Day: October 10, 2016

The Dungeoneers are back!

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Jeffery Russell’s The Dungeoneers:Blackfrog Island brings back some of the funniest fantasy I’ve read!

When you need someone to fetch a missing prize from a deep, dank, dark dungeon you call the Dungeoneers. The gang of steel nerved dwarves and their odd-ball accompaniment are back, this time headed to Blackfrog Island! Pirates, the high seas, and zombie rats await our team of deep-dungeon-explorers as they attempt to brave a mysterious island from which no one returns.

I really enjoyed Russell’s first installment as well.

The Dungeoneers: Blackfog Island via Amazon

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Watch Death Cab For Cutie's new anti-Trump video

Today our friends Death Cab For Cutie released a new anti-Trump song, titled “Million Dollar Loan,” and video directed by Simian Design. The song is the first in DCfC manager Jordan Kurland and author Dave Eggers‘s 30 Days, 30 Songs series featuring a single song from a different artist each day until the election. Later this week, look for tunes by Aimee Mann, Thao Nguyen, Bhi Bhiman, and REM.

Here’s what DCfC singer Ben Gibbard says about “Million Dollar Loan:”

Lyrically, ‘Million Dollar Loan’ deals with a particularly tone deaf moment in Donald Trump’s ascent to the Republican nomination. While campaigning in New Hampshire last year, he attempted to cast himself as a self-made man by claiming he built his fortune with just a ‘small loan of a million dollars’ from his father. Not only has this statement been proven to be wildly untrue, he was so flippant about it. It truly disgusted me. Donald Trump has repeatedly demonstrated that he is unworthy of the honor and responsibility of being President of the United States of America, and in no way, shape or form represents what this country truly stands for. He is beneath us.

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These completely wirefree Bluetooth earbuds are 55% off

1Voice’s new Bluetooth Wirefree Earbuds are taking the concept of Bluetooth one step further. Unlike typical Bluetooth earbuds, these super small, lightweight earbuds fit snuggly in each ear, and require zero wires. Using Bluetooth 4.2 technology, they deliver high-quality sound without ever getting tangled up.

Even if you plan to jog or hit the gym, you won’t have to worry about them slipping out of your ears. They’re ergonomically designed to sit in your ears comfortably no matter how aggressive your movements. Each earbud even has its own speaker, Bluetooth chip, battery, and mic, so they can work independently of each other as well as together. It’s also noteworthy to mention the impressive four hour playtime on a single charge.

You can get a pair of 1Voice Bluetooth Wirefree Earbuds for 55% off (just $52.99) in the Boing Boing Store.

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Micron pens for drawing

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On Saturday, my 13-year-old daughter and I spent a couple of hours sketching, which is one of our favorite activities. I was copying out of a book called Rendering in Pen and Ink, and Jane let me borrow her Micron pens. I loved using these pens. The ink is very dark and was perfect for practicing cross-hatching and the other techniques described in the book. They are inexpensive, too. A set of six Micron Pens, with line widths ranging from 0.20mm to 0.50mm, costs less than $10 on Amazon. I just bought a set for myself.

rendering

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Shade the Changing Girl: amazing, gorgeous new comic about aliens and mean girls

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Vertigo has tapped Cecil Castellucci (previously) and Marley Zarcone to reboot Shade, a Steve Ditko character last rebooted as a weird 1990s comic book about a transdimensional alien shape-shifter poet who used a “madness vest” in his quest to stem the tide of insanity leaking from Earth into his dimension; in Castellucci’s capable hands, the new Shade is a fugitive who steals the madness vest in her escape to Earth and finds herself in the body of a Megan Boyer, a comatose mean girl who was about to have the plug pulled on her.
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Django/Zorro – Like dipping french fries in a milkshake, the pairing oddly works

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Django/Zorro

by Quentin Tarantino (author), Matt Wagner (author/artist) and artists Francesco Francavilla, Jae Lee, and Esteve Polls

Dynamite Entertainment

2015, 192 pages, 7.1 x 10.4 x 0.9 inches

$20 Buy a copy on Amazon

Is the concept of a Django and Zorro team-up ridiculous? Of course. But like dipping French fries in a milkshake, the pairing oddly works. Django/Zorro is an official sequel to the film Django Unchained and was written by Quentin Tarantino himself along with Matt Wagner, having just completed a run of Zorro comics.

The story picks up a few years after the film, and Django is still working as a bounty hunter, sending money back to his beloved Broomhilda. While collecting one of these bounties, he happens to meet an older Don Diego de la Vega, whose alter ego (Zorro) hasn’t given up his freedom-fighting ways. If you were a fan of the film, you’re going to like this, because it reads like another Django movie. It’s action packed and has some great dialogue, but what I found really special about this is that it offers a glimpse into Quentin Tarantino’s future.

As a huge fan of Tarantino’s work, I was saddened when I heard him announce that he’s hanging up his director hat after ten films. This only leaves two more to look forward to. But if the Django/Zorro comic is any indication of what he plans on doing after he stops directing, then comic fans get to rejoice.

As a special bonus for writers to geek out over, there’s a full script of the first issue included in this collected edition. It’s interesting to see how these two masters of their craft assemble the story that eventually makes its way to comic form. This is required reading for Tarantino completionists, and comic fans alike. Highly recommended.

– JP LeRoux

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Primitive Technology: making a spear thrower

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I love the well-made “Primitive Technology” videos. In this one, the guy (I don’t know his name but he live in Australia) makes a few spears and a spear thrower, using only materials he finds in the wild. He even starts a fire without matches to harden the spear points. After, we get to see him do target practice.

From his FAQ:

Q.Why don’t you talk in the videos?

A.When I watch how to videos I fast forward past the talking part to see the action part. So I leave it out of my videos in favor of pure demonstration.

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Primitive Technology: making a spear thrower

p1yr0w

I love the well-made “Primitive Technology” videos. In this one, the guy (I don’t know his name but he live in Australia) makes a few spears and a spear thrower, using only materials he finds in the wild. He even starts a fire without matches to harden the spear points. After, we get to see him do target practice.

From his FAQ:

Q.Why don’t you talk in the videos?

A.When I watch how to videos I fast forward past the talking part to see the action part. So I leave it out of my videos in favor of pure demonstration.

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Silkworms eat nanotubes, spin super-silk

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Nanoengineer engineers at Tsinghua University fed silkworms carbon nanotubes or graphene, both of which are approximately 100 times stronger than steel. The silkworms then spun reinforced silk that, according to Chemical & Engineering News, “twice as tough (as regular silk) and can withstand at least 50% higher stress before breaking.”

The modified silks conduct electricity, unlike regular silk. Raman spectroscopy and electron microscopy imaging showed that the carbon-enhanced silk fibers had a more ordered crystal structure due to the incorporated nano materials.

Some questions remain. One is exactly how the silkworms incorporate the nanomaterials in their silk. Another is what percentage of the nanomaterials eaten by the worms make it into the silk instead of being excreted or otherwise metabolized.

Feeding Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes or Graphene to Silkworms for Reinforced Silk Fibers(Nano Letters)

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Nirvana cover of "Bad Moon Rising" by Creedence Clearwater Revival

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On March 19, 1988, Nirvana played Tacoma, Washington’s Community World Theater and performed this fantastic, gritty cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising.” The song first appeared on CCR’s masterpiece, Green River, in 1969. That version is below. According to CCR’s John Fogerty, the song is about “the apocalypse that was going to be visited upon us.”

“It wasn’t until the band was learning the song that I realized the dichotomy,” Fogerty told Rolling Stone in 1993. “Here you got this song with all these hurricanes and blowing and raging ruin and all that, but it’s [snaps fingers] “I see a bad moon rising.” It’s a happy-sounding tune, right? It didn’t bother me at the time.”

screenshot

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RBS deliberately crushed more than 1,000 healthy UK businesses to seize and sell their assets

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RBS, the bank that UK taxpayers bailed out during the financial crisis, after its reckless speculation drove it to bankruptcy, ran a fake “restructuring unit” that was pitched to business customers as a way of helping them weather the market turmoil, but was actually a loan-sharking operation that cranked up interest rates and imposed high penalties, deliberately driving healthy businesses into bankruptcy so that the bank could snap up their assets (illegally sharing information between business units so that RBS always beat the other bidders) and then selling them off to keep the bank profitable.
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Build your own computer with the Piper Computer Kit

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The Piper Computer Kit is an innovative kit that will not only teach you to build a computer, but help you truly understand how a computer works. You’ll follow a real engineering blueprint to assemble your own self-contained computer—which runs on the small but powerful Raspberry Pi 2.

Once you’ve actually assembled the computer, you can learn computer engineering principles through PiperUniverse, an educational Minecraft story mode. With PiperUniverse, you’ll explore hardware components and challenges that will further strengthen your computer knowledge. Best of all, the micro USB comes preloaded with a Raspberry Pi version of Minecraft so you can celebrate your creation with some serious gaming.

Most importantly, the Piper Computer also functions as an actual Raspberry Pi computer, so there are limitless DIY projects you can explore from there. The Piper Computer may have been created to provide a controlled electronic learning environment for kids, but it’s actually a really great and fun way for adults to get their feet wet in DIY.

For a limited time, you can get the Piper Computer Kit at a discounted price of just $279.

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Fantastic hand-crocheted E.T. costume for 2-year-old

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Stephanie Pokorny freehand crocheted this out-of-this-world E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial costume for her son Jack, age 2! The project took her four days.

“He is free handed and made with no pattern,” she said. “I literally just tried it on him as I created and stopped when it fit right!”

Grab a Phone, ET needs to call home! New “HumanGurumi!”(Crochetverse)

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Why video game eyes are creepy

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When it comes to the uncanny valley of video game characters, the eyes have it. Even as digital characters become increasingly (hyper)realistic, the eyes lag behind. At FastCo Design, Mark Wilson looks at the technological and perceptual challenges of designing eyes with personality:

The initial problem with rendering eyes is simply that of light and structure. While the eye looks simple to, um, the naked eye, when you actually examine its structures, you realize it’s actually a mostly clear object. All of these clear layers manipulate light differently, and in reaction to one another, through a spherical structure (but notably, not a perfect sphere!). On top is the cornea. It’s not just a transparent lens. It’s a transparent lens that bulges out from the eyeball. It might reflect light like a mirror, or refract light, warping it like a water droplet on a windshield. Indeed, every structure you see within someone’s eye—like the colorful iris—has been distorted by their cornea.

“The transitions of each of these things, from one to the next, needs to be handled properly,” says (Brian Karis, senior graphics programmer at Epic Games). “How light interacts with all those things has to be handled.”

The white of the eye is particularly tricky. Known as the sclera, it’s actually the layer that wraps around most of your eye like an orange skin. Light “scatters” from the sclera through the clear gel that comprises most your eye—which is the same phenomenon that gives a glass of milk its particular glow.

Assuming all of this is rendered correctly, there’s one final problem remaining: caustics, or an envelope of refracted light we see frequently in the real world. “Imagine you’re at a fancy restaurant. You have a glass of wine in front of you, and the light hits it,” says CTO Kim Libreri. “You’ll see on the tablecloth a little red, a little white.” Caustics occur within the eye, too.

“It’s a subtle little effect you might not notice if it wasn’t there,” continues Karis. “But it won’t seem like there was as much complexity happening in the eyeballs.”

The Impossibly Complex Art Of Designing Eyes

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How to make an omnivoyant Halloween pumpkin

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The photograph rather explains itself, in terms of craftsmanship, but Christine Friar’s guide to making this delightful Halloween piece is worth reading all the way through

Spooping season is here, and if you’re like me you’re excited enough to make one small decoration. You’re not here to win any awards, but it’d be nice if your hands could manufacture a seasonal totem that you could catch out of the corner of your eye while moving through your home and say, “That’s the stuff.” Googly eyes are a really great supply for this level of commitment to the arts.

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Easypoem writes excellent AI poetry for you

Capybara Army

Easypoem asks you a few questions, then generates a charming verse for your entertainment and that of your friends. Here’s the one is made for me:

stood a space house

is this thing on

In the space stood a house,

tardigrade looked through the window,

saw a capybara disapproving past

and he knocked upon the door

“tardigrade, tardigrade let me in,”

“I would like to have a drink”

“capybara, capybara come inside,”

“and let’s have a cup of Sutter Home”

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Alt Right trolls argue for hours with Twitter bot

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The internet’s army of enraged anime avatars has a new enemy beyond their comprehension: a Twitter bot created by writer and activist Sarah Nyberg to make fools of them. Some lose themselves to hours of interaction, unaware they are ranting at a computer program.

She told The Verge via Twitter DM that the bot uses a combination of generative and static statements sourced from the Javascript library Tracery. But the bot doesn’t even need to be that smart. As Nyberg pointed out, “So many arguments, especially on a place like Twitter, are almost content-neutral. You can swap one argument out for another and the context is almost irrelevant.” That’s why @arguetron‘s conversations look so much like arguments a real person might have with a persistent troll.

Nyberg also cited barrl.net blogger Nora Reed as the project’s inspiration. Reed is best known for their Twitter projects, including a think piece headline generator and a bot that pitches terrible consumer products for women. Nyberg notes that she took a page out of Reed’s book by following only the accounts of reallife fish bait shops from the @arguetron account.

Engadget’s Richard Lawler writes that it “feeds the emptiness of alt-right trolls” who are looking for fights.

Arguetron is by design not abusive or malicious in its tweets, and does not actively seek out adversaries. That’s in contrast to some bots, like Nigel Leck’s 2010 project @AI_AGW, which hunted down global warming deniers to provide automated fact-based responses explaining the science.

Nyberg reports that the record holder is an “infowars egg” snared by the bot for 10 hours.

Sadly, the bot appears to have been shadowbanned–or at least muted from search results and user notifications–on Twitter. No word yet on what the company intends to do about the users calling it a kike.

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Samsung pauses production of exploding phone as retailers pull it from the shelves

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The Samsung Galaxy should be renamed the Samsung Supernova: despite recall and replacement, the company’s smartphones keep burning up in spectacular fashion. The Korean manufacturer has paused production and retailers are pulling it from the shelves, reports the BBC.

In a further blow, two US mobile networks have stopped replacing or selling the phone.

The AT&T and T-Mobile networks said they would no longer replace the devices in the US, while the latter said it would halt all sales of the phone.
“While Samsung investigates multiple reports of issues, T-Mobile is temporarily suspending all sales of the new Note 7 and exchanges for replacement Note 7 devices,” T-Mobile said on its website.

This Samsung phone led to a flight being evacuated

Meanwhile, AT&T said: “We’re no longer exchanging new Note 7s at this time, pending further investigation of these reported incidents.” It advised customers to exchange them for other devices.

Among the unlucky customers was Brian Green, who took the above photo of a Note 7 that wrought havoc on an airplane.

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Debate: Trump admits paying no taxes, denies sexually assaulting women, says Hillary is the devil

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By millionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump’s standards, the second debate was a success. Hillary Clinton was cagey and tense, leaving him free to blather on incoherently and bicker with the moderators when they told him to stop. Her supporters are left to wonder why she’s such a cautious closer. His are left to drown themselves in the joy of bullshit—and hope that it buries a brutal news cycle for their man. (more…)

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John Legend calls out men who criticized Trump on behalf of their daughters

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After the release of the now infamous Donald Trump/Billy Bush tapes, dozens of politicians tweeted their disgust with Trump’s behavior on behalf of their daughters, wives, sisters, and mothers.

As the father of a brand new daughter himself, John Legend had the perfect response:

Remember, it’s simple: Women are human beings.

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