Good news: John Krasinski has a whole bunch of good news

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The world is currently full of absolutely shitty news—like, way more than usual. Actor/Director/Seemingly very nice fella John Krasinski’s not OK with that. Instead of moping about it, he and a few pals, both online and off, took it upon themselves to throw together close to 16 minutes worth of video that features nothing but good news. As we shelter at home, worrying about our loved ones and community, this is exactly the injection of feel-good shit that we need.

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Clean up and class up your bathroom with this sensor-driven, hands-free soap dispenser

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So…exactly how many times a day are you singing Happy Birthday to your sink? Unless you’re among the most germaphobic among us, it’s unlikely you ever thought the simple act of handwashing would start to take on such a central role in our daily lives.

Of course, with all the touching and such, bar soap isn’t really the best idea these days, so it might be a good time to fully step up to a sanitation process worthy of our chaotic times. And that process means — don’t touch anything.

This hands-free foaming soap dispenser not only serves up a handful of soapy goodness when you need it, it does so with a simple swipe over an infrared sensor. There’s no need to ever push a button or force down a pump. Just like all those fancy bathrooms in expensive hotels and restaurants, a single sweep of your hand gets the job done, so nobody’s grungy fingers get all over anything.

The unit’s motor churns out disinfecting foam in a quarter of a second to prevent any bacterial transmission — and that cool little sensor works like catnip to a kid, while also not-so-subtly reinforcing the whole handwashing habit. If you’ve got a youngster who seems to constantly “forget” to wash up after a stint in the throne room, this might just be the attention-grabbing reminder they need.

Unlike other models, this dispenser also comes with a clear plastic soap reservoir, so you can always tell exactly how much soap is left before you’re going to need to pick up some more…if Read the rest

Little Free Library in Seattle converted into a “Peep Show”

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I’ve seen reports that Little Free Libraries are being turned into free food pantries to help folks in this time of coronavirus. Now, hilariously, there’s one in Seattle that’s been converted into a “Peep Show,” complete with a hot pink neon sign, and a rooftop one that reads “Chicks! Chicks! Chicks!” But you won’t find anything lewd inside. Instead, you’ll find a fun diorama of marshmallow Peeps.

On Nextdoor, the Peep Show’s creator, Cristie Kearny of Seattle’s Crown Hill neighborhood, explains:

I’ve removed books from my Little Free Library to help slow the spread of COVID-19! I’ve converted it to a Peep Show, featuring Mary Peepins! Come by and take a peek! Social distancing approved! Hands free viewing or use provided sanitizing wipes for light switch.

She plans on changing her Peeps-filled diorama out every week. If you’re in the area, you can go check it out at 9709 14th Avenue NW. She tells Boing Boing that she’s already working on the next one: “Peeper Pan.”

Thanks, Marcia!

photos by Cristie Kearny Read the rest

Bare pantry? Watch this Saltine cracker hack and salivate

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If your pantry is dwindling down to the dregs, fear not. Host Alton Brown from the Food Network comes to the rescue with this Saltine crackers hack –– using just the crackers, along with butter, hot sauce, and mustard –– that looks easy and yes, even tasty.

And if your pantry is actually doing just fine but you want another Saltine cracker hack, here’s one we posted in 2018 that uses “saltines, Ritz crackers, ramen, tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni, Slim Jims, and pickles.”

How to make prison pizza

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A positively beautiful 1979 International Harvester Scout II SE

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A good friend of mine is restoring a Scout now. He compares it to my Vanagon and I do not understand why.

Looks like this one wants to be driven!

Bring a trailer:

Features unique to Selective Edition included an SSII-style grille, gold side stripes, and matching wheels. This example received a repaint in its factory shade of dark brown with gold stripes under previous ownership. Numerous exterior images in the gallery below show the current condition of the finish.

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Astrophysicist trying to invent coronavirus gadget is hospitalized for getting magnets stuck up his nose

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A bored astrophysicist trying to keep busy throughout these days of social distancing thought he had a great idea. Dr. Daniel Reardon thought he might invent a necklace that would set off an alarm whenever someone touched their face. Instead, he was hospitalized for getting four magnets stuck in his nostrils.

According to The Guardian:

The 27 year-old astrophysicist, who studies pulsars and gravitational waves, said he was trying to liven up the boredom of self-isolation with the four powerful neodymium magnets.

“I had a part that detects magnetic fields. I thought that if I built a circuit that could detect the magnetic field, and we wore magnets on our wrists, then it could set off an alarm if you brought it too close to your face. A bit of boredom in isolation made me think of that.”

However, the academic realised the electronic part he had did the opposite – and would only complete a circuit when there was no magnetic field present.

“I accidentally invented a necklace that buzzes continuously unless you move your hand close to your face,” he said.

Reardon realized his idea wasn’t going to work, but, still bored, continued to play around with the magnets. First he attached them to both sides of his ears, as many of us have done, and then to the inside and outside of his nostrils. It was funny, until he realized he couldn’t pry them out, not even with a pair of pliers.

“At this point, my partner who works at a hospital was laughing at me,” he told The Guardian. Read the rest

Video series about selling an ugly painting for a lot of money

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YouTuber Reckless Ben says “the goal of this [8-part] series is to create one of the ugliest paintings we could think of and try to sell the painting for a large sum of money.” The first episode alone has so many twists and turns that I can’t be bothered to give a recap. I recommend that you just watch it.

Part 2:

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‘Killer Queen Black’: like multiplayer ‘Joust’

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I have been enjoying Killer Queen Black.

I started playing KQB in beta, on the recommendation of some friends who played the arcade version regularly in a bar. This game is a hoot!

In addition to a ‘Military’ win where you beat up the other team with flying creatures that operate a heck of a lot like the awesome ostrich riders in Joust, you can also win by collecting berries (“Economic”) or racing a snail across a finish line (“Badass”.)

Three-player teams take on three-player teams, or you can just play vs the AI.

Available for Xbox One, Switch and PC via Steam. Read the rest

Why dark backgrounds in videos look awful

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Even though typical video has 16.8 million colors (256 shades each of red, green, and blue. 256 * 3 = 16,777,216), large gradients of dark colors have a terrible blocky look on displays. Why is that? Tom Scott says there are three reasons: 1) there aren’t a lot of dark colors, which makes it easy to see color bounding in gradients 2) the way human eyesight works, and 3) lossy compression.

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Save over 75% on lifetime subscriptions to Rosetta Stone, VPN Unlimited, and 12min Book Summary App

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Paralysis by analysis. It’s the phenomenon that happens when you’re so stuck on thinking through all the ramifications of your actions that you don’t actually take action in the first place.

That can happen with all this free time you’re spending stuck inside your house. With literally every home-bound option available to you, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by your choices and just watch Dr Pimple Popper from morning til night.

Resist that urge, people.  In fact, we’ve got three ways your time indoors could actually end up being time well spent — and you can knock out all three with The Social Distancing Lifetime Subscription Bundle ft. Rosetta Stone.

Learn a language

Half the world is bilingual. Literally. So if you’re locked in on English and only English, you can broaden your communication horizons with a lifetime subscription learning up to 24 different languages at your own pace with Rosetta Stone. They’ve spent decades refining their intuitive learning method that’s been the online gold standard for language learning for 30 years. Their immersive system ramps up vocabulary, conversation, and writing skills naturally while their TruAccent speech recognition technology is there with instant feedback on how well your spoken language skills are progressing.

Read a book…or dozens of books

Since you can’t go to the library, you can bring the library to you with lifetime access to 12min Premium Micro Book Library. Just scroll through hundreds of different nonfiction titles in more than 20 different categories and make your choice. Read the rest

A delightful cover of “I Saw A Tiger,” the insane country anthem from “Tiger King”

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First of all: if you haven’t watched Netflix’s Tiger King documentary series yet, then what the hell are you waiting for? It’s got everything: tiger, ligers, lions, and bears; gay polygamists who are also straight; murder cover-ups galore; lots and lots of meth; fucking tigers; straight polygamists who are really just harem cult leaders who also own tigers; mullets; tigers; country pop songs about tigers and the Deep State; more meth mouth; more tigers; more polyamory; more conspiracies; FBI entrapment schemes; strip club owners who are also narcs; that libertarian campaign manager who actually seems like a decent guy; the multiple employees with amputated limbs who also seem like decent people in spite of their tragic stories; more guns and explosions; and of course, tigers.

But one thing it doesn’t go into enough in its already-overpacked-seven-episodes is the Tiger King’s alleged music career. While the series shows some clips from Joe “Tiger King” Exotic’s country music videos, it doesn’t explain who actually wrote and produced those songs, or let you hear any of them in their full WTF glory.

Slate was fortunate enough to interview the songwriters involved in such hits as “I Saw A Tiger” — and if you’ve seen the show, you won’t be surprised that they were kind of conned by Joe Exotic, too, just like everyone else around him.

But perhaps even more glorious is that people like BJ Barham (above), one of my favorite alt-country singer/songwriters and the frontman for American Aquarium, has already taken to covering Joe Exotic’s Tiger songs. Read the rest

Children are becoming snail mail pen pals with Fairyland “elves” in this time of social distancing

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You might remember that when I’m not blogging for Boing Boing, I can usually be found at my other gig — Children’s Fairyland. Of course, the Oakland, California kiddie theme park is closed now and will be until it’s safe to reopen. But, we do have a skeleton crew of essential “elves” who are on site to care for the donkeys, miniature horses, and other animals. While there, they also water our plants and check our mail. That’s when we got the idea to offer the children in our community a chance to became pen pals with these “elves.” We already have stacks of super-fun, kid-sized stationery, so launching it was just a matter of announcing it on social media.

The offer:

Play with us! Have your child draw us a picture or write us a note, and then snail mail it to us. Our “elves” promise to write back (on special Fairyland stationery designed by Oakland artist Michael Wertz, no less).

Send to: 699 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610

Well, in just a week, the response has already been incredible. Local children, plus some as as far away as Texas and Utah, have been sending us snail mail like crazy. Read the rest

How to Build a Fire with a Knife and a Piece of Bamboo

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My friend Dug North shared this video on YouTube at the request of another friend. It is unedited and a bit long, but it’s a fascinating technique that requires only a knife and a segment of bamboo.

Like a lot of friction fire techniques, the prep is important (and a tad fussy) and it takes a while to get the hang of it, but it looks as though, once you learn it, it’s really not that hard.

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The ‘Super Bad Transmittable Contagious Awful Virus’ song, a parody of ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!’

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You need this. So do I.

Ladies and gentlemutants, this is Daniel Matarazzo performing his ode to coronavirus, ‘Super Bad Transmittable Contagious Awful Virus!.’ It’s a parody of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, from the 1964 musical ‘Mary Poppins.’

I love this man and I love his song so very much.

Tom Lehrer, reincarnated, and stuck at home during a pandemic.


Now when a virus comes along that’s spreading like a plague
and POTUS and his lackeys have been nothing if not vague
Well then you’ve got to trust the CDC and listen well
Unless you want to bid our free society farewell

There is a…
Super bad transmittable contagious awful virus
And if we don’t act quick and social distance it will mire us
In a stretch of quarantine that lasts until July, a
Super bad transmittable contagious awful virus

(And if ya gotta better cough in your arm
And if ya gotta better cough in your arm)

Now back in 1918 Influenza had its run
But half their docs were busy overseas with World War I
Today we have mass media and scientists to say
If you don’t want this virus well then stay six feet away!

Super damn important that we practice isolation
Cause we’re asymptomatic while it’s in incubation
We’ll overwhelm our hospitals if there’s not mitigation
Super damn important that we practice isolation

(If we don’t do it then we’re all gonna die
If we don’t do it then we’re all gonna die)

And so I hope at last you take the lesson here to heart,
cause it’s already scary and we’re only at the start
If you get bored just think of the immunocompromised
Who can’t go much of anywhere unless it’s sterilized

Super bad transmittable contagious awful virus
And if we don’t act quick and social distance it will mire us
In a stretch of quarantine that lasts until July, a
Super bad transmittable

A super bad transmittable

A super bad transmittable contagious awful virus!

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“Overly descriptive” color pallettes

See the original posting on Boing Boing combines two things the web was made for: color scheme generators and uncanny generative text.

Created as a fun way to discover interesting color combinations. Palettes are hand-selected from the Twitter bot @colorschemez. The randomly generated palettes match each color with an adjective from a list of over 20,000 words.

Created by Adam Fuhrer.

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