Workaholic Goethe wished he'd been better at carving out time for quiet reflection


You know that successful person's lament about being out of control of their own time, not being able to balance the demands that others placed on them against their own self-care needs? There is nothing new under the sun: "Had I been able to abstain more from public business, and to live more in solitude, I should have been happier, and should have accomplished much more as a poet." Read the rest

The dystopian First Contact/alien abduction sf story hidden in the Thanksgiving tale


When you look at the Thanksgiving story from Squanto's point of view, it's a pretty depressing science fiction story about minding your business outside your home one day when you're suddenly abducted by aliens with advanced technology, and when you finally make your way back home, years, you discover that nearly everyone on the continent has been wiped out by an alien supervirus. Read the rest

Racist, sexist, gross and weird: THANKSGIVING


From the late 1800s to the early 1940s, many Americans celebrated Thanksgiving by dressing up as "ragamuffins" in masked costumes and then thronged the streets, basically trick-or-treating for money and gifts. Read the rest

Cultural appropriation? Hindu nationalists used yoga as an anti-colonialist export


A kerfuffle about a Canadian university where yoga classes were cancelled after concerns about cultural appropriation were raised by the Centre for Students with Disabilities sparked Michelle Goldberg, author of a biography of yoga pioneer Indra Devi to discuss the complicated issue of cultural exports, cultural appropriation, and the history of yoga. Read the rest

There's nothing new about the 7-9 rating scale for video games


This amusing criticism of game rating inflation is doing the rounds. Who can deny that game ratings are inflated? And that if it gets less than 7, it's gonna suck.

But the suggestion that this inflation is a phenomenon of the 2010s; now, that is suspect. I cracked open a 1990s copy of ACE magazine—one of the more popular British general-purpose gaming mags of the 16-bit era—and it had the following scores. (They're normalized to "out of 10"; ACE rated games out of 1000)

Issue 15:

Operation Wolf 9 Joan of Arc 9 Powerdrome 9 Bombuzal 9 Rocket Ranger 8 R-Type 9 Space Harrier compilation 7 Typhoon 7 Menace 7 Hostages 7 Albedo 7 Action service 6 Mad Mix 5

The only game that gets less than 6/10 is a promotional merch for a drink mix. Basically, every credible commercial product gets at least 7/10. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose! Read the rest

The Lost Arcade: doc about rebirth of legendary NYC arcade


Changing technology made it a legend, then gentrification killed it. But Chinatown Fair, Manhattan's legendary video arcade, is open to players again in a new location. The Lost Arcade is a forthcoming documentary about a place best summed up in the line: "of course the best players went there. It was the only place still open."

Chinatown Fair opened as a penny arcade on Mott Street in 1944. Over the decades, the dimly lit gathering place, known for its tic-tac-toe playing chicken, became an institution, surviving turf wars between rival gangs, changing tastes and the explosive growth of home gaming systems like Xbox and Playstation that shuttered most other arcades in the city. But as the neighborhood gentrified, this haven for a diverse, unlikely community faced its strongest challenge, inspiring its biggest devotees to next-level greatness.

The premiere showings are on Nov. 14 and 18th, 2015, in New York City at IFC Center.

More from the description:

The story focuses on three members of the Chinatown Fair community: Akuma, a young man who found refuge in the arcade after running away from foster care; Henry Cen, a kid who grew up in Chinatown and became one of the best Street Fighter players in the world; and Sam Palmer, father figure and longtime owner of Chinatown Fair.

When Sam is forced to close Chinatown Fair, Henry and Akuma refuse to let the arcade community die and create Next Level, a modern incarnation of the classic arcade located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Read the rest

14,000 drawings of the French Revolution posted online

french revolution CHOP

Guillotines and numbing satire figure strongly in an archive of images from the French Revolution, made available by Stanford University and the Bibliothèque nationale de France

About 14,000 high-resolution images are in the set, which is divided into Parliamentary Archives and Images of the French Revolution and neatly organized by event and category. [via Hyperallergic] Read the rest

10,000 wax cylinders digitized and free to download


The University of California at Santa Barbara library has undertaken an heroic digitization effort for its world-class archive of 19th and early 20th century wax cylinder recordings, and has placed over 10,000 songs online for anyone to download, stream and re-use.

Read the rest

It was once socially acceptable and surprisingly affordable to send children by parcel post


Between 1913 and 1920, many Americans sent their children around the country by mail. Provided your child weighed less than 50 lbs, you could simply affix stamps to their clothing and send them off with the postmaster. They'd be whisked across the country in the railway system's mail compartments and delivered to relatives safe and sound. Read the rest

Dumb Cuneiform: your tweets, translated into ancient Persian and stamped into clay tablets


It's real and it does exactly what it says it will: send Dumb Cuneiform a tweet or an SMS message and they'll transliterate it into ancient Persian cuneiform, stamp it into a clay tablet and mail it to you. $20. It's Snow-Crash-a-riffic. Read the rest

Typewriter portraiture, the strange story of 1920s ASCII art


In 1919, a 16-year old LA Times office boy named Kenneth Taylor was given a back-page spread to show off his typewriter portraits of film stars; Taylor's work then spread to Photoplay, and a new medium was born. Read the rest

How TPP will clobber Canada's municipal archives and galleries of historical city photos


Jesse writes, "Like you, I've been following the TPP news with much trepidation. My partner is a librarian-archivist, so I'm keenly away of how difficult copyright law can make the job of the average archivist. I put together a piece explaining how the TPP's copyright extension will hurt Canadian city archives, and the galleries of historical city photos we love so much." Read the rest

New Zealand's lost colossus: all-mechanical racetrack oddsmaking computer


In 1913, George Julius installed a building-sized, all mechanical odds-calculating computer at Auckland, NZ's Ellerslie racetrack, powered by huge iron weights that slowly pulled down bike chains over sprockets, driving the clockwork device as it "totalised" all the bets laid on horses at the track, keeping the odds in constant balance so that all the bettors were effectively betting against one another, in a system called "pari-mutuel" betting. Read the rest

Beautiful, free/open 3D printed book of lost Louis H. Sullivan architectural ornaments


Tom Burtonwood creates 3D printed books of dimensional, public domain architectural elements: in 2013, he made Orihon and in 2014 he made Folium, which featured work from Ancient Egypt to Louis Sullivan department store decorations. Now he's released a new work: "Twenty Something Sullivan." Read the rest

Fully poseable, articulated Michaelangelo's David action-figure


It's been nearly a decade since a single thumbnail image of Michaelangelo's David's willie caused a censorware company founded by a registered sex-offender to block Boing Boing for all its clients as a "nudity" site. This post will probably blow their minds. Read the rest

The word "software" sounded ridiculous when it was coined in '53


Computing pioneer Paul Niquette's memoir begins with the tale of how he came to coin the term "software" in 1953, to the ridicule of his colleague, and how the idea of a computer whose code was separate from its machinery took hold and changed the way we think about computation forever. Read the rest

J Edgar Hoover fought to write ex-FBI agents out of Hitchcock's scripts


Michael from Muckrock writes, "Like almost everyone else in the J. Edgar Hoover era, Alfred Hitchcock managed to catch the attention of the FBI, leading to a 16-page file. Did it investigate the rumored murders the Master of Suspense committed? Secretive ties to foreign states? Nope, mostly just the fact that, in one episode of Hitchcock Presents, a bad guy was briefly referenced to be a 'former FBI agent,' a plot point that the Bureau worked surprisingly hard to change ... perhaps worth of a Hitchcock treatment all its own. Read on for the full story." Read the rest

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