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.

WD40's new straws are pretty amazing

WD40 has replaced its traditional taped-on, easy-to-lose nozzle straws (so important for getting the slippery stuff into the stuck places) with a pair of new options: a "smart straw" that is permanently affixed and delivers either a focused beam or a wide blast, controlled by a thumb-button; and a poseable metal "EZ Reach" straw that you bend into the desired shape and then direct, allowing you to squirt into hard-to-reach, places around corners and behind obstacles. Read the rest

Vintage British travel posters improved with added fantasy monsters

Chet Phillips (creator of the Monster Zen book, the Steampunk Monkey Coloring Book and the Steampunk Monkey Cigarette Cards) sends us his Fantasy Travel Poster Series, "Paying tribute to vintage railway posters, this series re-imagines landscapes with fantasy elements such as giants, dragons, trolls and more." Read the rest

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

Kickstarting an open digital microscope kit for public-spirited citizen science

The Community Microscope is a fully-funded, crowdfunded open source microscope hardware kit built around a digital camera: it costs $39 and snaps together in 15 minutes. Read the rest

Mother American Night: John Perry Barlow's posthumous memoir

John Perry Barlow lived many lives: small-time Wyoming Republican operative (and regional campaign director for Dick Cheney!), junior lyricist for the Grateful Dead, father-figure to John Kennedy Jr, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, inspirational culture hero for the likes of Aaron Swartz and Ed Snowden (and, not incidentally, me), semi-successful biofuels entrepreneur... He died this year, shortly after completing his memoir Mother American Night, and many commenters have noted that Barlow comes across as a kind of counterculture cyberculture Zelig, present at so many pivotal moments in our culture, and that's true, but that's not what I got from my read of the book -- instead, I came to know someone I counted as a friend much better, and realized that every flaw and very virtue he exhibited in his interpersonal dealings stemmed from the flaws and virtues of his relationship with himself.

David Graeber's "Bullshit Jobs": why does the economy sustain jobs that no one values?

David Graeber defined a "bullshit job" in his viral 2013 essay as jobs that no one -- not even the people doing them -- valued, and he clearly struck a chord: in the years since, Graeber, an anthropologist, has collected stories from people whose bullshit jobs inspired them to get in touch with him, and now he has synthesized all that data into a beautifully written, outrageous and thought-provoking book called, simply, Bullshit Jobs.

Pencil dice: a D6 in pencil form

Roll Sebastian Bergne's $3.33 pencil dice across the table to get a randomish value from 1-6. Useful for writing choose-your-own-adventures! (via Geekologie) Read the rest

Kickstarting a Trump Tower Collusion Meeting commemorative coin

John writes, "My partner, Valery Estabrook, is an artist who has started a Kickstarter for a project of limited edition coins based on actual historic events associated with the Trump administration. The first of these is a coin commemorating all the participants of the infamous Trump Tower Meeting with Don Jr." Coins are $15 and up! Read the rest

Turning the NSA's vintage internal security posters into t-shirts

Techdirt is in the throes of a two-part revelation: 1. the US government's works are public domain and can be freely commercialized, and; 2. many of the weird things that spy agencies make can be turned into ironic, cool, and sometimes fun and/or beautiful objects of commerce. Read the rest

Exclusive preview: Brian Wood's Sword Daughter

The Forty Swords arrive at night and, under the cover of darkness, murder an entire village. Only two people survive the slaughter: the infant Elsbeth and her grief-stricken father, Dag​, who slips into a ten year coma. He awakens to find that not only has his daughter grown up alone, she's thrived​ despite him. Read the rest

John Perry Barlow's memoir, finished weeks before his death, is out

EFF co-founder, Grateful Dead lyricist and mayor of the internet John Perry Barlow died in February and left an unfillable hole. 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

Delightful Trek-themed Pride tee

Andy W writes, "An artist/illustrator friend of mine just put an illustration of hers up on RedBubble — two iconic science-fiction television characters sharing a tender moment on the couch." Read the rest

Rebooting Tomb of Horrors, Gary Gygax's incredibly hard D&D module for "invincible characters"

In 1975, Gary Gygax revealed the Tomb of Horrors module at the first Origins convention, presenting it as a campaign that would specifically challenge overpowered characters who would have to rely on their wits to outsmart incredibly lethal, subtle traps, rather than using their almighty THACOs to fell trash-mobs of orcs or other low-level monsters. Read the rest

Bandwidth: science fiction thriller about networks of power and the power of networks

Eliot Peper's novel Bandwidth is a global technothriller that pits the barons of a world-spanning networking monopoly against the hydrocarbon barons who've manipulated the world's politics to let them go on boiling the world in its own emissions, and the lobbyists and shadowy resistance fighters who play them off against each other.

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

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