Borrowing a trick from the Comcast/AT&T playbook, Google Fiber now forces customers who are unhappy with the service to surrender their right to sue and to join class actions in favor of binding arbitration, a one-sided system of shadow courts that overwhelmingly delivers rulings in favor of the big companies that pay for it. Read the rest
Jerry Lewis called his unreleased 1972 movie "The Day the Clown Cried," about a clown in Auschwitz who convinces children to go to their deaths, an "embarass[ing] poor work" and said it would never be released. Read the rest
My 13-year-old daughter, a fan of all things Japanese, wanted to know her blood type. (Some people in Japan think that blood type correlates with personality types. Jane knows it's bunkum, but it's fun anyway.) I didn't know her blood type, and I forgot mine. Carla didn't know her blood type either. We didn't have Red Cross blood donation cards, because we aren't eligible to donate blood: Carla doesn't weigh enough, Jane is too young, and I "lived a cumulative time of 3 months or more in the United Kingdom" back in the 1980s (I have mad cow prions ready to erupt in my brain any day now, I guess).
I looked on Amazon and, wouldn't you know it, they sell blood typing kits! I ordered enough kits for the family. They cost about $5 each.
The kits come with everything you need: spring loaded lancet, micropipette, stirring wands, cleansing swab, and a chemically treated card to put your blood on. The card has four circles, each of which contains a different kind of serum designed to cause clotting (or not) in your blood sample.
The lancet is a little scary to use. It looks kind of like a tiny tube of Chapstick with a hole in one end. You have to press it against your finger until a spring loaded latch inside the tube releases, slamming a sharp needle into your finger. I went first. The sound it made was worse than the jab. Interestingly, the needle shoots back into the tube after it pokes your finger. Read the rest
I'm speaking at Politicon, the “Non-Partisan Politics and Entertainment Fan-Fest,” June 25-26 in Pasadena. It's gonna be fun AND totally weird in the best way.
Sessions include an “Ann Coulter vs. Van Jones” smackdown, and Jon Ronson asking the timeless question, “Is Donald Trump a Psychopath.”
Some of the other politicians, pundits, and possible psychopaths on the schedule: Bill Nye, Sarah Palin, Larry Wilmore, Vicente Fox, James Carville, Glenn Beck. The original Daily Show cast will be in the house, too.
Holy hell, what a lineup. Join me there, and use the Boing Boing discount code BOINGBOING to get 25% off tickets.
Read the rest
Earlier today Trump tweeted a May 10 poll from OAN/Gravis that showed him with a two point lead over Clinton. People called him out on it, so he tweeted the latest OAN/Gravis poll, with the comment THANK YOU!. I guess he didn't look at it closely, because now it shows Clinton with a two point lead over Trump.
Read the rest
Jellyfish: A Natural History
by Lisa-ann Gershwin
University of Chicago Press
2016, 224 pages, 8.2 x 9.5 x 1 inches
$27 Buy a copy on Amazon
Five interesting facts I read in the just-released Jellyfish: A Natural History:
1. The deadly box jellyfish is the world’s most venomous animal, and its sting feels like “a splash of boiling oil, searingly hot and indescribably painful.”
2. The immortal jellyfish is just what it sounds like – its cells keep regenerating so that it forever cycles from baby to adult back to baby again.
3. Recently, jellyfish blooms – or swarms – have become denser, are covering much larger areas than ever before, and are “lasting far longer than normal,” due to climate change.
4. Jellyfish can clone themselves, but the replica is so different from the original that it ends up being classified as a separate animal.
5. The giant heart jelly can grow to 165 feet, longer than a blue whale.
And this is nothing. Every page of text in Jellyfish has facts as fascinating as these, woven into a thorough coverage of jellyfish history, biology and ecology. Author Lisa-ann Gershwin, a marine biologist who has discovered over 200 new species of jellyfish, does an excellent job of combining a compelling narrative of 50 different jellyfish with luscious, I-can’t-believe-they’re-real photos. Put this book on your coffee table with caution – you might lose your guests as they submerge themselves into a book that’s as exotic as it is absorbing. Read the rest
Whoa. After filming Carpool Karaoke, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis resuscitated a stranger's baby: Read the rest
It turns out that folding a pizza slice lengthwise to improve its rigidity is a great example of the "Remarkable Theorem" by Gauss. Cliff Stoll explains. Read the rest
Jonas Pedersen captured the beauty and danger of cave diving in this haunting footage at El Toh. Read the rest
Autodesk’s Project Escher allows multiple 3D printers to manufacture the same object simultaneously via a software "conductor." Read the rest
Revealed yesterday in London, the Rolls-Royce 103EX is the car company's vision for a futuristic luxury autonomous whip. The (way) over-the-top concept car features a massive OLED display, Macassar wood detailing, silk carpeting, and an artificial intelligence named Eleanor.
Read the rest
Arizona State University, Nanowrimo, and the Chabot Science Center are commemorating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with a series of events, including a short-story contest judged by Elizabeth Bear. Read the rest
MIT Media Lab researchers developed software to design and 3D print hair-like structures in bulk. Eventually, the 3D-printed hair could be used as sensors, actuators modeled on the cilia in our own lungs, and even Velcro-like adhesives for robots and other devices.
Their innovation was actually on the software side of the 3D-printing process. From MIT News:
Read the rest
Instead of using conventional computer-aided design (CAD) software to draw thousands of individual hairs on a computer — a step that would take hours to compute — the team built a new software platform, called “Cilllia,” that lets users define the angle, thickness, density, and height of thousands of hairs, in just a few minutes.
Using the new software, the researchers designed arrays of hair-like structures with a resolution of 50 microns — about the width of a human hair. Playing with various dimensions, they designed and then printed arrays ranging from coarse bristles to fine fur, onto flat and also curved surfaces, using a conventional 3-D printer...
To demonstrate adhesion, the team printed arrays that act as Velcro-like bristle pads. Depending on the angle of the bristles, the pads can stick to each other with varying forces. For sensing, the researchers printed a small furry rabbit figure, equipped with LED lights that light up when a person strokes the rabbit in certain directions.
And to see whether 3-D-printed hair can help actuate, or move objects, the team fabricated a weight-sorting table made from panels of printed hair with specified angles and heights.
In this Smithsonian overview, makers and operators point out that they are technically rocket belts, not jet packs. Lots of great vintage footage, including a clunky pre-GoPro helmet cam. Read the rest
Magic Leap continues to roll out tantalizing demos of their mixed reality technology, this time imposing the "lost droids" scene into a typical room. Read the rest