Submit a link Features Reviews Podcasts Video Forums More ▾

Surf's Up. In Gaza. For Girls.

In the Atlantic, a piece about teen girls who enjoy surfing. In Gaza. An uplifting tale of gnarly waves, until you hit the punch line: They'll have to drop the hobby when they're 17, in accordance with cultural norms. (via @legalnomads)

What's it like to be incarcerated in a US prison?

I could not stop reading this series of posts from a 99chan forum regular who returns after a 2 year prison sentence until I'd finished every last word. Terrifying, dehumanizing stuff. But is it real, or fiction? The "chans" aren't exactly where one goes for fact-checked documentaries. (via @mala)

Insane Clown Posse: Stealth Evangelical Christians (bonus: Juggalo Buffet Hut)

A one-two punch for you Boing Boing readers in the juggalo department. First, a faux video ad for Buffet Hut, which perfectly mimics the production style of actual, official "Gathering of the Juggalos" informercials we've blogged here before.
(Thanks, Cheap Little Films, via Submitterator).

When you're done with the free Faygo refills there, read this Guardian UK interview with Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, which proclaims bluntly what's been tossed around online for some time: the duo say they are Evangelical Christians, and kept their faith in the closet for two decades.

They indulged in violent/shock/sexually explicit lyrics on the earlier records to attract a devoted cult of fans, the story goes— then dropped The God Shizz on 'em with "Miracles" and more recent material.

The Guardian interview is funny and disturbing, whatever the truth is—just like the band. As an aside: The interview takes place in Milwaukee. I love how the London-based writer feels compelled to hammer into our heads that ICP is violent by reminding us in the very first graf that Jeffrey Dahmer is from Milwaukee. Eye-roll. I bet he was getting ready for his flight to Wisconsin and Wikipedia'd that, and was like, "Aha! Got 'em!"

Hey, bub. Know who else is from Milwaukee? Laverne and Shirley. Also, Fonzie.

Anyway, it's a fun piece. For me, the news here is not that ICP are evangelicals seeking to convert fans to Christ. It's that despite all the frontin', they're emo souls: comment trolls and bad reviews on Livejournal get under their greasepainted skin:

"I get anxiety and shit a lot," [Shaggy] says. "And reading that stuff people write about us... It hurts."

"Least talented band in the world," Violent J says. "No talent. When I hear that I think, 'Damn. Are we that different from people?'"

He looks as if he means it - as if he sometimes feels hopelessly stuck being him.

It's just a terrible twist of fate for Insane Clown Posse that theirs is a form of creative expression that millions of people find ridiculous. But then suddenly, palpably, Violent J pulls himself out of his introspection. They're about to go on stage and he doesn't want to be maudlin. He wants to be on the offensive. He shoots me a defiant look and says, "You know Miracles? Let me tell you, if Alanis Morissette had done that fucking song everyone would have called it fucking genius."

So next time a Juggalo tosses a bowling ball into your windshield and yells "faggot" at you, then blesses you in the name of Christ—before you scream back at him, remember that he is a sensitive person with deep feelings.

Insane Clown Posse: And God created controversy

Read the rest

Norway's grassy roofs

Here's a nice little collection of rural Norwegian homes whose roofs have been given over to the traditional turf -- and even small forests.
Turf roofs in Norway are a tradition and you will see them everywhere. Roofs in Scandinavia have probably been covered with birch bark and sod since prehistory. During the Viking and Middle Ages most houses had sod roofs. In rural areas sod roofs were almost universal until the beginning of the 18th century. Tile roofs, which appeared much earlier in towns and on rural manors, gradually superseded sod roofs except in remote inland areas during the 19th century. Corrugated iron and other industrial materials also became a threat to ancient traditions. But just before extinction, the national romantics proclaimed a revival of vernacular traditions, including sod roofs. A new market was opened by the demand for mountain lodges and holiday homes. At the same time, open air museums and the preservation movement created a reservation for ancient building traditions. From these reservations, sod roofs have begun to reappear as an alternative to modern materials.

Every year, since 2000, an award is also given to the best green roof proje

The Grass Roofs of Norway (via Geisha Asobi)

Art foundation has a pot farm to fund art projects

A northern California art foundation called Life is Art funds projects from the proceeds of its marijuana farm. From the New York Times:
Pot-Farm-Art At a going wholesale rate of $200 or more an ounce in the Bay Area for high-quality medical marijuana, it’s a lot simpler than raising money the traditional way, the project’s organizers point out. And – except for the nagging fact that selling marijuana remains a crime under federal law – it even feels more honest to the people behind Life Is Art. They see it as a way of supporting the cause with physical labor and the fruits of the land instead of the wheedling of donors, an especially appealing prospect in an economy where raising money has become more difficult than ever.

Photo slide show by Jim Wilson

In California, Pot Is Now an Art Patron

Chilean miners got 99 problems, unfortunately this *is* one

You think the Chilean miners have it bad while trapped? For some, their wives and (sometimes multiple) mistresses are just now discovering one other's existence, and catfighting over both the returning men and anticipated monetary compensation. Uh-oh. (thanks EeyoreX)

Tom Waits and Preservation Hall Jazz Band release limited-edition 78RPM record and matching limited edition record-player

Tom Waits and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band recorded a pair of songs to benefit the Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program and they're releasing them as a limited-edition 78RPM album. Donate $200 and you can get a gorgeous, custom 78RPM record player to go with it (alas, the first-day sales are limited to in-person customers at Preservation Hall in NOLA, and I'm guessing everything will be snapped up for eBay resale by the time the official online sales open up the next day).

I'm really interested in the creative use of premium physical objects that trade on the value of digital art. It seems to me that the more widely copied and well-loved a digital piece is, the more the limited physical premium will be. Alas, many of the physical premiums offered by bands and authors and so on look like they came out of a Skymall catalog. But stuff like this, well, it's so far in my sweet spot that I'm wondering if I can get back to NOLA for the sale.

Mr. Waits traveled to New Orleans in 2009 to record two songs with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band for the critically acclaimed project Preservation: An album to benefit Preservation Hall and the Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program, "Tootie Ma Was A Big Fine Thing" , and "Corrine Died On The Battlefield". Originally recorded by Danny Barker in 1947, these two selections are the earliest known recorded examples of Mardi Gras Indian chants.

The two tracks will now be packaged in a special limited edition 78 rpm format record, each signed and numbered by Preservation Hall Creative Director Ben Jaffe. The first one hundred records will be accompanied by a custom-made Preservation Hall 78rpm record player as part of a Deluxe Donation package. The remaining four hundred and four will be available as a standalone record for the Basic Donation package.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band & Tom Waits On 78 rpm Vinyl (

Tom Waits Releases 78 RPM Record and Player (

(Thanks, Stuart, via Submitterator!)

Fannish Disneyland blueprints

Flickr user Enfilm creates insanely detailed, beautiful blueprints for rides and buildings at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland Paris (including plans for lost favorites, such as If You Had Wings). Shown here, the Disneyland Enchanted Tiki Room.

Disneyland Drawings (via A Whole Lotta Nothing)

Science fiction charity auction

Matthew from NYC's KGB science fiction reading series sez, "Ellen Datlow and I are currently holding a raffle to support the KGB Fantastic Fiction reading series in NY. We are raffling off prizes from such notables as Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, Nancy Kress, Catherynne M. Valente, George R.R. Martin, Ellen Kushner, & dozens more. We also have carnivorous plants. (We also may be raffling off wormholes, signed by physicist Michio Kaku, but we are awaiting confirmation.) Raffle tickets are $1 each." I've got a prize or two in there too! (Thanks, Matthew!)

How To: Brew beer in a coffee maker, using only materials found on a modestly sized oceanographic research vessel

Who knew science had so much in common with prison?

Southern Fried Scientist explains how you can set up your own franchise of Baby Duck Breweries, using a coffee maker, cereal flakes, Vegemite "malt", seaweed "hops", and baker's yeast.



Sanitation is key. If you have an autoclave, sterilize your tools ahead of time. Otherwise, wash everything with an iodine solution or, if there are no other options, ethanol. Contamination is your enemy. Everything must be clean. Boil the handkerchiefs, rubber bands, sample jars, and lids.

1. Grind up your 'grains' (but not so much that it becomes powder).
2. Place your 'grains' in coffee pot (not the filter basket, the carafe).

3. Run 2 cups of clean water through coffee maker and let it sit on the hot plate for an hour. This releases all the good chemicals from you 'grains' and creates a fluid called wort.

4. Strain the wort through the coffee filter and place the filter full of 'grain' into the filter basket. Add the 'malt' to the filter basket. Pour the strained liquid back into coffee maker and add 1 cup of water.

5. Run the wort through the coffee maker 5 times, each time adding 1 cup of water.

6. Pour the wort into the saucepan and boil for 45 minutes. Two minutes before boiling is done, add the "hops".

7. Carefully pour the wort into the canning jars.

8. Let the wort cool to between 60 and 70 F. Once it is cool enough to touch the outside of the jars without burning, pitch the Bakers' Yeast into the mixture.

9. Seal jar with a handkerchief and rubber band over the mouth, and let sit for 3 to 5 days.

10. And table spoon of sugar to the jar and seal with the lids, making sure they're air tight.

11. Store in a cool, dark place where it will not be disturbed for a week.


A cool, smooth brew, flavored with whatever you found. It may be very bad, it may be good. It will be beer.

You can thank (or blame) TapRoot for posting this to Submitterator.

Image: Some rights reserved by C+H

Library of Congress: Copyright is killing sound archiving

In 2000, the US National Recording Preservation Act mandated the Library of Congress to conduct an in-depth study on the state of audio preservation and archiving. The Library has finished its study and one of its most damning conclusions is that copyright -- not technical format hurdles -- are the major barrier to successful preservation. Simply put, the copyright laws that the recording industry demanded are so onerous that libraries inevitably have to choose whether to be law-breakers or whether to abandon their duty to preserve and archive audio.
"Were copyright law followed to the letter, little audio preservation would be undertaken. Were the law strictly enforced, it would brand virtually all audio preservation as illegal," the study concludes, "Copyright laws related to preservation are neither strictly followed nor strictly enforced. Consequently, some audio preservation is conducted."

While libraries supposedly have some leeway in preserving audio recordings, they find it "virtually impossible to reconcile their responsibility for preserving and making accessible culturally important sound recordings with their obligation to adhere to copyright laws". The problem is that the current provisions in law for audio preservation are "restrictive and anachronistic" in our current digitial age.

There are more problems. While the recording industry undertakes some preservation, they will only preserve those recordings from which they think they might profit in the future (what a surprise). For instance, consider a researcher working on vaudeville who may be interested in vaudevillian recordings on cylinders.

"These performers may have been headliners in their time, but today their names are virtually unknown," the study details, "While scholarly interest in these recordings is high, their economic value to the property holder is negligible. However, legal restrictions governing access to a cylinder produced in 1909 are the same as those governing a compact disc made in 2009, even though it is highly unlikely that the 1909 recording has any revenue potential for the rights holder."

US Library of Congress: Copyright Is Destroying Historic Audio (Thanks, Dwiff!)

(Image: Historic Recorded Sound Demo May 12, 2010, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from esteemedhelga's photostream)

CycLAvia attracts over 100,000 cyclists to car-free Los Angeles streets

Beginning of CicLAvia

If you'd told me a year ago that the City of Los Angeles would close off almost 8 miles of primary city streets to let cyclists have free rein for a day I never would have believed it. If I hadn't seen it actually happen with my own eyes yesterday, I'd still be suspicious. But it's true: thanks to the amazing efforts of the die-hard volunteers behind the project, yesterday the first ever CycLAvia (a riff on the South American Ciclovía idea) took place and some 100,000 residents took to their bikes and got a glimpse of what the city might be like if at least some parts of it were car-free.

As an avid cyclist living in LA, I've long said this is an amazing city to bike in and that it takes on a whole new life when you see it from a bicycle. But most often the reaction I get from non-cyclists is that I must be crazy to ride a bike in LA. I'm not, and judging by the photos on flickr and reactions on twitter a ton of people now see the city a little differently. With any luck this is just the first of many upcoming bike-friendly events in the city. I know I can't wait to see where this leads! (Follow @Cyclavia for future details)

Photos by Tara Brown and Jory Felice

A Happy Mutant's Guide to the Near Future

Katasutra A Happy Mutants Guide to the Near Future

1) It's going to get awesomely weirder
You're going see more amusing, charming, disturbing, and novel things than you ever dreamed possible. ZOMG will happen non-stop. As jaded as you might think you'll get, there'll often be something dropping your jaw.

2) It's going to get hopelessly cuter
Lest you mistake this as treacly sentimentalism, remember - cuteness is a powerful mask for whatever can get behind it. Adorableness will be pervasive, disarming, and irresistible. Hug, but verify.

3) Memes are going mainstream
Every day new memes will appear, others will be repeated, remixed, and amplified, and others will fade. Cultural in-jokes will abound. Your grandma will send you image macros for the lulz.

4) A lot more things are going to get made
Maker, Crafter, and other DIY cultures will only get larger. You'll possess, use, give, and receive more made items. Your life will be much richer and meaningful for this.

5) It's going to get fresher and tastier
The growth in farmers' markets will make locally grown fresh produce more accessible to more people all the time. Neighborhood and backyard gardens and greenhouses, with heirloom varieties, chickens, and beekeeping combined with a more fun cooking culture will increasingly supplement and in some cases replace processed and commercially prepared foods.

Read the rest

Blackwing pencil video review

(Video link) Alex Beam of the Boston Globe reports on the extinct Blackwing 602 pencil and mentions a new pencil that's also called the Blackwing, made by California Cedar (which I don't care for).

Hitler learns about Rich Iott's Nazi cosplay photos - the Downfall video

This is one of the better Downfall videos -- Hitler learns about Tea Party fave candidate Rich Iott's SS photos. It's not embeddable, so watch it here.