Boing Boing 

Dragons Beware: Claudette's back in the sequel to Giants Beware!

2012's Giants Beware introduced Claudette and her adventuring pals in one of the strongest, funniest YA graphic novels I've ever enjoyed; the followup, Dragons Beware keeps all the charm and excitement while advancing the story.Read the rest

How to Teach Adults: Get a Job; Plan Your Class; Teach Your Students; Change the World

Dan Spalding's How to Teach Adults (free download) is an extraordinary document that mixes the practical and the philosophical, a book that explains how to be a better teacher, and how better teachers make a better world. Read the rest

Exploding the Phone: the untold, epic story of the phone phreaks

Phil Lapsley's Exploding the Phone does for the phone phreaks what Steven Levy's Hackers did for computer pioneers, capturing the anarchic move-fast-break-stuff pioneers who went to war against Ma Bell. Read the rest

will.i.am’s first smartwatch winds down

There’s a new smartwatch that lets you make phone calls right from your wrist. No, not that one.Read the rest

Last Man: France's amazing martial arts fantasy comic comes to the Anglosphere

Lastman, the revolutionary, bestselling French comic created by Bastien Vivès, Michaël Sanlaville and Balak, arrives in the Anglosphere today, thanks to Firstsecond's English language edition of volume 1: The Stranger. Read the rest

The Glorkian Warrior Eats Adventure Pie

James Kochalka's The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza was the funniest kids' graphic novel of 2014; now, with today's release of The Glorkian Warrior Eats Adventure Pie, the adventure continues. Read the rest

Eutopia: horror novel about Lovecraftian racism

David Nickle's horror novel Eutopia confronts the racial overtones of Lovecraftian fiction head on, revealing a terrifying story of the American eugenics movement and the brutality underbelly of utopianism.Read the rest

Snowbirds' guide to avoiding corrupt cops on I-75

My parents just got back from a road-trip from Toronto to Florida, and used Dave Hunter's venerable Along Interstate-75 to find food and lodgings, pass the hours, and beat the speed-traps and civil forfeiture nightmares of America's great roadways.

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Ad-hoc museums of a failing utopia

Photographer David Hlynsky took more than 8,000 street photos in the Eastern Bloc, documenting the last days of ideological anti-consumer shopping before the end of the USSRRead the rest

World War 3 Illustrated: prescient outrage from the dawn of the Piketty apocalypse

The Reagan era kicked off a project to dismantle social mobility and equitable justice began. This trenchant, angry, gorgeous graphic zine launched in response.Read the rest

Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep

David K Randall's Dreamland is a review of the best scientific thinking that illuminates and important subject: namely, why do we spend a third of our lives paralyzed, eyes closed, having vivid hallucinations?Read the rest

David Graeber's The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy

Anarchist anthropologist David Graeber follows up his magesterial Debt: The First 5000 Years with a slim, sprightly, acerbic attack on capitalism's love affair with bureaucracy, asking why the post-Soviet world has more paperwork, phone-trees and red-tape than ever, and why the Right are the only people who seem to notice or care.Read the rest

Heavenly Nostrils: If Hobbes was a snarky unicorn and Calvin was an awesome little girl

Phoebe and Her Unicorn is the first collection of Dana Simpson's syndicated Heavenly Nostrils cartoons -- it's a book that I insisted on reading to my kid, because I didn't want to miss a single strip.Read the rest

I Think You'll Find It's a Bit More Complicated Than That

Over the past decade, pharma-fighting Dr Ben Goldacre has written more than 500,000 words of fearlessly combative science journalism.Read the rest

Monstrous Regiment: the finest Discworld novel?

Monstrous Regiment, a book about gender, war, identity, strategy and tactics, can be enjoyed without reading any of the other marvellous books in the Discworld series. Read the rest

Lauren Ipsum: The Phantom Tollbooth meets Young Ladies' Illustrated Primer

Lauren Ipsum is an absolutely brilliant kids' book about computer science, and it never mentions computer science—it's a series of witty, charming, and educational parables about the fundamentals that underpin the discipline.Read the rest

$5 knockoff of world famous Parker 51 fountain pen

The Parker 51 vs Hero Extra Light

I had to try this $5 knockoff of my favorite pen, the Parker 51.

The burgundy colored Parker 51 has been one of my go to pens for decades. Produced continually from 1941 to 1972, the Parker 51 launched with marketing declaring it "the World's best pen." Currently pens in good working order can command prices in excess of $100, so I had to try this $5 imitation, the Hero Extra Light.

Parker 51 and Hero innards

Finish-wise the Hero is looks very similar to the Parker. The top of the cap is a bit more pointed and the Parker's translucent "jewel" is replaced with metal on the Hero. The band where the two halves of the pen fit together is also plastic on the Hero, rather than the metal ring on the Parker. The filling mechanism is nearly identical, as viewed. I have not disassembled the Hero, but likely will, at the very least it appears to be useful as replacement parts for the Parker.

In a writing test the Hero is most definitely not the Parker, however I've been writing with this nib for a long time. The Hero writes well enough, ink flows smoothly and I can certainly use the pen. I am not sure it'll ever acquire the same feeling in my hand as my authentic 51, even with years of use, but for $5 it is certainly close. The Hero strikes me more as a new pen rather than "just not a Parker 51."

If you want something super close to a Parker 51 but don't want to pay collectors prices, the Hero Extra Light is a good call.

Hero Extra Light Fountain Pen