The Atlantic has a fascinating photo gallery about the DIY Weapons of the Syrian Rebels. Homebrew explosives are the norm, as are catapults (Reuters photo above) and tele-operated machine guns controlled with scavenged video game controllers.
BB reader Readblood shares this photo in the Boing Boing Flickr pool and explains,
Bitblox are wooden alphabet blocks inspired by our pixelated nostalgia. While pixels continue shrinking out of sight on our digital screens, they live on in full chromatic and tactile splendor in these one-of-a-kind alphabet blocks.
$45 a set, available at glyfyx.com
. Each limited-edition set includes 28 blocks, "featuring a total of 168 letters, numbers, symbols and quirky pictograms." They're "hand-manufactured in the United States from renewable, American grown, kiln-dried basswood," printed with non-toxic, child-safe inks, free of lead.
MAKE has a great interview with one of my favorite makers: Steve Hoefer.
Steve Hoefer is a San Francisco-based inventor and creative problem solver with nearly 20 years of experience. He’s contributed projects to the pages of MAKE, including his Indestructible LED Lanterns, Secret-Knock Gumball Machine, and Haptic Wrist Rangefinder. He’s also active in the open source hardware and software communities and is a super nice guy.
One project you’re particularly proud of:
1. The Secret Knock Gumball Machine. A lot of the things I do are for a specific audience or solving a specific problem, but the Secret Knock Gumball Machine has something for everyone and it manages to make candy more fun. It has a feel of forbidden magic to it. It’s not immediately obvious how it works, but you get to see how the trick is done. It’s mechanically and technically pretty simple — you can build your own! I still regularly get messages from people, usually young people, who are inspired by it and have used it as their own springboard into making.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Things About Steve Hoefer
This week I visited BB pal Kirsten Anderson's wonderful Roq La Rue Gallery in Seattle where Casey Curran has hung a number of his exquisite kinetic sculptures. Each sculpture is a baroque ecosystem of wire plants, synthetic flowers, metallic creatures, faux feathers, and other ornate faux-naturalia. Gently crank the handle on each sculpture and these fantasy worlds come alive. At first I thought they would benefit from an electric motor but I quickly realized that cranking them myself not only made me a more active observer, but it required a physical proximity that immersed me in each surreal scene. You can glimpse still photos and videos of the show here: "Casey Curran: Dissymmetry" Also showing at the gallery is a series of beautifully dark paintings and drawings by Sam Wolfe Connelly, titled "Nocturne." Both exhibitions will be up through March 2.
Master blacksmith Tony Swatton of Sword & Stone is Hollywood's favorite weapons maker. Here he is forging Jaime Lannister's sword for "Games of Thrones."
Creative agency LOLA Madrid designed and built a prototype bicycle constructed entirely out of with some components made of scrap auto parts, from a transmission belt used as the "chain" to a seat post clamp from a door handle. Bicycled (via Think Faest!)
Extreme maker and MacArthur "Genius" Saul Griffih, of inflatable robots and algorithmically-designed hoodie fame, writes:
(My independent research lab) Otherlab has recently received ARPA-e awards for two great projects in clean energy. ARPA-e is having a vote to have the best projects present at the ARPA-e showcase in a few weeks in Washington DC to get national exposure. We'd like to see both of these projects receive the attention they deserve to enable them to succeed as fast as possible.
You can vote for one, and in fact both, at the links below. Make sure to watch the intestine video beautifully drawn by Nick Dragotta and narrated by Tucker Gilman.
* Safe, dense, high pressure, conformal energy storage for natural gas vehicles
* Low cost high precision heliostats for solar energy.
An incredibly labor-intensive animated flipbook version of PSY's "Gangnam Style." Such a bummer that Etoilec1, the talented creator of this stunning video, was sound-blocked by YouTube's automated IP enforcement police. Etoilec1's original video is here
(and below), in higher rez, but it's stripped of sound. Subscribe to his channel
or follow him on Facebook
, for more flipbook fun. Above, a lower-rez copycat upload on Vimeo. (Thanks, Joe Sabia!)
Read the rest
Spotted in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool: Vancouver, Canada-based Artist Hiné Mizushima, right, stitched this lovely commissioned felt work for They Might Be Giants' new iOS song app.
The app is available now, as a free download.
Like TMBGs original Dial-A-Song, the app has a different song every day. The app holds five of the freshest posted tracks at all times, and all are directly linked to iTunes. It also connects you directly to TMBGs social media and free MP3 club. From Don't Let's Start to Nanobots the app even includes brand new tracks, GRAMMY-winning kids music and TMBGs beloved television themes.
The app was created by TMBG with Drew Westphal, graphic designer Paul Sahre, and Ms. Mizushima's lovely felt work.
University of Florida grad student Andrew Gray built the Bird Buggy for his parrot to drive around the house. "When it's time to put the bird away, Bird Buggy is able to dock itself to a base station utilizing a web camera," Gray says. (Thanks, Sean Ness!)
Industrial design student Paulo Goldstein's "Repair is Beautiful" project is about fixing boring broken products like lamps, headphones, and chairs with unusual bits of detritus such as string, metal odds-and-sodds, and even bone. The results are provocative, beautiful, and gloriously overwrought. "Repair is Beautiful" (Thanks, Jason Tester!)
Scott and Hannah turned an old ladder into a book shelf. Neat idea!
Ashley Gilreath created this remarkable necklace from tiny photos of her ancestors. "I casted dollhouse frames from sterling silver and bronze, and printed my family directly onto the glass," she says. "I Am Who They Were." (Thanks, Lindsay Winterhalter!)
I gave "Ball of Whacks" to my 6-year-old son as a Hanukkah gift and I wish I'd have given it to myself. It reminds me a bit of Rubik's Snake but it's much more free-form and fun as the individual blocks aren't permanently connected but rather held together by 180 rare earth magnets. The blocks fit together in a 30-sided rhombic triacontahedron and can be recombined into animals, stars, and other geometric wonders. The Ball of Whacks comes with a guidebook suggesting lots of neat configurations, creativity exercises, and tips but we haven't bothered with that yet. It's addictive without any instruction. Ball of Whacks is available in red, blue, black, and multi-color which is what I, er, my son, was given. Maybe next we'll go for Von Oech's X-Ball, Y-Ball, or Star Ball magnet toys! Ball of Whacks
Amateur astronomer Ellen Harding Baker of Cedar County, Iowa made this stunning solar system quilt in 1876. The quilt is now in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution. From the Smithsoian's History Explorer:
Ellen used the quilt as a visual aid for lectures she gave on astronomy in the towns of West Branch, Moscow, and Lone Tree, Iowa. Astronomy was an acceptable interest for women in the nineteenth century and was sometimes even fostered in their education.
"Ellen Harding Baker's "Solar System" Quilt