Materiality: a new science fiction story for the Oslo Architecture Triennale about sustainable, green abundance

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In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my short story “Materiality,” which was commissioned for Gross Ideas: Tales of Tomorrow’s Architecture, a book edited by Edwina Attlee, Phineas Harper and Maria Smith that is part of the Oslo Architecture Triennale.

The editors pitched me on writing a story about sustainability and de-financialization in architecture, and I asked them if they’d be OK with someone who is both an environmentalist and pro-abundance — in the mode of Leigh Phillips’s groundbreaking Austerity Ecology and the Collapse Porn Addicts. They graciously accepted.

What followed was “Materiality,” a story that ultimately turned into a kind of dry-run for the novel I’m planning now, which I call my “Green New Deal/truth and reconcilliation/Modern Monetary Theroy” novel; I’ve just written another very short story in the same vein for a new British magazine and my notes file for the book is filling up so fast that I’m pretty sure I’m about ready to start writing.

It was supposed to be a special graduation treat: for their last two weeks of middle school, Artemio’s class would be the model classroom for the Huerta’s Twenty-First Town, part of the show for all the *other* kids whose teachers were no more excited about being in school in the final weeks of May than their students were.

Artemio’s parents thought it was going to be great. His dad had loved the Huerta when he was a kid, and his mom, who had grown up in Oregon, had been charmed by the Huerta when she moved to LA for grad school.

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Pick from over 1,000 new skills with this eLearning pass

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Everybody could use a little improvement, especially those of us on the hunt for new careers. Each job requires a different set of skills, and that list can change from year to year or even month to month as new technologies emerge.

When you’re in that race and need to learn fast, the old model of schooling can seem, well … a little too old school. So what’s the alternative?

Enter StackSkills, a subscription service that opens up a library of more than 1,000 eLearning courses.

Both beginning and established coders will find a ton of great resources here, with classes on blockchain, app development, project management, data analytics and much more, frequently updated for the latest programming languages and platforms.

But that’s just one broad subject area. You’ll also find courses on graphic design, personal finance, entrepreneurship, speed reading and a ton of other disciplines. There are even ways for you to learn a new hobby or monetize an existing one with masterclasses on things like photography and podcasting.

They’re all taught by top instructors in the field, and they’re all open for you to use. StackSkills is essentially a virtual university, minus the lifetime debt. In fact, it’s just $59 now for an annual pass. Read the rest

This is the best kind of Apple Watch band

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I got one of these bands for my Apple Watch a couple of years ago. It replaced the stock rubber band that’s like a little belt with holes and a buckle. This one automatically adjusts to any size wrist and stays in place with a magnet. It’s so much better than any other kind of band I can think of. It’s usually on Amazon but if you use code SSBZ7IR8 it’s about half that price. Read the rest

National Geographic and Mattel proudly present ‘Photojournalist Barbie’

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A cool vest, an SLR and a kidnapped lion cub help identify this Barbie as Photojournalist Barbie.

I have not seen Barbie in a long time, but I guess the pink convertible doesn’t scare off the wildlife.

I have been told Boing Boing readers love Barbie… right Ryan? Nice to see she reads.

Barbie Photojournalist Doll via Amazon Read the rest

That time Sublime covered the ‘Hong Kong Phooey’ theme

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Two great things that get even better together: Sublime and Hong Kong Phooey.

Penrod Pooch studied the ‘Hong Kong Book of Kung-Fu’ to no great effect, and Sublime was the only reason I’d go to Long Beach in the late 80s. The cartoon may be dated but the band remains in my rotation.

Thanks, Boing Boing BBS reader GulliverFoyle! Read the rest

Save over 20% on the world’s longest-lasting translator device

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In recent years, natural language processing technology and language translation technology have advanced greatly. The trouble is, language translation software typically comes in the form of apps. And while your mileage may vary on their usefulness, they share one thing in common: a serious drain on the battery for your smartphone, the very thing you’ll be using to get around in unfamiliar towns.

The CM Translator is the first great alternative to the clumsy crutch of translation apps. It’s a standalone device that works with a single click. Just say whatever you want to be translated and it’ll repeat the phrase back in one of many different languages. You can hold the device up to a person who speaks a different language than you do, and it will be translated into your language.

Powered by Microsoft and Orion voice recognition, that functionality puts us firmly in “Star Trek” translator territory. Better still, its workhorse battery is capable of up to 24 hours of continuous use, freeing up your cell phone for other things. On standby, that operation time can stretch to 180 days.

The CM Translator works in English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and a myriad of other languages. You can use your smartphone to toggle between active languages, then let the translator do its thing. At less than 6″ long, it’s portable enough to take anywhere.

Pick up the CM Translator now for 23% off the retail price. Read the rest

The Ikea Tarot

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Akiva Leffert has designed an Ikea-themed tarot deck:

Ikea is a place of transition, a journey, a source of light and comfort, but also strife. Ikea contains the universe. Harness that power to understand your own life with these cleanly designed Ikea themed tarot cards. They’ll go great sitting on your BILLY bookcase or on the table next to your MALM bedframe. The deck contains the four suits of the minor arcana: sofas, lamps, dowels, and allen keys as well as a full set of major arcana.

Available at Etsy.

(Via Brandon Sheffield.) Read the rest

Test-drive nice programming fonts live on the web

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There are many articles about nice monospace typefaces, but Programming Fonts lets you see all the good ones live on-screen—and how your work looks in it. I’m a big fan of APL385, with a truly ancient pedigree, whose eccentricities land perfectly at the needs of the moment: high-dpi fixed-width legibility that’s fun without drowning in nostalgia for old displays and their stupid pixels. Read the rest

Make: a scary, jerking “groundbreaker” zombie for your lawn

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Trimbandit’s Scary Animated Zombie Groundbreaker Instructable uses two pneumatics to make a partially buried zombie jerk and pitch and seem to try to claw its way out of your lawn — it’s an incredibly effective illusion, one that capitalizes on the jerking, sudden motions of the pneumatic to lend a terrifying, otherworldly vigor that makes the mannequin skinned over the pneumatics seem like the living dead.

*NOTE* I recommend starting with a low amount of pressure when testing and increasing from there until you are satisfied with the speed. The cylinders are very powerful and you don’t want to rip everything apart.

You will probably want to either weight or stake down the groundbreaker to keep it from shaking across your lawn. I ran a considerable length of air hose so I could keep the compressor in the back yard, since it is rather noisy.

Scary Animated Zombie Groundbreaker [Trimbandit/Instructables]

(via Hackaday)

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Get big savings on Noise-Cancelling Headphones, Levitating Speakers, & more

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Treat yourself, internet: We’ve rounded up some deals from the past week that were too good not to bring back for an encore. Take your pick from home goods, massagers and other tech, all at serious discounts.

TREBLAB Z2 Bluetooth 5.0 Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Get in the groove and stay that way with these headphones and their mammoth 35-hour battery life. The sound is just as impressive, with Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity and T-Quiet™ active noise-cancellation. Get a pair now for more than 10% off the retail price.

Zone 47″ Wide PC Gamer Computer Desk

Minimize your distractions and maximize comfort on that next raid. This wide-surfaced desk boasts a cable organizer, headphone hook and even a cupholder – all the amenities a gamer needs. There’s even a charging hub with 3 outlets and 2 charging ports. Pick up yours today for more than 25% off.

VOLTA Levitating Light Bulb

Give your desk or den a jolt of atmosphere with this floating LED bulb. The secret is a pair of magnets that keep the bulb aloft while wireless induction technology keeps it glowing with a warm, soft light. It’s now available for a full 40% off the MSRP.

TubShroom®, SinkShroom® Strainers & StopShroom® Plug Bundle

Hair happens, but this gadget ensures it doesn’t clog up your drains. The TubShroom catches errant hairs and other potential clogs in your drain, while the SinkShroom elevates out from the drain. Pick it up and discard the yuck without ever having to touch it. The pack of three strainers is now 30% off the list price. Read the rest

8 multitools that break the “Swiss Army Knife” mold

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As cool as your smartphone is, it can’t do everything. When a job requires a little elbow grease, a multitool is a great thing to have around – and might just save your life in the right situation.

Here’s a roundup of some of the latest multitool designs, which have come a long way since the old, fingernail-destroying Swiss Army Knife model.

Geekey Multi-Tool

A lot of multitools fit on your keychain, but this one really blends in. The key-shaped tool incorporates some of the standard tools like a screwdriver and wrenches (standard and metric), but also some unusual ones, like a fully functioning pipe. It’s now on sale for a full 58% off the retail price.

The Kelvin 007 Pocket Spinning Tool

A fix-it tool for fidgety types, the Kelvin 007 is a fully functioning zinc alloy spinner with star points that serve as Phillips, flathead and Torx screwdriver bits. Get a pack of two Kelvins now for a 24% discount.

Kelvin.7 Automotive Emergency Multi-Tool

This one is a particular help in any roadside emergency. Any repair job will be easier with its flashlight, hand-crank power generator and magnet array, and the seat belt cutter and window breaker are crucial in case of an accident. The Kelvin 7 is now on sale for 20% off the MSRP.

Kelvin 36: The Urban Super-Tool

The sturdy handle provides a firm base for the many tools on the Kelvin 36. There are no less than 26 hardened CR-V bits, and the screwdriver handle is able to lock at straight or right angles. Read the rest

Lemonade is breaking the mold for home and renters insurance

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Whether you own or rent your place, insurance on that home is a necessary hassle – but a new tech-driven company called Lemonade is starting to show that while it might indeed be a necessity, it doesn’t have to be a hassle.

Here’s the way insurance typically works: You pay premiums and hope an accident never happens. If it does, you enter the purgatory of red tape, trying to pry restitution from a company that has little motivation or ability to pay out your claim.

Lemonade doesn’t work that way. Instead, it utilizes a well-built technology platform and intuitive AI to make signup a breeze. If anything, the process of paying out claims is even easier: You answer a few questions, outline your lost or damaged property through video chat, and get satisfaction almost instantly. Lemonade takes a flat fee from your premiums, so there’s no motivation for them to stonewall you when it comes time to file a claim. At the end of each year, they’ll even turn a portion of the unclaimed money from those premiums to the charity of your choice.

Another great thing about their flat fees? They’re super cheap, thanks to Lemonade’s low overhead. Fees start at $25 for homeowners’ insurance and $5 for renters. Get a quick quote and sign up today. Read the rest

HALLOWEEN: Most terrifying pumpkin ever

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What a work of art.

There are scary jack-o-lanterns and there are HORRIFYINGLY AWFULLY TERRIFYING ONES.

This is one of those, from PyroDragon.

As the title says, this is a continuation from my original post of this Funkin, since it’s now completed.I’ve decided to call him “SPITHOPS ™”, which is short for
“Spookiest Pumpkin In The History Of Pumpkin Spooks ™”

This is carved out of one of those newfangled foam pumpkins.
It makes it a h*ck of a lot easier and WAY less messy.
The animals won’t eat it, and you can reuse the same pumpkin design every year!

Pencil: For layout of design
Razor Knife: For cutting through foam.
Special Pumpkin Groove Carving Tool: For grooves that aren’t going through the wall entirely
Drill and Bits: For holes in design and in the back for power

Go see the whole making of.

Scariest Pumpkin Carving EVER [Part 2]

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How much more black can Barry’s Gold Blend be?

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Barry’s Gold Blend is my favorite everyday black tea.

A few weeks ago I was drinking PG Tips ‘Extra Strong’ as my beloved Barry’s is not available at any local markets. Today I was organizing my VW Vanagon’s kitchen storage and came across a box of Barry’s I had forgotten in July.


It is like how much more black could Barry’s Gold Blend be? The answer is none. None more black.

Barry’s Gold Blend gets better the longer you leave the tea bag in. Eventually, the liquid becomes a sludge-like slurry of existential dread and water. You can drink it, however, it is not pure evil.

This tea leaves lines and stains in every mug I drink it from, unless the mug is already black or at the very least a dark blue. You may want to buy some baking soda to scrub your mugs out as well.

I was fine drinking the PG Tips, but I am just happy as can be to have Barry’s back. I will return to keeping a spare box on hand.

Barry’s Tea Gold Blend 80 Count 2-Pack via Amazon

More about Barry’s Tea on Boing Boing. Read the rest

These travel accessories will help you pack like a pro for your next trip

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People tend to keep luggage around for a long time. And why not? New suitcases are pricey, and no matter how banged up or patched up that old bag gets, it still holds your clothes. Right?

Maybe not. Here are 15 travel bags and accessories that make a strong case for upgrading your gear. They’ve got innovations that will let you pack more, improve your organization and be prepared for any emergency.


Tanka Engine Hard-Side 3-Piece Spinner Luggage

Made of scratch-free ABS material and equipped with three dial-side combination locks, this baggage set presents a tough exterior. But when it comes time for packing, the flexible interior expands by up to 2.5″, giving you a surprising amount of space. A set of 3 bags is on sale now for 10% off.

J World Tanka Zuni 4-Pc Hard-Side Spinner Luggage Set

Tanka’s Zuni line sports the same expandable packing space and adds plenty of organizational perks. There’s an X panel for keeping things separate and multiple mesh pockets for smaller gear. The 4-pack set includes a large and mid-size suitcase, carry-on bag and beauty case, all priced at 10% off the MSRP.

J World DIA Polycarbonate Luggage Set

Feather-light double spinners let these bags travel smoothly and quickly across the terminal, and the polycarbonate shell is durable yet pliable. Corner protection and interior dividers show attention to detail in this well-made set. Pick up the set of three for a 10% discount.

Genius Pack 30″ Spinner Upright Suitcase

True to its name, the Genius Pack is loaded with features. Read the rest

Pay what you want for these 10 Mac apps & get the most out of your MacBook

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Do you own a Mac? Unless you’re using it for a paperweight, you almost can’t afford not to get the Magnificent Mac Bundle. It’s a roundup of some truly essential security and file management apps, bundled up with great photo and video enhancers.

The best part is that all nine apps are potentially available for pennies. There’s a “pay what you want deal” for the bundle that allows you to name your price. No matter what that number is, you’ll at least get something. But before we get into the deal itself, here’s a breakdown of the apps:

UltData Mac Data Recovery – A lifesaver for busy workers with wayward files, this one protects your data from accidental deletion, formatting snafus, virus infections or a host of other calamities.
MovieSherlock Pro Video Downloader – Get any video from anywhere in its native format. The downloader also converts to MP3 or MP4 and can handle multiple files simultaneously.
Dropzone 3 – This drag-and-drop file manager makes everything you do easier, from installing apps to shortening URLs.
Wallpaper Wizard 2 – Tired of the same stock photos on your screen? Choose from 25,000 images in 4K HD, customizable for display on multiple devices.
AnyTrans for iOS -If you spend time bouncing between devices, AnyTrans makes sure you can access all your files without confusion and manage your data, contacts and media from anywhere.
Camera Guard 3 Pro – That webcam of yours can be an open window for hackers or malware. This service locks it (and your microphone) down with state-of-the-art app blockers and access PINs. Read the rest

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