Travel writer Ben Schlappig uses something called "mileage running" to accumulate lots of travel miles.
Mileage running works by collecting miles on cheap flights and spending them on expensive ones. Over a week, Ben might take over 30 discounted flights. They only cost him $800 and he'll earn over 62500 air miles. He then uses those miles to buy a first class ticket to Japan, which would have cost him $13,000.
Jim Jones writes, "I have been playing The Warren, Marshall Miller's role playing game about being rabbits, with my three kids for a little over a month. We play in an area based on our suburban neighborhood. My second grade daughter chose to do a diorama of a suburb for school so she could talk about our game and we built it so that it appeared in the rule book for the role playing game itself." (more…)
I bought this illuminated handheld magnifier on Amazon for $3 (free shipping) last year and I use it a lot. It's a great splinter and lice checker. I've gotten my $3 of value from it just looking at tiny bugs and skin abnormalities. It has two built in LEDs and uses two AA batteries.
Industrial Strength Design: How Brooks Stevens Shaped Your World
by Glenn Adamson
The MIT Press
2003, 300 pages, 9.5 x 11 x 0.8 inches
From $10 Buy a copy on Amazon
This excellent book profiles the most famous industrial designer you’ve never heard of: Brooks Stevens. Sure, you know of designer Jonathan Ive and his Apple products, and maybe Raymond Loewy, who slimmed the Coke bottle and decked out Kennedy’s Air Force One, but flipping through this book you’ll instantly recognize Brooks Stevens’ equally famous mid-century creations: that 3M “Mondrian” packaging, The Excalibur custom car, the Miller beer “soft cross” logo, the “boomerang” patterned Formica, and yes, the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile!
Stevens grew up in Milwaukee, and his unpretentious Midwestern work ethic and pro-business attitude was clear in all his work and writing. Unlike other designers who indulged in fantastic and lofty, theoretical designs, Stevens applied his styling skills and practical design sensibilities to suit local manufacturers of lawn mowers, outboard motors, cookware, and vehicles, resulting in increased sales and efficient manufacturing (if not design awards).
One of his most famous creations is the phrase “planned obsolescence,” which was widely attacked at the time by Vance Packard in his book The Waste Makers as an example of the manipulation of consumers and crass commercialism. Stevens proudly defended his approach of constant improvements and questioned so-called “good design” as actually elitist, unpractical and most damning of all in his mind, ultimately unprofitable. The debate goes on and you’ll have to come to your own conclusion: are manufacturers’ frequent new product variations kaizen-like progress, or just needless churning of the consumer. (Do you really need that new iPhone 9x?)
As an industrial designer trained in the old-school skills of drawing and rendering, I loved seeing the many samples of marker sketches, gouache renderings and airbrushed presentations drawings. Check out the crazy concept cars and boats – it’s like a trip back in time to a mid-sixties auto show.
Dutch manufacturer Vanmoof started printing a photo of a TV set on the boxes it uses to ship bikes. Now the bikes arrive at their destination in perfect condition.
From Cycling Weekly: “No matter who was doing the shipping, too many of our bikes arrived looking like they’d been through a metal-munching combine harvester. It was getting expensive for us, and bloody annoying for our customers,” creative director Bex Rad wrote on the company’s blog. “Earlier this year our co-founder Ties had a flash of genius. Our boxes are about the same size as a (really really reaaaally massive) flatscreen television. Flatscreen televisions always arrive in perfect condition. What if we just printed a flatscreen television on the side of our boxes? “And just like that, shipping damage to our bikes dropped by 70–80%.”
Astronomers working with the NASA Hubble Space Telescope have captured images of what might be water vapor plumes erupting from the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. “This finding bolsters other Hubble observations suggesting the icy moon erupts with high altitude water vapor plumes,” reports NASA. “ The observation increases the possibility that missions to Europa may be able to sample Europa’s ocean without having to drill through miles of ice.”
Shu Lam, a 25-year-old PhD student at the University of Melbourne's School of Engineering, has developed a polymer that rips apart the cell walls of superbug strain bacteria.
From Science Alert:
The polymers - which they call SNAPPs, or structurally nanoengineered antimicrobial peptide polymers - work by directly attacking, penetrating, and then destabilising the cell membrane of bacteria.
Unlike antibiotics, which 'poison' bacteria, and can also affect healthy cells in the area, the SNAPPs that Lam has designed are so large that they don't seem to affect healthy cells at all.
"With this polymerised peptide we are talking the difference in scale between a mouse and an elephant," Lam's supervisor, Greg Qiao, told Marcus Strom from the Sydney Morning Herald. "The large peptide molecules can't enter the [healthy] cells."
With this comprehensive course in App & Game Development for iOS and Android, you’ll be able to take full advantage of this career opportunity without committing to going back to school full time. You’ll learn how to build immersive, interactive games and apps from start to finish using Python, C#, Unity, and HTML—some of the most in-demand programming tools available.
With over 34 hours of course content, you’ll explore gaming physics and collision detection, use labs and activities to assess your progress, and much more. By the end of the course, you won’t just have created one mobile app—you’ll be ready to create tons more on your own. Right now in the Boing Boing Store, this course is just $34.
I've got a busy couple of weeks coming up! I'm speaking tomorrow at Powell's in Portland, OR for Banned Books Week; on Wednesday, I'm at UC Riverside speaking to a Philosophy and Science Fiction class; on Friday I'll be at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, speaking on Canada's dark decade of policy denial from climate science to digital locks; and then on Oct 6, I'm coming to SFMOMA to talk about museums, technology, and free culture. I hope to see you soon! (Image: Alex Schoenfeldt Photography, www.schoenfeldt.com, CC-BY)
Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey was exposed last week backing a pro-Trump "meme factory" that churns out Nazi-themed images and anti-Hillary Clinton propaganda—then spotted at a Trump rally wearing one of the nativist candidate's T-shirts. He at first walked back his involvement, but Luckey now has the backing of top colleagues at the Facebook-owned virtual reality startup.
"Everyone at Oculus is free to support the issues or causes that matter to them, whether or not we agree with those views," Oculus CEO Brendan Trexler Iribe wrote on Facebook. "It is important to remember that Palmer acted independently in a personal capacity, and was in no way representing the company."
Another executive, Jason Rubin, said that the company did not "condone, or spread hate." "I take him at his word. Those of you who have known me before I joined Oculus know that I would not work in a place that I thought condoned, or spread hate. Nor would I remain silent if I saw it raise its head. I have always believed that games, and now especially VR, have the potential to bring people together. My view is unwavering. I continue to believe that Oculus can make the world a better place."
However, the company itself has remained silent on the matter, reports Ars Technica, offering no response to their inquiries.
Luckey, a near-billionaire thanks to the Facebook buyout, used some of the cash to juice Nimble America, an organization dedicated to shitposting memes that generally involve offensive stereotypes of politicians, pundits, racial minorities, Jews and other typical targets of the far right. (For their part, outspoken white supremacists seem divided between those who appreciate a wealthy ally and those who count "Cuckey" as an opportunist trying to co-opt the "Alt Right" movement.)
A Reddit user took this photo of his girlfriend getting her watch stolen by some kids in Thailand. They didn't know what had happened to the missing watch until they saw this photo. I obscured the kids' faces because they aren't criminals - they are being abused by an adult who is making them do this.
I've written an open letter to HP CEO Dion Weisler on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, asking him to make amends for his company's bizarre decision to hide a self-destruct sequence in a printer update that went off earlier this month, breaking them so that they would no longer use third-party ink cartridges. (more…)
I did an interview with the Changelog podcast (MP3) about my upcoming talk at the O'Reilly Open Source conference in London, explaining how it is that the free and open web became so closed and unfree, but free and open software stayed so very free, and came to dominate the software landscape. (more…)
I've been writing "design fiction" for years (see, for example, Knights of the Rainbow Table), and when people ask me to explain it, I say something like, "An engineer might make a prototype to give you a sense of how something works; an architect will do a fly-through to give you a sense of its spatial properties; fiction writers produce design fiction to give you a sense of how a technology might feel." (more…)
Sweden's ruling coalition of Social Democrat and Green parties has a tax plan that will make it cheaper to fix broken things and more expensive to buy things that can't be fixed after they break.
The proposed legislation would cut regular tax on repairs of bikes, clothes, and shoes from 25% to 12%. Swedes would also be able to claim half the labor cost of appliance repairs (refrigerators, washing machines and other white goods) from their income tax. Together, these tax cuts are expected to cost the country around $54 million per year. This will be more than paid for by the estimated $233 million brought in by a new "chemical tax," which would tax the resources that go into making new goods and computers.
In "A Letter to My Allies on the Left," Rebecca Solnit -- one of my literary and political heroes -- asks the left to give up the practice of reflexively dismissing the good that politicians do, because those politicians also do terrible things. (more…)
Sailorhg's Glitchy website is a drag-and-drop way to glitchify photos.
Tools like Etherpad and Google Docs are transformative ways to collaborate on text (including code); I've used them in contexts as varied as making unofficial transcripts of statements at UN agencies to liveblogging conference presentations -- but they all share a weakness, which is that whomever owns the document server can see everything you're typing. (more…)