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"London Cries": the merchants' patter of 19th Century London

One genre of 19th Cen illustrated pamphlet was the "Cries of London" (previously), which celebrated the market traders' characteristic sales patter, which were catalogued as a kind of urban birdsong. Aunt Busy Bee’s New London Cries (1852) is a lovely example of the genre, both for its lively illustrations and the wonderful pitches it records (and also for the reminder of all the professions that have been so thoroughly superannuated that even their existence is long forgotten). As Spitalf...
Tags: Post, Books, Happy Mutants, Old school, London, News, Labor, Steampunk, Covent Garden, Spitalfields, Billingsgate, Urban Birdsong

童絵解万国噺: a wonderfully bizarre 19th century Japanese fanfic history of America

Japanese historian Nick Kapur unearthed "Osanaetoki Bankokubanashi" (童絵解万国噺), a wonderfully bizarre illustrated Japanese history of the USA from 1861, filled with fanciful depictions of allegedly great moments in US history, like "George Washington defending his wife 'Carol' from a British official named 'Asura' (same characters as the Buddhist deity)." They just get weirder and better from there: "Washington's 'second-in-command' John Adams battling an enormous snake"; "George Washington s...
Tags: Twitter, Post, Books, Old school, Japan, Usa, New York, News, Funny, Washington, US, America, History, Illustration, John Adams, Kafka

Who can forget those scenes in Count Zero where they all stand around eating soup?

Back in the 1980s, the giant German sf publisher Heyne tried out an experimental partnership with a soup company Maggi (they're still around), and it was bonkers. Under the terms of the deal, science fiction novels would be periodically interrupted by scenes in which the characters would drop everything and start eating Maggi soups, smacking their lips and exclaiming over just how delicious they were. But to keep readers from confusing the soup ads with the novels, these scenes would be se...
Tags: Post, Books, Publishing, Science Fiction, Old school, News, Germany, Cyberpunk, William Gibson, Tim Powers, Maggi, Heyne, Is It Soup Yet, Count Zero

LA Times demands that reporters sign away rights to books, movies and other works they create while working at the paper

The LA Times Guild has been negotiating a new contract with the newspaper, but has hit a wall thanks to an unprecedented demand from the paper's owners: they want writers to sign away the rights to nonfiction books, novels, movies and other works they create separate from their reporting for the paper. The newspaper is also demanding the right to use reporters "byline, biography and likeness" to market these works. The Times has falsely claimed that this is standard at other papers. LA Time...
Tags: Post, Books, Business, Copyfight, News, Writing, Los Angeles, The Times, Times, Class War, Los Angeles Times, Guild, LA Times, Matt Pearce, Los Angeles Times Guild, Ink-stained Wretches

Teen journalists profile each of the 1,200+ US children killed by guns since Parkland

More than 200 teen journalists have come together to write Since Parkland, which profiles each of the more than 1,200 children killed by guns in the USA since the Parkland shooting (not including suicides, kids killed by cops, or shooters who were themselves killed while committing shootings): "The reporting you will read in 'Since Parkland' is journalism in one of its purest forms — revealing the human stories behind the statistics — carried out on an exhaustive scale." A reminder that we do m...
Tags: Post, Usa, News, Guns, US, Journalism, Parkland, Say Their Names

This guy made a custom hardwood and aluminum key fob for his car

What a great way to fancy up a broken car key fob. Here is how he did it. IMGURian Michicanery built an amazing custom hardwood and aluminum key fob for his car. “Aside from a slight range reduction due to the heavier materials, all of the original remote's functionality is maintained - this is really just a cosmetic update.” I made a custom hardwood and aluminum key fob for my car. View this post on Instagram ...
Tags: Crafts, Post, News, Diy, Custom, CNC, Machine Shop

The WPA's horseback librarians

During the 1930s, the WPA sponsored horseback librarians -- all women -- to visit rural Americans, bringing them books; the librarians were only allowed to make deliveries in counties that had existing libraries, so schools and other institutions donated materials to establish libraries that would make their counties eligible. The program ran until 1943, and, as with many WPA programs, it was lavishly documented by talented photographers, as a reminder to all of us in their future that Amer...
Tags: Photos, Post, Books, Old school, Gender, News, America, Wpa, Glam

California police find street gang's underground lair

Police in Fontana, California were searching a suspected gang member's home when they found a manhole built into the floor. Down the ladder was a small secret underground hideout containing an arsenal, shooting range, and rather modest hang-out space. According to CNN, "interlocking rubber mats lined the ground in one area, with something resembling furniture pads or moving blankets fixed to walls, and a US flag hanging in one corner. Another area had a dirt ground and a wall lined with sandbag...
Tags: Facebook, Post, Crime, News, Guns, California, US, Cnn, Gangs, Fontana California, Hideouts

Matt Taibbi on Chris Christie's "agonizing" memoir: "an epic literary self-own"

Chris Christie's got a new memoir, "Let Me Finish," and Matt Taibbi (previously), Rolling Stone's most incandescent and relentless writer, has done us all the mercy of reading Christie so we don't have to. As Taibbi describes it, Christie's lack of self-awareness has led him to publish a book where he tries to come off as a tough guy, but ends up revealed as a spineless chump whose greed and cupidity made him the perfect patsy for a series of sadistic head-games played by Trump that are so ...
Tags: Post, Books, Chris Christie, News, Labor, Gop, Italy, Mitt Romney, Matt Taibbi, Homeland Security, Vatican City, Republican Party, Rolling Stone, Trumpism, Trump, Rnc

Realistic rubber feet

The two bullet points for the Belladonna Foot Soldiers [Amazon] makes clear all you need to know. First, it offers "astonishing details" in "realistic rubber," and second that there is one left foor, one right foot, and a bottle of lube. [via The Worst Things For Sale] Now you too can have your own set of Belladonna's exquisite feet to hold, fondle, love and caress. Live out your wildest fantasies with Belladonna. The top review, alas, warns of a strong smell. I’m not sure what it is, but the ...
Tags: Post, Toys, News, Nsfw, Belladonna, Belladonna Foot Soldiers -LSB- Amazon

What do reverse cyborgs want? A review of David Marusek's Glassing the Orgachine

In First Contact, Book 1 of David Marusek’s (previously) science fiction series Upon This Rock, an alien being crash lands in a remote corner of Alaska, not far from a family-cult of preppers for the end times, and the alien exploits the beliefs of the family patriarch by posing as an angel sent to earth to initiate the final conflict. Rooted deeply in contemporary Alaskan landscape and culture, the novel is funny and painful, part satire and part serious exploration of a particularly unfortu...
Tags: Reviews, Post, Books, Science Fiction, Gift Guide, News, America, Tor, Alaska, New York Times, Philip K Dick, Mccarthy, Lewis, John Varley, Mary Doria Russell, Tom Kizzia

HOW TO: Randall "XKCD" Munroe's forthcoming book of "absurd scientific advice"

Randall "XKCD" Munroe's next book has been announced: How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems, a sequel of sorts to his 2014 book What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, spun out of his wonderful XKCD spinout site. It's out on Sept 3, and the publisher's description makes it (as Kottke says) an instant pre-order: "For any task you might want to do, there's a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally bad that no one would ever try ...
Tags: Post, Books, Happy Mutants, Gift Guide, Science, News, Webcomics, Humor, Xkcd, Kottke, Explainers For Mad Scientists, Randall XKCD Munroe

WHAT IF: Randall "XKCD" Munroe's forthcoming book of "absurd scientific advice"

Randall "XKCD" Munroe's next book has been announced: How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems, a sequel of sorts to his 2014 book What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, spun out of his wonderful XKCD spinout site. It's out on Sept 3, and the publisher's description makes it (as Kottke says) an instant pre-order: "For any task you might want to do, there's a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally bad that no one would ever try ...
Tags: Post, Books, Happy Mutants, Gift Guide, Science, News, Webcomics, Humor, Xkcd, Kottke, Explainers For Mad Scientists, Randall XKCD Munroe

RIP, author Carol Emshwiller

Author Carol Emshwiller has died at the age of 97, after a long and distinguished career in science fiction, fantasy and other genres. Emshwiller has been publishing since 1955, and while she is best known for her fantasy and science fiction, my favorite work of hers is the superb and moving western Ledoyt, published in 1995. Carol Emshmiller was married to the illustrator and experimental filmmaker Ed "Emsh" Emshwiller, with whom she had three children. I never met Carol Emshwiller, but...
Tags: Post, Books, Science Fiction, Gender, News, Feminism, Paris, Obits, Ed, University Of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Luis Ortiz, Locus Magazine, Carol Emshwiller, Ed Emshwiller, Ledoyt

'Zucked: Waking up to the Facebook Catastrophe,' by Roger McNamee [BOOKS]

I can't stop reading my just-out-today hardcover copy of Roger McNamee's new book, 'Zucked: Waking up to the Facebook Catastrophe.' I pre-ordered 'Zucked' last week on my phone when I was out for coffee with my friend Mike Backes (buy his book!), who was so enthralled with it he couldn't put his pre-release copy down, and he carried it with him that day. I stopped what I was doing when the Amazon delivery guy handed it to me a few hours ago. I'm a couple hundred pages in to 'Zucked' now. I get i...
Tags: Google, Amazon, Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Post, Books, Technology, News, America, Social Media, Reading, Msnbc, Cnbc, Cory Doctorow, Zuck, Roger

A brief history of guitar distortion

Over at Riff Magazine, my old pal David Gill looks back at the birth of distortion and its position as "central to rock and roll as the sex and the drugs." From Riff: In March 1951, a 19-year-old Ike Turner was recording his saxophonist Jackie Breston’s song “Rocket 88,” an ode to the Oldsmobile 88 (and later inspiration for Public Enemy’s “You’re Gonna Get Yours”). (Listen above.) Turner played his guitar loud, so loud, in fact, that his amplifier couldn’t handle it. The resulting distor...
Tags: Post, Video, Music, News, America, Distortion, Victoria, Public Enemy, Guitars, Turner, Rock And Roll, David Gill, Ike Turner, Jackie Breston

Women weren't excluded from early science fiction: they were erased

Science fiction scholar Lisa Yaszek's recent book The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin, is a secret history of women in science fiction, reframing the story of exclusion ("women weren't welcome in early sf writing circles") as one of erasure ("women made vital contributions to early science fiction, and these were systematically expunged from the record when the first wave of historical sf anthologies were published, as part ...
Tags: Post, Books, Happy Mutants, Science Fiction, Gender, News, Podcasts, Toronto, Ursula K Le Guin, Mp3s, Spoken word, Campbell, Merril, The Future Is Female, Lisa Yaszek, Pulp Pioneers

A free book of science fiction from around the world about climate change, introduced by Kim Stanley Robinson

[Editor's note: I'm a volunteer advisor to Arizona State University's Center for Science and the Imagination, and Joey Eschrich is a colleague of mine there; I invited him to write up his latest project, an anthology of science fiction about climate change.] Joey Eschrich: Today, the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative at Arizona State University published Everything Change: An Anthology of Climate Fiction, Volume II. The anthology features 10 short stories from ASU’s 2018 global cl...
Tags: Post, Books, Happy Mutants, Science Fiction, News, Climate, Cli-fi, Arizona State University, Asu, Kim Stanley Robinson, Robinson, Joey Eschrich, Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative, Arizona State University s Center for Science, New York 2140 Green Earth

San Francisco tomorrow night (1/30): Doug Rushkoff interviewed by David Pescovitz at Commonwealth Club

Tomorrow evening (Wednesday 1/30) at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club, I'll be interviewing longtime BB pal Douglas Rushkoff about his inspiring and (as usual) provocative new book Team Human! I expect a freewheeling conversation about the optimism of the cyberdelic early 1990s, why we looked to digital media as a democratizing tool to empower the individual, and how we ended up in today's (anti)social media mess. I'm hoping that the way in is the way out. Douglas Rushkoff: Team Human at the ...
Tags: Post, Books, News, San Francisco, Doug, David Pescovitz, Commonwealth Club, Douglas Rushkoff, Doug Rushkoff, Find The Others, Commonwealth Club San Francisco, City Lights Booksellers

Ancient civilizations' fascination with AI, robots, and synthetic life

Stanford folklorist and science historian Adrienne Mayor has a fascinating-sounding new book out, titled "Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology." It's a survey of how ancient Greeks, Romans, Indian, and Chinese myths imagined and grappled with visions of synthetic life, artificial intelligence, and autonomous robots. From Mayor's interview at Princeton University Press: Who first imagined the concept of robots? Most historians of science trace the first automa...
Tags: Post, Books, Science, News, Stanford, History, Artificial Intelligence, Pandora, Mythology, Robots, Classics, Ai, Princeton University Press, Jason, Folklore, Buddha

Terrorise other beachgoers with the Beach Behemoth, a 12-foot beach ball

The Beach Behemoth is a 12-foot beach ball. Perhaps you think that this is a mere toy, one of those ultimately trivial impulse buys of no permanence beyond momentary amusement. This is because you have not read the buyer reviews at Amazon. Reid Hamlin writes: We took this ball to the beach and after close to 2 hours to pump it up, we pushed it around for about 10 fun filled minutes. That was when the wind picked it up and sent it huddling down the beach at about 40 knots. It destroyed everythi...
Tags: Amazon, Post, Toys, Florida, News, South Carolina, Zia, Katamari Damasshole, Reid Hamlin, Aurora Porter

Crocheted budgies, for a friend who loves birds but can't have one

“They are the pets of a friend of mine and he wanted to give them as a gift to someone who loved them but could not have their own budgies.” IMGURian pewdpie made these wonderful crocheted budgies and “improvised the faces with felting.” “These are the sweet little budgies I recreated” in crochet, Turnip and Poptart.
Tags: Crafts, Post, News, Diy, Cute, Pets, Birds, Aww, Crocheting, Birbs

Houston: Mass Shooting Reported, 5+ officers shot, suspect 'down'

“We have had several officers shot,” says Houston TX Police Chief Art Acevedo. “Please pray for officers on the way to the scene” Houston police union says 5 officers have been shot and have been transported to hospital. Houston mayor Sylvester Turner said via Twitter the suspect in the shooting is “down.” More tweets from the breaking news event follow. The latest from Houston Police Watch CommandA total of 3 suspects in a residence.One of them is dead. Two still inside.HPD was servi...
Tags: Post, News, Guns, US news, Houston, Turner, Greg Abbott, Mass Shooting, KHOU, Harding, Houston Police, Sylvester Turner, Acevedo, Hermann, Picks, Josh Campbell

Menu Plan Monday ~ Jan 28/19 Weekly Dinner Inspiration

Welcome to Menu Plan Monday! Hi friends! Happy Monday to you all. Have you gotten your menu plans done yet for the week? It’s not just something to do to wow your friends, it really does work to make life so much easier. Trust me if there wasn’t a huge pay off I wouldn’t do it week after week. It would be really hard to get myself motivated to get it done if I didn’t think it was 100% worth it. What do you think? How many of you menu plan for more than one week at a time? If you do, you ...
Tags: Crafts, Post, Linky, Pizza Party, Menu Plan Monday, Yoyo, Taco Salad, Sheet Pan Bruschetta Chicken

Jeff "Sweet Tooth" Lemire's new horror comic Gideon Falls is spooky af

Jeff Lemire can do weird-spooky (see, e.g., his Twilight Zonish graphic novel Underwater Welder) and he can do gripping (see his amazing, post-apocalyptic Sweet Tooth), but in his newest graphic novel from Image Comics, Gideon Falls, he shows that he can do spooky-verging-on-terrifying, with a tale of supernatural mystery that combines avant-garde graphic treatments with outstanding writing to create a genuine tale of terror. Gideon Falls braids together multiple points of view -- a priest ...
Tags: Reviews, Post, Books, Happy Mutants, Comics, Gift Guide, News, Horror, Graphic Novels, Supernatural, David Lynch, Jeff Lemire, Dave Stewart, Black Barn, Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino

The Myth of Capitalism: an ardent capitalist decries monopoly

Naked Capitalism's Yves Smith reviews Joanthan Tepper and Denise Hearn's The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition, in which Tepper (who does research that is sold to asset managers) condemns capitalism's current state while rejecting Thomas Piketty (who says that capitalism inevitably elevates the already-rich, not the people who create wealth by doing useful things) and Karl Marx. Like Piketty, though, Tepper seeks to rescue capitalism, rather than jettison it. Piket...
Tags: Post, Books, News, Mississippi, California, America, Competition, Chicago, United States, Peter Thiel, Thomas Piketty, Piketty, Department Of Justice, Smith, Godwins Law, Securities And Exchange Commission

Photographing computers to show the art inside the black box

[Editor's note: I was utterly taken with the gorgeous photos in the new edition of Core Memory, photographer Mark Richards's lavish survey of the vintage computing hardware in Silicon Valley's gem, the Computer History Museum; below is senior curator Dag Spicer's introduction to the book, along with some photos, which the publisher was kind enough to supply -Cory] What computers mean to us depends largely on what we bring to them. Our expectations, our past experience, the dreams and myths tha...
Tags: Post, Books, Happy Mutants, Photography, Gift Guide, News, Ibm, Silicon Valley, Hamlet, Glam, Tivo, Cory, John Von Neumann, Computer History Museum, ENIAC, Australopithecus

WATCH: Delightful stop-motion woodworking video

The finished piece he makes is such a delight, but so is watching it come together from spare scraps of wood. A crappy stopmotion of my woodworking Shared on IMGUR by IMGUrian Basil123, who thought it was “crappy.” No way! We'll be the judge of that, and it ain't.
Tags: Post, News, Diy, Woodworking, Craft, Ahh, Calming

Florida man pulls gun, racial slurs on kids in street argument

The video begins in medias res during the annual "Wheels Up, Guns Down" bicycle ride, with a group of teens and an older woman engaged in a heated dispute over the riders' blocking of traffic. As the woman and one boy face off, another teen rides up to them on his bicycle and she accuses him of running over her foot (apparently falsely, though perhaps it happened before the video begins). A man, who may well be the human incarnation of whatever ancient stupid god looks over Miami, barrels up ...
Tags: Post, Florida, News, Guns, Racism, Miami, Brickell, Keon Hardemon, Hardemon

Ozzy Osbourne sells bat plushie with detachable head

On Sunday, Ozzy Osbourne launched pre-orders for this darling plushie bat with a detachable head, and it has already sold out. Today is the 37th anniversary of Ozzy's show at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa during which he bit the head off a real bat. From a January 22, 1982 article in the Des Moines Register: Osbourne reportedly put a dead bat in his mouth, bit its head off and threw it back into the crowd of about 5,000 at the auditorium Wednesday night. Some skeptics t...
Tags: Post, Toys, Music, News, Ozzy Osbourne, Bats, Des Moines, Ozzy, DES MOINES Iowa, Neal, Osbourne, Mark Neal, Mercy Hospital Medical Center, Crazy Train, Broadlawns Medical Center

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