Boing Boing 

Blocked Italian toilet leads to thousands of years of buried history


A restaurateur in Lecce, Italy dug up the plumbing for his perennially blocked toilets and discovered thousands of years' worth of tunnels beneath the building, including a Messapian tomb.

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Kickstarting a CC-licensed recording/video of Chopin performed on a pleyel

Robert writes, "Chopin's piano music is the stuff that makes the heart flutter and the blood boil, and many people list him as their favorite composer for the instrument. Yet Chopin never heard a modern Steinway grand, and most of us have never heard his favorite piano, the Pleyel."

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NASA's techno-archaeologists


On a recent O'Reilly Solid podcast (MP3), the convenors of this year's O'Reilly Internet of Things conference (where I'll be a speaker) speak to Dennis Wingo, founder of the McMoon's "techno archaeology" project (previously).

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Exploding the Phone: the untold, epic story of the phone phreaks

Phil Lapsley's Exploding the Phone does for the phone phreaks what Steven Levy's Hackers did for computer pioneers, capturing the anarchic move-fast-break-stuff pioneers who went to war against Ma Bell. Read the rest

Lee Harvey Oswald's car on Ebay

DSC05463_zpsxtshpcc3

You snooze, you lose. You have just missed the chance to bid on, and possibly own, the last car driven by Lee Harvey Oswald, which just sold on ebay.

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In fantasy worlds, historical accuracy is a lie

The mythical realms of Dragon Age grow beautifully with the telling, including their representation of Earthly minorities. Even so, something's missing...Read the rest

J. Edgar Hoover palled around with a suspected commie spy


Michael from Muckrock sez, "Few American officials could even come close to the legendary paranoia of J. Edgar Hoover, but that didn't stop the notorious FBI chief from striking up a close friendship with Samuel Dickstein, House Committee on Un-American Activities founder, Supreme Court Justice -- and suspected Russian spy."

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Hoax photos of real events


Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger normally produce beautiful commercial photos, but their hobby is recreating iconic photos -- the Hindenberg's explosion, Nessie 1934, Tiananmen 1989, 9/11, and more -- in miniature, so that their replicas are virtually indistinguishable from the originals.

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Fantasy worlds that break history's back

Anything can happen in the world of pretend. Microscope is a pen-and-paper game of "fractal history" that forces us to reexamine the rules of the real Read the rest

Eutopia: horror novel about Lovecraftian racism

David Nickle's horror novel Eutopia confronts the racial overtones of Lovecraftian fiction head on, revealing a terrifying story of the American eugenics movement and the brutality underbelly of utopianism.Read the rest

Proposed 1913 highway system separates cars and trucks

highway

An early proposal for the US highway system came from the National Highways Association. That wasn't a government office and didn't have much influence on congress, but as an evangelizer of "good roads," the NHA presented citizens with one of the first visions of interstate travel. Its 1913 maps advocate for three types of highways: main roads, truck roads, and links. Such infrastructure was not only important for national defense, but also for moral turpitude:

highways2

The precedent for our current roadmap, below, came from the American Association of State Highway Officials in 1926. A huge version of the map, with routes you're likely familiar with, is available by clicking on the image at the bottom of the io9 story.

highway3 A Map Of The First Proposed U.S. Highway Network [io9]

Razorhurst: blood-drenched gang warfare and ghosts in Gilded Age Sydney

Justine Larbalestier's Razorhurst is an historical novel that skilfully weaves in a ghost story that puts the action of gang-warfare exactly where it belongs: in the relationship between the living and the dead. Read the rest

15th-Century supervillain

devil

This devil was painted between 1471 and 1475 by Austrian Michael Packer. The 40-by-35-inch altarpiece portrays the legend in which Saint Wolfgang reached out to old scratch for assistance in building a cathedral. But if you replaced the book with an iPad Air 2, it could be any design consultation between a homeowner and contractor.

devil_butt

Via Rob's Webstek.

Apollo mission treasures from Neil Armstrong's attic

Spocko sez, "After Neil Armstrong's death his widow, Carol, discovered a white, cloth bag in a closet, containing flight and space related artifacts."

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Necromantic lawyers say George Patton can't appear in video games


California's insane publicity rights regime mean that the general -- who's been dead for 69 years -- can't be a video-game character because people might mistakenly think he endorses the game.

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Alan Turing's lost notes discovered as crumpled insulation in Bletchley Park huts


After the war ended, Churchill ordered all of Bletchley's work -- the computers, the notebooks -- destroyed, but some of Alan Turing's notes were discovered between the walls of Hut 6 during a recent renovation, and are now on display at Bletchley Park.

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“The Queen of Code,” new short documentary on computing pioneer Grace Hopper

The Queen of Code

Grace Hopper invented the world's first compiler. This wonderful video directed by Community's Gillian Jacobs is a brilliant introduction to her career and position in the history of computing. My only objection is that it's not a full-length documentary.

Grace Hopper, 1952.


Grace Hopper, 1952.