Boing Boing's Happy Mutant Mobile now under construction!

We are thrilled to announce that work on the Boing Boing Happy Mutant Mobile has begun! Here's a glimpse of the handiwork from the talented makers at LGE CTS Motorsports!

Facebook is buying mobile messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion. Why?

Facebook will buy the mobile messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion dollars in cash and stock. Yep, that's 19 buh-buh-billion with a "b." The company launched in 2009, founded by former Yahoo employees Brian Acton and Jan Koum. Read the rest

Win free passes to San Francisco's Noise Pop 2014 music and arts festival!

Next Tuesday (2/25) marks the start of San Francisco's long-running Noise Pop Festival, a weeklong smorgasbord of fantastic indie bands, arts, films, talks, panel discussions, and parties at venues all around the city. Personally, I'm jazzed to see Bob Mould celebrating 25 years of Workbook (!), Mark Kozelek, Throwing Muses, Com Truise... the list goes on and on. (Above, Bob Mould's video for "See A Little Light.") And I can't wait to finally watch Mistaken For Strangers, the documentary about The National's 2010 tour and the relationship between The National's singer Matt Berninger and his brother Tom who made the film.

Our friends at Noise Pop have kindly given Boing Boing a pair of Noise Pop 2014 Badges that will get you into all general admission (non-seated) concerts, films, happy hours, the Noise Pop HQ, and other events during the festival. The badges are $150 each but you can win a pair of them right here. As is our Noise Pop tradition, all you have to do is pretend that NOISE POP is an acronym and tell us what it's an acronym for. Post your entry in the BBS comment thread before noon PST tomorrow, Thursday February 20. We'll pick our favorite and announce the winner on Friday! (Please only enter if you really would attend.) Good luck and hope to see you at Noise Pop 2013! Read the rest

Frosty eats raccoon: the story of the carnivorous snowman

Here’s a great twist on the classic snowman theme: a bloody, carnivorous Frosty caught in the act of devouring a raccoon. It’s been an unusually cold and snowy winter in Cincinnati so it’s good to see that someone is making the most of it. I was driving my daughter home from a friend’s house when we saw it. Of course, I had to go back and get a picture, which I posted to my Instagram and Twitter feeds. When David asked about posting it to Boing Boing, I was happy but curiously apprehensive. Even though this guy sits in plain view of a busy intersection, I had walked right up to him to make the picture and now I was beginning to feel like I should have asked permission because I had ventured onto private property.

When I worked at a newspaper, we had clear rules for when you needed permission to publish a photo. If the subject of the photo was at public event (baseball game), or in a public place (park) or visible from a public place (street), it was understood that there was no expectation of privacy. An obvious exception would be a photo taken through the window of a private home even if taken from a public street. If you entered private property to make a picture, you got permission.

I find it interesting that I hadn’t thought about these issues with regard to social media. I haven’t shot professionally for a long time but I post regularly to Instagram and share my pictures on Twitter, Flickr and Facebook. Read the rest

The West Virginia chemical spill is just one example of a much bigger problem

Image: West Virginians line up at a water filling station at West Virginia State University. A chemical spill prevents them from using tap water. REUTERS/Lisa Hechesky

Over the weekend, Xeni wrote here about a chemical spill in West Virginia that's dumped upwards of 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol into the Elk River just a mile upstream from the West Virginia American Water intake system, contaminating local water supplies. Since she posted, there have been some more updates on this story, including some interesting chemical sleuthing from a couple of great writers.

First off, what is 4-methylcyclohexane methanol? It's used in coal washing, a process that it would be reasonable to think of as "a good thing", because washing coal is what removes a lot of the sulfur that would otherwise contribute to acid rain. Basically, while we'd all prefer we didn't burn coal, if we're going to burn it, we want it to be washed. To do that, coal is crushed fine and dumped into a bath of frothy, foamy water. Relatively light coal floats and sticks to the foam. Relatively heavy sulfurous rock sinks. 4-methylcyclohexane methanol is one of the chemicals that can be used to make the froth. Read the rest

Boing Boing's Happy Mutant Mobile: the creation continues!

The Boing Boing Happy Mutant Mobile creative conceptualizing continues!

Boing Boing's Happy Mutant Mobile... so far!

Our picks from the first round of ideas for the Boing Boing Happy Mutant Mobile!

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

North Korea Press Release Generator

Last week, North Korea announced the trial and execution of Kim Jong Un's "traitorous" uncle Jang Sung Thaek—by way of a startling press release, filled with bizarre insults and florid descriptions of Jang's misdeeds.

But did you know that on the same day, the People's Republic also condemned Elmo to death?

Just kidding, kids! Welcome to the North Korea Press Release Generator, which produces random denunciations based entirely upon last week's official announcement and various other statements put out over the years by the DPRK's official journalistic organs. You can even denounce your friends, and share news of their imminent execution on Twitter and Facebook! Refresh the page for a fresh official condemnation.

More: the BBC recently published an article explaining why North Korea's official insults are so over-the-top. I would also be remiss not the point to the pioneering NK Random Insult Generator, created by NK News in 2005. Read the rest

Gweek podcast 124: visionary artist Jim Woodring

My guests are author Peter Bebergal and cartoonist Jim Woodring. We talked about the eccentric genius Polish artist Stanislav Szukalski, Jim's oeuvre of incredible wordless graphic novels about "The Unifactor" including his latest book, Fran (and the beautiful Spanish edition of Fran), the Brand Library in Glendale, CA, Peter Bebergal's favorite albums of 2013 (records by The Sons of Kemet, Fuzz, Teeth of the Sea), Boing Boing's upcoming feature film The Immortal Augustus Gladstone, the book God is Disappointed in You (the Bible as told by a know-it-all teenager), and lots more!

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This episode of Gweek is sponsored by Rick and Morty the new Adult Swim animated comedy from Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, the creator of Community. Read the rest

Ugotarrested: Man charged with operating revenge porn site Ugotposted.com

California State Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of a man said to have owned and operated a so-called revenge porn website. According to the arrest warrant (PDF), the site operated by Kevin Christopher Bollaert published over 10,000 sexually explicit photos. The young women who appeared in these images, some of whom were minors at the time they were taken, were charged up to $350 each to be removed from the site.

California Department of Justice agents arrested Bollaert, 27, in San Diego where he lived. He is in San Diego County jail on $50,000 bail, and has been charged with 31 felony counts of conspiracy, identity theft and extortion. If he is convicted, penalties may include jail time and fines.

The arrest warrant is well worth a read. It includes the stories of a number of young women who ended up physically exposed and personally identified on the internet against their will. In some cases, private photos made their way online after their accounts were hacked or phones snatched. The women speak about how that violation damaged their lives and destroyed their sense of privacy.

During an in-person interview with two special agents, Bollaert bemoaned the burden of all those emails he was receiving from young women and teens, asking for images to be removed -- a service he charged hundreds of bucks for.

"At the beginning this was like fun and entertaining," he said to the agents, "But now it's ruining my life." At the end of the meeting, the agents served him with search warrants. Read the rest

Boing Boing's Happy Mutant Mobile: Submit your ideas!

Help us build out a Happy Mutant Mobile! Our fantastic sponsors at Ford have agreed to customize, modify, and transform a 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon into what we (and you) imagine for a Boing Boing vehicle.

Channukah/Thanksgiving dessert: pumpkin pie filled sufganiot

Sufganiot are delicious jelly donuts, covered in powdered sugar, and traditionally served in Israel for Channukah. They are an analog to the latke here in America, fried in oil to represent the 'great miracle' which happened there. This years epic convergence of a yet-another-Jewish-food-oriented-holiday and American Thanksgiving, our blandest and most flavorless celebration of an imaginary past, left me certain the only dessert I could serve would be pumpkin pie filled sufganiot.

Making them was sort of a circus. Read the rest

HAWKING: 2016 graphic novel bio from the FEYNMAN writer/illustrator team

Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick's Feynman was one of the best science-oriented graphic novels I've come across (see my 2011 review for more). So I was delighted to learn that the pair are now working on HAWKING, a graphic biography of The Hawk himself, to be published in 2016. Read on for the official, exclusive announcement from FirstSecond, along with a sneak peek: Read the rest

Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) slams Philippines, may be most powerful typhoon to ever hit land

The powerful storm named Super Typhoon Haiyan (or Super Typhoon Yolanda, as it is referred to within the Philippines) hit the central islands of the Philippines on Friday, with reported wind speeds of 190 to 195 miles per hour at landfall. For comparison, a commercial airplane takes off at speeds in the range of 160mph.

Haiyan is reported to be the strongest typhoon in the world in 2013, and may be the most powerful recorded tropical cyclone to ever hit land. Read the rest

Exclusive: Joe Sacco's The Great War, documentary on the creation of an extraordinary graphic history

Joe Sacco is a spectacular political comics creator, and has earned a well-deserved reputation for his work on war and conflict with books on Sarajevo and Bosnia, Gaza and Palestine and other modern militarized zones.

But now he's created The Great War, a wordless, gate-folded work on World War One. It's gorgeous and haunting, and beautifully presented in a slipcased hardcover. His publisher, WW Norton, prepared a short documentary on the book and we've got it exclusively (for now). I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Read the rest

Riot Grrrl, redux

Alien She is a new exhibition that examines the lasting impact of the punk feminist movement Riot Grrrl on artists and cultural producers working today. It’s currently on view at Carnegie Mellon University’s Miller Gallery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before traveling nationally to cities including Philadelphia, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon. Below are photos of the exhibition and several of the featured works. Read the rest

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