Garden: XKCD's latest maddening, relaxing webtoy

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The latest XKCD is Garden, a webtoy that invites you to position lamps, adjust their spectrum and focus, and wait while your garden grows. Read the rest

Sex Nun of Dune

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Posted without context or comment. Read the rest

An early peek at 'The Jungle Book,' new Disney live-action remake of Kipling classic

Detail of a poster for 'The Jungle Book' by artist Vincent Aseo for Disney

Disney today released two new clips and a new little featurette from the studio's upcoming live action film “The Jungle Book.” I'm also loving the stunning poster art for the new film by Vincent Aseo, shown above in detail and below in full.

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Among a Thousand Fireflies: children's book shows the sweet, alien love stories unfolding in our own backyards

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Rick Lieder -- painter, illustrator, photographer, husband of the brilliant novelist/playwright Kathe Koja -- waits ever-so-patiently in his suburban Detroit back-yard with his camera, capturing candid, lively photos of bees, birds, bugs, and now, in a new book of photos with a beautiful accompanying poem by Helen Frost, fireflies.

Kickstarting a history of women and free speech in comics from CBLDF

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Charles from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund sez, "CBLDF is kickstarting She Changed Comics, a history of how women changed free expression in comics!" Read the rest

Whatever happened to utopian architecture?

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The Tale of Tomorrow: Utopian Architecture in the Modernist Realm collects photos and commentary about the mid-century heyday of utopian architecture, from Paolo Soleri's Arcosanti to Bangladesh's National Assembly Building. Read the rest

Science Comics: Dinosaurs!

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Every volume of Science Comics offers a complete introduction to a particular topic -- dinosaurs, coral reefs, volcanoes, the solar system, bats, flying machines, and more.

How to Talk About Videogames: a book that is serious (but never dull) about games

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Ian Bogost's How to Talk About Videogames isn't just a book about games -- it's a book about criticism, and where it fits in our wider culture. Bogost is the rare academic writer whose work is as clear and exciting as the best of the mainstream, and whose critical exercises backfire by becoming enormous commercial/popular successes.

Douglas Rushkoff in conversation with Institute for the Future's Marina Gorbis

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Last week, Boing Boing pals Douglas Rushkoff, author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, and Marina Gorbis, executive director at Institute for the Future (where I'm a researcher), took the stage at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club to discuss why we've lost sight of the open Web and how the digital economy has gone terribly wrong. It was a fantastic freeform barrage of brilliant and witty criticism, insights, and ideas for rewriting the rules of this game that right now nobody can win.

Listen to it here!

Or download the podcast here.

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The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons

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Teen hacker Gibson Vaughn embarrasses a US Senator, and is made an example of. Now, ten years later, the same folks who turned him into a pariah need his help solving one of the greatest abduction stories in US history. Part political thriller, part who done it, The Short Drop is a fantastic read.

This novel has it all. A teen hacker unfairly made an example of by the government and struggling to make his way, the establishment's front-running presidential candidate being overtaken by an upstart US Senator, and a 10 year old missing persons case to tie them together. This is one heck of a fun novel to read this primary season!

While some of the plot twists and turns may be a little more obvious to the reader than the characters in the novel, the pacing and story line are a lot of fun. I really enjoy the small details FitzSimmons colors his story with, and his representation of the Internet as a personality. I think he gets is right.

The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons via Amazon Read the rest

Book with fun examples of painted rocks

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I bought a book about rock painting in 2001, and posted about it here. I still have the book, and more importantly, we still have some of the rocks my family painted 15 years ago. The book has lots of inspiring examples of the kinds of things you can paint on rocks. The book is out of print, but you can buy used copies on Amazon starting at just 24 cents, plus shipping. Read the rest

An artist tours the spaces of 24 fellow artists, then makes art inspired by his visits

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

I’m a gigantic snoop. I love to peruse people’s bookshelves, rifle through the magazines on their toilet tank, look at their media Likes on Facebook, etc. I am endlessly fascinated by people and the media, tools, and ideas that inspire them. I also like workshops and the unique way in which people set up and use their spaces. These interests converge to great effect in artist and author Joe Fig’s Inside the Artist’s Studio.

Given my nosey proclivities, I have read a number of similar collections of artist studio tour books. This book has a slightly more satisfying weight to it. The questions Fig asks are more interesting and far ranging, from childhood memories to working techniques to each artist’s working “creed.” And the photographs he takes are especially lovely, artful, and create a distinct mood that reflects each artist.

The really special dimension to this book is Joe Fig’s artwork. Fig is known for being an artist whose subjects are often art, artists, and art spaces. In this book, after interviewing and photographing such artists as Ellen Altfest, Byron Kim, Laurie Simmons, Adam Cvijanovic, Tara Donovan, and Roxy Paine (24 artists in all), Fig creates a piece of art inspired by that artist, their studio, and their work. The subject of each piece is the artist’s studio. All of this works to create a surprisingly rich, intimate, and informative collection. Read the rest

Attack of the Journal – Part journal part sketchbook and a great companion to the Star Wars Jedi Academy series

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

When an author who writes books for grown-ups is successful at translating his voice into books for kids it’s a win-win. Jeffrey Brown, author of graphic novels such as Clumsy and Funny Misshapen Body has done just that with his series Star Wars Jedi Academy. These graphic novels follow Roan, a young Jedi fumbling his way through middle school’s version of the Jedi Arts. This latest installation, Attack of the Journal, is part activity book part sketchbook and a great accompaniment to the series. It features familiar characters from the books, but you don’t need to have read the actual novels to enjoy the journal. Unlike many character-based activity books for children, Attack of the Journal gives the reins over to the reader. Instead of preprinted mazes and simple seek and finds, Brown’s activities are open-ended and challenge readers to try drawing new things and to write their own stories.

The book is great for elementary-aged kids, but even younger can have fun with the “Draw Your Friends As Aliens” page or attempt a self-portrait. I found it’s a great way to practice letters and words with kids in a way that is fun for everyone. Even the fact that it’s a hardback makes whatever you create inside feel more important. Jeffrey Brown’s sense of humor and kind encouragement are felt in the journal activities, helping young authors and illustrators not take it too seriously if their “Create your own Lightsaber” page looks more like a Wookie. Read the rest

Sharks and Dinosaurs – Pop-up books on steroids

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

There are only five “pages” in each of these books despite their 3-inch thickness. That is because each page is stuffed with layers and layers of ingenious interacting bits of printed paper, which magically assemble themselves into an alternate reality when each page is opened. Yes, it is a pop-up book, but a pop-up raised to an exponential level. A pop-up on steroids, or acid. Pop-up as extreme sport. The engineering is astounding. As a page is opened a 3D apparition appears, often with its own narrative, first one part and then another. The resulting paper sculpture is the story made real. The textual story is minimal; all the action is in the structures. Kids love to see how they work. The only downside to these books that belong on paper is not letting children paws tear the mechanics. These two books feature all kinds of pre-historic dinosaurs, and sharks of all types. But the artist behind them, Robert Sabuda, has half a dozen other books with the same kind of extreme pop-up-ness.

Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharks and Other Sea Monsters by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart Candlewick 2006, 12 pages, 7.8 x 9.9 x 2.1 inches $1 - $50 Buy a copy on Amazon

Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Dinosaurs by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart Candlewick 2005, 12 pages, 8 x 10 x 2.5 inches $24 Buy a copy on Amazon Read the rest

XKCD is coming to America's science textbooks

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Textbook giant Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishes Randall Munroe's amazing Thing Explainer, and a lucky accident happened when someone in the textbook division noticed Munroe's amazing explanatory graphics, annotated with simple language (the book restricts itself to the thousand most common English words) and decided to include some of them in the next editions of its high-school chemistry, biology and physics textbooks. Read the rest

Minecraft: Blockopedia – for full-on Minecraft geeks, as well as over-the-shoulder admirers

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Shaped like a hexagon to mimic the dimensions of a cube, Minecraft: Blockopedia is designed for full-on Minecraft geeks, although those of us who have only watched the game over the shoulders of children and loved ones will find plenty to admire here too. After the briefest of introductions and a quick glossary to help noobs make sense of the stats that accompany each block’s name, it’s off to the races, with page after page devoted to blocks made from rocks, blocks made from plants, blocks that serve particular functions (a ladder), and blocks that do particular things (acting as a switch).

One of the coolest characteristics about Minecraft is how it chooses to observe the laws of nature and physics, or ignore them. Sand, we are told, can be a cave-in hazard, but when it’s smelted in a furnace, it turns to glass. Both statements are true, but don’t go looking for glowstone the next time you’re spelunking – it is only found in a sinister dimension of Minecraft called the Nether. And while sugar cane in both the real world and the Overworld of Minecraft can be used to make sugar, guess where it can also be used to block flowing lava?

Though the format and illustrations in Minecraft: Blockopedia are the book’s most prominent features, it’s still a book filled with lots and lots of, you know, words. Writer Alex Wiltshire mostly plays it straight (“Water is incredibly useful.”), but often he lets the language and logic of Minecraft add color, as in “Sticky pistons are made by crafting a piston with a slimeball…” and “If you dig podzol without the silk touch enhancement it drops dirt.” Got that? Read the rest

Kickstarting the next Girl Genius collection

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Phil Foglio, co-creator of the amazing Girl Genius comics, writes, "We are Kickstarting our latest Girl Genius collection; City of Lightning through April 12." Read the rest

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