15 Awesome Kickstarter Projects

I love the site Kickstarter, which enables people to raise funds for all kinds of projects, from indie comic books to clothing lines to theater performances. Every time I browse through the projects, I notice just how many of them are the kinds of projects our readers would love--educational yet playful, quirky and scientific, fan tributes to favorite comics and books. I've gathered up some of the best flossy projects here, in order of how much time remains on each project; if any of them strike your fancy, just follow the widgets over to Kickstarter to place a pledge (starting from just $1).

The LEGO Truck

The Goal: Fund repairs to the light-up LEGO Truck, which makes appearances at Burning Man and Seattle-area events

Funds Needed: $3,375

Favorite Reward: LEGO Truck T-shirt for $50+ pledges

Splurge Reward: For $500+, LEGO Truck appearance at a private event, a special afternoon cruise in the LEGO Truck at Burning Man, plus all the other rewards, which include stickers, LEGO jewelry, music, and the T-shirt

I Am Big Bird Documentary

Goal: To make a documentary about Caroll Spinney, the man behind both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for the last 40+ years, and the last of the original Sesame Street puppeteers

Funds Needed: $100,000+

Favorite Reward: A digital download of the film and the film's soundtrack, plus access to the production blog, for $20

Splurge Reward: For $10,000+, a private dinner for you and a guest with Caroll Spinney in New York, plus all of the other rewards, which include tickets to the premiere, copies of the film itself, and a poster

Rise: An X-Men Fan Film

Goal: The production of a non-profit, fan-created X-Men film made by seasoned Hollywood professionals

Funds Needed: $38,700

Favorite Reward: Early online screening of the film before its Hollywood premiere for all backers who pledge $1 or more

Splurge Reward: For $10,000+, you receive an executive producer credit and a featured cameo in the film (with airfare included!), plus all the other rewards, including a memorabilia prop, studio tour, tickets to comic con 2013, and an invitation to the Hollywood premiere

Out of Print eReader Jackets

Goal: Production of ereader book jackets that look, feel, and wear like real books, made by the oldest bookbinder in the U.S.

Funds Needed: $15,000

Favorite Reward: The Kindle Fire jacket of your choice, from the initial collection, for pledges of $40+

Splurge Reward: For $85+, two iPad jackets of your choice from the initial collection

Fight for Space: A Documentary About NASA & The Space Program

Goal: To create a documentary about the U.S. space program

Funds Desired: $100,000 (they've already reached their minimum needs of $65,000)

Favorite Reward: HD digital download of the film, plus a "thank you" credit in the film and on the website, for pledges of $10+

Splurge Reward: For $10,000+, you receive an executive producer credit in the main titles of the film, as well as all the other rewards, which include copies of the film, invitation to the premiere, a meeting with the crew, an interview to be included the film, and a photo book

Children's ABC Wallet Cards

Goal: Production of credit-card-sized non-toxic indestructible plastic alphabet cards for toddlers to use for play and education

Funds Needed: $12,570

Favorite Reward: The entire deck of cards and a custom wallet to place the cards in, plus digital download of the artwork, for $32+

Splurge Reward: For $500+, dinner and dessert with the project creator (Marie-Claire Camp), hand-drawn thank you cards from her toddlers, and a comic strip starring you and your family by her husband, along with the deck of cards and digital artwork download

Remote Rover Experiment

Goal: Testing of prototype moon rovers, with the eventual goal of sending one to the moon

Funds Needed: $100,000

Favorite Reward: For $15+, pilot the latest prototype through realistic mission challenges, receiving a test pilot certificate and digital recording of your performance afterward

Splurge Reward: With $10,000+, you cover the cost of one Asimov 2.5 series rover prototype, whose color and label will be customized to your desires. Of course you'll also get to pilot the rover, and you'll receive footage from the production, assembly, and testing of the rover.

Drift Studio Map-Printed Modular Furniture

Goal: Acquire cartography software and map data for 20+ cities in order to create a online customization process for map-printed modular furniture

Funds Needed: $7,500

Favorite Reward: 11.5"x11.5" plywood panel map art featuring your choice of their full color maps for pledges of $50+

Splurge Reward: If you fund the entire campaign ($7,500+), you'll receive a large custom piece (or combination of pieces) tailored to your needs and space, which will be personally installed and signed by the owners of the company

The Raven: An Animated Steampunk Adaptation

Goal: The production of an animated short film adaptation of Poe's The Raven in the world of steampunk

Funds Needed: $7,500

Favorite Reward: For just $1 (or more), you'll get a digital copy of the film

Splurge Reward: One backer will be able to pledge $5,000+ to receive an executive producer credit plus transportation and accommodations to visit the set during filming, as well as all the other rewards, which include copies of the film, a poster, and a T-shirt

"Hydrophobia" Gallery Prints

Goal: To produce six 60"x40" photographic prints to display in a college gallery

Funds Desired: $800 (her minimum need for $647 has already been met)

Favorite Reward: For $20+, your choice of photo as either an 8"x12" or 8"x10" print on glossy or lustre finish paper

Splurge Reward: One backer who pledges $800+ will receive 2 signed and numbered 20"x30" aluminized prints

Book Riot's Start Here: Read Your Way Into 25 Amazing Authors

Goal: To publish a book, in print and digitally, that tells readers how to read their way into 25 different authors

Funds Needed: $25,000

Favorite Reward: Digital copy of the book plus a personalized book recommendation based on your public profile on a social media network for 25 backers who pledge $15+

Splurge Reward: For $750, an approximately 10-word entry on the book's dedication page, 2 tickets to launch pre-party meet-and-greet hour, guaranteed inclusion of your choice of author from the candidates list, 2 tickets to the launch party, a bookshelf print, a web chat, copies of the book, and more

Pie Time Clock App

Goal: To develop and launch an app for iOS called Pie Time that teaches kids the concept of time and time management through the use of a pie visual

Funds Needed: $5,000

Favorite Reward: For $100+, you get a download of the app for yourself plus for every student in your child's grade at school

Splurge Reward: For $5,000+, a 2-night retreat in Santa Barbara, including transportation from Los Angeles, to sample gourmet local pies and discuss projects with the developer, as well as all the other rewards, including the apps for the students at your child's school, 2 hours of consulting/production/tutoring from the developer, and the inclusion of your ideas for background themes

The Little Women Graphic Novel Project

Goal: To produce and publish a graphic novel of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel, Little Women

Funds Needed: $6,000

Favorite Reward: For $25+, a signed copy of the book, in paperback and PDF, including content exclusive to Kickstarter backers, as well as back-only updates on Kickstarter featuring the process, videos, and downloads

Splurge Reward: For $500+, an original hand-painted full-color 8"x10" illustration of the March sisters, the 8"x10" pencil drawing from which the color illustration will be made, signed paperback copies of all the other books by the creator (Dani Jones), physical & digital copies of the graphic novel, and more

"I'm Smarter!" Trivia Game App

Goal: The development and release of a trivia competition game app for iOS and Android

Funds Needed: $15,000

Favorite Reward: For $5+, download of the game (for iOS or Android)

Splurge Reward: For $2,500+, round-trip domestic airfare to Boston to meet with the creator for dinner/drinks to discuss the project and potentially help plan and host a launch party / trivia tournament, plus acknowledgement as a co-creator (along with all the rights, privileges, and honors), as well as all the other rewards, which include downloads of the app and "I'm Smarter" hoodie, mug, T-shirt, and shot glass

The Adventures of Ned the Neuron

Goal: The development and production of an interactive electronic activity book about the brain, The Adventures of Ned the Neuron, for kids ages 7-11

Funds Needed: $25,000

Favorite Reward: The book (as app or PDF) plus either a Ned the Neuron T-shirt or totebag for $30+ pledges

Splurge Reward: For pledges of $10,000+, the creators will fly you to the San Francisco Bay Area (from anywhere in the US) this fall and provide 2-night hotel accommodation so you can attend the book launch party and meet the team, plus all the other rewards, including a neuroscience workshop/party for your kids led by the author (Erica Warp, a Neuroscience PhD), a one-of-a-kind drawing of you as a neuron character, 25 digital copies of the book to the school of your choice, and a signed limited edition hardcover copy of the

How to Book a Daytime Stay in a Hotel—No Overnight Required

Hotels are a crucial part of traveling, but it seems they’re always off-limits when you need them most. If you’re severely jet lagged and have a nine-hour layover during the day, you’re stuck napping on an airport bench. Another common dilemma is deciding what to do when you check out of your hotel room at noon but don’t have to catch your flight home until midnight.

As Lonely Planet reports, there are a couple of services tailored to travelers in need of a place to rest during daylight hours. One is Dayuse.com, a booking platform that offers daylong hotel stays in 22 countries. The rates can be as much as 75 percent cheaper than overnight rates, according to the French company. For example, a hotel near New York City’s LaGuardia Airport costs about $110 to reserve for the hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The site offers daytime discounts on more than 4000 hotels. Many of the booking deals come with services that are typically reserved for overnight guests, including spas, swimming pools, gyms, meeting rooms, and more. It’s not necessary to set up an account on the website, and customers can pay directly at the hotel instead of in advance via credit card. And if your flight comes in late, that’s no problem either; cancellations can be made up until the very last minute, free of charge.

Another platform, ByHours, caters mostly to hotels in Europe and South America. The Spain-based company offers “microstay” deals at more than 3000 hotels, and guests can choose to stay in blocks of three, six or 12 hours at a time. Most of the hotels are three- and four-star properties, but if you’re looking for a taste of true luxury—even if just for a few hours—you can choose from about 100 five-star hotels on the site.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

7 Brilliantly Useless Websites You Won't Believe Exist

by Jenny Morrill

Bored at work? It's OK—everyone needs to take a break at some point during the day. (Trust us, it's science.) But checking social media or catching up on the latest news may not be the best way to spend your downtime. Perhaps you should try watching an animated taco spin around your browser instead.

Below, we've collected seven useless, whimsical, and just-plain-weird websites to waste your time on. Try not to get addicted.


A hard-shell taco spins on a white background, labeled with the number four.
Screenshot via Taco Spin

This one is even more mindless than you might imagine. It's a taco. It spins. Seriously, that's it. There is, however, a fabulous soundtrack. And it counts the number of spins you've watched, so staring at it for long enough starts to feel like an accomplishment.


A screenshot from The Most Seconds reads 'You have been here for 20 seconds.'
Screenshot via The Most Seconds

How many seconds can you stand the boredom of watching this number increase?


An off-white image reads 'No Spoilers!'

Here's a handy guide to checking whether or not your computer is on. (If you're a fan of this one, we must refer you to that other wonderfully informative site, Is It Christmas?)


An entirely magenta image

Screenshot via Random Colour

The idea behind Random Colour is incredibly simple, but at least you get the element of surprise. Every time you refresh the page, the entire site turns a new color. Warning: Fiddling around with this one for too long will definitely give you a headache.


Blocks of color appear to fall backward off the page.
Screenshot via Falling Falling

This color-themed site is a little more dynamic than Random Colour, but just as pointless. The colors endlessly fall off the page. Totally hypnotic.


A hand-drawn arrow points to a box for the reader to click under a banner that reads 'Useless Site.'
Screenshot via Useless Site

Yes, it's as useless as the name promises, yet somehow, it's not even the most useless site on this list. Go ahead, click that checkbox—you'll keep clicking for way longer than you should.


A series of llama drawings in the shape of letters spells out 'I love llamas!'
Screenshot via Llama Font

Llama Font is a site made for those few people who reside firmly in the middle of the Venn diagram of "typography geeks" and "fans of South American camelids." You can spell out anything using illustrated llamas. And no matter how long your sentences run, these llamas won't lead you on a high-speed chase.


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