Boing Boing 

Just look at these spooky banana ghosts

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Just look at 'em with their evil chocolate chip eyes. Part of Let's Go Chipper's series on healthy Halloween snacks in the run-up to Saint Beetus Day. Also:

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Video: maker of incredible working model engines

Retired naval mechanic José Manuel Hermo Barreiro makes incredibly intricate models of engines like the V-12. (via Devour)

Video: turning plastic bottles into string

Demonstration of a DIY device to turn plastic bottles into plastic string/ribbon. (Thanks, Rick "Under The Weather" Pescovitz!)

Kegging improved my homebrewing experience

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These 2.5 gallon ball lock kegs have reinvigorated my homebrewing hobby. I now have 6 of them in rotation and bottling is no longer a giant, messy pain.

The upsides to kegging, for me, are myriad. No more clumsy bottle filler. No more sanitizing cases of empty glass bottles. No more stinky, sticky bug filled bottle collection waiting to be cleaned. At its simplest, you siphon your beer from your fermenter into the keg and seal it up.

The only nuance is carbonation. You can bottle/cask condition in the keg, but you need less sugar (about 1/2-1/3 of what you'd normally use.) If you'd rather, it is also very easy to force carbonate your beer with CO2 and skip the entire bottling sugar step.

I use this handy CO2 charger and this tap, force carbonation is harder with them but it can be done. If you buy a more complex CO2 filling system, it gets quite easy.

Refrigerate a keg for 24-36 hrs before serving. It takes a while to cool them down!

Kegging was a major step in simplifying my homebrew process. Without the mess of bottling this hobby became fun again.

2.5 Gallon Keg New w/ Ball Lock Connections

DIY AT-AT cat house

Would you like to make your own felt cat house in the shape of a Star Wars AT-AT? First, you'll need a cat. [The Owner Build Network. Thanks, Heather!]

Hapheads: new web-series from Jim Munroe and the "Ghosts With Shit Jobs" crew

Jim Munroe sez, "Ten years from now, videogames are so immersive that teenagers learn lethal skills just by playing. They're called hapheads. The folks I made Ghosts With Shit Jobs with made this trailer I adapted from a book-length story I'm working on. Don't know if we can honestly call what we do lo-fi sci-fi anymore -- with fight scenes and full-on special effects, it's way more in the mold of traditional action sci-fi. I'm thinking what'll set it apart is the characterization of the father & daughter (my emotional entry into the story, thinking about my relationship with my daughter in 10 years) and the subcultural millieu that'll emerge."

Haphead (Thanks, Jim!)

Cambodia's creaky, funky bamboo trains: like riding 'a bat'


A norry being operated by Doak Khemra moves down the tracks at the village of Stung Touch. Jesse Pesta/The Wall Street Journal.

Jesse Pesta has a wonderful, colorful piece in the Wall Street Journal about a form of transportation unique to Cambodia: bamboo trains, known locally as "norry." Snip:

In Cambodia, real trains are almost as rare as bamboo trains anywhere else. The impoverished country has a network of tracks left over from French colonial days, but there are hardly any actual trains running anymore. Only one line is in service. The railway never recovered from the horrors of Khmer Rouge murder and war decades ago.

Don't miss his great photos and videos accompanying the article online A six-year-old girl photographed just before her first norry ride is told by her mom that it would be like riding "a bat."

"Creaky Trains Made of Bamboo Still Rule the Rails in Cambodia" [wsj.com]

White House Maker Faire taking place in 2014

BB pal Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation at the White House, sends word of the first White House Maker Faire taking place later this year. From the White House Blog:

Inspired by “Joey Marshmallow” and the millions of citizen-makers driving the next era of American innovation, we are thrilled to announce plans to host the first-ever White House Maker Faire later this year. We will release more details on the event soon, but it will be an opportunity to highlight both the remarkable stories of Makers like Joey and commitments by leading organizations to help more students and entrepreneurs get involved in making things.

Meanwhile, you can get involved by sending pictures or videos of your creations or a description of how you are working to advance the maker movement to maker@ostp.gov, or on Twitter using the hashtag #IMadeThis. Take Joey’s advice – don’t be bored, make something. Maybe you, like Joey, can take your making all the way to The White House.

"Announcing the First White House Maker Faire"

Open source brain-computer interface for makers

Joel Murphy (co-creator of the nifty PulseSensor, an Arduino sensor that detects pulse) teamed up with Conor Russomanno to create the OpenBCI, a Bluetooth-enabled, Arduino-compatible, 8-channel EEG platform that gives you access to high-quality, raw EEG data. What can you do with it? Biofeedback, DIY sleep research, creating art, controlling systems, and more.

They've got a Kickstarter going to fund it.

Seahack: participate in sea exploration!

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Five years ago this month, my pal, BB contributor, and IFTF colleague Ariel Waldman created Spacehack, a directory of projects through which anyone can participate in space exploration. It was a very influential endeavor, igniting many people's interest and excitement in space research and how we can all get involved even here on terra firm. Today, Ariel has launched Seahack, a similar site to spur participation in sea exploration! From DIY underwater robots to crowdsourced analysis of deep-sea videos to a project aimed at decoding the language of whales, Seahack is a great way to get your feet wet (sorry) in ocean science even if you're a landlubber like me. Congratulations, Ariel!

Seahack: A Directory of Ways to Participate In Sea Exploration

How to: Build a $10 DIY microscope

First, Kenji Yoshino, a post-baccalaureate fellow at Grinnell College, came up with a way to build a microscope out of an old smartphone using just $10 worth of extra parts. Which is pretty awesome, in and of itself. But, then, scientist and blogger Bethany Brookshire tried to follow Yoshino's instructions. She sort-of succeeded — after a lot of small failures. But it's that story — about the messy, imperfect process of real-world DIY — that really rocks. Read it, and you'll learn a lot about the process of making, and what it's like to make somebody else's project your own. In the real world, building the microscope is as much a learning experience as using the thing.

Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: A kids' mystery novel with electromagnets, burglar alarms, and other gadgets you can build

Nick and Tesla are a couple of teenagers who get themselves into trouble and must build MAKE-style projects to save the day. There are two books in the series, aimed at ages 9-12, and they contain a number of fun DIY projects. The publisher, Quirk Books, kindly gave us permission to run a lengthy PDF excerpt from Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab that includes plans for making a compressed-air water rocket.

The forthcoming followup title is called Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage: A Mystery with Hoverbots, Bristle Bots, and Other Robots You Can Build Yourself.

Nick and Tesla Excerpt

Popular Mechanics: The 110 Best DIY Tips Ever

To celebrate their 110th anniversary, our friends at Popular Mechanics assembled a collection of 110 tips from their archives.

The August 1955 issue told a farsighted person to punch a pinhole in cardboard and peer through it to read small type. It still does the trick!

DIY Halloween: Baby Jackhammer Jill

This year, my husband, Chris, and I made a baby and a costume to put her in. Here, Althea Koerth Baker, 4 days old, shows off her Halloween costume and her ability to tolerate parental shenanigans.

Inkodye: cool alternative to traditional screenprinting

On Monday night I had dinner with Jesse Genet, the founder of Lumi, a company that makes photographic fabric dye called Inkodye. She was wearing a shirt with an Inkodye print on it. This stuff is amazing! Jesse made the above entertaining video that shows the process of making a photographic print. I just ordered a starter kit. I can't wait to try it out.

B.F. Skinner totally geeks out over the box he built for his baby

The Skinner Box, as applied to human infants, was not what you think it was. Psychologist B.F. Skinner did not raise his daughter inside a box without human contact. Nor did she later grow up to be crazy and commit suicide because of said lack of contact. In fact, just a few years ago, Deborah Skinner Buzan wrote a column for The Guardian debunking those powerful urban legends herself.

Instead, what Skinner did was build his daughter the sort of crib that you might expect a scientist raised in the era of mid-20th-century Popular Science-style scientific futurism and convenience to build. He called it the "Air-Crib" and it was designed to maintain a perfectly comfortable temperature, provide baby Deborah with built-in toys to keep her entertained, be simple to clean, and make it easier to stick to the "cry it out" and heavily regimented feeding/sleeping schedules that were, at the time, standard parenting advice.

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New book on HOWTO to make cute crochet people (including famous ones)

Boing Boing reader Allison Hoffman, whose crocheted Breaking Bad dolls I blogged about previously, tells us:

Thanks to your positive review and others like it, I was able to write a book and its release is set for October 1st! Its a how-to book on creating custom dolls to look like famous or not-so-famous people.

It looks great. Amazon Link: "AmiguruME: Make Cute Crochet People"

S.F. tomorrow (8/8): Boing Boing, the Beats, and Underground Publishing

Allen ginsberg william burroughs and sphinx 1953

If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, I hope you'll join me tomorrow evening, August 8, for "Boing Boing Presents: The Beats' Influence on Underground Publishing," a panel discussion at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. The program is part of "Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg," an intimate portrait of the Beat generation in the form of Ginsberg's snapshots. I'm looking forward to interviewing several personal friends and inspirations on stage, starting at 6:30pm. The panel is free with museum admission! My guests include:

* V. Vale, founder of Search & Destroy and RE/Search

* RU Sirius, founder of Mondo 2000, High Frontiers, and Reality Hackers

* Ron Turner, founder of Last Gasp Books

* Layla Gibbon, editor of Maximum Rocknroll

"Boing Boing Presents: The Beats' Influence on Underground Publishing"

SF 8/8: Boing Boing, the Beats, and Underground Publishing

Right now, San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum is exhibiting "Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg," an intimate portrait of the Beat generation in the form of Ginsberg's snapshots, hand-annotated years later. On Thursday, August 8, Boing Boing is presenting a panel at the museum about the Beats' Influence On Underground Publishing. I'm honored to have the opportunity to interview live on stage several icons of San Francisco's counterculture press who had a huge influence on my life and career:

* V. Vale, founder of Search & Destroy and RE/Search (check out their new site!)

* RU Sirius, founder of Mondo 2000, High Frontiers, and Reality Hackers

* Ron Turner, founder of Last Gasp Books

* Layla Gibbon, editor of Maximum Rocknroll

The panel is 6:30pm - 8pm and free with museum admission. Hope to see you there!

"Boing Boing Presents: The Beats' Influence on Underground Publishing"

Building a 15-foot-tall brain-controlled brain for Burning Man and beyond

My cousin Katherine Leipper is part of a crew that's building a 15-foot-tall head and brain with interactive light and flame effects that will be controlled by a participant's brain waves.

Yup. Weirdness runs in our family.

She and her co-makers will take it to Burning Man, but the bigger plan is to take it around to schools after the festival, "to get kids excited about science, technology and fabrication."

Katherine and her brain-building buddies have a crowdsourcing campaign under way. They're well on their way, but if you love 15-foot-tall brain-controlled brains like I love 15-foot-tall brain-controlled brains, and you think America's children need more 15-foot-tall brain-controlled brains in their classrooms because SCIENCE, you should kick in a little to ensure this weird dream comes true.

Katherine explains the wild idea to Boing Boing, below:

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Limor "ladyada" Fried profiled by MIT

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MIT is rightfully proud of alumna Limor Fried, the superhero hardware hacker behind AdaFruit Industries, creators of fantastic DIY, open source electronics components and kits. We're proud of Limor too! From MIT News:

Apart from selling kits, original devices and providing hundreds of guides online, Adafruit works around the world with schools, teachers, libraries and hackerspaces — community technology labs — to promote STEM education, designing curricula in circuitry and electronics, among other initiatives.

The company has released an online children’s show called “A is for Ampere.” On a weekly Saturday night program, “Ask an Engineer,” anyone can ask Fried questions online or show off their original devices.

One of Fried’s favorite stories, from a young viewer of “Ask an Engineer,” illuminates what she sees as the growing diversity of engineering. “A parent emailed us after watching the show with his daughter,” she says. “I had another engineer on the show with me — my friend Amanda — and this parent’s daughter asked, ‘Dad, are there boy engineers too?’”

"Meet the maker"

HOWTO make a "Swiss Army knife" key ring

I have an annoyingly bulky key ring. I frequently clip it to my belt like a janitor, but this DIY "Swiss Army Key Ring" seems like a nice alternative. However, it does mean giving up car remote fobs. Swiss Army Key Ring (Instructables)

Amazing old HOWTO book: "Lee's Priceless Recipes, a collection of famous formulas and simple methods."

My mom recently found and scanned this fantastic family heirloom, a 1917 edition of "Lee's Priceless Recipes, A Collection of Famous Formulas and Simple Methods For Farmers, Dairymen, Housekeepers, Mechanics, Manufacturers, Druggists, Chemists, Perfumers, Barbers, Chiropodists, Renovators, Dyers, Bakers, Confectioners, Woodworkers, Decorators, Painters, Paper-hangers, Metal-workers, Hunters, Trappers, Tanners, Taxidermists, Stockmen, et cetera, and all people in every department of human endeavor."

A quick internet search shows that the book was published starting in the late 1800s, and was reissued in later editions through the 20th century. You can buy a 1990's reissue here.

More scans below. Click on each to view larger size. Note the particularly grody use of Pomegranate root extract!

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Nano Quadcopter open source tiny drone kit

Crazyffff Designed by Bitcraze, the Crazyflie Nano Quadcopter is an open source development kit to make your own tiny drones. It's $173 from Seeed Studio Depot and looks like great fun to make and fly! "Crazyflie Nano Quadcopter Kit 10-DOF with Crazyradio"

Project: Recycle old scientific equipment into new tools for public engagement

When ocean scientist Andrew Thaler found an old, outdated water level gauge, he found a way to give it new life — turning it into a tool to measure public interest in sea level rise. Instead of tracking water, the Sea Leveler tracks how much people are talking about water on Twitter.

Thursday: White House/Tom Kalil Google Hangout about the maker movement

On Thursday (3/28) at 3pm ET, Boing Boing pal and White House innovation advisor Tom Kalil is hosting a Google Hangout to talk about the maker movement! Tom has been instrumental in helping President Obama and the administration understand the value of maker culture in sci/tech education. Joining Tom in the Hangout will be folks like MAKE founder Dale Dougherty, Super Awesome Maker Show's Super Awesome Sylvia, and Ford future tech lead Venkatesh Prasad. "White House Hangout: The Maker Movement"

(Above, President Obama checks out a soccer-playing robot built by Blue Bell, PA high school students. Photo by Pete Souza.)

Two tesla coils in concert

Photo: Tesla Concert 3, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from Tau Zero's photostream, shared in the BB Flickr Pool.

"A concert on the engineering quad, University of Illinois," explains Tau Zero. "The arcs reproduced the fundamental tones of music played back through a PA system. Part of the Engineering Open House."

Bitblox: wooden alphabet blocks inspired by our pixelated nostalgia

BB reader Readblood shares this photo in the Boing Boing Flickr pool and explains,

Bitblox are wooden alphabet blocks inspired by our pixelated nostalgia. While pixels continue shrinking out of sight on our digital screens, they live on in full chromatic and tactile splendor in these one-of-a-kind alphabet blocks.
$45 a set, available at glyfyx.com. Each limited-edition set includes 28 blocks, "featuring a total of 168 letters, numbers, symbols and quirky pictograms." They're "hand-manufactured in the United States from renewable, American grown, kiln-dried basswood," printed with non-toxic, child-safe inks, free of lead.

Build your own quantum entanglement experiment at home

It may be a little late for folks on the East Coast to round up the necessary parts before the blizzard really hits, but this would be a fun trapped-in-the-house project. It's not cheap, but it does give you the opportunity to see how subatomic particles interact with one another in the privacy of your own home. In a post at Scientific American George Musser explains how he put his experiment together. A follow-up promises to show you how to use it, and what he found when he did.

Insanely labor-intensive Gangnam Style flipbook animation video

An incredibly labor-intensive animated flipbook version of PSY's "Gangnam Style." Such a bummer that Etoilec1, the talented creator of this stunning video, was sound-blocked by YouTube's automated IP enforcement police. Etoilec1's original video is here (and below), in higher rez, but it's stripped of sound. Subscribe to his channel or follow him on Facebook, for more flipbook fun. Above, a lower-rez copycat upload on Vimeo. (Thanks, Joe Sabia!)

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