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One of my fondest memories of the early days of bOING bOING (the print zine) was handing a bOING bOING Kata Sutra T-Shirt (no longer available but you can see it here) to board game designer Steve Jackson at ArmadilloCon in Austin, TX. I think it was 1991 or 1992. He took it and put it on while we were standing in the hallway.

Today I found out that Steve is making a re-issue of Ogre, the first board game he ever designed in 1977. It's on Kickstarter and he has received $388,130 so far (on an original goal of $20,000). The new edition looks amazing. Go, Steve!

Ogre Designer's Edition

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Locus Magazine has announced the winners of its annual Locus Award poll, a popular choice award for science fiction and fantasy. As always, it's a great guide to some of the best genre material from the preceding year. Here's the top novel lists, with links to some of my reviews:

Science Fiction Novel

* Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
* 11/22/63, Stephen King (Scribner; Hodder & Stoughton as 11.22.63)
* Embassytown, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan)
* Rule 34, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK)
* The Children of the Sky, Vernor Vinge (Tor)

Fantasy Novel

* A Dance with Dragons, George R.R. Martin (Bantam; Harper Voyager UK)
* Snuff, Terry Pratchett (Harper; Doubleday UK)
* The Wise Man’s Fear, Patrick Rothfuss (DAW; Gollancz)
* Deathless, Catherynne M. Valente (Tor)
* Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)

2012 Locus Award Finalists

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This 2008 Kid Koala turntable performance of "Drunk Trumpet" in San Antonio's Revolution Room isn't just a kick ass piece of music (though it is that), it's also some kind of awesome hand-ballet. I could watch this guy twiddle his fingers all day. It's also an existence proof of the innate superiority of a I-IV-V progression.

kid koala - drunk trumpet

(via MeFi)

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[Video Link] Brendon Grimshaw lives alone (with some giant turtles) on the island of Moyenne in the Indian Ocean. The spry gent reminds me of Tom Neale, who wrote a book I love called an Island to Oneself.

Brendon Grimshaw purchased the island for £8,000 in 1962 and set about making the island habitable. He did this with the help of one other man, Rene Antoine Lafortune….

Grimshaw and his friend planted sixteen-thousand trees, built 4.8 kilometers of nature paths, and brought and bred giant land tortoises, creating an island of incredible beauty now worth 34 million Euros. Apart from a wide variety of plant and bird life, the island is home to over 100 land tortoises….

After 20 years of persistence, Grimshaw and his assistant achieved their goal of making Moyenne Island a National Park in its own right, separate to that of the St. Anne marine park. Now known as the Moyenne Island National Park, it is the smallest national park in the world, harbouring more species per square foot than any other part of the world.

86-year-old lives alone on his island reintroducing indigenous giant tortoises

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Françoise Mouly is one of my heroes. She and her husband Art Spiegelman published RAW, an astounding large-format comic book that was a big inspiration to me when I started bOING bOING as a print zine in 1988. (I'm still waiting for a full-size hardback that reprints the first 8 issues of RAW, Volume 1). For the last 20 years, Françoise has been the art editor of The New Yorker.

Blown Covers: New Yorker Covers You Were Never Meant To See is her new book. It's a collection of New Yorker covers that were either rejected, caused an outrage, or have an interesting story behind them.

Of the cover above, Françoise says, "In 1993, we published this cover by David Mazzuccelli as the trial of the four men suspected of the bombing of the World Trade Center got underway. There were bomb threats to the magazine, and the image was vehemently denounced -- at the time, most in the media were weary of labeling the men involved as Arab or Muslim terrorists."

Below, 11 more covers and cover concepts for The New Yorker, with commentary by Françoise Mouly.


We asked Chris Ware, who drew this week’s cover, “Mother’s Day,” to discuss the New Yorker covers that inspired him. He wrote a charming ode to the women artists of The New Yorker, where he confessed to having “a soft spot for Gretchen Dow Simpson’s blank observations of beaches, grass, and whitewashed homes -- the peopleless screen doors, walls, shingled roofs, and beach pebbles of the nineteen-seventies and eighties.”


Each cartoonist I work with has his own approach and understanding of what makes a good
New Yorker cover. In 1993, Tina Brown, who was only the 4th editor since 1925, turned to
cartoonists like Art Spiegelman to revitalize the magazine. This was Art’s published Mother’s
Day cover at a time when tattoos were becoming widespread.


A few years later, Spiegelman offered this other sketch for a Mother’s Day image—it didn’t
get approved.


Sometimes it looks like an artist is poking fun at the more sedate New Yorker covers. This was proposed by M. Scott Miller, years before Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. He claims that the inspiration for this jeté is an experience familiar to anyone who follows classical ballet.


Marilyn-1Cartoonists use clichés, but a good image will use clichés and well-known images to say something new. Harry Bliss make us realize that, sadly, time passes (left). When female bombers made their appearance in the news, in 2002, Danny Shanahan used the same trope to make an entirely different point (above).


“I have an idea for a back‐to‐school issue,” said Anita Kunz back in 1998, “It’s Monica Lewinsky sucking a 'Presidential' lollipop... It could be drawn in crayon, very child‐like. Please let me know if you can use it.” Once the artist has a good idea, she can strengthen her point with the style she uses to render it.


At the height of the Lewinsky affair, Art Spiegelman proposed this sketch titled ‘Clinton’s Last Request.’ “When a word like ‘blow job’, which you never dreamt of finding in the paper is on the front page every day,” he explains, “I had to find a way for my image to be as explicit without being downright salacious.”


In a sketch that Art Spiegelman proposed during George W. Bush’s first term, King’s dream becomes a nightmare as black leaders like Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice provide cover for George W. Bush.


In the fall of 2005, videos began making the rounds showing what happens when pieces of Mentos candy are dropped into bottles of Diet Coke. Barry Blitt first tried his idea with two children or two businessmen before finding the right and frightfully funny combination—two Arab men. All versions make fun of terrorism, but only that one makes fun of our own fears.


As of this week, the Freedom Tower has now become the tallest building in New York City -- and the third tallest in the world. Speaking of my own personal fears, we’ll be moving into that tower in 2014. Back in 2002, when models of the projects for the World Trade Center site were put on display, Blitt sketched Osama bin Laden and his second-in-command reviewing the proposed designs.


When this image by Barry Blitt came in, David Remnick, the editor who makes all the final decisions was o on a trip, but he asked me to show it around. My colleagues, all word people, laughed heartily yet they concluded it didn’t ‘work’ because neither the Pope nor the scandals plaguing the Catholic Church had anything to do with Marylin Monroe. “Oy vey!” said the artist, Barry Blitt, and we moved on.

Buy Blown Covers: New Yorker Covers You Were Never Meant To See on Amazon

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[Video Link] The YouTube comments are interesting: "Japanese TV station would like to use your video. Please contact.." "Swedish Webb TV-channel would like to use your video." "Please contact me asap. We would like to licence your clip." (Via Arbroath)

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LIFE has posted a powerful series of rare and unpublished photographs shot by William Vandivert, 33, the first Western photographer inside Adolph Hilter's Führerbunker. Vandivert was on the scene shortly after Berlin fell in April of 1945. This is Hitler's inner sanctum inside the bunker, "partially burned by retreating German troops and stripped of valuables by invading Russians." "Hitler's Bunker And The Ruins Of Berlin" (Thanks, Gabe Adiv!)

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From "A Wearable Sensor for Unobtrusive, Long-term Assessment of Electrodermal Activity" (by Poh, M.Z., Swenson, N.C., Picard, R.W. in IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, vol.57, no.5), a chart showing a single student's electrodermal activity over the course of a week. Note the neural flatlining during classtime. As Joi Ito notes, "Note that the activity is higher during sleep than during class." He also adds, "Obviously, this is just one student and doesn't necessarily generalize."

A week of a student's electrodermal activity

(Thanks, Joi!)

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