Submit a link Features Reviews Podcasts Video Forums More ▾

Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects



Watch for blind people popular with sighted people

Hyungsoo Kim's wristwatch allows blind people to tell the time by feeling a metal ball in a circular groove. Sighted people want the watch too, because they can check the time without being rude to the person telling them a boring story. It's a handsome watch! (Via Marginal Revolution)

15 excellent but little-known movies

Roger Ebert's number one film of 1987, David Mamet's House of Games is about a psychiatrist coming to the aid of a compulsive gambler and being led by a smooth-talking grifter into the shadowy but compelling world of stings, scams, and con men.

A nice movie list from mgolf on Reddit. I've seen Shattered Glass (2003), The Player (1992), and House of Games (1987) and liked all three, so I've added the other 12 he mentions here on my list of movies to watch.

A video history of Last Gasp comics

[Video Link] Last Gasp comics has posted the first video in a series called "This Moment in Last Gasp History." This one is about publisher Ron Turner's involvement in a scandalous political fundraising party that resulted in the following New York Times headline: "Political 'Party' Goes So Far, Even San Francisco Is Aghast."

In a recent episode of Gweek, Last Gasp marketing director Janelle Hessig told me: "Ron Turner regularly stops by my desk at Last Gasp and tells me crazy stories about Last Gasp history (smuggling comics into the Hanoi Hilton, smuggling comics to Fidel Castro, Last Gasp sponsoring a Formula 1 race car, goats in taxi cabs, weird 70s sex parties, you name it). I don’t have the means to write Ron’s biography so I’m turning some of these stories into short videos."

Sean Lennon's music video “Animals” (NSFW)

[Video Link] I love this trippy new music video from Sean Lennon's band, The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger. It looks like it was shot at the Alta Dena, California ranch of the late Colonel Jirayr Zorthian. David and I attended one of Zorthian's parties years ago and it was exactly like this video. (Side note: Richard Feynman took painting lessons from Zorthian and paid him by giving physics lessons to Zorthian).

The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger (AKA the GOASTT) consists of Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Bringing to mind the likes of Tame Impala and the Flaming Lips, who Lennon recently performed with on Letterman, the duo has grown in popularity since we first heard them on “Jardin Du Luxembourg.” This month they release the new album Midnight Sun and today they’re sharing the Rich Ragsdale-directed music video for its song “Animals.”

“It’s a loving spoof of the Source Family, that infamous ’60s cult of polygamous vegetarian hippies. We shot it on 35 millimeter and were inspired by the surrealist aesthetics of Jowdorowsky and Kenneth Anger,” Kemp Muhl tells us. That explanation doesn’t even seem necessary once you see how much the video embraces the playfully strange style of a film like Jowdorowsky’s Holy Mountain (which, incidentally, came to fruition thanks to the support of Lennon’s parents). The whole clip is framed around a massive, cultish sing-along and filled to the brim with surreal special effects, spaceships, and nudity.

The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger – “Animals” Video (NSFW)

Blood alcohol level guessing game

Rob Cockerham says: "This past St. Patrick's Day I set up a table on the streets of Sacramento asking people to guess their own Blood Alcohol Level. After they guessed, I tested them with a breathalyzer. People loved it! Of 92 drinkers, 13 were able to guess their blood alcohol correctly. It was pretty obvious that most drinkers don't actually know what .08 feels like."

Guess your blood alcohol level booth

Enormous collection of '50s-'70s counterculture books, comix, and ephemera up for auction

Yippie: Festival of Life announcement, Aug. 25-30, [1968]. The first page of text is authored by Jerry Rubin: "American is carnivorous. She eats the world for dessert... What's needed is a generation of people who are freaky, crazy, irrational, sexy, angry, irreligious, childish and mad: people who burn draft cards, burn high school and college degrees: people who say: 'To hell with your goals!'; people who lure the youth with music, pot and acid: people who re-define reality, who re-define the normal; People who break with the status-is-role-title-consumer game..."

Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says:

The last of three PBA Galleries auctions featuring books from Rick Synchef's encyclopedic collection of counter/drug-culture literature will be held this Thursday, April 10, 2014, at 11am. The crown jewel is a complete set of all 17 volumes of Crumb Comics, published as signed, limited editions by Fantagraphics. Also included is a signed, first edition hardcover of Timothy Leary's "The Politics of Ecstasy," and a signed Yippie Festival of Life announcement, which encouraged people to attend the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968 (included in the 5-page pamphlet are instructions on how to make a fire bomb and homemade DMT).

Here's the link to the entire catalog

Remix "The Fifth Beatle" - win a signed limited edition!

I recently reviewed The Fifth Beatle: The Brain Epstein Story, written by Vivek J. Tiwary and illustrated by Andrew C. Robinson and Kyle Baker. It is one of the great graphic novels, destined to be a classic. Here's what I wrote in my review on Wink:

The Fifth Beatle is Vivek J. Tiwary’s fascinating, cinematic account of Beatles manager Brian Epstein’s determination to ignore the chorus of rejections and take The Beatles far beyond where any musical group had gone before — to a place occupied by a handful of religious figures and charismatic world leaders. And Epstein accomplished it, despite the fact that he was Jewish in a culture of strong anti-semitism, and gay when being gay was a felony. That he was able to do what he did in six years (he died of an accidental drug overdose when he was 32 years old) is astounding.

Wink is holding a giveaway of the rare signed, numbered, slipcased "Limited Edition" of The Fifth Beatle, which is limited to 1500 copies, signed by all three creators and comes with an exclusive tip-in page of art. To win, all you have to do is write your own text for the word balloons in the panel above. (Clockwise L-R John Lennon, George Harrison, Brian Epstein, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney. NOTE: John has 2 balloons.) The entries will be judged by Vivek J. Tiwary himself, and he will select the winner. The contest ends at noon Pacific time on April 10, 2014, the day Brian Epstein is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Good luck!

Write your captions here | Visit The Fifth Beatle Website | Buy The Fifth Beatle

There are more ways to arrange a deck of cards than atoms on Earth

[Video Link]There are roughly 80,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 unique ways to order 52 playing cards. “Any time you pick up a well shuffled deck, you are almost certainly holding an arrangement of cards that has never before existed and might not exist again.” (Via Adafruit Industries)

Tenzi: fast dice game with simple rules

My friend, Kent Barnes, told me about Tenzi, a simple dice game. The object of the game is to end up with all of your dice showing the same number.

Here's how to play: Each player gets 10 dice. When one of the players says "go!" everyone rolls their dice. After the first roll, you set the dice with the most matches, and roll the remaining dice to try to match the ones you've set aside. You don't take turns; you just roll as quickly as you can. It usually takes less than a minute for someone to win. It seems idiotically simple. It's more fun than it sounds.

We play a variation: the winner of the previous round gets to choose the point number (between 1 and 6), and everyone has to try to match their dice to that number.

Tenzi $14

1930 stop-motion movie of a metal-eating bird

[Video Link] "Excerpt from a bizarre early stop-motion animation piece featuring Charley Bowers and a metal-eating bird. The creature devours junk from an auto scrapyard, then lays an egg that hatches and grows into a brand new car! Very impressive FX and way before CGI. Directed by Harold L. Muller." (Via Magic Transistor)

Groovy 1970s song: "Sort of Soul" by Birds 'N Brass

"The brainchild of Keith Roberts, Birds 'N Brass derived their unique sound from conventional brass, guitar, etc and fused this with the wonderful voice of Barbara Moore (an album from her coming over the weekend) and with the Trivox, a weird electronic accordion."

Birds 'N Brass - Soundsational (1970)

Read the rest

Movie poster for The Double

Empire Design's poster for The Double is fantastic.

Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska, the Double is based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel of the same name and follows the story of a rather awkward fellow (Eisenberg), driven to despair after his life is usurped by someone who looks exactly like him, but is his behavioral opposite.

(Via Creative Review)

Wink's remarkable book picks of the week

Wink is a new website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. My wife, Carla Sinclair, is the editor. We take photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them. This week we reviewed books about the greatest comic books ever published, provocative ads that defined the world of fashion, the art and revelations of hand-drawn maps, a an eccentric genius' explanation of how half-Yeti hybrids have enslaved mankind , Rex Ray's merging of design and fine art with retro-mod flair, and spectacular close-up photographs of the elements .

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink.

What makes something ugly?

These 1940s “feature matches” are violent, racist, and decorated beyond function. (Photos by Frank Kelsey)

Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says: "Lisa Hix has just finished an interview with London-based author and design critic Stephen Bayley, who spoke with her about Ugly: The Aesthetics of Everything. In our piece, the two discuss the intensely subjective nature of the things we perceive as being beautiful or ugly."

Ugliness is also surprisingly hard to design on purpose, as Bayley discovered both teaching and speaking with architecture students. “If you give a class of architecture students a project, saying ‘Please design an ugly building,’ they actually find that difficult. It’s very difficult to create ugliness, although you wouldn’t believe it by walking around in any big city. Ugliness often is just an accident, but it’s often utterly fascinating.”

Reading Ugly, it’s not too difficult to suss out Bayley’s personal preferences: He’s all about clean lines, right angles, and functionality; he finds neutral colors and the natural tones of wood more tasteful than bright hues or shiny things. He’s got no use for elaborate glass paperweights, loathes taxidermy and all Victorian hobbies that attempt to capture and catalog nature, finds tattoos tacky, and has no patience for mid-Century kitsch relating to Elvis, Vegas, or tiki bars—things like aloha T-shirts, souvenir mugs, or velvet paintings.

“I’m aesthete at heart,” confesses Bayley, who also published a book called Taste: The Secret Meaning of Things in 1992. “I’m one of those people, for good or for bad, who determine the value in anything by its appearance. People think appearance is superficial. I don’t. I think appearances matter, and actually the classical Greeks felt the same. They thought beauty had a moral character. That’s my fundamental view of the world. I can’t walk down the street and not be both exhilarated by beautiful cars and beautiful buildings and dismayed and depressed by ugly cars and ugly buildings. I am just one of those poor souls.”

Think You Know Ugly? Think Again

Why did armed officers raid a strip club and take photos?

Here's the latest episode of Don't Cops Have Better Things to Do?!, produced by Ted Balaker.

San Diego's police chief has recently resigned amid a variety of sex-crime scandals involving his officers, including Christopher Hays, who faces felony charges for groping and illegally detaining women, and Anthony Arevalos who is serving time for his habit of demanding sexual favors from women he pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving.

So it seems like an especially stupid time for SDPD to send ten armed officers to raid a local strip club and take photos of the dancers. Yet that's what the vice squad did earlier this month.

San Diego Police Department officers raided a Cheetahs strip club to bust any dancers who weren’t properly permitted.

"I didn't know if it was a bank robbery or serial killer on the loose the way they had come in like that," said manager Rich Buonantony. "The show of force, show of power was incredible."

The officers spent hours meticulously documenting all 30 dancers’ paperwork and bodies (with cameras, of course!).

"They made me feel like I was a gang member pretty much and they wanted to document every single one of my tattoos," said stripper Katelynn Delorie.