1922 house and furnishings made entirely from varnished paper

Having successfully invented the paperclip-bending machine, engineer Elis F. Stenman set out to build a new summer home for himself in Rockport, Mass in 1922, entirely from paper. Read the rest

"Artisanal" Nintendo console cartridge hacker creates impossible alternate history games

Josh Jacobson is a Nintendo cartridge hacker who makes homebrew cartridges for games that were never released for NES/SNES, complete with label art and colored plastic cases that makes them look like they came from an alternate universe where (for example), there was a Nintendo version of Sonic the Hedgehog. Read the rest

Dial-a-Grue: play Zork with nothing but an old phone

The first iteration of Dial-a-Grue, in 2011, was to kit out an old rotary dial phone with an embedded computer and text-to-speech engine so that you could play Zork with nothing but the handset. The new, 2.0 version of the project, is "to port Zork I (via a z-code interpreter) to an embedded platform, and enclose that and an old modem inside a telephone, so that the game can be played from a teletype, TDD, or old computer with an acoustically coupled modem." (via JWZ) Read the rest

10 reasons why Fletcher Hanks kicks ass

Fletcher Hanks comics are incredibly violent, incredibly stupid, and incredibly beautiful. His first published work appeared in 1939, only months after the first Superman story ran, and his last work appeared in 1941. Then he disappeared. All 53 of his batshit crazy tales have been reprinted in “Turn Loose Our Death Rays And Kill Them All!: The Complete Works Of Fletcher Hanks.” They are likely to pop your eyes, blow your mind, and leave you speechless. Shortly before his death, Kurt Vonnegut wrote that, “The recovery of these treasures is in itself a major work of art.”

Listen: interview with Mad Magazine's Al Jaffee: 'the longest working cartoonist in history'

Brian from the Recommend if You Like podcast sez, "For episode 200 (MP3), we sat down for a 90 minute interview with Mad Magazine's Al Jaffee, who, at the age of 95 holds the title of 'the longest working cartoonist in history.'" Read the rest

My first Enigma machine: Mattel once sold a Barbie typewriter with built-in crypto capabilities

Slovenia's Maheno corporation manufactured a series of Barbie-branded and white label typewriters for kids, with a hidden feature that allowed their owners to use them to produce messages encrypted with a simple substitution cipher. Read the rest

Penguin Galaxy: a boxed set of six science fiction greats, introduced by Neil Gaiman

Last October, Penguin released its Galaxy boxed set, a $133 set of six hardcover reprints of some of science fiction's most canonical titles: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K LeGuin; Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A Heinlein; 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke; Dune by Frank Herbert; The Once and Future King by TH White; and Neuromancer, by William Gibson.

Father/son gingerbread Apple ][+

Nathan writes, "My son and I decided gingerbread houses were boring, so we built a gingerbread Apple II computer instead, including the interior with power supply, motherboard, and an expansion card." Read the rest

Listen: 1950s radio mystery prequel to Frasier

Shawn writes, "A gaggle of Chicago comedians came together to produce an authentic 1950's radio show about how Frasier's parents met while solving the murder of a young Seattle waitress. Featuring young beat cop Marty Crane and behavioral psychologist Hester Palmer, this thing's got it all: mystery, comedy, rats, operas, and a well-utilized HOLIDAY SETTING. You don't have to be a Frasier fan to enjoy it, but if you ARE, you should also know that it's faithful to all established Cheers/Frasier continuity. We even have a full list of citations, in case you don't believe us. Read the rest

Kickstarting Papers & Paychecks, an RPG where you play "workers and students in an industrialized and technological society"

A thirty year old joke by Will McLean in the first edition of the Dungeon Masters Guide features a group of fantasy adventurer types crowded around a table playing an RPG where they pretend to be "workers and students in an industrialized and technological society." Read the rest

FAANS: A Fannish Mystery; humorous 1983 science fiction fandom video

Kirby Sloan writes, "The Fanac Fan History Project has posted a humorous video made in 1983 based around general science fiction fandom culture at the time. This was the time I was most active in all aspects of fandom. I know/knew many of the people in this video. I was going to at least 3 and sometimes 6 cons a year in the 80s." Read the rest

Creative Computing: the amazing, countercultural look-and-feel of homebrew computing zines

John Park writes, "Check out what Tony D just posted at Adafruit after he visited the Living Computers Museum + Lab." Read the rest

Watch: the Navy Band surprises Zappa with "Joe's Garage" as he deplanes at SFO

Thanks to the archival spelunking of the crowdfunded documentary WHO THE F*@% IS FRANK ZAPPA?, we can now watch this amazing piece of video of Frank Zappa being greeted at SFO by the Navy Band, who played Joe's Garage in his honor (and to his manifest delight). Read the rest

Vinyl records outsold digital download in the UK last week

The Independent reports that "more money was spent on vinyl than album downloads last week for the first time ever, new figures have revealed."

The Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) said vinyl sales earned the record industry £2.4m in week 48 of 2016, while downloads took in £2.1m.

It is a significant shift in how people are consuming music. In November last year it was reported that vinyl albums made £1.2m in sales while digital records made £4.4m.

The ERA, which used Official Charts data, suggested that this surge in vinyl sales could be due to customers giving friends and family vinyl as Christmas presents, along with the growing number of retailers, such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and HMV, which now stock vinyl.

Read the rest

On Ebay: the rare, original "woodgrain" D&D set

A mere $5,700 (as of current writing) gets you the 1974 first printing of the game that Tactical Studies Rules used to change the world(s). Read the rest

Keep hoping machine running: Woody Guthrie's New Years resolutions, 1943

New Years Rulins: Read the rest

That time Walt Disney's oppo researchers claimed his business rival was laundering money for Jimmy Hoffa

Len Testa writes, "Back in the early 1960's, Walt was interested in buying and developing the Mineral King ski area in California, which was being put up for sale by the U.S. government. Another potential bidder on the project was industrialist Robert Brandt, husband of Hollywood actress Janet Leigh." Read the rest

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