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British recipe evokes all the flavor of congealed deer pee

Cuisine at its finest. via

"When arts die, they turn into hobbies."


Author Michael Lind weighs in with this thought-provoking essay about what happens when an art form shrinks to a niche market. Using literature and architecture as examples, he organizes major and minor arts horizontally, based on audience size:

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Journalists! Activists! Nominate your worst FOIA horror stories

Dave Maass at the Electronic Frontier Foundation wants to experience bureaucratic obfuscation and evasion—vicariously, though you.

This year, EFF is setting out to recognize the most outrageous responses to Freedom of Information Act and state open records act requests. We are calling it The Foilies and we need journalists, citizen nominations for these dubious honors.

Send your nominations to foilies at by Feb. 20, 2015. Recipients of these dubious awards will be announced during Sunshine Week in March.

Temporary tattoos from your Instagram


Picatoo is a new service that turns your Instagram images into temporary tattoos. According to the site, they last about seven days. It costs $15 for 12 tattoos.

Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder, commercial quality grinder that fits on your counter

Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder

In the eight years I've been grinding my own coffee, I've burned out the motor on three grinders: a cheap blade grinder, then a Cuisinart burr grinder, and finally a Capresso grind 'n brew. Either consumer-level grinders are poorly made, or my workload of 4-5 pots of filter coffee per week plus the occasional enemy (no space for a wood chipper in my city apartment) is too intense. Having spent more than $300 on now busted grinders I decided to investigate what it would take to acquire a grinder that I might reasonably expect to last for a decade.

The Rocky has commercial grade grinding burrs and is rated at 7.7 lbs per hour. Rancilio refers to the Rocky as "quiet during operation", and maybe it is in a relative sense, but I've yet to find a device that crushes things at a volume level approaching "serene". It is slightly less obnoxious than my previous grinders at close range.

Though I was sufficiently assured that the grinder would stand up to my usage, the quality that tipped the scales towards the Rocky is one most coffee nerd sites don't mention: height. At 13.8" tall, the Rocky is much shorter than most prosumer grinders, and it was the only grinder of its quality that fits easily under my shelves. I've had it for two years at this point and it still grinds as if I'd just taken it out of the box.

Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder ($363)

If Facebook is down, don't call 911


When Facebook went down on Monday, five people (FIVE!!!) in the Easy Bay Area alone called 911.

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Drone captures pod of dolphins surfing in unison

“Huge pods of bottlenose dolphins cruise the shoreline and surf the crystal clear turquoise waves.”

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Pet lizard greets man happily, like a dog would

This video is tripping me out hard.

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United website breach let fliers see each others' private data

Alice Taylor could have requested a very expensive upgrade on your behalf. The airline isn’t saying why.

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Sci-Fest LA is back!

Sci-Fest LA, an incredible one act science fiction play festival held in Los Angeles, is back for 2015! The team needs help with funding this amazing program.

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What Should I Read Next? Suggestions based on books you enjoyed


What Should I Read Next? suggests books, similar to the algorithm used on sites like Netflix and Amazon based on your use patterns and ratings.

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This drone's-eye video of Ireland's western coast is lovely.

“When land meets sea and nature and beauty collide, the result is a varied and majestic coastline, unique to the West of Ireland.”

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Watch ibex herds use a near-vertical dam as a salt lick

Lake Cingino in the Italian Alps has a near-vertical dam that attracts ibex herds, who climb out on the dam hundred of feet up to lick minerals from the rocks. More acrophobia-inducing footage below:

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Deep Breath Hold Tight, emotionally crushing science fiction

"Deep Breath Hold Tight" by Jason Gurley

Greatfall, a take on religion in the world of Hugh Howey's Wool, was my introduction to Jason Gurley's writing, and I was immediately hooked on the fresh take on the Silos inhabited by the specter of an imposing and oppressive cult. Having enjoyed myself I set out to try some of Gurley's original IP through his collection of short stories, Deep Breath Hold Tight, which has become one of my favorite books.

Despite being introduced to Gurley through another author's universe, Greatfall is representative of his work. Gurley has a mind for building compelling speculative worlds, and there's a consistently oppressive, dystopian quality that runs throughout this book of seven short stories. The tone is reminiscent of Black Mirror, if the subject matter wasn't restricted to technology.

The collection is consistently excellent, from Wolf Skin and it's post-apocalyptic survival tale through The Caretaker, a story of a solitary astronaut and her growing realization that she may be the last living human being, on through Onyx, an exploration of guilt and class struggle on a space station as humanity escapes a decaying Earth.

It's The Dark Age that stands out the most for me, not just because it's the final story; the examination of the period surrounding a one hundred and fouty-four year deep space hibernation condenses a crew's lifetime of regret into several dozen pages of gut-wrenching regret. Deep Breath Hold Tight is the perfect book to read on a rainy January day punctuated by bouts of sobbing into a pillow.

Pizza condoms

Marina Malygina's mock-ups for a pizza-themed condom in its own little pizza box is intended to help resolve the American love of both food and sex.

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Stick-on inflatable motors for future robots (and today's origami!)

MIT and University of Tokyo researchers devised stick-on "pouch motors," simple inflatable actuators that can be used to move things by pumping air in and out.

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Fark founder and Boing Boing friend Drew Curtis is running for governor of Kentucky

We love Drew Curtis, and we love

We love Drew Curtis, and we love

If Drew Curtis of Fark wins the Kentucky governor's race, all of us at Boing Boing have agreed that we will move there.

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TOM THE DANCING BUG: A Patriotic Debate

In this week’s comic, a Patriotic Debate breaks out.

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The surprising history of hippy crack

People have been having fun with nitrous oxide – even in the name of science – virtually since its discovery more than 240 years ago.

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Stanley Tripod Flashlight: Portable, hands-free LED lighting

I replaced my D battery Mag-Light with this small LED light that only needs AA batteries. I get whiter light, longer life, and more intensity. Tripod lights have always been great tools (I work at Amazon, so I see a lot of gear). The problem with the traditional ones is they get very hot, use lot of battery power, and burn out fast. Stanley’s tripod light – the first LED version – takes all the advantages of LED and combines it with the convenience of a fold up stand.

I have already used it for a variety of household projects since I bought it last year. The best use has been to install dimmers. Usually I’d have to do this during the day or ask my wife to hold the flashlight. With the tripod light, I can now do it by myself at any time. -- Jason Goldberger

Music: "From the Cradle," Widespread Panic (2006)

I just saw that Widespread Panic will again be at the Fox Oakland come late March.

I found a better pair of pet nail clippers

nail-clippersMy cats will tolerate having their nails clipped for about 45 seconds before they start to squirm out of my lap.

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Musician posts call transcript after Google says her claims are 'patently false'

Zoe Keating reported the awful contract terms Google is trying to impose on its musicians; Google says her claims are 'patently false'. She fires back with transcripts of her interactions with its staff.

Several journalists have contacted me to say that a Google PR rep told them my claims were “patently false”. “Patently” means clear and without doubt. Either someone is not telling the truth or the very nice rep I have been negotiating with, for a year, is patently unclear. There seems to be very little clarity and a lot of doubt on this topic.

I still haven’t decided what to do (YouTube is not at the top of my priority list right now) but I don’t want to spread false information and I hope my transcript below will provide some clarity. Please, tell me what you think it means.


Zoe: Wow that’s pretty harsh.

Google rep: Yeah, it’s harsh and trust me, it is really difficult for me to have this conversation with all of my partners but we’re really, what we’re trying to do is basically create a new revenue stream on top of what exists on the platform today.

UPDATE: A YouTube spokesperson got in touch to say that any artist who agrees to their basic Terms of Service will always be able to share videos on YouTube, and that the music service contract will not prohibit them from providing exclusives and goodies to fans on other services.

If you're a CIA employee it's ok to torture people, but talk to a reporter? Go to jail.

Jeffrey Sterling.

Jeffrey Sterling.

Dan Froomkin at The Intercept on the fate of CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling, who was convicted of espionage this week for talking to New York Times Reporter James Risen:

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Dumbass White House drone-crasher was drunk National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency employee

The drone that landed on the White House's South Lawn.  Photo: Secret Service

The drone that landed on the White House's South Lawn. Photo: Secret Service

So much derp here, we don't even know where to begin.

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Facebook censoring images of Tibetan monks who are self-immolating to protest China

Ethnic Tibetan women pray around the Labrang Monastery ahead of the Tibetan New Year which starts on Wednesday in Xiahe county

The nonprofit group International Campaign for Tibet will today deliver a petition to Facebook headquarters demanding that the company not censor images of Tibetan monks’ self-immolation.

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NASA's Dawn spacecraft captures clearest-ever image of “dwarf planet” Ceres


NASA today announced that its Dawn spacecraft has returned the sharpest images ever captured of the dwarf planet Ceres. The images were taken 147,000 miles (237,000 km) from Ceres on Jan. 25, 2015. They represent a new milestone for a spacecraft that soon will become our first probe to visit a dwarf planet.

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Stiffs, Skulls and Skeletons – Over 400 medical portraits taken in the 1800s and early 1900s

Dr. Stanley Burns has collected over 1-million medical photographs from the 1800s and early 1900s, when posing for a professional portrait in the style of a painting was trendy.

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DEA has been scanning millions of license plates so it can confiscate people's assets


The Drug Enforcement Administration has been collecting information about millions of people in the US with a semi-secret networks of automated license plate-readers. Its main purpose is for enabling law enforcement to take people's money without charging them of any crime:

The program was started to assist the controversial civil asset forfeiture program which allows law enforcement to seize a suspected criminal’s property without the suspect ever being convicted of the alleged crime.

But it is also useful for police and politicians to stalk and spy on people they hold a personal grudge against:

Backchannel reported in December that police have used their access to license plate readers to stalk former colleagues, and IB Times revealed earlier this month that Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) used location data to smear a political rival.

Image: Shutterstock

Overclocked is now a DRM-free audiobook

My multi-award-winning short story collection Overclocked is now a DRM-free audiobook, courtesy of

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