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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



$150,000 "Black Beauty" Manganite specimen to be auctioned

Here's a nice looking "whopper of a Manganite group." With an estimated value between $150,000 and $175,000, it has an opening bid of $75,000. It's one of over 300 gems and minerals being auctioned by Heritage.

Ilfeld, Nordhausen, Harz, Thuringia, Germany
If it wasn't for the Ilfeld Manganese mines, Manganite would be relegated to back row status in the Pantheon of Fine Minerals. Fortunately, Manganite was rescued from obscurity by the brilliant, midnight-black crystal groups found in this part of the Harz Mountains. Of the various Manganite groups known, the one seen here is arguably in the top 5. Single crystals run riot over the upper surface of a massive Manganite/Pyrolusite matrix, with thin layers of the original wall rock visible on the absolute bottom of the specimen. Many of the crystals are over one inch, and some are much larger: up to 1.88 inches (4.74 cm). At better than 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) in length, this is not a small example of this mineral; it is a whopper of a Manganite group. The condition of this 'black beauty' is absolutely pristine with no visible damage. As befits a world-class specimen of Ilfeld Manganite, it comes with a custom acrylic base. Overall Measurements: 6.49 x 3.34 x 2.65 inches (16.5 x 8.5 x 6.74 cm)

I've got my eye on this hunk of heulandite on chalcedony, which "looks like Godzilla as a hockey goalie," and has a current high bid of $1.

Heritage Auctions gems and minerals

New stop-motion commercial by PES

[Video Link] We love PES, maker of whimsical, inventive stop-motion videos. His latest is a commercial for a hotel.

Video of bison running out of Yellowstone ≠ "OMG supervolcano eruption"

[Video Link] There's a video going around that shows a long line of bison trotting down a road in Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park. Some people are pointing to this as a sign that the animals are hightailing it out of the park because the Yellowstone volcano is about to blow its top. But in the video above, Yellowstone Park Public Affairs Chief Al Nash explains that the bison and other animals are simply migrating to a lower elevation where they can find food, which they do every year in the dead of winter.

My takeaway from this video was a reminder that I have a box of mouth-watering Bison Bacon Cranberry Bars in my kitchen cabinet.

Gweek podcast 140: Understanding Bitcoin

In each episode of Gweek, Dean Putney and I invite a guest to join us in a discussion about recommended media, apps, and gadgets. Our guest is Andreas M. Antonopoulos. He has founded three bitcoin businesses and is currently the the Chief Security Officer of Blockchain. Dean and I asked him a lot of questions about bitcoin, and his answers were fascinating.

This episode is brought to you by NatureBox, makers of delicious, wholesome snacks delivered to your door. Go to NatureBox.com/gweek to get 50% OFF your your first box.

GET GWEEK: RSS | On iTunes | Download episode | Stitcher

God is Disappointed in You

I’m not religious, and I have not read the Old Testament or the New Testament (I did read R. Crumb’s graphic novel of the Book of Genesis and enjoyed it). I’ve tried to read the King James version a few times, but I got bored and stopped very early on. Recently, Top Shelf sent me a copy of God is Disappointed in You, a new version of the Bible written in contemporary, casual language. It’s bound in textured fake leather like a regular bible, with gold edged pages and a ribbon bookmark. It has illustrations by New Yorker and Too Much Coffee Man cartoonist Shannon Wheeler, which piqued my interest. As soon as I started reading it, I was hooked. The author, Mark Russell, was able to make the stories come alive by telling them as if they happened today, using language that a smart, funny, middle-school student might use to recount the story of an epic playground fight.

I don’t know if people who take the Bible seriously will be offended by this book, but I suspect many of them will not. It is not a sarcastic put down of the Bible, but a fresh interpretation. I compared some of the stories in God is Disappointed in You with the stories in other traditional Bibles and Russell is not exaggerating or misrepresenting the content of the earlier versions. I asked my friend, a pastor and author who is a serious Bible scholar, what he thought of God is Disappointed in You, and said it was fantastic.

The Bible is an incredibly weird book, and I thank Mark Russell for rewriting it in a way that made it understandable and interesting to me.

God is Disappointed in You

Mark's latest Quarterly.co package: keychain kites, jar lid poppers, and more

My latest Quarterly.co package included 8 of my favorite items from Cool Tools, a website that runs reader-written recommendations of useful tools. I'm excited about my next package, which you can get here.

Portlandia's Carrie Brownstein chats with Xeni and Mark (video)

[Video Link]

Xeni and I had a great time talking with Carrie Brownstein, star of IFC's Portlandia sketch comedy series, which she co-created with Fred Armisen. We chatted about the different characters she and Fred play on the show, what it was like working with the Dead Kennedy's Jello Biafra on a recent episode, Carrie's upcoming memoir, and what it's like to have a TV show that's more popular on Google than the town it's based in.

The video was directed by Eric Mittleman and shot at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood, California. In the keyframe above, Carrie proudly wears the Boing Boing Jackhammer Jill pin that we award happy mutants when we meet them.

What happens after we die? - a scene from The Immortal Augustus Gladstone

Here's a clip from The Immortal Augustus Gladstone (a movie directed by Myst co-creator Robyn Miller and presented by Boing Boing), which shows people on the streets of Portland explaining what happens after we die.

Also, The Immortal Augustus Gladstone is now available on iTunes!

An eccentric genius explains how half-Yeti hybrids have enslaved mankind

In 1934 the government of Poland declared Stanislav Szukalski the country’s ‘Greatest Living Artist.’ It built the Szukalski National Museum in Warsaw to hold his massive sculptures and dramatic, mythological paintings.

When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, they destroyed the museum and all of Szukalski’s sculptures and paintings. He fled to the United States, where no one recognized him as a celebrated hero. He lived in a small apartment in Glendale, California and made a meager income drawing maps for the aerospace industry. He devoted the rest of his life developing his theory of “Zermatism,” which centered on his belief that human beings were under the control of a race of human-yeti hybrids (the result of ‘yeti apes’ raping human women). Szukalski wrote over 10,000 pages about Zermatism and illustrated his argument with 40,000 illustrations.

Szukalski would have remained in total obscurity if he hadn’t been discovered by a few popular underground cartoonists: Robert Williams, Rick Griffin, and Jim Woodring – who recognized Szukalski’s immense artistic talent, and befriended him. (I interviewed Woodring about his friendship with the incredibly arrogant yet charming Szukalski on my Boing Boing podcast, Gweek. You can listen to it here.)

Several years ago I had the opportunity to see the entire Zermatism archives firsthand. They are bound in massive books and are in the possession of comic book art collector Glenn Bray. It was a stunning sight. Behold!!! The Protong represents less than 1% of the total Zermatism oeuvre, but it’s enough to give you a feel for the depth of breadth of Szukalski’s lifelong obsession.

See more images and text excerpts from Behold!!! The Protong at Wink

iPad ebook of the 100 finest examples of 20th century filmmaking

Taschen books has created a useful iPad ebook that serves as a companion to its excellent 100 All–Time Favorite Movies book set (a whopping 800-page two-volume softcover book set that comes in a slipcase.) It has a neat feature - if a movie is available for rental or purchase on iTunes, you can get it right from the ebook. The 100 All-Time Favorite Movies ebook is 671 pages long and features movie trailers and soundtracks for featured films, and interactive images and galleries.

From horror to romance, noir to slapstick, adventure to tragedy, western to new wave, all genres are represented in this compendium of celluloid excellence. Metropolis? Check. Citizen Kane? Of course. La dolce vita, Psycho, A Clockwork Orange? You bet.... and so many more, including lesser-known masterpieces like Buñuel’s The Young and the Damned. And for a first sample of each of these gathered greats, simply tap through with a wifi connection, watch the trailer, or tune into the movie soundtrack.

Each chronologically arranged film entry also includes a synopsis, cast/crew listings, technical information, actor/director bios, trivia, original poster, production photos, and a list of awards. Decade-by-decade introductions, meanwhile, explore the particular context of each era, setting the historical and social scene for each of these silver screen triumphs.

It's only $10. I bought it earlier today and I love it.

100 All-Time Favorite Movies

Nerdy Show interviews Mark

The folks at Nerdy Show interviewed me about Make magazine, and the upcoming Moogfest event, where I am curating a day of presentations about DIY electronic instruments.

Moogfest is a festival focused around electronic music with symposiums on futurism, art, and technology (April 23rd-27th, in Asheville, NC) and leading up to it, Nerdy Show has spoken with some of the incredible talent that’s been culled for this year’s event. In this episode we talk to the editor-in-chief of MAKE Magazine and founder of Boing Boing: Mark Frauenfelder, and Neil Harbisson of the Cyborg Foundation - the world’s first government-recognized cyborg!

Join Cap, Jon, and Hex as we learn about how Neil’s cyborg senses hear colors beyond human perception, the trails of becoming a cyborg, MAKE‘s panel on DIY instruments, Mark’s new project, Wink, which reviews books that can’t exist digitally, and other cool circuit-bending, body-hacking sci-tech goodness.

Episode 172 : Moogfest Bound with Makers and Cyborgs

3 ways to escape zip ties

3 Ways to Escape Zip Ties: An Illustrated Guide

Call Me Kuchu: film about gay people in Uganda

Call Me Kuchu is a documentary about unbelievably brave Ugandans who are risking their lives to advocate for gay rights in the country. I'm glad the United States government is no longer going to give money to organizations like the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, which supports Uganda's horrendous anti-gay law.
Same-sex relationships are currently illegal in Uganda—as they are in many sub-Saharan African countries—punishable by incarceration in prison for up to 14 years. A special motion to introduce the legislation was passed a month after a two-day conference was held in which three American Christians asserted that homosexuality is a direct threat to the cohesion of African families.
Call Me Kuchu

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 spectacular close-up photographs of the elements, bubble-gum-sweet yet provocative French girls of the 1960s, a mapped guidebook to the underground city of Hong Kong, a grab-bag of 100 fascinating topics related to black, wonderfully weird medieval clip-art, and Chip Kidd’s ingenious book covers.

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

Gweek podcast 139: Choose Yourself!

In each episode of Gweek, Dean Putney and I invite a guest to join us in a discussion about recommended media, apps, and gadgets. Our guest this time was James Altucher. He's an entrepreneur, chess master, investor, and writer. I am a huge fan of his his writing, which he posts on on his blog.

GET GWEEK: RSS | On iTunes | Download episode | Stitcher

Show Notes:

Dean Putney is now the co-host of Gweek! I'm excited that he'll be joining me each week to have conversations with our guests. In addition to being Boing Boing’s software developer Dean is the author and publisher of a a book of his great-grandfather’s World War I photos.

We talked about James's latest book called Choose Yourself! I read it over the holiday break, and found it to be a wonderful guidebook for a balanced life, with practical advice for a daily practice for achieving mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. The title comes from Jame's advice to avoid depending on large organizations to provide you with a living in exchange for work. Those days are over. Instead, you have to operate as a free agent, even if you are working for someone else. James has made a fortune and then lost it all more than once, and has experienced some pretty extreme highs and lows in his life. He's learned a lot from his experiences, and shares them in a way that is captivating and inspiring.

We also talked about Michael Wolff's 1998 book Burn Rate, which is about his attempt to take his Web 1.0 era business public, and how it failed spectacularly. The book is still fresh and valid today, even though the names of the companies are long forgotten: Magellan, Excite, @Home, etc. Wolff didn't bother spearing anyone's feelings, and wrote a very gossipy, juicy book that reveals some atrocious behavior of rich and powerful people. James said he enjoyed the book, but felt that Wolff expected too much of others, and was too bitter about his experience. Fair points!