Boing Boing 

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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Bill Hicks' 12 Principles of Comedy

This advice from comedian Bill Hicks (who died of cancer in 1993) is applicable to many other activities besides stand-up comedy.

  1. If you can be yourself on stage nobody else can be you and you have the law of supply and demand covered.
  2. The act is something you fall back on if you can’t think of anything else to say.
  3. Only do what you think is funny, never just what you think they will like, even though it’s not that funny to you.
  4. Never ask them is this funny – you tell them this is funny.
  5. You are not married to any of this shit – if something happens, taking you off on a tangent, NEVER go back and finish a bit, just move on.
  6. NEVER ask the audience “How You Doing?” People who do that can’t think of an opening line. They came to see you to tell them how they’re doing, asking that stupid question up front just digs a hole. This is The Most Common Mistake made by performers. I want to leave as soon as they say that.
  7. Write what entertains you. If you can’t be funny be interesting. You haven’t lost the crowd. Have something to say and then do it in a funny way.
  8. I close my eyes and walk out there and that’s where I start, Honest.
  9. Listen to what you are saying, ask yourself, “Why am I saying it and is it Necessary?” (This will filter all your material and cut the unnecessary words, economy of words)
  10. Play to the top of the intelligence of the room. There aren’t any bad crowds, just wrong choices.
  11. Remember this is the hardest thing there is to do. If you can do this you can do anything.
  12. I love my cracker roots. Get to know your family, be friends with them.


Ohio cop gets criminal charges for swiping camera from disabled woman


Yellow Springs, Ohio police Sgt. Naomi Penrod must be surprised that she is being criminally charged for twisting the arm of a disabled woman to swipe her video camera. After all, other cops get away with murder.

From WYSO:

Penrod has been accused of twisting the arm of a resident who was filming her when police arrived on Nov. 5th to check on an eviction notice. An internal investigation determined that Penrod had committed a "hostile act," which she's appealing.

From WHIO:

Sgt. Naomi Penrod is facing three misdemeanor charges, of interfering with civil rights, assault and disorderly conduct, according to Yellow Springs Village Manager Patti Bates, who declined to give further details.

Here's a recording of the 911 call that the disabled woman made after the incident.

Penrod gets her paid vacation "until the criminal case has been resolved."

15 unique illnesses you can only come down with in German

sad-pretzelHörsturz is a sudden loss of hearing caused by stress. Frühjahrsmüdigkeit is "spring fatigue," the opposite of spring fever. Putzfimmel is an obsession with cleaning.

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I love Kindle Unlimited

If you like self-published fiction or read more than a few books a month, and don’t mind giving books up when you’re done, Amazon’s borrowing service is a great deal.

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Comcast ghost-wrote politicians' letters in support of Time Warner Cable merger

Letters sent to the FCC in favor of Comcast's proposed Time Warner Cable merger came from Mayor Jere Wood of Roswell, GA; Councilor Todd Wodraska of Jupiter, FL; Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown and many other politicians -- all written in whole or part by Comcast's staffers and lobbyists.

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GIFs of great black and white photographs morphing into color

plunging-necklines-1948 (1)

Classic images we know in black and white, transforming into color before our eyes.

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Drones based on birds

Once again, engineers are taking cues from nature to build the next generation of robotics, in this case drones inspired by birds.

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This Horse Raised By Spheres


A beautiful and weird interactive art site.

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Barrett Brown: “If anyone needs me, I'll be in prison.”

Barrett Brown. Photo: Nikki Loehr.

Barrett Brown. Photo: Nikki Loehr.

“In addition to improvising a few extra lines in the course of my allocution that were not present in the written version, I didn’t deliver the line 'I think your Honor can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time,” writes Barrett Brown in an open letter to an editor at Dallas Magazine. Brown is a native of Texas, and his sentencing took place last week in a Dallas courtroom.

“I took that out because, by the time I delivered the allocution, it had become painfully obvious that he could do no such thing,” Brown writes.

“Frankly, I am not going to lie in court unless I am getting paid whatever these FBI agents are getting paid.”

Barrett Brown has been in prison since September 2012. On January 22, the security journalist was sentenced to a total of 63 months in prison, and ordered to pay $890,000 in "restitution."

"The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail: If Anyone Needs Me, I’ll Be in Prison" [D magazine]

Previously on Boing Boing: "Barrett Brown’s sentence is unjust, but it may become the norm for journalists"


Relax! Calm app and website are here to reduce your stress


Negativity-reducing website offers guided relaxation breaks of 2 to 20 minutes. They also have a free smartphone app to help you meditate, sleep, or relax wherever you are.

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Testing subliminal advertising (again)

As part of a BBC Radio 4 documentary, producer Phil Tinline looks at the controversial and weird history of subliminal advertising, and with social psychologists devises an experiment to test its efficacy.

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Drone crashes at White House, exposing security weakness. This is why we can't have nice UAVs.

Quadcopter that crashed on the White House lawn. Photo via US Secret Service, via Jim Acosta's Twitter.

Quadcopter that crashed on the White House lawn. Photo via US Secret Service, via Jim Acosta's Twitter.

A recreational quadcopter flew over the White House lawn on Monday, exposing a security weakness at the compound that the Secret Service has spent years and many of our dollars studying--without arriving at a solution.

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Jiz Lee on "Ethical Porn"

"Ethical porn" starts with porn that you pay for, says Jiz Lee.

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Watch this next-gen thermal camera attachment for smartphones

Looking at the world in Predator-vision will get easier later this year thanks to consumer-grade forward-looking infrared (FLIR). The same tech used to find the Boston bombing suspect can be used to find a lost dog at night or to check your house for thermal leaks.

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Video proves this cat to be insane

Insane, or insanely cute? 7 pounds of adorable.

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Video: How footballs are made

I found this video about how footballs are made, and a woman who worked in the Wilson Sporting Goods factory for 50 years, to be more interesting than most football games I've watched.

Beautiful black and red variegated 78 records from the 1920s


Portland area archivist Cliff Bolling has curated and digitized thousands of 78 records. One prized addition is this variegated series from Pathé's Chanticleer line. Bolling says this was an attempt by the French company to gain market share in the US. The series featured popular American songs, like this version of "Bye Bye Blackbird." by The Virginia Creepers.

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Time's Edge (The Chronos Files Book 2)

Time's Edge (The Chronos Files Book 2)

Rarely do I dive right into the second book in a series, but I couldn't wait to start Rysa Walker's second time travel adventure: Time's Edge.

Picking up right where Timebound left off, Time's Edge feels like a seamless extension. Kate is off collecting the time travel enabling medallions from lost CHRONOS agents while Prudence and Saul could not care less. Could it be that Kate doesn't really know whats going on?

Appropriately, Time's Edge reads like the second novel in a series, and occasionally some development does feel forced, but I tore through this novel. With the technology and physics of her universe well set up in the first novel, Walker successfully sets out to develop her characters and the plot. I could have done with a bit more of the present time storyline, but honestly maybe her focus on other events will pay off (alternate time line Trey is a doofus.)

I'm looking forward to the next installment. For the brave souls amongst us: I've been told that there is a metric ton of Chronos Files fan fiction in Kindle Worlds.

Time's Edge (The Chronos Files Book 2)

Watch a gentleman ride his craptacular gas-powered horse

Is this the worst mechanical horse of all time? Chinese farmer Su Daocheng built it to plow his fields and also says he built a homemade helicopter. Probably best to decline rides in both vehicles. At least the head looks nice. He also makes cool mechanical sculptures in his spare time, like this:

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Schoolly D: Inventor of Gangster Rap

This week’s Hip Hop Family Tree covers Gangster Boogie by Schoolly D, an influential artist who inspired the west coast direction spearheaded by Ice T and NWA.

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From Page to Screen: Joseph Delaney on The Last Apprentice Series


Some people think that being a writer is glamorous. I know that I once did. I dreamed of finally getting published and all the amazing fun that would follow. I imagined traveling to distant countries, staying in city hotels and seeing the sights.

Most of these dreams came true and I do enjoy it, but sometimes it can be hard work: having to grab a coffee and manage without breakfast to be in time to travel to some school event; attending a bookshop when hardly anybody turns up; spending a night alone in a strange town on a wet Monday; visiting a big city but seeing only the inside of your hotel room. So when you actually do live the life of a writer, it’s not as glamorous as some people might believe.

The same is true of filmmaking. In the spring of 2012, I visited Vancouver, Canada, to watch the movie version of The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch (published in the UK as The Spook’s Apprentice) being made. The film is called Seventh Son, and the name is a good choice. After all you have to be a seventh son of a seventh son just to be eligible to become a spook’s apprentice.

They have created some amazing sets, designed by Dante Ferretti, winner of an Oscar for his work on Hugo. I was shown the preliminary models and artworks, then the sets themselves. They are very big and very convincing. I saw a walled city set in a huge muddy field. It was like a building site, complete with heavy machinery and workers in hard hats. There was no glamour there.

That comes afterward.

I met Jeff Bridges, who plays the Spook. He looked convincing. He believed that he was the Spook—I could see it in his eyes. Yes, he was the Spook! Then I watched him playing the same scene over and over again until he and everyone else (especially the director, Sergei Bodrov), were satisfied. There were a lot of people involved, and each one of them knew exactly what to do. It was an action scene and the Spook kept falling backward against a pillar, in danger of his life. He was covered in dust and he probably had bruises or at least aching bones the following day. It wasn’t glamorous. It was hard work.

The glamour comes later.

After four months of filming, post-production began. They spent hours, days, weeks, and months editing the film until each section was perfect. Now, like a Pendle witch casting the spell called “glamour,” the film comes to life and the magic will be there.

Is it a good film? The answer is yes. I watched a special preview of Seventh Son in Paris in a small private cinema belonging to Universal Studios.

Is it spectacular? The answer is yes. I watched it in 3-D, and there is a great deal of action, conflict, and combat. There are creatures of the dark that lurch out of the screen and try to remove your head, your heart, or maybe even your thumb bones. And there are witches; lots and lots of witches.


Scientific American and fansubbers help video spread in Hungary

Dean from Amara writes, "Editors at Scientific American noticed they were getting a TON of hits on the video What Happens to Your Body after You Die? To their surprise, the majority of the views were originating in Hungary."

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Photo: “Cyborgia“


Larger size here.

From the Boing Boing Flickr Pool, shot and shared by reader John K. Goodman.

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Watch the awesome way one Rhode Island school told students it was closed for snow day

This unbelievably awesome musical message came from the principal at Moses Brown School, an independent, college-prep, Quaker day school in Providence, Rhode Island, for girls and boys in nursery through grade 12.

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America's war on leaks has gone way too far when journalists' emails spied upon

The exterior of the U.S. Department of Justice headquarters building in Washington. Photo: Reuters.

The exterior of the U.S. Department of Justice headquarters building in Washington. Photo: Reuters.

The U.S. government’s demands for the private emails of WikiLeaks staffers is outrageous, Trevor Timm writes in the Guardian. And not liking Julian Assange is a poor reason for any of us who care about press freedom to stay silent.

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“You Shall Not Pass” area rug


By designer Jeremy Bingham, a very funny area rug in various sizes, starting at $28.

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GHCQ and David Cameron hoaxed by prank caller high on "booze and cocaine"

The Government Communications Headquarters in Britain. Image: GHCQ/British Ministry of Defence

The Government Communications Headquarters in Britain. Image: GHCQ/British Ministry of Defence


British officials acknowledged on Monday that a prank caller managed to social-engineer the private cell number for a top GHCQ intel chief, and phoned the prime minister in his name.

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Game of Thrones board game offers diplomacy, intrigue, and betrayal

Fans looking to get their off-season fix could do worse than setting aside a snowy Saturday for A Game of Thrones: The Board Game

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Koch brothers raise 2016 election warchest that's on par with either party's spend

The Kochs will raise $889M from conservative millionaires and billionaires to spend in the 2016 election, which, thanks to Citizens United, can be used to buy effectively unlimited political advertising to support policies that will make more money for the donors.

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