Pug rings

Hannah sez, "I've just recently finished working on a series of pugs in costumes They all turned out to resemble somebody. One looks just like the Queen, one like Hercule Poirot and one very much like a geek with classic, horn-rimmed glasses. In fact, he turned out to look very much like an editor of Boing Boing... Not very flattering but who doesn't want to know how they would look like as a pug?"

Pugs Rings

(Thanks, Hannah!) Read the rest

RIP, John Paul Miller, a genius goldsmith and creator of many lovely gold crustaceans

David sez, "A quiet genius, jeweler John Paul Miller, recently passed away and a memorial service was held this past weekend in Cleveland. His jewelery is beautifully detailed and I thought the Boing Boing audience would enjoy his take [Google Image Search] on crustaceans and insects."

Yet the relative paucity of attention given to Miller during his lifetime should not belie the intrinsic importance of his spectacular achievements as a designer and maker of gold jewelry.

Decorative arts curator Stephen Harrison of the Cleveland museum, who organized the smallish but extremely important show in 2010, compared Miller to Rene Lalique and Louis Comfort Tiffany, two giants of late-19th-century decorative art in France and America, respectively.

Goldsmith John Paul Miller, a national treasure, will go down in history as one of Cleveland's greatest artists [Steven Litt/The Plain Dealer]

(Thanks, David!) Read the rest

One in hole

"One step onto the pocked section [of the golf course] and the 43-year-old mortgage broker plunged into a sinkhole." He survived.

(Thanks, Matthew!) Read the rest

Why is the sky *any* color?

A nice video from PBS that explains why the sky has color.

Why is the sky blue? It's a question that you'd think kids have been asking for thousands of years, but it might not be that old at all. The ancient Greek poet Homer never used a word for blue in The Odyssey or The Iliad, because blue is one of the last colors that cultures pick out a word for.

In this episode, I'll tell you not only why the sky is blue, but why it's red at sunset. It turns out, those colors are all part of the same sunbeam. And when you're looking at a blue sky, you could be sharing a special moment with someone thousands of miles away. Next time a kid (or the kid inside you) wants to know why the sky is blue, you'll have science to back you up!

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McDonald's price increases over the years

Rob Cockerham says: "Because I have pictures of every fast food franchise's Drive Thru menu from 2002, I was able to take new drive-thru menu photos and compare the prices and layout of the new with the old." Read the rest

Documentary about skilled sign painters looks fantastic

Stendahl Syndrome alert! This trailer for a documentary about sign painters made me swoon.

There was a time, as recently as the 1980s, when storefronts, murals, banners, barn signs, billboards, and even street signs were all hand-lettered with brush and paint. But, like many skilled trades, the sign industry has been overrun by the techno-fueled promise of quicker and cheaper. The resulting proliferation of computer-designed, die-cut vinyl lettering and inkjet printers has ushered a creeping sameness into our landscape. Fortunately, there is a growing trend to seek out traditional sign painters and a renaissance in the trade.

In 2010 Directors Faythe Levine and Sam Macon, with Cinematographer Travis Auclair, began documenting these dedicated practitioners, their time-honored methods, and their appreciation for quality and craftsmanship. Sign Painters, the first anecdotal history of the craft, features the stories of more than two dozen sign painters working in cities throughout the United States. The documentary and book profiles sign painters young and old, from the new vanguard working solo to collaborative shops such as San Francisco’s New Bohemia Signs and New York’s Colossal Media’s Sky High Murals.

Buy Sign Painters book

(Thanks, Matthew!) Read the rest

Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble performs "Our Factory's Girls"

From North Korea's nonstop hit-making music machine: Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble - "Our Factory's Girls."

(Is there some kind of rule that says all music made in dictatorships shall be played on Hammond E-100 knockoffs?)

(Thanks, Brian!) Read the rest

England My England: Anglophilia Explained - a new ebook by Mark Dery

Hot off the electron gun: England My England: Anglophilia Explained, a new ebook from our friend and frequent Boing Boing contributor, Mark Dery. It's published by Thought Catalog.

Downton Abbey has brought out the Anglophile in American fans of the hit TV series. But Anglophilia has a long history in America. Why are some native-born residents of our Shining City Upon a Hill, where All Men Are Created Equal, seduced by the fluting tones of manor-born privilege? At last, Anglophilia explained---in American, thank you.

England My England: Anglophilia Explained Read the rest

Using clips from Ed Sullivan in Jersey Boys found to be fair use; judges award costs to deter future "chilling" copyright lawsuits

A Ninth Circuit Appeals Court has ruled that the producers of the musical "Jersey Boys" did not violate copyright law by using a clip from the Ed Sullivan Show in their production. They'd been sued by SOFA Entertainment, who holds the Sullivan Show rights. The judges awarded costs to the Jersey Boys production company, so SOFA will have to pay $155,000 in attorneys' fees and costs -- an award that the judges specifically stated was intended to "deter future lawsuits that might chill the creative endeavors of others."

Appellant SOFA Entertainment, Inc. claimed Dodger infringed its copyright in the clip and could not justify its unlicensed use of the clip as "fair use."

"SOFA is mistaken," said Circuit Judge Stephen S. Trott. "The defendants used the clip in Jersey Boys, their musical about the Four Seasons, to mark a historical point in the band's career. The panel held that this was a fair use because by using the clip for its historical significance, the defendants had imbued it with new meaning and had done so without usurping whatever demand there was for the original clip."

The district court viewed SOFA's infringement claim as "objectively unreasonable and determined that awarding fees would deter future lawsuits that might chill the creative endeavors of others."

Court Says Jersey Boys Producers Were Free to Use Copyrighted "Ed Sullivan" Clip in Show [Kenneth Jones/Playbill]

(Thanks, Dick!) Read the rest

News article about pope selection and smoke puffs, annotated to make more sense

"I was reading this CNN article, and thought it needed some context."

[IMGUR via @rob_sheridan] Read the rest

Mexican eco-terrorists declare war on nanotechnology, threaten scientists

Mexican scientists involved in bio- and nanotechnology have become death threat targets over the past two years. It's not the narcos who want them dead, but "a group of bomb-building eco-terrorists with the professed goal of destroying human civilization," reports Wired News. In a manifesto posted on anarchist blog Liberacion Total last month, Individualidades Tendiendo a lo Salvaje (ITS) took credit for a failed bombing attempt against one researcher, and promises to try again. [Danger Room | Wired.com] Read the rest

Japan extracts gas from methane hydrate, ‘Flammable Ice’

Hiroko Tabuchi at the Times reports that Japan has successfully extracted gas from offshore deposits of methane hydrate, also referred to as “flammable ice.” The breakthrough is hailed as a possible step "toward tapping a promising but still little-understood energy source." The extraction from a deep-sea bed hydrate reservoir is believed to have been the world's first, and "could provide an alternative source of energy to known oil and gas reserves." [NYT] Read the rest

Conclave smoke: a mystery recipe

Guys, during the papal conclave in the Sistine Chapel, alternating puffs of black and white smoke emerge after the voting, "coming from a copper flue jutting from the chapel roof." But nobody outside the Chapel seems to know how those colors are created, and the New York Times is on it. Guesses range from damp straw to potassium chlorate. Papal Purple Nurple, or any other known strain of sweet-ass bud, is unfortunately not on the list. [NYT] Read the rest

Mike Davis and Henry Lewis, contemporary surrealist painters

Mike Davis and Henry Lewis, two hyper-talented tattoo artists and painters from the Bay Area, are showing new works at San Francisco's Varnish Fine Art gallery. I've followed Mike's work since we knew each other in Cincinnati's underground art/music scene in the 1980s and even then, he had a masterful ability to express his psychedelic/surreal visions through a brush (and a guitar too). Above, Davis's "Evening Meal" (oil on wood, 37" x 52"). Right, Lewis's "Ryan" (oil, graphite, china marker, and enamel on birch, 51.5" x 27.5"). The exhibition, titled "Contemporary Surrealists," runs until April 13 and you can see the artworks online too.

Mike Davis & Henry Lewis: Contemporary Surrealists Read the rest

Kickstarting a Victorian ghost movie starring puppets, with in-camera effects

Special effects artist Kevin McTurk has a fully subscribed kickstarter for The Mill at Calder's End, a Victorian ghost movie starring 30" puppets guided by pairs or trios of puppeteers all in black. The effects will be done in-camera,

The Mill at Calder's End is a gothic ghost story in the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft that will be told with 30 inch tall bunraku puppets and old fashioned in-camera special effects. Featuring the voices of Jason Flemyng (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, X-Men: First Class) and horror legend Barbara Steele (Black Sunday, The Pit and the Pendulum) , this film celebrates two of my great loves: the art of puppetry and gothic horror.

From my experience working as a special effects artist in Hollywood for over twenty years and now collaborating with some of the most talented creature effects artists, concept artists, and puppeteers in the industry, The Mill at Calder's End will be unlike any puppet film you have ever seen before.

The Mill at Calder's End is a passion project that is heavily influenced by the classic Hammer horror films of the 1960s and the films of Mario Bava (most notably, his gothic masterpiece Black Sunday). I have also always had a great love of puppetry and traditional in-camera special effects. The work of Jim Henson (The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and his Storyteller television series) is a great inspiration to me and I am hoping to bring his sense of wonderment and artistry to The Mill at Calder's End.

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Amazing LEGO insects and arthropods

Sean and Steph Mayo created an exquisite series of LEGO bugs for the "Creepy Crawly" category in the 2013 MocAthalon building competition. See them all in this Flickr set. (Thanks, Jake Dunagan!) Read the rest

Get yourself a Clam bag

Clam Lynch is a wildly-creative artist and actor...and therefore terminally broke. He’s also a dad who is trying to raise enough cash to move from San Francisco to Utah to help his daughter Eloise get set up for college. He’s selling custom-printed and numbered tote bags to help finance their journey. Bids start at $20 for these fine-looking bags. Read the rest

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