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Winners of 3D printers for peace contest

Back in May, I wrote about a contest to come up with peaceful applications for 3D printers from the Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology (MOST) Lab and Type A Machines. The contest asked for designs that "discourage conflict (e.g. designs for appropriate technology in the developing world to reduce scarcity or designs that improve economic development)."


Now the contest winners have been announced. First prize went to John Van Tuyl, for VaxBeads ("3-D printed immunization records...Each bead represents a different vaccine. The shape and colour of each bead is unique to a specific vaccine").


Second prize went to Matt Courchaine for a Solar Powered Water Purification Cone and third prize went to Aaron Meidinger for a Braille Tablet ("a braille platform and a scrabble set of letters, along with some of the punctuation and a nice pile of the blank tiles to use it to write any short message.")

Read the rest

Cory in Lansing, MI today

Hey, Lansing, MI! I'm headed your way today for a signing at Schuler Books & Music at 6PM, as part of my Pirate Cinema tour, which then moves on to Chicagoland, NYC, Philadelphia, Bethesda, and many other cities in the USA and Canada. I can't wait to see you -- come on out and let your happy mutant flag fly! Here's the full schedule. Tell your friends!

American off-duty cop complains he couldn't pack heat in Canada, worries about guys who talked to him and then went away

Jesse sez, "This letter to the editor for a Kalamazoo police officer to the Calgary Herald has been floating around Twitter and the internet today, mostly for the purposes of mocking it. The officer describes an incedent that he feels is a good example of why Canada should allow concealed firearms. Two men came up to him and his wife to ask if they had been to the Calgary Stampede, and...that's all. The newspaper has already released an editorial explaining that it's a real letter they received from a real police officer, and that it isn't a hoax. I thought it might be right up Boingboing's alley. It really does illustrate a cultural divide between Canadian and (some) Americans' views on gun control. It has also sparked the Twitter hashtag #NoseHillGentleman."

Even with the newspaper's reassurance, I find it hard not to believe that this guy isn't trolling -- the cliche is too perfect.

Recently, while out for a walk in Nose Hill Park, in broad daylight on a paved trail, two young men approached my wife and me. The men stepped in front of us, then said in a very aggressive tone: "Been to the Stampede yet?"

We ignored them. The two moved closer, repeating: "Hey, you been to the Stampede yet?"

I quickly moved between these two and my wife, replying, "Gentle-men, I have no need to talk with you, goodbye." They looked bewildered, and we then walked past them.

I speculate they did not have good intentions when they approached in such an aggressive, disrespectful and menacing manner. I thank the Lord Jesus Christ they did not pull a weapon of some sort, but rather concluded it was in their best interest to leave us alone.

Would we not expect a uniformed officer to pull his or her weapon to intercede in a life-or-death encounter to protect self, or another? Why then should the expectation be lower for a citizen of Canada or a visitor? Wait, I know - it's because in Canada, only the criminals and the police carry handguns.

Nose Hill Park confrontation makes visitors feel unsafe (Thanks, Jesse!)

(Image: ALBERTA 1954 auto license plate CALGARY front plate, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from woodysworld1778's photostream)

One-stop shop


AGS, in Manistee, MI, has something for everyone -- whether you're shopping for a bong, a dildo or a frisbee.

(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Award-winning book-burning hoax saves Troy, MI libraries

The Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide agency has won a gold prize in the Effie awards for their hoax "Book Burning Party" campaign, which is credited with saving the public library in Troy, MI. Michigan's extreme austerity measures and collapsing economy had put the library under threat, and the town proposed a 0.7% tax raise to keep it open. The local Tea Party spent a large sum of money opposing the measure on the grounds that all taxes are bad, so the Burnett campaign reframed the issue by creating a hoax campaign to celebrate the library's closure with a Book Burning Party a few days after the vote.

The outrage generated by this campaign was sufficient to win the day for the library, as Troy's residents made the connection between closing libraries and burning books, focusing their minds on literacy and shared community, rather than taxation.

Troy Public Library would close for good unless voters approved a tax increase. With little money, six weeks until the election, facing a well organized anti-tax group who'd managed to get two previous library-saving tax increases to fail, we had to be bold. We posed as a clandestine group who urged people to vote to close the library so they could have a book burning party. Public outcry over the idea drowned out the anti-tax opposition and created a ground-swell of support for the library, which won by a landslide.

BOOK BURNING PARTY (via MeFi)

Vagina song

Jonathan "Song a Day" Mann's latest is "The Vagina Song," inspired by Michigan's legislative fight, in which Republicans have censured a woman Democratic lawmaker for using the word "vagina" in an abortion debate.

the VAGINA song (Song A Day #1262) (Thanks, Jonathan)

Woman legislator in Michigan barred from future debates for using the word "vagina" in abortion debate

Michigan state rep Rep. Lisa Brown intervened in a debate about a pending abortion bill in which she used the word "vagina," for which she was censured, and prohibited from participating in some future, unrelated debates. She was not the only woman legislator prohibited from speaking during the debate. Rep. Barb Byrum was barred from introducing her amendment requiring men to prove that their lives were at risk before they were allowed to have a vasectomy.

Brown, a Democrat, argued that her Jewish faith allowed for therapeutic abortions when the mother's life is in danger without regard to length of pregnancy.

"I have not asked you to adopt and adhere to my religious beliefs. Why are you asking me to adopt yours?" she said. But what came next is what got her in trouble: "And finally, Mr. Speaker, I'm flattered that you're all so interested my vagina, but 'no' means 'no.'"

The Detroit News reports today the House Republican leadership did not allow Brown to speak on a bill about the retirement of school employees.

Michigan State Rep Barred From Speaking After 'Vagina' Comments (via MeFi)