Day: September 13, 2016

Oxygen absorbing bottle caps for longterm home-brew storage


Instead of kegging, I wanted to set up a batch of beer that I could more easily share with friends. I decided to bottle a barleywine with these O2 absorbing bottlecaps.

The idea is these caps will draw what little oxygen is in your bottle out. This should help preserve the beer by keep things from using that o2 to grow bad flavors. Can’t be a bad idea, and at $6.42 for 144 I do not like I’m just wasting money.

Cellaring a barleywine should help mellow its boozy flavor. The high alcohol content of a barleywine should make visiting with friends better for everyone.

The caps went on easily. I used this simple capper.

1 X Beer Bottle Caps – Oxygen Absorbing for Homebrew 144 count via Amazon

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Stranger Things soundtrack on vinyl, and covers by Tangerine Dream


Austin band Survive‘s masterful synth soundtrack to Stranger Things is available now digitally and at your local independent music shop on vinyl! Meanwhile, the surviving members of Tangerine Dream, a primary influence on Survivor’s Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, released their own covers of the Stranger Things score! Listen to them below. And here’s a bit from an excellent interview that Billboard’s Gil Kaufman conducted with Dixon and Stein:

How did that main theme come to life?

It’s an old demo Michael had, but it’s nothing like what you hear… nowhere near as much of a piece of music as it is now. That was just some random thing that ended up in the library they had and when they found it they were like, ‘what if this was the main title?’ We thought it could be good, so we built it out. We’ve been wanting to get into music for TV and film for a long time, but we had no idea how. We’ve been passively creating libraries, weird droney noises… so we had this collection of songs that we were trying to figure out how present to people in film….

Without that previous (soundtrack) experience, how were you able to create music that spoke so deeply to the characters in the show?

They said our music was actually used to help cast the show. During the demo period they said, ‘we know you can do dark and epic, but this is a show about a group of kids, so we need to show the producers that you can do the more lighthearted, sentimental stuff.’ So a lot of the demos were like that. They made the decision to play our music over the auditions and that was the deciding factor in casting.

Tangerine Dream plays Stranger Things:

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Dear Data – Two women explore their friendship through data analysis and mail art


See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Dear Data

by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec

Princeton Architectural Press

2016, 288 pages, 8.4 x 11.2 x 1 inches (softcover)

$32 Buy a copy on Amazon

I have always had a deep fascination with the graphical representation of data. Being mildly dyslexic, numbers make my head hurt. Being extremely visual, numbers only come alive for me when they take color, shape, or are otherwise rendered in some visual way. Show me numbers and they will have little impact. Show me a beautiful graphical representation of those numbers and I will remember them forever. Dear Data is a rich and inspiring teasure-trove of creatively rendereded data, giving visual shape to the more mundane aspects of the two authors’ lives.

Dear Data is the result of a year-long project that two designer friends undertook. For one year, Giorgia Lupi, an Italian living in New York, and Stefanie Posavec, an American in London, gathered data around a theme each week, things like the number of times they said “Thank you,” the numbers of people they met (and how they connected), the numbers (and types) of doorways they walked through, the number of times they each looked at a clock, etc. With this data in hand, they would render a postcard with an artful, graphical presentation of their week and send it to the other. This book collects all 52 weeks, along with lots of additional art, insight, and asides.

The result is a very lovely book and a very unique way of exploring a friendship while more deeply exploring oneself in the process. Reading through Dear Data and pouring over all of the curious and clever charts, graphs, and diagrams they created, you really feel both women making unique discoveries about themselves, identifying previously unseen patterns in their behavior, and in the very woodwork of their lives.

This book will likely be an inspiration to anyone who works in rendering data, who is interested in mail art or art journaling, and anyone who simply enjoys exploring the creatively examined life.

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Maxwell Smart goes after the "Groovy Guru"


In a 1968 episode of Get Smart, Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 are ordered to stop a cartoonish beatnik hippy guru with a plot to brainwash the youth of America and command them to “attack all the squares in the establishment, you dig?”

The episode features the infamous song, “Kill Kill Kill,” by The Sacred Cows:

Kill, kill, kill

Thrill, thrill, thrill

Make a scene

Bump off the Dean

Yeah, yeah, yeah

Knock off the squares

Take to the street

Kill everyone you meet

Just kill, kill, kill

Full episode, if you can stomach it, here.

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Aged gouda is my favorite orange colored cheese

via The Reluctant Gourmet

Orange cheeses have been on my mind. I absolutely love aged gouda!

Three plus year aged gouda completely loses the rubbery, bland, ‘this is congealed milk’ texture and taste of young goudas. It is crumbly, and delicious with hints of butterscotch, and lined with incredible sugar crystals.

For the best aged gouda experience slice off the thinnest possible pieces with a cheese plane, and let them melt on your tongue.

Aged gouda is amazing with beer and hard salami. A good dubbel would be my choice.

The Reluctant Gourmet has all the details:

Most of us have enjoyed some form of Gouda cheese in our lives. It is a yellow cheese made from cow’s milk and is often found with the red or yellow paraffin wax coating in the supermarket. It gets its name from the city of Gouda in the Netherlands where it originated.

Gouda as a young cheese is easy to slice and may be great to serve to the kids in their lunch packs but just doesn’t have that much flavor. It’s great if you enjoy a mild, mellow flavored cheese but if you want a much more distinct flavor, you’ll want to try aged Gouda.

Aged Gouda has a wonderful distinctive flavor that can be both sharp and sweet – think of butterscotch. It is a hard cheese that doesn’t come in the red wax covering, but a natural buff colored rind. The cheese itself has an amber color that Jack explained to me comes from a coloring agent called annatto that gives it the pale orange color.

I read in one of my favorite cheese books, Cheese Primer, that some cheeses “once had a natural orange hue caused by the vitamin D that cows ingested from grazing on green plants. But winter milk comes from cows that are fed silage, and the cheeses that result from this milk are white.”

So the cheese makers started adding food coloring like annatto to the milk so they would look the same year round. Jack explained to me “all cheese are naturally cream colored and many use coloring for eye appeal.”

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Five government contractors account for 80% of America's surveillance workforce


When Edward Snowden came in from the cold, it catapulted his employer, Booz Allen Hamilton — a giant military/intelligence contractor — into the public eye, but Booz is small potatoes, one of the Big Five in the intelligence contractor industry, but it’s dwarfed by Leidos Holdings, which recently merged with Lockheed’s  Information Systems & Global Solutions to become the largest business in the $50B industry.


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Steven Levy profiles Carl Malamud, Boing Boing's favorite rogue archivist


Steven Levy, author of Hackers and one of the best tech writers in the field (previously), has profiled Carl Malamud (previously), the prolific, tireless freedom fighter who has risked everything to publish the world’s laws on the internet, even those claimed to be owned by “nonprofit” standards organizations whose million-dollar execs say that you should have to pay to read the law.


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"This is Ska" 1964 documentary


Tony Verity, a broadcaster at Radio Jamaica in the 1960s, introduces the music and dance moves of Ska in this star-packed show. The Maytals are my favorite of the line-up:

Byron Lee & The Dragonaires – Jamaican Ska

Eric ‘Monty’ Morris – Sammy Dead-O

Jimmy Cliff – One Eyed Jack

Prince Buster – Wash Wash

The Maytals – Treat Me Bad

The Maytals – She Will Never Let You Down

The Charmers – So Marie

Stranger Cole – Rough ‘N’ Tough

Roy & Yvonne – Two Roads Before Me

The Blues Busters – I Don’t Know

Byron Lee & The Dragonaires – Sammy Dead-O

Jimmy Cliff – King Of Kings

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Earth's wilderness decimated

Earth as seen on July 6, 2015 from a distance of one million miles by a NASA scientific camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory spacecraft. Image: NASA

A new study shows that our planet has 10% less wilderness than in the 1990s.

Via the CS Monitor:

Ten percent of Earth’s wilderness has disappeared since the 1990s, according to a new study published in the journal Current Biology.

Over the last 20 years, we’ve lost a total area amounting to twice the size of Alaska, researchers report. But, experts say, there’s still time to save the remaining wilderness areas – and they hope the recent findings will spur change.

At the moment, only about 23 percent of the world’s land area is made up of wilderness, the study found. Most of this wilderness can be found in North Asia, North Africa, Australia, and North America (primarily the northern parts of Canada). South America has experienced the greatest loss, with a 30 percent decrease since the ’90s, and Africa follows with 14 percent.

“The wilderness decline around the world is most in the tropical biomes​, the tropical rain forests​ have lost a lot of wilderness,” study co-author Oscar Venter, of the University of Northern British Columbia, told CBS News. “A lot of the Amazon has been lost, the mangrove ecosystems, which are really important wilderness areas have been hit. They are a nursery ground for a lot of the world’s wildlife – young fish are reared in these mangrove ecosystems​, they are a base for a lot of the fisheries. Now, there is almost no wilderness left in the mangroves.”

Other things from the ’90s we have less of: golf visors and light up sneakers, so it isn’t all bad.

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Adam Savage writes about space nerd sculptor Tom Sachs


In Wired, our pal Adam Savage geeks out with Tom Sachs, a sculptor who makes incredibly intricate space-themed installations:

(Sachs had) mounted two Space Program exhibitions—the moon (at Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills) in 2007 and then Mars (at the Park Avenue Armory in New York) in 2012. There were the blue Tiffany Glock and orange Hermès hand grenade, and also a Chanel chain saw and a Prada toilet. And a foam-core R2-D2, which I’d collected pictures of as inspiration for building my own DIY Artoo, a decade before I knew who Sachs was.

We had a lot in common. We’re both obsessive organizers. We both make replicas. And when we’re in the shop and can’t think of what to work on, we build infrastructure—stands, shelves, benches. Sachs told me he’d cribbed construction ideas from MythBusters Now he uses my workshop when he’s on the West Coast, and I use his when I’m back east. Our wives describe our relationship status as “dating.”

When I look at Sachs’ workshop, what’s more familiar to me than the tools are the rituals, the signs of how Sachs turns prosaic objects and materials into art.

Ground Control to Major Tom” by Adam Savage (Wired)


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New Guinness World Record for youngest woman with a beard


Harnaam Kaur, 24, hails from Slough, England. She has a full beard and has been recognized as the youngest woman to have one by Guinness World Records. Ms. Kaur has a hormonal condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome. One of the symptoms is hirsuteness.

She called the honor “absolutely humbling” and said she hope it would help empower her message that women can be and look how they want.

Speaking previously, she said: “I would never ever go back now and remove my facial hair because it’s the way God made me and I’m happy with the way I am..”

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"Smart" sex toy company sued for tracking users’ habits


A woman has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of a sex toy that sends data back to the company.

From Vocativ:

In the suit, N.P. says she bought a We-Vibe in May and used it “several times” until she realized that it was sending data about her usage practices back to Standard Innovation’s servers, including when she used it, which vibration settings she used, and her email address.

The company that makes the We-Vibe, Standard Innovation, says it will do a better job of letting its customers know that the device can transmit data, which is “mostly anonymized” and used only for “market research.”

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“Smart” sex toy company sued for tracking users’ habits


A woman has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of a sex toy that sends data back to the company.

From Vocativ:

In the suit, N.P. says she bought a We-Vibe in May and used it “several times” until she realized that it was sending data about her usage practices back to Standard Innovation’s servers, including when she used it, which vibration settings she used, and her email address.

The company that makes the We-Vibe, Standard Innovation, says it will do a better job of letting its customers know that the device can transmit data, which is “mostly anonymized” and used only for “market research.”

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Scientists finally catch dolphin talking


Scientists at Ukraine’s Karadag Nature Reserve have determined that dolphin speak to one another in sentences up to 5 words long!

The researchers have no clue what the dolphins are saying, but I gather they’re discussing when it’ll be time to leave.

Via the Telegraph:

Dolphins have possessed brains that are larger and more complex than human ones for more than 25 million years.

The researchers found that Yasha and Yana could create sentences of up to five “words”, but the scientists still do not understand the content.

Dr Ryabov said it was now beyond doubt that dolphins speak their own language and it is time to start studying how to communicate directly with them.

“Humans must take the first step to establish relationships with the first intelligent inhabitants of the planet Earth by creating devices capable of overcoming the barriers that stand in the way of using languages and in the way of communications between dolphins and people,” he added.

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Scrumdiddlyumptious and other Roald Dahlesque words now in the Oxford English Dictionary

In celebration of the centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth this month, the Oxford English Dictionary has added words and updated entries related to Dahl’s iconic children’s books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG. From

This update also includes brand new entries and senses for a range of vocabulary best described as Dahlesque—an adjective which makes its first appearance in OED today with a first quotation from 1983 in which a collection of stories is praised for its ‘Dahlesque delight in the bizarre’. These new additions provide Dahl fans with a golden ticket to the first uses and historical development of words like scrumdiddlyumptious, for those occasions when scrumptious simply won’t do (or at all times if you happen to be The Simpsons’ Ned Flanders), and the human bean, which is not a vegetable, although—according to the Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant—it comes in ‘dillions of different flavours’. A new sub-entry for golden ticket itself reveals that (long before Charlie Bucket found his own in the wrapper of a Wonka Whipple-Scrumptious Fudge Mallow Delight) the first such ticket was granted to the painter and engraver William Hogarth. Hogarth’s ticket granted the bearer and five companions perpetual free admission to the pleasure gardens of Vauxhall, in return for paintings carried out for the gardens by the artist….

The witching hour, the ‘special moment in the middle of the night when every child and every grown-up [is] in a deep deep sleep’, and when the BFG and his bloodthirsty cousins wander abroad, was first mentioned in 1762, in a poem by Elizabeth Carter Keene (now all-but forgotten, and dismissed by one twentieth-century critic as ‘a vapid bungler’), where it is a clear reference to—or misremembering of—Hamlet’s ‘the very witching time of night, When Churchyards yawne, and hell it selfe breakes out Contagion to this world’. In the 1980s (shortly after its memorable appearance in the BFG) the phrase gained a new financial sense, when traders began to refer to the last hour of trading every month—when exchange-traded stock options expire, and the market is particularly volatile—as ‘the witching hour’.

New words notes September 2016” (OED)

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Wells Fargo won't claw back $125m retirement bonus from exec who oversaw 2m frauds

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Carrie Tolstedt is the Wells Fargo executive who presided over a titanic, multi-year fraud through which at least 5,300 of the employees who reported to her opened up fake accounts in Wells’ customers’ names, racking up fees and fines, trashing the customers’ credit ratings, and, incidentally, pulling in record revenues for Tolstedt’s department, which Wells’ management recognized by giving her a $125M parting gift when she left the company at the end of July, just weeks before the scandal broke.

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Adblock now selling ads


Adblock is to begin reselling the ads it blocks, replacing websites’ original ads with ones under its control—and which it takes a fat cut of the revenue from.

The program is meant to be friendly to publishers — it is, after all, letting them display some ads instead of none whatsoever. But there’s still obvious reason for publishers to be unhappy. Acceptable ads [AdBlock’s in-house advertising] are likely to be less valuable than the ads a publisher could otherwise display, limiting what a website can earn. And in setting up its own marketplace, Adblock Plus continues to position itself as a gatekeeper charging a toll to get through a gate of its own making.

This was always the gameplan. AdBlock marketed itself as about blocking ads, but it’s really about providing a superficial, temporary improvement in user experience to convince readers to insert it as middlemen between them, publishers and advertisers. Once secure, AdBlock can let advertising (and the user experience) creep back to the profitable way it was before, but with them charging rent to everyone.

If you block ads, at least block them with something that isn’t taking a shit on both of us: I recommend uBlock. If you don’t like ads but would like to support Boing Boing, buy a t-shirt or an inexpensive gadget from our store.

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These waterproof bluetooth headphones ship internationally - now 66% off

If you’re an active person, then you need headphones that can keep up with you—and these waterproof FRESHeBUDS can definitely hang.

Packing an enhanced battery life and a sound quality that’s unrivaled for their compact size, these earbuds will play your favorite tunes for up to 10 hours on a single 90 minute charge. Just connect them to your phone via Bluetooth by pulling them apart—it’s automatic. When you’re done listening, place the earbuds back together, and the connection will turn off.

Plus, the FRESHeBUDS are designed to be lightweight and stay in your ears no matter what you’re doing: running, jumping, or swimming. You can even answer calls straight from the earbuds with a built-in microphone.

If you’re ready to upgrade your headphones, now’s the time: the FRESHeBUDS are 66% off retail, at just $39.95 in the Boing Boing store.


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Kickstarting a new edition of Villains & Vigilantes, a superhero RPG

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I discovered Villains and Vigilantes in 1982, with the publication of the game’s second edition, and 11-year-old me played it like a fiend; I still remember long hours of designing costumes on the super-cool character sheets that came with the game (we’d sneak into the school office and run off more of these from blanks; ditto for hex-ruled paper for Car Wars and all the best stories from that month’s Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine).


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British Brexiters shocked to find out they might have to get permission to travel to Europe


This is what happens who you trust tabloids and rich politicians who say you can have your cake and eat it. What they mean is they can have their cake, and you eat it. Today’s shit sandwich is for Brits who thought that leaving the European Union, and preventing people coming into the UK, wouldn’t mean reciprocal movement controls. As Nigerian Chibundu Onuzo puts it: Welcome to the world of restricted travel, British people!

The proposed scheme wouldn’t require Britons to have a visa, but intentions for travelling would need to be clearly stated online and applications could, in theory, be denied. It would, in essence, be a curb on freedom of movement: a freedom I have never fully experienced because of my nationality.

I’ve always needed a visa to legally travel out of Nigeria to most places in the world. There are other ways to do it. My cousin walked across the Sahara and slipped into Europe via the Mediterranean, but he was later deported.

Every time I fly into Heathrow, I am reminded that a plastic visa card is the only thing stopping my presence in London being a crime. I often see the other travellers who have been ushered to the side, their lives deemed illegal, only that thin square of plastic separating us. … who knows? Maybe filling out forms to travel might make Britain more sympathetic to immigrants. I bet Nigel Farage didn’t think of that.

Just imagine the bloviating Harry Enfield rage of lumpy English holidaymakers denied entry to Spain or Ibeefa because they forgot to register their trip with the Proper Authorities. It’s going to be beautiful.

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Fury Road before the visual effects were added


They put out a compilation of scenes from Mad Max: Fury Road as they were shot, with no CGI or no artsy color grading. It makes me love the film even more: I want a minimalist cut of the whole thing like this, with the only CGI work being what’s absolutely necessary to make things work (painting out other cameras and wires, adding key explosions, the waterfall…) and CGI-heavy scenes like the sandstorm interior completely removed.

One thought, though: this would probably make Fury Road’s sustained, stylized violence (which is rather different from the startling, crude violence of the first two Mad Max movies) less palatable. You’d be surprised how many people already have a problem with it, even if they love the series. It would be an interesting editing challenge. [via io9]

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Women are the backbone of the Star Trek fandom


Star Trek celebrated its 50th anniversary last week and one of the sci-fi series’ biggest legacies is shaping our modern concept of “fandom.” The original 1960s series inspired everything from conventions to fan magazines to fanfiction. And as Victoria McNally writes for Revelist, “Unlike the classic male nerd archetype that most people tend to picture in their heads, the quintessential Star Trek fan is a woman.” (more…)

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