Boing Boing 

Cory in DC tomorrow

Reminder: I'm heading to DC tomorrow to give a lunchtime talk at New America Foundation, from 1230h to 14h. Admission is free, but they're looking for an RSVP.

Cory in Philly

A reminder: I'm giving a free lecture tonight at 17h at the Wharton School in Philadelphia; I'm in town because I'm the guest of honor at PhilCon, the world's oldest science fiction convention.

Florida Atheists' Xmas ad campaign


After years of hearing the Christian right complain about the nonexistent "War on Christmas," the Florida chapter of American Atheists have decided to finally essay a skirmish. They'll be placing bus-ads in Florida this season advertising the fact that millions of Floridians are atheists and inviting atheists to attend their Ft Lauderdale convention Dec 18-19. I'm assuming that religious fundamentalists will oblige them by going crazy and make a huge stink, which'll ensure that the news of the convention is spread far and wide.

"Every year groups like The Catholic League and American Family Association told Americans about a war on Christmas that simply did not exist," American Atheists Communications Director Blair Scott says in the announcement. "Last year we thought we would give them what they seemed to want and fired the first shot in the war on Christmas. To both groups we say, 'Happy Holidays!'"

Atheist Group's New Florida Billboards About to Piss Off a Whole Bunch of Jesus Fans

Cory in Philly, DC

I'm headed to Philadelphia next week to be the guest of honor at PhilCon (Nov 18-20), and while I'm in the area, I'm giving a free talk at the Wharton School at UPenn (Nov 17, 5PM). On my way home, I'm stopping in DC to give a lunchtime talk at the New America Foundation on Nov 22 (details TBD). Hope to see you there!

SF in SF this Saturday: Kim Stanley Robinson and Ceclia Holland

The next installment of the always-awesome SF-in-SF reading series features two exceptional writers: Kim Stanley Robinson and Ceclia Holland (check out previous mentions of Robinson here). It's on Sat, Nov 12, doors open at 6PM, event starts at 7, and, as always, the authors will be interviewed by the estimable Terry Bisson. Free, suggested donation $5-10 (benefits Variety Children's Charity). The Variety Preview Room Theatre, 582 Market Street @ 2nd and Montgomery.

Then we take Berlin

Reminder: I'm doing a live reading in Berlin tonight at 2000h (Sankt Oberholz, Rosenthaler Str. 72, Berlin Mitte). Tschüss!

Competitive Sobriety Tests and Automotive Hot Wiring Classes Amongst Offerings at Machine Project's Benefit

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Echo Park's much loved Machine Project offers art, classes and civilized mayhem from Experimental Millinery and Bookbinding to Flame Effects (read: giant fireballs) and Sewing 101.

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Annually, a month's worth of epic programming is compressed into a single night's party.

At this year's benefit, DMV: After Dark, you will experience such phenomena as: car horn fanfare; competitive sobriety tests; workshops on breaking into and hot-wiring cars, as well as how to escape from a locked trunk, heavy metal polka, surrealistic eye charts, “secret pancakes," and a human vending machine which dispenses delicious food prepared by Donna Coppola of Auntie Em’s Kitchen fame.

The situation will be helped along with a giant bonfire, s'mores and Machine Project beer.

Machine Project Benefit, Los Angeles: Human Vending, Hot Wiring Cars, Competitive Sobriety Tests  

Cory coming to Hamburg, Berlin and Munich

I'm heading to Germany next week for a series of school visits and public appearances to promote the German edition of my novel For the Win. I'm doing public stops in Hamburg (Nov 7, 10AM, Hamburger Kinderbuchhaus im Altonaer Museum), Berlin (8PM, Sankt Oberholz), and Munich (7PM, Lovelybooks, livestream available). Full details at the RandomHouse.de site.

Physics contest winners

Yesterday, I asked you to submit your physics questions for a chance to win either VIP tickets to see Brian Greene tonight in New York City, or a DVD set of Greene's new NOVA series. I did the drawing this morning and the winners are:

Kevin Harrelson — Proud new owner of a DVD set of Brian Greene's Fabric of the Cosmos!

r matt — You're going to see Brian Greene live tonight in New York!

Both of you need to contact me to claim your prizes. You can reach me by email at maggie (dot) koerth (at) gmail (dot) com.

Remember: Not being chosen as the winner of the drawing doesn't mean your question won't make it into Brian Greene's hand. I'm sending on all the great questions from yesterday's thread to the fine folks at the World Science Festival. Watch the live stream tonight, starting at 10:00 pm Eastern, to see if your question made it!

Image: Dark and ordinary matter in the Universe, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from argonne's photostream

Help crowdfund scientific research!

Over the next two months, you can fund scientific research through Rockethub.

The SciFund challenge runs from November 1 through December 15. Essentially, it's an experiment by a group of scientists who think that they might be able to use crowdfunding to fuel their research. Forty-nine different projects, in a wide variety of disciplines, have signed on to the challenge.

You can browse the projects, decide which ones you'd like to help support, and make a donation. As a bonus, many of the projects are offering nice little gifts for crowdfunders. For instance, if you donate $75 to help researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst study the biology and physics of duck sex, you'll earn a pass code to access a regularly updated research blog, a collection of duck postcards, a "Duck Force!" mug, and a USB flash drive loaded with videos of explosive duck ejaculations that the scientists filmed for their research. (Naturally, this is one of the projects that have currently raised the most money.)

Not interested in duck sex? You're a rarity on the Internet, but there are plenty of other options. There are studies on depression, urban butterflies, cellulosic biofuels, and the mathematics of direct democracy.

Check out all 49 projects. And pledge your support to science!

Video Link

The 2011 DIY Halloween costume open thread

One artfully torn dress from Goodwill, white face paint, and some of that hairspray-style hair dye to color my hands and feet = A weekend of explaining what a "wight" is to people who have never read Game of Thrones. (Sadly, the cheap blue contact lenses I picked up at a gas station wouldn't go into my eyes successfully.)

What did you dress up as this year?

Maggie on Dr. Kiki's Science Hour

I'll be the guest on the Dr. Kiki's Science Hour podcast today. The live show starts at 6:00 pm Central time/ 4:00 pm Pacific. Can't join us this afternoon? A recording of the show will be posted on Saturday.

Live chat on science and art

What happens when you combine science, art, and humor? Join Marc Abrahams of the Ig Nobel Prizes and Brian Wecht, a theoretical physicist and half of the music comedy duo Ninja Sex Party, for a live chat on the connections between creativity and research. The chat starts today at 3:00 pm Eastern time.

Royal Society opens archive, kills productivity

60,000 peer-reviewed papers, including the first peer-reviewed scientific research journal in the world, are now available free online. The Royal Society has opened its historical archives to the public. Among the cool stuff you'll find here: Issac Newton's first published research paper and Ben Franklin's write-up about that famous kite experiment. Good luck getting anything accomplished today. Or ever again.

Celebrate the birth of the Internet

Dress in your best 1960s attire for a grand-opening party this Saturday at the Kleinrock Internet Heritage Site on the UCLA campus. The site is like Colonial Williamsburg for nerds (or is that redundant?), with a historical reconstruction of the lab where the Internet was born in 1969. The party starts at 1:00 pm. There will be drinks, snacks, and Internet pioneers to gawk at. They are not joking about the period costumes.

The Northern Lights meet the Mason-Dixon

How do you know that you just experienced a more-impressive-than-average display of the Northern Lights? When somebody can take a picture like the one above in freaking Arkansas. Arkansas, people.

Photographed by Brian Emfinger in Ozark, Arkansas, these auroras were triggered by a big coronal mass ejection—a burst of energy from the Sun that can interact with our atmosphere to produce particularly spectacular examples of the aurora borealis. I missed the light show last night, but Spaceweather.com has a collection of photos taken around the world, from Michigan to Norway.

Free teacher workshop on 3D printing in the classroom

NYC teachers: MakerBot is holding a free workshop on using DIY 3D printers in the classroom. It's a four-hour program at the Bot Farm in Brooklyn on Oct 29. "No prior knowledge of 3-D modeling or 3-D printing is required."