Boing Boing 

Crowdfunding an Abomination with Gary Whitta (Star Wars, The Book of Eli)

Gary Whitta is an award-winning screenwriter who wrote The Book of Eli and worked on the first Star Wars standalone film. So when he had an idea for a dark historical fantasy story he wrote a book. Why? We ask him that, about successfully crowdfunding his novel, and much more on this episode!

Oh, and yes. We ask him about Star Wars too.

Gary Whitta


Gary Whitta

The Sword and Laser (S&L) is a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club podcast hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. The main goal of the club is to build a strong online community of science fiction / fantasy buffs, and to discuss and enjoy books of both genres. For show notes and previous episodes, head here. You can also help support us on Patreon!

LISTEN: The Scariest Travel Books Ever Written

2015-02-22-podcast-episode-47-the-scariest-travel-books-ever-written

Victorian children's author Favell Lee Mortimer published three bizarre travel books that described a world full of death, vice, and peril. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll sample her terrifying descriptions of the lands beyond England and wonder what led her to write them.

Read the rest

LISTEN: the great dog race of mercy

1925 Nome serum run

Follow the dramatic story of the 1925 serum run to Nome, in which 20 men and 150 dogs struggled through arctic blizzards in a desperate effort to save the town from a lethal illness.

Read the rest

Understanding American football helps us understand America

football

Radiolab can always be depended on for an interesting take on questions you never even knew you had. Their story on American Football is no exception.

Read the rest

Sword and Laser podcast: How Tyrion could die

In this new episode of Sword and Laser podcast, we have a whole Wheel of Time pilot mystery to solve, and then on top of it, George RR Martin says any character in the Game of Thrones series could be killed even if they’re safe in the book. WHAT?! Hands off the Imp!

Also, we explore the mystery of why Tom didn’t like Annihilation more, even though he wanted to.

The Sword and Laser (S&L) is a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club podcast hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. The main goal of the club is to build a strong online community of science fiction / fantasy buffs, and to discuss and enjoy books of both genres. For show notes and previous episodes, head here. You can also help support us on Patreon!

Why we love Kumail Nanjiani's “The X-Files Files” podcast

This podcast is entertaining and awesome, but the episode featuring Darin Morgan is especially so. Don’t miss, X-Files fans.

xfiles

Kumail Nanjiani's The X-Files Files podcast is ubiquitously entertaining and awesome, but the episode featuring screenwriter Darin Morgan is especially so.

Read the rest

Brian McClellan and his latest flintlock fantasy novel, The Autumn Republic

When you rule the world of "powder mages" you can do what you want. Brian McClellan wields his powder for good. In addition to delivering us the complete Powder Mage trilogy with the third book The Autumn Republic, Brian is going to bring us a second trilogy in the same universe, all while growing his own spaghetti sauce and keeping bees. Impressive. Most impressive.

The Sword and Laser (S&L) is a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club podcast hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. The main goal of the club is to build a strong online community of science fiction / fantasy buffs, and to discuss and enjoy books of both genres. For show notes and previous episodes, head here. You can also help support us on Patreon!

The science behind Brian Williams' misremembering

The last 40 years of memory research strongly suggests the kind of misremembering Williams claims to have suffered is easy to reproduce in our own lives.

Read the rest

Crossing Africa for Love

When Ewart Grogan was denied permission to marry his sweetheart, he set out to walk the length of Africa to prove himself worthy of her.

Read the rest

Why we like fried chicken and vinyl

This week Xeni, Jason, and Mark talk about the gadget approach to making good fried chicken and an affordable, retro-inspired solution to experiencing vinyl.

Read the rest

Jeff VanderMeer's novel Annihilation is not for everyone

Veronica REALLY wanted to make the title of this episode "Tom Merritt is a sexist pig." But Tom doesn't need that kind of grief. And besides he has promised to read even more female SciFi/Fantasy authors going forward. But if you want to hear Veronica giggle at the notion -- as well as defend our book pick, Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, and wax eloquent about the need for varied perspectives in literature -- then fire up this episode!

Full show notes here!
Support us on Patreon!

LISTEN: Ballooning to the North Pole

In 1897, Swedish engineer S.A. Andrée made the world’s only attempt to balloon to the North Pole.

Andree balloon

In 1897, Swedish engineer S.A. Andrée made the world's only attempt to balloon to the North Pole.

Read the rest

Military Fantasy and Myke Cole

Sword and Laser welcomes back the amazing Myke Cole to talk about how he finds time to write great books, fight crime, and decorate his apartment with even more books. We also pressure him into a startling revelation about unicorns. And of course, talk to him about his new book, Gemini Cell: A Shadow Ops Novel, which is out now!

Full show notes here!
Support us on Patreon!

Avatars, rubber hands, virtual reality, and racism

Can changing your body, even just for a few minutes, change your mind? Can a psychological body transfer melt away your long-held opinions and unconscious prejudices? Maybe so.

Read the rest

LISTEN: Ben Franklin's Guide to Living

2015-01-25-podcast-episode-43-ben-franklins-self-improvement-plan-1

In this episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll explore Benjamin Franklin's self-improvement plan and find out which vices gave him the most trouble.

Read the rest

This week's best gadgets

This week Mark and Jason compare tea makers and Xeni talks about her Hario Japanese coffee products.

Read the rest

Ready Player Two? A sci-fi sequel is in the works.

Join Tom Merritt and Veronica Belmont for the Sword and Laser Podcast.

We wrap up The Sparrow. We loved it and it made us sad. We're also blown away at the quality of books being made into TV shows. Well, only a pilot and a trailer but so far so good. But should you risk reading a book and seeing a movie or TV show too? Maybe not! Plus, we get a hint at a sequel to Ready Player One!

Full show notes here!
Support us on Patreon!

Gweek audio experience: How to 3D print your family

Our guest this week is Maggie Tokuda Hall. She writes books for children and stories for adults.

Read the rest

Here are Gizmodo and Engadget founder Peter Rojas' favorite tools

Peter Rojas is the founder Engadget, gdgt and Gizmodo. He currently co-hosts MVP, a podcast about new tech products, alongside Ryan Block (previously interviewed on the Cool Tools Show). Peter focused his picks for this episode on personal impact, his philosophy being that truly worthy tools not only change your life, but they also change the way you think about the world.

See Peter's picks and show notes.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show podcast.

Listen to all Cool Tools Show episodes here.

LISTEN: The Balmis Expedition: Using Orphans to Combat Smallpox

The Balmis Expedition

In this episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell how Spanish authorities found an ingenious way to use orphans to bring the smallpox vaccine to the American colonies in 1803. The Balmis Expedition overcame the problems of transporting a fragile vaccine over a long voyage and is credited with saving at least 100,000 lives in the New World.

We'll also get some listener updates to the Lady Be Good story and puzzle over why a man would find it more convenient to drive two cars than one.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Show notes

Please support us on Patreon!

The ceiling that birthed a naked man

What happened when a naked man literally appeared out of thin air inside a couple’s apartment while they were getting ready for work?

Read the rest

Don't Fear The Roomba? An Interview with Daniel H. Wilson

Author and robotics engineer Daniel H. Wilson chats with us about his new story/app called Mayday: Deep Space about a person trapped on a ship full of monsters. Only you can help him survive! But of course we have to ask Daniel when the robots will rise up and kill us all.

Show notes here!
Support us on Patreon!

Gadgets 022: RGB LED Lightbulb, KontrolFreek joystick extender, Photive 5 Port Multi-USB Charger

This week Mark, Xeni and Jason recap their holidays and current favorite gadgets — a remote controlled color changing light bulb, Xbox joystick extender, and a multi-USB charger.

Read the rest

LISTEN: the desperate last days of a lost WWII bomber

Lady Be Good

The American bomber Lady Be Good left North Africa for a bombing run over Italy in 1943. It wasn't seen again until 15 years later, when explorers discovered its broken remains deep in the Libyan desert. In this episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll review the strange history of the lost aircraft and trace the desperate last days of its nine crewmen.

We'll also climb some twisted family trees and puzzle over the Greek philosopher Thales' struggles with a recalcitrant mule.

Show notes

Please support us on Patreon!

LISTEN: The Mary Celeste: A Great Sea Mystery

The Mary Celeste

In 1872 the British merchant ship Mary Celeste was discovered drifting and apparently abandoned 600 miles off the coast of Portugal. In this episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll review this classic mystery of the sea: Why would 10 people flee a well-provisioned, seaworthy ship in fine weather?

We'll also get an update on the legal rights of apes and puzzle over why a woman would not intervene when her sister is drugged.

Show notes

Please support us on Patreon!

Monkeys, money, and the primate origins of human irrationality

Psychologist Laurie Santos trains monkeys how to use money, and has learned that they attempt to solve the same sort of financial problems humans have attempted.

Read the rest

LISTEN: Lateral Thinking Puzzles

Lateral Thinking Puzzles

Here are eight new lateral thinking puzzles that you can try on your friends and family -- see who can make sense of these odd scenarios using only yes-or-no questions.

Show notes

Please support us on Patreon!

Best Books of 2014: Sword & Laser Podcast

Well we're here to kick off the new year AND celebrate our 200th episode so we gathered drinks and cheer and your favorite books of 2014 as well as our own and a few others. You'll never guess which one everybody picked! That's not true. You'll totally guess. You probably already guessed. But listen to the show anyway, OK. For us?

Full show notes here!
Support us on Patreon!

Christmas Kitty Bokeh

Photo: Maia Weinstock


Photo: Maia Weinstock

A lovely cat capture by Maia Weinstock, shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool.

The odd phenomenon of "blind insight"

A growing body of evidence is revealing that our guesses and our confidence in those guesses don’t come from the same place in our minds.

Read the rest