This indoor bike can knit a scarf in five minutes: Cyclo-Knitter

To stave off the cold and boredom of waiting at the train station, Dutch design student George Barratt-Jones made a pedal-powered knitting machine that can whip up a neck scarf in five minutes flat. He writes, "[It] gets you warm by moving, you are making something while you wait and in the end you are left with a free scarf! That you can decide to keep yourself or give to someone who needs it more."

Check out his design notes and photos here:

Cyclo Knitter by George Barratt-Jones

(Colossal) Read the rest

"Failure is fuel": Abby Wambach summons "Wolf Pack" in commencement speech

Last Wednesday, soccer champion, equal pay/LGBTQ activist, and badass extraordinaire Abby Wambach delivered the keynote for Barnard College, an all-women's liberal arts college in Manhattan. She shared with the graduating class, who she deemed the "Wolf Pack," the four rules she used to unite her own soccer team "pack," the team which went on to win Olympic gold.

Here's the first rule, "MAKE FAILURE YOUR FUEL":

Here’s something the best athletes understand, but seems like a hard concept for non-athletes to grasp. Non-athletes don’t know what to do with the gift of failure. So they hide it, pretend it never happened, reject it outright—and they end up wasting it.

Listen: Failure is not something to be ashamed of, it's something to be POWERED by. Failure is the highest octane fuel your life can run on. You gotta learn to make failure your fuel.

When I was on the Youth National Team, only dreaming of playing alongside Mia Hamm. You know her? Good. I had the opportunity to visit the National Team’s locker room. The thing that struck me most wasn’t my heroes' grass-stained cleats or their names and numbers hanging above their lockers—it was a picture. It was a picture that someone had taped next to the door so that It would be the last thing every player saw before she headed out to the training pitch.

You might guess it was a picture of their last big win, of them standing on a podium accepting gold medals—but it wasn’t.

Read the rest

Seattleites: You'll soon be able to hitch a free ride in a 1967 Checker Cab

I met Seattle artist Marcia Wiley through my inbox zine a couple months ago. I had written about the idea of the "positive deviant," basically someone who strays from the norm but brings value rather than pain (akin to the "happy mutant"). The concept really resonated with me and I asked readers to send along names of positive deviants who they were aware of because I wanted to start a list. Marcia rightly offered up her own name, and, in our most recent communication, she shared a project of hers with me: "Miss Direction's Ride Service."

Since 2005, she has been bringing unexpected delight to strangers in a really fun way. Dressed in her alter ego "Miss Direction" driving outfit (below), she gives people waiting at bus stops a free ride to their destination in her Honda SUV. In exchange for the complimentary pickup, passengers share their story with her. It's been a great success.

Now she's looking to start "Miss Direction's Checker Cab Service." A 1967 Checker Cab has already surfaced for the job, but it needs some restoration work before she can take it to the streets. So, she's started a Kickstarter campaign to fund her dream of bringing "everyday magic" to Seattle, a place, she writes, "that is changing so rapidly that people often feel a loss of connection and have a sense that the city is losing its soul and becoming less unique."

This is her vow:

I'm committed to having Miss Direction’s ’67 Marathon Checker Cab on the road by November 11, 2018.

Read the rest

Starlings: razor-sharp stories and poems from Jo Walton

Stephen King once wrote that "a short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger" -- that is, sudden, pleasant, mysterious, dangerous and exiting, and the collected short fiction of Jo Walton, contained between covers in the newly published Starlings, is exemplary of the principle. Walton, after all, is one of science fiction's major talents, and despite her protests that she "doesn't really know how to write stories," all the evidence is to the contrary.

Watch Adam Savage build Chewbacca's bandolier

MythBusters' Adam Savage whipped up a perfect replica of Chewbacca's bandolier and satchel. Read the rest

Kelly Osbourne visits the Shiteau Marmont

L.A.’s infamous Chateau Marmont was the brainchild of famed attorney Fred Horowitz, who built it after returning from a vacation in Europe, where he’d been photographing the gothic castles and chateaus along the Loire Valley River in France. In 1929, The Chateau Marmont opened its doors to the Hollywood elite, billed as “Los Angeles’s newest, finest and most exclusive apartment house superbly situated…” (Google the rest.)

The Chateau was never meant to become a playground for the modern day self-proclaimed Hollywood Antidisestablishmentarianist, otherwise known as Beverly Hills kids with Los Feliz attitudes (which is irony in itself, as Los Feliz has now become the city of lost feelings where the average go to be uniquely average). If I hear one more malnourished, vapid ‘It girl’ say, “Oh my God let’s go to the Chateau! Their Bolognese is like sooooooo good!”, I’m going to poke my fucking eyeballs out with the pointless pen they have tucked behind their ear in hopes that it will provoke someone into asking them if they are a writer. So let me break this down for you.

First of all, the Bolognese is shit. Mediocre at best.

Second, judging form the slender physiques of their patrons, frequent trips to the bathroom, white creamy shit in the corner of their mouths, and their inability to shut the fuck up…NO ONE IS GOING THERE TO EAT!

Third, and finally, the Chateau Marmont is where douchebags go when they need to fill their social inadequacies.

As I write this I am actually at the Chateau wondering, “Am I an L.A. Read the rest

Support this programmable smart watch kit developed by 8-year-old

Developed by an 8-year-old maker named Omkar, the O Watch is a 3D printable, programmable, smart watch kit for kids. Omkar has launched a Kickstarter to scale up the O Watch so other kids can use the platform "to learn programming, 3D printing and crafts." Support it! Read the rest

Father builds glowing life-sized Minecraft block for son's birthday

Nathan Pryor (HaHaBird) made this fantastic life-sized illuminated Minecraft block for his son's birthday. It's lit with RGB LEDs so the color can be changed via remote control. Read the rest

Pesco on the "World Wide Weird"

Just like Boing Boing, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web. To celebrate, I wrote an essay titled "World Wide Weird." It's part of the "The Webby 25 for 25," a series of pieces presented by The Webby Awards, The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and the World Wide Web Foundation. From my essay:

I’m a collector of unpopular culture.

Since I was a teenager, I’ve been attracted to the fringes of art, literature, music, science, and technology. I grew up hanging around alternative record stores, dialing into underground Bulletin Board Systems, trading photocopied ‘zines, scouring used book stores, watching third-generation dupes of psychotronic films, and researching anomalous phenomena at the local library. I am most at home on the fringes of thought, reason, and expression. I delight in the serendipity and synchronicities that reveal themselves during my expeditions into the outré.

The Web amplified my appetite and became a compass on my journeys into high weirdness. Indeed, I saw it as the ultimate card catalog of curiosities.

"The World Wide Weird" Read the rest

Hacked Prius powered by electric bus system's overhead lines

UPDATE: Looks like this was probably an April Fools joke! Bummer, great idea anyway!

San Francisco's MUNI system operates electric buses that draw power from overhead wires. A fellow named Jon has brilliantly hacked his Prius with a trolley pole to sip power from the same overhead lines. Sierra Hartman has the story over at The Bold Italic. (Thanks, Marina Gorbis!) Read the rest

Dad makes son excellent "Mission Control Desk"

Jeff Highsmith made a fantastic "Mission Control Desk" for his young son who has just started school. It's hidden under a regular desktop. Read the rest

World's largest K'Nex ball machine

K'Nex master Austron is constrcting the world's largest K'Nex ball machine. It's located at Bloomington, Minnesota's The Works museum. Austron says:

The machine stands 23.5 feet tall and 40 feet long, and contains over 100,000 pieces. It has 2 lifts, 3 motors, and 8 paths, including a 20 foot free-fall, an 8 foot tall big-ball-factory spiral, and a 60 foot long path which hangs from the ceiling. It takes 3 and a half minutes for a ball to climb to the top of the tallest tower.

"World's Largest K'nex Ball Machine - Teaser" (via Smithsonian) Read the rest

Help restore the Doggie Diner Heads!

The Doggie Diner heads, icons of San Francisco's underground culture, are in desperate need of restoration. For twenty years, John Law -- pictured above with the Boing Boing crew and Adam Savage -- has cared for these lovely puppies that are now pushing 50. He and his co-conspirators have tirelessly driven them around the region to the overwhelming delight of young and old. For free. John is now seeking donations to restore them to their former glory. Please support the Doggie Diner Makeover at Kickstarter if you can! Here's what John has to say: Read the rest

Mike Vraney, founder of Something Weird Video, RIP

Mike Vraney, founder of Something Weird Video, has died of lung cancer. He was 56. For decades, Something Weird has been the preeminent source of cult psychotronic and exploitation films that would have vanished into the dustbin of underground culture were it not for Vraney's tireless efforts. Our thoughts go out to Mike's wife, artist Lisa Petrucci, their family, co-workers, and friends. Below, watch a 2007 television profile of Vraney and Something Weird. Here's the obituary at Daily Grindhouse, copied from the Something Weird page on Facebook:

"In Memory of 'Something Weird' Founder Mike Vraney (1957-2014)" (Thanks, Kirsten Anderson)

Read the rest

The Exploratorium's Tinkering Studio and new book!






When I was eleven, my three primary interests were science, art, and magic. That hasn't changed. In 1981, I visited San Francisco for the first time and my big brother took me to the Exploratorium, a pioneering museum that exists at the intersection of science, art, and magic. It blew my mind wide open. And more than three decades later, it's become a very special place for my children, aged 7 and 4. Part of the Exploratorium's stated mission is to ignite curiosity about human perception. But the Exploratorium doesn't just teach people about human perception. Like the best science, art, and magic, the museum experience actually changes your perception of reality.

Earlier this year, the Exploratorium moved from its vast warehouse space near the Golden Gate Bridge into new digs on a pier overlooking the Bay. The massive new space retains the raw, inviting "rustic" warmth of the original location but with better amenities and, most importantly, far more room to showcase classic and new exhibits and also inject even more of the DIY spirit that fuels the museum's creators. This motivation is made tangible in the exposed workshops (just like the old facility) where staff prototypes new exhibits, and in the new Tinkering Studio, a bustling workshop where every guest is encouraged to "learn by doing." And if you need inspiration, just look around at the permanent and temporary exhibits like Scott Weaver's "Rolling Through The Bay," made from 100,000 toothpicks and seen in action above. Read the rest

Neurodreamer: open source sleeping mask/mind machine

After eight years of development and a successful Kickstarter, BB pal Mitch Altman's Neurodreamer sleep mask is ready for shipping! You might recall that Mitch is the inspiring maker behind the TV-B-Gone, Trip Glasses, and a bunch of other delightful gadgets. The Neurodreamer is an open source light/sound machine integrated into a memory foam mask. Mitch says:

The NeuroDreamer sleep mask is an advancement over prior entrainment* devices which attempt to entrain the brain with only a single brainwave frequency at a time. The NeuroDreamer sleep mask uses up to four brainwave frequencies simultaneously (mixed at different amplitudes), to more closely replicate the full spectrum of frequencies present in a person who is falling asleep.

* "Entrainment" is the the process of externally presenting brainwave frequencies to the brain, allowing it to synchronize to those frequencies.

It's available for $69.95 in three different versions designed for Sleep, Lucid Dreaming, or Meditation. Mitch is having a sale right now: Entering the coupon code THANKS gets you 10% off everything in Mitch's Cornfield Electronics shop, including the Neurodreamer. I want one! Read the rest

Rube Goldberg's marvelous machines

Cartoonist Rube Goldberg's absurdly complex mechanisms for achieving easy results are so ingrained in popular culture that the artist/engineer's name appears in the dictionary as an adjective. A new book highlights his happy mutant approach to engineering.

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