Boing Boing 

We just discovered 'badass snails' and an asshole bug that eats its mom from the inside out

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Wired writer Matt Simon writes about weird animals.

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Rats weren't behind the Black Death

Don't blame rats for the Black Death. Scientists now think it was Asian giant gerbils that carried the fleas that spread the plague.

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Tiny models of vintage synthesizers

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Artist Dan McPharlin's "Analogue Miniatures" series are tiny models of mostly-imagined electronic musical instruments "hand-made from framing matt-boards, paper, plastic sheeting, string and rubber bands."

More here and here. (via Juxtapoz)

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Farm and Field Lockback is a handsome pocket knife

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Core77 reviews the very nice looking Farm & Field Lockback pocket knife.

Now I know what I want for my birthday. The orange one, or maybe the glow-in-the dark model.

These feature a 1095 carbon steel blade, smooth pivot, secure lock, exceptionally well-formed brass-pinned delrin/acrylic/micarta scales, and a brass reinforced lanyard hole. They're made in the states, and made right. And because we think great blades deserve great looks, we're extra pumped that these come in amazing colors: choose between bright Orange Delrin, soft matte Black Delrin, Green Linen Micarta, or a bold glow-in-the dark Nifebrite Acrylic!

Photos of a high-end weed store in Aspen, CO

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Aspen, CO is the most expensive town in the United States. The median price for homes or condos is $4,570,633.

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Want to own some of Winston Churchill's blood? Now's your chance.

On March 12, you can bid on a vial of Winston Churchill's blood.

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Teen remotely unlocks and starts car using $15 worth of electronics components

A 14-year-old boy at a five-day "car-hacking threats" summer camp made a gadget from parts purchased at RadioShack to remotely infiltrate a connected car.

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Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain

Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain

A humorous take on the YA superhero novel! Penelope wants to become a superhero, just like Mom and Dad, but things don't quite go according to plan in Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain.

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Birdman score is coming soon on vinyl

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I am thrilled that jazz drummer Antonio Sanchez's mindblowing original score for Birdman will see a vinyl release on April 7!

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Lego slippers


They're $12.50/pair from Thinkgeek: one size, red or blue, 3X2 only, and have thick enough soles to cushion even the most violent Lego/bare-foot impact. (via Geeky Merch)

High school lacks French teacher, uses Rosetta Stone software instead

For three months, Howard S. Billings high school in Chateauguay, Quebec has lacked a French teacher so the students are using Rosetta Stone language education software instead.

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Grim meathook future, Singapore style


Charlie Stross's "Different Cluetrain" is a set of theses describing the future we live in, where capitalism not only doesn't need democracy -- it actually works better where democracy is set aside in favor of a kind of authoritarian, investor-friendly state.

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This video captures exactly what it's like to order a coffee in San Francisco

This PBS video is basically a play-by-play of the last time I got a latte. Created by Steve Goldbloom and Noah Pink and produced by Nic Pollock for “PBS: Everything But The News.”

[via]

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Video: snake eats whole egg

Probably would taste better with a dollop of sriracha.

Music:"Boogaloo Down Broadway," The Fantastic Johnny C (1967)

"Come on baby, it ain't hard to do, You've been doin' it ever since you were two!"

8-bit gamer duvet cover


Pixel Nostalgia ($100): also available as a rug, print, tee or tote.

(via Crazy Abalone)

GAMAGO t-shirt: Kaiju vs. a Google-esque Bus

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After four years of a t-shirt hiatus, our old pals at GAMAGO teamed up with Headline Shirts to reissue four classic designs and one new one: "Kaiju Bus," depicting a great beast in San Francisco devouring a familiar-looking shuttle bus. GAMAGO at Headline Shirts

The dystopian future of quantified babies

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A group of design students from a Swedish university published an insightful academic paper last year spoofing all the baby health trackers now pitched to parents. The trackers measure things like a baby's breathing rate, heart rate, and sleep, and are made by startups including Mimo Baby, Owlet, Sproutling, and Monbaby.

Is this fear mongering for new moms? Or will these devices actually offer valuable data on infants? I think it's too early to tell. But the paper does a good job of critiquing the design pitfalls of the user experience. It argues such devices could needlessly raise anxiety and remove intuition from parenting.

There's a cool hand-drawn storyboard of a new mom deciding not to go the park with Johnny after she binges on biometric data:

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Also, a good rendering of an epidemiological map overlay that would show all the kids in your neighborhood suffering from excessive booger:

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The beauty of an energy-free treadmill

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I've been coveting the world’s best manual treadmill, the EcoMill ($7,000). But until I have a spare seven grand, I have to run with conventional electric mills. Most use a lot of juice -- between 800 and 1800 watts continuously -- because they have ot lock down a consistent pace with a low-cost mechanism.

At a sleepy little gym and pool complex here in Vermont, on a conventional electric machine this week, the current was so high it overloaded a nearby stereo receiver playing upbeat pop music for a water aerobics class. All of a sudden, seven wet, angry seniors swarmed from the pool. Encircled by bright floaties, they demanded I quit running so the music would come back on. I tried to explain the concept of a blown fuse and how treadmills use high wattage because they can’t rely on the friction like spin bikes and how the world really should invent a cheap electricity free mill. But at that only enraged them, and they gripped the handrails and rocked the machine side to side.

I really want my own EcoMill for the house. Or maybe a human-sized hamster wheel.

 

Small-town 911 calls can be weird, fascinating and heart-warming

Police blotter sites aggregate only the saddest reports of meth-addled America. A better way to consume local police news: unedited dispatch logs.

Dogs are lost, then found a few hours later. Little old ladies are outraged by skateboarders. In such circumstances, it's the reader who must provide narrative continuity between entries, but it's honest work and always rewards the day with a little Mayberry bump.

The following are recent 911 calls to a small-town Massachusetts police department:

"5:27 p.m. Caller reports group of juveniles sliding down a mound of snow.

7:27 p.m. Caller reports a possum on her patio she believes is sick or lost.

9:32 a.m. Caller complaining that someone dumped snow in her driveway.

10:24 a.m. Caller reports message left on voicemail from the IRS.

12:16 p.m. Caller reports person is going door to door asking to shovel driveways for money.

12:28 p.m. Report of black pick-up truck doing donuts in school parking lot, Main St.

12:30 p.m. Caller wants to speak with officer regarding a company stealing emails from his website and taking customers away from him, Maple Brook Dr.

12:31 p.m. Caller reports large duck in yard; Has put duck in crate until owner is found."

The First Scientist

Tom the Dancing Bug, IN WHICH the very first scientist very quickly is introduced to the second scientist.

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Ryan Burke's otherworldly photos are better than sci-fi

A photographer and makeup artist based in New York City, Ryan Burke creates characters from the best sci-fi series you've never seen.

"The portraits I create express a perspective on human styling that does not rely on conventional clothing, hair, makeup or accessories but rather an aesthetic derived from the use of unusual materials and makeup to create otherworldly personas," writes Burke. (Some images may be NSFW.)

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Grasshopper Jungle takes angst to its allegorical limit

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Not all young adult novels are for adults1, But this one is.

Grasshopper Jungle isn't Andrew Smith's first novel, but it is the one that's thrust him forward as one of the best voices in the genre

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Video has everything: nerdy pick-up lines, a kitten, a ukelele

Did you know that "fuck" is a legitimate word in Scrabble? Enjoy stand-up comedian DeAnne Smith's, cute, catchy video.

3D Edward Gorey picturebook

Kudos to the Kennedy Library at California Polytechnic Unversity for their sweet Vine, showing off the rare book The Tunnel Calamity, by Edward Gorey.

What a rad way to show off the benefit and joy of a paper book while existing on the internet! High fives all around.

Crowdfunding an Abomination with Gary Whitta (Star Wars, The Book of Eli)

Gary Whitta is an award-winning screenwriter who wrote The Book of Eli and worked on the first Star Wars standalone film. So when he had an idea for a dark historical fantasy story he wrote a book. Why? We ask him that, about successfully crowdfunding his novel, and much more on this episode!

Oh, and yes. We ask him about Star Wars too.

Gary Whitta


Gary Whitta

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. For show notes and previous episodes, head here. You can also help support us on Patreon!

I have journeyed to the soul of chocolate and I bring you good tidings

Cold brewed coffee is a revelation of complex, bittersweet, intense flavor. Cold-brewed chocolate? Even better. (Holy. Crap.)

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Think you have the right to demand police identify themselves? Look closer.

Police officers are required to display and provide their identification on request—except when they aren’t. There is no federal mandate, nor much punishment, for officers who stay anonymous.

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Maker Mayhem: Low Moments in How-To History, Part #14

Pill Bottle Gifts: Rainy day projects for a crafting addict.

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Billboards tell the stories of professionals who can't afford London anymore


The London is Changing project collects the personal stories of professional people who are leaving the city because it has been remade as a playground for the global rich.

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