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Mark Frauenfelder
Works at Boing Boing
Attended Boulder High School, Colorado State University
Lives in Studio City, CA
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writer, editor, blogger, illustrator
  • Boing Boing
    Founder, present
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    Editor-in-chief, present
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Studio City, CA
Boulder, CO - Golden, Boulder, London, Los Gatos, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Rarotonga
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Writer, editor, illustrator
I'm the editor-in-chief of, the founding editor-in-chief of MAKE magazine (2004-2014) and the co-founder of the blog,

I was an editor at Wired from 1993-1998. For several years, I wrote a monthly technology column for Playboy magazine and have written for The New York Times Magazine, Popular Science, and The Hollywood Reporter.

I'm the author of several books, including The Happy Mutant Handbook (1995, Riverhead), a guide to offbeat pop culture, Mad Professor (2003, Chronicle), a book of bizarre science experiments for kids, World’s Worst (2005, Chronicle), a guide to the worst stuff on Earth, The Computer (2005, Carlton books), an illustrated history of computers, and Rule the Web (2007, St. Martins), a guide to online tricks and tips. My newest book is called Maker Dad.

  • Boulder High School, Colorado State University
  • Colorado State University
    Mechanical Engineering, 1979 - 1984
Basic Information


New painting- a winter one to keep you cool
Here is my latest painting: "Tomboy's Memory of Winter" 12" x 14", oil on linen, 2014 Art of Amy Crehore Here are some details:
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Mark Frauenfelder

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I shot a video of my bearded dragons gorging on meal worms 
My wife and I gave our kids a pair of tiny bearded dragons for Christmas. They are now probably 10 times heavier than when we got them 6 months ago.
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Mark Frauenfelder

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All of Robert Crumb’s work from his fantastic Weirdo Years

R. Crumb: The Weirdo Years: 1981 - 1993 
by Robert Crumb 
Last Gasp 
2013, 256 pages, 7.9 x 8 x 0.7 
$32 Buy a copy on Amazon

See interior page samples:

Argue with me until you’re hopping mad. You won’t change my mind that Robert Crumb is the greatest living American artist. And this anthology of his comic book stories from Weirdo, the magazine that he founded in 1981 (only 13 years after creating Zap, the title that launched the underground comic book revolution), contains some of Crumb’s finest work. Not only does Crumb plumb deeper than ever into the depths of his neurotic soul, he also lays bare the behavior of modern society with a keen eye and a bittersweet sense of humor. Most interesting to me are Crumb’s comic book versions of old books, such as Psychopathis Sexualis, and science fiction author Philip K Dick’s bizarre religious experience (which Dick described as a “vision of the apocalypse.”)

Crumb’s output seems to have slowed to a trickle in recent years, which is alarming to a fan like me. Fortunately, Crumb’s work is usually so rich and dimensional that it can stand up to repeated readings, which I have done over the years.

R. Crumb: The Weirdo Years includes not only every comic book story that he wrote and drew for Weirdo, it also includes all 28 covers he illustrated. If you already are familiar with’s Crumb’s comics, this is a convenient way to reread all of his Weirdo stories. If you don’t know Crumb, this is probably the best introduction to his work. – Mark Frauenfelder
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I've flipped through some of Crumb's work in the past, but I don't have a book with his stuff in it. Might need to pick this one up. The more weird the better.  :)
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Mark Frauenfelder

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New rules, new game direction, and surprisingly lovely new rulebooks for Warhammer 40K 

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Warhammer 40,000 (7th Edition)
by Games Workshop
Games Workshop
2014, 480 pages, 8.25 x 11.37 x 2.25 inches (3 volumes in slipcase)

$71 Buy a copy on Amazon

For those who don’t know, Warhammer 40,000 (or “WH40K,” or just “40K”) is a “dark gothic future” tabletop sci-fi wargame (got that?). What started out, in 1987, as a simple rules-set for playing with the game figures that Games Workshop’s sister company, Citadel Miniatures, produced, has turned into a hugely complex sci-fi universe and Earth-bound big business. Besides the thousands of gaming minis and terrain pieces GW sells, there are dozens (and dozens) of rulebooks, art books, background books, several magazines, along with licensed WH40K video games, paper and pencil RPGs, and more. There are also hundreds of novels written in the 40K universe, with some ending up on the New York Times bestseller list. Beyond the commercial umbrella of Games Workshop, there are also hundreds of fansites, blogs, YT channels, zines, podcasts, and third-party products. 

I now own five of the seven editions of the main 40K rulebook and it’s been fascinating to follow the journey of the game’s development. I’ve watched this game and company grow to such huge proportions (there are Games Workshops stores in malls) and have watched it move into the world of ecommerce, digital publishing, and a rapidly-expanding tabletop game industry. As the barriers to entry have fallen for small miniatures companies (thanks to things like crowdfunding and 3D printing), Games Workshop has had to try a lot of aggressive things to remain competitive and relevant (and many of these moves have not sat well with fans of the hobby.)

With Warhammer 40,000 7th Edition, Games Workshop has made some more dramatic changes. Since this is really a review of the 7th edition boxed set itself, I won’t discuss rules changes. But those changes do suggest that GW is willing to sacrifice parts of the 40K universe backstory in an effort to sell more miniatures. That is perhaps reflected in the photography in this gorgeous three-volume box set. Dramatically-staged and photographed battle scenes, with thousands of ridiculously well-painted miniatures, abound. As does lots of very nicely done artwork throughout all three volumes. These are really beautifully-produced books with extra touches everywhere (e.g. spot varnishing, embossing, multiple cover finishes, high quality paper and printing). 

Warhammer 40,000 7th Edition is cleverly divided into three volumes. Recent core rulebooks of the game have gotten a little beefy. When actually playing the game, you only need the core rules, you don’t need to be hefting a 320-page tome onto your game table or lugging it across town with your suitcase of minis. In 7th Edition, The Rules are contained in a 208-page book. Games Workshop knows that, for their rather complex wargame to be successful, they need to make the rules as clear, well organized, and easily accessible as possible. In this edition, the rules organization and graphical presentation are especially impressive, probably the best I’ve ever seen.

The second volume in the set is called a Galaxy at War. It’s a photographed collection of incredible, drool-worthy armies and close-ups of miniatures. Page after page of Apocalypse-size armies. 

The third volume is Dark Millennium and it’s an extensive timeline and backstory narrative (called “the fluff” in 40K parlance) about the 41st Millennium and how this dark and brutal time came about in human future-history.

Perhaps to signal some different direction within the game and GW, the design of the entire package (and companion books that GW has been putting out) is dramatically different from previous rulebooks. Past art has been very dark, gothic. Here the look is brighter, slicker. Think: crypto-fascist army recruitment poster vs. heavy metal band album cover.

I’ve noticed that GW and its subsidiaries are releasing increasing numbers of very high-quality books and collector’s edition (not to mention all manner of interactive and digital publications). There are suddenly too many splurge-worthy tomes for all but the wealthiest 40K enthusiast to keep up with. It’s nice to see that quality is at least evident all the way down to a very smartly organized, beautifully-produced, and reasonably-priced core rulebook. – Gareth Branwyn
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The Day-Glo Brothers - The story of Day-Glo paint, told with Day-Glo inks @4CornersBooks

The Day-Glo Brothers 
by Chris Barton (author) and Tony Persiani (illustrator)
Four Corners Books 
2009, 44 pages, 11.1 x 8.6 x 0.5 inches 
$15 Buy a copy on Amazon

Day-Glo colors are all around us today – in traffic cones, safety vests, magazine pages (most famously in the early issues of Wired), and toys. But no one had ever seen a Day-Glo color until 1935, when brothers Bob and Joe Switzer mixed up a batch of chemicals in their home laboratory that seemed too bright to be true. The special property of Day-Glo is the way it converts light from various wavelengths (including invisible ultraviolet light) into a single color, making the color freakishly vibrant.

The fun thing about this short picture story of the Switzer brothers’ lifelong obsession is that it’s told using the very Day-Glo chemistry they invented. – Mark Frauenfelder
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Grids and Guides: A Notebook for Visual Thinkers 
Princeton Architectural Press 
2014, 160 pages, 8.6 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches 

$12 Buy a copy on Amazon

This unique journal has eight different kinds of graph paper, printed with blue and red ink. Every 20 pages or so, there’s a page of useful information, such as geometric formulas, Braille and semaphore tables, carpentry joints and types of wood screws, astronomy and more. Is it practical? Well, if you want an engineer’s notebook, then get an engineer’s notebook. But if you have wild ideas you want to rein in and contain, this is the notebook for you. – Mark Frauenfelder
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Cool. This looks like a book I'd be into.
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Mark Frauenfelder

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Xeni Jardin, Gareth Branwyn, and I had a great time talking about our favorite gadgets on the Boing Boing gadgets podcast. We discussed: rasta-colored earbuds, a music-based brain app for increasing one’s attention/focus, a scratch-resistant iPhone protector, and a free reverse phone number lookup site.
Gadgets 10: Jamaican earbuds, music for ADHD, & a hammer-proof iPhone screen protector
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Kevin Kelly learned how to give great presentations with this book. 
Best guide for presentations
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Mail-Order Mysteries – Revealing the truth behind the outlandish gizmos advertised in the back of comic books during the 1960s-70s @KirkDemarais

Mail-Order Mysteries: Real Stuff from Old Comic Book Ads
by Kirk Demarais
Insight Editions
2011, 156 pages, 6.9 x 10.4 x 0,8 inches

$14 Buy a copy on Amazon

(See large photos:

When author Kirk Demarais was a young boy, he was obsessed with comic books – not for the comics themselves, but for the mail-order ads on the back pages. Glasses that give you X-ray vision! Powder that will make a whole crowd sneeze! A spy camera that will hide in the palm of your hand! A mouth-size instrument that will throw your voice to any location you choose! Sparks and lightning that fly from your eyes when you blink! Unfortunately, his dad was skeptical of these wondrous gizmos, so Demarais was left to only dream about them and the magical world to which he wasn’t privy.

Decades later, however, the Internet came along and, as an adult, Demarais – who was now more fascinated with these otherworldly treasures than ever before – was finally able to track down and order them through eBay. This book takes a fun and nostalgic look at the comic book mail-order phenomenon that was so popular in the 1960s and ‘70s.  Showing us both the original ad and then a photo of what the special item looks like in reality, Demarais examines each curiosity and gives us the real particulars. He describes what he imagined while looking at the ad, and then lets us know how it measured up.

Surprisingly, many of the novelty items weren’t complete duds. For instance, the tiny spy camera really works (but good luck finding the film or getting it developed). The sneezing powder (finely ground-up pepper) will do the trick as long as you’re “dangerously close” to your victim. But others, like the emanating eye sparks that were, in reality, just a form letter telling you to stick some tin foil on your eyelids, were total mood-busters. As a person whose parents actually let her buy some of these exciting items (Sea-Monkeys, fingertip “Mystic Smoke,” and Talking Teeth, to name a few), I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting and getting a reality check on these mail order mysteries. As a bonus, the book comes with its own gimmick – the cover glows in the dark, which I didn’t know until I woke up one night to a bright skeleton staring at me in the dark. – Carla Sinclair
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Guillermo del Toro Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions
by Guillermo del Toro and Marc Scott Zicree
Harper Design
2013, 256 pages, 9.5 x 12.4 x 1.1 inches
$36 Buy a copy on Amazon

Like its title suggests, this beautiful tour of Guillermo del Toro’s creative process makes for a fascinating curio cabinet on paper. The table of contents is deceiving, with short titles like Storytelling, Cronos, and Hellboy that make it seem like the fantasy/horror director uses broad strokes to touch on these topics. But turn past the TOC and you will enter an alternate universe – del Toro’s world – that showcases all kinds of rich and striking artifacts, such as his brilliant journal pages (some in English, others in Spanish), conceptual illustrations, movie stills, and gorgeous photography of his incredible Los Angeles-based private mansion-turned-museum. Nowhere in the TOC does it mention all of the intimate essays written about him by bigwigs such as John Landis, James Cameron, Neil Gaiman, Alfonso Cuaron and Tom Cruise. Nor does it mention the personal interviews of del Toro by co-author Marc Scott Zicree that give us insight into del Toro’s life and inspiration. Both fans and newbies to the Mexican filmmaker (Cronos, Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim, The Orphanage…) will be captivated by the layers of tangible as well as intangible ingenuity that are presented here. – Carla Sinclair
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Tim Jenison, Founder of NewTek and star of Tim’s Vermeer, a critically acclaimed documentary about his discovery of a possible tool used by hyper-realist painters throughout history, takes us behind the curtain this week to see what tools made this investigation possible. Listen the interview in the latest Cool Tools Show:
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