Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Try your luck at besc...@gmail.com

 


Hit songs, analyzed by their contemporary obscurity

"Come Down, Ma Evening Star" was a huge hit in 1903, but you'd be forgiven for not knowing it. But time has not been kind to the hits of Clay Aiken, either. [via Kottke]

Let's see if we can get the official youtube video of Clay's 2003 #1 hit "This is the Night" to 5,000 views by sundown! (It's at 4,954, though, so I'm not sure I fancy its chances.)

Mellow electronica video shows what happens in your computer when you go right ahead and just spill juice all over it

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Computer game names "almost universally terrible"

"Assassin Heroes Warhammer: Craft World War" might be an extreme example of a grossly trope-strewn game name, but the business has plenty more like it to offer.

Nigerian email swindlers using more sophisticated hacks

It's not so much that the scammers themselves are becoming better at their jobs, just that off-the-shelf scripts are so much more powerful. [NYT]

Spy toys at the CIA museum

3033350-slide-pigeoncamera1A gallery at Fast Co Design has some of the cool tools of spycraft.

Corpse mistaken for mannequin and tossed in dumpster.

That's the second time this year this has happened in the Tampa Bay area. Tampa, Florida.

Jeans "designed" by tigers and lions

Step 1: Wrap nice new jeans around tires. Step 2: Throw it to the cats. Step 3: Sell the remains.

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Chrome extension turns every instance of the word "cloud" into "butt"

You're welcome.

Watch a watch being made

It's amazing to see these tiny, precision components being created and placed carefully together to create a mechanism. Each moment seems an exercise in human and technical precision--don't miss the branding being lasered in. There's not a note of music, either; kudos to Nomos Glashütte for letting the noise of "creation" do the selling, even if it's really just sound effects.

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Why did Mars die?

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Earth and Mars are both so-called "Goldilocks" planets, writes Burkhard Bilger, each large, warm and atmospheric in a way seemingly conducive to life. But, to the best of our knowledge, only one of them thrived.

Still, we keep going back. Like a delinquent sibling, Mars is all we’ve got—the next Earth-like planet may be in the Tau Ceti system, seventy trillion miles away—and its virtues nearly redeem its vices. Mars has sunlight, water, carbon, and nitrogen. Its surface is no more unpleasant than the inside of a volcanic vent, where bacteria thrive. It may yet have life. On November 26, 2011, NASA sent the world’s most sophisticated mobile science lab to explore it: the robotic rover Curiosity. The project’s scientists were quick to lower expectations: they were just looking for places that might once have been habitable, they said. Yet Mars, even dead, may answer some very old questions about life: What sets its machinery in motion? Why here and not there? Why us and not them?

Thomas the Tank Engine quits show

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Martin T Sherman voices Thomas the Tank Engine in the U.S., but he's leaving the show amid a dispute. In a post on his blog -- since taken town -- Sherman said that they just don't pay very well.

"For the last five years it has been my great honour and pleasure to create the American voices of Thomas the Tank Engine and Percy. Unfortunately, I must now quit the show," Sherman wrote. "It is embarrassing but the reason is that they are paying a very low wage. The terms they are offering are so poor, and this with the immense success of Thomas, that the only right thing for me to do is walk away.I have felt exploited for a while now I believe it is important to move on from a situation if you are not valued."

Sherman, 42, also sent the letter to the Tampa Bay Times, which was first to break the story.

Reached by phone in London, Sherman said the decision to leave was tough, but he could no longer work for what he calls low wages. Especially, he said, in light of the success of the television show, DVDs and toy line.

"The people who are going to suffer is going to be the kids," he said.

He apologized in his letter to fans. "People have been pretty understanding," he said. "They agree that if I'm being hurt, I need to go."

A spokesperson from the showmakers, HIT Entertainment, released a short statement.

"Unfortunately, we could not reach an agreement with Martin T. Sherman and have decided to part ways. We wish him the best in his future professional endeavours"

The Guardian's Nicky Woolf reports that he had to subsidize his income with other work, despite being the voice of one of the world's most famous childrens' characters.

Sherman pointed to the disparity between his pay, which he described as “a small percentage” of what he would be getting if he had a US Screen Actor's Guild contract, and the amount of money that the show makes every year for the company, an estimated $250m. He said that the pay they had offered him was “a quantum leap” below Screen Actors Guild rates; only just enough money to live on.

Thomas, Woolf writes, is "by far" Hit Entertainment's most valuable property.

Among the famous names to have voiced Thomas are Ringo Starr, George Carlin, and Biggie Smalls.

Previously: Crashes from Thomas the Tank Engine giphy-1

Anti-Obamacare ads only helped market it

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Niam Yaraghi, a researcher at the Brookings Institution, determined that negative advertising against the Affordable Care Act only boosted enrollment.

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Galaxies revolve around other galaxies

A close look taken at thousands of galaxies reveals that smaller ones revolve around larger ones in disc-shaped orbits, contrary to expectations of a more random-seeming distribution.

Facebook deletes women rowing team's page. Why? A safe-for-work seminude photo

Nathaniel Mott: "it’s okay to post naked photos to Facebook, as long as you’re not a woman"

Tech talent: is there a shortage, or just short sightedness?

The business has a knack for finding and cultivating talent of a certain kind.

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