Peng Shepherd’s “The Book of M” is a dystopian love story

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Peng Shepherd’s The Book of M delivers the confusion and frustration of massive world change by playing on the strings of your heart.

Magical realism certainly collides with prepper fantasy novel in The Book of M. People are losing their shadows and with them, their memories. As the world falls apart, folks with their shadows run in fear, while the shadowless run mad. Struggling to remember the world reconstructs it in the image of their flawed memory. The Book of M is the story of Maxine, having freshly lost her shadow, attempting to keep the memory of her husband Ory as-it-really-was, rather than change him into something he was not.

Shepherd does an amazing job writing her main characters. Very unique in a dystopian novel is how these characters, governments, and pop-up societies behave a lot more as I imagine real people would in these situations.

I bet most of those heroic prepper dudes all die of food poisoning anyway.

Science and magic are pretty interchangeable in The Book of M, but I never felt pushed into “you just have to believe X” to make the story work. I was addicted and had a hard time putting the novel down.

I was able to find The Book of M at my local library, via the Libby app.

The Book of M: A Novel by Peng Shepherd via Amazon Read the rest

Mike Huckabee repeats joke twice to elicit laughs from elderly all-white audience

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What professional comic Mike Huckabee lacks in creativity, comedic timing, and material, he more than makes up for in grossly mistaken self-assurance. Watch him force weak laughter and applause out of his audience of white seniors by repeating a joke in a vaguely threatening tone.

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This CIA toolkit is built for concealing in a spy’s butt

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Everyday carry? From Atlas Obscura:

This CIA-issued tool kit was issued to CIA officers during the height of the Cold War. It was a way for spies to get themselves out of sticky situations: to pick a lock, carve a tunnel, etc. Watch the video above to learn more about the tool kit from historian and curator of the International Spy Museum, Dr. Vince Houghton.


(Thanks for the laff, tuhu!)
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This boot camp cracks the code of social media marketing

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Things move fast in the world of social media, and they don’t slow down for marketers looking to make an impact. Whether you’re grabbing eyeballs for a major company or a local business, you’ll need to adjust your strategy for every platform. Don’t have a strategy to begin with? That’s where the Social Media Marketing Master Class Bundle can help.

Taught by the gurus at Integrity Training, this is a class that’s as comprehensive as it gets on a very wide topic. The 11-course bundle begins with a broad overview of marketing principles to keep in mind for any platform – analog or digital. It then shows how those rules apply to some very different arenas. You’ll get lessons devoted to marketing not just on Facebook, but on its Groups and Marketplace channels. You’ll be able to raise a buzz on crowded sites like Reddit, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and learn how to manage reviews of your business on tastemaking spots like Yelp.

With more than 28 hours of training, the Social Media Marketing Master Class Bundle is $29 for lifetime access, a full 97% off the MSRP.

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This TARDIS Grows Weed with Artificial Intelligence, PART 2

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Editor’s Note: Richard Metzger is a connoisseur of cannabis, and recently started growing his own. He’s test-driving high-end rig good for small-scale grows from Cloudponics. This is not a sponsored post, Boing Boing is not getting anything from Cloudponics. Metzger’s just really *that* enthusiastic about weed, and so far he likes the Cloudponics setup. Here’s part two in Richard’s ongoing series. — Xeni

In the first installment of This TARDIS Grows Weed with Artificial Intelligence, I explained how incredibly overwhelming it was for me to contemplate setting up a decent small grow situation as a rank novice. There were not only wildly varying philosophical approaches one might employ growing the dankest of nugs, but also a dizzying number of products, potions, pitfalls and problems. The proper cohort of gear needs to be amassed and assembled and it looked like there would inevitably be mistakes made along the way, some of them expensive, or at least time consuming. Growing pot seems easy if everything goes smoothly, but if one tiny thing goes wrong, then all can be lost. What are you going to do about spider mites? Mold? Nutrient burn? What is nutrient burn anyway?

As I stated before and I will reiterate now, I have no experience growing anything. I am not handy with tools. I only knew enough to know that I know nothing of any substance on the topic of growing pot. The more research I did on the subject, the less I felt I knew. Read the rest

Slack’s new logo is a penis swastika

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Behold the Brostika! Like the hidden arrow in the FedEx logo, Slack’s new brand has a negative-space surprise in store. The bars point the “lucky” left way, at least, rather than, well, to the right.

Below are Slack’s “Logo explorations for the octothorpe.” Octothorpe is a fancy word for the pound/hash symbol, which they have somehow managed to turn into a contact sheet of procedurally-generated swastikas.

UPDATE: T. Carter Baxter nails it better than I:

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Checking out Bexim’s Bazaar, a wonderful new zine for tabletop game crafters

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As we have written about before, the game crafting (or dungeon crafting) scene has exploded over the past few years. There are dozens of websites and YouTube channels devoted to every aspect of making and crafting for the tabletop and RPG gaming hobbies, from building custom gaming tables, to crafting terrain and miniature dungeons, to making DM screens, dice towers, modeling, converting, and painting miniatures, and much more.

One of my maker pals, James Floyd Kelly (a tech book author and long-time Make: contributor), jumped onto the game crafting bandwagon last year when he launched his Game Terrain Engineering YouTube channel. Jim’s channel grew very quickly and he has now become one of the rising stars in that community. And with good reason. Jim is ambitious and clever. And relentless. By the end of the year, he had decided to go into producing game crafting media as a full-time job. He relaunched his YT channel as The Tabletop Engineer and announced that he was launching a new monthly magazine devoted to the gaming hobby, especially focusing on game crafting.

Called Bexim’s Bazaar, the magazine will be monthly. It will mainly exist as a PDF publication, but on-demand print copies will also be available. The PDF version is yours after you become a Patreon sponsor of The Tabletop Engineer for US$2/month. Print copies of the issues (around 90 pages) are available on Blurb for $18.

In this recent video from Jeremy of Black Magic Craft, he discusses the import of this new hobby zine and does a page-by-page flick-through of a print copy of Issue #1. Read the rest

TSA agents, unpaid for 30 days, are blasting explicit hip-hop in airport terminals

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Say you work at the government agency with the lowest morale of any Fed job and then Cheeto Hitler decides to treat you like a casino contractor and not pay you, for thirty days, and recommends that you do chores for your landlord to stop from getting evicted — what do you do? Get musical: playing Sicko Mode or No Sleep Til Brookly or Misery Business or perhaps the theme from Halloween? (via Reddit)

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New Ted Bundy documentary based on deeply creepy unheard jailhouse recordings

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If you’re into the dark fringes of true crime media… The forthcoming documentary “Conversations With A Killer,” about serial killer Ted Bundy, is based on 100 hours of two journalists’ unheard audio interviews conducted on death row before Bundy was executed in 1989. From Rolling Stone:

The series also explores how Bundy was able to avert capture as he didn’t adhere to the serial killer stereotype; women flocked to Bundy’s trial despite the serial killer’s gruesome “sex crime slayings of more than 30 women.” “He was charming, good-looking, smart… Are you sure you got the right guy,” one woman says of Bundy in voiceover.

“I’m not an animal, I’m not crazy, I don’t have a split personality,” Bundy said in one recording. “I mean I’m just a normal individual.”

Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” premieres on Netflix on January 24, the anniversary of Bundy’s execution.
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The human body is “full of evolutionary leftovers that no longer serve a purpose”

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People have a little pink band in the inside corner of their eye. “This is the plica semilunaris,” says Dorsa Amir, an evolutionary anthropologist. “It used to be a third eyelid that would blink horizontally.” Amir posted a fascinating Twitter thread of other ” evolutionary leftovers that no longer serve a purpose” in the human body.

Image: By ExordiumOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link Read the rest

Watch this marvelous animation that summarizes humanity in five minutes

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Director Fabio Friedli animated 3,000 images to tell the story of humanity “from a seed to war, from meat to love, from indifference to apocalypse.”

“It is such an excessive amount of things, shown in such a short time, you are never able to perceive everything,” Friedli told Vimeo. “I like to believe it’s one’s subconscious that chooses what you see, hear and feel, depending on what is occupying your head and heart at the moment. No one has the same first ‘In A Nutshell’ experience.”

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The Twist Plus World Charging Station adapts to fit outlets in 150 countries

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It’s a rude awakening for that rookie vacationer abroad when they try to plug in their gear for the night. Veteran jet-setters know that outlet shapes can vary wildly from country to country, which necessitates that most boring must-have for any world-traveler: A sackful of clunky power adapters. Awkward problem, elegant solution: The Twist Plus World Charging Station.

Essentially a skeleton key of international plugs, the Twist Plus rotates easily to change between one of four configurations most common to wall outlets in the US, UK, Australia, and Europe. In all, you’re covered in more than 150 countries. And most travelers won’t’ need more than one: Just use one of the four USB ports to charge phones, tablets, laptops – even a MacBook. It’s light, portable and comes with built-in fuse protection for that added bit of security.

Originally priced at $45, the Twist Plus World Charging Station is now on sale at $31.99 – a 28% discount.

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Decorative unicorn skull

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Some unicorns chase; some are chased down. These splendid and totally real unicorn skulls [Amazon] are sourced from troll and ogre fairtrade collectives, are 8.5″ long and 10.75″ tall, and individually skinned and boiled for an odor- and insect-free presentation.

The horn of the unicorn skull is screwed onto the skull for safe shipping and handling.
Brace yourself with this fossil skull phantom of a unicorn stallion. Display him at your desks, shelves or what have you and he will be a star at any hosting events! This unicorn skull will be a great conversation starter as well as an excellent ice breaker for you and your guests. Some of them will think unicorn did exist!

Don’t know what they think they’re trying to say with that last line there but it’s thirty bucks a head. Read the rest

Revealed! The cover of RADICALIZED, my next book of science fiction

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On March 19, Tor Books will release my next book, Radicalized, whose four novellas are the angry, hopeful stories I wrote as part of my attempt to make sense of life in our current moment.

As with my novel Walkaway and the reissues of my adult backlist, Radicalized will have a cover by the amazing Will Stahle, who is, for my money, the best cover designer working in the business at the moment.

Today, Tor has published Stahle’s cover for Radicalized, and holy fucking shit, is it ever great.

There’s a whole lot of stuff happening with this book: I’ll be going out on tour with it (naturally) and there will be a UK edition from Head of Zeus; the individual novellas from it will be separately published in Germany by Heyne, First Look/Topic are adapting Unauthorized Bread (one of the stories) for TV, and Macmillan Audio is releasing each of the novellas as a standalone audiobook (I spent yesterday at the studio with Wil Wheaton as he crushed a reading of the title story).

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