Boing Boing 

Whale bones in women's underwear


Over at Collectors Weekly, Lisa Hix unbuttons the history of the scrimshaw busks, intricately carved whalebones that 19th century sailors would give their lovers to wear in their corsets as a reminder of their men at sea. From Collectors Weekly:


Scrimshaw busks would be engraved with all sorts of symbolic images: A palm frond might indicate a place the whaleman had sailed to, while a North Star would assure the woman that her man would be guided home. Wheat stalks stood for abundance, houses meant security and comfort, and a church indicated plans for marriage. All of these hopes and dreams would be pressing into her torso throughout the day.

"From Whale Jaws to Corsets: How Sailors' Love Tokens Got Into Women's Underwear"

Twitter announces Highlights: "the best Tweets for you, picked by Twitter"


The new feature is "a fast and simple summary of Twitter" for people who can't keep up.

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Old Kathmandu – what was lost

As you can see from these photographs I took in 1976, the medieval town is delicate. Not all has been destroyed, and I am sure the Nepalis will rebuild as they have in the past. Still, the earthquake shook more than just buildings. Read the rest

Play games like Oregon Trail or SimCity inside your own tweets


Thousands of classic games from Prince of Persia to Wolfenstein 3D are available for free on the Internet Archive, and now you can embed and play them directly inside of individual tweets.

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Selfie Arm: very strange parody of the selfie stick


5396895_orig The "Selfie Arm" is a fantastically bizarre improvement over the traditional selfie stick.

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Crowdfunded 3D printer shipments withheld to backers who complained about lateness

Cobblebot's crowdfunded 3D printers were supposed to ship in October, but many backers have yet to get theirs, including the "super early" backers -- and it turns out this is on purpose, as Cobblebot is deliberately withholding shipments from customers who complained online, citing a nebulous Texas defamation statute that bans statements regarding "dishonesty, fraud, rascality, or general depravity."

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Pick a card, any card, and embark on an urban walking adventure in Los Angeles

City Walks: Los Angeles: 50 Adventures ($13)
by Eric Hiss (author) and Bart Wright (illustrator)
50 cards, 4 x 5.8 x 1.2

If you enjoy travel and you enjoy books, chances are you enjoy travel books. Most of the time, however, there’s nothing more onerous to pack or carry in your day bag (or hip pocket) than a hefty travel guide. Take, for example, the Blue Guide New York, a favorite, which weighs 1.6 pounds. Chronicle Books has solved that heavyweight packing problem with its City Walks card series – now including options for travelers with children and dogs.

Each of the 26 editions – ranging from Amsterdam to Washington, D.C. – includes 50 pocket-sized cards featuring a bite-sized chunk of a city or village. Perfect for a day trip or an adventurous afternoon, each card features a walking tour that includes stops such as notable architecture, historical locations, interesting boutiques, recommended restaurants, and other highlights of the area. And, with each card weighing a mere one-eighth of an ounce, they won’t slow – or weigh – you down.

At the end of last year, my wife and I pocketed the East Los Angeles card – pick a card, any card, flaneurs! – and set forth to explore that neighborhood. We found absolutely everything we needed for the day: creative local cuisine, curious shops, a historic arts and community center that now houses a dancehall, and a public park in which we could sit and read once we finished walking. All on one four-by-six card that helped us largely dispense with the map and focus on the landscape instead. – Heath Row

See more photos at Wink Fun.

Great magic trick: The Block Escape

The Block Escape is a great trick that even kids can perform with ease. This wood model, which cost $6, is an excellent deal.

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Algorithm knows you're drunk just by looking at you


Researchers at Greece's University of Patras built an algorithm that can determine with 90 percent accuracy whether a person is drunk or not based on an infrared image of his or her face.

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Leigh and Vlambeer's Rami Ismail on creativity beyond gaming


Our Leigh talks with game designer Rami Ismail of Vlambeer, the game studio behind indie hits Ridiculous Fishing and Luftrausers—"we're slowly understanding what games are and where they can go"—about his projects outside of gaming.

Rami Ismail is the Business & Development Guy at Vlambeer, a Dutch independent game studio known best for Nuclear Throne, Ridiculous Fishing, Super Crate Box, LUFTRAUSERS, GUN GODZ, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter & Radical Fishing.

Through his work at Vlambeer, Rami has come to realize that the marketing & business facets of many independent game developers could use some help. As such, he created the free presskit-creation tool presskit() and is working on releasing its first add-on, release().

Believing sharing knowledge openly is the cornerstone of independent development, Rami has spoken on a variety of subjects at dozens of game events around the world, ranging from the Game Developers Conference to Fantastic Arcade & from University seminars to incubator mentorship.

Neuroscience of being "invisible"


Neuroscientists at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet used a head-mounted display to give people the perceptual illusion of invisibility when they looked down at their body. Then they pretended to stab the person.

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Black River: the bleakest and most depressing graphic novel I've ever read


After reading Josh Simmons' Black River I had to read Cormac McCarthy's The Road and watch Requiem for a Dream to cheer myself up.

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Marie Antoinette's Watch: Adultery, Larceny, & Perpetual Motion

Unknown John Biggs' book about Marie Antoinette's legendary timepiece is now available. I've been waiting for this for years (but not 200 years.)
Across continents and into and out of the hands of royalty, revolutionaries, smugglers, thieves, and the world’s greatest tech engineers, was Marie Antoinette’s watch, the “160,” worth an estimated $40 million in today’s dollars. Perhaps the most sought after personal technology device of the last 200 years, the timepiece, designed by the legendary Abraham-Louis Breguet, is the launching point for a thrilling and fluidly woven set of narratives that are, in part, forbidden love story, historical document, and police procedural. Marie Antoinette’s Watch also deftly lays out the history of horology and the 18th Century engineering feats attained in Paris’s answer to Silicon Valley, the Île de la Cité, that made the watch the most intricate and prized personal device of its time – something that’s come full circle today. In the hands of Techcrunch’s East Coast Editor, John Biggs, Marie Antoinette’s Watch is by turns edifying and lurid, historical and utterly modern. Culminating in a heist in a Tel Aviv antiquities museum in the 1980s, Biggs tells the story of how one object can transform countries, cultures, high technology, and time itself.

Discworld's Inner Rage

Rucksack Universe Author and Pratchett Enthusiast, Anthony St. Clair joins us to wrap up our reading of Terry Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters.

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The life of an amnesiac


In the New Yorker, my friend Dan Zalewski reports on Lonni Sue Johnson, a 64-year-old with profound amnesia—and new research into how her brain, and memory, works.

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Minimalist Bluetooth knob controls "anything"


Griffin's PowerMate Bluetooth is a shiny spinner knob. You hook it up to your computer via Bluetooth. Then you can control something with the knob. Volume sliders, browser scrolling, Arkanoid, whatever—just so long as it's on a Mac. So you can't really control anything, per se, and it is not "unlimited," as suggested in the marketing copy. In addition to computers running the Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems, your destiny cannot be controlled using the PowerMate Bluetooth.

But for those with a Mac, there's an included app to program more complex scripting around the gadget, too. One AAA battery provides two months of use, according to the specs. It's $59 from Amazon. 61MlTD0dYwL._SL1280_

Legless tortoise given prosthetic wheels


Mrs. T the tortoise, age 90, was outfitted with wheels after her legs were gnawed off in a rat attack.

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