Win $1000 for your NSA Surveillance cartoon

From Global Voices Online: "The Web We Want invites cartoonists, creatives and artists to join The Day We Fight Back on February 11, 2014 by creating an original cartoon about online surveillance and the right to privacy. The cartoons should help increase awareness about the NSA and demand accountability for mass digital surveillance in a way that makes people want to click and share."

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Win a copy of the audiobook for Jeff VanderMeer's "Annihilation"

Jeff VanderMeer sez, "Want a copy of the awesome Blackstone audiobook for Annihilation, the first book in my Southern Reach trilogy? If you live in the United States, U.S. territories, or the Philippines you are eligible to win."

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There is a national competition for best-tasting tap water

Top contenders this year: Louisville and Fremont, Nebraska. Time to start filling out those brackets, water fans!

Another prime number down, infinity to go

There are 17 million digits in the largest prime number we know of, so far. Its discovery is part of an ongoing distributed computing project aimed at exposing the existence of ever larger prime numbers, largely because prime numbers are there — flagrantly going around, only being divisible by themselves and the number 1. We'll show them, won't we? The Electronic Frontier Foundation foundation, for instance, is currently offering a $150,000 bounty for the first folks to bring in a 100-million-digit prime.

Iron Egghead: Explain biology using eight everyday items

Scientific American has an awesome contest going on right now. They're challenging you to make a video explaining some part, process, or system in the human body using eight objects: Yourself, a writing surface, a writing implement, rubber bands, paper clips, string, cups , and balls. You have to use all eight items. You can't use anything else.

You can read the full instructions and rules online. And check out the sample video, made by Scientific American interns Isha Soni and Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato.

Bonus: The first 100 qualified entries all get a free digital subscription to Sci Am.

Via Bora Zivkovik

Carlton Cuse wants fans to create a title sequence for Bates Motel

In case there are any artistically-inclined fans of A&E's upcoming Bates Motel interested in creating a piece of the show, executive producer Carlton Cuse has put out a call for an opening title sequence. Through January 3, fans can submit videos, graphics, and other ideas to the show's Facebook page. Cuse, who will ultimately choose the winner, says, "We want to give fans the chance to participate in the show. We're looking for an awesome 15-second title sequence that captures the feel of Bates Motel -- not as a slasher/horror show, but as a complex, character-based thriller." Considering the prevalence of fan art, plus the current Hitchcock fever we've been experiencing, this seems like a really great opportunity to rouse a fan base that might have its doubts about a Psycho prequel series by making them feel like a significant part of the production. Bates Motel is set to premiere on A&E in March. (via The Hollywood Reporter)

Backyard Blockbusters: documentary about fan films

John sez,

Did you ever see that movie where Batman fought a Predator? Or where kids remade "Raiders of the Lost Ark"? What about the fourth season of classic "Star Trek"? If none of these are familiar to you, that's because they're not studio projects, but fan films - and I've just finished and started touring film festivals with a documentary about these kinds of projects called "Backyard Blockbusters" - it looks at the history, influence, and copyright problems these types of projects face, and includes nearly everyone from the most famous, popular, and/or notable fan films, as well as notables from the original properties and production companies.

There's a very cool screening opportunity coming up, but I need public help to get the film into it - the Arclight Cinema in Hollywood is holding a documentary film festival in November, and the selection process is being done online through public voting - and "Backyard Blockbusters" is one of the contenders.

They will be counting both the amount of views the competing trailers for the various films get on YouTube pages, as well as the amount of votes the films receive on a special Facebook page.

Backyard Blockbusters (Thanks, John!)

Spider in the grass

This amazing photo, by Cambridge biological sciences professor John H. Brackenbury, is a highly-commended runner up in the British Wildlife Photography Awards.

Via Alex Wild, who thinks Brackenbury was robbed of first place. Can't say I disagree.

They Might Be Giants launches video contest judged by John Hodgman

[Video Link]

BIG CATURDAY NEWS YOU GUYS. John Flansburgh of They Might be Giants is a Boing Boing reader, and he sends word that the band are launching a fan-made video contest for their song "Can't Keep Johnny Down".

"The promo clip here features my cat Symphony Sid," says John. "He is usually camera shy but he hangs in there!

From the announcement:

TMBG is inviting creative visual people to make a stylish, smart rock video for the song. It can be live action, motion graphics, animation, stop motion. It can be people jumping around in capes, but they should be very stylish people in very stylish capes or you will not win the contest.

Videos are to be uploaded to YouTube and posted on the official TMBG Facebook page. All videos linked there will be voted on by the Facebook friends of TMBG, but the winner will be judged by Judge John Hodgman and Hodgman alone. Submission deadline is July 15th.

Winner will receive $1000 bucks and a pizza from the pizzeria of their choice. The video will be posted on tmbg's you tube channel as well as posted on TMBG's podcast -- so lots of people will celebrate your efforts.