A virus first found in chickens is implicated in human obesity

As someone who's struggled with his weight all his life (and who comes from a family with similar problems), I've long been fascinated with the science of weight and obesity; many years ago I listened to a Quirks & Quarks segment detailing the theory that the modern obesity epidemic was the result of a bird flu that affected our gut flora and changed our metabolisms to make us hungrier and more susceptible to convert the food we ate to fat. Read the rest

The Hardware Hacker: Bunnie Huang's tour-de-force on hardware hacking, reverse engineering, China, manufacturing, innovation and biohacking

I've been writing about genius hardware hackers Andrew "bunnie" Huang since 2003, when MIT hung him out to dry over his book explaining how he hacked the original Xbox; the book he wrote about that hack has become a significant engineering classic, and his own life has taken a thousand odd turns that we've chronicled here as he's founded companies, hacked hardware, become a China manufacturing guru, and sued the US government over the anti-hacking provisions of the DMCA.

It’s about Time: Reading Steampunk’s Rise and Roots

In Like Clockwork: Steampunk Pasts, Presents, and Futures , Rachel A. Bowser and Brian Croxall present a lively, engaging collection of essays about the past, present, future (and alternate versions thereof) of steampunk culture, literature and meaning, ranging from disability and queerness to ethos and digital humanities. We're proud to present this long excerpt from the book's introduction.

Kirkus just gave me an AWESOME Christmas present: this starred review for WALKAWAY

Kirkus Reviews is one of the publishing industry's toughest gauntlets, used by librarians and bookstore buyers to help sort through the avalanche of new titles, and its reviews often have a sting in their tails aimed at this audience, a pitiless rehearsal of the reasons you wouldn't want to stock this book -- vital intelligence for people making hard choices. Read the rest

Nesting bowls with spill-guards and spouts obviate funnels and reduce mess

Megan McArdle's annual kitchen gift guide hipped me to these POURfect Mixing Bowls ($45/6 bowls), which have spill-guards and spouts, and of which McArdle writes, "after you’ve sifted your dry ingredients, you can pour them straight into the mixer bowl without getting a cloud of flour everywhere. Or strain your fry oil into one, then easily pour it into a container for either storage and reuse, or disposal -- I don’t even know where my funnels are, because I haven’t used one in years." Read the rest

Steampunk 1/4" steel geared lightswitches

Etsy seller Steampunk Interiors (AKA Meleny Chamberlain) of Bend, OR created this $65 plasma-cut 1/4" steel steampunk lightswitch and many variants, including the $95 triple-throw switch with a garden-hose sillcock dimmer. Read the rest

Glow in the dark molded latex skull purse

Kreepsville's $65, 8" x 10" x 6" Skull Collection Handbag glows in the dark, gets top marks from reviewers, features a spooky lining and an inside pocket, and can be delivered by Dec 24! Also available in black and pink. (via Punk Fashion) Read the rest

The amazing, endless battle between rural Eastern European partisan fighters, demons, mecha, and werewolves

Jakub "Mr Werewolf" Rozalski is a prolific Polish painter whose longrunning series of painters depict rural Eastern European folk fighting against mecha warriors, werewolves, and demons. Read the rest

If you're going to buy a Mighty Boosh-themed ugly Christmas sweater this year, this is the one

There's many to choose from, but come on. Let me put you in the picture! (Thanks, Miles!) Read the rest

Kickstarting six books on self-empowerment: fermentation, feminism, punk, bicycling, sewing, and comics journalism

Elly from Microcosm Publishing (previously) writes, "We decided to try something different this time, and put up a project to help fund and spread the word about all six of the books we're putting out this coming spring. They're all very different on the surface, but the thread that runs through them is exactly what makes Microcosm work as a publishing company: Book-shaped tools that help people create the lives they want to live and the world they want to see." Read the rest

Chimeric, horrific, cuddly stuffed animals

Pam and Robyn in San Francisco run an Etsy store called Frankestuffies, selling "monsters for lovies or lovies for monsters, lovingly re-assembled by hand from cleaned, recycled and, um, dismembered stuffed animals": Octo-Gorillas, Platy-Mice, Beaver-Crabs, Baboon-Tigers -- and more! Read the rest

Kickstarting Papers & Paychecks, an RPG where you play "workers and students in an industrialized and technological society"

A thirty year old joke by Will McLean in the first edition of the Dungeon Masters Guide features a group of fantasy adventurer types crowded around a table playing an RPG where they pretend to be "workers and students in an industrialized and technological society." Read the rest

Door knockers shaped like giant testes

Are you meeting a romantic partner's family for the first time this Christmas and at a loss for a gift idea that will impress them with your suitability as a potential addition to the clan? Look no farther. (via Crazy Abalone) Read the rest

Mama in Her 'Kerchief and I in My Madness: a Cthulhoid Christmas book

Back in 2010, John Holbo created a beautiful, illustrated cthuhoid version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas called "Mama in Her 'Kerchief and I in My Madness," and this curiousity has lurked on Flickr ever since -- until now, when it has emerged as an actual book that you can actually own and cower from -- with guaranteed delivery by Christmas. Read the rest

Make America Sane Again hats

Paul writes, "Embroidered in lovely Copperplate letters on a Democratic blue hat. I set the price as low as it allowed so there are unlikely to be much profits. But any there are will go to border collie rescues that I work with." Read the rest

Millennium Falcon multitool

The $30, 4" x 3" die-cast zinc alloy tool includes four hexkeys, two screwdrivers and an adjustable wrench, with tool storage inside a magnetically sealed compartment. Read the rest

Skull and crossbones hair-bun covers

Salt Lake City's Wyre Art, AKA Kyle Wyatt, makes these amazing, $30 skull and crossbones bun covers, which are so popular that they're on back-order, and which ship in three sizes: "5" x 2" for longer/thicker hair, 5" x 1.5" for longer/regular hair, 4.75" x 1.75" for mid length hair, and 4.5" x 1" for shorter hair." (via Crazy Abalone) Read the rest

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