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

NewImage

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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