Anti-theft device burns carjackers to a crisp

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.50.39 AM

This system was designed to combat car jacking by shooting a jet of flames at anyone standing next to either side of the car. Read the rest

Can you imagine a worse T-shirt than this one?

t-shirts-this-shirt-is-the-bomb-2

Boing Boing readers have good imaginations, so if you can come up with an even worse T-shirt idea than this one, please share it in the comments. Read the rest

Google launches worst corporate April Fools joke ever, quickly takes it down

micerop

For April Fools, Google rearranged Gmail's UI to replace the normal send button with one that attaches a Minions(TM) Mic Drop GIF animation to outgoing email.

“Today, Gmail is making it easier to have the last word on any email with Mic Drop. Simply reply to any email using the new ‘Send + Mic Drop’ button. Everyone will get your message, but that’s the last you’ll ever hear about it. Yes, even if folks try to respond, you won’t see it,” Google explained when it launched the button on April 1.

Unfortunately, this resulted in things like this:

Google quickly realized what it had done and turned it off…

Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year. 😟 Due to a bug, the MicDrop feature inadvertently caused more headaches than laughs. We’re truly sorry. The feature has been turned off. If you are still seeing it, please reload your Gmail page.

…but not before a fair heap of mistakenly-dropped mics had piled up, along with the mic droppers' anguished complaints, on the internet.

A good reminder that email is not what Gmail is for. Read the rest

Britons vote to name $287m research ship "Boaty McBoatface"

22xp-boaty-master675

After asking the public to decide upon a name for a $287m research ship, Britain's Natural Environment Research Council is feeling stupid, because they've picked "Boaty McBoatface."

“The storm that has been created has got legs of its own,” Mr. Hand told the BBC on Monday, and added that he had submitted Boaty McBoatface in another competition. (For what it’s worth, Mr. Hand voted for the name R.R.S. David Attenborough.)

The research council would not comment on whether it would override the Internet’s suggestion, but Alison Robinson, a spokeswoman, said in an email that the group was “delighted by the enthusiasm and creativity” of people vying for names like Boaty McBoatface. The ship is scheduled to set sail in 2019.

“We’ve had thousands of suggestions made on the website since we officially launched; many of them reflect the importance of the ship’s scientific role by celebrating great British explorers and scientists,” Ms. Robinson said. “We are pleased that people are embracing the idea in a spirit of fun.”

There's something particularly British about "Boaty McBoatface." The way it thinks it's funny and lighthearted and a bit subversive, but the teeth are pressed together just a little too hard for it to be any of those things.

(Just leaving it as "Name of Vessel", on the other hand, would be British in a good way: sarcastic, passive-aggressive, likely to confuse/irritate foreign maritime officials, etc) Read the rest

Playmobil pirate ship includes dark-skinned doll wearing "slave collar"

paymobil

Ida Lockett of Sacramento, CA was helping her 5-year-old son put together a Playmobil pirate ship kit he'd been given for his birthday when she saw that the instructions told her to put a shackle around the neck of a dark-skinned figurine in torn clothing. Read the rest

Baby trapped in car turns out to be realistic doll

fake baby 2

Rescuers smashed their way into the vehicle only to find that the alarmingly still baby in the back seat was merely a toy. ABC News reports that emergency services were called to the scene in Oakland, California, on Monday.

"Fortunately, it was not a baby or small child," [Officer] Watson said. "We encourage anyone who believes there is a dangerous situation such as this incident to contact emergency personnel so we can make that determination." The police do not know why the doll was in the car seat, Watson said.

[via Arbroath] Read the rest

The end of a company with a very dumb idea

Washboard, a subscription service that that sold US quarters for 37.5 cents, called it quits after being in business for two weeks.

Washboard founder Caleb Brown wrote:

Nearly 100% of the internet thought Washboard was an absolutely absurd concept. I had a very difficult time convincing people the service was even real but we did have customers that were excited for it. I apologize to those folks but we have decided to shut down Washboard.

(Via Weird Universe) Read the rest

Unfortunate illustration and game name in kids' book

There's not much right about this page from a mid-20th century kids' book. Besides the obvious creepiness, it looks like Alfred E Neuman on the left is trying to lift the skirt of the girl next to him. Read the rest

Airlines should charge passengers by weight, says economist

Reuters: "Bhatta put together three models for what he called 'pay as you weigh airline pricing.' The first would charge passengers according to how much they and their baggage weighed. It would set a rate for pounds (kg) per passenger so that someone weighing 130 pounds (59 kg) would pay half the fare of 260-pound (118-kg) person." Read the rest

The journal of horrifying science

Science Horrors is a tumblr blog that compiles stories about the discomfiting, disturbing, and just plain terrifying parts of science. From 13th-century bioterrorism to the killer carbon dioxide gas bubbles of central Africa, there's plenty here to amaze you and freak you the frack out. Read the rest

NOAA to American public: No, we are not going to just nuke the storms

A Q&A piece on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration begins with this incredibly disconcerting sentence: "During each hurricane season, there always appear suggestions that one should simply use nuclear weapons to try and destroy the storms."

Really? Seriously, America?

Anyway, the entire piece ends up being pretty fascinating, as research meteorologist Chris Landsea explains why nuking a hurricane would be a bad idea ... besides, you know, the obvious reasons.

... an explosive, even a nuclear explosive, produces a shock wave, or pulse of high pressure, that propagates away from the site of the explosion somewhat faster than the speed of sound. Such an event doesn't raise the barometric pressure after the shock has passed because barometric pressure in the atmosphere reflects the weight of the air above the ground. For normal atmospheric pressure, there are about ten metric tons (1000 kilograms per ton) of air bearing down on each square meter of surface. In the strongest hurricanes there are nine. To change a Category 5 hurricane into a Category 2 hurricane you would have to add about a half ton of air for each square meter inside the eye, or a total of a bit more than half a billion (500,000,000) tons for a 20 km radius eye. It's difficult to envision a practical way of moving that much air around.

Attacking weak tropical waves or depressions before they have a chance to grow into hurricanes isn't promising either. About 80 of these disturbances form every year in the Atlantic basin, but only about 5 become hurricanes in a typical year.

Read the rest