Kickstarting the Makerphone: an open-source hardware phone kit, programmable with python and Scratch

Circuitmess's fully funded Makerphone kickstarter is raising money to produce open source hardware smartphone kits to teach kids (and grownups) everything from soldering to programming. Read the rest

Snetris is "snake + tetris"

Felipe is a Portuguese game-developer who makes fun, crowdfunded minigames; he tweeted a tantalyzing video clip showing an idea for a Snake/Tetris mashup called "Snetris," and the response was so warm and excited that he's promised to develop a playable version! Read the rest

Kickstarting a seminar series with Ada Palmer and me about the history of censorship and information control

Science fiction author, librettist, singer and historian Ada Palmer (previously), science and piracy historian Adrian Johns, and I have teamed up to create a seminar series at the University of Chicago called Censorship and Information Control During Information Revolutions, which compares and contrasts the censorship regimes and moral panics that flourished after the invention of the printing press with modern, computerized efforts to control and suppress information. Read the rest

Spectacle frames that reflect infrared light, blinding CCTV cameras

Eccentric spectacle-maker Scott Urban kickstarted his Reflectacles in 2016: ray-ban-style frames inset with highly retroreflective material that is visible from hundreds of meters and strobes under a flash, making for fantastic photos. Read the rest

Kickstarting new Aquabats albums and TV shows!

The wonderful Aquabats, nearly killed when the network they'd signed with went out of business, are back, and they want to produce a new TV special episode of Super Show! with a new album to go with it. Read the rest

Kickstarting the Mexicanx Initiative Anthology, spotlighting Mexicanx creators who won scholarships to this year's Worldcon

Pablo Defendini (previously) writes, "Fireside Magazine’s editor, Julia Rios, is part of The Mexicanx Initiative, a scholarship fund John Picacio put together for sending Mexicanx and Mexican-American sf/f authors to Worldcon. A few of the Mexicanx Initiative authors decided to create an anthology to commemorate the occasion, and had been planning on subsidizing the cost of printing and shipping themselves. When Fireside got word of this last week, we decided to pitch in, and we put together a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $1500 they needed.

"Well, we blew past our funding goal, and we decided that any money left over would be split evenly among all the participants (Fireside isn't making a cent off this). So now we're trying to reach a stretch goal of $7500 by the end of the campaign this Friday, so that we can not only cover their production costs, but pay every author, artist, designer, translator, and editor who donated their work a SFWA-qualifying pro rate."

Mexicanx Initiative Anthology [Fireside/Kickstarter] Read the rest

Kickstarting another chapter in "Space Command"

Marc Zicree (writer on Star Trek:TNG, DS9 and more) and friends are kickstarting another volume in their enormously successful fan-funded, "retro and stylish" Space Command science fiction show. Read the rest

There's something very odd about the video showing off "Be", a prototype battery-less motorized toothbrush

Be is presented as an "electric-free" toothbrush powered by a wind-up mechanism. A couple of twists of the handle yields two minutes of brushing, according to its Kickstarter campaign, which raised nearly half a million dollars on boasts of its simple usefulness and eco-friendliness. A similar tally is listed at a follow-up Indiegogo page.

Unlike electric toothbrushes, Be. is more than just a vibrating head. Built as a kinetic storage device, Be. harnesses and amplifies the power of 2 simple twists into over 80,000 tartar fighting brush strokes using its patented multiplier transmission system.

But there's a problem with the Be, which is yet to ship. Or, at least, with a recently-posted video, since removed, depicting a prototype.

Spoiler: leaves in the video's background loop uncannily, like an animated GIF, as the brush appears to run for a minute or so: "The plant skips in perfect sync with the prototype," says Marek Baczynski, who spotted the crudely-looped section of video and posted it to YouTube with commentary. "It happens 18 times, every 49 frames."

Here's the demo video's audio waveform, which also gives the game away:

Here's the portion of Baczynski's expose that shows the original demo "defaked" to remove all the loops. Jump to 2:40 if it doesn't automatically.

One million American dollars crowdfunded. Fifteen seconds of action, brushing the air. Read the rest

The future will be feminist and pedal-powered: kickstarting a fifth "Bikes Not Rockets" sf anthology

Elly Blue (previously) writes, "Will toilet paper be a valuable commodity after society collapses? Who will help you with your reproductive rights in the coming patriarchal dystopia? Why are humans so obsessed with gender? Are bots human? These questions and many more are answered with bicycles (and feminism!) in the eleven stories found in Bikes Not Rockets, the fifth volume in the Bikes in Space series. More relevant than ever, stories in this genre inspire visions of a future beyond the narrow status quo." Read the rest

Strong Female Protagonist, Book Two: the hard philosophical questions of superheroism and compassion

It's been nearly four years since the first crowdfunded collection of Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag's webcomic Strong Female Protagonist was published; the second volume, published this week, traces not just the evolution of its protagonist, the superhero Alison "Mega Girl" Green, but of its creators, who have found new and amazing depths to plumb and heights to soar to.

Kickstarting a gorgeous, thoughtfully designed hardcover notebooks for RPG campaigns

The Game Master's Tome & Player's Compendium are a pair of A5-sized, Moleskine-like notebook with custom interiors designed for RPG gamemasters and players, with 480 pages' worth of hex maps, worldbuilding note sections, character sheets, quest-notes, etc; the stretch-goals include more pages, paper edging, endpaper art, and larger sizes. Read the rest

Ugears: beautiful, steampunkular geared wooden puzzle-toys

Ugears makes gorgeous wooden puzzle toys made from laser-cut plywood that snap-fits to create beautiful, retro machines and sculptures with meshing, working geared mechanisms. Read the rest

Dogs model costumes inspired by Met Gala's 2018 theme: Heavenly Bodies

Anthony Rubio dressed up his chihuahuas Bogie and Kimba in costumes inspired by this year's Met Gala theme: Heavenly Bodies. The result is, well, heavenly. Now he's compiling a book and needs your help. Read the rest

Kickstarting a science fiction anthology that puts Trump policies on blast

Colin writes, "Parvus Press is funding IF THIS GOES ON, an anthology of political science fiction on Kickstarter. The anthology is edited by Cat Rambo, author and president of the Science Fiction Writers of America. It features thirty original stories dealing with the long-term impact of the policies and politics of our current elected leaders. Contributors range from long-time authors of SF like Nisi Shawl and Andy Duncan to award-season favorites Sarah Pinsker and E. Lily Yu and relative newcomers like former NFL Kicker Chris Kluwe." Read the rest

Kickstarting Dream Askew and Dream Apart, no-dice, no-GM RPGs about radical justice, queers and Jewish shtetl life

Dream Askew and Dream Apart are "no-dice, no masters" RPGs where players collaborate to tell stories together without dice or dungeon masters: Dream Askew uses the system to create campaigns in "a queer enclave enduring the collapse of civilization" and Dream Apart is set in "a Jewish shtetl in a fantastical-historical Eastern Europe." Read the rest

The UK's Data Protection Bill doesn't protect immigrants; help the Open Rights Group raise £30,000 for a court challenge

The UK's Data Protection Bill is far-reaching and long overdue, extending vital privacy protection to Britons -- unless they're immigrants. Read the rest

Kickstarting "Drawn to Sex": Oh Joy Sex Toy's sex-ed book

A couple months back, I was delighted to learn that the good, good people at Oh Joy Sex Toy were launching a sex-ed book aimed at explaining the basics, ins, outs, whats and wherefores of sex "for those looking to learn about sex and wince at our bad dad jokes." Read the rest

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