentary about the Italian magician Silvan. The director, Gabriele Trapani, just posted a new, equally enjoyable, mini-documentary about an interesting bodybuilder named Mr. O.

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What happens when you dip a light bulb in hydrofluoric acid?

"Hydrofluoric acid is probably the most feared chemical compound that there is," says Sir Martyn Poliakoff, a chemistry professor at the University if Nottingham. "The reason it's so feared is that it is very corrosive. It will burn through human skin, even quite a small exposure on your skin can cause a heart attack."

Hydrofluoric acid will also burn through glass. Naturally, the first thing you should do once you obtain some is immerse a lit incandescent bulb into a beaker of it.

Silicone frying pan handle sleeve prevents blisters


For the last couple of years I've been using a silicone handle sleeve on my favorite cast iron frying pan. I make breakfast for the family every morning, and the name of the game is streamlining.

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Alabama judge defies chief justice's illegal order to ban gay marriage licenses


I wonder what Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is going to do about this brave judge who is offering to marry couples for the "low, low officiant fee of 2 hugs" (Nice hand lettered sign, btw!)

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Dolly Parton's song "Jolene" sounds great played at 33 RPM

Dolly Parton's 1973 song "Jolene" is pretty great played at full-speed. It even sounds good when played at 73.333333333333333...% speed!

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People love kicking robotic dogs

The robotic dogs won't forget. When the day comes that they operate silently, the human race is toast.

Ouija Be Mine: build this animated Valentine’s Day card

Over at MAKE, toy designer Bob Knetzger shows how to make this nifty animated Valentine’s Day card that looks like a little Ouija Board.

RELATED: History of the Ouija Board.