Boing Boing 

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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Brock Magiscope is a rugged microscope for everyday use

The trouble with most optical equipment is that it won’t get used unless it is out of the case, opened up, and powered on. But if it is opened and lying around, it will get highly abused. I buy my cameras, spectacles, binocs, etc. assuming that they’ll be dropped and splattered, and they should hold up to this misuse. But until now I haven’t been able to find a microscope strong enough to do its job yet sturdy enough to be left on the kitchen table ready for inspections by toddlers and teenagers.

Now after several years of looking for an everyday microscope suitable for a busy family I found one: The Brock Magiscope #70 is exactly what I had wanted. It has a single-moving part that my 5-year-old son could handle. He could put a leaf in and focus it right. Rubber bands hold the slide. For light the scope uses a fat fiber optic bent pipe which channels ambient room light to the underside of the objective lens (no electricity). There is no fussing, no adjustments. The viewing field is amazingly bright and clear, good enough for high school work.

or smart phone to its eyepiece, and get pretty good microphotography shots. And best of all it is practically indestructible. The thing is simple and rugged as a hammer. In fact, it was built for the abuse of K-12 classrooms, which is probably as grating as a war. I know one educational sailing company that keeps several on its boat – probably the most challenging environment anywhere for optics. Brock offers a “lifetime replacement warranty, including accidents.” If it breaks, ever, they replace it. And they do. (Some visiting kids managed to break the light optic – I have no idea how – but Brock replaced it with no questions asked. This tool is always on, always out (it sits next to the fruit bowl); we use it.

See more photos at Wink Fun.

Light-up Death Star beach ball


That's no moon -- it's a $10, 14" beach ball with impact activated LEDs!

Beautiful grotesqueries for your wunderkammer


Seattle's Anthony Hicks has an Etsy store filled with beautiful grotesqueries, including carny sideshow gaffs (come for the feejee mermaid, stay for the mummified head!), but also tooth-filled pocketwatches and artfully preserved homunculi.

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Let’s Catch the Lion: young version of the ancient Japanese game shogi

The Japanese game of shogi is an ancient game of strategy and planning, similar to chess. And like chess, with a little effort, anyone can learn to play but becoming proficient takes decades of experience and study. Let’s Catch the Lion aims to make the learning process a little bit easier.

Let’s Catch the Lion replaces the standard kanji-labelled chips with large, sturdy, square wooden blocks. Each block is printed with an animal as well as a set of helpful red circles indicating permitted moves. The standard shogi board is also replaced with a much smaller one (3 squares by 4 squares), likewise printed with friendly animals.

The one caveat is that the provided instructions are all in Japanese. However, by reading a standard set of shoji rules (like those listed on Wikipedia) and studying the plentiful illustrations included in the rules booklet, non-Japanese speaking players can easily learn to set-up and play this most basic version of this most challenging game. And, once this set is mastered, Gentosha offers three more sets, each a little more complex than the one before it. – Joel Neff

Badass blankets: Shining, sasquatch, Cthulhu, ancient aliens


Some beautiful new housewares from the people who brought you the Krampus Christmas sweaters.

Randall "XKCD" Munroe's next book: THING EXPLAINER


Coming this November (pre-order here), Thing Explainer expands the premise of Up Goer Five, Munroe's blueprint of the Saturn Five rocket that restricted its vocabulary to the thousand most common English words.

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Dragons Beware: Claudette's back in the sequel to Giants Beware!

2012's Giants Beware introduced Claudette and her adventuring pals in one of the strongest, funniest YA graphic novels I've ever enjoyed; the followup, Dragons Beware keeps all the charm and excitement while advancing the story.Read the rest

Gorgeous custom science fiction jewelry


Pittsburgh's Paul Michael Bierker is a jeweler who makes incredible, nerdy rings and other jewelry, from the Tie Fighter engagement rings to the Han Solo in Carbonite rings (also available as a pendant).

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Cel-shaded jeans, now for sale!


Last summer's Borderlands-style brilliant cel-shaded jeans are now available as £77 custom readymades from Etsy's Deja Neuf Heures.

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Suburbia board game: a simple, subtle economic simulation

Suburbia is a technocrat’s take on urban planning. The art is streamlined to the point of austerity, there is almost no luck, and the game is unashamed to show off its mathematical guts. At heart, Suburbia is a simple, subtle economic simulation with three moving parts. Players take turns buying hexagonal tiles from an ever-changing market and placing them in their town to develop their city in ways that affect its population, income, and reputation.

The population tally (which serves as the game’s scoring mechanism) models the disadvantages of urban growth in a very clever and elegant way – every so often on the track there’s a red line, and when your population surpasses it you lose one point of income (more expensive municipal services) and one point of reputation (more density/pollution/crime/whatever). This simple mechanism creates delightfully rich feedback loops that take a number of plays to fully appreciate – grow too quickly without an economic base and your town stagnates, unable to afford the development you need to serve your population; but bring in too much business or industry and nobody will want to live there.

Buying tiles for your city isn’t just an exercise in math, though – building your city is a spatial and temporal puzzle, with a limited ability to impact the other players’ cities as well. Some of the tiles’ effects work spatially (placing residential areas next to a highway hurts your town’s reputation while placing businesses there makes them more profitable), others work based on what else is in your city (building schools helps your reputation based on how many residential areas you have), and some affect other players’ cities. Once the market is emptied out, the game ends and players score based on population, plus additional public and secret individual scoring goals that you draw at the start of each game.

This game seems to lean heavily toward being a muliplayer solitaire puzzle at first glance, but once everyone is familiar with managing the feedback loops between reputation, population, and income, and with the scoring goals that are available, denying other players what you think they need becomes pretty competitive. Another nice mechanism is that tiles from the market can be played upside down as small lakes, which provides a cash infusion but also allows you to take a tile out of the game that’s useless to you but helpful to an opponent.

Where the game can bog down a bit is in keeping track of the interdependent effects of some of the tiles, particularly the ones that affect other players’ towns, but after a few plays we got familiar enough with the tiles’ effects that it was manageable. It bears mentioning that Suburbia has one of the best app implementations (both Android and iOS) of a board game I’ve seen, with smooth design, interesting single player puzzles, and local and online multiplayer.

See more photos at Wink Fun.

Rudy Rucker's massive volume of journals now out!

Rudy Rucker -- mathematician, cyberpunk, computer scientist, gonzo hoopy frood happy mutant -- has released an 828 page volume of his journals!

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50% off O'Reilly books for the International Day Against DRM


O'Reilly is celebrating the International Day Against DRM with a 50% discount on its giant collection of technical books and videos (60% if you spend $100) -- just use discount code "DRM2015"

Kickstarting a second Oh Joy Sex Toy collection


The first collection of the smashing, sex-positive webcomic was such a success, they're doing it again!

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Hourglass full of magnetized "sand"


This $14, 100-second hourglass is filled with magnetized iron filings that form beautiful fans and other shapes as the sand drains into the bottom bulb. (via Canopy)

Guerilla Furniture Design: making your home beautiful with waste materials

Will Holman is a maker's maker whose HOWTOs have graced Make, Instructables, Readymade and other hotbeds of DIY; his new book Guerilla Furniture Design is a beautifully written and inspiring design manifesto disguised as a project book,Read the rest

Bifocal safety goggles


Dewalt's bifocal safety goggles come in strengths from 1.0 to 3.0 and at $10/pair, you can't go wrong, especially if you, like me, are losing your vision as you hurdle towards senescence -- better Mother's Day present than flowers, better Father's Day present than a tie. (Thanks, Ian!)