— FEATURED —
— FOLLOW US —
— POLICIES —
Except where indicated, Boing Boing is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution
— FONTS —
Jaime sez, "In honor of Children's Book Week, I'm sharing a link about a book written by 8-year old Griffin Hehmeyer. His mom tells the story of how Griffin wrote a book, enlisted his friends and classmates for help editing and illustrating it, and eventually published it. The book serves as a model for children interested in creating literature of their own, practicing skills like story-telling, writing, empathy, collaboration, and persistence in the process."
The story was inspired by a make-believe game Griffin had been playing for several years with a good friend of his named Maya. In the game he was the king of the wolves, just like Makamom is in the book. Griffin says of the writing process, “When I first started this book, I had a hard time thinking of ideas. As I got closer to the ending it was easier to think of what to say.”
At the end of each chapter Griffin would read what he had written to his classmates and incorporate their feedback into the draft. When the draft was complete, Griffin and his teacher then spent another month reading through the book and correcting any errors before sending it to me. I think the editing process was the most frustrating part for Griffin, since he was impatient to be done. I had told him we’d print it out and get it bound, so he was excited to have a real book-like copy to enjoy.
By April I knew of the book's existence, but I hadn’t yet read any of it. When I received the completed draft, I was somewhat hesitant to undertake the reading such a large chunk of text written by an 8 year old – even if that 8 year old was my own son. To my surprise, however, the book turned out to be really good. As a colleague said when I shared a draft with him, “The book kept me reading it until the end, in one pass. It is a very interesting, clever, and engrossing story.” I also enjoyed watching my husband read the book to our other three children each night before bed. They laughed and gasped at all the right places, and begged their dada to continue reading well after lights out.
Making the Marakon Ways (Thanks, Jaime!)
Taiwan's Next Media Animation -- basically, news-of-the-weird, made weirder with instant machinima-esque videos -- weighs in on the allegation that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was caught on video smoking crack.
National Geographic calls Ethiopia's Danakil Depression "the cruelest place on Earth." It's a desert wasteland, where temperatures can push past 120 F, where ancient and current lava flows impede movement, and where water is so scarce that that people build rock domes over the top of volcanic vents to trap and condense steam.
It's also a place where Ethiopian men and boys regularly travel in order to cut slabs of salt off of the surface of the Earth and haul them back to civilization. Salt flats like this occur when entire bodies of water totally evaporate. In the Danakil Depression, you'll also find salt towers and other formations caused by evaporation off of volcanic geysers and hot springs.
The photo above was taken by Reuters photographer Siegfried Modola, who traveled with a group of salt miners into the desert and then followed their haul all the way back to the marketplace. You can see his full slideshow of images online. I chose this one because it gives you a view of the salt as it's found on the ground, and the neat, rectangular blocks the merchants cut it into for shipping.
The spot is a favorite of photographers. I'd also recommend checking out the photos and story put together by Christina Feldt, who posted about the Danakil salt flats earlier this year.
"They met, an unlikely pair, in Times Square last Saturday night," begins the New Jersey Star-Ledger's account of how Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, better known as "Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker," is alleged to have met, had consensual sex with, then killed a 73-year-old man who was a partner in a New Jersey law firm.
Kai became an internet celebrity earlier this year after a video went viral, which made him out to be a vigilante hero for using his trusty hatchet to "suh-mash" open the head of a mentally ill man who was trying to attack a woman. But today, Kai was captured by Philadelphia Police at the Greyhound Bus station in Philadelphia today and arrested for Joseph Galfy's murder.
In a fascinating installment of the IEEE Techwise podcast [MP3], Rice University Computational Engineering prof Moshe Vardi discusses the possibility that robots will obviate human labor faster than new jobs are created, leaving us with no jobs. This needn't be a bad thing -- it might mean finally realizing the age of leisure we've been promised since the first glimmers of the industrial revolution -- but if market economies can't figure out how to equitably distribute the fruits of automation, it might end up with an even bigger, even more hopeless underclass.
I think the issue of machine intelligence and jobs deserves some serious discussion. I don’t know that we will reach a definite conclusion, and it’s not clear how easy it will be to agree on desired actions, but I think the topic is important enough that it deserves discussion. And right now I would say it’s mostly being discussed by economists, by labor economists. It has to also be discussed by the people that produce the technology, because one of the questions we could ask is, you know, there is a concept that, for example, that people have started talking about, which is that we are using, we are creating technology that has no friction, okay? Creating many things that are just too easy to do.
Many of these ideas came up in this Boing Boing post from January, which also touches on Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy, a book that Vardi mentions in his interview.
Caleb sez, "The Department of Defense ordered that 3d printed gun removed from the Internet. That didn't work out. You can still download it and print it. I did, and found that the files are a mess and not really functional. I also took a cool timelapse video of the printing."
1. the scale on the individual files was way off.
I suspect this has something to do with the printer it was designed for. It seemed very close to being 1 inch = 1 mm. Not a completely uncommon problem. Manually resizing got some files to look right, but I found many simply wouldn’t resize.
2. Almost every single item had errors.
If you’ve done 3d printing, you’ve found that a model can have all kinds of issues that will stop it from printing correctly. I found every single item for the gun had errors. I actually learned a lot about how to repair non-manifold items from this exercise, so it was good in the end.
Some items, like the hammer and the hammer springs simply would not print. I ran them through systems to repair them and fix errors. It would say that everything was fixed, but when I tried to “slice” them for printing, the software would crash. This means that my gun is incomplete. It has no hammer. Not really that big of a deal to me.
I'm still mad that Young Knives' fantastic last record Ornaments from the Silver Arcade never got released in the U.S. (though we featured a song from it). They've been doing a lot of experimenting with ambient sound recording and have even created a custom synthesizer from all of the sounds they gathered. Their extremely entertaining Kickstarter campaign invites you to contribute towards the completion of their forthcoming album Sick Octave. You can get everything from a download of the record to one of the aforementioned custom synths for your contribution. Plus, you'll have the satisfaction of supporting true artists who are going it alone.
Back in January, I blogged my visit to Toronto's MakerKids, a wonderful makerspace for kids. Now, MakerKids is running a 3D printing weekend for kids at Toronto's Harbourfront centre. Andy from Makerkids writes, "This weekend, at the 11th annual Toronto International Circus Festival (from May 16th-18th at the Harbourfront Centre), MakerKids will be helping kids to do 3D printing of circus creatures! At our station at this free event, kids will design fantastical animals and characters they'd like to see in a circus using the 123D Creature app. The crowd's favourites will be 3D printed for their designers to bring home!"
Miss Cakehead writes, "This set of Zombie Swimming Pool Rules was comissioned from graphic designer Pictographik to promote the Resident Evil Revelations blood swimming pool, and was based on an the iconic traditional British swimming pool rules. The pop up 'blood' filled swimming pool opens in London next week to mark the release of Resident Evil Revelations. In addition to its bloody appearance the swimming pool will offer floats in the form of human torsos, feature brains and intestines as lane markers, have Zombie lifeguards on duty and even offer a diving board in the form of a 'freshly killed human corpse'."