Aaron Swartz's FBI and Secret Service files

A large and very up-to-date archive of Aaron's government files, extracted through Freedom of Information Act requests.

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Angel City: A Los Angeles time-lapse video

Gavin Heffernan has a beautiful new series of epic LA Night Timelapses and a musical homage to the film Heat.

"Timelapses shot mostly Sept 4-11," he explains, "There's five or six previous shots I plugged in to round out the edges, but this is 90% brand new stuff. More details on the Vimeo page." And some related photos are here.

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The filthiest camp at Burning Man

The Burning Man Organization's "MOOP Map" -- a map showing litter left behind by camps at the "leave no trace" event (MOOP stands for Matter Out Of Place) -- this year takes the unprecedented step of documenting large abandoned items.

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Public university asked students to report recent sexual history or face punishment

Clemson University has withdrawn its demand, which would have mandated students answer questions on how often they have sex, what sort of sex it was, and the number of partners. The quiz was supposedly anonymous, but required students to use their official IDs and third-party services to complete.

Yin-yang Star Wars tee on Threadless

Ciro Trezzi's Death of a star/Birth of an hero shirt design is up for your votes on Threadless -- it's quite a lovely take on the eternal struggle for the Force.

Review: Kommissar, the cold war board game

Deanna Dahlsad escapes Soviet Russia, sends her friends to Siberia, and braves the wicked Kommissar in this 1960s-era board game.

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Dumb anti-drug hysteria forced McDonalds to stop giving away decent coffee spoons

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 2.53.46 PM McDonalds used to include this perfectly utilitarian spoon with coffee--perhaps the company's only genuine claim to a design classic. Because it could be used to measure out drugs, though, it was removed from the market at the demand of lobbyists seeking a symbolic victory over drug "paraphernalia."

Plus-Plus, new building bricks from Denmark


Plus-Plus building bricks become popular in Denmark, where the toy began.

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The ultimate iPhone 6 and 6 Plus unboxing video by Andy Ihnatko (with Robert Goulet)

You do not need another unboxing video. This is the one unboxing video you need.

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Rubber band ball

badballI know this rubber band ball is durable because my wife ran over the box with her car without damaging the rubber bands. The manufacturer claims it has at least 270 rubber bands in it.

Rubber band ball ($5)

Man stabbed with spear while robbing medieval weapons enthusiast

Valiant SCA member Jimmy Morgan Jr. fended off burglar Thomas McGowan with the spear he keeps by his bed. (VIA)

Accidentally on Purpose – The beauty of jazz-like improvisational quilting

There are a handful of other books about African-American quilts, particularly quilts from Gee’s Bend; each have beautiful quilts to show, but this obscure exhibition catalogue remains my favorite. Whereas other books tend to position the quilts in the context of modern art and abstract painting, scholar and collector Eli Leon focuses on the connection with West and Central African textile traditions.

Leon’s thesis is that African-American quiltmakers, much like jazz musicians, were drawing on the aesthetic traditions of Africa when they began to make quilts to keep their families warm. “[Afro-traditional quiltmakers] favor ‘flexible patterning,’ in which the design is conceived as an invitation to variation; rather than repeat, the pattern may materialize in a sequence of visual elaborations.”

This contrasts sharply with the standard American quilt-making tradition and its attention to precise measurement and exact pattern repetition. Instead, afro-traditional quilters “maintain a generous attitude towards the accidental.”

What makes the essays so great is that Leon is a passionate observer of process, using diagrams to describe variations on a single block pattern and exploring at length the design choices used in specific quilts.

With the help of extensive interviews with African-American quilt makers, Leon creates a language to describe these design techniques. Subtitles like “accumulative creation,” “bimodality,” and “integration of accidentals” hint at what this book has to offer to designers and improvisers of all stripes.

Also worth checking out is Talking Quilts, a series of conversations between Eli Leon and quilter Sherri Lynn Wood about his collection. – Reanna Alder

Accidentally on Purpose: The Aesthetic Management of Irregularities in African Textiles and African-American Quilts
by Eli Leon
2007, 176 pages, 9.4 x 9.5 x 0.5 inches (paperback)

Take a look at other beautiful paper books at Wink. And sign up for the Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Drone flythrough of Toronto's magnificently renovated reference library

Ab writes, "Toronto Reference Library (TRL) recently completed a multi-year revitalization project (to spotlight the new changes in the Reference Library, we also flew a mini drone around TRL to get a bird's eye view of what's new): the library is celebrating the completion of this project with an event on Friday, Sept. 19."

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Amazon pays $4.6m for .buy domain suffix

Amazon beat Google to the new .buy top-level domain, and will be able to sell on domains under it (such as, say, boingboing.buy) to others. The .tech suffix, though, went for $6.7m...

New UK flag revealed

1280px-Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg Scotland votes 'No' to independence [BBC]