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Brain candy for Happy Mutants

Get 100 generic Magic Erasers for $9

This is the best deal I've seen on generic Magic Erasers. Less than ten cents a sponge! Here's my earlier review: The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser a plain looking white sponge that looks like a chunk of cheap mattress foam. You wouldn't think it would do good job of cleaning anything. But it removes stains and scuffs from painted walls and other surfaces without damaging the surfaces. Magic Erasers work with water - no soap or detergent is needed.

I used a Magic Eraser once to remove a nail polish stain from some fake leather furniture and it lived up to its name. The stain was completely gone and the upholstery looked as good as new. My friend Mister Jalopy used Magic Sponges to remove decades of built of grime from a pinball machine, making it look like it had just come off the Bally assembly line.

I love Magic Erasers. People think of new uses for them all the time. Here's a car detailers who uses it to remove paint scratches and other kinds of surface damage on cars: https://youtu.be/VkBSlD60rDA

The Magic Eraser is a block of melamine foam. How Stuff Works explains why they are so good at removing stains:

[W]hen melamine resin cures into foam, its microstructure becomes very hard -- almost as hard as glass -- causing it to perform on stains a lot like super-fine sandpaper ... The cavity-ridden open microstructure of melamine foam is where the second major boost to its stain-removing capabilities comes in. Apart from being able to scrape at stains with extremely hard microscopic filaments, with a few quick runs of the eraser, the stain has already started to come away. That's aided by the fact that the dirt is pulled into the open spaces between the spindly skeletal strands and bound there. These two factors combined make this next-generation eraser seem almost magical.

The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser measures 4.6 x 2.4 x 1 inches, and an 8-pack sells for $6.47 on Amazon, where it's got a 4.6 rating. But you can buy 100 generic melamine sponges measuring 4 x 2.3 x 8 for $8.99 on Amazon.

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 5:01 am

Getting better at painting gaming miniatures

Many of us who play fantasy and sci-fi roleplaying and tabletop miniature games struggle with our ability to paint minis so that they look halfway decent on the table. Getting me to paint my minis is like getting 8-year-old me to eat his broccoli. I'm something of a perfectionist and I look at a lot of pro painted miniatures, in gaming magazines and online. My miniatures never look as good as what I see, so it's an effort for me to even bother. But also being a perfectionist, I wouldn't think of "gaming in the nude" (playing with unpainted miniatures). And so I press ahead, and try to do at least a little painting every night.

My pal, James Floyd Kelly, who I wrote about previously when he launched his new dungeon crafting channel, Game Terrain Engineering, was in a similar boat of not being happy with his painting chops. So, he decided to buy the Reaper Miniatures Learn To Paint Bones Kit and record a series of videos of him painting the three minis that come in the kit. It's really encouraging to watch the series and to see how much his painting improves over the three videos and three miniatures. Bolstered by that improvement, Jim plans on now getting the next kit in the series, the Layer Up Bones Miniatures Learn to Paint Kit and to paint (and hopefully document) those three miniatures.

https://youtu.be/vX4--iJvz5w https://youtu.be/WYaQCb1noVQ https://youtu.be/WCAGMYY3TRY

Also: Here's a list of beginner painting tips that I ran into recently. These are all of the same tips that I share with people. I would also add great lighting. I just broke down and finally got one of those swing-arm magnifying florescent lights and it makes me feel like I've been painting in the dark up until now. Jimmi recommends a wet palette and I couldn't agree more, now that I finally have one of those. Thinning your paints and building up paint in layers makes a huge difference in achieving great results. A wet palette helps keep the paints properly thin for you. Here's the wet palette that I got, based on a friend's recommendation. I love it.

Posted on 23 July 2017 | 7:03 am

Arbitrary Stupid Goal: a memoir of growing up under the tables of the best restaurant in New York

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Posted on 23 July 2017 | 2:36 am

Come see me at San Diego Comic-Con!

There are three more stops on my tour for Walkaway: tomorrow at San Diego Comic-Con, next weekend at Defcon 25 in Las Vegas, and August 10th at the Burbank Public Library. (more…)

Posted on 23 July 2017 | 1:13 am

Ginger Page cleans up your mobile typing

Just because English has become the common global tongue doesn’t mean it’s the easiest language to write—even for native speakers. If you're looking to improve your written communication skills, especially on your smartphone, take a look at Ginger Page.

Ginger is a cross-platform app that offers corrections for phrasing as well as grammar. It's powered by crowdsourced data and provides editing suggestions with its contextually-aware natural language processing engine. It performs multilingual translation and includes powerful tools for paraphrasing and proofreading so you don't send any typo-ridden emails to your boss.

Ginger Page is available on all major desktop and mobile platforms, and can be purchased in the Boing Boing Store for $69.99.

Posted on 23 July 2017 | 12:34 am

Politicon 2017 is July 29-30, and Boing Boing (me, Xeni Jardin) will be in the mix

Politicon is a non-partisan “Unconventional Political Convention” that brings Republicans, Democrats, and people of all political stripes together to get worked up over politics. It's a lot of fun, and it goes down in Pasadena, CA on Saturday, July 29th and Sunday, July 30 at the Convention Center. I will be there, hosting and speaking on panels that include the likes of noted Delta airlines seat-swapper Ann Coulter and longtime Donald Trump ally Roger Stone.

Buy tickets here. (more…)

Posted on 22 July 2017 | 10:27 am

U.S. bans travel to North Korea by American citizens

The U.S. government today said that Americans will be prohibited from traveling to North Korea because of an elevated risk of "long-term detention" in the country, where an American student was jailed last year while traveling there, and later died.

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Posted on 22 July 2017 | 8:55 am

Charlie Sheen & Whoopi Goldberg are in a new '9/11' movie and the trailer is crap-tacular

The film opens in September, 2017.

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Posted on 22 July 2017 | 8:31 am

Mueller asks WH staff to preserve all docs related to Don Jr.'s Russia meeting: CNN

CNN reports that special counsel Robert Mueller III has asked the staff of President Donald Trump's White Supremacist House to preserve all documents that may be related to a meeting organized by Donald Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., at which he'd been promised dirty info hacked from Hillary Clinton by the Russian government.

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Posted on 22 July 2017 | 8:22 am

Old NASA computers and space probe data tapes found in dead engineer's basement

A scrap dealer cleaning out a deceased engineer's basement in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania found two massive 1960s computers, magnetic tape data storage systems, and hundreds of tape reels, all of which was marked as the property of NASA. The scrap dealer called NASA to report what he found and the agency's Office of the Inspector General investigated. It turns out that the fellow was an IBM engineer who worked for NASA in the early 1970s and was given permission to save the stuff as it was being discarded. One space agency's trash is another maker's treasure... From Ars Technica:

"Please tell NASA these items were not stolen," the engineer's heir told the scrap dealer, according to the (Office of Insepctor General's) report. "They belonged to IBM Allegheny Center Pittsburgh, PA 15212. During the 1968-1972 timeframe, IBM was getting rid of the items so [redacted engineer] asked if he could have them and was told he could have them...."

NASA investigators picked up the 325 magnetic data tape reels on December 8, 2015. The cassettes measured 14 inches in diameter and were filled with half-inch magnetic tape. The tapes "were in poor condition and almost all were affected by moderate to severe mould."

Most of the tapes were not labelled, but "of the tapes that were labelled, the content appeared to be space science related with missions including Pioneer and Helios and the inclusive date range was 1967-1974."

NASA told the family of the deceased that it was not in the junk removal business. “No, we do not need the computers,” NASA told the family of the deceased. “We have no use for [them].”

Posted on 22 July 2017 | 7:20 am

The joy of summer

Not sure who gets the worst end of this deal, but happy summer weekend.

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Posted on 22 July 2017 | 7:13 am

Creepy and amazing tattoo and haircut combo

(youdontknowimadaog via /r/ATBGE)

Posted on 22 July 2017 | 6:54 am

Typewriters transformed into incredible sculptures of machine guns

Montreal artist Eric Nado transforms vintage typewriters into stunning models of machine guns. As a William S. Burroughs fan, I have great appreciation for this intersection of objects. From Galerie COA:

Through sculpture-assemblage, Éric Nado transforms and reorganizes certain objects to reveal other possibilities through their forms or intended functions. Using iconic metal objects such as typewriters and sewing machines, Nado materializes concepts such as labor and memory.

Posted on 22 July 2017 | 6:44 am

The moment this kid realizes he's hawking $2 candy bars to 'Bart Simpson'

Nancy Cartwright surprised the heck out of this 13-year old boy when she revealed she is the real voice of Bart Simpson. The look on his face, ha!

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Posted on 22 July 2017 | 6:22 am

What a rocket launch looks like from space

Usually we only get to see what a rocket launch looks like from ground level.

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Posted on 22 July 2017 | 6:22 am

My favorite Japanese pencil case is on sale for $10

My older daughter and I both like to sketch. We sometimes go the the Art Directors Guild's figure drawing sessions here in Los Angeles on Tuesday nights (only $10!) or we sit on the floor of her room and sketch whatever we want. (I like to use old black-and-white photos I find online for reference.)

To store my pencils, charcoals, lead holder, erasers, snap-blade knife, and reading glasses I bought a Lihit Lab Teffa "book style" pencil case ($10 on Amazon). It's not large, but it's designed with "pages" to hold your stuff efficiently. Pens and pencils fit behind straps, and smaller stuff can be stashed in the mesh pouches.

case-1

case-2

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Below, a couple of my recent sketches.

mortenson

outer-limits

Posted on 22 July 2017 | 5:00 am

Spicey go bye-bye

Sean Spicer has resigned as President Donald Trump's communications director, and he doesn't like his replacement.

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Posted on 22 July 2017 | 4:03 am

Trump's latest senior science nominees are a talk-radio ignoramus and a career poisoner

The Department of Agriculture's chief scientist oversees more than 1,000 scientists in 100 research facilities: Trump's pick to run the agency is Sam Clovis, a climate-denying talk-radio host who not only lacks any kind of scientific degrees -- he didn't take a single science course at university. (more…)

Posted on 22 July 2017 | 2:01 am

George RR Martin, 1993 "The fantasy novel I've been working on off and on for a while" is an unlikely project for TV

Scott Edelman writes, "I interviewed George R. R. Martin at a Thai restaurant on Episode 42 of my Eating the Fantastic podcast (MP3), and after I returned home, remembered I'd also interviewed him back in 1993. After digging out the tape, I couldn't resist incorporating his amusing admission about 'a fantasy novel I've been working on off and on for a while' as part of the episode." (more…)

Posted on 22 July 2017 | 1:46 am

Everyone could use some basic web development skills

The current web development landscape is rife with buzzwords and technology that gets abandoned almost as soon as it’s made. If you’ve never written a line of code before, it can be hard to figure out what’s coming, what’s here to stay, or how to get ahead.

This Beginner Web Development Bundle is a great place to start getting your bearings in the web dev world. In this collection of learning materials, you’ll get acquainted with the core technologies of the web: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP. You’ll explore a variety of relevant front-end topics like semantic markup, responsive page layouts, and CSS animations, as well as basic client-server relationships.

Learn to code on the web with the Beginner Web Development Bundle for $29 today.

Posted on 22 July 2017 | 12:34 am

Trump lawyers are exploring his pardoning powers, and how to monkeywrench Mueller's Russia investigation

Lawyers for President Donald Trump are working on a conflict of interest case against special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, reports the Washington Post, and Trump has asked advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members, and himself, for any possible crimes linked to Mueller's probe.

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Posted on 21 July 2017 | 1:41 pm

This car was lifted into the air by a tornado in Hamburg, NY. The owner's home security camera caught it on video.

In Hamburg, NY, Kevin Karas' home surveillance camera captured a tornado touching down and lifting his car and pretty much everything else around it right up into the air.

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Posted on 21 July 2017 | 12:57 pm

Watch: The Magic of Oz, the "worst cartoon ever"?

The Magic of Oz, most likely from the early 1960s, is sometimes referred to as "the worst cartoon ever." I think that is hyperbolic but I appreciate the sentiment.

Animation historian Jerry Beck had this to say about it: "The film is a real mystery... and real awful."

(via /r/ObscureMedia)

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 10:31 am

O.J. Simpson granted parole, could be out in October

After serving 9 years in prison for armed robbery, O.J. Simpson (70) was granted parole. He could be released on October 1.

From ABC News:

Simpson said in his nine years behind bars, he's been "a good guy."

"I was always a good guy, but could have been a better Christian, and my commitment to change is to be a better Christian." He said he took an "alternative to violence" course in prison, and called it "the most important course anybody in this prison can take because it teaches you how to deal with conflict through conversation."

"I had some problems with fidelity in my life, but I've always been a guy that pretty much got along with everybody," he said.

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 7:02 am

Japan's first lady pretended not to speak English when she sat next to Trump at G20 dinner

In an interview with the New York Times, Donald Trump said that Akie Abe, wife of Japan Prime Minister Abe, didn't even say "hello" to him at the G20 dinner because she doesn't speak English:

So, I was seated next to the wife of Prime Minister Abe [Shinzo Abe of Japan], who I think is a terrific guy, and she’s a terrific woman, but doesn’t speak English.

HABERMAN: Like, nothing, right? Like zero?

TRUMP: Like, not “hello.”

HABERMAN: That must make for an awkward seating.

TRUMP: Well, it’s hard, because you know, you’re sitting there for——

HABERMAN: Hours.

TRUMP: So the dinner was probably an hour and 45 minutes.

But a number of videos have surfaced showing that Mrs. Abe has a pretty great command of the English language. So, why wouldn't she speak with Trump?

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 6:47 am

Hackers compromised smart fish tank at casino

An unnamed North American casino was hacked through an on-site fish tank connected to the Internet, reports CNN.

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Posted on 21 July 2017 | 6:25 am

Watch: Angry gentleman shoots out the tires and engine of more than one AT&T truck

A gentleman who didn't like AT&T trucks parked in front of his Hialeigh, FL home grabbed his revolver and calmly began shooting at the tires and engine of one, and then another truck. One of AT&T's technicians, Derrick Taylor, called 9-1-1. “He's shooting the truck right now. There's a guy shooting the tires and shooting the engines and everything.”

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Posted on 21 July 2017 | 6:24 am

This massive searchable Google doc has the personal financial disclosures of Trump staffers

Someone put together a Google spreadsheet of Trump administration personal finances. It has links to the disclosure forms of nearly 500 people - Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, Betsy DeVos, Trump, etc.

Trump owes between $55 million to $75 million to Deutsche Bank, the same bank that was fined $10 billion for its part in a Russian money-laundering scheme. That's a massive nothing burger.

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 6:06 am

Mueller is now looking into ties between Russia and Trump's business transactions

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has widened his investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Mueller is looking into Trump's financial dealings with with unsavory Russian businessman, including mobsters and corrupt Kremlin officials.

Mueller has his work cut out for him -- the August/September issue of The New Republic has an in-depth article about Trump's "decades-long ties to Russian mafia." Only someone brainwashed by ideology could read this article and not think Trump has been up to no good for a very long time.

From The New Republic's press release:

In “Trump’s Russian Laundromat,” veteran journalist Craig Unger details how the Russian mafia has used the president’s properties—including Trump Tower and the Trump Taj Majal—as a way to launder money and hide assets. “Whether Trump knew it or not,” writes Unger, “Russian mobsters and corrupt oligarchs used his properties not only to launder vast sums of money from extortion, drugs, gambling, and racketeering, but even as a base of operations for their criminal activities. In the process, they propped up Trump’s business and enabled him to reinvent his image. Without the Russian mafia, it is fair to say, Donald Trump would not be president of the United States.”

Based entirely on the extensive public record, the piece offers the most comprehensive overview of the deep debt that the president owes the Russian mafia. “The extent of Trump’s ties to the Russian mafia—and the degree to which he relied on them for his entire business model—is striking,” says Eric Bates, editor of the New Republic. “After reading this story, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the president continues to exhibit a deep loyalty to the world of shady Russian operatives who have invested vast sums in his properties.”

Trump's lawyer says the new direction Mueller is moving leads to a forbidden zone. From Bloomberg:

John Dowd, one of Trump’s lawyers, said on Thursday that he was unaware of the inquiry into Trump’s businesses by the two-months-old investigation and considered it beyond the scope of what Special Counsel Robert Mueller should be examining.

“Those transactions are in my view well beyond the mandate of the Special counsel; are unrelated to the election of 2016 or any alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and most importantly, are well beyond any Statute of Limitation imposed by the United States Code,” he wrote in an email.

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 5:49 am

Trump so befuddled on health insurance, he thinks it costs $1 a month when you're 21

The complexities of how health insurance works in the United States proves to be too much for Donald Trump. He's even having a hard time grasping how much it costs.

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Posted on 21 July 2017 | 5:28 am