Tar sands production in Canada pretty much shut down by Fort McMurray wildfire

Almost all of Canada's tar sands production has been shut down by a raging wildfire in Alberta's Fort McMurray region. Read the rest

Children and babies are dying in Nigerian military detention, where they're buried in mass graves

Amnesty International says at least 149 detainees have died "in horrendous conditions" at a military detention site in northeastern Nigeria this year. Among them were 11 children under the age of 6 years old, and four babies who are said to have died of untreated measles. Read the rest

Clever non-lethal mousetrap made from soda bottle

Mouse says wtf?

From Chris Notap:

This is the best and easiest homemade humane mouse trap!. Easy to build, easy to bait, easy to release and best of all, it's humane and there's no springs or levers to wind up or load! The mouse cannot escape or chew his way out of this mouse trap. Mice are not harmed in any way during capture. As a matter of fact, the mouse remains very calm since there is no slamming doors or snapping latches to scare him! Mice can be released calmly and easily without fear of getting bitten even by the most "fearful of mice" person!! Simple operation makes this diy mouse trap fun and easy to build and adjust for easy trapping and best of all easy release. A great father and son project. Just use a dab of peanut butter to bait the trap. It's the best do it yourself humane live release mouse trap you'll find! A 2L bottle and a few other common items is all you'll need. I'll be building a humane squirrel trap next so you can capture and release squirrels easily too so subscribe and don't miss my upcoming "diy humane squirrel trap".

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The failed presidential campaign of Ted Cruz is like the fight to end slavery, says Heidi Cruz

On a conference call with the Ted Cruz campaign's National Prayer Team, the presidential candidate's wife Heidi Cruz said the fight to get her unelectable husband elected is pretty much exactly like the long and difficult battle to abolish slavery. This makes perfect sense in Ted Cruz World. And that's why he's unfit to govern anything but Ted Cruz World, and not America. Read the rest

Japanese Magician Does Crazy Stuff with Credit Cards

I’ve known Tomohiro Maeda since he was a teenager.

For a period he was well-known in Japan for his many two-hour television specials doing mostly card tricks for famous celebrities seated around a small table. It takes a great magician to keep the high-and-mighty seated for two hours with nothing more than a deck of cards. Above is a good example of one of his recent TV shows in which they also analyzed the brain during the performance of magic (even though it’s in Japanese, you’ll understand the magic tricks with little problem).

Tomohiro Maeda now writes life-style articles for magazines while continuing to perform magic at high-priced private events and he recently made a TV commercial for a Japanese credit card company.

And they also released a behind-the-scenes video.

I think we all wish we could do magic with our credit cards rather than be indebted to them.

Via Hey Presto! Read the rest

Truth in Advertising files FTC complaint against lingerie retailer Adore Me for deceptive marketing practices

In the video above, you will see just how deceptive Adore Me is. If you don't pay very close attention to the fine print, you will get suckered into a $40/month automatic payment. You can only cancel under certain conditions, and if you do manage to cancel, Adore Me keeps your money.

Shana Mueller of Truth in Advertising says:

After investigating Adore Me’s marketing practices, ad watchdog group, truthinadvertising.org has filed a complaint with the FTC (as well as the NY AG’s Office and Santa Clara, CA DA’s office) on the company’s deceptive marketing practices.

You can see the full legal action page (w/evidence as well as correspondence with the company).

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UPDATED RIP Ray Tomlinson, email inventor and at-sign popularizer

UPDATE This is a couple months old -- I read "Mar 5" as "May 5." My apologies.

Ray Tomlinson created the first networked email system in 1971 while working on his MIT doctorate and collaborating on the early ARPAnet at BBN; he used @ -- the at symbol -- to separate the username from the machinename because "it did not appear in user names and did not have any meaning in the TENEX paging program." Read the rest

What is Obscenity? The Story of a Good For Nothing Artist and her Pussy

Earlier today I posted the news that Megumi Igarashi (pen name Rokudenashiko) was found guilty of obscenity for distributing a digital file containing a 3D scan of her vulva. Today also marks the publication of her graphic novel memoir, What is Obscenity?, a beautiful little book (with a cover design by Chip Kidd) that uses comics, color photos, and current events to tell Rokudenashiko's story of how she creates pussy-themed art that has the power to frighten government officials into arresting and censoring her.

A graphic memoir of a good-for-nothing Japanese artist who has been jailed twice for so-called acts of obscenity and the distribution of pornographic materials yet continues to champion the art of pussy. In a society where one can be censored, pixelated, and punished, Rokudenashiko asks what makes pussy so problematic?

Rokudenashiko (“good-for-nothing girl”) is a Japanese artist. She is known for her series of decorated vulva moulds, or "Decoman," a portmanteau of decorated and manko, slang for vagina. Distributing a 3D scan of her genitalia to crowdfunding supporters led to her arrest for alleged violation of Japanese obscenity laws.

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NASA's Kepler Mission Announces Largest Collection of Planets Ever Discovered

NASA announced today that the Kepler mission has verified 1,284 new planets -- the single largest finding of planets to date. Read the rest

The Homer: now a real(ish) car from Hot Wheels

In 1991, The Simpsons episode called Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? aired, in which Homer becomes an auto-executive and designs a car that is used to show why American auto-manufacturing had failed: now you can own that car. Read the rest

Puzzle: is the bike moving left or right?

"You come upon the track of a bicycle in the mud. Was the bicycle traveling to the left or the right?" Visit Futility Closet for the solution. I haven't looked yet, as I'm still riding a bike in my mind, to see where the tracks go. Read the rest

“Pussy boat” artist found guilty of obscenity in Japan

Japanese manga artist, Megumi Igarashi, who makes whimsical sculptures from molds of her vulva, was fond guilty of obscenity in Tokyo District Court. She was fined 400,000 yen ($3,670) fine.

Megumi Igarashi, who works under the pseudonym Rokudenashiko – or good-for-nothing girl – was arrested in July 2014 after she distributed data that enabled recipients to make 3D prints of her vagina.

The 44-year-old was fined 400,000 yen (£2,575), half the penalty demanded by prosecutors, at the Tokyo district court on Monday after she was convicted of distributing “obscene” images. She was cleared of another charge of displaying similar material.

Igarashi distributed the data to help raise funds to create a kayak inspired by her genitalia she called “pussy boat.”

The judge, Mihoko Tanabe, said that the data, though “flat and inorganic”, realistically portrayed the shape of a vagina and could “sexually arouse viewers”, according to Kyodo News.

Remember, in Japan: Penis sculpture good. Vulva sculpture bad.

Previously: Artist arrested for distributing 3D file of her genitals Read the rest

Unflattening – A graphic dissertation that argues for the power of images over text as a way to teach

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Unflattening

by Nick Sousanis

Harvard University Press

2015, 208 pages, 7.5 x 10.2 x 1 inches (softcover)

$16 Buy a copy on Amazon

It is remarkable how much we learn in our youth and how fast we learn it. It is a pace that really cannot sustain itself as we age, though we might try to continue to learn as though we were young. In my youth, the newspaper seemed a vast swarm of text and a few images that encircled a hidden prize: the funnies. Comics, in youth, are acceptable, but as we age we regard them more as juvenile diversions. Over time, the picture book gives way to the novel. The non-fiction works in the form of text books and scholarly journals are tools to educate us. Finally, should we pursue learning down the institutional path long enough, we encounter doctoral theses with their many and myriad intertextual references. It is a long-standing joke among academics that it is rare that the thesis they slave over for four or more years ever actually gets read.

Nick Sousanis, with his doctoral thesis Unflattening, is a poignant departure from any trend of dissertations written for the sake of being written. More than that, it is meant to be more than a read work. It is an experiential work that asks the reader to not just read, but rather to participate in learning to appreciate imagery on equal terms with orderly lines of written text. Read the rest

Owners watch their home burn via indoor security camera connected to iPhone

This home was burned to the ground in the Fort McMurray wildfire. The owners watched their living room go up in smoke via a security camera feed sent to their iPhone. Read the rest

What happens when you look at the sun through a telescope

TV astronomer and author Mark Thompson uses a pig eye he got from his local butcher to demonstrate what happens to people who make the mistake of looking at the sun through a telescope. Read the rest

How to build a microcontroller-driven cold brew coffee drip tower

Our friend and frequent Boing Boing contributor John Edgar Park built a large cold brew coffee drip tower using laser cut parts, lab glassware, a food-safe solenoid valve, and Arduino-based controller. I'm waiting for him to invite me over for a glass of ice coffee!

I love cold brew coffee. Its rich and delicious flavor, and low acidity, means it tastes great over ice. Traditional hot-brewed coffee methods simply can’t compare; when chilled and served on ice they tend to taste diluted and acidic. I have a small commercial drip tower that works very well, however, given the fact that cold brew takes up to 18 hours to brew, it’s disappointing to finish it off in just a few drinks. You can buy large cold-brew towers, but they’re very expensive, aimed at coffee shops. I decided to build a much larger brewing tower from scratch, and to make it considerably higher precision while I was at it — drip rate is everything when it comes to cold brew — using a microcontroller-driven solenoid valve for exact drip rate.

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This cat is freaked out by a snake in a toad's mouth

Wouldn't you be too? (via Dangerous Minds)

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