These past few rainy days, I've been trying to entertain my dogs with puzzles. The Treat Triad is a clear winner.
Both a Great Pyrenees and a Cavalier King Charles, dogs large and small, love smacking the spinner around and then figuring out how to open the treat bay doors. It is light, simple and hasn't broken apart after hours of battering.
Treat puzzles are no way to get the dog to let you sleep, but they certainly keep them busy when its too nasty to go out!
Architect/developer Sebastian Mariscal designed and is expecting to build a 44-unit apartment building in densely-populated Boston where most of the space you'd expect to be used for parking spots is instead given over to a variety of gardens. There's a 7,000 public garden on the ground level and a roof that's 70 percent dedicated to community gardening. Meanwhile, each living unit includes a 144 square foot "outdoor room… full of vegetation."
While Mariscal's original design only had six parking spaces, meant for rentals, and he only planned to rent to tenants who didn't own cars, the community was concerned that tenants would own cars anyway and park them on the street. So the architect added 35 spots to his plans and has apparently received preliminary approval to build from the Boston Redevelopment Authority. (Universal Hub, thanks Lis Riba!)
As Boing Boing has outgrown both our converted ICBM silo and air park and secret lair in the Alps we expect to purchase this stately castle in upstate New York, built in 1894 for the National Guard Amsterdam. It is quite a steal at $1 million although our planned improvements will be costly, starting with the piranha-stocked moat. We intend to leave the billiard room and basketball court as-is but the, er, "basement toy room" needs some help. Perhaps we should do a Kickstarter. Upstate Castle Amsterdam, NY National Guard Armory for sale (Thanks, Lindsay Winterhalter!)
I really dig creative work that turns a sense of place into art. That's why I'm really getting a kick out of WoodcutMaps.com, which uses Google Maps to create really great geometric art—some clearly map-like, others much more abstract.
It all depends on what view of the map you choose to have turned into a woodcut. You can do a tight crop, or wide pull-out. Basically, you choose the view that matters to you. They make it art. Above is what my neighborhood in Minneapolis would look like as a woodcut.
At $100 for an 8x8 square, this isn't cheap. But it is very cool and strikes me as something that would make a nice housewarming gift for a special friend, or an anniversary gift for parents who've lived in the same place for decades.
TurboTax Federal Free Edition.
Here at Boing Boing, we're fond of all things handmade, and of clever ways to stretch one's household budget. As the cost of staple foods and happy indulgences like coffee continue to rise, now is a good time to explore ways to save money on food with DIY smarts. Here's a list of 10 proven ways I've managed to cut my household budget—feel free to share more of your own in the comments. Also, apropos of nothing? Cats.
1) Drink water instead of soda. And drink tap water, not bottled water. Soft drinks don't contribute much to your body beyond chemicals and empty calories, and there is growing evidence that both the sugary-sweet and sugar-free varieties are associated with a variety of elevated health risks. Water is essential to human life. Your body needs it. And why waste money on bottled water that sits around in questionable plastics, possibly transported from the other side of the world with a ginormous carbon footprint, when the stuff that comes out of your tap is safe and healthy? (People who live near fracking sites in the US, or in developing countries without potable tap water, I'm not talking to you.) Sink-mounted water filters or filtering pitchers are an economical option if you prefer filtered water, but come on, quit wasting your money on bottled water. It's dumb.
Oh, this makes me so sad. Tony Alleyne, the trekkie, club DJ, and "house-modder" who redesigned his British flat to be a faithful replica of the Starship Enterprise? Looks like he may lose it in divorce proceedings. His ex owns the flat, and wants to sell it as "a conventional dwelling," according to tabloid reports.
I did a story about him for NPR way back in 2006 (MP3 Link). I remember him as one of the most cheerfully obsessed Star Trek fans I've ever met (and buddy, I've met a lot of Star Trek fans in my time).
British tabloid The Sun broke the bummer news a couple of days ago, and quoted Alleyne: "To say I'm gutted is an understatement. It is my life's work. I admit there were tears."
Alleyne estimates that redoing the project in a new apartment would cost more than USD $150K.
More from MSNBC, which also covered the tale of Alleyne's epic Trek home when it first made the internet rounds five years ago:
When msnbc TV reported on the apartment back in 2006, Alleyne was about to file for bankruptcy over the money spent on renovations, and said he had hoped to start a business transforming homes for other "Star Trek" fans. Msnbc TV did another segment on Alleyne in 2007 when he was apparently also hoping to sell the tricked-out home, which includes a mock transporter.
"Most people thought I was barmy," Alleyne said at the time. "I mean, you could go spend the time down the pub or in a nightclub or whatever ... I decided to live in a spaceship." He says on his website, which bills him as a "24th century interior designer," that he became hooked on science fiction at age 11.