Pink Cake Box made this custom XKCD wedding cake for one of their customers in New Jersey: "The top of the cake includes cutouts of the comic characters with a red heart on a wire between them. The entire cake is covered in white fondant with black thin bands at the base of each tier. Equations inspired by this comic decorate the remaining tiers."
xkcd Comic Wedding Cake
(via Super Punch)
Bakers make cake with image of flash drive instead of image in ...
Resignation letter on cake
Katamari Damacy cake kicks ass
HOWTO bake a no-mess chocolate cake in five minutes
Funny cake decorating flub
AT-AT wedding cake
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William Gibson's latest novel, Zero History, is his best yet, a triumph of science fiction as social criticism and adventure. Continuing on from 2007's Spook Country, Zero History features a reformed, dried out version of Milgrim, the junkie anti-hero from Spook Country. He's been rehabilitated at the expense of Hubertus Bigend, the shadowy power-broker whom we first met in Pattern Recognition. Bigend has got Milgrim hunting for the designer behind a mysterious line of fetish-denim, in the hopes of remaking it as the basis for a lucrative US military contract; this being Bigend's idea of novelty-seeking good times.
Joining Milgrim is Hollis Henry, the former pop star from Spook Country, still reluctantly in Bigend's employ, but even more conflicted, and missing her ex-boyfriend, a thrill-seeking nutjob whose idea of a good time in jumping off tall buildings in a glidersuit. Milgrim -- and later, Hollis -- track the secret denim from South Carolina to London to Paris and back to London again, and very quickly find themselves embroiled in an intrigue involving US spooks, experimental UAVs, rogue infosec specialists, and a palace coup at Blue Ant, Bigend's legendary design and branding firm.
What makes Zero History into Gibson's best so far is how absolutely perfectly he captures the futuristic nature of the present day. Milgrim -- a junkie dried out after a ten year fugue of living rough and stealing to buy pills -- is well-suited to this task, emerging as if from a time-machine into the 21st century in full swing, able to narrate its essential strangeness without seeming contrived. Read the rest
Fisherman Wily Dean was trying to catch cow-nosed rays in Southern Maryland's Potomac River for a marine biologist this week, but he ended up netting an 8-foot-long bull shark. Unfortunately, the story doesn't have a happy ending for the shark. From NBC Washington:
"We had an interesting morning bringing it in," Dean said. "It was quite a fight."
"8-Foot Shark Caught in Potomac River" Read the rest
Once the shark was captured, the next question was: What the heck do you do with it?
"I am probably going to have it mounted, maybe the head," Dean said. "Right now, the shark's in the freezer."
Last night, the Hugo Awards, one of science fiction's most prestigious prizes, were presented in Melbourne at Aussiecon 4. The Hugo ceremony is one of my favorite parts of any WorldCon, and last night's event, emceed by Garth Nix, was a particularly outstanding edition. The ballot was extremely strong, with works that I really enjoyed competing in several categories. The voter and nominator turnout were both much higher than usual, and the program moved at a very, very good clip. This year's award, designed by Nick Stathopolous, was gorgeous, incorporating aboriginal motifs and an organic, Belle Époque look inspired by the Paris Metro signs. Kudos to the administrators on a smooth, well-run ceremony!
The fiction prizes were especially sweet this year. Best novel was an almost-unheard-of tie between China Mieville for his brilliant, mind-bending The City and the City and Paolo Bacigalupe for his stellar debut novel The Windup Girl. Best novella went to my collaborator Charlie Stross for Palimpsest, from his wonderful, mind-bending solo short story collection Wireless. Best novelette went to Peter Watts for The Island, from The New Space Opera 2. Boing Boing readers will remember Peter as the SF writer who was beaten and gassed near the US/Canada border when he got out of his car to ask why US customs officers were searching his car; he spent tens of thousands of dollars fighting the charge and the potential two-year sentence; was found guilty but received a suspended sentence. SF fans raised money to bring Peter to Australia, and his acceptance speech in which he called this the "best and worst year of his life," was brilliant. Read the rest
This is the world's first frozen margarita machine, invented and built by Mariano Martinez in 1971 from parts of a soft-serve ice cream maker. His inspiration: A 7-11 Slurpee.
Today, it resides in the collection of the National Museum of American History, where a museum director once called it a, "classic example of the American entrepreneurial spirit."
Smithsonian: Top 10 Inventions from the Collections of the National Museum of American History Read the rest
What would you make of medieval historical records that prominently note the occurrence of large crops of acorns? It's a bit of a weird departure from the kinds of things these records normally care about, i.e. battles and the deaths of famous people. In fact, the people keeping these records didn't even eat acorns, and other, more useful, crops aren't mentioned at all.
But, sometimes, an acorn might be more than just an acorn, according to a 2003 paper by classicist David Woods. That's because the Latin word for "little nut" and the word sometimes used to describe the swollen lymph nodes caused by the Capital-P Plague are one and the same.
The Latin term glandularius is the root of our word for gland; etymologically, glandula means 'little nuts' because this is what they felt like when palpated. There is at least one other example of a plague record using glandulara as a descriptor. In c. 660 the Burgundian 'Chronicle of Fredegar' describes the 599 plague of Marseilles as a cladis glanduaria.
So "a spark of leprosy and an unheard of abundance of nuts", becomes the far more logical, "we've had some issues with leprosy and The Plague this year".
Contagions: Plague among the nuts
Image via Wikipedia user Twid, under CC Read the rest
Parenting advice from another era: give your squalling children a pipe to smoke! Right up there with "Speak roughly to your little boy and beat him when he sneezes."
Smoke Duke of Durham
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Sanka: because your old man beats you when he's got the jitters.
Has his old man been hitting the coffee again?
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Cannabis Catering offers gourmet meals laced with pot. The delivery service isn't cheap, around $100/person, but damn those pot
-atoes look tasty. And yes, you need a medical marijuana card to order. From Fast Company:
The idea for Cannabis Catering came to (Chef Frederick) Nesbitt when he learned that his friend's diabetic mother had been diagnosed with cancer. "I would bring back edibles [from the dispensary], but they're so high in high-fructose corn syrup that she was high off sugar rather than being medicated," he says. So Nesbitt began experimenting with his own pot food--starting with mashed potatoes.
"Meet the Personal Chef of Pot
" (Thanks, Mathias Crawford!) Read the rest
Salon's got a blood-boiling interview with Aaron Kupchik, author of Homeroom Security: School Discipline in an Age of Fear
, a close look at four very different US schools. Each school has a different demographic and different location, but the thing they all share is a set of zero-tolerance policies that turn them into Kafka-esque nightmares:
They started in the '90s, and they were spurred by the federal government's Safe and Drug Free Schools Act, which required schools to implement zero tolerance for certain things like weapons. What schools have done across the country in the last 15 years is to expand greatly what falls under zero-tolerance policies. So they extend to not just deadly weapons and drugs but sometimes fighting and prescription drugs and other types of substances. What they mean is that if you're caught violating this broad rule, there's no discussion and no elaboration of why you did this. No investigation. We just punish you with the one-size-fits-all punishment.
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We're teaching kids what it means to be a citizen in our country. And what I fear we're doing is teaching them that what it means to be an American is that you accept authority without question and that you have absolutely no rights to question punishment. It's very Big Brother-ish in a way. Kids are being taught that you should expect to be drug tested if you want to participate in an organization, that walking past a police officer every day and being constantly under the gaze of a security camera is normal.
Here's video of the triumphant success of an elaborate kids' Rube Goldberg machine, created at an "informal Rube Goldberg summer camp for kids ages 3-8." I know nothing about this summer-camp, but it seems like one of the great Good Things of our era -- especially judging from the awesome elation of the kids after the successful run!
How to Get a Beach Ball Into a Galvanized Bucket (the Hard Way)
OK Go's Rube Goldberg music video
Rube Goldberg rat-run sends a neutral balloon through dozens of ...
RFID Rube Goldberg device
Rube Goldberg Machine animation from Sesame Street
Rube Goldberg Cream Egg killer
Ideal toy commercials from 1963
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My latest Locus Magazine column, "Proprietary Interest," talks about the way that our instinctive ownership claims over the stuff we find and post to the Internet do more harm than good. When we claim that public domain images, interesting links, or other net-fodder are "ours," we invite a muddle in which others make even more compelling ownership claims. For example, if the old public-domain Lysol ad
you scan is "yours," then why shouldn't it be Lysol's
?. This is a world in which we spend all our time arguing about whose interest is most legitimate, instead of sharing, discussing, criticizing and enjoying the world around us.
Any ethical claim to ownership over a scan of a public domain work should be treated with utmost suspicion, not least because of all the people with stronger claims than the scanner! To be consistent with the ethical principle that one should never use another's work without permission (regardless of the law or the public domain), every scanner would have a duty to ask, at the very least, the corporations whose products are advertised in these old chestnuts (the very best of them are for brands that persist to today, since these vividly illustrate the way that our world has changed - for example, see the very frank Lysol douche ad). For if scanning a work confers an ownership interest, then surely paying for the ad's production offers an even more compelling claim!
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And the publishers of the magazines and the newspapers - to scan is one thing, but what about the firm that paid to physically print the edition that we make the scan from?
TipEx (a Commonwealth analogue for Wite-Out and other correction-tape products) has an ingenious and engaging YouTube marketing campaign: a video called "NSFW: A hunter shoots a bear," branches off into a kind of video-text-adventure, where you are invited to type verbs into a box and see what the bear and the hunter do with one another (you can get funny results out of "fuck," of course, and also "gets high with" and "dances" -- I'm sure there's more). It's a kind of next-generation Subservient Chicken, and the (no doubt blisteringly expensive) creative reworking of YouTube's familiar user-interface makes it even more click-trancey than its forebears.
This is how to use YouTube to sell a product.
Subservient Chicken's X-Rated Bits Exposed by Code
Food Porn -- Burger King Subservient Chicken
HPOA (HOPA?) girl "Jenny Whiteboard" is obvious troll LULZ - Boing ...
Lego boulder threatens civilization. Update: ugh, "stealth" viral ...
Motorola, could you please tell your viral marketer to get out of ...
Cellphone popcorn hoax revealed as viral marketing scam - Boing ...
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Case Study: LSD
, a PSA produced by Lockheed Aircraft (!) in 1969. Read the rest
Copyfighting banjo-picker Patrick Costello has a new book of free/open banjo tunes: Songs for Sunday
: "In this book you will find a selection of hymns, country gospel and even some blues
songs arranged for frailing banjo. The arrangements presented here blend melody and
rhythm so that you can sing along with the banjo and still be able to knock out a solo
once in a while. The accompanying DVD contains video workshops where I walk you
through each song." (Thanks, Patrick, via Submitterator!
) Read the rest