Boing Boing

Hyperreal scale model of the famous CBGB punk rock club

CBGB, the iconic punk rock venue in New York's East Village that launched the careers of The Ramones, Blondie, Richard Hell, and Patti Smith, shut its doors in 2006. This year, hyperrealist sculptor Randy Hage is exhibiting his 1/12 scale model of the club, along with several other famous New York facades. Check them out at on October 10th, 2015 at Flower Pepper Gallery in Pasadena, California.

Previously: Amazing dioramas of NYC storefronts


(Thanks, Andreas!)

Spongebob sings Black Sabbath

This is an incredibly cool edit of the trippiest episodes of Spongebob Squarepants cut to accompany "Warpigs" by Black Sabbath.

(Thanks, Matthew!)

Amazon launches “Etsy-killer” Handmade at Amazon, a marketplace for handmade goods

Online retail giant Amazon just launched a marketplace for handcrafted goods: Handmade at Amazon. It's “an arts-and-crafts bazaar online that squarely takes aim at a niche but growing market dominated by the Brooklyn-based Etsy,” as the New York Times puts it.

Handmade at Amazon went live early Thursday more than 80,000 items from roughly 5,000 sellers in 60 countries around the world. They're launching with only 6 categories — home, jewelry, artwork, stationery and party supplies, kitchen and dining, and baby.

Crafters can sell their crocheted pants or 3D-printed succulent cozies on the new Amazon marketplace, just as they've been able to for years at Etsy, a $2bn-a-year business .

Amazon's business is a lot bigger: $75 billion in annual sales. And Amazon's is growing, while Etsy appears to be challenged. One recent change at Etsy that allowed sellers to outsource their production to others is seen by many as a move away from its maker/seller roots.

Amazon, on the other hand, promises “Genuinely Handmade.” In the launch announcement, Amazon emphasizes that everything will be “crafted and sold directly from artisans.”

“We only approve artisans whose products are handcrafted,” said Amazon in a statement. “We are factory-free.”

Them's fighting words. Is this the end of Etsy as we know it? I hope not, I love Etsy.

Here's the full Amazon press release. And here's a snip from the Times story:

Amazon will start out with six categories — home, jewelry, artwork, stationery and party supplies, kitchen and dining, and baby — Mr. Faricy said.

One distinct advantage Amazon will bring is reach. Its 285 million active customer accounts dwarf Etsy’s 22 million, giving artisans access to far more traffic and potential customers.

And Amazon is also offering logistical backing to its sellers, allowing them to ship products, in lots, to one of the company’s many fulfillment centers around the country. Amazon will then ship out those products as part of its Prime service, which offers members unlimited free shipping for an annual fee.

Most sellers are likely to give Amazon a bigger cut of their sales for that reach, however. Etsy charges a 20-cent fee for each item a seller lists on its site and takes a 3.5 percent cut of the sales. For now, Amazon will charge no listing fee but take 12 percent of sales, which it says covers all costs, including payment processing, marketing and fraud protection.

"Amazon Challenges Etsy With Strictly Handmade Marketplace" [nytimes]

States enjoy kickback from prison phone gougers

Prisoners families often must pay $12.95 for 15-minutes of phone time to stay in touch with an incarcerated spouse, child, or parent. Global Tel-Link Corp. and Securus Technologies are the two main prison phone service providers, and they make a fortune charging poor people over 100 times the typical rate for a phone call. They reason they can get away with it is that they give generous kick-backs to state and local governments for giving them contracts to be the exclusive phone service providers for prisons under their control. (more…)

Who exactly is the audience for the Steve Jobs movie?

The biopic, starring Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs, is getting good writeups: "brilliant, when not breaking your heart," is Time Out's summation of both man and movie.

An early dissent, from Rex Reed, is equally unsurprising to anyone who has followed the narratives of Jobs: " Cold, obnoxious, neurotic, selfish, indifferent toward everything but his computers … worth $441 million when his wife and daughter were living on welfare". (And, postscript, Fassbender "looks nothing whatsoever like Jobs.")

At Wired, Jason Tanz writes about Steve Jobs and "Tech's god complex".

Chris-Ann Brennan, Jobs’ ex-girfriend and Lisa’s mother, likens him to a figure in a Ram Dass book: “When someone goes into a state of enlightenment but does it while still attached to their ego, they call that the golden chain. And that’s what I feel happened to Steve. He went into magnificence and enlightenment but he, he just blew it.”

Roll your eyes all you want, infidels, but I think there’s something to it.

His argument is that the new movie, "Steve Jobs", is like an anti-biopic. Most set about mythologizing and narrating their subjects, whereas this one aims to demythologize a man lionized and charicatured to absurdity by the time he died. In this way, it’s more like one of those postmodern Westerns—McCabe & Mrs. Miller or Unforgiven—deconstructing America’s self-image by poking holes in the stories it tells about itself. Yeah, Jobs may have made good computers, this movie says, but that hardly matters, because—whatever Jobs might believe—machines are secondary to our work as humans, not extensions of it.

The movie, directed by Danny Boyle, is earning preliminary frowns from the legacy-keepers: it's based on Walter Isaacson's disappointing biography, Laurene Powell Jobs tried to prevent it being made and reportedly persuaded Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio to turn down the role, and Apple design chief Jony Ive suggested that it's hijacking his legacy.

Ive said he hasn't seen the films, but knows others who have. "There are sons and daughters and widows and very close friends that are completely bemused and completely upset," he said. "We’re remembering and celebrating Steve Jobs' life and at the same time there is this perfectly timed movie and I don’t recognize this person." Ive said Jobs "had his triumphs and his tragedies like us all," but now he his having his "identify described, defined by a whole bunch of other people and I think that’s a bit of a struggle personally."

When Apple CEO Tim Cook made his own displeasure known, scriptwriter Aaron Sorkin responded contemptuously. "If you've got a factory full of children in China assembling phones for 17 cents an hour, you've got a lot of nerve calling someone else opportunistic."

The New York Times's A. O. Scott reviews it and finds it a credible character study in what sounds like a lot of Sorkinized mundanity.

Jobs was a minimalist and a control freak, a proponent of closed systems, streamlined construction and conceptual simplicity. Mr. Boyle and Mr. Sorkin, in contrast, are fervent maximalists, prone, respectively, to busy, breakneck visual effects and roiling torrents of verbiage. … At times the camera seems agitated to the point of distraction because it’s trapped in a movie that consists almost entirely of rushed conversations in enclosed spaces. But this antsiness helps create an atmosphere of nervous, almost absurd suspense. … You hold your breath waiting to see what’s going to happen, even though you know exactly what is in store. A guy is going to come out onstage and show you a new gadget.

Returning to Tanz, what he means by "Tech's God Complex" is how the film challenges the Kevin Kelly-esque notion that there is some quasi-magical technological force at work in Jobs' genius. The movie offers a traditional torn-genius story instead: good old internal doubt, darkness and manipulation as the driving forces of creation.

Jobs has daddy issues and daughter issues, problems with authority and problems with intimacy. It hammers home the idea that Apple’s philosophy of “end to end control” emerged from Jobs’ own adoption trauma. Battling over how many ports to put into the Apple II, Seth Rogen’s Wozniak finally throws up his hands. “Computers aren’t supposed to have human flaws,” he says. “I’m not going to build this one with yours.” This is another way of looking at technological progress as a whole—not as divinely-inspired evolutionary advancement but as a kind of enslavement, locking consumers inside the fallible psyches of its creators.

Articles (and movies) about Jobs are more often than not really about the people who are inspired by him. If you want a word to understanding their take on the world, forget "fanboy" or "Technium" or any of the other resentful or abstract things. A better word is "taste." This is often a tool of intelligent men of little emotional maturity or technical ability, in search of proof that such shortcomings just don't matter. Jobs (fairly or not) represents those things well enough to make him a perfect avatar.

I suspect the movie won't do very well. The people who care enough about Steve Jobs just aren't buying what it's selling.

Boy, 11, asks girl, 8, to see her puppies. She declines. He shoots and kills her.

Authorities in Tennessee say an 11-year-old boy has been detained on first-degree murder charges after shooting and killing an 8-year-old neighbor with a shotgun because she would not show him her pet puppies.

The gun belonged to the boy's father. The two kids went to the same school.

Neighbors interviewed by local news reporters identified the victim as Maykayla Dyer.

"Wanting to see a puppy, the little girl laughed and told him no... and that was it," said neighbor Chasity Arwood.

"Watching the Tennessee football game, heard the bang," Arwood said. "And then everybody screaming that he shot her baby girl."


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Penis-less man tells of his active sex life

Andrew Wardle suffers from a rare medical condition that prevented him from developing a penis. The 40-year-old man claims that he has been intimate with more than 100 women and most of them never knew he was missing a member.

“I knew my way around a woman’s body, I knew my way around their mind,” Wardle says. “I was very confident in bed of what I could do to them so they wouldn’t come near me and they were finished and I was fine.”

And when that didn't work, he told his partners not to bother because recreational drugs, or kidney disease, made it impossible for him to get an erection at the time.

Wardle is currently undergoing procedures to have a penis constructed from muscle tissue. His story is the subject of a new TV documentary.

(The Independent)

Obama apologizes to aid group for bombing hospital. MSF: Thanks, but we want an investigation

Doctors Without Borders received an apology from President Barack Obama today for the deadly U.S. bombing of its hospital in northern Afghanistan.

The international medical aid organization released a statement today:

"We reiterate our ask that the U.S. government consent to an independent investigation led by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to establish what happened in Kunduz, how it happened, and why it happened," said Dr. Joanne Liu, international president of the group, also known as Doctors Without Borders. [caption id="attachment_426606" align="alignnone" width="800"] MSF headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland October 7, 2015. REUTERS[/caption]

The aid group, also known also as Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF, said the proposed commission would gather evidence from the United States, NATO and Afghanistan. After that, the charity would decide whether to seek criminal charges for loss of life and damage.

“If we let this go, we are basically giving a blank check to any countries at war,” MSF International President Joanne Liu told reporters in Geneva. But she noted there was no commitment yet on official cooperation with an independent investigation.

The U.S. air attack Saturday killed 22 patients and medical staffers, including three children, in the northern Afghanistan city of Kunduz, which had been overrun by Taliban militants. Thirty-seven people were injured, including 19 staff members, the charity said.

Aid group seeks independent probe into U.S. attack on Afghan hospital

[caption id="attachment_426607" align="alignnone" width="800"] Afghan guards stand at the gate of MSF hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz. REUTERS[/caption]