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Guest review: my daughter reviews Ariol

I love reading with my daughter, Poesy, who has just turned six. We agree on almost all of her favorites, and re-reading them is one of our best-loved activities, and how we pass the time on boring bus-rides and so forth. However, there are a few books that Poesy loves, but which leave me cold. First among these is are the Ariol books, a long-running French kids' comic series that are being swiftly translated into English by Papercutz (there are three books out so far, and a fourth is due in May). Ariol was co-created by the amazing and talented Emmanuel Guibert, whose other work includes the anarcho-gonzo Sardine kids' comics; the brilliant WWII memoir Alan's War, and the extraordinary memoir of doctors in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, The Photographer.

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Deadpool pencil-jar

The Deadpool pencil cup is a delightfully silly and gross bit of office-candy, in which the wisecracking, unkillable merc from the pages of Marvel comics is presented for your gleeful brain-skewering pleasure. It comes with shuriken-shaped erasers and an arrow-cap for your favorite writing implement.

If you're new to Deadpool, try Deadpool Dead Presidents, the reboot of the comic from Walking Dead co-creator Tony Moore. Gentle Giant Studios Deadpool: Pencil Cup Accessory

(via Geekymerch)

Weinberger's "Too Big to Know" in paperback

David Weinberger's 2012 book Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room was one of the smartest, most thought-provoking reads I had the pleasure of being buffeted by in 2012. I'm delighted to learn that it's out in paperback this month. Here's my original review from 2012:

David Weinberger is one of the Internet's clearest and cleverest thinkers, an understated and deceptively calm philosopher who builds his arguments like a bricklayer builds a wall, one fact at a time. In books like Everything is Miscellaneous and Small Pieces, Loosely Joined, he erects solid edifices with no gaps between the bricks, inviting conclusions that are often difficult to reconcile with your pre-existing prejudices, but which are even harder to deny.

Too Big to Know, Weinberger's latest book-length argument, is another of these surprising brick walls. Weinberger presents us with a long, fascinating account of how knowledge itself changes in the age of the Internet -- what it means to know something when there are millions and billions of "things" at your fingertips, when everyone who might disagree with you can find and rebut your assertions, and when the ability to be heard isn't tightly bound to your credentials or public reputation for expertise.

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Nerf Rebelle: girl-marketed action toys that are cool and work well


Nerf's Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow (part of the wider Rebelle line of action toys marketed to girls) gets pretty high marks from its owners, and promises a dart-range of 75 feet. I confess that I'm conflicted about this -- there's nothing inherently masculine or feminine about Nerf toys, their gendering is already a synthetic creation of the company's marketing strategy.

That said, there are unquestionably girls who feel like action toys are not for them because of normative gender pressure (to which Nerf is a contributor, of course), and the existence of toys that are intended to allow them the space for imaginative play without worrying about appropriate gender norms is a good thing. Especially since the Rebelle toys are not just "girly" -- they're also cool, as well-built and well-designed as the "boy" versions, the perfect imaginative accessory for your little Hunger Games fan.

Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow (via Super Punch)

Text of Little Brother on an art-litho, tee, or tote


As you may have noticed, I think Litographs are really cool: the company turns the text of various books into a piece of appropriately themed text-art and makes lithographs, tees and tote-bags out of it.

Now, I'm delighted to announce that the company has produced a line of Litographs based on my novel Little Brother, with a gorgeous anti-surveillance design by Benjy Brooke.

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Math and science cutting boards


Elysium Woodworks's Etsy store is full of gorgeous, laser-etched, math- and science-themed cutting boards. They're about $35, made from bamboo, and take 5-6 weeks to fabricate.

Elysium Woodworks (via Wil Wheaton)

Squid ring


Joshua sez, "I've been nagging my wife (a jeweler; you posted her sci-fi wedding rings a few years ago) to make a squid ring for years. She finally did it. Sort of art nouveau meets Jules Verne. It's hand carved from wax and cast into 18k gold. The prototype is mine, but the design's also on Etsy."

squid ring (Thanks, Joshua!)

Great 8-bit gamer tees


8-Bitty does some extremely great pixel-art tees inspired by classic video-games. I like the two-sided, full-shirt screens the best, like the mummy wrappings and the skeleton (this one reminds me of the classic Skeletees and makes me wish it was as detailed as Leslie Arwin's original).

8-Bitty (Thanks, Luke!)

Fine metalworking: tiny knives and batlike brooches from Mario Cesari


I ran into Mario Cesari at a market in Florence, Italy today (I'm in town to speak at the Museums and the Web conference). He's a metalworker who produces beautiful pieces that are really to my taste (I bought a weird, bat-like brooch from him). There was a lot more I was tempted by, especially the little, finger-length machete pen-knives. He's got an Etsy storefront with a good selection of his work. Having handled it and bought some of it, I can affirm that the workmanship and aesthetics of these things are beyond reproach.

Kickstarting an adult coloring book: 99 Ways to Die

Chris Locke writes, "Why should kids have all the fun? '99 Ways To Die: a Coloring Book for ADULTS' is for mature audiences who love to color, but are tired of childish subject matter. Every page shows a different way to die. Full size version of the book is $25, pocket-size version is $15."

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3D printed, slinkoid skull-sculpture

Ryan sez, "This is the spiral skull that I created in Zbrush and got printed in strong, flexible nylon. It's being featuring at the 3D Printshow in NYC which wraps up Saturday." It's called "Mortal Coil" (clever!) and it's €66.59 and up on Shapeways. If this sort of thing excites and amuses you as much as it does me, don't miss the fan-folded paper slinkoid sculptures of Li Hongbo.

Classic picture books as color wheels


Arthur Buxton writes, "Here's a tribute to three classic children's books - The Snowman, Where the Wild Things Are and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Using custom software, I've reduced each page in all three books to its main five colours proportionally according to size, then arranged each resulting chart in sequence."

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Celebrate V-day with a Misandrist Tote Bag


Laurie Penny writes, "What do you give your single friends and ex-partners on Valentine's day? Cult online journal The New Inquiry has released a product line to help them keep on paying their writers and staff. Their exclusive misandrist totebag, with a design by Imp Kerr, is aimed at all those who want to smash the romantic industrial complex in style."

Limited Edition Valentine's Day Tote (Thanks, Laurie!)

Cuddly giant isopod toy!


There's nothing quite so cuddly as a giant isopod plush toy. It has been encutified to make it even more adorable than the real-life version, with big, round, loving eyes. As the product description notes, these are "passionately loved" by some in Japan and are regarded as "mysterious and cute" -- one in Toba Aquarium has (allegedly) eaten no food for over 4 years.

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The Coruscant Tapestry: 30' long Star Wars cross-stitch


Aled Lewis's "The Coruscant Tapestry" is a 30 foot long, 13" high tapestry depicting the tale of Star Wars in cross-stitch. In the manner of the Bayeux Tapestry, its borders are embellished with writing -- quotes in Aurebesh from the films. It's for sale for $20,000 at Los Angeles's Gallery 1988.

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