Celebs photoshopped to dumpy normalcy

Planet Hiltron takes photos of celebs and photoshops them so that they look like normal people -- poorly dressed, flabby, nourished by fast food and a little bit wrinkly. The Johnny Depp is amazing but Madonna (shown here) is by far the creepiest.

Link

(Thanks, Bill!)

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Drew Friedman, comic artist: Get Illuminated! podcast

For the latest edition of the Get Illuminated! podcast, Mark and I talked with artist Drew Friedman. Drew's incredibly-detailed caricatures and biting parodies have appeared in publications ranging from Raw Magazine, Weirdo, and Heavy Metal to Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker, and the New York Observer. His appreciation for yesteryear's entertainers, expressed in many strips and his terrific book Old Jewish Comedians, is infectious. As the New York Times said of Old Jewish Comedians, "Friedman might very well be the Vermeer of the Borscht Belt." Also this year, Blab!/Fantagraphics published an anthology of Friedman's comix and illustrations titled The Fun Never Stops. It's a real laff-riot.

Mark and I have been fans of Drew's work for years and it was an absolute delight to chat with him about art, comics, and, of course, old Jewish comedians.

While listening to the Podcast, peruse the exclusive sneak preview below of drawings that will appear in Drew's next book, More Old Jewish Comedians, to be published early in 2008. (From left, Joe E. Lewis, Morey Amsterdam, Herbie Faye, Molly Picon, and Jan Murray. Click for larger images.) And for a taste of The Fun Never Stops, visit Drew's online gallery here.

MP3 link |

Podcast feed | Subscribe via iTunes | Previous Get Illuminated! shows

Link to buy The Fun Never Stops, Read the rest

RIP Peter Stafford

Peter Stafford, author of the fascinating Psychedelics Encyclopedia died on July 20, 2007.

Bruce Eisner, his friend, writes:

Peter Stafford (1941-2007) author of Psychedelics Encyclopedia, and LSD in Action died last night in Santa Cruz, California. Peter was a friend of mine since we met in Canada back in 1971 and I will miss him.

I will add more to this post in the next day or so.

Link Read the rest

Get Illuminated! podcast #12: R.U. Sirius

Truly, the fun never stops around here. Hot on the heels of the Drew Friedman podcast, here's an interview with longtime Boing Boing pal R.U. Sirius, co-creator of the mind-bending magazines High Frontiers, Reality Hackers and Mondo 2000, the host of the RU Sirius Show, a contributor to 10 Zen Monkeys, and the author of True Mutations: Interviews on the Edge of Science, Technology, and Consciousness

RU and David Pescovitz will be at City Lights bookstore in San Francisco on Tuesday, July 24th, 7pm to conduct a live taping of the RU Sirius show. They'll be joined by Lynn Hershman, Jamais Cascio, and Howard Rheingold.

True Mutations looks at the wild changes that may be coming to the human species during the 21st Century. In a series of interviews, author/host RU Sirius explores a series of (r)evolutions in disciplines ranging from the evolution of clean energy to the possibilities of endless neurological ecstasy; from open-source free access to nearly everything under the sun to self-directed biotechnological evolution; from psychedelic culture mash-ups to the possibilities of a technological singularity that alters not only humanity but the entire universe.

MP3 link |

Podcast feed | Subscribe via iTunes | Previous Get Illuminated shows

Read the rest

Get Illuminated! podcast #11: Drew Friedman, comic artist

For the latest edition of the Get Illuminated! podcast, Mark and I talked with artist Drew Friedman. Drew's incredibly-detailed caricatures and biting parodies have appeared in publications ranging from Raw Magazine, Weirdo, and Heavy Metal to Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker, and the New York Observer. His appreciation for yesteryear's entertainers, expressed in many strips and his terrific book Old Jewish Comedians, is infectious. As the New York Times said of Old Jewish Comedians, "Friedman might very well be the Vermeer of the Borscht Belt." Also this year, Blab!/Fantagraphics published an anthology of Friedman's comix and illustrations titled The Fun Never Stops. It's a real laff-riot.

Mark and I have been fans of Drew's work for years and it was an absolute delight to chat with him about art, comics, and, of course, old Jewish comedians.

While listening to the Podcast, peruse the exclusive sneak preview below of drawings that will appear in Drew's next book, More Old Jewish Comedians, to be published early in 2008. (From left, Joe E. Lewis, Morey Amsterdam, Herbie Faye, Molly Picon, and Jan Murray. Click for larger images.) And for a taste of The Fun Never Stops, visit Drew's online gallery here.

MP3 link |

Podcast feed | Subscribe via iTunes | Previous Get Illuminated! shows

Link to buy The Fun Never Stops, Read the rest

Psychology, design and economics of slot-machines

Stanford design prof Michael Shanks has an online course unit about the design, politics, sociology and economics of slot machines that is flat-out fascinating, especially the manipulative psychology of slot and casino design.

The layout also takes advantage of the differences between slot and table players. In general, table players do not like the noise of slot machines because they find it distracting. In addition, they may sometimes play a few rounds on slot machines spontaneously, but obviously prefer table playing. At the same time, however, spouses or partners of table players will often wile away time playing at a nearby slot machine. Thus casinos are planned such that there are slot machines lining walkways around tables. However, these slots are always tight. This cuts down on the noise and distraction to table players, and makes sense because the majority of players on these machines are playing spontaneously, with little expectation of winning. This demonstrates to what degree casino layouts are optimized–in this case, to the point that a complex system is implemented simply to clean up loose change from spontaneous players.

Link

(via Architectures of Control in Design)

Update: Andy sez, "Just for accuracy's sake, the report on slot machines is actually a student project by William Choi and Antoine Sindhu." Read the rest

HOWTO make shadow sculptures

Instructables contributor The Jehosephat posted a neat guide to making shadow sculptures from piles of junk. Link

Previously on BB: • History of the shadow in art Link • Shadow billboard Link • 4D sculpture with a 3D shadow Link Read the rest

CraigStatsSF: craigslist housing rental data

Grad student Ethan Garner created CraigStatsSF, a site that slices, dices, and visualizes CraigsList San Francisco housing rental listings with Google Maps overlays. For example, this heat map shows a citywide view of rental costs for one bedroom apartments over the last year. From the project description:

After living in this city for 8 years, living in a lot of horrible neighborhoods, and doing the eternal run-around to find a decent apartment I have become fascinated with the San Francisco rental market .

At the end of the August 2006, I was dealing a really shady landlord whose house was going into foreclosure as he (like a lot of the city) had speculated on an adjustable rate mortgage...and he was desperately trying his best to get as much money as he could out of me in any illegal way possible.

Not wanting to deal with such a shady landlord, I broke the lease, and fled to find a new place.

As I started looking for places, I noticed everything that used to be for rent was now for sale due to the same forclosure effect that happened to my landlord.

It also appeared that the rents were going up..... but... were the really? or am I just paranoid and bitter?

Since I was waiting to get my research published, I figured I could waste ample amounts of time coding perl scripts and learning google maps.

This project was born out of boredom.

Link (Thanks, Jason Tester!) Read the rest

Syd and Rodney's "Jack Chick's Titanic" video

Almost a decade ago, filmmakers Syd Garon and Rodney Ascher created their fantastic, critically-acclaimed animation of the seminal Jack Chick religious tract "Somebody Goofed." Last year, the duo reunited for a sequel, mashing up Chick's tract about the sinking of the Titanic with clips from James Cameron's film.

Link to "Jack Chick's Titanic" on YouTube, Link to watch "Somebody Goofed" via a film festival page

Previously on BB: • Rodney Ascher's short film about a freefalling parachutist Link Read the rest

Series of Tubes as a Tube-map

This huge graphic seeks to map the Internet onto a map of the London Underground Tokyo rail system (the series of Tubes as a tube-map). There's a lot of dense info here and I'm not sure I agree with all of the implied relationships, but it's some interesting stuff.

Link

(Thanks, James!)

Update: Thanks to everyone who noted that this is the Tokyo rail map, not the London Underground Read the rest

University of Kansas threatens to permantly lock downloading students out of its network

Students at the University of Kansas who are accused of "downloading copyrighted material" will have their network access permanently terminated. Presumably this means that even downloading "fair use" works (mashups, etc), looking at web-pages, or even getting your profs' lectures is disallowed.

The law doesn't require universities to spy on their students' network use. It doesn't require them to bear the enforcement costs of the RIAA's business model. Students' tuition is being spent to subsidize giant corporations bent on subverting the rule of law, free speech and free inquiry, and now, students caught in the entertainment industry's fatwa will be locked out of the network.

Honestly -- doesn't the University of Kansas have a law-school? What the hell is wrong with Kansas?

A brief notice on the University of Kansas ResNet site explains the university's new position very succinctly. "If you are caught downloading copyrighted material, you will lose your ResNet privileges forever," reads the notice. "No second notices, no excuses, no refunds. One violation and your ResNet internet access is gone for as long as you reside on campus." Presumably, the University is referring to illegally downloaded copyrighted material, as there is plenty of copyrighted material that can be downloaded legally.

Link Read the rest

Chore Wars turns chores into a game

Chore Wars: a site that lets your household turn chores into a game, with points.

Chore Wars lets you claim experience points for household chores. By getting a few people in your house or workplace to sign up, you can assign experience point rewards to individual chores, and see how quickly each of you levels up.

Experience points are tracked both as weekly high-score charts, and as ongoing character sheets - every time you rack up 200XP of chores, your character gains a "level", and their class changes to match the type of chores that they've been doing.

Link

(via MeFi) Read the rest

Amy Crehore's Tickler ukulele

Amy Crehore has just painted her very first ukulele. It's beautiful.

Here is my very first fine art ukulele ("Tickler" brand label). This is a soprano uke that was lovingly hand-built by luthier Lou Reimuller, creator of Teenar Girl Guitar.

It has a solid mahogany body and neck with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge. It plays and sounds great!

This "Tickler" brand uke is a one-of-a-kind fine art object which is entirely painted in oils on all sides by myself, Amy Crehore, with my trademark motifs: "The Banana Eater" image is on the back (from my "Monkey Love" series), a monkey and "little pierrot" combination are painted on the front.

It's $3,000.

Link Read the rest

Robofly takes off

Various researchers have spent years developing robotic insects, including some that might someday fly through the air, detecting biotoxins and conducting remote surveillance. Harvard University engineer Robert Wood's robotic fly is the first that's actually taken off. The 60 fly milligram robofly has a three centimeter wingspan and achieves lift using wing motions modeled on a real fly. Currently, the fly lacks a control system so its maiden voyage required a tether. From Technology Review:

"Nature makes the world's best fliers," says Wood...

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is funding Wood's research in the hope that it will lead to stealth surveillance robots for the battlefield and urban environments. The robot's small size and fly-like appearance are critical to such missions. "You probably wouldn't notice a fly in the room, but you certainly would notice a hawk," Wood says.

Link

• UC Berkeley's micro-mechanical flying insect Link Read the rest

SeeqPod for iPhone plays MP3s scraped from the web

SeeqPod has developed a custom version of its MP3 searching technology that autodetects iPhones. The service looks for MP3 files on the Web and lets you play them on your computer or iPhone. From Wired News:

[Y]ou can search for any artist and play their songs within seconds, for free. SeeqPod doesn't transcode the music as it streams, so you hear it in its original form as scraped from MP3 blogs, personal web pages, and anywhere else on the internet that hosts MP3s.

Or, you can use SeeqPod on an iPhone to browse the internet's music pretty much as you would the music on an iPod. Choose a letter, then an artist, and boom -- you see a list of songs by that artist that are playable right then and there (thus the tagline: "playable search").

Link Read the rest

Miniature anatomical toys from Japan

Bob Knetzger, an amazing toy designer and MAKE magazine contributer, recently went to Japan and discovered tiny anatomical toys there. (Click on thumbnails for enlargement)

He says:

Dunno if two things make a trend but "anatomical toys" seemed to be all around. This isn't new, of course, we all remember the "Visible Man" model by Revell, but in true Japanese mode, the idea has been miniaturized and taken to a whole new level of detail and collectability.

This one was a really cool line of tiny anatomical models of human anatomy. Sold as a blind assortment in a closed box you don't know which one you'll get: surprise!--it's a pop-open stomach! Or you might get a skeleton, or a see-thru uterus with a removable fetus, or one of 15 different organs. Thanks, Mom!

They are so unbelievably cool and well done, they are to the Revell Visible Man model as the Nozomi Bullet train is to Amtrak. They come completely finished and assembled. I count 10 different colors of paint in dozens of paint operations in fantastically perfect tiny detail. It's like one of those doctor's office models, only tiny.

And they all come with one cello-wrapped piece of chewing gum. Cuz it's always more fun to chew while you learn about the pancreas.

Collect them all.

And speaking of collecting, I found another line of anatomical toys, this time in the gashapon machines: Visible Animals! These aren't quite as deluxe, but they're also very cool and take the Visible Horse model concept even further.

Read the rest

Short bio wealthiest Americans

The NYT has an interactive graphic with mini-bios of the world's richest Americans. My favorite is Russell Sage (1816-1906) who was worth $43 billion in today's dollars:

Made most of his money on Wall Street, where he is credited with creating puts and calls. Known as a shrewd pinchpenny, he was once caught stealing a fan out of the offices of Western Union, where he was a board member. Arrested for loan-sharking in 1869, he used his powerful connections to avoid a sentence.

Bill Gates is #5 on the list. Link (Via haha.nu) Read the rest

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