‘Shoop before ‘shoop

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 Polopoly Fs 1.1093490.1339435230! Img Httpimage Image.Jpg Gen Derivatives Landscape 630 Image

NY Daily News posted a fine gallery of old timey altered photos. Above, “Lincoln’s head was placed atop South Carolina politician John Calhoun’s body in this 1860 photo. Interestingly enough, Calhoun died in 1850.” At left, the powerful Benito Mussolini would never require the services of a horse handler! “Historic photos that have been altered(via Dave Pell’s NextDraft)

Clever sucker-bets

Here are ten clever sucker bets from Richard Wiseman. They’re a good mix of physics, logic, low trickery, concept-shifting, misdirection, topology, and breathtaking chutzpah. Seriously, I can’t believe that he ever tried #10, because he is still breathing.

10 Bets You Will Never Lose

Electronic business-card with blinkenlights show

Cody Shaw, a first year Co-op Electrical Engineering student at the University of Waterloo, spun up these wonderful electronic business cards for his job-search: set a 9V battery on the contacts and vary the light on the photo-sensor and you get a wicked blinkenlights show!

There were quite a few idea revisions in my mind before I actually got around to spinning the PCB. Microcontroller? Basic LED’s? No circuitry at all? Finally I got the idea of using a 555 timer (after seeing something about worldwide 555 timer competitions on the EEVBlog) that would be outputting a clock to LED’s, which would flash depending on some external interaction to the timer.

First idea: a photoresistor of course! The external RC circuit worked perfectly in ambient light with a simple 10k photoresistor. I quickly ran into an issue though; if I wanted to use a photoresistor, I would have to make my PCB through hole. I was not able to find one surface mount photoresistor. Therefore, I had to “fabricate” my own! How does one do that?!

Current in parallel with a normal resistor, of course! A phototransistor could act in place of the photoresistor, limiting the current in the RC circuit control for the 555 timer. Some issues with this, of course, is that phototransistors are quite expensive, and I managed to purchase opaque top photoresisors (which Digikey first sent as Red LED’s… D’OH)! After some trial and error with a scope and a breadboard, a working 555 timer, LED blinking, opto-frequency controlled circuit formed.

555 Timer Business Cards

(via Neatorama)

Gweek 055: Rainn Wilson’s Soul Pancake

Gweek 055 600 wide

Click here to play this episode. Gweek is a podcast where the editors and friends of Boing Boing talk about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, TV shows, music, movies, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.

My co-hosts for episode 55 are:

Ruben Bolling, the author of the weekly comic strip Tom the Dancing Bug, which premieres each week on Boing Boing,

Michael Pusateri, a lifelong tinkerer and former television tech executive for Disney who blogs at Cruftbox,

and Rainn Wilson, the actor and comedian best known for his role as Dwight Schrute in the hit series The Office. He’s also the founder of a very cool website and YouTube channel called Soul Pancake, which is devoted to discussing life’s big questions in art, philosophy, creativity, and spirituality.


Here are a few of the things we talked about in this episode:

Screen Shot 2012 06 05 at 4 50 47 PMAn interview with Rainn about Soul Pancake, the Bahá’í Faith, and the Malibu Triathlon.

Uncle scroogeRuben: Uncle Scrooge “Only a Poor Man,” by Carl Barks

NewImageRuben: Wherever I Wind Up, by R.A. Dickey

NewImageRuben: You’re Not Doing It Right, by Michael Ian Black.

bossypants.pngRainn: Bossypants, by Tina Fey

hanging-out.pngRainn: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, by Mindy Kaling

history-of-everything.pngRainn: A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson

7mysteries.pngRainn: The Seven Mysteries of Life, by Guy Murchie

stayed-home.pngMark: I Should Have Stayed Home, by Horace McCoy

gangstagrass.pngMichael: Gangstagrass: Rappalachia

wayne.pngRuben: Fountains of Wayne: Sky Full of Holes

caspar-babypants.pngRainn: Kathleen Edwards
, Rhett Miller
, The Head & the Heart
, Caspar Babypants

unusual-creatures.pngMark: Songs for Unusual Creatures

inner-hive.pngRuben: The Inner Hive

chess.pngRainn: Chess.com

Batgirl’s equal pay for women PSA (1972)

Batgirl demands equal pay in this fantastic 1972 public service announcement. (via Super Punch)

HOWTO to shut down the Internet

I’ve located the master switch. Oh, the temptation.

Internet sunglasses

Essential for protecting yourself from the web’s harsh, glaring irony. (From Histoire De Voir, apparently)

Islands of exile

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Alcatraz may be the most infamous prison island (unless you count Australia… OK, I’m kidding!), but it’s hardly the only one. Smithsonian lists ten “islands of exile,” some of which were true penal colonies while others were just unfortunate destinations for banished individuals. Included are the likes of Patmos, Greece, Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile, and Robben Island, South Africa. From Smithsonian:

Île Sainte-Marguerite, France

Just off the coast of Cannes in the Mediterranean Sea, the small, forested island of Sainte-Marguerite—about two miles long and a half-mile wide—was home to one of history’s most enigmatic prisoners. The convict, whose identity was concealed behind what was most likely a black velvet mask, was brought to the island in 1687, during the reign of Louis XIV, and locked up in the Royal Fort, then a state prison. (His barren cell can still be seen.) Later, he was moved to the Bastille, where he died in 1703 at around age 45.

The prisoner’s identity and the reason for his incarceration are still not known. But over the centuries, they have been the subjects of much speculation. One popular theory, that he was an older brother of Louis XIV, became the basis for Alexander Dumas’ classic tale The Man in the Iron Mask.

Ten Infamous Islands of Exile

"Retina Display" MacBook Pro

Apple’s just announced the 15″ Macbook Pro, with a high-resolution 2880×1800 15.4″ display. They’re calling it a Retina Display, but if that’s the case, it’s not quite the first laptop to have one: Sony has had a couple of laptops with 220 ppi screens. On the other hand, no-one is producing a competitive mainstream laptop with such a high resolution now. For reference, the iPhone is 326 ppi and the iPad 264 ppi. [The Verge]

Students assigned to cheat on exam use doctored Little Brother cover and many other clever methods

The IEEE’s Computer and Reliability Societies recently published “Embracing the Kobayashi Maru,” by James Caroland (US Navy/US Cybercommand) and Greg Conti (West Point) describing an exercise in which they assigned students to cheat on an exam — either jointly or individually. The goal was to get students thinking about how to secure systems from adversaries who are willing to “cheat” to win. The article describes how the students all completed the exam (they all cheated successfully), which required them to provide the first 100 digits of pi, with only 24h to prepare. The students used many ingenious techniques as cribs, but my heart was warmed to learn that once student printed a false back-cover for my novel Little Brother with pi 1-100 on it (Little Brother is one of the course readings, so many copies of it were already lying around the classroom).

James and Greg have supplied a link to a pre-pub of the paper (the original is paywalled), and sent along a video of a presentation they gave at Shmoocon where they presented the work. The students’ solutions are incredibly ingenious — the audience is practically howling with laughter by the end of the presentation.

(Thanks, Ben!)