The Thingmaker was the coolest toy ever


One of my favorite toys as a kid was Creepy Crawlers. Introduced in 1964 by Mattel, it was a kit that let you make rubber insects, spiders, snakes, lizards etc. It came with a set of metal molds, squeeze bottles of liquid plastic called Plastigoop, and an electrically-powered, 390 degrees Fahrenheit open-face hot plate called the Thingmaker to cure the Plastigoop. It's the kind of toy that would be deemed to dangerous today because of the high heat and shocking hazard (the kit came with a mold cooling tray that you filled with water and placed next to the Thingmaker).

I may have gotten a couple of first-degree burns using Creepy Crawlers, but I never regretted it. It would occupy my friends and me for hours at a time. My kids would have loved the Thingmaker as much as I did.

The Fright Factory was an especially cool Thingmaker toy. It was a kit that let you make macabre prosthetics: scars, long fingernails, a third eye, a diseased tongue, fangs, etc.

Nightflight's Bryan Thomas has a good article about the history of the Thingmaker line of toys, with lots of images. And Bob Knetzger wrote a terrific article about Mattel's line of DIY Toys for MAKE.

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Cat-themed lingerie comes with tail, no ears


A Japanese company is making cat-themed lingerie. Here's Google Translate's description:

I want to to get used to the cat feeling dangerous Nyanko "Bra & Panties" Nyaanyaa purring

The cat ear design of the triangle on top of the bra. Also it looks like a beard ribbon somehow cat middle. In addition, the shorts will be attached fluffy material of the tail, also comes with choker possible to the collar and hair accessories. Design three types of "graces skillful Himalayan," "graceful Russian Blue," "cute Scottish Fold". Size is available a wide range of A65 ~ G80, and also some What a "cute but does not fit bra size", it is so has been somewhat resolved.

The sets do not include ears, but the models have their hair braided to look like cat ears. Carla (Boing Boing's co-founde) wrote a book called Braid Crazy that has instructions for braiding cat ears.

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Non-religious woman who refused judge's order to meet with Christian counselor loses her sons


Holly Salzman of Albuquerque, New Mexico went to court to resolve coparenting issues with her ex-husband. The judge ordered Salzman to attend 10 sessions with a counselor named Mary Pepper (Photo). When Salzman went to the first session, Pepper began praying out loud, Salzman objected but Pepper told her, "well this is what I do." When Salzman attended the next session, Pepper prayed out loud again and spoke at length about God. Salzman asked the court to let her see another counselor, but the court never responded. Salzman stopped seeing Pepper and the court took her sons away.

In order to regain custody of the boys, Salzman would have to complete the sessions. KRQE News Channel 13 and Salzman worked together to covertly record three of the final sessions with Pepper.

“The meaning in my life is to know love and serve God,” Pepper told Salzman in one of the recorded meetings. “If you want to explore how God was in your past, how God was in your life and not in your life… I know you don’t believe in God which is fine but I now at some points he was in your life in some way.”

Pepper frequently handed Salzman religious tracts and gave Salzman a “homework” assignment, to write an essay titled “Who is God to me?”

Pepper sounds like a real piece of work. KRQE News found out she uses public libraries to conduct her counseling sessions:

“That way I can keep my costs down,” Pepper said.

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Weekend of Wonder: hang out with Xeni, Jason, David, Cory, and Mark

Last chance to join us at our 3-day extravaganza this weekend in Southern California!

Generic version of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser


The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is like TiVo. You don't "get it" until you get it. It's a plain looking white sponge that looks like a chunk of cheap mattress foam. You would suspect that it would do a good job of cleaning anything. But it removes stains from painted walls and other surfaces without damaging the surfaces. Magic Erasers work with water - no soap or detergent is needed.

I used a Magic Eraser once to remove a nail polish stain from some fake leather furniture and it lived up to its name. The stain was completely gone and the upholstery looked as good as new. My friend Mister Jalopy used Magic Sponges to remove decades of built of grime from a pinball machine, making it look like it had just come off the Bally assembly line.

I love Magic Erasers. People think of new uses for them all the time. Here's a car detailers who uses it to remove paint scratches and other kinds of surface damage on cars:

The Magic Eraser is a block of melamine foam. How Stuff Works explains why they are so good at removing stains:

[W]hen melamine resin cures into foam, its microstructure becomes very hard -- almost as hard as glass -- causing it to perform on stains a lot like super-fine sandpaper ... The cavity-ridden open microstructure of melamine foam is where the second major boost to its stain-removing capabilities comes in. Apart from being able to scrape at stains with extremely hard microscopic filaments, with a few quick runs of the eraser, the stain has already started to come away.

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How Miss America winners’ body types have changed from 1921 to 2015

mam created the Miss America Morph, which shows how the winners' body mass index has declined over time, while the average American woman's body mass index has increased of the same period.

The women who compete in Miss America, as well as other pageants, dedicate a lot of time and effort to maintaining their physique and health. Still, nearly a third of Miss America winners are considered to be underweight*, making their figures almost unattainable for the average American woman. While the underweight frames of Miss America contestants don’t necessarily represent disordered eating and exercise habits within that group, they can perpetuate an unrealistic expectation for the average female’s body.

Research has shown that during puberty, adolescents, especially females, experience higher levels of body dissatisfaction which can be attributed to the many physical and chemical body changes during this time. Studies have also shown a correlation between ideal body images highlighted in television and the media. This makes teens, and even adults, more susceptible to be influenced by media portrayals of the ideal body. In addition, people with negative body images are also at higher risk of developing eating disorders, suffering from depression, and becoming obsessed with weight loss.

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4-year-old twin girls request Hulk Princess cake, get one


NobodyLikesASmartAss said, "My 4-year old twin girls wanted a Hulk Princess cake for their birthday. So I made one!"

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Bad driver gets his due when he runs into a truck


This dashcam owner didn't show much sympathy for a driver who cut her off and and then tried to get around a large truck, only to crunch into it. The driver backed up to extricate his car from the truck, but when he tried getting around it again, he scraped the truck one more time. Read the rest

Look at how this artist turns a dumb "doodle pad" into amazing illustrations


Several years ago, artist David Jablow came across a doodle pad printed with a partially completed drawing of a naked woman. It looks like this:

He proceeded to create wonderfully creative illustrations that put the woman in a number of exciting scenarios. I've posted David's work in 2014 and 2013. I also bought his Do It Yourself Doodler Book from his Etsy store. David just posted a new batch of doodles. Check them out on his website. Here are a few samples:

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Artist paints excellent Donald Trump portrait with her menstrual blood


Artist Sarah Levy painted a good likeness of Donald Trump using her menstrual blood, a tampon, and a paintbrush. She says her "goal is to auction it off and give the money to an organization that helps Mexican immigrants in the U.S., because ol’ Don would hate that." Read the rest

Conservative Christian students at Liberty University are feeling the Bern

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Liberal presidential candidate Bernie Sanders told an audience of conservative Christian students at Liberty University that he knew they didn't agree with his views on abortion and gay marriage, but asked them to consider focusing on the problems of inequality and poverty in the United States. The audience broke out in energetic applause and whistles at several points during Sanders' speech and the Q&A followup.

Sanders quoted Matthew 7:12. "Do unto others what you would have them do to you," Sanders said. "That is the Golden Rule and it is not very complicated." Read the rest

Chris Christie support at 1%


New Jersey governor Chris Christie's presidential favorability ratings have been falling since December 2014. He is faring so poorly that a Langer Research poll conducted for ABC News and The Washington Post released today didn't even bother to put Christie on a graph of the Republican candidates. The report did publish Christie's raw numbers so I made a graph that shows how far he's fallen (above).

Christie's support among registered Republicans is 1%, so it's no surprise that he is scolding the press to "stop blathering" about Bridgegate and report on Hillary Clinton's email problems instead. But his tactic isn't working. Christie donors are pulling out in anticipation that the growing list dirty dealings at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will destroy any small chance Christie has of winning the Republican primary.

Tom Moran of New Jersey's Star-Ledger says that Christie's latest scandal involving United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek could "finally sink him."

Christie has been lying about Bridgegate on national TV as a habit, saying that federal prosecutors have ruled out filing more charges. That's not close to true, but it's revealing. He knows this scandal could kill him.

Another indictment would bring it back to center stage. [Former Port Authority Chairman David] Samson's role in the lane closures isn't clear, in part because he refused to answer questions during Christie's internal investigation. But if he is indicted over any of his behavior at the Port Authority, this scandal will be back in the news.

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Chunk of gallium melts in your hand

A cool addition to my growing cabinet of curiosities.

Younger Bill Gates poses with older Bill Gates


Fulvio Obregon, an illustrator from Cali, Colombia, created a series of portraits that show younger and older versions of the same celebrity as if they are in the same room together.

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Video captures taxi driver stealing customer's phone


YouTuber 44alimorris shot a video of a taxi driver stealing her friend's phone. Here's her report of the incident: Read the rest

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