Boing Boing 

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

The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Procedure

Nathaniel Burney continues his project to create an entire law-degree in comic-book form with The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Procedure, Vol I: Parts 1-3, the followup to his brilliant 2012 book Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law. Never has the Fourth Amendment been more graphic and accessible: Cory Doctorow is learning everything he needs for a life of successful criminal law and/or crime.Read the rest

Bill Gates: the best books I read in 2014

Philanthropist Bill Gates recommends five favorite books he read this year.Read the rest

Brian Krebs's "Spam Nation"

In Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door, Brian Krebs offers a fascinating look at the mass-scale cybercrime that underpins the spam in your inbox and provides an inside peek at a violent fight among its principle players. Cory Doctorow reviews.Read the rest

The 10 best adventure novels from 1965

Joshua Glenn shows why 1965 was a very good year for science fiction, comic books, and spy novels.Read the rest

Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague

In Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague, "Ray" recounts his brave, quixotic, tragicomic adventures as an experimental AIDS drug smuggler who funded his operation by selling weed out of his New York apartment, during the early years of the "gay plague." It's a strangely fitting subject for a graphic novel, and Joyce Brabner and Mark Zingarelli graphic novel make it work as a history book that'll make you laugh and cry. Cory Doctorow reviews. Read the rest

The Expeditioners and the Secret of King Triton's Lair

SS Taylor and Katherine Roy's adventurous YA series continues in a second volume that gets everything right: it's a steampunked alternate history story that's full of intrigue and light-touch, thoughtful critique of imperialism and colonialism, a story that lets you love your pith helmet while still questioning all that it stands for. Cory Doctorow (who loved book one) reviews the second Expeditioners book. Read the rest

Strong Female Protagonist Book One

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, several years' worth of the wonderful webcomic Strong Female Protagonist has been collected in a book called Strong Female Protagonist Book One, and the story is now available in a single, powerful draught. Cory Doctorow reviews a comic that has a lot more to say about justice than the typical superhero story.Read the rest