Superbright little LED flashlights

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I bought some of these 7W Ultrabright mini LED flashlights a while back and they are my favorites. They are surprisingly bright (it has a bright/dim/strobe setting) and a zoom feature to focus the beam on a small area or spread it out. A twin-pack is just $9. It uses either a single AA battery or a 3.6 volt type 14500 Battery (rechargeables are cheap).

Parisian canals now open to swimmers

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Paris, France is making good on its promise to reopen long polluted waterways to bathers.

Up to three hundred people at any time can use the lifeguard-protected pools, although the pools only have locker space for 80. Located in a part of Paris already popular as a place to stroll in fine weather, the new bathing spot is likely to prove a major hit in an already hotter-than-average summer. Early reports suggest that the water is indeed delightful, though a small residuum of green algae does make a post-bathe shower a good idea.

How did Paris pull this off? The city’s been working on cleaning up the waters here for decades. Paris’s canals here were once unsurprisingly filthy, running as they do through a former industrial area once packed with cargo barges and polluted by sewage. Since the 1980s, however, regulations managing industrial run-off have tightened substantially, while Paris has invested heavily in wastewater treatment and in preventing sewage from being discharged into the canal during periods of high water. Two years ago, following a concerted clean-up, bacteria levels dropped below safe levels, and rogue bathers have been jumping in the water here for a while. Meanwhile, the Canal Saint Martin, which runs downstream from the basin down to the Seine, was entirely drained and cleaned in 2016, a process that sent a powerful visual message to Parisians that the area’s historic filth was being swept away.

Via CityLab

Rapidly remove old automotive decals and bumper stickers

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This eraser wheel is wonderful. It removes old, weathered decals in seconds.

I attached this eraser to my cordless drill and effortlessly rubbed some very old and bad looking decals off my VW Van. I replaced them with something closer to my heart.

I cleaned up with rubbing alcohol after removing the decal.

ABN Decal Eraser Wheel Pinstripe Removal Kit via Amazon

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast covers Game of Thrones S7E2, “Stormborn”

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HBO’s Game of Thrones continues its new season, and Boars, Gore, and Swords is here to recap all the talky and fighty events in “Stormborn”. Ivan and Red cover extremely gross pot pie transitions, reunions both affecting and not, Daenarys’s managerial style, and Cersei’s parallels to other floundering leaders.

To catch up on previous television seasons, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon.

This Burning Man documentary traces its history from a bohemian gathering to a global movement

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This 20-minute documentary is definitely worth a watch. It follows Burning Man’s fascinating history from its “humble countercultural roots on San Francisco’s Baker Beach” to “the world-famous desert convergence it is today.” If you’ve ever been to the big event in the Black Rock Desert, I guarantee it’ll give you a greater appreciation and understanding of it.

The film, titled City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man, was created by Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, Nevada for its current exhibition of the same name.

Never-before-seen photographs, artifacts, journals, sketches, and notebooks reveal how this temporary experimental desert city came to be—and how it continues to evolve.

The show is open now until January 7, 2018 and boasts an impressive roster of speakers and events including talks with Burning Man co-founders Marian Goodell, Larry Harvey, Michael Mikel and Harley K. Dubois.

After the exhibit ends in Reno, it heads to Washington, D.C. to be housed at Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery for its “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” show from March 30 through September 16, 2018.

photo by Stewart Harvey

Previously: Eat Fuck Kill, the legend of the playa’s first meme

Life, Death, Ego and Eternity

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This week on HOME: Stories From L.A.

The original Forest Lawn Memorial Park, in the hills above Glendale, may be best known outside California for inspiring the sledgehammer satire of the 1965 cult comedy “The Loved One.” For tourists and curiosity-seekers, it’s the gonzo life’s work of Hubert Eaton, who memorialized himself as The Builder in the park’s every corner. For the families of the people interred there, though, it’s something more, and harder to joke away: A place of their own, green and quiet, and eternity-adjacent. 

This is the second episode of Season 5. You can catch up on the whole series at the iTunes Store. While you’re there, please take a second to leave the show a rating and review. And you can subscribe right here:  

iTunes | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS

Bird regrets opening a box

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The scene: a kitchen table. It could be anywhere. A pet bird, possibly a cockatoo, stands next to box made of woven fibers. It flips open the lid of the box, revealing a kitten resting inside. The bird sees something in the box (a loose strand of fiber?), and when it makes an exploratory nip, the kitten boops the bird on the beak. The bird flips the lid back on the box, trapping the kitten inside. The gif ends.

Detained for assault from youseeingthisshit

Final Draft 10 is the industry standard screenwriting software

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Whether you’re a seasoned entertainment industry veteran or a student working on your first spec script, having the right tool for the job will make a huge difference in your focus and productivity.

Final Draft 10 is far and away the world’s best screenwriting software, used extensively by professional film and TV writers at top production companies like NBC, Disney, and Paramount because it makes drafting screenplays as straightforward as possible. By automatically formatting your work to comply with industry guidelines, Final Draft helps you focus on content and removes the tedium of preparing text for a read-through.

Aside from ensuring that your finished script is properly paginated, this program helps you plan everything out in a piece’s early stages. The Story Map feature lets you outline and rearrange major sections, and the Beat Board helps you refine your work beat-by-beat.

When writing dialogue, Final Draft 10 lets you store multiple versions of lines within the same file for easy comparisons and faster editing. You don’t even need to physically write; the desktop apps have powerful dictation capabilities when you’d rather talk it out. It supports real-time collaboration with a partner, and it guarantees that you never lose work by saving and backing everything up automatically.

Final Draft 10 is available for Windows, Mac, and iOS for sketching on the go. We have licenses available for this Hollywood-approved software in the Boing Boing Store now for $149.99. You can also take an additional 15% off with coupon code, FINALDRAFT15.  

This psychedelic Nyan Cat art car is headed to Burning Man to dole out ‘toaster pastries’ and ‘phat beats’

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Ok, this year’s Burning Man is going to be great. First of all, there’s going to be that 40-foot tall pink flamingo. Now I’m hearing that a 20-foot long, LED-lit mutant vehicle –based on Chris Torres’ popular 2011 meme Nyan Cat— will be roving around the desert. It’s a project of the Astro Cats camp who plan to serve up “toaster pastries” (I guess they can’t say “Pop-Tarts”) and pump out “Nyan-Cat inspired dance music” as they drive the giant space-cat around the event.

The name of the vehicle? Nyan Car, of course.

The Astro Cats are currently crowdfunding Nyan Car on GoFundMe. One of the pledge rewards is for a “special ‘toaster pastry'” that can only be redeemed on-playa.

Even if you’re not a Burner, give their pitch video a watch, it’s pretty spectacular.

This pack of ‘Hamilton’ crayons will make you ‘smile more’

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These jumbo-sized crayons are called “Hamiltones” because each one of them humorously reference the hit musical, Hamilton. There are punny ones like the “Alexander Hamil-tan” and the “Maroon Where it Happens,” and 10 others.

Each pack is $13.95 over at the Theatre Nerds Swag Shop. If colored pencils are more your thing, they’ve got a Hamiltones set of those too.

(Cool Mom)

Lockdown tool prevents ladders from kicking out

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Ladder lockdown is a metal tray with super-grippy patches on its underside; set it down on any surface (including ice!) and then set your ladder’s feet in the tray and cinch it in place and the ladder won’t “kick out” and injure you and your loved ones.

How to use a 4K TV as a computer monitor

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Brad Templeton is founding faculty for Computing and Networks at Singularity University, and Chairman Emeritus and futurist of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the leading cyberspace civil rights foundation. He is on the board of the Foresight Institute. He also advised Google’s team developing self-driving cars, and writes about such cars at He also advises Starship on delivery robots and Quanergy in the LIDAR space. He founded ClariNet Communications Corp (the world’s first “dot-com” company.) He also created rec.humor.funny, the world’s longest running blog. Cool Tools interviewed him about his favorite tools.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

Show notes:

4K TVs as computer monitors

“[I have] a 50-inch 4K television, and you may think, ‘Wow, that’s really big, how far away do you sit from it?’ I sit the same distance I sat from the 30-inch and the 24-inches that so many people use. In fact, if you think about it, the typical 24-inch HD monitor, that is the most common sort of monitor sold today or a few years ago, that actually is one quarter of 4K and it’s 24-inches, which means it’s basically half of the 50-inch screen. … The great thing though is, they’re selling these TVs really cheap. They’re selling them down, you can get them for five, 600 bucks, even less …They didn’t want you to use these as monitors, they designed them to be TVs. So there’s s few tricks to pull, but if you do you can get something that’s just amazing.”


“I run a voice over IP PBX in my home, that’s a little unusual. You may not need to do that, but there are lots of voice over IP services now, so you can get even your landline phone to travel with you. No matter where you are in the world, even on your cell phone or on your computer or if you want to bring a small phone with you because you like that landline experience, which I happen to. I like the voice quality and the physicality of it for a real conversation. You can get that and proxy it up so that my phone in California, you can call it, and it’s gonna ring at my desk in Paris and I can call you back. It’s gonna look like I’m there. A lot of people are doing that.”

Fire TV Stick ($40)

“I brought [overseas] my Amazon Fire Stick. I have the first generation one, that was my mistake. The second generation one can be programmed to do what you need to do here, which is use a VPN, a virtual private network. Why? Because you want to cheat all these global content controls that are telling me, even though I have an American Netflix account and I’m paying money into it right now, Netflix will not show me the things that I pay for in the US, ‘cause I’m in France.”

Sony cameras

“I like the fact that my cameras keep getting smaller. … I’ve got the Sony a7RII, that’s about the best of the digital SLRs for image quality right now. Now, Sony just came out with their A9 which is possibly better. And then in their line I have their APS-C size, that’s the sensor that’s about half the size of a full 35 millimeter frame. That drops a lot of weight. … I also have, again it’s Sony so this one doesn’t have to be, but it’s one of the nicest little point and shoots. That fits in your pocket, and it’s the DSC-RX100 IV, and that guy does get some great images. But of course it just has a point and shoot zoom lens on it.”

Starship Technologies

“My favorite tool I’m working on right now is with a company that’s based in Estonia, and it’s called Starship Technologies. We’re making a delivery robot. It’s a little robot the size of a big beer cooler, and it’s got six wheels, and it’s not fully autonomous yet, but it’s going to be. It’s going to bring you everything that you want to order in 30 minutes, and it’s gonna cost under a dollar to do it. … Like so many things these days, you won’t be able to get one. You’ll be able to get one to bring you something, or if you’re a delivery company you might be able to buy them.”

Fender custom shop re-uses Hollywood Bowl bench boards to make $12k guitars

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$12k for a guitar made of the boards where people sat and listened to historic concerts.

What kind of pick-up does this fantastically expensive beauty come with? Best I can tell: Black. I hope it sounds really, really good.

This is especially the case with Fender’s new, limited edition Front Row Legend Esquire line. Made in Fender’s Custom Shop by Master Builder Yuriy Shishkov, these special Telecasters are built to order using 100–year–old Alaskan yellow cedar from the Hollywood Bowl’s original bench boards.

Since its official opening in the summer of 1922, the Hollywood Bowl has spent almost 100 years hosting some of the biggest acts of every decade. Louis Armstrong, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, the Beach Boys, and Black Sabbath are just a smattering of the talent that has graced the Bowl’s stage, and now, you can own a functional piece of its history.

Shishkov maintained the characteristics of each piece of bench board that he used, with all of its original scratches, cracks, and bolt holes. The top of each guitar will also feature the original seat number.

Via Reverb

(Thanks, Jason Mancebo!)

A Ghost story is not your typical horror film

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A Ghost Story is not your typical horror film — it is a supernatural, philosophical romance that focuses on the life of a ghost and his existential experience of being lost in space and time. The film was directed, written, and edited by David Lowery. One of the most differentiating aspects of the film is that it features a man dressed in a bedsheet with two eye holes. We saw a screening in Los Angeles last night, which was followed by a Q & A with Lowery.

From the Q & A we learned that the ghost costume, lighting, color, and aspect ratio were all designed to convey the nostalgia that Lowery was drawn to when writing the screenplay. I was edtited in Premiere Pro with a full Adobe workflow.

A scene that’s already under the spotlight is one of Rooney Mara’s character grieving and eating a pie for minutes. It’s through these long (sometimes uncomfortably long) shots that Lowery underscores the haunting nature of being a ghost stuck in place and time. He explained to the audience that the length of each shot was representative of the age and perception of the ghost. As the film went on, shots became quicker and more lively.

This is likely the most unique film of the summer, and a breath of fresh air for the horror genre. Instead of jump scares or graphic imagery, A Ghost Story sparks a different type of fear, a fear that revolves around the nature of existence.


Recently deceased, a white-sheeted ghost (Academy Award-winner Casey Affleck) returns to his suburban home to console his bereft wife (Academy Award-nominee Rooney Mara), only to find that in his spectral state he has become unstuck in time, forced to watch passively as the life he knew and the woman he loves slowly slip away. Increasingly unmoored, the ghost embarks on a cosmic journey through memory and history, confronting life’s ineffable questions and the enormity of existence.

Destiny 2 “Beta” begins on PS4 and Xbox One

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As of today both Xbox One and PS4 players can preview Bungie’s sequel to Destiny, the MMOFPS successor to Halo.

Wonderful weapons, colorful armor, and well-balanced skills make Destiny PvP the best since the early Halo games. The PvE raids, puzzles and bosses are similarly challenging and fun to play with friends. The story? Bungie’s miserable story telling coasts along behind remarkable controls, level design, and gameplay. Unlike Halo, Destiny’s story is a confused and boring wonder.

Destiny 2 looks like a new engine, levels, and a lot of new weapons and skills. Evolutionary not revolutionary, I’m sure it’ll remain a battle ground for wizened old Atari 2600 owners vs high-pitched pre-teens with excellent reflexes.

I bet the Gjallarhorn will be back. I miss the days of Thorn’s supremacy.

You can pre-order through your platform to get into the Beta. It’ll also open up next week to the general public.

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