Boing Boing

Help a blind girl find her cat in a world where you see without eyes

I watched the Bob Ross marathon on Twitch recently, where a whole new generation got to discover the magic that emerges from his brushes: how you can turn away for a moment and turn back to find a whole new world materializing across a blank canvas. The game Beyond Eyes can feel a little bit like that too.

You play as Rae, a young girl who lost her sight in an accident. After her cat Nani goes missing, she opens the gate to that leads beyond her garden and adventures forth to find her friend. Since she's blind, she—and you—have to rely on touch, sound and memory to paint a picture of the world in the blank spaces of the unknown.

If a bird sings in the distance, it'll light up a small area in the vast whiteness that cloaks the path ahead—at least until you draw closer. Gates, bushes and other obstacles often spring up in front of you suddenly, since you don't know where they are until you run into them. The world paints itself into being around you, in ways that are beautiful and surprising. Grass grows beneath your feet as you move, flowers bloom, bridges leap across rivers.

But things aren't always what they seem: what sounds (and therefore looks) like a sparkling fountain might turn out to be water pouring through a rusty sewer grate. What you thought was your cat rustling around in the bushes might turn out to be some local wildlife. Your other senses can help you paint an imaginative picture of the world around you, but until you actually touch it, you never quite know for sure.

The phrase "walking simulator" has become something of a pejorative in certain circles, but that's exactly what Beyond Eyes is. This is a game where almost all you do is wander, imagine, and watch the world unfold. But what ultimately makes it pleasurable is what makes so many "walking simulators" worthwhile: the chance to move through a different world in a different way, and perhaps to remember that not everyone walks through the world in the same way as us.

Developed by the Tiger and Squid, Beyond Eyes is available for Mac, PC, Linux, PS4 and Xbox One.

The Type Deck: playing cards with beautiful fonts

I love marveling at good type design because I know how much effort it takes to make things look just right.

To me, there’s no deck of playing cards that uses intertwining fonts better than the Type Deck. It took designer Chris Cavill over 5 months to get this project off the ground and I think it was worth the effort.


Each suit of the deck has been uniquely handled, while maintaining a cohesive style throughout.



Usually, the lion’s share of time and effort in a deck of cards is given to the court cards. But not in the Type Deck.



Though the illustrations of the royal cards are crisp and beautiful…



They are pushed back and subdued to let the typography be the star.



No matter what Chris says, these cards were never meant to be played with. They were meant to be studied.


And when I grow up as a graphic designer I hope to create something that hits typographic nerves like this deck does.


But for now - I'll just have to be content with what I have.





Former Westboro hate mouthpiece on leaving the church

Be sure to read Adrian Chen's gripping profile of former Westboro Baptist Church twitterer Megan Phelps-Roper, who left the church after coming to realize the futility of its hate gospel.

On December 20, 2009, Phelps-Roper was in the basement of her house, for a church function, when she checked Twitter on her phone and saw that Brittany Murphy, the thirty-two-year-old actress, had died. When she read the tweet aloud, other church members reacted with glee, celebrating another righteous judgment from God… But Phelps-Roper had loved Murphy in “Clueless,” and she felt an unexpected pang—not quite sadness, but something close—over her death. As she continued scrolling through Twitter, she saw that it was full of people mourning Murphy. The contrast between the grief on Twitter and the buoyant mood in the basement unsettled her. She couldn’t bring herself to post a tweet thanking God for Murphy’s death.

If you're been wondering why Westboro's been kind of boring lately, it turns out that there was a coup of sorts within the church: day-to-day troll in chief Shirley Phelps-Roper (Megan's mother) was denounced, and a bunch of stodgy old men took over. Since then, women have been marginalized within the church and it has lost much of its media savvy.

Read Adrian's piece to the last sentence: there is an absolutely amazing ending to the life and mind of the church's founder, Fred Phelps.

Dozens killed, many hostages reportedly taken in Mali hotel attack

Dozens are reported dead after gunmen stormed the luxury Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali's capital earlier today.

The attackers reportedly took up to 170 hostages before Malian special forces stormed the building to free the captives. The government of France, Mali's former colonial power, has dispatched 50 commandos to the Saharan nation.

The remaining hostages were freed in the shootout, reports USA Today, and the gunmen killed.

Mali is in the grip of unrest following a 2012 military coup and Islamist insurgency in the north of the country.

Reuters reports that al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Mourabitoun has claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes soon after 129 died in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris.

Read the nondisclosure agreement you must sign if you want to have sex with Charlie Sheen

Beset by blackmailers and tabloid rumors, actor Charlie Sheen was recently forced to announce that he is HIV-positive. The most newsworthy thing to come out of it, I think, is a nondisclosure agreement that potential sexual partners must sign in order to get into his pants. Is this a general practice among celebrities? As crazy as it seems, I wouldn't blame them.

Nassim Taleb defends homeopathy

The statistician and risk analyst, who rose to prominence with his 2007 book The Black Swan, has a history of sticking up for junk science, but has crossed a Rubicon with his latest set of tweets, in which he defended homeopathy as harmless placebos that divert hypochondriacs from taking too many real pharmaceutical products. (more…)

Take an additional 15% off select deals in the Boing Boing Store today only!

Take an additonal 15% off today only on the below products in the Boing Boing Store by using coupon code: DOORBUSTER at checkout!

The future of photography is here--and Lytro has taken their technology up a notch with the Ilum. Transform moments by adjusting everything from the focus to the perspective after the fact. There's no better time to make the ultimate photographic splurge with this one time exclusive offer.There are many VPNs out there, so which is right for you? If you're looking for extreme reliability, Private Internet Access is one the most trusted names in the business--and for good reason. Trusted by Forbes, Wired, and more, PIA is a safe choice for safer Internet surfing.

The Panther Air Drone is not your average quadcopter. With its unusually large size yet light durable foam body, the Panther boasts a 4.5 channel radio control to seamlessly maneuver in every direction. Capture snapshots and video footage of the world below or try out full stunt mode. Fly high with the Panther this holiday season.

This bundle offers you the unique opportunity to take your gaming passion and turn it into an awesome career. You will learn to code iOS, Android and desktop games all in one fantastic package that will leave you with all the skills necessary to take the developer world by storm.

The days of getting your headphones caught on your surroundings and ripping your ears off are over. The Active Wrap Bluetooth Headphones are the perfect solution to those constantly replaced wired headphones. With high-quality sound and noise-canceling technology, you can keep bumping your favorite jams for 8 non-stop hours without any annoying distractions. 

Ethiopian hats and wigs made from recycled consumer goods

Eric Lafforgue is a prolific, talented photographer who's travelled the world, living among people in many hard-to-reach places and telling their stories with his camera. Among the most striking sets of images in his deep portfolio is his 2013 portraits of Daasanach people in Ethiopia, who have created exuberant wigs and hats from mass-produced consumer goods, both new and discarded, that have recently reached their part of the world. (more…)

In just a few keystrokes and five scenes, the most striking game about guns

Using just five scenes and three keystrokes, renowned minimalist game designer Pippin Barr has released a dark, thoughtful piece on gun violence, made with his wife Rilla Khaled. A Series of Gunshots comes in part from the revelation that he was starting to find shooting things in video games "really gross"—and the wish to explore the horrible space around the sound of a shot.

The game is very simple. Confronted with a color-starved scene of a street, an apartment front, or some other mundane place, the player must press any key, and the punctuation of a gunshot rings out. You might see a muzzle flash in one of the windows right before your eyes, or you might not, the sound coming from outside of your field of view. Pressing any key up to three more times may or may not trigger another shot, and then the scene changes. The set of scenes you see, and the hidden violence that may be occurring in each, is different each time you play.

There is a remarkable thought space around such a deceptively simple design. You as the player notice the urge to 'advance' the scene; you find yourself wishing the shot will occur where you can 'see' it. The game's challenge, in a sense, is being able to sit in the pause after that first sound and to notice how you feel about it—and about your own lack of agency. There is a cold, frightening inevitability about the fact you cannot really observe, control or predict any aspect of the distant violence. You never get to know why the shot was fired, if anyone was hurt or killed, what any of it meant. There may be another round of gunfire coming, and there may not, but all you can do is press a key and see.

Any key will do; letting the player use the mouse, Barr said, would have added too great an illusion of control, the player "pointing" hopefully (?) at dark windows. Mapping to a specific key, too, would accord the player too close of a relationship with the idea of a single "trigger." With careful decisions like these, A Series of Gunshots elegantly decouples the report of a gun from the thoughtless, self-relieving behavior that "shooting" usually is in video games, and redraws the weapon as it exists in reality—a deliverer of unknowable darkness.

You can play A Series of Gunshots for free in your browser here. Offworld has previously covered some of Barr's projects here and here.

The wallet that does nothing

Hammacher Schlemmer is a mostly mail-order company from which I’ve bought some lovely cashmere sweaters for my wife at Christmas. The company is renowned for its entertaining mail-order catalogue (and a great return policy) which has provided me with hours of fun reading over the years.

Often the cover features some incredibly outlandish extravagance designed solely for really wealthy folks, and which often costs a stratospheric amount of money. Top of the line at the moment is a “Five Person Exploration Submarine” which can descend to 656 feet, weighs over 7.7 tons and costs—take your seats, please—$2,700,000. As Dr. Evil used to say, “Almost three MILLION dollars.”

This year’s new and more reasonably priced money pit is a racing simulator for $185,000. It looks like a lot of fun, and my daughter says she rode something like it at Epcot at Walt Disney World, but something tells me that whoever receives it will lose interest ’ere long.

The exact prices are unimportant because they’re silly. As far as most of us are concerned, we’re far more likely to get hit by a bus than be given one of these gifts.

I genuinely enjoy Hammacher Schlemmer’s catalogue simply because it’s filled with incredibly weird things, like the remote-controlled flying shark mini-blimp for $40, and “The NASA Sleep Promoting Light Bulb” for $40.

There are also lots of handy things, like well-made flannel pjs, nice lined gloves, and so on. It’s a real 90-page potpourri and you should definitely call 1-800-543-3366 and request a free catalogue. You can also do it online.

Once in a while I think their copy writers are overcome with enthusiasm to the point of nonsense. This year’s prize goes to something called “The Prestidigitator's Wallet.” As the editor of a well-known magazine on the subject of conjuring, I can tell a “Prestigitator’s Wallet” from one that’s not.

This is not. The item is described as “… the ultra-slim wallet that magically secures folded bills with just a flip. Simply insert cash in the middle of the wallet and close it. Next, flip it over, and, like magic, the cash is secured instantly under taut and durable elastic straps.”

This, I really have to tell you, is not a magic trick at all. It’s a wallet with some elastic straps in it that are there for no good reason. Nothing magical happens: if you put the folded bills inside, close the wallet, and reopen it on the other side, the bills are under those straps. They haven’t disappeared or changed or anything one would consider a trick.

Now if we strip away the silliness of the name and sales pitch (“This wallet replicates a style originally invented by French waiters in the 1920s as a means to quickly squirrel away tips”) then you might have a nicely priced ($40) leather billfold with pockets for credit cards and a window-pocket for your driver’s license.

Still, this line of ad copy kills me, “Removing money is as easy as pulling it from the straps.” No shit!

Nixon killed JFK and stole his brain! and other hard-hitting tabloid news

[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]


Kamasi Washington and The Mountain Goats to play 2016 Noise Pop Music Festival in SF

Kamasi Washington, 34, is a saxophonist and composer who is carrying the spiritual jazz torch pioneered by the likes of John Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders, Albert Ayler, and Stanley Cowell. But his sound is not a retro trip. Washington, who has also played with Flying Lotus, Snoop Dogg, Herbie Hancock, and Kendrick Lamar, recently released his three hour album, aptly titled Epic. It's an immersive, post-post-bop modal groove that is utterly and entirely contemporary. Dig the performance above, recorded this summer for NPR's Jazz Night in America.

I was thrilled when our friends at San Francisco's Noise Pop Music Festival announced that Washington will be part of this year's killer lineup for the musical extravaganza taking place February 19-28 at clubs around the city. So far, the schedule also includes performances by The Mountain Goats, Parquet Courts, Vince Staples, The Cave Singers, Caucus, The Thermals, Film School, Diane Coffee, Wild Ones, Beacon, Astronauts, Etc., Palehound, and Heartwatch.

More details: Noise Pop Music Festival

Why are Jihadis obsessed with Red Mercury?

Red mercury is a mythological compound that allows nuclear weapons to be radically miniaturized. That mercury oxide (and anything else reasonably described as such) is useless for blowing stuff up matters little to buyers who shell out fabulous sums on a hoax. (more…)