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Gweek 099: John Hodgman: RAGNAROK Netflix Special

John Hodgman's comedy special John Hodgman: Ragnarok, debuted today on Netflix. Carla and I were given early access to the special, which we watched and enjoyed very much. John kindly spent his lunch hour on the set of The Daily Show yesterday to talk with me about the special.

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Gweek 098: Win Hugh Howey's Paperwhite Kindle!

This episode of Gweek is brought to you by 23andMe, the leading health and ancestry DNA service. Order your 23andMe DNA kit today for just $99.

This time, I talked to:

Hugh Howey, the author of the award-winning Molly Fyde Saga and the New York Times bestselling Wool series. The Wool Omnibus won Kindle Book Review's 2012 Indie Book of the Year Award.

Dean Putney, Boing Boing’s development wizard and everyone's favorite Manic Pixie Dream Coder.

Giveaway! Hugh kindly offered to give away a brand new Kindle Paperwhite with his signature on it! To be considered for the giveaway, follow @GweekPodcast on Twitter. We'll pick the winner at random on June 25 at Noon PT.

Here's what we talked about:

Hugh discusses his unique independent publishing model and why he turned down a seven-figure book advance to retain ownership of e-book rights.

Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles.

Exec, Lyft and the informal economy.

7 Minutes Workout Mark: "I checked out six different free iPhone apps based on research into High Intensity Interval Training. The best one is called 7 Minutes Workout."

Kingdom Rush Frontiers Mark: "I loved the the first Kingdom Rush, a tower defense game with nice cartoony graphics. This follow up is great fun, too."

Why Knot?: How to Tie More Than Sixty Ingenious, Useful, Beautiful, Lifesaving, and Secure Knots, by Philippe Petit. Mark: "The Man on Wire guy who illegally walked across the World Trade Center in 1974 has written and illustrated a great book about tying knots."

And a whole lot more!

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Gweek 097: Ramez Naam and Jason Snell

In this episode of Gweek, I talked to Ramez Naam and Jason Snell.

Ramez Naam is a computer scientist and the H.G. Wells Award-winning author of three books, including the sci-fi thriller Nexus.

Jason Snell is editorial director at IDG, the publishers of magazines and web sites about technology such as Macworld, PCWorld, and TechHive. He was the editor of Macworld for eight years. He's also the host of The Incomparable, an award-winning podcast about geeky cultural topics including movies, TV, books, and comics.

Here's what we talked about:

Real-life cyborg tech Ramez: "In the last couple years we’ve seen the approval of the first bionic eye, trials on implants that let paralyzed people move robot arms via their thoughts, and brain implants that make rats and monkeys smarter. What’s going on here? Are we headed towards The Matrix?"

Star Trek Into Darkness Jason: "A lot of complaints I see about this movie (which I really liked) seem to involve fans who are offended by divergences from continuity, or because the movie dares to tread over (and rewrite or subvert) old ground." Ramez: "How much do we expect our sci-fi to be scientifically accurate? Or even self-consistent? I enjoyed Avengers despite it being very silly and at times illogical. But much more minor flaws in logic ruined Prometheus for me."

Feedly Mark: "A replacement for Google reader, which is going away."

Morning Glories Jason: "Just started reading this comic, which just began its second "season." As a big fan of Lost, I'm intrigued by this time-bending combination of Lost and Buffy or Runaways."

Mark: "I'm buying a $100 Samsung Galaxy Pocket and a local SIM card when traveling to Japan instead of buying AT&T's expensive international data plan."

And a whole lot more!

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Gweek 096: Dave Finkel and Kevin Mack

In this episode of Gweek, I talked to Dave Finkel and Kevin Mack.

Kevin Mack is a pioneering digital artist and Academy Award winning visual effects designer. Kevin also uses science and technology to make psychoactive abstract art. His work is currently featured in the "Imagined Realities in New Media" exhibit at the PS Zask Gallery in Southern California.

Dave Finkel is a Los Angeles based TV comedy writer. He’s currently an Executive Producer on the Fox comedy, New Girl starring Zooey Deschanel. His past credits include 30 Rock, United States of Tara and Just Shoot Me!

Here's what we talked about:

Rayman Jungle Run: addictive game for iOS and Android

Inkodye: Amazing sunlight sensitive dyes

Foldify: Fun paper craft iPad app for kids

Melon: Kickstarter for an EEG neurofeedback transmitting headband

Nanoflowers: Beautiful microscopic flower sculptures

Deep Learning: The next stage of neural networks

Cloud Face: Computers seeing faces in clouds

Chris Bathgate: Sculptor

HUMN Wallet: Two flat metal plates with an elastic band around them. Your stuff gets sandwiched between.

Pxlbots: Aggressively grainy pixel art of monsters and robots. Excellent DIY vinyl stickers.

The New Disruptors podcast: Glenn Fleishman's fantastic interview podcast about the end of organizational advantage.

And more!

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Gweek 095: Ruben Bolling and Nate DiMeo

In this episode of Gweek, I talked to Ruben Bolling and Nate DiMeo.

Ruben Bolling is the creator of “Tom the Dancing Bug,” the weekly comic strip that premieres every Wednesday on Boing Boing. “Tom the Dancing Bug” has won many awards and is a multiple Harvey Award nominee for Best Comic Strip. You can join the INNER HIVE, the comic strip’s subscription service.

Nate DiMeo is the creator of the Memory Palace, a podcast and public radio segment. He’s an on again off again journalist and has written for the TV show Parks and Recreation and was a finalist for the Thurber Prize in American Humor for co-writing a companion book for Parks and Rec called Pawnee: the Greatest Town in America.

Here's what we talked about:

Cinebook, a line of European comic books, including Lucky Luke, Yakari, Blue Coats

Marble Season, by Gilbert Hernandez

Waze, a traffic and GPS app

The Books of Beginning series, a middle-grade fantasy adventure trilogy by John Stephens

Super Flat Times, a kinda lost, unheralded, terrific collection of short stories about a bonkers dystopian world by Matthew Derby

The Hunter, by Richard Stark

Wikireader, $20 gadget contains "the entire English Wikipedia with 3 million topics"

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Gweek 094: Director Chris Columbus and writer Ned Vizzini, authors of House of Secrets

In this episode of Gweek, I talked to Ned Vizzini and Chris Columbus about their new book, House of Secrets. Harry Potter creator J. K. Rowling calls House of Secrets “a breakneck, jam-packed, roller-coaster of an adventure about the secret power of books.”

Ned Vizzini is an award-winning author and television writer. He’s the author of the novels Be More Chill and It's Kind of a Funny Story, and he was on Gweek 069 last year when his delightful young adult novel, The Other Normals was published. He’s also written for TV, including MTV’s Teen Wolf.

Chris Columbus is the writer, director, and producer of many award winning movies, including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Goonies, Gremlins, The Help, and Home Alone.

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Gweek 093: Crime writer Duane Swierczynski

In this episode of Gweek, I talked to the terrific crime writer Duane Swierczynski. Duane has a new book out today, called Point & Shoot. It's the third and final novel in his Charlie Hardie series (see my review here). Next week, Dark Horse is releasing X #1, written by Duane. We talked about his novels, non-fiction work, and comic book writing (See my review of his comic book series, Bloodshot). We also geeked out on our favorite crime writers, and I added several authors to my list of books I want to read before I die.

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What we talked about in this episode:

Fun & Games

Hell & Gone

Point & Shoot

The Wheel Man

The Blonde

Frauds, Scams, and Cons

Thanks to Soundcloud for hosting Gweek!

Gweek 092: Cartoonist Lucy Knisley

Dean Putney and I interviewed Lucy Knisley, one of my favorite cartoonists. From her website:

Lucy is an illustrator, comic artist and author. Occasionally she is a puppeteer, ukulele player and food/travel writer. She likes books, sewing, bicycles, food you can eat with a spoon, ornery cats, art you can climb on, manatees, nice pens, costumes, baking, television, cheese and Oscar Wilde.

Her first published book, French Milk, is a drawn journal about living (and eating) in Paris with her mother. (From Touchstone Publishing from Simon and Schuster), August of 2008.

Her newest book, Relish, from First Second Books, is about growing up in the food industry. (First Second Books, April 2013.)

Beginning with a love for Archie comics, Tintin and Calvin and Hobbes, she has been making comics in some form or another since she could hold a pencil.

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What we talked about in this episode:



Pretty Girls Ugly Faces



Candy Crush Saga

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Thanks to Soundcloud for hosting Gweek!

Gweek 091: Dennis Eichhorn & Real Stuff

Dennis Eichhorn launched the autobiographical comic book, Real Stuff, in 1990. Dennis has had some of the strangest life experiences you can imagine, and he comes across as a person who is adventurous, compassionate, curious, and enjoys laughing at himself. Best of all, he is a terrific storyteller.

Real Stuff is one of my favorite comics of all time, and I have some good news to share. Boing Boing is going to run the amazing stories from the pages of Real Stuff, once a week (Read the first one here). I’m immensely excited that a new audience is going to be able to read Real Stuff on Boing Boing, free of charge. I hope you’ll enjoy reading, or re-reading them.


Gweek 090: Melissa McEwen, food blogger

I spoke with food blogger and Meatshare founder Melissa McEwen. Her blog, Hunt Gather Love is about "the intersection between evolutionary biology and food."

Melissa is profiled in today's Chicago Reader article about a supper club run by amateur chefs.


Thanks to Soundcloud for hosting Gweek!

Gweek 089: Marina Gorbis, executive director of Institute for the Future

NewImageEarlier this month, Boing Boing posted an excerpt from Marina Gorbis's fascinating new book, The Nature of the Future: Dispatches from the Socialstructed World. As David wrote, the book is "a compelling, provocative, and grounded book about how technology is enabling individuals to connect with one another to follow their passions and get stuff done, outside of large corporations, governments, and the other institutions that typically rule our lives." David and I spoke with Marina about The Nature of the Future for this edition of GWeek.

When Marina was a child, growing up in the Soviet Union, she lived with her sister and widowed mother, a medical doctor at a government clinic in Odessa. Her mother’s salary was meager, and her mother wasn’t a member of the privileged communist party elite, and yet Marina says she and her sister enjoyed a life filled with the arts, good food, fashionable clothes, travel, and education. It was all possible, she says, because her mother knew the value of social capital. “Social connections,” Marina writes, “were a powerful currency that flowed through [my mother’s] network of friends and acquaintances, giving her access to many goods and services and enabling our comfortable, if not luxurious, lifestyle.”

Marina never forgot this lesson about the incredible power of networked individuals, and it directed the course of her professional life. For the past 7 years, Marina has been the executive director of the Institute for the Future, an independent, non-profit research organization and creative design studio in Palo Alto California where David is also a researcher. IFTF helps organizations think about the future to make better decisions in the present.


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Gweek 088: Nick Harmer of Death Cab for Cutie

David and I had a terrific conversation with Nick Harmer, bass player for Death Cab for Cutie. We talked about the state of home recording, great crime novels, the best places to use the toilet while on tour, and much more.


Nick provided a list of enjoyable books he's read while on tour:

Nick says: "Pretty much anything by these authors is great reading. Other notable go-to authors for me include: James Ellroy, Elmore Leonard, James Sallis, and Walter Mosley to name a few."

Thanks to Soundcloud for hosting Gweek!

Gweek 087: The Art of Doing

I had an enlightening conversation with Josh Gosfield and Camille Sweeney, authors of a great new book called The Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do and How They Do It So Well. Josh and Camille interviewed 36 notable people -- artists, entrepreneurs, actors, athletes -- asking them their secrets of success. Joining me on the episode was Gweek's frequent co-host, Joshua Glenn, co-editor of Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun and HiLowBrow.


In this episode:

The Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do and How They Do It So Well

Ye-Ye Profile: Gigi Gaston

Fathom Butterfly - the notorious beauty queen, showgirl, Hammer horror actress, porn star, felon and feminist filmmaker tweets her memoirs

Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun, by Elizabeth Foy Larsen and Joshua Glenn.

Katana, by Ann Nocenti and Alex Sanchez

Science-Fiction: The Early Years, by Everett Franklin Bleiler

In Praise of Messy Lives, by Katie Roiphe

Geek Battle: The Game of Extreme Geekdom

Flow Free

Gweek 086: Utopian for Beginners

This was a fun episode! I spoke with John Glassie, author of A Man of Misconceptions, a non-fiction book about the unusual 17th-century polymath, Athanasius Kircher, and Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein, which recounts Joshua’s yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top "mental athletes.”


In this episode:

A Man of Misconceptions: The Life of an Eccentric in an Age of Change, by John Glassie

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, by Joshua Foer

Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology, by Lawrence Weschler

"Utopian for Beginners: An amateur linguist loses control of the language he invented," a New Yorker article by Joshua Foer

"Want to Remember Everything You'll Ever Learn? Surrender to This Algorithm," a Wired article by Gary Wolf

Atlas Obscura is the definitive guide to the world's wondrous and curious places.

Language learning apps and websites: Memrise, iAnki, Dr. Moku's Hiragana Mnemonics, Dr. Moku's Katakana Mnemonics

Gweek 085: Maximum Sugar Rush

(Thanks to SoundCloud for hosting Boing Boing's podcasts!)

Gweek is a podcast where the editors and friends of Boing Boing talk about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, board games, TV shows, music, movies, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.

My guests in this episode:

Peter Bebergal (left), the author of Too Much to Dream: A Psychedelic American Boyhood and a writer for various online and print magazines. He blogs at Glenn Fleishman (right), executive editor of The Magazine, a periodical for technology-minded readers that isn’t always about technology, the host of the podcast The New Disruptors, and one of the writers of The Economist magazine’s Babbage blog.

Peter talked about the "lack of pop culture for that once powerful consumer: the 10-13 year-old boy." He said, "I spend so much time with my son trying to figure out the appropriateness of media, from TV to movies to video games. There is so little directed to his age (11). everything is either dumbed down or too violent and mature. My son gave me a list of his favorite things this past year." Peter shares his son's list in this episode.


Other things we talked about:

Maximum Ride novels, about mutant kids who have spy-like adventures.

Justified: It's back and continues to be one of the great network shows.

Sony NEX6: The prospect of a compact camera with most of the characteristics of a DSLR, but at a lower cost and in a more compact form factor. The differences between a smartphone and anything but a DSLR are eroding. Cameraphones have nearly caught up to some of the better point-and-shoots. (And some cameras are becoming phones or running Android.)

PrintrBot Jr., a $400 3D printer.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples: the weirdest comic you'll ever read right now for a mainstream audience

Strange Aeons magazine

Wreck-It Ralph Soundtrack