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Solar-powered spinning Mars globe

It's 4.5" in diameter and spins slowly so long as there's light for the solar cells: $140 on Thinkgeek.

Gotcha Gadgets – A book with a built in electronic mischief maker

Build Your Own Gotcha Gadgets comes with a multifunction electronic circuit, wires, and sensors that kids can use to build a variety of pranksterish devices: A cookie jar that sounds an alarm when the lid is removed, an electronic whoopie cushion, an intrusion detector, a fake lie detector, and more. Once you try a few projects from the book, it wouldn’t be hard to come up with other ways to use the components, both mischievous and mild.

Build Your Own Gotcha Gadgets
by Ben Grossblatt
Klutz press
2015, 32 pages, 0.5 x 10.2 x 12 inches (paperback)
$21 Buy a copy on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Star Wars Frames looks at the movies' gorgeous cinematography piece by piece

You’ve seen the movies, now see the book. Star Wars Frames collects selections of single frames from the entire Star Wars saga. This giant two volume set features a book for each trilogy. Inside you’ll find selected frames that literally show you the movie piece by piece.

This book draws attention to a dimension of filmmaking that is hard to study as it’s happening. You might remember a cool shot in The Empire Strikes Back, but until now you couldn’t marvel at the shot unless you watched the film and paused it. With Frames, the entire movie is laid out for you to experience at your own pace, letting you fully absorb the weight and technique of each shot. It’s a great look at the gorgeous cinematography at work in each film. The pages are massive, so you can see plenty of detail. If you’re a fan of Star Wars and/or filmmaking, this is a must own. – Alex Strine

Star Wars Frames
by George Lucas
Harry N. Abrams
2013, 736 pages, 12 x 13.5 x 3.5inches
$95 Buy a copy on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Makies Doll – A doll you customize before it's 3D printed

The most fun my 12-year-old daughter ever had shopping for a toy was last winter when she ordered a Makies doll (pictured above). Or shall I say, when she created her Makies doll. With endless choices ranging from hair color to nose width and length to eye shape and color to ear roundness (or pointiness!) to the volume of the cheeks, and many more options, Makies allows you to completely customize your own doll, and then prints the unique doll out from a 3D printer before shipping it to you. My daughter spent the better part of an afternoon getting all of the details of her doll just the way she wanted them.

Makies was started by my friend Alice Taylor (Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow is her husband), whose own nerd-chic style is reflected in the cool selection of printed and hand-sewn doll outfits offered (dresses with patterns of skulls or scissors, T-shirts with “3D” or “Geek” printed on them, thick black-framed glasses, candy-colored wigs, blue platform shoes…). I have to say, the clothes and accessories are the coolest I’ve ever seen for this type of doll and makes me wish they sold them in human sizes as well.

Whether you want to make a “mini-me” replica of yourself or allow your imagination to run wild, customizing a Makie doll is almost as much fun as owning one.

Makies Doll
Makies
Ages 6 and up
$115 Buy one on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Congratulations to the 2014 Nebula Award winners!

Best novel: Annihilation;, Jeff VanderMeer; Novella "Yesterday’s Kin," Nancy Kress; Novelette “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i,” Alaya Dawn Johnson; Short story “Jackalope Wives,” Ursula Vernon; Movie Guardians of the Galaxy; YA Love Is the Drug, Alaya Dawn Johnson.

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Here's a colorful set of pseudo-sporks for travel

spooforksI have my own titanium spork that I travel with. I recently added this $7 set of plastic not-sporks so my kids can enjoy yogurt and salads on planes and hotel rooms. The spoon is capacious, and the fork side has a serrated edge that can be used as a knife/saw (it doesn't hurt your lip, fortunately).

A comprehensive collection of John Lennon's visual art

In the years since his death, John Lennon's whimsical artwork has appeared on baby bedding, greeting cards, T-shirts, prints, posters and even in a few slim books. But this volume is the most comprehensive collection of his visual works to date. The book includes early drawings inspired by Ivanhoe and other childhood reading, as well as Lennon's darkly funny, Thurber-esque cartoons of the mid-1960s. And it concludes with his gentle, almost Matisse-like sketches of family life with Yoko Ono and son Sean in the late 1970s. Together, you get a full sense of how Lennon used simple artworks to express himself throughout his life.

Lennon dropped out of the Liverpool College of Art to become a full-time Beatle in his early 20s. Probably a good move. Unlike his classmate Stu Sutcliffe, Lennon didn't have the makings of a great painter. Yet, he might've made it as a cartoonist. The works here demonstrate imagination and potential, and a fluency for relating concepts in pencil, ink and brush. With a few minimal lines, Lennon could clearly convey whatever was on his mind: silly, sentimental or sad. Which is what it was all about: He used art to express an idea and then quickly moved on to the next thing on his agenda, be it writing or recording a song, or baking bread for Sean and Yoko during his house-husband years.

The book's text, on the other hand, seems to suggest Lennon should be acclaimed as a great visual artist as well as musician. That's pushing it. Certainly, he had his own style and you can see him working to develop it in different ways. For example, late in life, he started experimenting with Japanese-style watercolor and brushes. But his visual art is just one aspect of Lennon, not the big picture. Leaving art school was no mistake or lost opportunity. By leaving, he was following his true passion: music. And that's what made him the man we remember today. – John Firehammer

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

John Lennon: The Collected Artwork
by Scott Gutterman (author) John Lennon (artist) Yoko Ono (Foreword)
Insight Editions
2014, 204 pages, 11.2 x 11.2 x 1 inches
$34 Buy a copy on Amazon

3D printed cochlear implants for your toys


Building on their Toy Like Me accessories, Makies has shipped 3D printed cochlear implants for your 3D printed custom doll, in white or pink.

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Crazily chunky knitwear and blankets


Etsy's Ohhio knits with crazily thick Merino wool yarn in 70 colors that runs 3"/stitch: the cuddliest blankets; lush scarves and giant cowls (via Crazy Abalone).

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Deal: Sound Kick Bluetooth Speaker

Sound Kick ($49.99) trumps the competition with its robust sound, compact size, and sleek design — all at a great price point. The go-to travel speaker for Bluetooth audio aficionados, the Sound Kick grants you 7 hours of non-stop full sound on each charge.

The Best $100 Bluetooth Speaker, Gizmodo

Overall Best of Show CES winner, iLounge

  • Enjoy up to 7 hours of playtime with the built-in rechargeable battery
  • Stream music wirelessly via Bluetooth
  • Control the volume & playback functions directly from the speaker
  • Quickly connect to any device w/ a simple line-in option that works with a standard headphone jack
  • Enhance your playlist w/ full sound, natural bass response, vocal clarity & UQ3™ spatial enhancement
  • Charge your mobile devices w/ the USB power port even while Sound Kick is running on battery power

Order by 6/8 to guarantee delivery in time for Father's Day.

Check out all of the items in the Boing Boing store, including gadgets, software, apps, and online courses!

Kitchen shears are often better than a knife

shears

I use my $10 kitchen shears to chop lettuce. I put lettuce in a salad bowl, stick in the shears, and make a bunch of random cuts until the volume of the lettuce drops to a reasonable level. I also use shears to cut pizzas, open plastic bags, cut chicken, open boxes, and lots of other stuff. They frequently go missing because my wife and kids take them to use in another room. There's not much I can do about that other than gnash my teeth and curse the universe for allowing me to be born in such a world.

They clean up in the dishwasher.

Biophilia – Photographs that combine artful design with taxidermy and other preservation techniques

Christopher Marley grew up with a freezer stuffed with dead birds. His father, a passionate bird breeder, couldn’t part with the birds when they died, so he stored them alongside the family’s frozen food. Now Marley, also passionate about birds as well as all types of nature, preserves beautiful creatures after they’ve died by combining art and design with taxidermy and other preservation techniques. In his new book Biophilia, which means “love of life,” Marley shares his artfully photographed collections of insects, sea life, reptiles, birds, plants and minerals. From pastel urchins arranged like a tray of meringues to vibrant Charly Harper-style insect collages to stunning portraits of snakes, wasps, rocks, crabs, bird wings and more, Marlow’s work is nothing short of magnificent. Every image in this book is a masterful work of art.

Biophilia
by Christopher Marley
Harry N. Abrams
2015, 288 pages, 10 x 12 x 1.2 inches
$35 Buy a copy on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Print combines all the Haunted Mansion stretch-room gags


Actualchad writes, "An aura of foreboding permeates this community of foolish mortals, as their perils combine into a vexing misfortune of exaggerated proportions!"

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Jackson Pollock has a cookbook and it's delicious

I used to have a bad attitude about Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings. I thought they were junk. Then one day a friend asked me if I’d ever looked at one of Pollock’s paintings in a museum. I hadn’t. He suggested I do and see if my attitude changed. I followed his advice, and after about 5 minutes of staring at the painting and trying not to judge, it won me over. I love Pollock’s paintings now.

Dinner with Pollock is a spiral bound cookbook that combines Pollock’s art with his own recipes. He was an accomplished cook, and especially good at creating tasty dishes from the kind of food typically available during the Great Depression and wartime rationing. Robyn Lea’s photos of Pollock’s borscht, blintzes, johnny cakes, hummus, Long Island clam pie, and dozens of other recipes are mouth watering. It’s another reason to love this amazing person.

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt Kind bars - yummy and only 5g of sugar

kindbar

When I fly, I either fast or bring along some dark chocolate, macadamia nuts, and bacon jerky. I recently added a new item: Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt Kind bars. They are delicious and have just 5g of sugar, which is hard to believe. A dozen bars cost $14 on Amazon, and less if you use Subscribe and Save.

Neal Stephenson's Seveneves: five thousand years of apocalypse and rebirth

Neal Stephenson's no stranger to ambition, but his new novel Seveneves stretches to lengths (and heights) that beggar the imagination.Read the rest

Cartoonist Joe Matt's porn problem follows him to Los Angeles

A story from Drawn and Quarterly's new 800-page 25th Anniversary AnthologyRead the rest