1940: sf writer predicts the imminent and welcome end of science fiction comic books


Scott Edelman writes, "Science fiction writer Thomas S. Gardner says in a 1940 issue of the fanzine Fantasy News that science fiction comic books hurt science fiction, but don't worry -- he also says that comics likely won't be around for long anyway:" Read the rest

Reviving an Ann Arbor Ambassador 60 terminal


JWZ documents his adventures in bringing a 1982/3 vintage Ann Arbor Ambassador 60 terminal (a rare portrait-orientation terminal) back into service -- fitting it with a Raspberry Pi and a new power-supply and getting it to boot its beautiful green-screen. Read the rest

Talking about Allan Sherman on the Comedy on Vinyl podcast


Jason Klamm stopped my office to interview me for his Comedy on Vinyl podcast, where I talked about the first comedy album I ever loved: Allan Sherman's My Son, the Nut. Read the rest

1916 ad chides Congress for not investing in pneumatic tubes for first class mail delivery


Scott Edelman writes, "An ad in the December 1916 issue of The Scoop, a magazine 'written by newspaper men for newspaper men,' decries the fact Congress appropriated funds for continued mail delivery by pneumatic tubes in New York City, but failed to do the same for Chicago, and insists the loss of that technology 'would be calamitous.' At the time, 10 miles of two-way, eight-inch tubes running under Chicago delivered 8,000,000 pieces of mail daily. To the suggestion that mail should instead be delivered by trucks rather than pneumatic tubes, the question is asked, 'If we are going backward, why not get a wheelbarrow?'" Read the rest

A modern rebuild of the Radio Shack 150-in-One electronics kit

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While looking into the Kano snap-together learning computer kit (Kickstarted in 2013, reviewed here last January) I got to thinking about Radio Shack's classic, much-loved 150-in-One Electronics Kit, which occupied literal years of my time when I was a boy. Read the rest

Adafruit's Tempest in a Teacup: the world's smallest MAME cabinet


The fun-lovin' hackers at Adafruit banged together this teensy weensy MAME cabinet over a weekend; it's more of a kludge than a project, and they didn't document the build in its entirety, meaning that making your own is a challenge that the Fruits have thrown down before you. Read the rest

Kickstarting a new edition of Villains & Vigilantes, a superhero RPG

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I discovered Villains and Vigilantes in 1982, with the publication of the game's second edition, and 11-year-old me played it like a fiend; I still remember long hours of designing costumes on the super-cool character sheets that came with the game (we'd sneak into the school office and run off more of these from blanks; ditto for hex-ruled paper for Car Wars and all the best stories from that month's Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine). Read the rest

Lost in Space prop computer remake

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Brian Mix shows off his replica Jupiter 2 computer, a remake based on the 1960s TV Lost in Space show -- which was also used as the 1966 Bat Computer in the Batman TV show. Read the rest

The New York Public Library is surprisingly CHUD-friendly

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As this spectacular cross-section of the NYPL main branch demonstrates, the library was designed to service the needs of all the city's dwellers, even the CHUDs. (via From Deco to Atom) Read the rest

Power Glove oven-mitt


Celebrate the golden era of useless-but-cool-looking gamer peripherals with the Power Mitt, a $15 oven mitt that comes in lefty or righty. (via Wonderland) Read the rest

The history of the home pregnancy test is a microcosm of misogyny, chauvinism, and erasure


When Pagan Kennedy wrote her 2012 New York Times Magazine history of home pregnancy testing, it didn't mention Margaret Crane, the product designer who created, designed and championed the test and all it stood for: the right of "a woman to peer into her own body and to make her own decisions about it, without anyone else — husband, boyfriend, boss, doctor — getting in the way." Read the rest

Hugo Gernsback's introduction to the first issue of Amazing Stories, 1926

When Hugo "Award" Gernsback launched Volume 1, Number 1 of Amazing Stories in April, 1926, he created the first magazine in the world solely devoted to science fiction stories: on the magazine's editorial page, Gernsback laid out his vision for the genre. Read the rest

"Tellin The World" 1972 voting PSA aimed at 18-25 y/o working-class voters


Amy Sloper writes, "This is a really timely (while still feeling dated) voting PSA about the importance of tellin' the world your opinion by voting." Read the rest

RIP, MAD Magazines's Jack Davis


Davis had been with MAD since its first run in 1952, and his illustrations helped define the look of satirical art for generations. Read the rest

How floppy discs worked


The 8-Bit Guy's 15-minute explainer on floppy discs is a great potted history of 80s- and 90s-era storage media (it follows his segment on tape-drives) and the way that competitors learned from each others' mistakes and dead-ends, and engineered clever solutions to one of computing's most serious challenges. (via Motherboard) Read the rest

Hungary's Cold War cartoons were weird and awesome

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The Cold War was a boon to animators, who were able to express the subversive views that the mainstream wouldn't dare whisper -- see, e.g., Jay Ward's "Boris and Natasha" -- but the toons from the other side of the Iron Curtain are all but unknown in the "Free World." Read the rest

Apollo 11 sourcecode on Github


Though the code for Apollo 11's "Apollo Guidance Computer" has been online since 2003, when Ron Burkey rekeyed it from the scans that Gary Neff had uploaded, ex-NASA intern Chris Garry's posting of the code to Github last week has precipitated a widespread interest in the code, along with close scrutiny of the code itself. Read the rest

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