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Music Piracy: The Extraterrestrial Threat

I‘m taking a week off from producing a full podcast, and am instead presenting what I hope will be a fun Thanksgiving road-trip accompaniment. It‘s an audibobook excerpt. But since it‘s the very start of that audiobook and as it‘s read by the flat-out brilliant comedian/actor John Hodgman - there‘s no need to hear the rest of the thing to enjoy this standalone hour-plus of playfulness. In other words, this is trul

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Illustrations from the best picture books of the year

Every fall, New York City‘s Society of Illustrators puts on this hidden-in-plain-sight gem of an exhibit. The Original Art Exhibit displays original illustrations from a selection of the best picture books of the year. Not only do you get to view the original paintings, drawings, and even sculptures that were used to illustrate these books, but the books themselves are on display so you can see how they appear in the finished product.

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Four ninths of a Rubik‘s Cube

If an entire 3x3 Rubik‘s Cube is too much, but a 2x2 one too plainly insulting, try this 2x3 one that you can get for about a fiver at Amazon. That‘s four ninths of a real Rubik‘s Cube for nine tenths of the price! The product page assures you in its first bullet point that this puzzle contains "no fabrics." SOLD.

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Medieval city plan generator

The Medieval city generator does just that, with the right balance of abstraction and detail to give your imagination space to put it to good use. (previously) This application generates a random medieval city layout of a requested size. The generation method is rather arbitrary, the goal is to produce a nice looking map, not an accurate model of a city. Maybe in the future I‘ll use its code as a basis for some game or maybe not. Click on

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How to win the wishbone wish

Scientific American consulted biomechencial engineers on how to win the wishbone wish fair and square and also by cheating.

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Original Artwork for Invasion of the Saucer-Men Movie Poster Sells for 107,550

Illustrator Albert Kallis, co-founder of International House of Pancakes, painted the movie poster art of Invasion of the Saucer Men in 1957. It sold for over 100,000 over the weekend at a Heritage Auctions event. The original 1957 gouache poster artwork for the iconic Invasion of the Saucer Men movie poster sold for 107,550 Saturday, in Heritage Auctions‘ Movie Posters Auction. Rather than depict a finished film, the artwork painted by

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Watch the pitch reel for Jim Henson‘s cyberpunk muppets TV series

In 1987, Jim Henson produced and directed this pitch reel for Inner Tube (aka IN-TV), a cyberpunk, culture-jamming series that just wasn‘t meant to be but did inform The Jim Henson Hour‘s MuppeTelevision segments. From Jim Henson: The Biography: At the heart of IN-TV was a clever concept; each week, a live guest star would get sucked into the television set and would have to work his way back out again, usually by moving from on

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Meet a professional D&D dungeon master. Yes, that‘s his main gig.

Timm Woods, 30, is one of New York City‘s most popular Dungeons & Dragons dungeon masters-for-hire. He‘s also working on his PhD dissertation, titled "Anything Can Be Attempted: Table-Top Role Playing Games as Learning and Pedagogy." From Brian Raftery‘s profile of Woods in Wired: ...While Woods is one of several DMs-for-hire out there, this isn‘t his hobby or a side gig; it‘s a living, and a pretty good one at

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A cheap way to use Amazon Alexa

At 20, the Eufy Genie Smart Speaker With Amazon Alexa is the least expensive hands-free Alexa speaker I know of. I got my first Alexa device last year (a Dot) and my family uses it many times a day to listen to podcasts, get NPR news briefings, weather forecasts, audiobooks, latest bitcoin price, word definitions, Wikipedia entries, kitchen timer and more. I don‘t have this particular item, but I ordered one for upstairs.

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Carpenter shows how to raise a roof, roof doesn‘t cooperate

I don‘t doubt this guy knows what he‘s doing. But every once in awhile, non-living things like to show living things who is really in charge.

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Drones to airdrop hundreds of thousands of mosquitos to fight disease

One approach to fight mosquito-borne diseases is to introduce huge numbers of sterilized male mosquitos to beat out the wild males in competition for female mosquitos. The challenge is that it‘s expensive to airdrop the mosquitos from airplanes and often difficult to traverse developing nations by ground. Now, WeRobotics has prototyped a drone that carries hundreds of thousands of mosquitos and releases them at just the right moment. The f

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A twitterbot that generates hypothetical Hallmark holiday movies

Mark writes, "Nothing marks the holidays like the predictability of a formulaic chestnut featuring ‘90s stars, magical religious holidays, SFW romance, good hair, and reliable stable camera work. For all those who need a bit more than TV can deliver, my kids and I created the Hallmark Holiday Movie Bot, which generates one feel-good Chrismukkah hit after another for your seasonal celebration!"

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UK government votes that animals are incapable of feeling emotion and pain

A majority of the UK‘s members of parliament somehow know that non-human animals are incapable feeling pain or experiencing emotions. I guess that means when you see an animal suffering, it‘s just faking it. From the UK‘s Independent: MPs have voted to reject the inclusion of animal sentience the admission that animals feel emotion and pain into the EU Withdrawal Bill. The move has been criticised by animal rights activist

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Meet the people who insist the Earth is flat

BBC News attended this month‘s Flat Earth International Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. I especially appreciate the fine craftsmanship of Chris Pontius, the "professional ‘Flat Earth‘ model artist."

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The Weinstein Effect is already taking a readership toll on the lefty blogosphere

The crackdown on "influencers" engaging in undisclosed paid endorsement roiled Instagram last year, but now the crackdown on sexual misconduct on influencers is affecting readership at Mic, Upworthy, GOOD, and Slate, who quietly paid influencers like George Takei to promote their articles on their personal accounts. (more)

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When Bob Odenkirk perfectly played Charles Manson

Well before Breaking Bad, and Better Call Saul (and even Mr. Show), Bob Odenkirk showed his comedic chops by playing Charles Manson on the short-lived 1990s TV sketch series The Ben Stiller Show. In two of the skits, he plays the madman as a sort of incarcerated "Heloise" in "Ask Manson." In them, he answers questions on stain removal and car troubles. https://youtu.be/fuiXOoJTeRI The third one takes a different, and completely inspired, t

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Optical illusion tights and swim shorts give you the junk of Michaelangelo‘s David

The yoga pants are 42, and the swim shorts are 45; either one will turn you into a Renaissance hunk. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) (more)

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Adam Savage made a limited-edition "everyday carry" toolbag out of old sailcloth, with room for everything

Retired Mythbuster and maker extraordinaire Adam Savage (previously) gave up on finding a bag to carry everything he needed and designed his own, a white, Gladstone-style toolbag that costs 225 and ships in time for Christmas. (more)

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Pick up these 8 acclaimed Mac apps for Black Friday pricing

Macs are pretty usable out of the box without any extra software. But the bundled stock apps don‘t cover every use case, and don‘t always provide the most configurable experience. To give your desktop some helpful new powers, we‘ve collected some of our favorite apps in the Black Friday Mac Bundle. It‘s available in the Boing Boing Store now for 39, and you can save additional 15% off with coupon code GIFTSHOP15. Here&lsqu

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More than 50 tech ethics courses, with links to syllabi

There has never been a more urgent moment to merge ethics and technology: this shared spreadsheet of 57 (and counting) university courses on ethics and tech includes links to syllabi, moderated by Colorado University information science assistant prof Casey Fiesler, who runs The Internet Rules Lab (hey, grad students, she‘s hiring!)

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Scientist puts his dog on the editorial boards of seven predatory journals as proof of their negligence

By day, "Olivia Doll" sits on the boards of seven academic journals; by night, she‘s a Staffordshire terrier named Ollie, owned by Mike Daube, a public health expert in Perth, Australia. (more)

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Puerto Rico, abandoned by Trump and facing disaster capitalism looting by big business, turns to socialist and anarchist collectives to rebuild

Disaster capitalism depends on the idea that "There is No Alternative" and that the populace can only sit by passively while their infrastructure, government, homes and schools are hijacked and sold off to low-bidder corporations to financially engineer and then extract rent from. (more)

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America‘s private health-care is rationed, but socialized medicine is luxury medicine

To hear America‘s fearmongering private health-care shills describe it, socialized medicine is a kind of Soviet death march, where rationed care and long waits are imposed on all and sundry; but if that state of affairs sounds familiar, it‘s because of how neatly it describes America‘s dysfunctional private care system, where you need to change doctors every time you change employers, where your care is denied and your prescrip

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Charles Manson was not a good songwriter

Charles Manson, despite (or rather because of) his infamy as a charismatic cult leader and vicarious spree-killer, is often posed as a serious and influential musician. His fleeting connections to late-60s artists of repute are threaded into music history as metaphors for the dangerous genius and subversion of rock itself, a flame occasionally nursed by covers released by popular artists. But Manson wasn‘t a genius and his music sucks.

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