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My City Garden: Boston-area yard-sharing service for urban gardeners

Gmoke writes, "My City Gardens is up and running for the season. We're a local yard sharing website that connects gardeners, mentors, and people with access to space, to neighbors who want to roll up their sleeves and dig in. If you have extra space in your yard you'd like help cultivating, need a gardening plot this summer or are willing to lend gardening advise to your neighbors, please sign up!"

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Painting babies' medical helmets

Robbo sez, "Artist Paula Strawn paints the plain white medical helmets of babies and transforms them into super awesome designs. The flight helmets and droid designs are really cool - but so are the Van Gogh and Seurat paintings. And the wee tykes look like they love 'em too."

The kids have flat head syndrome and have to wear the helmets; Strawn's done 1,300 helmets in 12 years, through her business Lazardo Art.

Artist Turns Babies' Head-Shaping Helmets Into Impressive Works Of Art [Mandy Velez/Huffington Post]

(Thanks, Robbo!)

Amazing Stories relaunches on April 1


A new publisher has re-re-launched Amazing Stories, the very first science fiction magazine, founded 88 years ago by Hugo Gernsback. Through the month of April, they'll publish fiction and features, which will be collected as an ezine at the end of the month. The relaunch comes on April 1, Amazing's 88th birthday.

Amazing Stories (Thanks, Steve!)

Making pancakes with the amazing Nathan Shields and his awesomely cute kids

The amazing pancake artist Nathan Shields (previously, previously) has launched a video-series in which he makes pancakes with his adorable kids, Gryphon and Alice. Part three, out today, is jaw-dropping and hunger-inspiring! Parts one and two (below) are great introductions to advanced pancaking, and part two features a pancake portrait of Paul Erdos!

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Arduino-powered Etch-a-Sketch clock

Dodgey99 built an Arduino-powered Etch-a-Sketch clock, in which a pair of stepper motors painstakingly draw out the current time. It's got a very low refresh rate, though: the limits of the motors and the Etch-a-Sketch means that it takes more than a minute to display the time, and it needs a couple of minutes' rest between each number. There's a plan to accelerate things with some beefier motors.

I use an Arduino driving two very cheap darlington stepper drivers with 64:1 internally reduced steppers for the drawing. For the rotation I'm using an Easy-Driver driving a Nema 17 stepper.

I also have a DS1307RTC real time clock installed so it always knows the time. Setting the time is a one-off via USB connected to a PC. Once done, you un-tether, and then the RTC keeps the time, for up to a year on the rechargeable battery, or so I'm told...

The code is actually very simple, it's just a pain drawing the numbers!

The G clamp on the back is for a counter balance until I find something more elegant!

The steppers are far too slow to write the time in under a minute so I delay it for a couple of mins between each draw. Mostly to give the very hot motors a while to cool off and to give the etch a sketch a break!

Etch a Sketch clock powered by Arduino (via JWZ)

Disney's Nine Old Men: box-set of flipbooks

In January 2013, Disney Animation Studios released a box-set of nine flip books that pay tribute to the "Nine Old Men" of Disney animation -- artists who pioneered the animation techniques that define the field even today. I only just found out about these today -- they're amazing. Each book shows the animation as line-art, really capturing the character and movement the animators imbued their creations with. This video does a good job of showing off the books. The box also includes a short explanatory book, but this isn't really about reading material -- the value is all in having the cel-by-cel line art to marvel upon.

Walt Disney Animation Studios The Archive Series Walt Disney's Nine Old Men: The Flipbooks

Post-scarcity hacker convention: !!Con

Sumana is helping put on a new kind of hacker conference in NYC, !!Con (pronounced "Bang bang con"). Unlike other hacker cons, !!Con has no ranking, no winners, and no dominance displays: "Whenever possible, Hacker School culture assumes abundance rather than scarcity; attempts to rank projects or people would defile our ecology." Cory 9

Bay Area drone-fliers' meetup

Jeffrey writes, "Bay area flyers, come talk and fly drones over pizza and beer in our massive 17 foot tall ceiling warehouse! Amateur and professionals are welcome to come and talk drones and show off their airframes in action. We'll have plenty of charging stations, onsite repair workbench, tasty local beer, and food/snacks for flyers. Compete for fun prizes, fame, and whimsical trophies in our drone flying contests. Starts at noon on April 5, contests start at 2 PM. Plenty of parking and free for all." Cory 3

HOWTO make your own head-in-a-jar illusion

By photoshopping a pair of mirror-flipped profile-shots of your face onto either side of a full-on shot, you can make a gimmicked photo that, when curled and placed in a jar of water, creates a convincing illusion of your head in a jar. Mikeasaurus's Instructable has easy-to-follow instructions for making your own.

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Kickstarting board games adapted for blind people

Emily sez, "Working in the blindness field, my husband, Richard and I have many blind friends. We are gamers at heart and have always been dismayed that our friends couldn't play our favorite games. When Richard began pursuing game publishing our first inclination was to make all games blind accessible. However, this proved to be nigh on impossible. We discovered if we wanted our games to be accessible, we had to make accessible games ourselves."

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Philadelphia's Hacktory hackerspace is looking for artists-in-residence

Lee writes, "Philadelphia's Hacktory has just announced its Call For Artists for its new Unknown Territory Fellowship and Artist-In-Residency."

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Pre-order William Gibson's new far-future novel The Peripheral

Pre-orders have opened for The Peripheral, William Gibson's next novel, which comes out in October 2014. I've been reading this one as Bill worked on it, and it's spectacular, a piece of trenchant, far-future speculation that features all the eyeball kicks of Neuromancer and all the maturity and sly wit of Spook Country. It's brilliant, and I'm so happy to hear there's a production date for it! (via Super Punch) Cory 11

Excerpt: first two chapters of Karl Schroeder's Lockstep

Yesterday, I reviewed Karl Schoeder's first YA novel, Lockstep, which combines genuinely brilliant techno-social speculation with a driving, exciting adventure plot.

Today I'm delighted to present the first two chapters of Lockstep, courtesy of Tor Books, so you can get a taste for this book yourself. As I wrote yesterday: Buy a copy for your favorite kid -- and another for yourself. And remember, Schroeder is launching the book at Toronto's Bakka Phoenix Books this Saturday at 3PM.

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Burned paper fingernails


Here's a great fashion idea for the next Banned Books Week: burned paper fingernails from Glitterfingersss. Basically, you soak newspaper in alcohol, transfer the ink to your nails atop a light nude polish, paint in the burned marks, and add a topcoat.

TUTORIAL | Burned Paper Nails (via Crazy Abalone)

Minecraft videos: booming industry with millions of viewers

Glenn Fleishman writes, "Minecraft YouTube videos are fantastically popular, and a core group of producers of these videos have enjoyed a wild ride up the virtual charts. Diamond Minecart, a YouTube channel by 22-year-old Daniel Middleton of Northamptonshire, England, has almost 1.9 million subscribers, and people have watched his videos over 400 million times."

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