Psychedelic Furs announce first studio album in 29 years, release first single, "Don’t Believe"

The Psychedelic Furs have just announced a spring release for their eight studio album entitled "Made of Rain." It's been a 29 year wait. The first single off of the record, "Don't Believe," has been posted to YouTube.

The album is now available for pre-order. Read the rest

Test footage emerges of "Star Wars: Underworld," a TV series that never came to light

Footage from George Lucas’ abandoned 2010 Star Wars TV series, "Star Wars: Underworld," has surfaced on YouTube.

Released test footage from 2010 of the cancelled Star Wars TV show "Underworld," which was to take place in the lower levels of Coruscant. The series was set after the events of Order 66. The video game "1313" was to be a tie-in of this series. Due to the immense cost of shooting the series, as well as the selling of Lucasfilm to Disney, "Underworld" was delayed and eventually cancelled.

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A witch reviews the third season of “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” and talks about what the show gets right and wrong

My friend Peg Kay Aloi, a modern practicing witch, has two articles out on the “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina." In the first one, on Arts Fuse, she reviews the third season of the show and discusses the importance of the season's plot arc (spoilers aplenty).

Also at the end of Season Two, Sabrina’s Aunt Zelda (the excellent Miranda Otto) renounced her marriage to Faustus, who turned out to be a misogynist patriarch. The coven of Satanic witches who preside over the shadow side of Greendale are a sort of elite society with their own boarding school. The daytime Greendale is all Scooby-Doo high school hijinks (with some intersectional activism and coming-of-age drama thrown in). Because of her duel nature, witch and mortal, Sabrina straddles these worlds. In Season One, her Sweet Sixteen Party was also her Dark Baptism, the ritual when witches must proclaim their allegiance to the Dark Lord. The Satanic antics are all rather arch and fantastical (Aunt Zelda’s smiling “Praise Satan” is now a popular meme), making this all rather fun and entertaining.

In her second piece, for Refinery 29, Peg compares the show's TV hocus-pocus to modern, real-world witchcraft.

RIGHT: Sex can be part of witches’ magical workings

The show’s emphasis on sexuality keeps it firmly in the “adult” genre while also portraying a fascinating yet sometimes controversial aspect of modern witchcraft. Many of the seasonal holidays of Wicca have their origins in ancient rites performed by Europeans — including the rather erotic ritual of Lupercalia seen previously in Season 2, episode 3.

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An Earthship meets a tiny house

When I was a teen, I lived for the Whole Earth Catalog, homesteading, building geodesic domes, solar power, communes, and other hippie fever dreams. But even back then, when I was literally making my own granola, Michael Reynolds' concept of the "Earthship" seemed too crunchy granola. I suspected that building a house out of garbage -- tires, cans, bottles, hay bales, rammed earth, etc. -- seemed a bit much; likely fraught with issues.

But there were parts of the Earthship concept that I thought were smart then and still think so today -- things like passive solar heating, ground convection cooling, berming, rainwater collection, greywater reclamation and re-use.

In this video on the excellent YouTube channel, Living Big in a Tiny House, host Bryce Langston visits an off-the-grid Earthship in Adelaide, Australia. This Earthship, while utilizing all of the Reynold's concepts, also touches on another niche building idea that is currently all the rage: The tiny house. This Earthship is a tiny(ish) 750 sq. ft.

And you have to admit, those bottle wall mosaics look pretty cool. Read the rest

Fourth season of NASA Explorers premiers, focuses on microgravity and space science

I am excited for the launch of Season 4 of NASA Explorers, put together by the ISS Research Communications team which includes Boing Boing pal Rachel Barry.

The ISS Research Communications team is proud to announce the premiere of the latest season of the NASA Explorers video series. Season four, called “Microgravity,” will take you behind the scenes with a team of scientists as they prepare their research for launch to the International Space Station, and follows them through the epic journey of conducting science in space.

Rachel (a former editor at Craft: magazine and a Make: contributor) is Science Communication Strategist at ISS Research and is the narrator of Season 4. The episodes last around 5-7 minutes (bite-sized space science for modern attention spans) and will be posted to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Previous seasons have covered the Cryosphere, Apollo, and Fires.

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Black Magic Craft unboxes a full-color 3D-printed Hero Forge miniature

Jeremy of Black Magic Craft managed to get his hands on one of the prototype 3D printed full-color(!) miniatures that Hero Forge is currently offering in their Kickstarter campaign for Hero Forge 2.0.

As you can see from the video, the results are pretty impressive, as are the other miniature design and digital painting tools coming in Hero Forge 2.0. Given all of this gamery goodness, it is perhaps no surprise that Hero Forge's Kickstarter campaign has already racked up over $2 million, with 15 days still to go. Read the rest

Little-known, criminally underappreciated 70s singer-songwriter, Judee Sill, finally gets an obit in the New York Times

"Overlooked" is a series of belated obituaries in New York Times for people of note who were overlooked at the time of their passing. Their most recent "overlooked no more" subject is Judee Sill.

Judee Sill was a 70s singer-songwriter, the first artist signed to David Geffen's Asylum Records. During her short-lived career in the early-to-mid 70s, Sill received little attention or airplay. While other singer-songwriters of the time sang about personal relationships and political protest, Sill's ethereal music explored themes of rapture, redemption, spiritual love, occult themes, and the deeper meanings of it all.

Sill's life was as troubled as her work was complex and under the radar. She was a juvenile delinquent, a junkie, and a prostitute for a time. Judee Sill died in 1979 of a drug overdose which was likely a suicide.

While she was not widely recognized during her lifetime, her music has had a significant impact on many modern artists and that influence only continues to grow. Liz Phair, Shawn Colvin, Greta Gerwig, XTC's Andy Partridge, and Warren Zevon have all cited her as an inspiration.

Read the rest of the obit here.

[H/t Jenny Hart]

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New video from "dark forest folk" band Hexvessel features scenes from Cocteau's "Blood of a Poet"

I loved last year's All Tree from former Black Metalist Kvohst (aka Mat McNerney) and his folkier project, Hexvessel. The band has been described as "dark folk," "psychedelic forest folk," and "occult folk." Think of them as a somewhat more melodic and accessible Current 93.

On "Demian," the first single and video from their forthcoming record, Kindred (coming in April), they build the video around clips from Jean Cocteau's groundbreaking 1930 surrealist film, Blood of a Poet.

Bonus track: The hauntingly beautiful "Old Tree" from the band's 2019 release, All Tree.

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Gorgeous handmade Tiffany-style R2-D2 table lamp

Fight the Dark Side with this Tiffany-style R2-D2 head dome table lamp. Read the rest

Fashion arts student stuns the crowd with his latex balloon creations that transform into dresses

My jaw literally fell open when I first saw a clip of Fredrik Tjærandsen BA presentation for Central Saint Martins, the London art college. The Norwegian fashion designer and visual artist's graduate collection featured inflatable latex balloons around models' arms, legs, and torsos. Some of the pieces transformed into somewhat more conventional latex dresses as models floated down the runway.

Fittingly, the out-of-this-world collection was accompanied by Mica Levi's gorgeous and haunting soundtrack to Jonathan Glazer's 2014 sci-fi horror film, Under the Skin.

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Alex of "French Guy Cooking" goes in search of the perfect Italian meatball

I love when YouTube food maker Alexis Gabriel Ainouz (better known as French Guy Cooking) launches into a series of videos exploring some food obsession of his. He's done it for dry-aged beef, ramen noodles, croissants, and omelettes. Now he's on a quest to understand what makes the perfect Italian-style meatball and to make-a the meatball.

His quest quickly takes him to New York City. Why NYC in search of perfect Italian meatballs? As Alex points out, the Italian meatball we carnivores know and love is actually the product of Italian immigrants living in the United States, using the ingredients available to them here.

Next stop? Sweden (for obvious, non-Italian, meatball reasons). Read the rest

You are looking at 84 million stars in the heart of the Milky Way -- how small do you feel now?

My God, it's full of stars!

To create this unprecedented view of the Milky Way, ESO combined thousands of individual images from VISTA, taken through three different infrared filters, into a single monumental mosaic. These data form part of the VVV public survey and have been used to study a much larger number of individual stars in the central parts of the Milky Way than ever before. Because VISTA has a camera sensitive to infrared light it can see through much of the dust blocking the view for optical telescopes. The results are truly mesmerizing!

More info here. See a zoomable version of the image here.

Image: ESO/VVV Survey/D. Minniti (CC BY 4.0) Read the rest

Catching up with the Primitive Technology channel

It's been a while since we've looked in on John Plant, the Primitive Technology guy. Here are some of his recent videos. It's always good to stay current on your post-apocalyptic, nothing but bare hands, bare feet, and cargo shorts survival skills.

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Building and testing a drone made almost entirely from LEGO parts

On the highly-recommended Brick Experiment Channel, "BEC" (the unidentified, silent LEGO engineer you never see or hear) tries his hand at building a quad drone using LEGO bricks and other LEGO components. The only non-LEGO parts he uses are the battery, the receiver, the flight controller, and a motor driver circuit.

For the flight controller, BEC used the Matek F411-mini. For the motors, he used four LEGO L-motors [88003-1].

Besides the cool LEGO drone he ends up with, I love watching his experimentation and iterative process. And like many fellow 'tubers such as Jimmy DiResta and Primitive Technology, the un-narrated video is kind of mesmerizing to watch as you hear only the sounds of making. Read the rest

Turning a leaf blower into an R/C plane

In this video, amateur mad scientist and maker Peter Sripol turns an unmodified leaf blower and some foam board into an R/C-controlled plane. This is part of a series of him turning drills, gaming chairs, Roombas, bottles of Coke, and R/C cars into planes.

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Dante's Hell re-imagined as linguistic sins

I just happened upon this McSweeny's post, Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell, Reimagined for Linguistic Transgressions, by poet and software engineer, John Rauschenberg, that they published a few years ago.

What did they miss? Which transgression would you move closer to Lake Cocytus?

First Circle (Limbo): Autocorrect

Here wander the otherwise virtuous souls who were forced into grievous errors by autocorrect programs. They sit in silent masturbation, only rising once every hour to chant eerie koans such as “ducking auto cat rectal.”

Second Circle: The Serial Comma

One half of this circle is populated by souls who are cursed to make arguments that nobody cares about except their own mothers, howling gorgons and the infernal mistresses of hell. The other half are cursed to make arguments that nobody cares about except their own mothers, howling gorgons, and the infernal mistresses of hell. The difference between these two situations seems to matter a lot to both halves. Neither side will listen to you when you suggest that they could avoid this level entirely.

And what does he have in the finally circle?

Ninth Circle: Literally, the Ninth Circle

It is literally the worst circle ever.

[Image: The Fifth Circle, by Stradanus, Public Domain] Read the rest

Wild elephant found gingerly walking through Sri Lankan hotel exploring things with its trunk

Bull in a China shop? How about an elephant in a South Asian hotel?

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