Boing Boing 

Stream Machine water cannon - high pressure fun

The genius of these Stream Machine water cannons is their simplicity. A single moving part — a big fat piston with handle grip — squeezes a wide stream of water down and out their large diameter tubes. Filling them you reverse, sucking in water via the same orifice. When loaded (takes about 2 seconds) they gush water at least 30 feet. Impossible to clog, and nearly unbreakable, both kids and adults can operate them around pools, lakes, rafts, canoes and boats. These are the regulation-issued weapons at our place.

See more photos at Wink Fun.

Awesome spooky housewares

Dellamorte & Co does a fine line of handmade, spooky-gothy housewares and fashion items, including this gorgeous vampire bat vase.

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The story of a struggling sculptor who makes a deal with Death

Comics legend Scott McCloud returns to fiction with The Sculptor, the exceptional story of a struggling sculptor who makes a deal with Death for incredible artistic ability at the cost of his life in 200 days. The story is long and sprawling and details those last days as David tries to leave his mark on the art world. It’s epic and heartbreaking and sure to leave a lasting impression when you’re done.

McCloud has been a frontrunner of online publishing since releasing Reinventing Comics in 2000. It’s interesting then that his newest work is something I feel has to be experienced in print. The book is THICK, and on some level almost feels sculpted; the design of the thing from jacket to cover to page is presented as a complete work of art. This has to be important when you name your book The Sculptor. The book is beautifully built, and I actually prefer the blue hardcover illustrations of David and Meg over the full color dust jacket. Pages are colored mostly in blue, which is unique and serves to make the drawings look almost like a blueprint or an artistic sketch at times, underscoring the sculpting/art element of the story in a cool way. McCloud’s drawing is top notch; he uses the full power of comics, sometimes going for pages without a word of dialogue, letting the pictures tell the story. On several occasions I paused to study pages for longer than I normally would, just because there is so much going on in each panel. There is not a wasted image among them, every little expression and detail is used to tell the story. It’s great to see an artist putting so much effort into every aspect of their work, and having the full weight of it in hand elevates the experience. – Alex Strine

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Previously: The Sculptor: Scott McCloud's magnum opus (about magnum opuses)

Drawn and Quarterly's mammoth twenty-fifth anniversary collection

776 pages commemorating a quarter-century of Canada's outstanding, astounding indie comics press, including essays by Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Lethem and Lemony Snicket, and featuring seminal stories from Jillian Tamaki, Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine, and Art Spiegelman.

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America: the spatula

What says God Bless America better than a Stars and Bars spatula? (via Canopy)

Portraits of the world’s most storied rock guitars

Most of the guitarists, bassists, and mandolin players in photographer Jay Blakesberg’s just released gem of a new book, Guitars That Jam: Portraits of the World’s Most Storied Rock Guitars, are members of bands that use rock, bluegrass, the blues, and R&B as launch pads for improvisational jams. But one artist stands apart from this group – Willie Nelson – who posed for Blakesberg in 2014 at the Lockin’ Music Festival in Arrington, Virginia with his famously beat-up classical guitar. Nelson calls his 1969 Martin N-20 “Trigger,” after the horse ridden by matinee idol Roy Rogers, but with all due respect to the red-headed stranger, Willie doesn’t quite get the metaphor right. Comparing his guitar, as well as the rest of the Martin, Gibson, Fender, Alembic, Modulus, and Ibanez axes in Guitars That Jam, to a horse is fine, but musicians like Willie, Jerry Garcia, Warren Haynes, Carlos Santana, Trey Anastasio, and Neil Young are polar opposites of the saccharin Rogers. I’d say they are more like rodeo stars, or perhaps elite jockeys, who ride their thoroughbreds, night after night, to the musical equivalent of the Triple Crown.

Blakesberg captures the energy of these artists (plus more than 50 others), the sheer beauty of their instruments, and the intimate relationship between artist and machine, with the sure hand and keen eye that has made him a favorite of rock bands and music fans from coast to coast. Accompanying each photo of the artist in performance with his or her guitar is a statement about the instrument, usually written by the artist. These range from the ethereal (“I didn’t go after this guitar; this guitar came to me,” says Steve Kimock of his 1972 Charles Lobue Explorer) to the loyal (“This is the one I always go back to,” says Trey Anastasio of his 2002 Paul Languedoc Custom) to the grudgingly respectful (“It’s heavy, and in general kind of a pain in the ass – just as a good blues guitar should be,” says Jackie Greene of his 2010 National Reso-Phonic Resonator). But Willie’s son, Lukas, has clearly caught the naming bug from his dad, and may even do the old man one better. “The name of the guitar is ‘Georgia’” Lukas says of his 1957 Gibson Les Paul, “but the other name for it is ‘the Spanish Inquisition,’ because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.” Nice! A young Monty Python fan! “It’s got an unexpected growl and a lot of spirit,” he adds, as does this terrific new book by Jay Blakesberg.

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Lego Simpsons Kwik-E-Mart Building Kit


Since I've never seen a complete episode of The Simpsons (let me know in the comments if it's a good show) I can't vouch for this Lego Kwik-E-Mart Building Kit's verisimilitude. But it looks cool!

Read the first chapter of Neal Stephenson's new novel Seveneves

Neal Stephenson's new novel Seveneves is out!

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Jig for making paracord bracelets

Paracord bracelets (or survival bracelets) are a popular, fun-to-make fashion accessory, and can also come in handy if you suddenly need to unravel the bracelet and use the cord to make a tourniquet, secure a tent, tow a lifeboat, make a pair of snowshoes, or… fill in the blank here (choose from hundreds of emergency situations in which paracord saves the day). And making these bracelets is really easy, especially if you’ve got a jig to keep your cord taut while working the knots.

I just got this EZzzy-Jig ($14), which comes with 12mm and 15mm attached buckles to plug your own buckles and cord into, as well as an adjustable ruler on its side to help you make the exact length you want. If you’ve made these bracelets before, the instructions for the jig should make perfect sense. But if you’re a newbie like me, you might also want to check out Beadaholique’s How to Use the EZzzy-Jig Bracelet Maker on YouTube. The instructions that come with the Paracord Planet cord (which you will need since the jig does not come with any cords or buckles) will get you started on a basic cobra braided bracelet. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to whip one of these bracelets up in 10 minutes flat.

See more photos at Wink Fun.

A tiki-bar for hamsters (and hedgehogs)

From the tiny pu-pu platter to the miniature cocktail umbrella, Tiny Hamster and his hedgehog pal are living the good life.

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Prankster Magic – fake box labels, awesome card tricks, and other tomfoolery

Prankster Magic includes some excellent card and coin tricks that kids can quickly learn. The illustrations are clear and appealingly cartoonish. Some of the tricks are “self-working,” while others require mastering basic sleight-of-hand.

The prank section is fun, too. The book comes with a fake piece of chewed-up pink bubblegum, with suggestions on where to put it for maximum entertainment value (like the screen of your big sister’s mobile phone).

Prankster Magic also includes two pages of phony labels that you can apply to food product boxes. I put a “98% Free of Small Bugs” sticker on a box of Cheerios and freaked out my 12-year-old daughter, wife, and sister-in-law. “Take it back to the store!” my wife said, alarm in her voice. Hahaha!

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Introducing the Boing Boing Store (and a special launch discount)!

Today, we launched the Boing Boing Store! It's packed with great deals on everything from gadgets and gear to software to drones to undercover vaporizers. We even have a bunch of freebies, as well as giveaways for things like iPads, Apple Watches, Android phones, and more.

All the deals Have limited lifespans, and we will be posting new deals all the time. The best way to stay on top of everything we offer is to either create an account and sign up for our newsletter or sign up for our Store RSS Feed.

We would like to offer a special launch discount to our readers! Enter code BB10OFF at checkout to receive 10% off your purchase. (Coupon Code expires 5/25 @11:59 PM PST)

Encyclopedia of Electronic Components

When I was one of the editors at Make: Books, one of the projects I was proudest to have helped conceive of and edit was Charles Platt’s Make: Electronics (which has now been a best-seller for years). Growing up being absurdly visual and suffering from mild dyslexia, I found it incredibly difficult to learn electronics using the books of the day. They were usually very poorly written, with bad editing, dark and dreary photos, and crude diagrams. Forrest Mims’ 1983 Getting Started in Electronics, beautifully hand-drawn on graph paper, with succinct and clear text and playful examples, was a revelation to me.

For Make: Electronics we wanted to create a Getting Started for the early 21st century – well-written, beautifully photographed and illustrated, and in high-quality, full-color. Charles Platt and Make: delivered on that promise, in spades, with Make: Electronics and its follow-up volume, Make: More Electronics. And Charles continues to knock it out of the park with Encyclopedia of Electronic Components, currently in two volumes, with a third on the way.
 Volume 1 covers batteries, power supplies, motors, resistors, capacitors, inductors, switches, encoders, relays, diodes, transistors, and more. Each entry describes what it does, how it works, variants on the component, how to use it, and what can go wrong with it. Each entry is illustrated with well-shot photos (the components are shot on a graph paper background, so you can get some idea of their size), charts and graphs, and cut-away diagrams. The writing is very approachable while not shying away from technical rigor. These are fun books for picking up and scanning a component listing to learn more about the component, its variants, applications, and how it might fail. And, the books are an invaluable reference if you’re working on a project and want to gain a deeper understanding of the specific components you’re working with.

Volume 2, subtitled Signal Processing, covers LEDs, LCDs, audio, amplification, digital logic, and more. The two books together cover a lot of the common components you encounter in most basic-to-intermediate electronics work. Volume 3 (available now for pre-order) will fill in the one major missing component class – all manner of sensors.

I cannot imagine what it’s like to be growing up today with an interest in electronics and DIY high-technology. Smartly written, visual, and well-produced books like the Make: Electronics series and these Encyclopedia of Electronic Components volumes open up the world of electrical engineering and high-tech tinkering to a wider audience than ever before. – Gareth Branwyn

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Dolls with hearing aids, port-wine stains and canes

Makielab, the 3D printed toy company my wife Alice founded, has created a line of toys for the Toy Like Me campaign, which urges toy companies to make toys that all children can see themselves in.

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Zombicide will have you running for your life

Zombicide, or Zombicide Season 1 as it is affectionately called, is the first offering by Guillotine Games. It’s a zombie survival board game that recreates the feeling of being swarmed by dozens of zombies with tons of replay value. There are ten missions inside the game’s instruction booklet and even more offered on the official Zombicide website. Each mission rearranges the tiles in different ways to create new maps. Typically the missions – chosen to accommodate the number of players – involve surviving and making it to an exit after certain conditions are met.

Players start with one of six characters, each which has a different set of skills that can help players survive the zombie hoards. Each time a zombie is killed, or when certain mission objects are completed, characters earn experience points that open up new skills. However, character cards have different color increments on their experience chart. This makes leveling a double-edged sword. Each mission has different zombie spawning points. At the end of every round zombies will spawn at these points. One of the zombie cards is flipped up for each spawning point, and the second any player goes into warmer color increments then the instructions for that color are followed. The warmer the color, the deadlier the circumstances as tougher and more copious amounts of zombies will appear.

In addition to leveling mechanics, characters get weapons/items that help them kill zombies by doing searches of buildings, and cars if they’re on the board. Weapons have varying damage capabilities and increase the chances to hit a zombie as combat is resolved with a six-sided die; the weapon determines the lowest number a player needs to win the encounter. Typically, if a zombie ends up in the same space as a player, that person will end up injured if the undead entity is still up. Players want to take out the zombies as soon as they can because after that first hit they’re dead. This creates not only a sense of urgency to complete the mission, but to make sure any zombie threats are dealt with.

When people win Zombicide, the victory is so very sweet because it is easy to lose within six rounds with some scenarios. Sometimes the difference between winning and losing is one card. Hearing something like, “If it wasn’t for that last zombie card, we would have won,” is common for this game. That difference of one card will keep people playing over and over again, having fun while they do it but desperate to get that victory. – Kris Ganske

See more photos at Wink Fun.

The Subprimes: a novel of the Piketty/Klein apocalypse

The Harvard Business Review asked me to review Karl Taro Greenfield's magical econopocalypse novel The Subprimes, and I was delighted.

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Exotic eyeball jewelry and housewares

Stefano Prima is not content to make rings and stalks sporting everyday taxidermy eyeballs -- rather, his pieces sport fanciful reptile irises, vertical goat-slits, terrifying basilisk pupils and even square pupils.

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