The silent mystery of LADWP's buildings

SPONSORED: This post is presented by the Toyota RAV4 EV. Because innovation can be measured in miles, kilowatts and cubic feet. Learn more at

In 1940 writer Henry Miller returned to the United States after living in Europe for many years. Soon after, he embarked on a fresh-eyed tour of his native land, writing about what he'd encountered and experienced. His account was published in his 1945 book, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare. One of the most memorable sentences from the book was his opinion of Los Angeles. He wrote, "Los Angeles gives one the feeling of the future more strongly than any city I know of. A bad future, too, like something out of Fritz Lang’s feeble imagination."

I agree with Miller, except I'd replace "bad" with "fascinating," and "feeble" with "fabulous."

When our sponsor Toyota loaned me a 2014 RAV4 Electric vehicle, I thought it would be interesting to visit the power receiving and distributing stations of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which are hiding in plain sight all over the city. Most were built in the 1920s and the architecture reminds me of the art deco style of Fritz Lang's 1927 masterpiece, Metropolis, a science fiction movie that explores the concept of power in a literal and metaphorical sense. And since the RAV4 Electric was getting its juice from the LADWP, an idea for a photo gallery tickled my feeble imagination. I made a map route, grabbed my camera, unplugged the vehicle (with 93 miles of range in the batteries), and drove into a previous century. Read the rest

For the bathroom: Bluetooth showerhead, color-changing tiles, and more!

SPONSORED: The following post is brought to you by Kohler.

Bathroom enhancements for the discerning restroom aficionado with a penchant for high technology, deep geekery, and wet whimsy:

Kohler Moxie Showerhead and Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

Crayola Bath Dropz

• Adventure Time Fleece Bathrobes

Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale

Temperature Sensitive Color Changing Tiles Read the rest

McDonald's: Quarterbot (sponsored)

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My 10-year-old's first concert: Katy Perry at the Hollywood Bowl

Last week I took my wife, daughter (10), and niece (10) to the Katy Perry concert at The Hollywood Bowl. The proceeds for the concert were given to the Young Survival Coalition, which "offers resources, connections and outreach to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer.” Boing Boing's sponsors, Citibank, gave us the same experience that Citi ThankYou card holders got: seats to the soundcheck and Q&A with Katy Perry and a pre-show party with food and drinks. We had a blast! Below, some of my tweets, G+ posts, and Instagrams of the evening. Read the rest

It’s Survival of the Fittest on Samsung’s “SOS Island”

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Can you really survive on a deserted island with only your smartphone? The 16 contestants on Samsung’s interactive, online, live-stream reality series “SOS Island: Survival of the Smartest” have been giving it their best shot – and they’ve got the awesome footage to prove it! Trained by survival expert Les Stroud to compete on a deserted island for two weeks, the adventurers have been performing Herculean tasks and recording their efforts on Samsung GALAXY S4 zoom and GALAXY NX Cameras.

The candidates have come so far already, even if they really had no idea what they’d be in for. Take a look… Read the rest

Revolutionary classics in domestic tech

Sponsored post: This post is brought to you by Best Buy. To learn more and find great deals on small appliances that do big things, visit

As a rule, home appliances aren't thrilling. The public isn't interested in hearing about incremental innovations, and the only time folks dig into the tech specs and reviews is when they need a new coffee maker, washing machine, dishwasher, or vacuum cleaner. And when you need one of those things, you need it NOW. And then you won't think about that product category until your current model becomes irreparable. Occasionally though, design and ingenuity intersect in a way that fuels domestic dreams of a Jetsons future. Here are two recent darlings of geek home gadgetry that are available at – where else – the store with the most tech expertise and know-how, Best Buy: Read the rest

Ford Transit modded into mobile library

This post is sponsored by the Ford Transit Connect.

As regular Boing Boing readers know, we are all big library geeks. Nothing beats browsing rows and rows of books where you can take anything that tickles your fancy home with you to read... free! That's why we loved the story of the Batram Trail Regional Library bookmobile, a transformed Ford Transit Connect that replaces the library's 30-year-old vehicle. When the bookmobile and its dedicated librarians visit children's schools, the little ones climb inside while the bigger kids browse their own shelf exposed by opening the Transit Connect's sliding door. If the Batram Trail Regional Library bookmobile isn't parked at pre-K facilities, daycares, and special needs schools, it's likely on its way to a nursing home or making housecalls to homebound readers. Georgia's history of bookmobiles goes back to the Great Depression when custom pick-up trucks piled with books were driven from county to county. Times have changed, but the mission to bring books to everyone remains the same.  Woodworker mods Ford Transit into camper van Read the rest

Woodworker mods Ford Transit into camper van

This post is sponsored by the Ford Transit Connect.

When talented woodworker Eric Cournoyer isn't immersed in sawdust, you'll likely find him amongst the trees in their more natural state. An avid outdoorsman, Eric frequently mountain bikes the back trails around his home of Worcester, MA.. After seeing a friend's traditional camper van, Eric was inspired to create his own handcrafted custom camper that would double as his daily driver. The Ford Transit Connect proved to be the perfect platform for Eric to remake into a mobile base camp. His approach? Fine carpentry expressed through a modular box system that's easily reconfigurable for quick trips from his city's streets into the surrounding wilderness. Read the rest

OpenXC provides car data for cool hacks

We were blown away by the hackers' imaginative uses of OpenXC in their 8-hour projects. We saw a watercolor robot, a music composition system, an animated back window display, a cost-of-driving meter, and other projects that responded to OpenXC's car data.

Tour de Fat hits Fort Collins

This post is brought to you by Fat Tire. Pairs Well With People.

There's not a lot that can prepare you for what a beer festival with 25,000 costumed bicycle riders looks like: think of the craziest marathon you ever saw, then add everything from 1980s-vintage BMXs to reproduction Penny Farthings. Then add beer.

Fort Collins' leg of the Tour De Fat began with all this on parade, exorted by mayor Karen Weitkunat to take care as they chocked the streets of the Colorado town. Read the rest

Join Rob at the Tour de Fat on August 31 in Fort Collins, CO

Sponsor message: This post is brought to you by Fat Tire. Pairs Well With People.

In two weeks, our own Rob Beschizza will be headed to the Fort Collins leg of the 14th annual Tour de Fat, the all-ages festival series put on by our sponsor New Belgium Brewing, maker of Fat Tire Amber Ale.

It begins on Saturday, August 31, with a bicycle parade through the streets of Fort Collins, Colorado—a ride that traditionally features all sorts of colorful costumes. Then everyone heads to Civic Center Park, where Reggie Watts, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, Fierce Bad Rabbit, Dragondeer and others will put on a show for 20,000 attendees.

The brewery's flagship Fat Tire will be at the show, along with summer seasonal Rolle Bolle and other selections. This doesn't just make the locals happy: the Tour raised $79,000 last year for local non-profits.

Admission to the park is free of charge, parade attendees can donate $5, if they please, and the beer is $5 a pint.

For more on the full 12-city tour, the Tour de Fat credo, and the chance to swap your car for a "fancy new bicycle," visit

TL;DR: Rob is paid to drink beer. Read the rest

Boing Boing Ingenuity: A look at Ford's OpenXC real-time data platform

At the Boing Boing: Ingenuity hack day, several dozen of our favorite hackers, designers, and developers will have the opportunity to work with Open XC, Ford's open-source platform that connects smart phones and tablets to real-time vehicle data.

My week with the 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV

SPONSORED: This post is presented by the Toyota RAV4 EV. Because innovation can be measured in miles, kilowatts and cubic feet. Learn more at

Last week our sponsor Toyota delivered a 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV to my house so I could drive it for a week. As soon as the friendly fellow who dropped it off went away, I jumped in and drove it around town. The first thing I noticed was how, in many ways, the 5-passenger RAV4 EV felt like a traditional gasoline-powered car. And that's a good thing. Read the rest

15 weirdest things on wheels at Maker Faire 2013

SPONSORED: This post is presented by the Toyota RAV4 EV. Because innovation can be measured in miles, kilowatts and cubic feet. Learn more at

Maker Faire launched in 2006 as a place for makers to meet up and show off their stuff. 20,000 people attended that first year. It was a mind-blowing experience to witness such an exuberant celebration of ingenuity.

I just returned home from Maker Faire Bay Area 2013, and it was the best one yet. At least 120,000 people attended. The variety of projects was impressive, and the trend of "makers making tools for other makers" has accelerated. Who needs an organization to make and sell products when you can use low-cost, effective DIY versions of R&D, prototype development, vendor sourcing, funding, manufacturing, and sales & marketing? The level of sophistication I saw in many projects at Maker Faire is a sign that makers are going to make a difference in the world.

It was nice to see traditional companies come to Maker Faire to support it as sponsors, and to engage with makers in discussions about the future of manufacturing. For example, I checked out Boing Boing sponsor Toyota's RAV4 EV 2013 that was on display at Maker Faire. Read the rest

Sponsored Content Pretty Fucking Awesome

NEW YORK—Media consumers across the United States are reporting this week that sponsored content—articles and videos paid for by advertisers and distributed by print and digital publications—is easily the coolest fucking published material anyone could ever read or watch.

“I love, love, fucking love sponsored content,” said news and entertainment reader Erica Olson, adding that when she can tell a corporation is financially behind a piece of writing, she is even more inclined to click on it. “First off, it’s cool. That’s not debatable. Second, I don’t find it in any way insulting to my intelligence. In fact, it makes me feel smarter. And third, did I mention that sponsored content is just really fucking cool?”

READ THE REST Read the rest

Sponsor shout-out: Upstream Color now on DVD and Blu-ray

We'd like to thank and congratulate our sponsor Upstream Color on this week's launch of their DVD and Blu-ray. It's a film written and directed by Shane Carruth, one The Los Angeles Times calls “intense and hypnotically powerful” and The Playlist describes as “a romantic examination of love, who we are as lovers, what our love does to one another, and how that’s connected to the nature of all things.” Visit for more. Read the rest

Interview with Wrong director Quentin Dupieux

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There’s nothing quite right about this hilariously delirious clip from Wrong, which hits theaters throughout the country this Friday and is already available on iTunes, featuring a suspicious gardner explaining the impossible overnight transformation of an everyday Californian palm tree to an evergreen. Its one of the many, many things wrong with Wrong from director Quentin Dupieux.

After directing just a mere handful of features, Dupieux (aka international electro-musician Mr. Oizo) has already established himself as one of the modern cinema’s foremost fearless surrealists who refuses to play by the rules. The Cannes Film Festival selected Rubber about a serial homicidal tire (yes, a car tire), the viral short and soon-to-be feature Wrong Cops starring Marilyn Manson and now his latest comedic brainbomb Wrong all seem to be constructs of the same wholly original and strange deadpan daymare. With a laser-sharp eye, a pranksterish wit and the airy rhythm of a ballet dancer, this filmmaker has zapped a fully-formed artistic vision into our collective space.

Wrong follows “Reno 911”’s Jack Plotnick after he loses his beloved dog and encounters a barrage of bizarro human roadblocks in his journey including a feces-hunting pet detective (Steve Little from "Eastbound And Down") and an ponytailed, face-scarred guru (a flat-out brilliant William Fichtner). This surreal comedy guides you through a fascinating and hallucinatory universe to which you’ll want to book repeat accommodations. In this interview, Dupieux chats about Wrong, his unique brand of nightmarish comedy, the construction an unconscious dimension and working with Plotnick. Read the rest

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