Day: July 6, 2016

L.G. Estrella's 'The Trouble with Werewolves'


The Australian Department of Unusual Events is no place for the weak hearted. L.G. Estrella’s The Trouble with Werewolves is a great first taste of this new series.

And a taste is all you’ll get! 99 cents buys you 75 pages, and I read them over lunch. We are introduced to some colorful characters, and snarky humor, as Australia’s monster hunters get a quick course in Werewolf 101. Experienced team members Mike and Haley have to get the new guy, Mark, up to speed.

While the team in no way handled the entire werewolf menace threatening Australia, I expect we’ll see a wide range of outback monsters in future installments!

L.G. Estrella’s The Trouble with Werewolves via Amazon

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"Security is what happens to people, not machines"


Eleanor Saitta (previously) — a security researcher who’s done extensive work training vulnerable groups in information security and now security architect for Etsy — appears on the most recent O’Reilly Security podcast (MP3), discussing a human-centered approach to security, design and usability that I found to be an accessible and concise critique of mainstream security thinking and an inspiring direction for security practitioners.

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Uniting democrats the Snoop Dogg way

Snoop Dogg Giraffe

The fractured Democratic Party is turning to rapper and outspoken video game/marijunana enthusiast Snoop Dogg to reunite them! Snoop will be performing at their post-convention unity party.

No wonder people fought so hard to become delegates!

Via Politico:

The rapper is set to headline a “unity party” following the last night of the Democratic National Convention on July 28 in Philadelphia co-hosted by the super PACs Priorities USA, the Senate Majority PAC and the House Majority PAC, the groups announced Tuesday.

Snoop Dogg, also known as Calvin Broadus, announced that he would be supporting Hillary Clinton less than a month after she declared her candidacy in May 2015.

“You know I like to be politically correct, but sometimes I’m politically incorrect,” he said on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live.” “But I’ll say that I would love to see a woman in office because I feel like we’re at that stage in life to where we need a perspective other than the male’s train of thought. And just to have a woman speaking from a global perspective as far as representing America, I’d love to see that. So I’ll be voting for Ms. Clinton.”

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Hot headlines from our pals at Fark


Here are five hand picked headline from a Drew Curtis! Fark is pretty much like Boing Boing’s wacky uncle, on Jackhammer Jill’s side of the family.

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Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Please welcome my friend Lisa Lin from Healthy Nibbles and Bits as she shares a favorite lettuce wrap recipe! ~Elise

Summertime is all about light, fresh meals, and these teriyaki chicken lettuce wraps fit the bill exactly.

The chicken filling is flavored with a homemade teriyaki sauce. You could substitute your favorite store-bought teriyaki sauce in this recipe, but making your own is easy. I also find store-bought sauce to be too sweet for my taste, so I like that I can control the amount of sugar that goes into this sauce.

Continue reading “Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps” »

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Boxiecat is the best cat litter


With three cats, it’s important to have good litter. I’ve tried crystals, clay, scented and unscented. I’ve settle on Boxiecat ($18 for a 16 lb bag). It’s unscented but absorbs odors, clumps well, and there’s very little dust. Best of all, the stuff seems to last forever. I just pour in a little from the bag every few days. There’s no need to completely clean the litterbox every couple of weeks. Instead, I do a full dump-and-scrub every couple of months.

Two other essential litterbox items: the Clevercat litter box and the heavyweight Durascoop cat litter scoop.

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Motorola long range two-way radios


Walkie talkies were a favorite toy when I was a kid, it is no small wonder I enjoy these long range, two-way radios.

I’m pretty fortunate to live in the middle of a national park. We do, however, have terrible cell service. These radios are useful if someone is going to walk the dogs, run down to the beach, or take the 1/2 mile walk to our mailbox while the other stays home. I’ve also found them super useful on group VW van and camping trips, allowing for easy group communication.

Range is pretty good on this model, but I haven’t gotten 15-20 miles out of them, even on the open road. As always these radios work best in line-of-sight situations. If you have a large and dense piece of mountain or hill between you and the other party communication may be impossible. Around our forested park I get 2-4mi pretty easily, even will rolling hills and canyons.

Battery life is great. I’ve forgotten to charge these for months at a time, only to have them holding plenty of charge.

The channel and privacy settings are simple to use, and the radios are interoperable with other Motorola models, and other manufacturers FRS/GMRS radios. I suggest making sure everyone can send and received before having a large party of vehicles take off on a trip. Checking every morning is helpful, as dead batteries can cause these devices to lose their settings.

Much cooler than the walkie talkies I had as a kid.

Motorola MH230R 23-Mile Range 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio (Pair) via Amazon

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Fight Club 2 – a punch to the cerebral cortex


See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Fight Club 2

by Chuck Palahniuk (author), Cameron Stewart (illustrator) and David Mack (illustrator)

Dark Horse Comics

2016, 256 pages, 6.9 x 10.5 x 0.9 inches

$20 Buy a copy on Amazon

Let’s talk about Fight Club. This movie rocked me, and introduced me to the incredible and controversial work of Chuck Palahniuk. Now the concept of a sequel does seem a little out of sorts to the counter culture message of the original, but honestly, who hasn’t been wondering how things turned out for Marla and the Narrator after he stuck a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger? Did they find their happily ever after? No, of course they didn’t, thus the sequel.

The Narrator finally gets a name, Sebastian…it’s not a great name, but it fits given the current state of his life. Marla’s bored, Sebastian is in a drug-induced fog, Tyler Durden is raging behind the scenes trying to get back in control, and project mayhem is causing more chaos than ever. Then things get weird.

If you’ve only seen the movie you probably won’t dig this. Actually Palahniuk’s anticipation of the fanbase’s dislike for the comic becomes an actual plot point. Things get meta to say the least. The comic builds off of not just the novel, but Palahniuk’s work and reputation since the film came out. It’s very fitting of Palahniuk, and I think fans of his will really enjoy it, but be clear this is not a blockbuster directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt or Ed Norton.

What I found really unique was that this story could only be told in comic form. Tyler’s antics, and his fight to control the narrative couldn’t be contained by text in a novel. And things get far too self-referential for any film goer – I found myself having to go back a page or two on several occasions to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Images are strategically placed over dialogue, narration bubbles obstruct characters. The design of the comic itself adds to the feeling that this is a war over the story itself. Is Sebastian in control? Is Tyler? Is Palahniuk? I found myself engaged and thinking about it long after I finished reading. It’s heady and not for a casual comic reader, but if you’re looking for a punch to the cerebral cortex, definitely pick this up. I want you to read this as hard as you can.

– JP LeRoux

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Here are the creeps who sell ATM skimmers on Alibaba


Last week I posted about a guy who came across a well-made skimmer at an ATM in Vienna. I wondered who made such a fine looking piece of sociopathic hardware. Turns out this company sells such devices in bulk via Alibaba. Don’t you love that the company is using a photo of the Australian QPS Detective Superintendent holding up some confiscated skimmers to advertise their own skimmers?

This company isn’t the only one selling ATM skimmers on Alibaba. There are 12,425 skimmer sellers on Alibaba.

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There's a 3-month waiting list for this $230 Japanese toaster


The Balmuda “transforms store-bought bread into something that smells, tastes and feels like it popped out of a baker’s oven,” says Reed Stevenson of Bloomberg. The company is making 10,000 units a month, and there’s a 3 month waiting list. It’s available in Japan only.

The idea of reinventing the toaster came from an equally unlikely source: Terao, a high-school dropout who spent his college funds (a life-insurance payout after his mother died) trekking across Spain, Morocco and the Mediterranean. He returned to front a rock band called the Beach Fighters, which broke up after nine years; they had a record contract, but never made it big. To make ends meet, Terao worked at a pachinko parlor (a pinball-style gambling hall) while figuring out his next move.

“I was reading Forbes when I was in the band,” the 42 year-old said. “And like music, I wanted to create something that I liked, and find out if people liked that too.”

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Patagonia study shows Patagonia fleece jackets a pollutant

The Pacific Gyre

Turns out those jackets made of recycled plastic are putting lots of plastic into our oceans. Patagonia has led a study showing artificial textiles release a lot of fragments when washed. Eventually those fibers make it into the sea. Patagonia is pushing an effort amongst industry peers to develop standards limiting this form of pollution.

Via Outside:

Fast-forward four more years, and the fibers finally got everyone’s attention. The science was piling on, showing that wastewater treatment plants couldn’t filter out all synthetic fibers, and that toxins such as DDT and PCBs can bind to them as they make their way into watersheds. It also showed that small aquatic species ingest the fibers, and that fish and bivalves sold for human consumption also contain microfibers. Experiments have shown that microplastics can lead to poor health outcomes in some species, and research is underway to find out how the plastics affect humans.

Jill Dumain, director of environmental strategy at Patagonia, was one of the people paying attention to all the news. In early 2015, she and the company’s leadership decided to commission a study to find out if and how Patagonia’s iconic and well-loved fleeces and some other synthetic products were contributing to the problem. The results recently came in, and they’re not good.

The study, performed by graduate students at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that during laundering, a single fleece jacket sheds as many as 250,000 synthetic fibers—significantly more than the 1,900 fibers Browne first recorded. Based on an estimate of consumers across the world laundering 100,000 Patagonia jackets each year, the amount of fibers being released into public waterways is equivalent to the amount of plastic in up to 11,900 grocery bags.

The experiment involved five pieces of apparel: three Patagonia fleece jackets, each with slightly different construction, as well as a nylon shell jacket that contains polyester insulation, plus a fifth specimen—a “budget” fleece jacket made by an undisclosed brand. Replicates of each jacket were washed multiple times, both in front-loading and top-loading washing machines. The effluent from each cycle was collected and put through a two-step filtration system that captured fibers with both a 333- and 20-micrometer mesh screen.

The jackets were then put through a 24-hour “killer wash,” which Patagonia uses to simulate the aging of a garment. The researchers did this to test whether older garments might shed more fibers as they age. After repeating the washing tests on these artificially aged jackets, they saw that age indeed increases fiber release by 80 percent.

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Epipens have more than quintupled in price since 2004


Epipens — self-injection sticks carried by people with deadly allergies, which have to be replaced twice a year — were developed by NASA at taxpayer expense, were patented by a government scientist who receives no royalties, require no marketing, and have gone from as little as $60 each to up to $606 in a few short years (during which time the company has switched to selling them exclusively in two-packs).

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Robotic hamburger stand from 1964


Yesterday I posted about a robotic hamburger shack opening in San Francisco. Nicholas Perry watched it and tweeted this video of a robotic hamburger machine made by AMF in 1964. AMF is the company that makes the amazing pin resetting machines in bowling alleys. The AMFare system made 16 kinds of food and was controlled by a giant button filled console called Orbis.

Fifty years ago, the engineers of AMF’s Central Research Labs in Stamford, CT invented automated foodservice. This entertaining film (circa 1964) describes a pilot operation for the then-burgeoning fast-food industry.

Watch as hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, seafood, french-fries, onion rings, shakes, and soft drinks are ordered, prepared, and packaged automatically by AMF’s revolutionary AMFare System.

All the food was delicious, especially the flame-broiled hamburgers, double-hamburgers and cheeseburgers. The entire menu was cooked-to-order and served in minutes – at the desired temperature for each item.

AMF’s Orbis system (shown here) pioneered the concept of electronic ordering, price tabulation, and inventory management in foodservice. Today that is the standard worldwide. However, AMF’s Orbis system went further; it electronically controlled the machinery that prepared, cooked, and packaged the food items. AMF’s automated beverage dispensers (also shown here) are today common at the “drive-through windows” of many fast-food operations.

I made an MP3 clip of my favorite part. A guy with a New York accent placing his order with: “One double burger, french fries, and a root beer.”

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UK Tory leadership race: "a sort of X Factor for choosing the antichrist"


The Guardian’s Frankie Boyle is on fire in his new column on the post-Brexit machinations in the UK Conservative Party, where the hardline, ultra-authoritarian elements of the party are splitting their time between knifing each other in the back and planning to eliminate the few remaining environmental, safety and finance regulations that have not been shredded since the first David Cameron government in 2010.

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Stunning "Lucifer" bomber jacket from legendary filmmaker Kenneth Anger


Pioneering underground filmmaker and occultist Kenneth Anger has launched a killer apparel line. Dig this magnificent “Lucifer Rising” satin bomber jacket, the perfect look, he says, “for a midsummer night’s sorceries.” The jacket is a collaboration with LA artist Brian Butler’s Lucifer Brothers Workshop:

Although the satin ‘souvenir’ bomber has come into vogue recently with labels such as Louis Vuitton, Valentino and Saint Laurent, Kenneth Anger’s original design tops them all. Featuring a palette known locally as Hodos Chamelionis, or the Path of the Chameleon—the colors of the forces which lie beyond the physical universe, happens to be the Lucifer Brothers Workshop’s house mascot. Here, they are flitted over gold and black satin in a limited edition of 333 with labels signed by Kenneth Anger himself.

Lucifer Rising jacket, deluxe “Golden Scarab Edition” (via Dangerous Minds)

Kenneth Anger’s “Lucifer Rising” (1972):

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Why The War on Drugs Is a Huge Failure


The countless billions of dollars poured into the War on Drugs has resulted in mass incarceration, corruption, political destabilization, violence, the rise of drug cartels, and systemic human rights abuses around the world. The one thing the War on Drugs hasn’t done is stopped people from using drugs. The animated video series, Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell, explains why the problems associated with drug use are caused by the war against them.

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Meh. Our sponsor who sends us random boxes of crap


Boing Boing very proudly welcomes our new sponsor, Meh.

Meh is a daily deals site that often struggles to explain what the products they are selling are, what these gadgets do, or why you might possibly like them. They handle this the same way I approached college: if you can’t offer useful information, make up something that sounds oddly plausible. You’ll marvel at the creativity and sheer bullshit that goes into drafting the descriptive copy for the goodies they offer the world.

Sometimes you’ll find a gem. Occasionally, you find something kinda useful in a limited, and likely to break soon kinda way, for an incredible price! Those are special Meh moments. Treasure them.

Meh is about fun! That’s why they are sending each one of us at Boing Boing a random box of of crap that was literally laying around their warehouse. They really don’t care what we think of the stuff, they hope we find something fun, or at least destructive, to do with it. We’re not supposed to tell you how perfect it is. Every week or so this summer, one Boinger after another will receive a mystery Meh box and will share their wonder, bemusement, or disappointment, at what arrives. We may be weird, but to us this sounds very fun.

This video was made during the shoot for our Virgin America seat-back entertainment channel. If you fly Virgin America, watch Boing Boing TV on Channel 10 in the television channel selections. We had a lot of fun making it! If you are flying the hep skies sometime in the next 2 months, you’ll see Meh. there along with a lot of other great video.

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The Complete Arduino Starter Kit and Course Bundle

arduino 2

Arduino goes beyond coding to actually connect the physical world of gadgets to computer programming. So many rad devices are built using this language and now it’s easier to learn than ever with this four item bundle.

The complete Arduino starter kit has over twenty five hours of training to get you on your feet. At 87% off, it’s the absolute best way to start your engines because it also comes with a fully stocked toolkit of your dreams with wires, lights and buzzers. There are straightforward instructions with easy-to-follow diagrams and lessons on mastering the basics.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a total tech rookie or silicon rock star, you can launch or brush up your Arduino skills here with incredible projects definitely worth nerding out on.

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Rebate for IoT thermostat requires that you give permission to your utility to read "all data"


Aaron writes, “While filling out this seemingly great rebate for $100 for a recently purchased wifi-enabled thermostat, I happened to read the Terms and Conditions, which includes the fact that I must unwittingly agree to share all my thermostat data with my electric and gas companies (It was odd that they asked for my thermostat’s MAC address). Because I have an ecobee3, this includes information on how often I’m in my bedroom, or when I’m home or out!”

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