History of the Discordian Society

On Erik and Maja's Expanding Mind podcast, "crackpot historian" Adam Gorightly reveals the weird story of the Principia Discordia, the "religion disguised as a joke or the joke disguised as a religion," and his new book, Historia Discordia. Hail Eris!

Untitled The most extensive collection in print documenting the Discordian Society’s wild and wooly legacy, Historia Discordia features the unique worldview and wit of such illuminated iconoclasts as Robert Anton Wilson and Discordian founders Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley. Chronicling Discordianism’s halcyon days, Historia Discordia presents a fun and freewheeling romp through rare photos, holy tracts, art collages, and fnords, many of which appear for the first time in print.

“Like communication-god Thoth with his yammering ape, like the all-important noise that Count Korzybski assures us must accompany our every signal, no harmony is possible without an acknowledgement and understanding of discord. Born from the bowling-alley epiphanies of Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley, its disruptive teachings disseminated through the incendiary writings of Robert Anton Wilson and other Eristic luminaries, the Discordian Society has unexpectedly become a landmark of gleefully aggressive sanity in a chaotic and incoherent world. Through this book, we can all involve ourselves in their gloriously constructive quarrel.” —Alan Moore

Historia Discordia

Sign Painters: book and documentary

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Sign Painters looks to be a fascinating book and documentary about the traditional art and craft of hand-drawn signage that is being lost to digital prints and die-cut vinyl. The film is playing at venues around the US right now, including this Sunday (7/27) at the Webb Gallery in Waxahachie, Texas!

Soviet Ghosts: photographing the abandoned USSR

Abandoned soviet 10 Photographer Rebecca Litchfield's gorgeous and haunting photo series and book, Soviet Ghosts: A Communist Empire in Decay, documents abandoned towns, factories, prisons, hospitals, theaters, and military bases in the Soviet Union and former Eastern Bloc.

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Whilst some may look at the decay in these places as simply reflecting the destruction of the Soviet Union and the moral bankruptcy of a flawed ideological system. In reality they will cease to exist very soon and as the memories fade, these places and the communities who once gave life will be forgotten and deserve to be recorded for posterity too. This book documents the strange interval caught between modernity and antiquity.

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(via Huh)

DIY alchemy

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Written by three science instructors, The Chemistry of Alchemy: From Dragon's Blood to Donkey Dung, How Chemistry Was Forged" is a combination weird science history and DIY projects book.

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Optical illusion GIF from 1722 geometry book

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Harvard University librarian John Overholt made an animated GIF from a 1722 geometrical treatise "that attempts to explore every arrangement of square tiles bisected diagonally with black and white shading."

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Kingmaker, by Christian Cantrell [review]

While no one can match the razor-sharp intensity of Neuromancer, there is plenty of room for writers to slot their books in the midst of William Gibson's later works, those multi-faceted stories that intertwine like a mutant caduceus to bring three tales to a head. Kingmaker by Christian Cantrell is one of those books.

The book, published last year by Amazon's 47North imprint, is a straight-ahead tale of a "heartless" assassin (his real heart is replaced by a mechanical one) named Alexei Drovosek. Drovosek's goal is to watch the old world burn and a new world take its place. With the help of an AI named Emma and a team of children he is training to take down the world's major business entities, he aims to bring freedom back to the planet.

It is, in short, a tall order. Does Cantrell pull it off? I think he does.

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Author: My dad was the Zodiac Killer

Gary Stewart, author of a new memoir The Most Dangerous Animal Of All, is the latest person to claim he has proof of the real, true identity of the infamous Zodiac Killer of 1960s northern California; he says the killer was his late father, Earl Van Best, Jr.

New book of contemporary psychedelic art

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Product large 333117Our friends at Juxtapoz released a new survey of contemporary psychedelic art featuring the likes of Andy Gilmore, Jetter Green, Mark Whalen, Pearl C Hsiung, and Hannah Stouffer. Gilmore's art is on the cover and Stouffer edited the volume, titled Juxtapoz Psychedelic. To celebrate, Juxtapoz is hosting a group art exhibition at Los Angeles's The Well. The show opens April 26 and runs until May 13. The opening party will feature on-site painting by Alex Grey and Allyson Grey. Above image by Andy Gilmore. Below images by Jetter Green and Hannah Stouffer.

Juxtapoz Psychedelic

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Wonderful new book about "Magic Experience Design" (in Italian)

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Today marks the Italian publication of "L'arte Di Stupire" ("The Art of Amazement") the new book by Boing Boing friends and collaborators Ferdinando Buscema and Mariano Tomatis whose work is best described as "magic experience design." I've read a draft English translation and it's absolutely fantastic. I can't wait for the eventual publication of the English edition. Here's what I said about the book:

Buscema and Tomatis are modern day mystics who move seamlessly between the realms of science, art, and magic, seeking wonder at every turn. They delight in inspiring us all to cultivate curiosity and embrace astonishment in our daily lives. This brilliant book is an empowering grimoire for hacking reality and giving the gift of magical experiences to others.

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International children with their favorite toys

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Gabriele Galimberti photographed children in 58 countries with their favorite toys. Here is his brand new book of the photographs: "Toy Stories: Photos of Children from Around the World and Their Favorite Things" (via Smithsonian)

Self-help meets real science

9780307474865 p0 v1 s260x420Richard Wiseman is the professor of Public Understanding of Psychology at the UK's University of Hertfordshire. He's the author of several books, including Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There, was about the psychology of so-called supernatural experiences. His previous book, 59 Seconds: Change Your Life In Under A Minute, draws from the psychology of persuasion to present a series of (oft-counterintuitive) techniques and life hacks to improve memory, negotiate better, reduce stress, etc. It's a self-help book based on entertaining and fascinating scientific research. Above is one of many videos from Wiseman's fun "In 59 Seconds" YouTube channel.

59 Seconds: Change Your Life In Under A Minute (Amazon)

'Rivethead' by Ben Hamper

I've long considered Ben Hamper's Rivethead to be one of the most important books I've read. Hamper, the product of generations of GM motors "shoprats" recounts his 10 torturous but incredibly hilarious years on the GM Truck and Bus line.

Hamper does all he can to avoid dedicating his life to GM's rivet line, but fails. Ride along as he experiences, and then masters, the art of slacking off at a dangerous job, while trying to maintain his sanity in a world of ridiculous policies, colorful co-workers and Howie Makem, GM's minister of Quality in a giant cat costume.

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Incurable Disorder: the creepy creatures of artist Liz McGrath

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Freakishly talented Los Angeles artist Elizabeth McGrath, creator of delightfully creepy and strange faux taxidermy beasties, has a beautiful new monograph just out from Last Gasp Books. The hardcover book, titled Incurable Disorder, contains 160 pages (and 200 full-color images) of Liz's dioramas, sculptures, and paintings from 2005 to 2012. If you're in San Francisco this evening (12/18), Liz is doing a book signing from 7pm to 9pm at Loved To Death! And on Saturday (12/21), she'll be at Oakland's Cakeland for another signing from 7:30pm - 9:30pm. Below, several more images from the book and our classic Boing Boing Video interview with Liz from 2008.

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The Exploratorium's Tinkering Studio and new book!





When I was eleven, my three primary interests were science, art, and magic. That hasn't changed. In 1981, I visited San Francisco for the first time and my big brother took me to the Exploratorium, a pioneering museum that exists at the intersection of science, art, and magic. It blew my mind wide open. And more than three decades later, it's become a very special place for my children, aged 7 and 4. Part of the Exploratorium's stated mission is to ignite curiosity about human perception. But the Exploratorium doesn't just teach people about human perception. Like the best science, art, and magic, the museum experience actually changes your perception of reality.

Earlier this year, the Exploratorium moved from its vast warehouse space near the Golden Gate Bridge into new digs on a pier overlooking the Bay. The massive new space retains the raw, inviting "rustic" warmth of the original location but with better amenities and, most importantly, far more room to showcase classic and new exhibits and also inject even more of the DIY spirit that fuels the museum's creators. This motivation is made tangible in the exposed workshops (just like the old facility) where staff prototypes new exhibits, and in the new Tinkering Studio, a bustling workshop where every guest is encouraged to "learn by doing." And if you need inspiration, just look around at the permanent and temporary exhibits like Scott Weaver's "Rolling Through The Bay," made from 100,000 toothpicks and seen in action above.

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'The Amber Chronicles' by Roger Zelazny, a classic fantasy series

I've re-read Roger Zelazny's 'The Amber Chronicles' series more times than I can recall. I've worn out two copies of this complete collection, and lost countless individual copies of the component books. This fantasy series begins with Nine Princes in Amber, and is one of my favorite fantasy series.

When the story opens neither we nor our hero, Corwin, know what's going on. He is lost in a coma and awakens with amnesia, which we are led to understand is the result of a recent car accident that should have left him dead. Corwin goes on to discover who he is by threatening pretty much everyone he meets. It works.

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