Get 100 generic Magic Erasers for $9

This is the best deal I've seen on generic Magic Erasers. Less than ten cents a sponge! Here's my earlier review: The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser a plain looking white sponge that looks like a chunk of cheap mattress foam. You wouldn't think it would do good job of cleaning anything. But it removes stains and scuffs 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. That's aided by the fact that the dirt is pulled into the open spaces between the spindly skeletal strands and bound there. These two factors combined make this next-generation eraser seem almost magical.

The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser measures 4.6 x 2.4 x 1 inches, and an 8-pack sells for $6.47 on Amazon, where it's got a 4.6 rating. But you can buy 100 generic melamine sponges measuring 4 x 2.3 x 8 for $8.99 on Amazon.

Getting better at painting gaming miniatures

Many of us who play fantasy and sci-fi roleplaying and tabletop miniature games struggle with our ability to paint minis so that they look halfway decent on the table. Getting me to paint my minis is like getting 8-year-old me to eat his broccoli. I'm something of a perfectionist and I look at a lot of pro painted miniatures, in gaming magazines and online. My miniatures never look as good as what I see, so it's an effort for me to even bother. But also being a perfectionist, I wouldn't think of "gaming in the nude" (playing with unpainted miniatures). And so I press ahead, and try to do at least a little painting every night.

My pal, James Floyd Kelly, who I wrote about previously when he launched his new dungeon crafting channel, Game Terrain Engineering, was in a similar boat of not being happy with his painting chops. So, he decided to buy the Reaper Miniatures Learn To Paint Bones Kit and record a series of videos of him painting the three minis that come in the kit. It's really encouraging to watch the series and to see how much his painting improves over the three videos and three miniatures. Bolstered by that improvement, Jim plans on now getting the next kit in the series, the Layer Up Bones Miniatures Learn to Paint Kit and to paint (and hopefully document) those three miniatures.

Also: Here's a list of beginner painting tips that I ran into recently. These are all of the same tips that I share with people. I would also add great lighting. I just broke down and finally got one of those swing-arm magnifying florescent lights and it makes me feel like I've been painting in the dark up until now. Jimmi recommends a wet palette and I couldn't agree more, now that I finally have one of those. Thinning your paints and building up paint in layers makes a huge difference in achieving great results. A wet palette helps keep the paints properly thin for you. Here's the wet palette that I got, based on a friend's recommendation. I love it.

Ginger Page cleans up your mobile typing

Just because English has become the common global tongue doesn’t mean it’s the easiest language to write—even for native speakers. If you're looking to improve your written communication skills, especially on your smartphone, take a look at Ginger Page.

Ginger is a cross-platform app that offers corrections for phrasing as well as grammar. It's powered by crowdsourced data and provides editing suggestions with its contextually-aware natural language processing engine. It performs multilingual translation and includes powerful tools for paraphrasing and proofreading so you don't send any typo-ridden emails to your boss.

Ginger Page is available on all major desktop and mobile platforms, and can be purchased in the Boing Boing Store for $69.99.

Politicon 2017 is July 29-30, and Boing Boing (me, Xeni Jardin) will be in the mix

Politicon is a non-partisan “Unconventional Political Convention” that brings Republicans, Democrats, and people of all political stripes together to get worked up over politics. It's a lot of fun, and it goes down in Pasadena, CA on Saturday, July 29th and Sunday, July 30 at the Convention Center. I will be there, hosting and speaking on panels that include the likes of noted Delta airlines seat-swapper Ann Coulter and longtime Donald Trump ally Roger Stone.

Buy tickets here. (more…)

Old NASA computers and space probe data tapes found in dead engineer's basement

A scrap dealer cleaning out a deceased engineer's basement in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania found two massive 1960s computers, magnetic tape data storage systems, and hundreds of tape reels, all of which was marked as the property of NASA. The scrap dealer called NASA to report what he found and the agency's Office of the Inspector General investigated. It turns out that the fellow was an IBM engineer who worked for NASA in the early 1970s and was given permission to save the stuff as it was being discarded. One space agency's trash is another maker's treasure... From Ars Technica:

"Please tell NASA these items were not stolen," the engineer's heir told the scrap dealer, according to the (Office of Insepctor General's) report. "They belonged to IBM Allegheny Center Pittsburgh, PA 15212. During the 1968-1972 timeframe, IBM was getting rid of the items so [redacted engineer] asked if he could have them and was told he could have them...."

NASA investigators picked up the 325 magnetic data tape reels on December 8, 2015. The cassettes measured 14 inches in diameter and were filled with half-inch magnetic tape. The tapes "were in poor condition and almost all were affected by moderate to severe mould."

Most of the tapes were not labelled, but "of the tapes that were labelled, the content appeared to be space science related with missions including Pioneer and Helios and the inclusive date range was 1967-1974."

NASA told the family of the deceased that it was not in the junk removal business. “No, we do not need the computers,” NASA told the family of the deceased. “We have no use for [them].”

Typewriters transformed into incredible sculptures of machine guns

Montreal artist Eric Nado transforms vintage typewriters into stunning models of machine guns. As a William S. Burroughs fan, I have great appreciation for this intersection of objects. From Galerie COA:

Through sculpture-assemblage, Éric Nado transforms and reorganizes certain objects to reveal other possibilities through their forms or intended functions. Using iconic metal objects such as typewriters and sewing machines, Nado materializes concepts such as labor and memory.

My favorite Japanese pencil case is on sale for $10

My older daughter and I both like to sketch. We sometimes go the the Art Directors Guild's figure drawing sessions here in Los Angeles on Tuesday nights (only $10!) or we sit on the floor of her room and sketch whatever we want. (I like to use old black-and-white photos I find online for reference.)

To store my pencils, charcoals, lead holder, erasers, snap-blade knife, and reading glasses I bought a Lihit Lab Teffa "book style" pencil case ($10 on Amazon). It's not large, but it's designed with "pages" to hold your stuff efficiently. Pens and pencils fit behind straps, and smaller stuff can be stashed in the mesh pouches.

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Below, a couple of my recent sketches.

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George RR Martin, 1993 "The fantasy novel I've been working on off and on for a while" is an unlikely project for TV

Scott Edelman writes, "I interviewed George R. R. Martin at a Thai restaurant on Episode 42 of my Eating the Fantastic podcast (MP3), and after I returned home, remembered I'd also interviewed him back in 1993. After digging out the tape, I couldn't resist incorporating his amusing admission about 'a fantasy novel I've been working on off and on for a while' as part of the episode." (more…)

Everyone could use some basic web development skills

The current web development landscape is rife with buzzwords and technology that gets abandoned almost as soon as it’s made. If you’ve never written a line of code before, it can be hard to figure out what’s coming, what’s here to stay, or how to get ahead.

This Beginner Web Development Bundle is a great place to start getting your bearings in the web dev world. In this collection of learning materials, you’ll get acquainted with the core technologies of the web: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP. You’ll explore a variety of relevant front-end topics like semantic markup, responsive page layouts, and CSS animations, as well as basic client-server relationships.

Learn to code on the web with the Beginner Web Development Bundle for $29 today.

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