In 1998, New Zealand cartoonist Dylan Horrocks wrote a 250-page graphic novel called Hicksville, about a comic book artist and a journalist writing a biography of the artist. The Comics Journal awarded it “Book of the Year.” I loved it (here’s my review). Now, 17 years later, Horrocks has released his second graphic novel, called Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen. Like Hicksville, it’s about comic book artists and the allure of comic books. And also like Hicksville, it, too, is worthy of an award. Read the rest
Researchers from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology published instructions for a very precise LEGO watt balance to measure the kilogram unit of mass. You also need strong neodymium magnets. From New Scientist:
Finding the mass requires two measurements. First place a weight on one of the pans, moving the coil past the magnet and inducing a voltage. Then run a current through the coil, creating an electromagnetic force on the pan that counteracts the weight. Comparing these two gives you the weight's mass, which can be compared to the Planck constant.
"DIY device to define the kilogram – using Lego"
"A LEGO Watt Balance: An apparatus to demonstrate the definition of mass based on the new SI" (arXiv.org) Read the rest
A gallery of the child-whipping Alpine demon that haunted our holiday
"Faster Now" is a short story about a near-future world where brain hackers called "now tweakers" (nowts) use their time-management skills to get a leg up on normals. It's by Paul Di Filippo, who wrote many excellent essays and stories for the zine version of Boing Boing. Read the rest
Our gathering spots, neither home nor work, were absorbed into another world. But we knew they were dying long before they disappeared...
Researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University got zebra finches drunk to see how the booze affected their singing in an effort to gain insight into human speech. Guess what? They slurred their songs. From the Washington Post:
Birds learn to sing in much the same way that humans learn to talk (in fact, a recent study found that birdsong and speech even rely on the same genes). It's much easier to keep a bird in a cage and study its brain than it is to do the same with a human toddler, so birds give scientists some of our best insights into the brain mechanisms that make speech possible....
"The most pronounced effects were decreased amplitude and increased entropy," the researchers wrote in the study. So in other words, their songs got quieter and less organized.
"Scientists show that drunk birds ‘slur’ their songs" Read the rest
Watchmaker Tony Williams gives a tour of the Rolex Submariner's innards. (via) Read the rest
Anthropologist Krystal D'Costa considers food as a spectator sport in history, aka "food porn." From Scientific American: Read the rest
Colorado-based mathematician Clayton Shonkwiler creates wonderful animated GIFs and vector art inspired by the beauty of math. Read the rest
If you enjoy scoffing at "What were they thinking of?" book covers of yesteryear, Awful Library Books is a site you'll want to follow.
That's what the video's titled, but honestly, cow chews on dog's ear is equally cute. Read the rest
This week's Hip Hop Family Tree on how we were introduced to colorful MCs like Roxanne Shante.
Utah is the top state in the US for antidepressant use and has "disproportionately high rates of suicide and associated mood disorders compared to the rest of the country." Read the rest
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"Very funny kid head stuck in gate. Very difficult to get it off."
Mat Ricardo sez, "Completely thrilled to announce that, in what must surely be some kind of administrative error, my one man show 'Showman' will have a three night run at The Purcell Room in London's South Bank Centre on the 19th, 20th & 21st of January." Read the rest
The View Text Etsy store sells custom tights emblazoned with poetry from the likes of Emily Dickinson and Shakespeare (you can also get your own text on a pair). (via Geeky Merch) Read the rest
Bunnie Huang and his team have set out to fully reverse-engineer and document a cheap Chinese Mediatek MT6260. mobile-phone board -- licensed in the complex, informal regime of "gongkai," through which lots of theoretically confidential information is published, but some critical pieces are withheld. Read the rest