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Brain candy for Happy Mutants

Last Build Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:55:31 +0000


How Lucky Ducky Gets His Loopholes!

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:55:31 +0000



FOLLOW @RubenBolling on the Twitters and a Face Book.

JOIN Tom the Dancing Bug's subscription club, the Proud & Mighty INNER HIVE, for exclusive early access to comics, extra comics, and oh, so much more.

GET Ruben Bolling’s new hit book series for kids, The EMU Club Adventures. (”A book for the curious and adventurous!” -Cory Doctorow) Book One here. Book Two here.

More Tom the Dancing Bug comics on Boing Boing! (more…)

Terrific takedown of fake DIY phone charger tutorial

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:55:09 +0000


The fakers at ADDYOLOGY posted a scam video purporting to create a homemade wireless smartphone charger that is both dangerous and useless. The always-entertaining ElectroBOOM did this epic takedown and electronics tutorial. (more…)

Hubble releases shimmering image of a youthful globular cluster

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:55:02 +0000



Recent revised estimates upping the number of galaxies in the universe seem even more mind-boggling when contemplating this image released from Hubble this week. It shows NGC 362, one of about 150 globular clusters on the outskirts of just one galaxy, our own Milky Way. (more…)

Great moments in space history: farting on the moon

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:55:02 +0000


YouTuber Barb Ackue (get it?) was kind enough to upload an important moment in US history: Commander John Young complaining about flatulence while Apollo 16 was on the lunar surface. After working through some technical issues, Young says: (more…)

Camp Sundown, where kids allergic to sunlight can gather

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:54:55 +0000


Liza Mandelup directed this lovely short documentary on a camp for children with xeroderma pigmentosum, or XP, a genetic skin condition which makes those with the trait extremely sensitive to sunlight. Activities happen during the night, allowing these young people to enjoy the outdoors together. (more…)

Leaked Kremlin memos reveal plan to destabilize Ukraine

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 09:20:23 +0000


The Kiberkhunta hacker group has dumped 2,000 messages from Putin aide Vladislav Surkov's email, including two documents related to the Kremlin's plans to consolidate their annexation of Ukraine: "Priority Action Plan to Destabilize the Social-Political Situation in Ukraine," and "Concrete Action Plan on the Promotion of the Federal Status of Zakarpattia Oblast." (more…)

When the FCC asked about unlocking set-top boxes, the Copyright Office ran to the MPAA

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 08:00:16 +0000


It's been more than 20 years since Congress told the FCC that it should do something about the cable and satellite companies' monopolies over set-top boxes (American households spend more than $200/year to rent these cheap, power-hungry, insecure, badly designed, trailing edge, feature-starved boxes), but it wasn't until this year that the FCC announced its Unlock the Box order and asked for comments. (more…)

Pussy Riot's "Straight Outta Vagina": sacrelicious Russian feminist pop anthem

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 07:27:34 +0000


Pussy Riot's video for "Straight Outta Vagina" frames the poppy, danceable song with visuals calculated to enrage the Kremlin, with LA's Ace Hotel standing in for church where various genderbent dancers receive communion while singing the praises of vaginas. Given that the last iteration of this theme landed the musicians in a hard labor gulag where they were subjected to routine sexual assaults, it's a pretty big fuck you to the Russian establishment. (via Bruce Sterling)

TED talk about remixes and appropriating made by remixing and appropriating TED talks about remixing and appropriating

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 07:20:39 +0000


Paul Fuog pieced this together out of 15 TED talks: it's pretty great, except what's with the low-energy narration? It's not very TED-like.

Warner Bros angry that someone other than the MPAA is running an illegal internal movie server

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 07:15:39 +0000


Warner Bros has sued talent agency Innovative Artists for running an internal-use Google Drive folder that let its clients and staff review movies in the course of their duties. They say the company ripped "screeners" (DVDs sent for review purposes) and put them on the server, whence they leaked onto torrent sites. (more…)

AT&T developed a "product" for spying on all its customers and made millions selling it to warrantless cops

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 07:04:20 +0000


AT&T's secret "Hemisphere" product is a database of calls and call-records on all its customers, tracking their location, movements, and interactions -- this data was then sold in secret to American police forces for investigating crimes big and small (even Medicare fraud), on the condition that they never reveal the program's existence. (more…)

Donald Trump accepts Joe Biden fisticuffs challenge

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 00:51:10 +0000


The election's basically over now and everyone's just having "fun". Millionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump has accepted Vice President Joe Biden's challenge to a fistfight.

"I'd love that. I'd love that. Mr. Tough Guy. You know, he's Mr. Tough Guy. You know when he's Mr. Tough Guy? When he's standing behind a microphone by himself," Trump said.

"Some things in life you could really love doing," Trump added.

Trump's response to the vice president came after Biden said last week he wished he could "take him behind the gym" during a stump speech Friday as he slammed

Trump's 2005 comments that resurfaced earlier this month in which Trump bragged about being able to grope and kiss women without their consent, which Biden called "the textbook definition of sexual assault."

If women wrote men the way men write women

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 23:12:52 +0000


Drew Mackie's video above, remixing the homoerotic glory of 80's anime Saint Seiya, is your shot. Meg Elison's short story at McSweeney's, "If women wrote men the way men write women", is your chaser. (Previously)

Colin Powell endorses Hillary Clinton

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 20:46:38 +0000


Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell says he's going to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton instead of his own party's candidate, millionaire reality TV star Donald Trump.

“I am voting for Hillary Clinton,” he said, according to Matthew Cohen, a spokesman for the association. Mr. Powell went on to praise Mrs. Clinton for her skills as a leader and her experience.

Paule Pachter, a Long Island Association board member, said that Mr. Powell was blunt.

“He said he would support Hillary Clinton and he also elaborated on several reason why he felt that Donald Trump was not the right candidate,” he said. “He spoke about his inexperience, he spoke about the messages that he’s sending out every day to his supporters, which really paints our country in a negative light across the globe with all our allies.”

Powell had recently expressed some annoyance at Mrs. Clinton dragging him into the private email server imbroglio. I wonder if Trump's foolish and clueless remarks about the attack on Mosul was the last straw.

New MacBook Pro design shows up a day early

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 20:33:20 +0000


*deep inside the Apple lair, Tim Cook approaches his captive adversary*

"There will be no escape for you, Mr. Bond."

Images of New MacBook Pro With Magic Toolbar Leaked in macOS Sierra 10.12.1 [macrumors]

2016 LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 20:07:03 +0000


This years Star Wars Advent Calendar does not end on Wookie Life Day, but I like the minifigs.

LEGO Star Wars 75146 Advent Calendar Building Kit (282 Piece) via Amazon

Things I miss: my Evel Knievel stunt cycle

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:49:06 +0000


This was so much god damn fun.

How long can you really hold your breath?

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:34:23 +0000


The Guinness World Record for breath-holding belongs to Aleix Segura Vendrell, who managed 24 minutes and 3 seconds floating in a pool. How do Vendrell and others, like free divers and, er, David Blaine (see below) do it? Psychological training is obviously the first step, says Clayton Cowl, chair of preventive occupational and aerospace medicine at the Mayo Institute. But there's physiology at work too. From Smithsonian:

Olympic swimmers seem to be able to go great distances without breathing, but that is primarily due to aerobic conditioning, says Cowl. Those athletes are more efficient at getting oxygen into the tissue and extracting carbon dioxide. That allows them to breathe more effectively, and potentially, improve their breath holding.

Just being in the water may confer additional breath-holding ability. All mammals have what is known as a diving reflex. The involuntary reflex is most obvious—and pronounced—in aquatic mammals like whales and seals. But humans have this reflex, also. The purpose seems to be to conserve the oxygen that is naturally stored throughout the body, according to one study.

When a mammal dives into the water, the heart rate slows, and the capillaries of extremities like arms and legs—or flippers—constrict. Blood and oxygen is redirected towards the internal organs. The reflex helps diving animals override the need to breathe, which means they can stay underwater longer.

"What’s the Longest You Can Hold Your Breath?" (Smithsonian)

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The math behind solving the Rubik's Cube

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 18:45:04 +0000


In this Scientific American video, Rubik's Cube master Ian Scheffler, author of the new book Cracking the Cube, explains some of the math behind "speedcubing." Scheduler's book sounds fascinating even though the only way I could get my Rubik's Cube solved is to hand it to my 10-year-old son's friend Luc who was the first to dazzle me with the fine art of speedcubery.

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From the description of Cracking the Cube:

When Hungarian professor Ernő Rubik invented the Rubik’s Cube (or, rather, his Cube) in the 1970s out of wooden blocks, rubber bands, and paper clips, he didn’t even know if it could be solved, let alone that it would become the world’s most popular puzzle. Since its creation, the Cube has become many things to many people: one of the bestselling children’s toys of all time, a symbol of intellectual prowess, a frustrating puzzle with 43.2 quintillion possible permutations, and now a worldwide sporting phenomenon that is introducing the classic brainteaser to a new generation.

In Cracking the Cube, Ian Scheffler reveals that cubing isn’t just fun and games. Along with participating in speedcubing competitions—from the World Championship to local tournaments—and interviewing key figures from the Cube’s history, he journeys to Budapest to seek a meeting with the legendary and notoriously reclusive Rubik, who is still tinkering away with puzzles in his seventies.

Getting sucked into the competitive circuit himself, Scheffler becomes engrossed in solving Rubik’s Cube in under twenty seconds, the quasi-mystical barrier known as “sub-20,” which is to cubing what four minutes is to the mile: the difference between the best and everyone else.

"Cracking the Cube: Going Slow to Go Fast and Other Unexpected Turns in the World of Competitive Rubik's Cube Solving" by Ian Scheffler (Amazon)


Is the smartwatch fad over?

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 18:36:11 +0000


A new study by IDC shows the market for smartwatches is shrinking. I think they are ugly, and mechanical watches are art.

Via IDC:

The worldwide smartwatch market experienced a round of growing pains in the third quarter of 2016 (3Q16), resulting in a year-over-year decline in shipment volumes. According to data from the International Data Corporation, (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, total smartwatch volumes reached 2.7 million units shipped in 3Q16, a decrease of 51.6% from the 5.6 million units shipped in 3Q15. Although the decline is significant, it is worth noting that 3Q15 was the first time Apple's Watch had widespread retail availablity after a limited online launch. Meanwhile, the second generation Apple Watch was only available in the last two weeks of 3Q16.

"The sharp decline in smartwatch shipment volumes reflects the way platforms and vendors are realigning," noted Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC's Wearables team. "Apple revealed a new look and feel to watchOS that did not arrive until the launch of the second generation watch at the end of September. Google’s decision to hold back Android Wear 2.0 has repercussions for its OEM partners as to whether to launch devices before or after the holidays. Samsung’s Gear S3, announced at IFA in September, has yet to be released. Collectively, this left vendors relying on older, aging devices to satisfy customers."

"It has also become evident that at present smartwatches are not for everyone," said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "Having a clear purpose and use case is paramount, hence many vendors are focusing on fitness due to its simplicity. However, moving forward, differentiating the experience of a smartwatch from the smartphone will be key and we're starting to see early signs of this as cellular integration is rising and as the commercial audience begins to pilot these devices."

I like to wind my watch. Sometimes, when I'm feeling fancy I wear the self-winding.

Ultra-rich people in NYC demand apartments with (gasp) driveways

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 18:14:37 +0000


The hot new amenity that NYC developers are building into their plans for luxury apartment buildings is a porte-cochère, aka a fancy driveway. In fact, in Manhattan an opulent private drive may actually add more value to a new property than using that same real estate for additional living space. Then again, why choose! From Bloomberg:

The trend towards motor courts has accelerated notably in the last two years, according to Kent Security’s Alon Alexander, who has seen a major uptick in inquiries from luxury developers on how best to incorporate the feature in an architectural brief. They’re driven, of course, by twin concerns: privacy and security.

There’s also a less concrete allure to motor courts: in a city where developers want to wring maximum value from every square foot, there’s an extravagance in leaving such a large space empty. It tacitly telegraphs a developer’s largesse and indulgence, at least according to Alon Alexander’s twin brother, Oren. He is a sales executive for 565 Broome. “A regular developer might squeeze a retail site, or extra amenities like a larger lobby, from that space but a driveway is the definition of luxury,” Oren says by cellphone, “It’s space where you don’t typically get it.” Jasmine Mir, CMO of Corcoran Sunshine, puts its more simply. “Buying a penthouse at the top of a building is one thing, but the sense of extravagance and luxury associated with having space at street level in a congested place like New York? It gives an amazing sense of wow! to any arrival, a real grandeur,” she says by phone from her office.

"New York’s Latest Must-Have Luxury Apartment Craze Is Driveways"


Beautiful 3D-printed "metamaterial" sculptures that shrink when heated

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 17:59:25 +0000


Researchers from MIT and the University of Southern California 3D printed tiny, and quite beautiful, sculptures out of two different materials that usually expand when heated. But the specific architectures of these sugarcube-sized sculptures instead enable them to shrink when heated. The effect is similar to a Hoberman sphere, the wonderful isokinetic toy sculpture that mechanically collapses to a fraction of its original size. From MIT News:

The researchers consider the structures to be “metamaterials” — composite materials whose configurations exhibit strange, often counterintuitive properties that are not normally found in nature.

In some cases, these structures’ resistance to expanding when heated — rather than their shrinking response per se — may be especially useful. Such materials could find applications in computer chips, for example, which can warp and deform when heated for long periods of time. “Printed circuit boards can heat up when there’s a CPU running, and this sudden heating could affect their performance,” (MIT mechanical engineer Nicholas X.) Fang says. “So you really have to take great care in accounting for this thermal stress or shock..."

Fang and his colleagues printed small, three-dimensional, star-shaped structures made from interconnecting beams. They fabricated each beam from one of two ingredients: a stiff, slow-to-expand copper-containing material, and a more elastic, fast-expanding polymer substance. The internal beams were made from the elastic material, while the outer trusses were composed of stiff copper.

“If we have proper placement of these beams and lattices, then even if every individual component expands, because of the way they pull each other, the overall lattice could actually shrink,” Fang says...

“We now have a tuning method for digitally placing individual components of different stiffness and thermal expansion within a structure, and we can force a particular beam or section to deflect or extend in a desired fashion,” Fang says. “There is room to experiment with other materials, such as carbon nanotubes, which are stronger and lighter. Now we can have more fun in the lab exploring these different structures.”



Samantha Bee tears apart Trump's third debate performance

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 17:57:33 +0000


Waiting til Monday night did nothing to damper Samantha Bee's awesome analysis of the Trump third debate flame-out.

The launch trailer for 'Titanfall 2: Become One' looks amazing

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 17:52:06 +0000


Just a pilot and his pal, a deadly Titan.

I'm looking forward to Titanfall 2 as a welcome break from Destiny. It launches on October 28th.

President Obama reads mean tweets about himself

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 17:45:41 +0000


@nathan: "Barack Obama is the Nickelback of presidents."

@DJ_lcpl: "Barack Obama...bro, do you even lift!?"
(Obama's response: "Well, I lifted the ban on Cuban cigars, that's worth something.")

@realDonaldTrump: "President Obama will go down as perhaps the worst president in the history of the United States!"
(Obama's response: "Well, @realDonaldTrump, at least I will go down as a president.")

C Is for Cthulhu: The Lovecraft Alphabet Book

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 17:20:56 +0000


Let Shub-Niggurath teach your child the alphabet with C Is for Cthulhu: The Lovecraft Alphabet Book

I wish we had this book when my daughter was younger. Things would be much different!


C Is for Cthulhu: The Lovecraft Alphabet Book via Amazon

Please donate for Carson Lebkowsky's funeral expenses

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 13:48:33 +0000


I received the shocking and sad news that Jon Lebkowsky's 16-year-grandson Carson died suddenly this week. Jon was one of the early editors at bOING bOING (the zine) and a great supporter of Boing Boing on The Well. He is also one of the founders of EFF Austin and an all around activist for good. Please consider donating to Carson's funeral expenses at Go Fund Me.

I am a family friend of the the Lebkowsky family, and have known Carson since he was a tiny tot. Carson was just 1 month shy of his 17th birthday, November 23rd. He knew and loved God, loved his family and friends, and loved to make others smile. Carson had such a huge heart, and would give whatever he had to help someone. He was so proud of his family and his love for them showed when he was with them. His personality was so outgoing... as long as you were laughing and smiling he was having a great time!

On the morning of October 23, 2016, Carson's family went to wake him up to start the day only to find that he was not breathing. EMS arrived and made every attempt to save Carson, however it was unsuccessful. Carson passed away in their family home in Austin, Texas.

Carson leaves behind his parents, Robert and Dana; his older brother, Colton; grandparents, numerous aunts and uncles, cousins, and a lot of friends. He will be greatly missed and never forgotten.

His death was very unexpected and I have started this fundraiser to help with the funeral expenses. The death of a child is something that no family is every prepared for, emotionally or financially.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please say a prayer for the family, share the link to this page, and please donate if you can. Any amount is greatly appreciated.

Carson Scott Lebkowsky
November 23, 1999 - October 23, 2016

How to dispute a DMCA strike on YouTube

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 13:07:38 +0000


YouTube has a policy to remove the channel of anyone that receives three complaints of copyright infringement that go uncontested. Bad people use this rule to blackmail innocent YouTubers who don't know how to contest a complaint.

Ethan of H3H3 explains how to respond to a bogus copyright infringement strike on YouTube.


Twitter to cut hundreds of jobs

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 12:41:23 +0000


I still love Twitter and hope it finds a way forward. But it looks like all the potential suitors have passed on buying it, and job cuts are in the offing.

Twitter Inc., having failed to sell itself, is planning to fire about 8 percent of its workforce as the struggling social-media company prepares to go it alone for the time being. Twitter may eliminate about 300 people, the same percentage it did last year when co-founder Jack Dorsey took over as chief executive officer, according to people familiar with the matter. Planning for the cuts is still fluid and the number could change, they added. The people asked not to be identified talking about private company plans.

The other day, "George Zimmerman" was trending again. It was right there in the little box on the homepage. When you clicked on this hashtag, the second result was (and still is) an exhortation to follow a fake/ironic George Zimmerman account, with this bio:


Perhaps I get unique results for some algorithmic or settings-based reason that escapes me; it shows up irrespective of whether I have the "sensitive media" content filters checked. It looks like anyone from Salesforce or Disney who fired up Twitter last week and clicked on this promoted topical hashtag got this in their face. Maybe it's naive to think they would have been influenced by this, or that it's an easy thing to exclude at Twitter's scale. But I can't escape the nagging feeling that it being there represents a decision. I don't get it.

So I guess my question for Twitter is this: what value is there in telling those who click on a top trending hashtag that Fake George Zimmerman hates niggers? Why is that worth keeping, when 300 employees aren't?