Conversations with interesting people about the stuff they love.
April 7, 2016
Ruben Bolling and I had a terrific time interviewing one of our heroes, the amazing Al Jaffee, who has been a member of MAD magazine’s usual gang of idiots for 56 years (his work has appeared in every issue, save one).
Best known for his MAD Fold-in, which has appeared on the inside back cover of the magazine since 1964, he’s also the creator of a long running column, "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions," and my favorite, his dozens and dozens of whimsical inventions that border on the edge of plausibility. Ruben went to Al Jaffee’s studio in New York to talk to him about his remarkable career. It's so great to discover that someone you grew up worshipping turns out to be incredibly nice!
Feb. 19, 2016
168: South Pole diary, 2-page RPG adventures, Bitcoin for the Befuddled by Gweek
Jan. 15, 2016
Maria Konnikova’s new book, The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time, takes a deep dive into the psychology of con artists and the psychology of the trusting people they take advantage of. It’s a scary and fascinating book that reveals the methods and motives of con artists like Bernie Madoff, Jim Bakker, and Lance Armstrong, and explains why everyone is vulnerable to the con artist’s game, even other con artists.
Jan. 8, 2016
Michael Goodwin, a freelance writer and the author of the comic book Economix: How the Economy Works (and Doesn’t Work) in Words and Pictures. Like many freelance writers, he lives in New York City with cats.
New York Times best-selling novelist Scott Sigler, author of Ancestor, Nocturnal, and the Infected Trilogy (consisting of the books Infected, Contagious and Pandemic).
Aug. 26, 2015
056: Kevin Kelly, Wes Calimer, Dean Putney by Gweek
April 1, 2015
I recently spoke with Jon Ronson about his latest book, So You've Been Publicly Shamed. It's about people who've had their lives ruined from online shaming.
In the book, Jon spent time with recipients of online shaming, including Jonah Lehrer, The Silence and Respect photo person, the people fired in the dongle joke incident, and Justine Sacco, who tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”.
I was sickly fascinated by the book. I think it's Ronson's best book, and I have loved every book he's written (Men Who Stare at Goats, Lost at Sea, The Psychopath Test, etc.). I kept telling my wife how great this book was while I was reading it, and she became intrigued, so I had to rip it down the spine and give the first half to her while I finished the second half. We both had the same feeling from reading it -- a fear of tweeting, and reluctance to join in on an online shame pile-on.
I spoke to Jon by phone.
Jan. 21, 2015
Our guest this week is Maggie Tokuda Hall. She writes books for children and stories for adults, and also reviews books with her series of videos, Review in Doodle. Her debut children’s book, And Also An Octopus, is due out from Candlewick Press.
Dec. 4, 2014
In this discussion with Boing Boing’s software developer, Dean Putney, programmer and entrepreneur Jeff Atwood shares many good insights about learning. For instance, he says no one really buys giant programming book anymore: “Programmers are learning online from each other now. They just “page fault” in the information. That’s how people learn today.” He also says, “If you want to prove that you understand something, teach it to someone else.”
Nov. 21, 2014
Mike Evans is a musician, teacher, husband, and father from Pennsylvania. He was a founding member of the touring neo-swing band, Big Tubba Mista, and currently performs with The Greatest Funeral Ever, Gumbo Junk Brass Band, and other local bands.
When not performing, he recruits his two kids, who are too young to know any better, into doing zany projects and exploring curious new hobbies….Anything from kite aerial photography, geocaching, or remote control seagull-cams, to juggling, science experiments, or making stop motion movies.
He has yet to win his “webby”, “emmy”, or author his best-selling book to promote on Gweek, but in the meantime, he’s thrilled that his wife Jen set up this guest spot as her 10th wedding anniversary gift to him.
You can follow his adventures in fatherhood on his blog, Secret Dad Society, or on Twitter at @secretdadblog.
Nov. 6, 2014
Our guest this week is Steve Denton, AKA Dr. Monkey. Steve Denton is an internet scourge, sometime writer, full time smart aleck, and an unrepentant gadfly in the ointment of life. He runs the blogs Monkey Muck and Dr. Monkey’s Retro Scans, which we’ve mentioned previously on Gweek.
Oct. 31, 2014
Seth Godin enlightens us this week with an unexpected assortment of tools that will have you exploring the deepest recesses of your subconscious while, at the same time, enriching your hobbies and lifestyle.
Oct. 27, 2014
What do you do after you walk the Amazon?
Ed Stafford -- adventurer extraordinaire and Guinness World Record holder for walking the length of the Amazon River -- likes a challenge. Casting about for an adventure that would top the extraordinary feat he recounts in Walking the Amazon, Stafford decides to maroon himself on an uninhabited island in the South Pacific. His mission: to survive for sixty days equipped with nothing -- no food, water, or even clothing -- except the video cameras he would use to document his time. Detailing Stafford’s jaw-dropping sojourn on the island of Olourua, Naked and Marooned is a tale of unparalleled adventure and of one man’s will to push himself to the outer limits—and survive.
I interviewed Stafford by telephone last week.
Describe the island you were dropped on.
The island was a classical sort of South Pacific island. It was uninhabited. It was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It was completely covered in forest. None of it has been cleared, and if you look at it, it's sort of encircled by a golden sandy beach on one side and jagged flat rocks on the inside. Outside of that, there was a coral reef that formed a lovely lagoon all the way around the island. If you look at it, it was an absolute paradise island, and one that you would pay thousands and thousands of pounds to go and stay on. That was pretty much what it was like.
One of the things that I think people don't realize about the South Pacific -- and this is from my own experience of having spent quite a bit of time there -- is that it actually can get rather chilly at night. You were dropped off on this island completely naked. How did you deal with the cold?
No one's actually asked me that before. You're right. It was very chilly. The winds come up at night, and, obviously, I did find a cave very early on. I set myself up in the cave, but the wind would howl through that cave, and, so, yeah, initially I was just covering myself in dry grass on the premise that the horse, in its stable just sleeps on hay, and so I figure out to cover myself in grass. The wind cut straight through, and it was freezing, and I had quite a few nights where I was pretty uncomfortable.
I tried to make a blanket, again, out of grass just by weaving it together, but it was pretty ineffectual, and covered myself in all sorts of things, leaves, sand, whatever I could basically do to cut out the wind. Eventually, obviously, the key to it all was getting a fire going which took two weeks, but once I got a fire going, night was a lot more comfortable, certainly.
Once you were able to get a fire going, were you able to stay warm on both sides of your body, or did you have to turn around every once in a while to get toasty on both sides?
Actually, I would just lie with the small of my back to the fire, so the fire would be about at my waist and about a couple of feet away from me, and it would warm up the small of my back, and, therefore, I suppose, the essential parts, the essential organs, and my head and my feet would be sort of at a lower temperature, but a comfortable temperature, as well. I could just stay there all night, and I had a pile of wood in front of me that I could then just reach out and put on the fire. I'd have to wake up maybe about every hour and a half, maybe two hours, in order to reach the pile of wood, but I was fine. I probably was half awake for about two minutes each time before it died down, and it would automatically wake me up. I could feel the heat the fire drew up, and I'd wake up and put more wood on it and then I would get through the night like that. It was a bizarre sort of animalistic experience, but it was quite a nice thing, actually. It was quite a nice little routine to the whole thing.
nmbook Ed Stafford's Nake…
Oct. 2, 2014
Gweek 163 - Veronica Belmont by Gweek
Sept. 25, 2014
Guests for this episode of Boing Boing's pop culture podcast are IDG editorial director Jason Snell and Joshua Glenn, publisher of HiLoBrow.
Sept. 23, 2014
Dan Shapiro helps us explore some inventions and innovations this week that offer a surprisingly valuable experience for their price. If you're looking for luxury on a shoestring, you won't be disappointed by Dan's picks.
Sept. 15, 2014
Blogger and Author, David McRaney introduces us to some lesser known creative solutions to life’s tiny nuisances that will help you untangle your wad of keys, opt for a better YouTube experience and explore the future of musical experimentation.
Sept. 10, 2014
There are currently 4.2 million medical cannabis patients in the United States, and there are 20 states plus the District of Columbia where medical cannabis is legal. As medical cannabis becomes an accepted herbal medicine, there is a demand for clear, easy-to-follow information for the layperson based on the latest sound medical and evidence-based research.
Written by Michael Backes, a respected expert in the field, Cannabis Pharmacy begins with the history of medical marijuana and an explanation of how cannabis works with the body's own endocannabinoid system. Backes goes on to explore in detail 27 of the most popular cannabis varieties, how to identify them, the differences between them, and the medical conditions for which patients have reported effectiveness. Additional chapters describe how to prepare and store cannabis, how best to administer those preparations, and how to modify and control dosage. Also included is a guide to 29 ailments and illnesses for which doctors commonly recommend medical marijuana, including chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, fibromyalgia, and Parkinson's disease.
Meticulously researched and written in an easy and accessible style, Cannabis Pharmacy provides the clearest, most complete, and most practical information available on the use and benefits of medical marijuana.
Sept. 3, 2014
Soon enough, nobody will remember life before the Internet. What does this unavoidable fact mean?
For future generations, it won’t mean anything very obvious. They will be so immersed in online life that questions about the Internet’s basic purpose or meaning will vanish.
But those of us who have lived both with and without the crowded connectivity of online life have a rare opportunity. We can still recognize the difference between Before and After. We catch ourselves idly reaching for our phones at the bus stop. Or we notice how, mid-conversation, a fumbling friend dives into the perfect recall of Google.
In this eloquent and thought-provoking book, Michael Harris argues that amid all the changes we’re experiencing, the most interesting is the one that future generations will find hardest to grasp. That is the end of absence—the loss of lack. The daydreaming silences in our lives are filled; the burning solitudes are extinguished. There’s no true “free time” when you carry a smartphone. Today’s rarest commodity is the chance to be alone with your own thoughts.
To understand our predicament, and what we should do about it, Harris explores this “loss of lack” in chapters devoted to every corner of our lives, from sex and commerce to memory and attention span. His book is a kind of witness for the “straddle generation”—a burst of empathy for those of us who suspect that our technologies use us as much as we use them.
By placing our situation in a rich historical context, Harris helps us remember which parts of that earlier world we don’t want to lose forever. He urges us to look up—even briefly—from our screens. To remain awake to what came before. To again take pleasure in absence.
Aug. 30, 2014
Mark caught up with two of his favorite cartoonists, Gabrielle Bell, who has a new autobiographical book out, called "Truth is Fragmentary", and Ruben Bolling, who announced his upcoming series of illustrated kids' books, called Emu Club Adventures.
Aug. 27, 2014
This week AJ Jacobs, bestselling author and journalist, shows us how he rids himself of life’s common nuisances and hazards like an untied shoe, a noisy environment or a half hour wasted in traffic so he can focus on larger pursuits, like bringing the world together in one great big family reunion. AJ reminds us that we are all cousins and encourages all of us to explore just how we are related by hitting up some of his favorite genealogy resources. Oh, and we’re all officially invited to The Global Family Reunion on June 6th, 2015. Don’t forget the potato salad!