The latest generation of chatbot toys listen to your kids 24/7 and send their speech to a military contractor

deconstructingcayla

Last year's Hello Barbie chatbot toy sent all your kid's speech to cloud servers operated by Mattel and its tech partner, but only when your kid held down Barbie's listen button -- new chatbot toys like My Friend Cayla and the i-Que Intelligent Robot are in constant listening mode -- as is your "OK Google" enabled phone, your Alexa-enabled home mic, and your Siri-enabled Ios device -- and everything that is uttered in mic range is transmitted to Nuance, a company that makes text-to-speech tech (you probably know them through their Dragon-branded tools), and contracts to the US military. Read the rest

A heartwarming story about a comic clerk who helped a "baby gay" teen customer come out through Supergirl comics

animation

Mary (AKA @sapphicgeek) works in an Indiana comic shop, and Saturday, she met a customer, a distraught teen girl, looking for Supergirl. Read the rest

This LEGO Addams Family Mansion needs to happen

2412877-o_1ag406f5qm97l9j2ldnj
LEGO is reviewing this nifty Addams Family mansion as a possible box set. It even has Morticia on her rattan chair with a black fan. Read the rest

Watch this delightful handmade 3-minute marble run

murmiland-01

YouTuber Murmiland, aka Ortwin Grüttner, created this one-of-a-kind rafting-themed marble run that takes nearly 3 minutes from start to finish. Follow one yellow marble in a sea of green glass marbles as they cascade down the carved wooden path. Lots of nifty little features. Read the rest

“I made a spaceship for my son's one year birthday”

thumb

Check out this incredible spacecraft made by IMGURian revmuun for their beautiful one-year-old baby boy. What a fantastic wondrous thing to build for your kiddo!

About the image below, revmuun says, “You can see him playing with the control panel. You can also see the hinges that help detach the control section from the body for easier transportation.”

Read the rest

Kids explain how banned and challenged books helped them and even saved their lives

miseducation-of-cameron-post
Banned Books Week has come and gone but we can be sure of one thing: the coming year will be marked by challenges to the same kinds of books that were controversial this year, and in years past.

Candy cigarettes, the best worst thing since Jarts

candy-cigarettes-01

Stanford historian Robert Proctor amassed a remarkable collection of candy cigarette packaging in Golden Holocaust, like this candy cig marketed as "Just Like Daddy!" Yes, they were evil, but sometimes the best things in life are. Read the rest

My sister made a Chewbacca piñata costume

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 10.59.11 AM

A few weeks ago my good friend John Park created a video demonstration of how to hack the famous Happy Chewbacca mask to trigger your very own audio files.  And when my sister Christina told me she was building a Chewbacca-Pinata costume for her son, I naturally shared John’s video with her.

What my sister ended up creating was the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen.

But before sharing some pics and a video of the costume in action, I wanted to set the bar very, very low by showing images of other homemade Chewbacca costumes I found online.

It's like looking in a Chewbacca mirror!

 

Boxybacca.

Yes, you can purchase this one!

 

And this is my favorite one of all. The caption under this photo read, “Look at Chewbacca’s feet!”.

The truth is, that’s all I’m looking at.

So now that you’re primed for awesomeness, here are some pics of the creative process and a video of the finished product.

 

Christina started with an ordinary fleece jacket and started attaching strips of paper to it in layers.

She kept working upwards and onto the store-bought Chewbacca mask.  And Ryan just kept standing there.

Christina made Chewbacca-pantaloons by applying the same paper layering techniques onto a pair of sweatpants.

Holy crap is that a fantastic Chewbacca-Piñata costume, but from what I can tell there is a fatal flaw.

The costume is called a “Chewbacca Piñata” and piñatas are meant to be hit with a stick or a baseball bat. Read the rest

Camp Sundown, where kids allergic to sunlight can gather

camp-sundown

Liza Mandelup directed this lovely short documentary on a camp for children with xeroderma pigmentosum, or XP, a genetic skin condition which makes those with the trait extremely sensitive to sunlight. Activities happen during the night, allowing these young people to enjoy the outdoors together. Read the rest

Devil's Dictionary: the ed-tech edition

050-056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8

I've been noting humorous updatings of Ambrose Bierce's 1906 humor classic The Devil's Dictionary for years -- there was the publishing edition, and this corker on copyright -- but the Educational Technology edition, by New Storytelling author Bryan Alexander has a currency and an urgency that scores an acerbic bullseye. Read the rest

Comedy writer has exactly the right response to his kid's Fahrenheit 451 permission slip

cvioudxwaaacch5

Daily Show writer Daniel Radosh's son came home from school with a permission slip that he'd have to sign before the kid could read Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451, which is widely believed to be an anti-censorship book (Bradbury himself insisted that this was wrong, and that the book was actually about the evils of television). Read the rest

Girl Scouts of America have licensed Girl Scout Cookie cereal rights to General Mills

cvioqrsueae70xs

The company says it will start selling Caramel Crunch and Thin Mints breakfast cereals in January. It's not clear how the deal is structured and whether the cereals will be promoted as a way to make a charitable contribution to the Girl Scouts. Read the rest

Inspiring ad for a Toronto children's hospital

sickkids

"Sick isn't weak." Toronto's Hospital for Sick Kids has a perceptual challenge with "sick" in their name, so they created a great new ad called VS. that presents their patients and employees as heroes. Read the rest

Halloween safety video from 1977

halloween-safety-1977

Centron Corp. was good enough to prepare this helpful safety video for pre-helicopter parenting days. Oh, for the days when you'd send your kids out for a night of trick-or-treating at strangers' houses with nary an adult in sight, all the time wearing sight-restricting masks and dark clothes. Read the rest

Ghostbusters Ecto-1 Wheelchair Costume

ryan-miller-costume

Ryan Scott Miller outdid himself with this terrific wheelchair costume that Jeremy will be sporting this Halloween: "This year we put it to a vote and our friends choose the Ghostbusters Ecto-1!" Well-played, sir! Read the rest

Digital Defenders: a free open-licensed booklet for kids about privacy and crypto

050-056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8

European Digital Rights has created a free, CC-licensed kids' booklet about privacy called Digital Defenders. Read the rest

Kickstarting a monthly open hardware maker-box for kids that funds a kids' makerspace

e3d14d3d953362385b6287114a60d5

Noah Swartz writes, "Parts and Crafts, a youth and community makerspace in Somerville, MA, is kickstarting a series of Creative Commons/Open Hardware licensed educational kits and projects for kids. The project is called 'Monthly Make-It' and it's a maker-kit subscription service where you sign up to get a box of cool DIY buildable projects sent to your house every month." Read the rest

More posts