We are thrilled to announce that work on the Boing Boing Happy Mutant Mobile has begun! As we said, our sponsors at Ford agreed to support the customization, modification, and transformation of a 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon into what we (and you) imagine for a Boing Boing vehicle. (Original announcement here. Check out all the concept designs here!) Theresa Conteras and her talented team of makers at L&G Enterprises in San Dimas, California have already started building out the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon. Above, a glimpse of the open side door revealing the rough rack design for our zine, book, and comix library! And here's a shot of the unfinished framing for the cabinet of curiosities behind the rear door. So beautiful.
We will post more images as the Happy Mutant Mobile magic continues to unfold. We're also thrilled that in the coming month, longtime BB reader Ryan Powers will join us in visiting L&G Enterprises to see Ryan's idea for a bubble-blowing Jackhammer Jill hood ornament come to life! Also on the customization list: exterior art, a roll-down projection screen, tricked-out coffee station, and of course a mobile blogging/video studio inside the vehicle! Plus more. Much more. Below, additional photos of the rear and the in-progress interior.
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Facebook will buy the mobile messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion dollars in cash and stock. Yep, that's 19 buh-buh-billion with a "b." The company launched in 2009, founded by former Yahoo employees Brian Acton and Jan Koum.
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Next Tuesday (2/25) marks the start of San Francisco's long-running Noise Pop Festival, a weeklong smorgasbord of fantastic indie bands, arts, films, talks, panel discussions, and parties at venues all around the city. Personally, I'm jazzed to see Bob Mould celebrating 25 years of Workbook (!), Mark Kozelek, Throwing Muses, Com Truise... the list goes on and on. (Above, Bob Mould's video for "See A Little Light.") And I can't wait to finally watch Mistaken For Strangers, the documentary about The National's 2010 tour and the relationship between The National's singer Matt Berninger and his brother Tom who made the film.
Our friends at Noise Pop have kindly given Boing Boing a pair of Noise Pop 2014 Badges that will get you into all general admission (non-seated) concerts, films, happy hours, the Noise Pop HQ, and other events during the festival. The badges are $150 each but you can win a pair of them right here. As is our Noise Pop tradition, all you have to do is pretend that NOISE POP is an acronym and tell us what it's an acronym for. Post your entry in the BBS comment thread before noon PST tomorrow, Thursday February 20. We'll pick our favorite and announce the winner on Friday! (Please only enter if you really would attend.) Good luck and hope to see you at Noise Pop 2013!
Here’s a great twist on the classic snowman theme: a bloody, carnivorous Frosty caught in the act of devouring a raccoon. It’s been an unusually cold and snowy winter in Cincinnati so it’s good to see that someone is making the most of it. I was driving my daughter home from a friend’s house when we saw it. Of course, I had to go back and get a picture, which I posted to my Instagram and Twitter feeds. When David asked about posting it to Boing Boing, I was happy but curiously apprehensive. Even though this guy sits in plain view of a busy intersection, I had walked right up to him to make the picture and now I was beginning to feel like I should have asked permission because I had ventured onto private property.
When I worked at a newspaper, we had clear rules for when you needed permission to publish a photo. If the subject of the photo was at public event (baseball game), or in a public place (park) or visible from a public place (street), it was understood that there was no expectation of privacy. An obvious exception would be a photo taken through the window of a private home even if taken from a public street. If you entered private property to make a picture, you got permission.
I find it interesting that I hadn’t thought about these issues with regard to social media. I haven’t shot professionally for a long time but I post regularly to Instagram and share my pictures on Twitter, Flickr and Facebook. I’m under no illusion that those sites are private but for whatever reason, they feel more personal. Boing Boing, on the other hand, feels like having your picture on Page 1 of the morning paper. Maybe that’s why I felt the need to go back and ask permission.
I’m glad I did because the creator of this fearsome snow monster is a pretty cool guy.
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Image: West Virginians line up at a water filling station at West Virginia State University. A chemical spill prevents them from using tap water. REUTERS/Lisa Hechesky
Over the weekend, Xeni wrote here about a chemical spill in West Virginia that's dumped upwards of 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol into the Elk River just a mile upstream from the West Virginia American Water intake system, contaminating local water supplies. Since she posted, there have been some more updates on this story, including some interesting chemical sleuthing from a couple of great writers.
First off, what is 4-methylcyclohexane methanol? It's used in coal washing, a process that it would be reasonable to think of as "a good thing", because washing coal is what removes a lot of the sulfur that would otherwise contribute to acid rain. Basically, while we'd all prefer we didn't burn coal, if we're going to burn it, we want it to be washed. To do that, coal is crushed fine and dumped into a bath of frothy, foamy water. Relatively light coal floats and sticks to the foam. Relatively heavy sulfurous rock sinks. 4-methylcyclohexane methanol is one of the chemicals that can be used to make the froth.
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Illustration: Danny Hellman
The creative conceptualizing of our Boing Boing Happy Mutant Mobile continues! Our sponsors at Ford have agreed to customize, modify, and transform a 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon into what we (and you) imagine for a Boing Boing vehicle. (Original announcement here.) For instance, our Jason had the idea seen above to outfit the vehicle with a projection screen so we can host roadside psychotronic film festivals. And thank you to our wonderful readers who shared great mod suggestions with us like the Unicorn Horn soft serve ice cream dispenser, mobile weather lab, and others posted here and below! Soon, we'll announce which contributing reader gets a trip to Los Angeles to join us watching the actual work in process. And of course we'll be sharing photographic and video evidence here at BB of the transformation as well. Meanwhile, check out a few more concept illustrations below including Adam "Ape Lad" Koford's drawing of the vehicle's rear cargo area holding a tube stereo to crank some warm audio, a coffee contraption for hot brew, and a 3D printer because, well, this is Boing Boing.
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Illustration: Rob Ullman
Want an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles? Boing Boing is planning to build out a Happy Mutant Mobile and we're seeking your help! Our sponsors at Ford have agreed to customize, modify, and transform a 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon into what we (and you) imagine for a Boing Boing vehicle. (Original announcement here.) Of course we're planning to ask some of our favorite artists to create a changing gallery of graphics on the exterior. Check out Rob Ullman's drawing of that idea above! And the rear doors open to reveal a cabinet of curiosities from the intersection of technology, science, and art. Here's Adam "Ape Lad" Koford's interpretation of that:
We're very grateful to you, our readers, who continue to share your own suggestions with us! Remember, over the next few weeks, we'll pick some of our favorites, get them illustrated by our favorite artists, and post them to the site. The readers behind those concepts will receive Boing Boing t-shirts! And whoever comes up with our absolute favorite idea at the end of all this will be invited to join us in person at the mod shop to see the actual work in process. It'll be an all-expense paid trip to the Los Angeles area! (Flights within United States only. Travel and expenses limited to $5,000 total. Posh.) So, please keep your concepts coming! They can be a sentence, a paragraph, a drawing, etc. Please share them with us in the comments over at our BBS, on Twitter (#happymutantmobile), Facebook, or Google+. Here are the modification restrictions provided by Ford.
You can see our favorite reader contributions from this round below!
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When I was eleven, my three primary interests were science, art, and magic. That hasn't changed. In 1981, I visited San Francisco for the first time and my big brother took me to the Exploratorium, a pioneering museum that exists at the intersection of science, art, and magic. It blew my mind wide open. And more than three decades later, it's become a very special place for my children, aged 7 and 4. Part of the Exploratorium's stated mission is to ignite curiosity about human perception. But the Exploratorium doesn't just teach people about human perception. Like the best science, art, and magic, the museum experience actually changes your perception of reality.
Earlier this year, the Exploratorium moved from its vast warehouse space near the Golden Gate Bridge into new digs on a pier overlooking the Bay. The massive new space retains the raw, inviting "rustic" warmth of the original location but with better amenities and, most importantly, far more room to showcase classic and new exhibits and also inject even more of the DIY spirit that fuels the museum's creators. This motivation is made tangible in the exposed workshops (just like the old facility) where staff prototypes new exhibits, and in the new Tinkering Studio, a bustling workshop where every guest is encouraged to "learn by doing." And if you need inspiration, just look around at the permanent and temporary exhibits like Scott Weaver's "Rolling Through The Bay," made from 100,000 toothpicks and seen in action above.
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Last week, North Korea announced the trial and execution of Kim Jong Un's "traitorous" uncle Jang Sung Thaek—by way of a startling press release, filled with bizarre insults and florid descriptions of Jang's misdeeds.
But did you know that on the same day, the People's Republic also condemned Elmo to death?
Just kidding, kids! Welcome to the North Korea Press Release Generator, which produces random denunciations based entirely upon last week's official announcement and various other statements put out over the years by the DPRK's official journalistic organs. You can even denounce your friends, and share news of their imminent execution on Twitter and Facebook! Refresh the page for a fresh official condemnation.
More: the BBC recently published an article explaining why North Korea's official insults are so over-the-top. I would also be remiss not the point to the pioneering NK Random Insult Generator, created by NK News in 2005.
My guests are author Peter Bebergal and cartoonist Jim Woodring. We talked about the eccentric genius Polish artist Stanislav Szukalski, Jim's oeuvre of incredible wordless graphic novels about "The Unifactor" including his latest book, Fran (and the beautiful Spanish edition of Fran), the Brand Library in Glendale, CA, Peter Bebergal's favorite albums of 2013 (records by The Sons of Kemet, Fuzz, Teeth of the Sea), Boing Boing's upcoming feature film The Immortal Augustus Gladstone, the book God is Disappointed in You (the Bible as told by a know-it-all teenager), and lots more!
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This episode of Gweek is sponsored by Rick and Morty the new Adult Swim animated comedy from Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, the creator of Community.
California State Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of a man said to have owned and operated a so-called revenge porn website. According to the arrest warrant (PDF), the site operated by Kevin Christopher Bollaert published over 10,000 sexually explicit photos. The young women who appeared in these images, some of whom were minors at the time they were taken, were charged up to $350 each to be removed from the site.
California Department of Justice agents arrested Bollaert, 27, in San Diego where he lived. He is in San Diego County jail on $50,000 bail, and has been charged with 31 felony counts of conspiracy, identity theft and extortion. If he is convicted, penalties may include jail time and fines.
The arrest warrant is well worth a read. It includes the stories of a number of young women who ended up physically exposed and personally identified on the internet against their will. In some cases, private photos made their way online after their accounts were hacked or phones snatched. The women speak about how that violation damaged their lives and destroyed their sense of privacy.
During an in-person interview with two special agents, Bollaert bemoaned the burden of all those emails he was receiving from young women and teens, asking for images to be removed -- a service he charged hundreds of bucks for.
"At the beginning this was like fun and entertaining," he said to the agents, "But now it's ruining my life." At the end of the meeting, the agents served him with search warrants.
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Illustration: Kevin Dart
Boing Boing is building out a Happy Mutant Mobile! Can you please help? Our sponsors at Ford have agreed to customize, modify, and transform a 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon into what we (and you) imagine for a Boing Boing vehicle. Here are some of our ideas: Behind the vehicle's side door is a library of curated 'zines, books, and comix free for browsing. The rear doors open to reveal a cabinet of curiosities world of technology, science, and art. The cargo space is a mobile blogging/video studio for on-the-road interviews.
We have a slew of ideas that we'll show you over the coming weeks, and we bet you have even better ones! Please share them with us in the comments over at our BBS, on Twitter (#happymutantmobile), Facebook, or Google+. You can even email us or deliver via passenger pigeon. Doesn't matter if you describe it with a sentence, a paragraph, a drawing on a napkin, blueprints, a 3D model, or an interpretive dance. We're just excited to check out your most ingenious, creative, unusual ideas for how to remake the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon into a Happy Mutant Mobile!
Over the next month, we'll pick some of our favorites, get them illustrated by our favorite artists, and post them to the site. We'll be selecting our first batch this coming Monday, December 2. If yours gets selected for posting, we'll send you a Boing Boing t-shirt! Whoever comes up with our absolute favorite idea will be invited to join us in person at the mod shop to see the actual work in process. It'll be an all-expense paid trip. Flights within United States only. Travel and expenses limited to $5,000 total. Posh. Where? Somewhere cool. We'll tell you later.
Below are the modification restrictions. We'll be taking out all of the passenger seats so there's plenty of room inside. Go wild. You're not paying for it. And you don't have to do the work yourself either.
Thanks for helping us make the Boing Boing Happy Mutant Mobile! See you on the road!
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Sufganiot are delicious jelly donuts, covered in powdered sugar, and traditionally served in Israel for Channukah. They are an analog to the latke here in America, fried in oil to represent the 'great miracle' which happened there. This years epic convergence of a yet-another-Jewish-food-oriented-holiday and American Thanksgiving, our blandest and most flavorless celebration of an imaginary past, left me certain the only dessert I could serve would be pumpkin pie filled sufganiot.
Making them was sort of a circus.
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Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick's Feynman was one of the best science-oriented graphic novels I've come across (see my 2011 review for more). So I was delighted to learn that the pair are now working on HAWKING, a graphic biography of The Hawk himself, to be published in 2016. Read on for the official, exclusive announcement from FirstSecond, along with a sneak peek:
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Typhoon Haiyan approaching the Philippines (13:00 UTC 07/11/2011). Image captured by the geostationary satellites of the Japan Meteorological Agency and EUMETSAT.
The powerful storm named Super Typhoon Haiyan (or Super Typhoon Yolanda, as it is referred to within the Philippines) hit the central islands of the Philippines on Friday, with reported wind speeds of 190 to 195 miles per hour at landfall. For comparison, a commercial airplane takes off at speeds in the range of 160mph.
Haiyan is reported to be the strongest typhoon in the world in 2013, and may be the most powerful recorded tropical cyclone to ever hit land.
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