Happy 75th birthday to Raymond Scott's POWERHOUSE!

From the Raymond Scott blog, "Exactly 75 years ago today, Raymond Scott recorded his iconic hit tune, 'Powerhouse.' On the same date, following 8 months of rehearsals with his Quintette at CBS, he also recorded 'Twilight In Turkey,' 'Minuet In Jazz,' and 'The Toy Trumpet' — not bad for a day's work. He didn't realize it at the time, but these compositions would jump-start his stellar career, and accidentally inspire cartoon antics for future generations. To celebrate the milestone, check-out this collection of 75 YouTube clips of Scott's classic 'Powerhouse,' here and see details about our year-long 75th anniversary events schedule here. Read the rest

Science fiction apocalypses live on stage in New Hampshire

John Herman sez, "I am producing 'An Evening of Apocalyptic Theatre' in Portsmouth, NH. Nine plays, nine visions of the end -- including new works by Hugo and Nebula award winning science fiction author James Patrick Kelly and best selling author of The Great Typo Hunt, Jeff Deck. A couple argues in a bomb shelter over a dog puzzle. A man gets an unexpected visit from Intergalactic Salvage. CERN scientists experience the romance of multi-verses. PLUS: Not only is the money raised going to three local charities, but I will also shave my head halfway through the show’s run to raise money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a group that funds childhood cancer research grants"

An Evening of Apocalyptic Theatre

(Thanks, John!) Read the rest

Canadian universities sign bone-stupid copyright deal with collecting society: emailing a link is the same as making a photocopy, faculty email to be surveilled

Under a new deal signed by the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto, the act of emailing a link will be classed as equivalent to photocopying, and each student and faculty member will cost the universities $27.50/year for this right that the law gives them for free, along with a collection of other blanket licenses of varying legitimacy. In order to enforce these licenses, all faculty email will be subject to surveillance.

“Toronto’s and Western Ontario’s actions are inexplicable,” said James L. Turk, CAUT executive director. “They have buckled under to Access Copyright’s outrageous and unjustified demands at a time when courts have extended rights to use copyrighted material, better alternatives are becoming available to the services Access offers and just before the passage of new federal copyright legislation that provides additional protections for the educational sector”.

Turk also pointed out that the Supreme Court is set to clarify the educational use of copyrighted works in the coming months, clarifications that could undercut Access’s bargaining position. In contrast to Western Ontario and Toronto, many institutions have opted out of agreements with Access Copyright or are fighting its demands at the Copyright Board of Canada.

“These two universities threw in the towel on the copyright battle prematurely,” said Turk. “We call on other post-secondary institutions not to follow Toronto’s and Western Ontario’s example of capitulating to Access Copyright. It‘s time to stand up for the right to fair and reasonable access to copyrighted works for educational purposes”.

Copyright agreement with Western and Toronto a bad and unwarranted deal

(via O'Reilly Radar) Read the rest


Lauren, proprietor of the LAMP zine, got frustrated after arguing with a homophobe on Facebook, so she whipped (!) up a parody of a fundamentalist tract called GOD HATES CHECKERED WHIPTAIL LIZARDS, detailing all the ways in which the parthenogenetic, pseudocoupling titular lizards were a perversion of God's will. Someone phonecammed the tract and posted it to Reddit, and 2.3 million views later, it was Internet history. Lauren was good enough to post a printable PDF on a Tumblr sites for others who'd like to spread the gospel.


Circuit-board skull

"Circuit Skull" is a prizewinning piece by Graham Rudge from the Yukon School of Visual Arts, entered in a Bank of Montreal competition.

1res Œuvres! Concours invitation destiné aux étudiants en arts visuels,

(via Street Anatomy) Read the rest

Dish soap art competition

Pril, a brand of dish soap in Germany, had an online competition to create and vote for art to run on the label. The winning art is just so-so, but a few of the runners-up (shown here) are great.

In our Hall of Fame, we present a small selection of very creative, beautiful, sophisticated and witty designs, which have unfortunately not made it into the trade, but the jury greatly admired, appreciated and rewarded are! Thanks to all the creative designers - just phenomenal, which have arisen for design!

Read the rest

How to drug a woman to make her more accepting of doing housework

(Via This Isn't Happiness) Read the rest

HOWTO make a stained-glass D20

On Instructables, CaseyBorders's recipe for making stained glass 20-sided dice. A bit tricky to carry these around in your grandad's old Crown Royal bag, but otherwise, they make some pretty smashing (ahem) RPG accessories.

Now we need to cut 20 triangles out of our sheet of stained glass that match the template that we created. The easiest way to do that is to cut a stip of glass the same height as the triangles we cut in the jig. In the example pictures we used a strip that was 1.5" wide because our triangles ended up being 1.5" tall. Place the strip flush across the bottom of your cutting board and set your angle guide to 60 degrees. Follow your angle guide with your scorer so you end up with a 60 degree angle cut off the end of your glass strip. Depending on the kind of glass you bought you might simply need to flip it over to get the other side of the triangle, but the glass in the demo pictures is textured on the back, so we can only cut on the front, so we need to change our cutting guide to 60 degrees the other way. However you end up doing it, make sure that you are making your cuts and angle adjustments as precisely as you can, because if the triangles are not correctly shaped they will not make a good-looking d20.

Once you have 20 good pieces we can etch the numbers on them. Place each triangle in one of the holes of the cardboard template on the laser cutter's cutting surface.

Read the rest

US Trade Rep doesn't know what "transparent" or "lobbyist" means

The US Trade Representative claims that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, closed-door copyright treaty being negotiated in even greater secrecy than the notorious ACTA, is "transparent." Actually, he says it has "unprecedented" transparency, because an advisory group is allowed to see it under nondisclosure, and they're not lobbyists at all. Except they are. And except that the norm for copyright treaties used to be UN treaties, negotiated in full public view, not closed-door arm-twisting marathons where the US Trade Rep and a bunch of industry goons threaten foreign nations into signing onto agreements that even the US Congress couldn't pass into law. Read the rest

Whitney Houston movie yanked from Netflix streaming (Updated: happened before death)

Streaming rights to the Whitney Houston movie The Bodyguard were revoked at Netflix after her death. According to a Netflix rep quoted by Dan McDermott, the production company (Warner Bros., per IMDB) "saw an opportunity to make really a very large amount of money on the DVD sales of her movies".

UPDATE: Netflix says its staff were mistaken. Dan writes: Netflix is telling the truth. The rights were pulled before her death ... Unfortunately the rep and his supervisors were wrong. Read the rest

Gweek 040: My Friend Dahmer

Gweek is a weekly podcast where the editors and friends of Boing Boing talk about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, board games, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.

My hosts on episode 40 are are cartoonist Ruben Bolling, whose comic, Tom the Dancing Bug premieres weekly on Boing Boing, and Dean Putney, Boing Boing’s coding and development wizard. Our guest this week is two-time Eisner Award winning cartoonist Derf Backderf, creator of the amazing comic The City, which has been running in alternative weekly newspapers for 22 years. He’s the author of the graphic novel Punk Rock and Trailer Parks, which was selected for The Best American Comics 2010. He’s got a new autobiographical graphic novel out about his high-school friendship with the infamous serial murder and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer, called My Friend Dahmer. Robert Crumb, who rarely gives endorsements for anyone or anything, says My Friend Dahmer is a “well-told, powerful story. Backderf is quite skilled in using comics to tell this tale of a truly weird and sinister 1970s adolescent world.”

Below is a list of the things we talked about in Gweek episode 40. (Sure, you could just click on the links below to learn about them without listening to the podcast, but then you will miss out on our discussion about whether or not Terry Richardson owns more than one flannel shirt.)

If you enjoy Gweek, please rate it in the iTunes Store -- thanks!

Most of this episode of Gweek is a fascinating discussion with Derf about his high school pal Jeffrey Dahmer, and Derf's new graphic novel My Friend Dahmer. Read the rest

Whisperado's "I'm Not the Road": rootsy, countrified album with a lot of humor and a little pathos

"I'm Not the Road" is the second album from NYC-based indie band Whisperado. I've been listening to it pretty steadily since it came out a couple weeks ago, with immense and ever-growing pleasure. Whisperado have a kind of rootsy, country feel, and the lyrics and vocals are somewhere in the sweet spot between Ry Cooder and Jimmy Buffet, with a lot of humor and a little pathos. As ever, I'm most fond of the uptempo numbers, like the Bo-Diddley-beat "Insatiable Sally," a kind of hymn to bad TV; and "Teenage Popstar Girl," which reminds me of the more countrified Violent Femmes tunes. But the whole album's a treat, and it's available from CDBaby as a disc or an MP3 download.

I'm Not the Road Read the rest

The Big V

The beach at Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Photo: BBM Explorer

I had my vasectomy on January 19, 2012, the date memorialized with the iCal notation "Vascect [sic] no lunch 34th st." At this writing the objects in question are still apparently live, pumping out spermatozoa like a dying pulsar that will soon dwindle into white noise. It takes a certain number of ejaculations to completely clear the pipes, as it were, and by try number twelve I'll be as barren as the surface of binary moons rising over an alien landscape. Read the rest

A man and his machines

For years the Turk, a chess-playing automaton, toured Europe and America, delighting audiences and besting Catherine the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin. But the Turk was a trick: Somewhere inside the cabinet was a human, playing the pieces on the board. No one knew how it worked at the time. Then, in 1854, it was destroyed in a fire and the illusion was lost. The Turk reappeared 130 years later, in Atwater, California, re-created from fragments by John Gaughan, a master magic builder who spent $120,000 of his own money on the duplicitous automaton.

Promise.tv: a PVR that records EVERYTHING on TV for a whole week

Dominic Ludlam writes, "Promise.TV has launched the world's first Promiscuous TV recorder! Working on the UK's Freeview platform, it records every programme on every TV and radio channel and stores them for a whole week.

And for all Boing Boing readers who visit the site, we have a daily draw running this week to get a new Promise recorder half price!"

This was originally commissioned as an internal BBC project, and the Ludlams and their partners have been productizing it ever since. It really does what it says on the tin: records the whole Freeview multiplex for a week at a time, which means that you don't have to program your PVR with the shows you like: you always have the last week's TV on tap (this'd be especially cool for when scandalous material is broadcast from Parliament -- if you find out about it after the fact you can go back and check). The Promise.tv folks have worked out several ingenious ways of navigating all this stored material as well.

I've written about this before, and I'm awfully glad to see it finally come to market.

The Promise Home is a recorder that connects four additional televisions in other rooms around the home.

All connected TVs can play any of the stored or saved programmes independently, and in they can also share bookmarks. This lets you start watching a programme in one room, set a bookmark and carry on watching from the same point in another room.


(Thanks, Dom! Read the rest

2011 Nebula Awards nominees announced

The Science Fiction Writers of America have announced the nominees for the 2011 Nebula Awards, which are voted by the community of professional sf/f writers (in contrast to the Hugo awards, which are voted by readers). It's a very strong ballot, and includes two of my favorite books of 2011: Jo Walton's astounding Among Others, and Delia Sherman's brilliant YA novel The Freedom Maze.

Novel Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor) Embassytown, China Miéville (Macmillan UK; Del Rey; Subterranean Press) Firebird, Jack McDevitt (Ace Books) God's War, Kameron Hurley (Night Shade Books) Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, Genevieve Valentine (Prime Books) The Kingdom of Gods, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

Novella "Kiss Me Twice," Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov's Science Fiction, June 2011) "Silently and Very Fast," Catherynne M. Valente (WFSA Press; Clarkesworld Magazine, October 2011) "The Ice Owl," Carolyn Ives Gilman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November/December 2011) "The Man Who Bridged the Mist," Kij Johnson (Asimov's Science Fiction, October/November 2011) "The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary," Ken Liu (Panverse Three, Panverse Publishing) "With Unclean Hands," Adam-Troy Castro (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, November 2011)

Read the rest

Copyright forever

Games creator Adrian Hon has a parodical modest proposal in the Telegraph: eternal copyright. Read the rest