Paper Girls 4: duelling invisible megabots, time travel and the prime directive, now with more Hugo nominations!

Paper Girls is the outstanding Stranger-Things-esque graphic novel series by Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chiang, a tale of time-travel, meddling, war and coming of age whose mind-bending twists and turns earned it a Hugo nomination this year. Now Paper Girls 4 is on shelves, and it's time to party like it's 1999.

Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths

Peter & Ernesto have a good life: the two sloths sit in their Amazon treetop and make up songs about the animal shapes they see in the clouds. But one day, Ernesto gets it into his head to see the whole sky, from every place on Earth, and sets out through the jungle.

5' x 5' skeleton and cobweb poncho

If you're the sort of person for whom Halloween is an all-year affair, this highly reviewed, $25 poncho may be your jam: it features a slimming and flattering skeleton (with both front- and back-views) and is hemmed with "lace" styled to look like cobwebs -- all that's missing is for it to be waterproof for stylish rainy days, but alas, it's purely about fashion, not dryness. (via Canopy) Read the rest

Flying Spaghetti Monster pasta strainer

Ototo's Flying Spaghetti Monster pasta strainer is a houseware, a religious artefact and a novelty item, all rolled into one $17 package! (via Geeks Are Sexy) Read the rest

A ball that inverts and changes color when it is midair, and the scientific literature that explains it

The Hoberman Switch Pitch Throwing Ball is a $12 toy that instantiates a dual polyhedron: every time you throw it, it turns inside-out; there's a wealth of scientific literature that explains how this works, including this open-access paper from the Journal of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures. Here's JWZ's summary: "The curved body panels that make it look like a sphere hide an internal structure that is a cube; or really, two tetrahedrons embedded in a cube; and when it its its activation energy, the tetrahedron becomes its dual, swapping faces and vertices." Read the rest

The Tentacuddle: a cthulhoid slanket

The Tentacuddle is another of Thinkgeek's not-April-Fools products launched on Apr 1 but seriously for realsies; it's $60, acrylic, 40"^2 plus five two-foot-long besuckered tentacles whose terminal apertures will admit your own appendages for eating or other manipulative/ambulatory tasks, and it's machine washable. Read the rest

A self-winding winder will wind your self-winding watch

This automated watch winder automatically winds my favorite watch!

I rarely wear a watch, I just don't remember to put them on any more. My favorite watch is a self-winding one and when I did go to put it on it has always stopped. I never remember to set the watch until I actually tried to use it, and then it is too late.

I decided to try one of these self-winding gadgets, and it works. Once a day the mechanism spins the watch in the correct direction for about 5 minutes. The watch stays wound and my superlative chronometer with a perpetual movement keeps moving.

I use the app Emerald Time to set my watches to an atomic clock.

[Newly Upgraded] Versa Automatic Single Watch Winder with Sliding Cover via Amazon Read the rest

Gorgeous scrap-electronics wearable cyberpunk assemblages from Hiroto Ikeuchi

Tokyo designer Hiroto Ikeuchi creates amazing wearable cyberpunk assemblages out of scrap electronics and other odds and sods. Read the rest

Lumberjanes 8: families, they f*ck you up

Lumberjanes is the longrunning, justly beloved kids' graphic novel series about an all-girl summer camp where the campers fight magic monsters, sometimes are magic monsters, and swear oaths on feminist icons from history; it keeps going from strength to strength, and Stone Cold, the eighth collection in the series, is no exception!

Sara Varon's New Shoes: a kids' buddy story about the jungles of Guyana and redemption

Sara Varon is co-creator, with Cecil Castellucci, of Odd Duck, the 2013 outstanding kids' picture book, and her latest solo venture, New Shoes is a brilliant reprisal of the themes from Odd Duck: camaraderie among eccentric animals, charming small-town life, fascinating technical details, humor, and beautiful, engaging illustrations.

Steven Brust's "Good Guys," a hardboiled noir urban fantasy, with everything great about Brust on proud display

Steven Brust is a literary treasure and his longrunning Vlad Taltos series, now nearing its final volume, is a good example of where his strengths lie: hardboiled plotting, snappy dialog, weirdly realistic and plausible depictions of magic, and a sensitive eye for power relationships and their depiction, all of which are on display in his latest, outstanding novel, Good Guys, about the minimum-wage sorcerers who investigate magical crimes on behalf of a secret society.

Crowdfunding an official, licensed Scrabble mechanical keyboard

On the crowdfunding site Massdrop, board-game fan Cassidy Williams is taking preorders for a $160 Scrabble-themed mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches (if you've got a mechanical keyboard kicking around that you'd like to convert, you can get the $47 keycap set instead). Read the rest

Syndicated strip or graphic novel? Lynn Johnston on doing For Better or For Worse in the internet age

In honor of the Library of American Comics' publication of For Better or For Worse: The Complete Library, Vol. 1 (Volume 2 is out this summer), we are delighted to publish this essay by Lynn Johnston, contemplating the nature of writing a serial for decades and how she might approach her life's work today.

Amazing Tales: a storytelling game with dice for kids and grownups

Tim Harford (previously) turned me on to Martin Lloyd's Amazing Tales, a storytelling RPG designed to be played between a grownup games-master and one or more kids. Read the rest

Monsters Beware! is the long-awaited sequel to Giants Beware! and Dragons Beware! and it is AAAAAAMAZING!

Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre's middle-grades graphic novels Giants Beware! and Dragons Beware! are two of my family's favorite books: Rosado and Aguirre's character design, comedic dialog, plotting, and scenarios are so charming, so funny, so overwhelmingly, compulsively great that we've re-read these dozens of times; now we've got Monsters Beware, the third volume in the series, where the mysteries of Mont Petit Pierre and the intertwined lives of the huge cast of characters from the previous volumes come together.

The Necronomicon pop-up book

Skinner, a "psychedelic nightmare painter," created a pop-up edition of HP Lovecraft's Necronomicon, available in a $50 Earth-Dweller edition and a $200 Elder God edition (with embossed foil casewrap, around a custom, laser-engraved acrylic slipcase and an art-print). Read the rest

Thinking in Bets: a poker-master's Jedi mind-trick for being less wrong

Annie Duke dropped out of a PhD in cognitive psychology to become a professional poker player; now she runs a nonprofit devoted to improving decision quality by merging the practical cognitive tools of the world's greatest poker players with the leading edge of cognitive psychology, a method she describes in an excellent and charming new book called Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts.

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