Here’s why pop culture features so little public transportation

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Although I use Chicago’s CTA public transportation system virtually every day, it never occurred to me that my experience is relatively underrepresented in pop culture. We don’t often see fictional characters utilizing public transportation, at least not to the same extent we see them use other modes of travel, like cars and taxis. This fascinating article from Arlington-based public transportation think tank Mobility Lab offers two explanations for why that is. For one thing, showing characters driving a car allows a TV show or movie to utilize product placement; car companies pay big money to have their vehicles featured onscreen. And for another, it’s a lot more logistically difficult to film on public transportation. But as Mobility Lab notes:

Featuring public transportation on TV shows and movies normalizes it. Characters riding public transportation makes transit another setting–a place where life happens. Seeing it on screen makes it easier to envision it in your life.

You can read the full article—which offers some fascinating stats about filming on both the CTA and New York City’s MTA—over on the Mobility Lab website.

[Photo: Jane The Virgin, The CW/Scott Everett White]

Will Smith is a YouTube vlogger now

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One of the unexpected delights of 2018 has been watching Will Smith try to parlay his traditional celebrity into the world of YouTube celebrity. Though he hasn’t come close to racking up the millions of subscribers the most popular YouTubers have (Smith’s currently at about 670,000 subscribers as of the writing of this article), the 49-year-old is clearly having a lot of fun on his channel. Smith’s vlogs show off the goofy sense of humor that made him such a beloved star in the first place. He doesn’t seem to take either himself or his YouTube aspirations too seriously, but his videos are a short, weird burst of fun.

And if you like this, you’ll love Smith’s equally delightful Instagram account.

These found-object charts are both quirky and insightful

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Visual artist Michelle Rial has spent the past seven years making chart-based art and her latest project incorporates found objects into the mix. Rial began using everyday objects—which includes everything from food to office supplies to wine stains to floss—after a neck injury forced her to step away from her computer and away from the types of illustrations she had been doing previously. Using found objects cut down on some of the physical pain of illustrating for Rial and has resulted in some really cool, unique pieces of art with a great sense of humor. Here are some of my favorites:

Fall timeline 🍂 #100uselesscharts

A post shared by Michelle Rial (@realifecharts) on

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Cease and Desist enamel pin

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The Cease and Desist enamel pin—a hauntingly familiar soup can mounted on hauntingly familiar robot legs—is $7 on Kickstarter.

CEASE and DESIST will be Packaged Action Figure Style. With very thick Archivist Backing Cards and Custom Sized Miniature Blisters holding the pin in place.

The Enamel Pins themselves will shiny Chrome Metal finish where all the Grey areas Fall. With Black, and White Enamel Fills and one of 4 Different Standard Color Fills, Seen Below, for that extra layer of Tribute, or Infringement, depending on your point of view. PIN SIZE: 1.64 inches tall X 1.125 inches wide

I’ve been making making excited beeping sounds and rocking laterally since I saw it.

Here’s what it’s like to live in an eco-friendly “Earthship”

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As part of their ongoing YouTube series Homebuddies, in which they try out different forms of living (and attempt to become better friends in the process), Buzzfeed’s Niki Ang and Garrett Werner spent a few days in an “Earthship” in Taos, New Mexico. Pioneered by architect Michael Reynolds, Earthships are “sustainable, off-grid, independent, autonomous buildings” made from upcycled materials. Though Niki and Garrett go in expecting something a bit kooky and rustic, they discover that in addition to be sustainable, Earthships are also unexpectedly comfortable too.

You can learn more about Michael Reynolds’ work on the Earthship Global website or read more about Earthships on Wikipedia.

South African audience celebrates ‘Black Panther’

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After a Friday night screening of Black Panther, Marvel’s new film that celebrates African culture and pride, a group of South African moviegoers ecstatically danced outside of the theater.

That celebratory vibe was felt here in California too.

My daughter and I saw the movie in Alameda at its first showing Thursday evening and the energy in the room was wild! The theater was packed and there was lots of cheering and clapping all throughout the film.

Also here in the Bay Area, the film’s director and co-writer Ryan Coogler surprised the audience before Friday night’s show at Oakland’s Grand Lake Theater (where lines wrapped around the block):

Born and raised in Oakland, Coogler delighted more local fans by making surprise appearances at select movie premieres in San Francisco and Emeryville.

(reddit)

In search of an awesome general interest gaming magazine

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Last year, I went on a bit of a quest. For years, as a tabletop gamer who played Warhammer 40K almost exclusively, I subscribed to White Dwarf (or “White Dork” as my late wife used to call it). This is the slick and expensive Games Workshop publication that exclusively covers WH40K and other GW games. But as my ravenous game appetite expanded to wanting to pig out on all manner of miniature, board, RPG, and card games, I began to look for magazines that covered all of these. To my surprise, I discovered that there weren’t any. Or, at least, I couldn’t find one.

There are a number of excellent and beautifully-produced tabletop wargame magazines, such as Wargames Illustrated and Wargames, Soldiers, and Strategy. And there are mags that cover board and family games, such as Casual Game Insider. And then there is GTM, Game Trade Magazine, a magazine targeted at your FLGS (“friendly local game store). But where was the magazine that covers all forms of analog gaming? There’s a tabletop gaming revolution going on. So where is the house organ?

Here it is. Tabletop Gaming magazine. This very handsome UK-based monthly covers all manner of board games, RPGs, card games, historical wargames, miniature games, dice games, party games, you name it. I didn’t even have high expectations for the contents of such a magazine, but Tabletop Gaming delivers a very well-designed and well-written publication that examines every aspect of the gaming hobby. Feature articles cover new games being developed, aspects of game history, culture, art, design, the gaming industry, even the psychology and science of gaming. There are interviews with game designers, peeks at historical games of yore, instructional articles for game design wannabes, even hobby articles on painting miniatures, building terrain, and the like. And, as you would expect from a gaming magazine, there are loads of thoughtful reviews of the latest and greatest games in each issue.

I have read the last two issues nearly cover-to-cover. Here is some of what was inside: (January, 2018) A deep dive into the forthcoming Fallout miniatures game, 10 RPGs to play in 2018, the making of Dominion, a look at Stuffed Fables, a new storybook game from Jerry Hawthorne, designer of Mice & Mystics, a look inside the counterfeit game market, and an article on Hnefatafl (“neffa-taffle”) an ancient Viking board game. (February, 2018) A detailed look at Batman: Gotham City Chronicles, the hotly anticipated miniatures board game by the creators of the Conan tabletop game, a piece on how gaming miniatures are made, what is in store for the return of Masks of Nyarlathotep, arguably one of the greatest RPG adventures ever written, and finally, a guide to painting up the miniatures for the Star Trek Adventures RPG.

Every issue also comes with a free promo card for a popular new game. You can sometimes sell these on eBay to help defray the cost of your subscription. That subscription doesn’t come cheap, by the way. A 12-issue print sub, sent to the US, is £120. An annual digital sub is half that. But you can also likely pick up a copy at your FLGS. If they don’t carry it, encourage them to do so. I personally am happy to pay such a price for a magazine this good that covers all of the gaming itches that I want to scratch.

Horse not alarmed by wolves

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In this footage, a wild horse is apparently unbothered by the presence of several wolves, and perhaps even quite friendly with them. Perhaps it has already sufffered a crippling injury and is going mad as the predators continuously stalk and harass it into fatigue and despair, after having already suffered brain parasites or some other tragic malady of horses. Or maybe it just doesn’t give a shit.

This French baker cruises around delivering fresh-baked goods to boaters

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Here’s a guy who’s found his niche market.

Out of a humble panga, there is a French baker who goes boat to boat selling his fresh-baked wares to those docked (primarily gringos) in Jalisco, Mexico’s Barra de Navidad marina and lagoon area.

Chef Emeric Fiegen opened up shop, with his wife Christine, in this small laidback beach town over 15 years ago after a stint in Montreal. Early each morning, Chef Emeric still personally delivers his many breads, baguettes, croissants, pies, and quiches by boat. Not surprisingly, his pastries sell out by the time he’s done making his rounds.

My friends Andrea and Nick are currently on an epic cruising adventure with their teen daughter Pari, and were lucky to sample the breakfast pastries while anchored in Barra de Navidad. Andrea told me that they’ve never come across a delivery service like this before on any of their many boating trips.

Here’s a look at the menu. Keep in mind that those prices are in pesos and that it’s currently about 18.50 pesos to the dollar:

Landlubbers, fear not, the French Bakery (aka El Horno Francés) has an onshore eatery for you in town.

photos by Andrea Cook

News of the Times Flashback: Pearl Harbor Attacked; FDR Doesn’t Know Who Did It

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FOLLOW @RubenBolling on the Twitters and a Face Book.

JOIN Tom the Dancing Bug’s subscription club, the Proud & Mighty INNER HIVE, for exclusive early access to comics, extra comics, and much more.

GET Ruben Bolling’s new hit book series for kids, The EMU Club Adventures. (“Filled with wild twists and funny dialogue” -Publishers Weekly) Book One here. Book Two here.

More Tom the Dancing Bug comics on Boing Boing!
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Get a great deal on Trainz, the world’s leading train simulator

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Trains may not be the most popular means of conveyance nowadays, but chances are you grew up playing with toy trains or building a model set to wrap around the Christmas tree. In either case, it’s safe to say that locomotives have long carried a unique sense of awe and scale, especially when they’re hundreds of cars long and roaring across the countryside. Trainz: A New Era lets you experience this feeling again with a 21st-century spin, and its Platinum Edition Bundle is on sale for $19.99 in the Boing Boing Store.

Trainz is a train simulator that brings famous locomotives to life as they travel across historical and modern routes in mind-blowing realism and with a powerful graphics engine. You can create your own routes with in-game editing tools and combine your efforts with other players to build and operate a working rail line. Plus, this edition includes 16 additional routes, three bonus trainsets, and a host of other downloadable content.

The Trainz: A New Era Platinum Edition Bundle is on sale today for $19.99.

This app helps you build your dream home from the ground up

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When it comes to redesigning or renovating a living space, envisioning changes before they occur can be tricky for most. Thankfully, the web is home to tools that can remove some of the guesswork, like Live Home 3D Pro for Mac. This app lets you create detailed and furnished floor plans for everything from sheds and homes to even skyscrapers, and it’s on sale for $24.99 in the Boing Boing Store.

A TopTenReviews Gold Award winner, Live Home 3D Pro allows you to design advanced 2D floor plans via simple, point and click drafting tools. Its elevation view lets you see walls, adjust doors and windows, and arrange furniture in your design. Plus, you can add a custom light source to an object, giving you full control over light attenuation, glow, and direction. Live Home 3D Pro is also capable of rendering movie tracks to ultra HD video files, handy for impressing clients if you’re a contractor.

You can experience Live Home 3D Pro’s design potential for $24.99.

Snake climbs a thin wire fence and then slithers along the top of it

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I’ve never seen anything like this before and neither had Matt Dunbabin, the owner of the Bangor Vineyard Shed in Dunalley, Tasmania, who shot this now-viral video of a Tasmanian tiger snake slithering along the top of a wire fence.

Dunbabin said there are plenty of snakes in southern Tasmania, but he had never witnessed one climbing a fence, he told The Mercury.

“Certainly not along a strand of wire on the fence, it seemed really bizarre…”

“They’re a part of the landscape that is great to see, and it’s fascinating to see behaviour that you just don’t normally see, it’s quite amazing.”

(Geekologie, Mashable)

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