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Toronto's amazing science fiction library, the Merril Collection, has a new head librarian

It’s been decades since I first discovered my love of science fiction on a school trip to the “Spaced Out Library,” the public science fiction reference collection founded by Judith Merril — that day, I met both Merril (who went on to be a mentor to me) and Lorna Toolis, who has just stepped down as head of the library, which grew in stature and changed names, becoming the Merril Collection of Science Fiction.
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Monster Scouts: go camping with an imaginary cryptid scout troop from the 1910s!

The Monster Scouts are a wonderful thing: monster-obsessed makers who have created a collaborative, detailed, LARP-ish world in which monsters are real and an imaginary scouting organization called the Crow Scouts, founded in 1907, has operated for more than a century to help our monster friends.
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In 1956, Hugh Heffner gave MAD's founding editor an unlimited budget for a new satire magazine called “TRUMP”

Harvey Kurtzman is a hero of satire, the guy who convinced Bill Gaines’s mother to bankroll a comic book called MAD, then doubled down by turning MAD into a magazine — only to jump ship five issues later after a bizarre fight with the Gaineses, finding refuge with Playboy founder Hugh Heffner who gave him an unlimited budget to start an all-star, high-quality satire magazine called TRUMP, which lasted for two legendary, prized issues, now collected in a gorgeous hardcover from Dark Horse.
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A comic that profiles Columbia University's first-ever comics curator

Nick Sousanis is the comics creator who broke ground in 2015 by being the first doctoral candidate to submit a dissertation in comics form and ever since, he’s been doing wonderful nonfiction work in the form, on subjects ranging from entropy to climate change to elections.

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Kickstarting gorgeous, illustrated slipcased classics with art from Pope, Shimuzu and Sienkiewicz

Zachary Zmith writes, “A Kickstarter is funding beautifully-designed and illustrated editions of classic stories, with illustrations from Paul Pope, Yuko Shimizu and Bill Sienkiewicz. They have already met their initial goal to fund a version of Algernon Blackwood’s ‘The Willows’ with art by Paul Pope. If they reach $100k, Bill Sienkiewicz will illustrate H.G. Wells’ vivisection classic.”
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Liverpool, I'll see you tonight on the Walkaway tour! (then Birmingham, Hay-on-Wye, San Francisco…) (!)

Thanks to everyone who came out for last night’s final London event on the UK Walkaway tour, at Pages of Hackney with Olivia Sudjic; today I’m heading to Waterstones Liverpool One for an event with Dr Chris Pak, followed by a stop tomorrow at Waterstones in Birmingham and then wrapping up in the UK with an event with Adam Rutherford at the Hay Festival.
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London! I'll be at Pages of Hackney tonight with Olivia Sudjic! (then Liverpool, Birmingham, Hay…) (!)

Last night’s sold-out Walkaway tour event with Laurie Penny at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road was spectacular (and not just because they had some really good whisky behind the bar), and the action continues today with a conversation with Olivia Sudjic tonight at Pages of Hackney, where we’ll be discussing her novel Sympathy as well as Walkaway.
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The Humble Unicorn Bundle, get great, DRM-free fantasy novels, support environmental causes

Steven Boyett writes, “Humble Bundle has released a unicorn-themed Bundle, with proceeds to benefit the World Wide Fund for Nature and Fauna & Flora International. For as little as $1.00, you can get Ariel, by Steven R. Boyett (full disclosure: that’s me); Unicorn Mountain, by Michael Bishop; Homeward Bound, by Bruce Coville; and Unicorn Triangle, by Patricia McKillip.”

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Dom Flemons, late of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, plays music that makes me very happy

I was listening to the latest Judge John Hodgman podcast today (as I do every week!) which was performed live in Washington DC; as with every live show, there was a musical guest, and this guest was so completely awesome I made a note to post about him when I got home.
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A kid-friendly electronics board that you can program from the web

Peegar is an Arduinio-style electronics kit that you design programs for by dragging and dropping Scratch-style objects around in a browser; when you’re done, the program is converted to a brief snatch of sound that you transmit through the board by plugging a standard audio cable into your device’s headphone jack.
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Congratulations Ken Fisher, creator of Tom the Dancing Bug and winner of the 2017 Herblock Prize

Ken Fisher, the brilliantly funny creator of comic strips we’re proud to debut each week here at Boing Boing, has won the 2017 Herblock Award. His scathing and insightful treatment of Donald Trump, as featured in many episodes of Tom the Dancing Bug throughout the election campaign, were key to the Herb Block Foundation’s pick.

“Tom the Dancing Bug” is a free-format comic strip that uses varying types of humor, artistic styles and formats. It’s an unusual strip in that in any given week, it could feature a spoof, a multi-panel sketch, political or absurdist humor, recurring characters or caricatures of real people. But during 2016, political subject matter was at its heart, as it mostly dealt with the election and the rise to power of Donald Trump.

Fisher works under the pseudonym Ruben Bolling, and we’re proud and honored to publish his work here. Be sure to read the latest, published today!

Michael Cavna at the Washington Post, Herb Block’s longtime home, quotes the judges and artist thus:

“Ruben Bolling created his own unique style of political cartoon, one that’s full of sly allusions and clever twists,” wrote judge Matt Wuerker, the Politico cartoonist and 2010 Herblock Prize recipient. ” ‘Tom the Dancing Bug’ pushed the form into new territory with imaginative tropes, deft imagery and provocative allegory.”

“Ruben Bolling’s cartoons are consistently sharp, funny and incredibly original,” wrote judge Mark Fiore, the freelance political animator who won the Herblock last year. “His use of recurring characters, like Hollingsworth Hound and Lucky Ducky, [adds] a wonderfully inventive richness to his masterful satire.” (Also judging this year was Martha Kennedy, Library of Congress curator of popular and applied graphic art.)

“‘Tom the Dancing Bug’ is an unusual comic strip because it’s totally free format; it can deal with australopithecines and giant wombats, or real-world politicians and topical issues,” the creator said. “I made a decision early in 2016 that Trump was the political phenomenon of my lifetime and just about devoted the strip to that.”

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Makers: enter the Share Festival's ARTMAKER Prize competition for sincere electronic art

An all-star jury composed of Arduino inventor Massimo Canzi, Arthur C Clarke Center director Sheldon Brown, tech artist Motor Comino, activist Jasmina Tesanovic and OG Cyberpunk Bruce Sterling are judging the Artmaker prize for the tenth annual Share Festival: this year’s theme is “Sincerity” and the prize goes to “art works with the virtues of lucidity, honesty and clarity. Our theme for 2017 asks for self-evident truth and heartfelt emotion, and scorns all slyness, demagoguery and deceit.”
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Snakisms: 22 philosophies expounded through the game of Snake

Artist Pippin Barr wrote his PhD video game values and got a Masters in UI metaphors, so it’s natural that he’s created Snakisms, a collection of 22 variants on the classic video game Snake (best remembered from the era of candy-bar featurephones), each of which is meant to illustrate (or at least make a joke about) philosophies from Stoicism (your snake runs into things, pauses a moment, shakes it off and presses on) to Determinism (your snake drives itself), to Holism (just try it). They’re lovely, witty fun! (via Kottke)

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Kickstarting a car-hacking tool that lets you take control of your own vehicle

The fully-funded Macchina project on Kickstarter is an Arduino-based, “open, versatile” gadget that bypasses the DRM in your car’s network, allowing you to configure it to work the way you want it to, so you can customize your car in all kinds of cool ways.
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New Yorkers! Come see Edward Snowden and me onstage at the NYPL on the Walkaway tour!

I’m touring 20 US cities (plus dates in Canada and the UK!) with my forthcoming novel Walkaway; the full tour hasn’t been announced yet, but I’m delighted to reveal that the NYC stop on May 3 will be at the New York Public Library, where my interlocutor will be the whistleblower Edward Snowden. Tickets are $10-25! (Reminder: there are also signed first-edition hardcovers available for pre-order in the USA and UK).

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Wu Orleans 2: mashups of New Orleans music and Wu Tang rappers

dj BC writes, “In 2006 I mixed a bunch of New Orleans artists with Wu Tang rappers to make the record ‘Wu Orleans.’ 11 years later, here’s part two, with ten new songs. Free MP3 download of both albums here. A very limited run of vinyl with all 20 Wu Orleans songs on two records, and new art, is allegedly coming on record store day in April. Here’s the video for ‘Express Your Brain, Champ’ with Ghostface Killah, Nicky Da B (via Diplo), Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and dj BC. Laissez les bon temps roulez!”

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In 1937, a judge quietly asked Meyer Lansky to form a squad of Nazi-punching gangsters to raid Bund meetings

Meyer Lansky was an infamous and ruthless gangster — albeit one so personally charming that his life is chronicled in a book called But He Was Good to His Mother — and no friend of New York State Judge Nathan Perlman; nevertheless, as the Nazi-supporting German-American Bund staged more and more toxic rallies in New York City, Perlman quietly asked Meyer to form a squad of Jewish gangsters to disrupt their meetings.
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Now in the UK! Pre-order signed copies of the first edition hardcover of Walkaway, my first adult novel since Makers

The UK’s Forbidden Planet is now offering signed hardcovers of Walkaway, my first novel for adults since 2009 — this is in addition to the signed US hardcovers being sold by Barnes and Noble.
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Customizable, animated feminist “candy hearts” for an anti-trumpist v-day

Clair writes, “In light of all the coverage of Trump Valentines, I wanted to share a kickass content piece I helped create that is a feminist alternative. With the Women’s Marches and Trump’s complete disregard for the American people–especially women–it’s important to share positive, pro-female content too!”

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A Good American: a documentary about Bill Binney, an NSA whistleblower who says 9/11 could have been prevented

Bill Binney resigned from the NSA in October 2001, after 30 years with the agency where he was viewed as one of their best analysts: he quit because he believed that Bush-appointed leaders in the Agency had chosen to respond to the challenge of electronic communications by building out illegal, indiscriminate mass-surveillance programs that left the country vulnerable to terrorists while diverting billions to private contractors with political connections.
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Selling original art from my graphic novel IN REAL LIFE to benefit ACLU and CAIR

Jen Wang, the incredible comics creator who adapted my award-winning story Anda’s Game for the bestselling graphic novel In Real Life is selling original, 9″ x 12″ art from the book, and the painting above these words, for $250 each — all proceeds divided equally between the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American Islamic Relations.
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Bake: a pixel-art Mario pie for National Pie Day

Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin (aka @ThePieous) writes, “It is National Pie Day in America tomorrow (not to be confused with “International Pi Day” – the cooler big cousin of pie holidays on March 14th…) In honour of this occasion I’ve posted a new tutorial video that is very attainable for any novice pie-geeks out there thinking about whipping something up nifty. It features our favourite 8 bit plumber hero, with a special guest appearance at the end.”

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Barcelona government officially endorses Tor-based whistleblower platform

Xnet, a wonderful Spanish activist group, has created the Anti-Corruption Complaint Box, a whistleblowing platform for the city of Barcelona that allows people to file anonymous claims in a Globalleaks repository, with their anonymity protected by Tor.
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Remembering the SOPA blackout, five years later

Five years ago, we won an unprecedented victory: spurred on by blackouts of more than 50,000 sites, more than 8 million Americans called Congress to object to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a brutal internet censorship bill that would have been a stake through the heart of the open net. SOPA, which had been tipped to sail through Congress without any fuss, died an unprecedented death. It set a precedent.
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SF in SF: see Kim Stanley Robinson & Cecelia Holland live in San Francisco this Saturday

The next installment in the extraordinary lecture/reading series features Hugo-winning environmentalist author Kim Stanley Robinson and prolific historical novelist Cecelia Holland: $10 donation at the door, no one turned away for lack of funds. (Images: AllyUnion, CC-BY-SA; Other Change of Hobbit)

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Coded: new documentary series on hackers

Seth Godin sends us this trailer for Coded, a new documentary series on hackers: “There’s an invisible war being waged. And we’re all part of it. Foreign governments are hacking major corporations. Major corporations are collecting massive amounts of consumer data. And the NSA is listening…to everything. But a new generation of programmers armed with powerful technology is rising up and fighting back. Freethink presents a new original series: Coded.”

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Portal for the Apple ][+, //e and related systems

Vince Weaver is reimplementing Portal — “the cake acquisition simulator released in 2007” — to the Apple II series of computers, bit by bit — inspired by the fact that the Apple II hires mode has “the perfect Aperture Science orange and blue colors.” He’s released a disc image of the game in Apple Basic, as well as sourcecode.
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Bruce Sterling on dieselpunk, alternate history, fascism and the current political moment

In November, Bruce Sterling published “Pirate Utopia,” a dieselpunk novella set in the real, historical, bizarre moment in which the city of Fiume became an autonomous region run by artists and revolutionaries, whose philosophies ran the gamut from fascism to anarcho-syndicalism to socialism.
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Houseguests, technological literacy, and the goddamned wifi: a single chart

Randal Munroe nails it again in an XKCD installment that expresses the likelihood that your houseguests will be able to connect to your wifi (I confess to having been the “firmware” guide — but also, having been reminded to do something about my own firmware when other difficult houseguests came to stay).

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