PocketCHIP handheld Linux computer

Donald Bell of the Maker Project Lab checks out the PocketCHIP handheld Linux computer. It cost $69 and has a keyboard and color display. It's mainly for creating and playing games. Looks pretty cool! Read the rest

The Lotus Box - an extraordinary and surprising puzzle

How do you remove the hidden coin from the Lotus Box? Fleb knows!

Finding a copy of "The Lotus Box" will be difficult, as not many were made. Your best bet is to find a collector who has one they're willing to part with, or contact a specialty puzzle shop. I bought mine at Eureka Puzzles in Brookline, MA.

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Asking Alexa 50 questions

This entertaining video is a good way to learn what the Amazon Echo can do. Read the rest

RIP J.S.G. Boggs (1955-2017) - an artist who drew his own money

Artist J.S.G. Boggs died on January 22. He drew money and convinced people to accept it in exchange for products. He sold the receipts as his works of art. He didn't sell the bills themselves.

James Stephen George Boggs (born 1955) is an American artist, best known for his hand-drawn, one-sided depictions of U.S. banknotes (known as "Boggs notes") and his various "Boggs bills" he draws for use in his performances.

He spends his "Boggs notes" only for their face value. If he draws a $100 bill, he exchanges it for $100 worth of goods. He then sells any change he gets, the receipt, and sometimes the goods he purchased as his "artwork". If an art collector wants a Boggs note, he must track it down himself. Boggs will tell a collector where he spent the note, but he does not sell them directly.

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"Very Unfair!" Trump's tweets turned into emo song

From Tara at Dangerous Minds: "The folks at Super Deluxe noticed that Donald Trump’s tweets are super emo and turned his Twitter meltdowns into a perfectly shitastic emo song." Read the rest

Man knows it's not smart to crack an 80-foot bullwhip, does it anyway

Bryan Ropar of World of Science and Engineering says, "Well, that is by far one of the stupidest things I've ever done on my life." Read the rest

How to become a superstar vlogger

Liam Williams was given money by the BBC to explain the success and culture of YouTube vloggers.

A search for the next megastar vlogger finds an unlikely victor in struggling comedian, Liam, who must undertake a series of challenges in order to win a £10,000 prize. Along the way, several successful YouTubers give him help and advice.

Both an explainer and a The Office-like mockumentary, there is a weird magic about this that seeps out with the skill and naturalism of its performers. Why, exactly, do young people stare for hours at people just like themselves, talking about themselves? And why is there a corresponding caste of tired, decade-older cynical people wishing they could be there with them? Read the rest

John Oliver is back and he's got 24 golden minutes on Trump's pathological lies

John Oliver's new season kicked off with a spectacular episode on a dismal subject: whether or not there is such a thing as truth, why Donald Trump seems so poorly acquainted with it, and how it is that so many people have been dragged into the unfactual universe with him. Read the rest

These vibrant arrangements of diatoms revive a lost Victorian art

Matthew Killip directed this lovely short film about Klaus Kemp, a microscopist whose specialty had its heyday in Victorian times: arranging microscopic creatures into beautiful patterns. Read the rest

Legendary jazz singer Al Jarreau, 76, passes away

The incredibly talented Al Jarreau has passed away, at a hospital in Los Angeles. He was 76.

Via the Chicago Tribune:

Jarreau was loosely classified as a jazz singer, but his eclectic style was entirely his own, polished through years of obscure apprenticeship in lonely nightclubs. He did not release his first album until 1975, when he was 35, but within two years he had won the first of his seven Grammy Awards and had begun to attract a wide following.

He was dubbed the "Acrobat of Scat" for the way he adopted the fast, wordless syllables of bebop jazz musicians, but he didn't limit himself to the musical backdrop of an earlier generation. His approach emphasized the percussion-heavy and electronically amplified sound of rhythm-and-blues and funk music, and he had a particular gift for mimicking almost any kind of musical instrument or sound.

"Jarreau imitates the electronic and percussive hardware of the 1970s," critic Robert Palmer wrote in Rolling Stone in 1979. "But he does more than that. He stands there and makes it all sound natural, singing so sweetly and unaffectedly you'd think he just happened on this remarkable vocal vocabulary."

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SNL's Jake Tapper/KellyAnne Conway 'Fatal Attraction'

Bone chillingly brilliant. SNL has been made great again. Read the rest

ATARAXYA is one of the best animations of a psychedelic club experience

Club drugs: when they're good, they're good, and when they're bad, they're better. Five directors collaborated on this trippy animation that stands among the best depictions of a club trip I have seen. Headphones, full screen, and dark room strongly recommended. Read the rest

Take a 3-minute vacation with surfer Mitch Parkinson

Pro surfer Mitch Parkinson makes surfing barrels look relaxing in this gorgeous montage. Owen Milne cut together this beautiful footage he shot with Lachlan McKinnon and John Wiley. Read the rest

Sheer netting transformed into wearable sculpture

Artist Benjamin Shine gathers colorful tulle into artistic forms, and now he has branched out into wearable art for the Maison Margiela spring collection: Read the rest

What a new house in Tokyo looks like

Life Where I'm From has a tour of a 4LDK (4 bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen) in Tokyo. Cost is about $480,000. I love that magnetic door stopper, and the high tech toilet. Read the rest

Things I miss: when the William Tell Overture was cool

I remember when I could hear the opening to the William Tell Overture and feel the adventure.

I'm not sure if I just got older, the constant comedic uses of The Lone Ranger theme, or I just can't tolerate the racism inherent in most old Western themed tv and movies, but every time I hear this music, I get a brief taste of that old feeling and then it is washed away.

For some reason Jonny Quest's theme still works. Hadji deserved better treatment. Read the rest

Why humanity destroyed itself

The problem is in the architecture of the human brain. Read the rest

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