Boing Boing 

Build curvy, complicated, organic structures with ZOOB

Most of the really great construction sets are rectangular in shape, or they obey rigid angles. Lego, Kapla Blocks, Kinnex, or Zomeworks are fabulous kits that foster open-ended creativity. But they all tend toward very rectilinear structures. ZOOB is the first construction set I’ve seen that encourages organic, free-flowing builds. There are five basic ZOOB shapes centered on a ball-and-socket connection. When you click them together you have full 180-degree freedom in how the connection is oriented, leading to creations that are curvy, complicated, or ones that repeat like vertebrate in a spine, or carbons on a chain, or even amino acids on DNA. I was surprised by how sophisticated you could make the forms; you may need a bit of patience to get complex ones to fit perfectly (note to 8-year olds). In fact the force and precision needed to assemble pieces may be beyond toddlers, but school kids should have no problem. The plastic pieces are largish, unlike lego, so the finished forms can be quite hefty.

ZOOB
Ages 6 and up, 125 pieces
$20 Buy a copy on Amazon

See more photos at Wink Fun.

Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking call for ban on “autonomous weapons”

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Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and hundreds of artificial intelligence researchers and experts have signed a letter calling for a worldwide ban on “autonomous weapons.”

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U.S. home ownership rates drop to lowest level in 48 years

U.S. homeownership rate is 63.4%, the lowest since 1967. Bloomberg blames it on a combination of "stringent mortgage standards and wage growth that hasn’t kept up with surging home prices." As a result, rental vacancy rates a falling and rental rates are increasing.

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Photos of 1970s cheap motels

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In the 1973, subversive street artist Mike Mandel would take snapshots of the cheap motels where he stayed while traveling the country. He's posted the series on Flickr.

Working on the Baseball Photographer Trading Cards, traveling throughout the country, my girlfriend at the time, Alison Woolpert, and I would stay at some, shall we say, "economy" motels. We pulled into one in Texas on a wintry night and upon waking in the morning we realized that the sheets had not been changed after the visit of the previous motel guest. When we indignantly complained to the owner he shot us back a dirty look, "What do you expect for five dollars?" What we did expect was that no matter how shabby, beaten down or forgotten a motel might have become, there was always a motel postcard to be had: a memento of a one night stop, a promotional calling card, a free mailable note card to report back on the progress of a vacation to those back home. We would often take the back roads, sometimes follow old Route 66, and we would find those sad, forsaken motels that had been sucked almost out of existence by the newer corporate chains situated just off an exit ramp on the newer highways. We bypassed Motel 6, Travelodge and Howard Johnson's. After all, their postcards were usually just the same design with a different address. But we'd go out of our way to stop at every independent motel we could find in hopes of finding a postcard that would be even more banal than the one we had just found down the road.

This led, inevitably, to my photographing the motels themselves: interiors, pool sides and architecture. The project was always there whenever there was an opportunity to travel.

"70's Motels" (Flickr, via Dangerous Minds) screenshot

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Massive steel labyrinth

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Belgian architects Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh built this phenomenal steel labyrinth in Genk, Belgium at the C-mine arts center located on the site of a former coal mine. The 37.5 square meter maze has a kilometer of corridors.

A series of Boolean transformations create spaces and perspectives that reinterpret the traditional Labyrinth is a sculptural installation that focuses on the experience of space. These Boolean transformations convert the walk through the labyrinth into a sequence of spatial and sculptural experiences.

More at Deezen and Gijs Van Vaerenbergh. (via Juxtapoz)

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Pay What You Want: Game Developer Bundle

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Breaking Bad themed coffeeshop opens in Istanbul

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A recently opened “Breaking Bad” themed coffee shop in Istanbul, Turkey features baristas wearing Walt and Jesse garb, the periodic table on the walls, and drinks served in beakers.

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The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer

Reluctant cartoonist Sydney Padua tips us off early in The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer that her graphic novel/history book is probably neither. Instead, she says, it is what she imagines a comic called The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer would look like if it existed, which, for the record, it does. This fuzziness with obvious facts such as authorship and the words one is reading on a page are what give the document that bears Padua’s name one of its many irresistible charms. For Padua, the actual story of the relationship between Lord Bryon’s only legitimate daughter, Ada Lovelace, whose facility with numbers rivaled her father’s gift for words, and Charles Babbage, whose 1837 Analytical Engine is considered the world’s first computer, is only a sturdy armature for several richly illustrated what-might-have-been yarns—embellishments, I hasten to add, that only someone with a love for the truth could have conjured.

For example, we “learn” that on June 5, 1833, while still a teenager, Lovelace met the older Babbage at one of the famous parties he liked to give at his mansion on 1 Dorset Street in London. Now, I’m not sure how much of that last sentence is 100 percent true, but we do know they met, and that Lovelace did eventually translate an 1840 lecture Babbage gave in Turin about his Analytical Engine from its Italian transcription to English, adding copious footnotes of her own that sketched out the if-then statements and other forms of rudimentary programming one would need to know to drive Babbage’s machine, which was never built except in model form.

Later in the book, Lovelace and Babbage demonstrate another of Babbage’s inventions, a mechanical calculator (steam-powered in Padua’s imagination) known as a difference engine, for Queen Victoria. We also encounter a spurious Babbage machine called the New Patent Mechanical Writer, lifted from an 1844, tongue-in-cheek letter he wrote to Punch—in Padua’s book, this imaginary device has its way with a George Eliot novel. Then, after a chapter in which Ada struggles to get her arms around the concept of imaginary quantities, which sends her spiraling into an Alice-in-Wonderland world of judgmental footnotes and juries of Jacquard-loom punch cards, several appendices explain, among other things, how those punch cards work, and how they led to the 80-column IBM punch cards of 1955. In a word, all this makes for fantastic reading, and that is the truth. – Ben Marks

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer
by Sydney Padua
Pantheon
2015, 230 pages, 7.3 x 10.3 x 1.1 inches
$15 Buy one on Amazon

Artist paints amazing 3D illusions on his hands

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Italian makeup artist Luca Luce paints incredible 3D illusions on his hands.

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Trailer for Adventure Time: The Enchiridion & Marcy’s Super Secret Scrapbook!!!

We are giddy with excitement that Martin Olson and Olivia Olson are coming to our Weekend of Wonder in Southern California (September 18-20). Olivia is the voice of Marceline the Vampie Queen in Adventure Time. And her father Martin (who is also a screenwriter from Phineas And Ferb) voices Hunson Abadeer (a.k.a. the Lord of Evil).

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Gorgeous animated pixel-art depicting everyday Japan

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Here's just two of the many beautiful, serene GIF animations depicting life in Japan, by @1041uuu. [via Hacker News & designmadeinjapan]

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Dark Side of the Pluto

'shooped by Xeni.


'shooped by Xeni.

Just made this quick 'shoop of the first thing that came into my head when I saw this amazing Pluto image from the NASA New Horizons mission.

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Old Masters Buzzfeed

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A tumblog of greatness.

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20,000 "Curvy Lady" torso shaped screwdrivers for sale

driverFrom what I've heard, these "Curvy Lady" torso shaped screwdrivers were someone's bad idea, and now the person who ended up with them wants to unload all 20,000.

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