One artfully torn dress from Goodwill, white face paint, and some of that hairspray-style hair dye to color my hands and feet = A weekend of explaining what a "wight" is to people who have never read Game of Thrones. (Sadly, the cheap blue contact lenses I picked up at a gas station wouldn't go into my eyes successfully.)
What did you dress up as this year?
- Open thread: your DIY Hallowe'en costumes?
- DIY Hallowe'en: The Grayscales
- DIY Hallowe'en: Minecraft Creeper
- DIY Hallowe'en: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and alleged source Bradley Manning
- DIY Hallowe'en Costumes: Ghost Rider Johnny Angel
- Impaled Zombie Skateboarder DIY Halloween Costume - Boing Boing
Thank you, sysadmins: you keep the universe running!
I love these mini hot air balloons my family launched off this year. Basically, they're just like the Kongming lanterns used by the ancient Chinese military. (Note: This was NOT a part of the country affected by drought.)
Later, my husband came very close to successfully shooting one of these down with a barrage of surface-to-air Roman candles.
This GE demonstration project powered a small motor and was built before 1939.
Via GE's Tumblr
Tara McGinley at Dangerous Minds presents us all with "an early Easter gift of some YouTube videos of children who are absolutely terrified of the Easter Bunny."
"You know what?," she adds, "He scared the crap out of me, too."
Link to videos. Not suitable for children or adults who are scared by the Easter Bunny.
I started zoomed in and out of focus. During the exposure I zoomed out and focused it. The best way to get it in focus during the exposure requires a little prep work. First zoom all the way out or to your stopping point and focus on the tree/subject. This is where everything should be lined up at, at the end of the exposure. Next take a small piece of masking tape an put it on the focusing ring. Put another piece, aligned with the focusing ring tape, on the zoom/focal length ring. Now you can see where to stop. Zoom in, unfocus the camera and take your shot. You might be out of luck if you don't have a dslr/slr.
Each year, Simpsons director David Silverman draws a cool holiday card, and this year, Boing Boing gets first dibs at sharing it with the world. I love it! (The image at top would be the outside of the printed card design, and at bottom, the inside). Thanks, David, and enjoy, everyone! He's on Twitter, by the way.
A Hindu man has his forehead painted with a message in Hindi "Happy Christmas" on the river banks of the Ganges river on the eve of Christmas, in the northern Indian city of Allahabad, on December 24, 2010. [REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash]
When the carolers come to your door, will you be ready? A strategic stockpile of figgy puddings may well be the only thing standing between you, and certain doom. Protect your family from the singing hordes. Make a figgy pudding today!
There are a couple of directions you can take this:
• NPR's figgy pudding (Similar in style to a bundt or rum cake)
• More traditional British-style figgy pudding (With suet! Expect something more dense and fruitcake-esque.)
As of today, it's been 72 years* since humans figured out that some Coelacanths—an order previously known only in the fossil record—were still alive and swimming around in our modern oceans. The story of the discovery is a great one, full of serendipity and giant dead fish riding around in the back of taxis. Museum curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, who found the Coelacanth in a pile of "trash" fish hauled in by a trawler, had to fight to get anyone to take her discovery seriously. Once the big shots started paying attention, though, they quickly recognized the Coelacanth as a new and fascinating species.
You've probably noticed, however, that I haven't called the Coelacanth a "living fossil". That's because it's not.
Read the rest
This harmonica, and these bells, are sitting in the Smithsonian Museum today. In 1965, however, they were in space, with astronauts Walter M. "Wally" Schirra Jr. and Thomas P. Stafford, who were doing a pre-Christmas mission aboard Gemini 6.
Just before Stafford and Schirra were scheduled to reenter Earth's atmosphere December 16, the pair reported they had sighted some sort of UFO. Schirra recounted the moment when Stafford contacted Mission Control in Schirra's Space, a memoir he wrote with Richard Billings:
"We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, probably in polar orbit.... Looks like he might be going to re-enter soon.... You just might let me pick up that thing.... I see a command module and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit."
Then ground controllers heard the strains, both familiar and otherworldly, of "Jingle Bells." The Santa Claus plot had been hatched weeks before the Gemini 6 mission. "Wally came up with the idea," recalls Stafford, now a retired Air Force general, who chairs an International Space Station advisory group. "He could play the harmonica, and we practiced two or three times before we took off, but of course we didn't tell the guys on the ground."
"I could hear the voices at Mission Control getting tense," Stafford adds, "when I talked about sighting something else up there with us. Then, after we finished the song, [Mission Control's] Elliot See relaxed and just said, 'You're too much.'"
Thanks to leharrist for Submitterating!
(image via Wikimedia Commons: Space Station over Sedona.)
For the first couple of Christmas eve's of my daughter's life, I would take her over to the computer and show her Santa's current position on the sweet and dopey Santa NORAD tracking site. Even by the time she turned four years old, though, she was beginning to get suspicious that this cartoon Santa had little to do with the real one.
I needed a better shtick. And last year I found the best one ever. I will definitely be pulling this one again this year.
Just around her bed time I warned her that Santa was coming soon and she definitely needed to be asleep if he was going to stop. We put out milk and cookies and carrots as I kept checking the time on my watch.
At precisely 7:34 I said "I think he's about to fly overhead right about now."
"Yeah, let's go outside and look," I whispered.
Video Link. It's pretty awesome. For Your Holidays.
I've been sharing some awesome holiday news with my MAKE comrades. November sales in the Maker Shed were up a whopping 81% over last year (which was up 72% over the prior year). Now, to be sure, we have a dedicated team working insane hours and doing a lot of smart things well (for which, I'm eternally grateful), but that's the e-commerce story. The more interesting story for me is that the gift of making and hands-on learning is making a really strong comeback.
Selling kits, components and tools to experienced makers isn't new for us. But this year we've been seeing a sharp upswing in people looking for kits and tools designed to help a loved get started in something new; like electronics, Arduino projects, robotics, even lock-picking. Not only are people giving gifts they've made themselves in greater numbers than ever before. But they're also touching loved ones with the gift of making by giving a project kit that enables the friend or family member make something of their own. A passing of the DIY torch if you will.
The question I get asked the most is "What's the hottest gift for makers this year"? Hands-down, it's The Make: Electronics Component Pack 1 -- all the components required to take you through the first 1/3 of the projects in Charles Platt's sensational book Make: Electronics packed brilliantly into a really cool fishing tackle box. Not surprisingly, the second hottest product is the Make: Electronics Deluxe Toolkit, which includes all the basic electronic tools that Charles outlines in the same book, followed closely by the Getting Started With Arduino kit, which bundles an Arduino Uno microcontroller with all the components needed to tackle the projects in Massimo Banzi's book Getting Started With Arduino.
I invite you to visit the Maker Shed store and check these and hundreds of other cool DIY products out for yourself. But whether you choose to buy something from MAKE or another DIY retailer, consider giving the gift of making to a loved one this year. Even better, crack open that kit, roll up your sleeves and do some hands-on kitchen table projects with a good friend this holiday season.
Maker Shed's Top 10 Maker gifts so far this holiday season:
My wife bought advent calendars for my two daughters from Trader Joe's. The calendars cost ninety-nine cents apiece. Behind each of the 24 little doors is a piece of chocolate with a symbol representing the holidays on it. One piece of chocolate had a sleigh with presents in it, for instance. All of the symbols have been easily recognizable, if somewhat crude. But the pieces of chocolate my daughters got today is a mystery.
None of us can tell what it is. It's not a squirrel; we already got a piece of chocolate that looked like a squirrel and this looks like nothing like that one.
This looks vaguely skull-like, or an H.P. Lovecraft monster, maybe. I don't know if the picture above is upside down, sideways or right side up. I have a feeling the readers of Boing Boing will be able to figure out what it is pretty quickly, though. And then it will snap into clarity. Or maybe not.