NASA has a server called arc.nasa.gov (password-protected) with a subdomain at settlement.arc.nasa.gov which contains a number of odd things, including an archive of artists' renderings of proposed earthling settlements in space. The proposals are basically for big round greenhouses, rotating to simulate gravity via centrifugal force - not so different than what has been proposed in a lot of science fiction in movies and on TV.
Somehow I'm comforted that there are people making plans for this kind of thing, even though it's discouraging to see how so much of the optimism of the 60s and 70s (regarding space travel as well as almost everything else) never went anywhere.
This is one of those things that sounds more like a discarded Dharma Initiative plot line from Lost than reality, yet it's real. The Burlington (VT) Free Press recently profiled the Teresem Movement Foundation, based in Bristol, VT, which calls itself a "a transreligion for technological times".
They are working on promoting "exponential life" - essentially getting to the point where we can download our consciousnesses into robotic bodies. The idea has been explored recently in shows such as Dollhouse and Caprica and does seem to be the ultimate target of a lot of scientific research.
The NYTimes profiled one of the automatons, Bina48, which, along with tripping the "uncanny valley" alarm, is a good demonstration of how AI hasn't changed much since the days of the Alice chatbot
Heady stuff. Cool and unnerving.
Scientific American often has articles/slideshows related to visual illusions. In October 2009 they had one specifically about faces.
The illusion below struck me most. To me, and apparently to most others, the face on the left appears female and the one on the right appears male. In fact, the face is the same in both pictures, although the one on the left has higher contrast between the eyes and mouth and the rest of the face. This could be just a novelty, or could be taken as proof that lipstick and eye makeup are literally making a face appear more feminine.
DJ Earworm http://www.youtube.com/user/djearworm creates musical mashups that make other mashups look like kindergarteners made them (although some are pretty awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfadLhw14l8&feature=related)
The best are in the "United State of Pop" series, in which the top 25 pop songs (based on Billboard rankings) are combined into a new mix.
I like pop music but I'm not as aware of what's new as I was when I was younger, and I had never heard some of the songs used in the mixes (while other songs, such as "Single Ladies", I've probably heard, literally, a thousand times) - yet, I found myelf listening to these mashups several times each.
They are a marvelous technical achievement and are also a singularly cogent distillation of the American music zeitgeist.
When I was a kid, MTV was criticized for exacerbating the general societal attention-deficit disorder, but that was nothing compared to these mixes.
Back then the videos had only one song with rapid cutting of the visuals. These have 25 songs mixed together, usually with 3 or 4 going simultaneously.
This seems like it hits the limit to human perception. I'm curious what music videos and mashups will look like in 2020.
It's also interesting to see the racial breakdown of the singers in the videos. Of the 75 songs featured in the videos for 2007, 2008, & 2009 black men, black women, and blond white women seem to have roughly equal representation. White men and brunette women are under-represented. And Asians and hispanics are not represented.
1 - You drop something and your left hand instinctively reaches out to press Ctrl-Z
2 - You receive a handwritten note and instinctively scan the top looking for a timestamp
3 - You try to write a handwritten note but you spend so much time looking for paper and pen or pencil that you give up and just write an email
4 - You try to write a handwritten note but your hand cramps after just 2 or 3 words
5 - You mentally categorize people without email addresses as 'Dead'
6 - When you hear a song you like on the radio/PA system you try to vote it up
A searing satire of hipster culture
A lot of corny jokes, but a lot of truth too
"I've been corrected. Upon closer inspection the prostitution arrests are peaking on Shotwell St. at the intersections of 19th and 17th. I’m sure the number of colorful euphemisms you can come up with that include the words “shot” and “well” are endless.
I love the way the mountain range casts a shadow over much of the city. There’s also a second peak in the Tenderloin (which I’m dubbing Mt. Loin)."
There's not really enough value in this to make cities need to install them everywhere, but it's one of those ideas that at least makes me pause to think about it.
Pop-Up is a set of platforms that is embedded in the sidewalk and can be pumped up or down by anyone. The advantage is in being able to free up sidewalk space when not in use, while also not requiring other storage space for bulky furniture. Also, since each component can be raised or lowered independently the furniture can be used as benches, tables, or some combination.
A) Potentially filthy (dog-doo smears on your table?)
B) Some kid decides to pump your seat up or down while you're sitting on it and you have to chase him away.
Maybe you have to be in Holland for this to work.
A recent slide show, "A Sampling of Chinglish," which accompanied a story by Andrew Jacobs, showed signs in Chinese paired with unusual and often funny English translations. We asked readers to share photos of amusingly translated or otherwise quirky signs that they've found during their travels. Click an image to enlarge it, and scroll to browse through the collection.
Using animation to spice up a lecture is a great idea. And although I've heard many of the concepts in this lecture before, is quite interesting. It's common knowledge among creative people (programmers, designers, engineers - anyone who creates, not just artists) that satisfaction is often more compelling a drive than cash. Open source software is a great example of that . Yet employment is typically based solely on financial compensation. Money is a great motivator for many activities, but it's not the only one.