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Wolfgang Pauli opera in Austin: For Fear the Glass May Shatter


Jon Lebkowsky sez, "My amazing friend, neurocomputing specialist, musician & composer David Demaris has created the most geek-tastic opera ever, For Fear the Glass May Shatter. It's been produced as part of Austin's Fusebox Festival, and is running through this weekend at the Vortex Theatre here."

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Edward Snowden: "Vladimir Putin must be called to account on surveillance just like Obama"


Vladimir Putin during the nationwide phone-in in Moscow. Photograph: RIA Novosti/Reuters

Today's question-and-answer session on Russian TV between NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and Russian President Vladimir Putin did not go as Snowden had hoped. "I questioned the Russian president live on TV to get his answer on the record, not to whitewash him," Snowden says in an op-blog in the Guardian:

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Kittehfish

Shoop: XJ

Winner of the Remix "The Fifth Beatle" giveaway

I recently reviewed the incredible graphic novel biography, The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, written by Vivek J. Tiwary and illustrated by Andrew C. Robinson and Kyle Baker. (It was just nominated for two Eisner awards!)

Last week I announced that Wink (a paper book review website that my wife Carla Sinclair edits) was holding a giveaway of the rare signed, numbered, slipcased "Limited Edition" of The Fifth Beatle, which is limited to 1500 copies, signed by all three creators and comes with an exclusive tip-in page of art. Entrants to the giveaway were asked to write their own text for the word balloons in the panel above. (Clockwise L-R John Lennon, George Harrison, Brian Epstein, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney. NOTE: John has 2 balloons.)

The entries were judged by Vivek J. Tiwary himself, and he selected a winner for the limited edition and a runner-up for a regular edition.

Here are the winning entries

A record shop of fictional albums

Toby Barlow says: "Attention music lovers, designers, art directors, this is a very fun project we have just launched. We're going to create a record shop of fictional albums, and we would like you to be a part of it. Remember the lost art of the album? When you would stare at the Roxy Music, Iron Maiden, Clash, Smashing Pumpkins, Prince, Zeppelin, Cure, Yes or Joy Division album cover for hours at end? This is your chance to make AND sell your own album. For details, or to get involved, contact us here."

Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel laureate novelist, 1927-2014

Novelist Gabriel García Márquez, whose One Hundred Years of Solitude "established him as a giant of 20th-century literature," died today at his home in Mexico City. He was 87.

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How we are dying

Bloomberg Visual Data reports on the ways people die, and how they have changed over time. The most interesting part of the report is about dementia and Alzheimer's:

The downside to living so long is that it dramatically increases the odds of getting dementia or Alzheimer's. That's why total deaths in the 75+ category has stayed constant despite impressive reductions in the propensity to die of heart disease.

The rise of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia has had a big impact on healthcare costs because these diseases kill the victim slowly.

About 40% of the total increase in Medicare spending since 2011 can be attributed to greater spending on Alzheimer's treatment.

How Americans Die

This Day in Blogging History: TODOCAT; Jokes from the Cultural Revolution; Mickey Mouse's dwindling brand

One year ago today
TODOCAT: a cat-meme-based to-do-list manager: I fucking hate cat memes, but I love to-do lists. I love this cat meme to-do list manager.

Five years ago today
Jokes from the Cultural Revolution: Wang Hongwen went to see Marshal Zhu De, requesting him to hand over power. "You may take over, but only if you can make this egg stand upright," Zhu said, while handling him an egg. After trying for several days, Wang was still unable to make it stand, so he went to see Deng Xiaoping for help.

Ten years ago today
Mickey Mouse's dwindling brand: Mr. Sendak is hardly alone in mourning the mouse's decline. "Boring," "embalmed," "neglected," "irrelevant," "deracinated" and, perhaps most damning, "over" are some of the adjectives that cropped up in recent interviews with people in the cartoon, movie and marketing businesses.

Snowden asks Putin about surveillance in Russia on televised call-in show (video)

So, this happened.

“I’d like to ask you,” NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asked Russian leader Vladimir Putin on a televised call-in show, “does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals?” Putin, a former KGB agent and head of Russia's intelligence service, spoke about what they had in common: spycraft.

“Mr. Snowden, you are a former agent,” the president replied. “I used to work for an intelligence service. Let’s speak professionally.”

“Our intelligence efforts are strictly regulated by our law,” Mr. Putin said. “You have to get a court’s permission first.” He noted that terrorists use electronic communications and that Russia had to respond to that threat.

“Of course we do this,” Mr. Putin said. “But we don’t use this on such a massive scale and I hope that we won’t.”

“But what is most important,” Mr. Putin concluded, “is that the special services, thank God, are under a strict control of the government and the society, and their activities are regulated by law.”

More in this New York Times report.

Sword and Laser Podcast 170: The Lives of Wesley Chu

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. Check out previous episodes here.

[Video Link] Wes Chu has had many interesting (and varied) careers, but we're happy that he's focused on the fascinating tales of Tao. In this Google hangout, we talk about the upcoming finale to the series, where he's taking the story next, and answer your questions!

Read show notes here.

Sword and Laser is not just a podcast; we’ve also been a book club since 2007! Each month we select a science fiction or fantasy book, discuss it during kick-off and wrap-up episodes of the podcast, and continue that discussion with our listeners over on our Goodreads forums. So come read along with us, and even get a chance to ask your questions to the authors themselves!

Sword and Laser: Subscribe RSS | iTunes | Download this episode

'The Complete Modern Blacksmith' by Alexander Weygers

Longtime Boing Boing reader Charles Statman recently recommended I take a look at The Complete Modern Blacksmith by Alexander Weygers. This fantastic HOWTO book is detailed and fun, even for someone who can never hope to actually use it.

Weygers explains techniques and methods for making tools, and the tools to make tools. His diagrams are clear and concise, and the text is simple. I can absolutely picture how I'd undertake many of the projects he documents, I just don't think I ever will. This book, however, provides incredible opportunities to learn about how things are made without ever having to get your hands dirty! Be it making your own anvil or designing a water pump system, from making new tools to fixing a broken one, this tome is ridiculously complete. It is actually 3 out-of-print books combined into one.

The Complete Modern Blacksmith got my brain working. Weygers likes to improvise and find cheap ways to do things without spending a lot of money to solve a problem, and that is fun.

The Complete Modern Blacksmith by Alexander Weygers

(Thanks, Charles!)

Hand crank extension cord winder

I use several corded power tools around the yard and garden such as a chain saw, leaf vacuum, hedge trimmer, etc. Many’s the time I would put off a chore using them because I would have to uncoil the 100′ of power cord and probably have to untangle/unkink it before using it. After the job was done, it would take another few minutes to coil up the power cord and try not to tangle it in the process.

A couple of types of cord reels I tried didn’t work particularly well. So I bought this weird looking cord winder a few years ago. After installing the wall mount near the power outlet in my garage and winding my cord into the basket, I was quite surprised to discover I could pull out the 100′ of power cord, tangle/kink free in about a minute to the end of my driveway. I would do my chore (usually the leaf vacuum for lawn clippings and leaves) and, in another minute or two I could wind up the cord, detach the cord winder from the wall mount and put it on the shelf. Those chores now get done when needed instead of being put off since the cord unwinding/re-winding takes so little time. -- Jim Service

Wonder Winder Hand Crank Extension Cord Winder: $20

Why are diamonds clear, but coal black?

Maggie Koerth-Baker answers a new Science Question from a Toddler.

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What happens to Peeps in a vacuum?

First, inflation. Then, collapse. You really don't want to be a Peep in space. Maggie 17

Hitman GO for iOS - a 3D boardgame

[Video Link] The graphics for Hitman GO are beautiful. I have not played it yet. Can someone who has please review it in the comments? Is it worth $5, plus all the in-app purchases required to move to the next chapters?
Hitman GO is a turn-based puzzle game where you will strategically navigate fixed spaces on a grid to avoid enemies, infiltrate well-guarded locations and take out your target on beautifully rendered diorama-style set pieces.
Hitman GO