Thursday, May 31, 2012

Video Distraction: Chemin Vert

"Chemin Vert" by Giacomo Miceli 

Official video for "Chemin Vert" of electronic musician A Ghost Train. The video was made using panoramic frames from Google Street View from different parts of the world mapped as stereographic projections. If you have a fast computer with a powerful graphic card, make sure to try also the immersive, interactive version.

In this fascinating short video titled, Rome-based artist Giacomo Miceli takes you on a fascinating road trip through a warped version of Earth known as a polargraphic projection, that spans five continents and four seasons using footage extracted from Google Street View. Via Miceli’s website:
Chemin Vert is the result of a slow process of maturation spanning a few years. Different techniques were employed in the beginning, involving long trips on the road across Europe while shooting time lapse videos on the go. Back then the scope of the project was substantially different, concentrating more on the augmentation (as in augmented-reality) of landscapes. At a certain point the accent was moved on the aesthetic qualities of the landscapes themselves and on the immersive factor. In the final version of Chemin Vert the original footage comes from Google Street View, without which this project wouldn’t have been possible.

Video Distraction: Dirty PC

Photo: Power of Nature

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gadgets: Wooden Lightbulb

This naturalistic bulb won the Kyoto Renaissance design competition though the artist has said on his site that the bulb is still under development.

Tech: T(ether)

I was just blown away with how cool this is. It remind me of the SixthSense technology demonstrated on TED a while back, but I believe that T(ether) takes it to a whole new level.

Infographic: Gender Balance on Social Networks

Lecture: How a Smartphone Knows Up from Down

Bill Hammack, The Engineer Guy, takes apart a smartphone to show us exactly how its accelerometer works.

Photo: ArcelorMittal Orbit

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tech: DIWire Bender

The DIWire Bender is a rapid prototyping machine that can make 2D and 3D forms out of metal wire. The machine was created by PENSA, a design consultancy in Brooklyn. PENSA intends to open source the DIWire Bender in the coming weeks.

Humor: Wasting Time on the Internet

Wasting Time on the Internet is a clip from Dangerously Delicious, the recent stand-up special by comedian Aziz Ansari. The entire special is available to purchase online as a download or stream.

Business: Emart Shadow QR Code

To increase sales during lunch hour, Emart in Korea set up a QR code that is only scannable from 12:00 to 1:00 pm when its shadows complete the black and white pattern.

Photo: Patagonian Night

Video Distraction: Parked 747 Being Lifted by Winds

On May 23rd, 70 mph winds struck an aircraft boneyard in the Mojave desert, causing a decommissioned 747 to lift its nose off the ground repeatedly, as if preparing for take off.

Monday, May 28, 2012

News: iCloud Helps Woman Recover a Stolen iPhone

Technology is a wonderful thing, but when that technology fails on you, it can be very frustrating. Sometimes, however, technology does exactly what it is supposed to and you find a fringe benefit you weren’t expecting.

This was the case when Katy McCaffrey’s iPhone was stolen on a Disney Cruise. It turns out her unwitting thief was off having fun with his newly discovered iPhone and failed to turn off the iCloud feature, which was still connected to Katy’s service.

If you don’t already know, the iCloud feature automatically saves every picture you take on your phone to the cloud server so that you can automatically have a copy of those pictures on all your other iDevices. So while she was lamenting the loss of her pricey iPhone, she was treated to a photo journal of its misadventures with its new owner!

Photo: Amazing Milky Way II

Friday, May 25, 2012

Photo: Eclipse from Albuquerque

The moon passes between the sun and the earth behind a windmill near Albuquerque, New Mexico, on May 20, 2012.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Link Round-Up: May 24, 2012

Now, after 30 years, you can carry all of this in your pocket.  画

Thirty years later, I carry all of this in my pocket, in a device roughly the size of a bill fold. I can't wait to see what I'll be carrying thirty years down the road.

100 Geeks You Should Be Following on Twitter

Censorship Towel cleverly pixelates your body in real life. The towel was designed by Carmichael Collective as an ongoing art project by Minneapolis-based advertising agency Carmichael Lynch

Ektoplazm is now the world’s largest distributor of free (and legal) psytrance music specializing in high-quality Creative Commons-licensed content from netlabels and independent artists, all released in MP3 and lossless CD-quality FLAC and WAV formats.

"A Harvard MBA Pays Down $101K Of Debt." Two years after he graduated from Harvard with an MBA, Joe Mihalic, now manager of strategic alliances and business development at Dell, vowed to do “everything in my power–short of lying, cheating, and stealing–to pay down" his student loan debt, (then totaling 90K,) "in the next ten months.” After applying for a weekend delivery job, he also decided to chronicle the steps he was taking on a blog: "No More Harvard Debt." First page of posts is here. Penultimate post explains his process: "Mission Accomplished."

Scrabble for Cheaters, as played by Eddie Guerrero's rules

What’s a Readlist? A group of web pages—articles, recipes, course materials, anything—bundled into an e-book you can send to your Kindle, iPad, or iPhone.

Video Distraction: Massive Musical Tesla Coils

Last Sunday at the Bay Area Maker Faire, Adam Savage of Mythbusters rocked out out inside a faraday cage to ArcAttack’s massive musical tesla coils.

Photo: Annular Eclipse

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tech: Kids build working BSG Viper flight simulator

Five high school kids have spent the past year working on a life-sized Battlestar Galactica Viper flight simulator, and it is now operational.
The Viper, which is basically a fully functional cockpit mounted so it can spin a full 360 degrees in "flight," was built with everything from scrapped airplane parts to an old race car seat.
The kids even made all the control mechanisms and designed the simulation software themselves.
The final version is on display at Maker Faire 2012 festival in California this week. The project was funded via Kickstarter and raised a whopping $11,578.


Virtual Reality is already a success as an industrial technology. It just hasn’t hit yet as a communications technology. But it’s become absolutely essential. One of the stories I tell is the story of the oil supply. If we go back twenty or thirty years, most people thought that the oil would be running out about now. And the reason it’s not is because computers allowed people to find and extract oil more efficiently…and from old fields. Ultimately, there’s an illusion — created because of computers — that the oil supply is expanding instead of running out. The underlying reality is that the oil supply is running out, so, in a way, this is a dangerous situation. At any rate, VR was used to visualize oil fields and to visualize machinery to extract oil more efficiently from old fields. Similar things happened in medicine. We understand more about large molecules, we understand more about how the body heals from surgery through VR simulations.
Whatever Happened to Virtual Reality? – RU Sirius Interviews VR Developer Jaron Lanier

Hacks: Stranded Frenchman Builds Bike from Car

The original story is in French, and the Google translate is very rough. Please forgive us if we don’t get this completely accurate.

While traveling through the desert somewhere in north west Africa in his Citroen 2CV , [Emile] is stopped, and told not to go any further due to some military conflicts in the area. Not wanting to actually listen to this advice, he decides to loop around, through the desert, to circumvent this roadblock.

After a while of treading off the beaten path, [Emile] manages to snap a swing arm on his vehicle, leaving him stranded. He decided that the best course of action was to disassemble his vehicle and construct a motorcycle from the parts. This feat would be impressive on its own, but remember, he’s still in the desert and un-prepared. If we’re reading this correctly, he managed to drill holes by bending metal and sawing at it, then un-bending it to be flat again.
It takes him twelve days to construct this thing. There are more pictures on the site, you simply have to go look at it. Feel free to translate the labels and post them in the comments.
Update: From [Semicolo] in the comments

You got the translation right, but there’s not just a swing arm that’s broken, there’s a frame beam broken too (not sure about the exact term, one of the 2 girder of the chassis). He’s not far away but he has a lot of tools and other hardware that could be stolen if he leaves them unattended.
Via: Reddit
Credit for translation goes to JonhDksn

Lecture: America's Scientific Decline

Neil deGrasse Tyson on America's Scientific Decline

Lecture: Why is our universe fine-tuned for life?

At the heart of modern cosmology is a mystery: Why does our universe appear so exquisitely tuned to create the conditions necessary for life? In this tour de force tour of some of science’s biggest new discoveries, Brian Greene shows how the mind-boggling idea of a multiverse may hold the answer to the riddle.

Photo: Solar Eclipse at Tokyo

Gadgets: The Ultimate Gaming Vehicle

In an apparent marriage of gaming systems and Transformers, this car was designed by a group of hardcore game addicts who wanted an off-road gaming experience. Built on a 2009 Toyota Tacoma, this all-terrain gaming vehicle is tricked out with extra seats, a Mountain Dew cooler, a Kicker custom sound system, and four separate XBox 360 consoles.

Why you would want to ruin a perfectly good gaming session with the outdoors, I don't know, but this thing would be the ultimate tailgating accessory.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tech Links: May 22, 2012

Bio Computer, A PC That Doubles as a Planter
Bio Computer by tech enthusiast Mike Schropp is a homebuilt computer that doubles as a planter for wheatgrass. The heat from the CPU warms the soil above, which aids in the germination and growth of the wheatgrass. Schropp built Bio Computer for his five year old son.


In five minutes, Dan Benjamin graciously and honestly recollects and signs off the 120-episode technology/Apple podcast The Talk Show. (can't listen? summary of remarks). Benjamin co-hosted TTS with writer John Gruber, who on Friday controversially announced he was taking the show to Mule Syndicate alone.

Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal published a comic entitled "Why Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek who ever lived.." Alex Knapp at Forbes responds with "Nikola Tesla Wasn't God And Thomas Edison Wasn't The Devil" Inman responds to the response very succinctly.


Google Chrome Leapfrogs Internet Explorer as the Web's Top Browser

The Facebook IPO in Perspective

New Google+ Study Reveals Minimal Social Activity, Weak User Engagement Fast Company summarizes a new study from RJMetrics that looks at public posts, +1s, replies and reshares on Google+. It concludes "the average post on Google+ has less than one +1, less than one reply, and less than one re-share." Google replies that public posts are a poor metric of user activity; Fast Company replies that "Google has refused to provide clear figures and metrics for its social network's active user base" and links to Danny Sullivan's "brilliant rundown of Google's lack of transparency on the subject" - If Google’s Really Proud Of Google+, It Should Share Some Real User Figures. There was also Wil Wheaton's recent angry "Oh, go fuck yourself, Google" rant in response to a recent experiment replacing YouTube's "like" button with a Google+ button for a small number of users, thus requiring them to sign up for Google+ before they can 'like' a YouTube video. Is Google Forcing Google+ Down People’s Throats?

Your Brain on Facebook

Reading & Discussion

Being deaf: a programmer's personal account of being the only deaf employee at a startup.

Computer Programming for All: A New Standard of Literacy

The Tragedy of the Internet Commons


Are Smart Phones Spreading Faster than Any Technology in Human History?

Wearing a Computer Is Good for You


How to Balloon Map Your Neighborhood, Google Maps Style

Video Distraction: Solar Eclipse 2012

Photographer Cory Poole created this time-lapse of Sunday’s annular solar eclipse.


Back in 2004, the web had some 50 million sites. (Today, it has more than 600 million.) the most popular brand on the World Wide Web was Microsoft’s MSN.

Google was the fifth most popular brand on the World Wide Web, ranking below Yahoo and AOL.

people still talked about the “World Wide Web.” “blog” — defined as “a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments and often hyperlinks” — was chosen as Merriam-Webster’s word of the year.

Britney Spears was Google’s most popular search query — followed by Paris Hilton, Christina Aguilera, and Pamela Anderson. (Yes! Pamela Anderson!)

Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction was the most searched term to date on Lycos.

people still used Lycos. The Howard Dean campaign was pioneering grassroots organizing and fundraising on the Internet.

Time magazine was recommending as one of the best websites of the year.

the BBC was recommending as one of the web’s “most useful websites.” (Wikipedia launched in early 2001.)
— The Internet at the Dawn of Facebook

News: Photography Ban

Scotland’s Largest City Set To Ban All Photography

Scotland’s Largest City Set To Ban All Photography in Its Subways:
Earlier today Amateur Photographer reported that the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) in Glasgow, Scotland is set to impose a series of bylaws for the cities transport, including a ban in section 12.1 which would prohibit riders from “take[ing] photographs, or make[ing] video, audio or visual recordings on any part of the subway.” In fact, the only way around the ban would be to get express written permission from the SPT and show it to any officer that may request to see it.

Net: Cloud storage syncing service

Cloud storage syncing service comparison chart

Cloud storage syncing service comparison chart
Source: The Verge

Lecture: The Future of Business

Gerd Leonhard on the Future of Business & Communications

The Future of Business & Communications. Social. Local. Mobile. Cloud. And why Data is the New Oil. Futurist and CEO of TheFuturesAgency Gerd Leonhard was the keynote speaker at the Olavstoppen POL conference on May 3rd 2012 in Stavanger, Norway.  Read more at Media Experiences to Go.


The next wave of digital products won’t just be about archiving the web; they’ll be about destroying the archive.

OpEd: How to Enjoy Going to the Movies Again

How To Enjoy Going To The Movies Again
Moviegoing is, at its core, a social experience. The moment those lights dim and the film reel rolls, you’re no longer an individual sitting in an auditorium; you’re part of a mass of people who are connected through a shared event and the desire to be entertained and transported. In that moment, when you turn from a solitary viewer into an audience, you form a trusting and reciprocal relationship not only with the movie but also with those around you. Every person in the theater contributes to the experience. Usually, this means reverent silence. But I’d argue that there is no theater audience that contributes more to the experience of seeing a movie than one at a midnight show.

I was skeptical until I decided to attend one for the first time. The film was “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” in 2002. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of being up until 3 in the morning, and I was unsure and a little worried about the kind of crowd I would have to put up with — especially given that when I saw an opening-day screening of “The Fellowship of the Ring,” I shared the theater with fans dressed as Gandalf or wearing “Frodo lives!” T-shirts, all losing their minds audibly throughout the film. And that was just a matinee.

But what I learned from seeing “The Two Towers” is that a midnight screening is not something you attend but something you do. That’s why, ever since, I have developed the habit of turning “midnight” into a verb. As in, “I’m going to midnight ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ ” or “I’ll definitely midnight ‘Prometheus.’ ” Midnighting a movie is more than just seeing the movie — it’s an act of dedication and enthusiasm above and beyond what most people are willing to give.
Source: The New York Times

Photo: Trippiest Image Ever Taken In Space?

Expedition 31 Flight

The image was made by Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit, who composited it from 18 different shots. My star trail images are made by taking a time exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes. However, with modern digital cameras, 30 seconds is about the longest exposure possible, due to electronic detector noise effectively snowing out the image. To achieve the longer exposures I do what many amateur astronomers do. I take multiple 30-second exposures, then ‘stack’ them using imaging software, thus producing the longer exposure.

Infographic: A Sixth Mass Extinction?

Are we in the midst of a sixth mass extinction?
via NY Times

Are we in the midst of a sixth mass extinction?
Source: NY Times

Monday, May 21, 2012


The algorithm Google uses to rank which results pop up first in search queries, PageRank, orders results based on how other web pages are connected to them via hyperlinks. Researchers modified PageRank to develop NetRank, which scans how genes and proteins in a cell are similarly connected through a network of interactions with their neighbors — “‘friends’ in the social network analogy,” said researcher Christof Winter, a medical doctor and computational biologist at Lund University in Sweden.

The investigators focused on pancreatic cancer, the most common form of which, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, accounts for approximately 130,000 deaths each year in Europe and the United States. Very few tests exist to find out a prognosis for the disease — how it might progress, whether a patient might live or die.

The researchers used NetRank on about 20,000 proteins to see which ones were the best indicators for survival. They identified seven proteins that could help assess how aggressive a patient’s tumor is and guide clinicians to decide if the prognosis was worth trying chemotherapy or not.

As to how accurate prognoses based on these seven markers were, roughly speaking, “our markers are right in two-thirds of cases, and wrong in one-third,” Winter said. These markers were 6 to 9 percent more accurate at prognoses compared with those relying on conventional clinical parameters. In addition to improving prognoses of cancer, this research could also help identify new targets to help destroy tumors.

Googling cancer: search algorithms can scan disease for patient risk

Architecture: City in the Sky

The 'Megatropolis' project started in London with few companies and artists invited to create a vision for the future mega developed city. The overall "Megatropolis" project didn't make it to its final stage but the concept grew into this architectural utopia and animation.

City in the sky is a concept about a tranquil oasis above the mega developed and polluted city where one can escape from the everyday buzz, smog and dirt. The concept is inspired by the Lotus flower which is known for its ability to emerge above the murky waters pure and clean. As you can see, it is pretty amazing!

Tech: Mobile Augmented Reality Demo

Mobile Augmented Reality Demo

The same day that Google’s Project Glass patent was approved, WDG shared a video of their own dabblings in augmented reality. Above, the creative group explores the capabilities of two new mobile augmented reality platforms (compatible with both Android and iOS) developed using Unity3D. In this video, an experimenter uses both an iPad and an Android to guide a virtual car through a constantly shifting AR landscape.


Google says that its search engine now contains 500 million objects and knows more than 3.5 billion facts ‘and relationships between these different objects.
"‘Information’ To ‘Knowledge Agent’: Google Changes The Way It Does Search"

Photo: Endeavor Rocket Launch

Endeavor Rocket Launch

Endeavor Rocket Launch

Taken during a night launch of Space Shuttle Endeavor to visit the International Space Station on March 16th, 2008.

Source: NASA

Friday, May 18, 2012

Infographic: The State of the Internet

The State of the Internet


OpEd: The Third Industrial Revolution

The Third Industrial Revolution:
3D printing, and other rapid prototyping technologies combined with intelligent software are described by Paul Markillie of the Economist as drivers of a third industrial revolution. Jeremy Rifkin also uses the term and both writers point to the new rise of decentralized, global and individualized manufacturing and economic systems now coming on stream. Rifkin’s The Third Industrial Revolution explores how Internet technology and renewable energy are merging factors in the future too.

Everything in the factories of the future will be run by intelligent software systems. Digitisation in manufacturing will have a disruptive effect every bit as big as in other industries that have gone digital, such as office equipment, telecommunications, photography, music, publishing and films.

The effects will not be confined to large manufacturers; they will need to watch out because much of what is coming will empower small and medium-sized firms and individual entrepreneurs. Launching novel products will become easier and cheaper. Communities offering 3D printing and other production services that are a bit like Facebook are already forming online—a new phenomenon which Markillie calls social manufacturing.

As manufacturing goes digital, a third great change is now gathering pace. It will allow things to be made economically in much smaller numbers, more flexibly and with a much lower input of labour, thanks to new materials, completely new processes such as 3D printing, easy-to-use robots and new collaborative manufacturing services available online. The wheel is almost coming full circle, turning away from mass manufacturing and towards much more individualised production. And that in turn could bring some of the jobs back to rich countries that long ago lost them to the developing nations.
Source: 33rd Square

Tech: HyQ Hydraulic Quadruped Robot

The HyQ Hydraulic Quadruped Robot

This video is a demonstration of the HyQ hydraulic quadruped robot, which is able to run at speeds of up to two meters per second while surmounting increasingly difficult obstacles . The robot was developed by the Department of Advanced Robotics at the Italian Institute of Technology.

Tech Links: May 18, 2012

"Felidae" from XKCD


Designers vs. Developers


Sonic weapons deployed in London during Olympics


From the department of come-upings: Google Demands $4 Billion A year From Microsoft

How Apple avoids paying billions in tax

In Fort Lee, New Jersey, police officers are now handing out tickets to pedestrians that text while J-walking. In March 2012, Fort Lee Police Chief Thomas Ripoli issued a pedestrian safety statement (pdf) that suggests that pedestrians “need to resist talking on their cell phones and/or taking their headphones off while crossing a street.” According to, more than “20 pedestrians have been hit by cars so far this year in the borough.” [More]

Reading & Discussion

How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet

Is The Free Internet A New God?

Please don't learn to code (Coding Horror). Please Don't Become Anything, Especially Not A Programmer. (Learn Code the Hard Way).

Take Back The Nerd: Five Ways To Be A Good Fan

The problem with nerd politics: If we don't operate within the realm of traditional power and politics, then we will lose


On Diaspora's Social Network, You Own Your Data: Surely online personas could be a better visual depiction of personalities. Diaspora’s hoping that with the right tools, people could be proud of the things they make online and could channel the joy of DIY creativity.
Why publishers don't like apps.


For the first time since she was paralyzed by a stroke 15 years ago, a woman in the BrainGate2 clinical trial served herself a drink of coffee ... with a brain-controlled robot arm (with heartwarming video)

Light-powered bionic eye invented to help restore sight

A new world record for fuel efficiency has been set. John and Helen Taylor drove a a 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SE for 1,626.1 miles, averaging 84.1 miles per gallon, using hypermiling techniques. The EPA lists the vehicle at 31 mpg city and 43 highway. Meanwhile, youtube user "Fidallyb" is upset because the BlueMotion TDI Passat he rented while vacationing in Europe got over 78 mpg and yet isn't available in the United States. Here are five more fuel efficient cars you can't buy in the United States.

Why the death of DRM would be good news for readers, writers and publishers


How To Cut Your Linux PC’s Boot Time in Half With E4rat

Turn Your PlayStation Vita into a cell phone

Architecture: Dancing Dragons

Gadgets: Festo AirJelly

I stumbled upon the above video of a robot referred to as an "AirJelly" that was created four years ago by a German company called Festo, and I was completely blown away.  Where have they been hiding this thing for the past four years?! The first thing that crossed my mind was, why the hell isn't this thing delivering my pizza already?

Thursday, May 17, 2012


The importance of learning to code isn’t so that everyone will write code, and bury the world under billions of lines of badly conceived Python, Java, and Ruby. The importance of code is that it’s a part of the world we live in. I’ve had enough of legislators who think the Internet is about tubes, who haven’t the slightest idea about legitimate uses for file transfer utilities, and no concept at all about what privacy (and the invasion of privacy) might mean in an online space. I’ve had enough of patent inspectors who approve patents for which prior art has existed for decades. And I’ve had enough of judges making rulings after listening to lawyers arguing about technologies they don’t understand. Learning to code won’t solve these problems, but coding does force engagement with technology on a level other than pure ignorance. Coding is a part of cultural competence, even if you never do it professionally. Alsup is a modern hero.

Infographic: Social Networking Sites Compared

Net: Knowledge Graph

Knowledge Graph, An Enhancement to Google Search

Knowledge Graph is a new feature for Google search that will provide additional info, context, and helpful links when searching about people, places, or things. For instance, a search for “Vincent van Gogh” will bring up a short bio on the artist, images of his famous paintings, and related people. Knowledge Graph will be rolling out in the next few days.
When you search, you’re not just looking for a webpage. You’re looking to get answers, understand concepts and explore.

The next frontier in search is to understand real-world things and the relationships among them. So we’re building a Knowledge Graph: a huge collection of the people, places and things in the world and how they’re connected to one another.

This is how we’ll be able to tell if your search for “mercury” refers to the planet or the chemical element–and also how we can get you smarter answers to jump start your discovery.

Science: 121-megapixel image of Earth most detailed yet

There's been a long history of NASA images of Earth, beginning with "Blue Marble." Now, we're getting a different perspective thanks to photos taken by the Elektro-L No.1 Russian weather satellite. Unlike previous NASA photos, the photos taken by Elektro-L are shot at a resolution of 121-megapixels from a distance that allows the Earth to be photographed in a single frame, rather than stitched together from a collection of shots taken over multiple passes. The result is the highest-resolution picture even taken of the planet Earth.

The coloring of the photo is different than photos taken in the past, as well, because the sensor aboard the satellite combines data from three visible and one infrared wavelengths of light.  The result is that the Earth's vegetation appears as the rust color you see covering the majority of North America.

Daily Links: May 17, 2012

10 Overshadowed Scientists and Inventors.

The Book Depository, the UK's largest online bookseller, which is owned by Amazon, has created a mesmerizing live map that apparently tells viewers when a book is purchased through their system.

Lion tries to eat baby human dressed like a zebra, is foiled by lion-proof glass.

Särkänniemi Adventure Park in Tampere, Finland is now home to Angry Birds Land, a themed section of the park that is based on the popular mobile game by Finnish video game development company Rovio Entertainment. It has 12 rides, an adventure course, food stands and games. Angry Birds Land is currently open but the official grand opening celebration happens June 8, 2012.

Photo: Jump to Hyperspace

Jump to Hyperspace photo by Don Pettit

"Jump to Hyperspace" by Don Pettit

Taken from the International Space Station, Don created this hyperdrive-like effect not with futuristic space technology but the good old fashioned way: with multiple 30-second exposures stacked on top of each other using imaging software. But I’m going to ignore everything I just wrote and pretend that they’re traveling at light speed anyway.

Illustration: Heart

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


The internet is a beast, uncivil by corporal standards, rudely honest in its capacity to include any idea the mind can think of — and any voice, no matter how small, can ring loud in the internet’s ear.

The internet is not a country; it is not a belief system; it is not a government. It belongs to everyone, and no one, and by virtue of its existence, the internet has broken the bond of routine social contracts, conditioning our prejudiced perception of evolution and God. We are now on the path to a new human, our more ethereal counterpart…the Electro Sapien or e-sapien.

How the future supremacy of the Electro Sapien will play out is speculative, at best. Competing themes on how we came to be homo sapien, “modern man,” are still lost in interpretation. What we can infer, by way of all theories on the origin of the homo sapien — from the Aquatic Ape theory to unknown breakaway members of some homo antecessor-group, or a Homo Heidelbergensis / Homo Sapien tryst — is that many possibilities existed, and one survived.

Likewise, with over seven billion human beings living today, it is rational to assume that small, pre-Electro Sapien groups or types, directed by the species’ self-organisation, have begun to break away from the whole.

To establish who these new electro-types are, and why they will survive to establish the next level of species’ expansion, involves the discomfort of disputing or questioning the future validity of traditional interpretations of human purpose.

Science: Measuring the Universe

The universe is huge but we can measure distances to places which are incredibly far away. Yet how is it done? Parallax can be used to measure vast distances and this animation, by the Royal Observatory Greenwich  explains how the movement of the earth can be used to calculate the distance of the stars away from our little blue dot.

All well and done but stars which are even larger distances away from us, however, do not seem to move at all – so how do we work out how far away they are? This is where objects known as Standard Candles come in to the equation – as we know their luminosity they can be used to measure distances.  Still puzzled? Then take a look at this video from the micro exhibition Measuring the Universe: from the transit of Venus to the edge of the cosmos which is at the Royal Observatory Greenwich right now.

Net: Made in NY

Made in NY Digital Jobs Map

Yesterday, at Internet Week New York, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne, and Internet Week New York Chairman David-Michel Davies launched the “Made in NY” Digital Jobs Map, "an interactive guide to the City’s startups, investors, incubators, and coworking spaces, including over 325 digital companies that are currently hiring for thousands of jobs."
Created by Internet Week New York in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Made in NY Digital Map already plots more than 500 digital companies across the five boroughs. The map offers direct links to the companies’ jobs listings pages and pinpoints the city’s hottest tech hubs, from the Flatiron District to DUMBO. The Mayor made the announcement at Internet Week headquarters and was also joined by Economic Development Corporation President Seth Pinsky and Branch CEO Josh Miller.
…The Made in NY Map draws its data from sources including NYC Digital, New York City Economic Development Corporation, Internet Week New York, New York Tech Meetup, and user-generated submissions.

App: Wordless Web

Wordless Web is an ingenious bookmarklet that removes all the text from a website with the click of a button. The bookmarklet is by Ji Lee and Cory Forsyth.

Art: Cybernetic Kinetic Sculptures

"Kwanon-Z" by Ziwon Wang

Ziwon Wang builds "cybernetic sculptures" that explore the relationship between human and machine. His works are eerily familiar (uncanny valley, anyone?) and mechanized, with moving apparatuses exposed.

Wang’s interest in the manifestation and translation of the human decision making process in works of art through the passage of time can be found in the Buddha like poses which questions whether advancement of machinery and technology has, if any, changed the fundamental elements of human life. 

Source: The Creators Project

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Video: Time-Lapse of Space Shuttle Enterprise

In late April, the Space Shuttle Enterprise flew for the last time, passing over New York City enroute to JFK airport. This time-lapse shows Enterprise being painstakingly removed from a 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft at JFK early Sunday morning. In June Enterprise will depart via barge for the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan, where it will be displayed permanently.

The shuttle will be lifted by crane and placed on the flight deck of the Intrepid, where it will be on exhibit to the public starting this summer in a temporary climate-controlled pavilion. The Intrepid continues to work on a permanent exhibit facility to showcase Enterprise that will enhance the museum's space-related exhibits and education curriculum.

Net: Story of Send

Story of Send, What Happens When You Send an Email Using Gmail

Story of Send is a new website by Google that demonstrates what happens when you send an email using Gmail.
If you’re anything like me, you send and receive a lot of emails every day. But have you ever wondered where your message goes after you hit “send?” How does an email travel from your computer to your friend’s smartphone across the country or around the world?

We’re answering those questions with Story of Send, a new site that gives you a behind-the-scenes look into how all that virtual information makes its journey through the real world—from your Internet service provider to our data centers and beyond. Along the way, you’ll discover everything from where we filter for spam and scan for viruses to how we’re minimizing our impact on the environment through energy efficiency and renewable power.

Source: Gmail Blog

Tech Links: May 15, 2012


Cube: navigate a rolling ball down streets towards a goal by tilting the entire world, like a cross between a balance-ball game and Katamari Damacy. Part of the new Start Here guide to Google Maps.

How To Survive A Robot Uprising (aka Robopocalypse)

Minecraft. In Minecraft: Mineception

Warzone Robot Makes Wedding Super Cute


Bonkers man puts magnets under his skin to hold iPod Nano


The Google Guy Who Snooped for Wireless Data Was a 'God' Among Engineers

Is liking a post on Facebook protected by the First Amendment? A US District Court says no.

Viewing Child Pornography Ruled Not a Crime in New York

Reading & Discussion

Fungible: A treatise on fungibility, or, a framework for understanding the mess the news industry is in and the opportunities that lie ahead. "The younger the person you ask, the less likely it is you’ll find that link between wanting to know what’s going on and grabbing a paper or opening up a news website."

Intel futurist discusses data's secret life, 'ghost of computing'

The Problem with 'Quitting' the Internet

Machine Politics: George Hotz, Sony, and the Anonymous hacker wars.

Stefan Krappitz recently published the book Troll Culture: A Comprehensive Guide. The work positions internet provocateurs as contemporary satirists who may have sophisticated political and social critique informing their pranks. Discussion is centered on the lulz culture of 4chan but includes ill-mannered charmers like Ralph Pootawn (Second Life), bloodninja (AIM / IRC), Diogenes and Tracky Birthday.

Resources & Software

musicForProgramming(); a series of mixes intended for listening to while programming to aid concentration and increase productivity (also compatible with other activities).


Biocaster is an ontology-based global health monitoring system that monitors and maps disease outbreaks through internet-based news aggregation and social media.

NASA once issued a memo warning of the dangers of low-gravity hair


On a desktop computer, which is faster: sending an IP packet 3,000 miles across the Atlantic ocean, or sending a pixel a couple of feet to your monitor? According to Johh Carmack, the IP packet arrives firstCarmack is the well know and highly respected programmer of classic PC games such as Doom and Quake, and the co-founder of id Software, one of the first PC Game companies. The surprising result comes from significant delays in processing the user's input, and the time it takes for a monitor to actually draw a pixel.

Sci-Fi Google Glasses Will Let You Take Pics Like This One


8-Bit Spaghetti is a blog devoted to building 8-bit Computers by hand

Art: Game Controllers X-Rayed

Via: Kotaku

Ever wondered what your favorite game controllers’ skeletons looked like?
Well, now you know.  The only question left is whether this is art or science.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Video Distraction: Homemade Portal Turret

"This is the final project for my Advanced Mechatronics class at Penn State University. The robot is the skeleton of a turret from the game Portal that uses an IP webcam to track a target and fire nerf bullets at them. This is the current state of the robot as of 5/9/12, but I am currently molding a shell for the frame to make it look like the Portal turret, along with improving my code to make the tracking faster. All programming is done with MATLAB and Arduino. Enjoy!"

Infographic: Sitcoms Into Social Phenomena

Tech: Smartphones Spreading Fast

Are Smart Phones Spreading Faster than Any Technology in Human History? 
“These figures show that smart phones, after a relatively fast start, have also outpaced nearly any comparable technology in the leap to mainstream use. It took landline telephones about 45 years to get from 5% to 50% penetration among U.S. households, and mobile phones took around seven years to reach a similar proportion of consumers. Smart phones have gone from 5% to 40% in about four years, despite a recession. In the comparison shown, the only technology that moved as quickly to the U.S. mainstream was television between 1950 and 1953.”
Source: Technology Review

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tech: Secrets of the First Practical Artificial Leaf

Secrets of the First Practical Artificial Leaf:
A detailed description of development of the first practical artificial leaf — a milestone in the drive for sustainable energy that mimics the process, photosynthesis, that green plants use to convert water and sunlight into energy — appears in the ACS journal Accounts of Chemical Research. The article notes that unlike earlier devices, which used costly ingredients, the new device is made from inexpensive materials and employs low-cost engineering and manufacturing processes.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Event: Hardware Innovation Workshop

The Hardware Innovation Workshop, a conference on business and the maker movement, takes place May 15 and 16 at PARC in Palo Alto (video). The event is presented by MAKE.
MAKE will present a hands-on showcase of compelling devices, products, and platforms that are shaping the future of manufacturing and the global economy. Get up close and personal with the makers of these pioneering innovations that have the power to make and move markets.

Tech Links: May 11, 2012


The Onion's AV Club Asks: Just How Prescient Was Hackers Anyway?

This is why you don't text and walk.


Anti-piracy measures have made life difficult for those who actually pay for content, games, music, etc. DirecTV has blocked HBO (apparently at their request) over HDMI by use of HDCP. Suddenly, subscribers with older HD sets are not able to watch HBO and soon other premium channels. The solution? Use component cables or get a new TV.

Google launched Google Drive, their long-awaited cloud storage solution. Although it's seen by many as a direct answer to Dropbox, iCloud, and Skydrive, it also offers a few novel features of its own: integration with most Google web services, like Gmail, Docs, and Picasa. And perhaps most notably in the long run, it launched with an API encouraging third-party integration. 18 apps in the Chrome Web Store already implement Drive.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Science: The Earth Family

It’s true. We are related to every living organism there is on the planet, and I think that’s poetic, beautiful, and wonderful. So stop fucking it up!

We are related to every living organism there is on the planet, and I think that’s poetic, beautiful, and wonderful. Stop screwing it up with all your crazy right-wing zealotry!

Video Distraction: 4-year-old Closes Out Apps

Do you know how to close an app on your iPhone, iPad, etc? Wait, do you really know? Because most people just think once they leave the app, it’s closed. But actually, it’s still running in the background, eating away at your battery. This kid on YouTube, who goes by the name Smark Aleck, shows you how to close out of your apps for real. Forget who’s smarter than a 5th grader! How about a pre-schooler?

Tech: Touché

Touché: Disney Research’s Amazing New Touch Technology

Touché proposes a novel Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing technique that can not only detect a touch event, but also recognize complex configurations of the human hands and body. Such contextual information significantly enhances touch interaction in a broad range of applications, from conventional touchscreens to unique contexts and materials. For example, in our explorations we add touch and gesture sensitivity to the human body and liquids. We demonstrate the rich capabilities of Touché with five example setups from different application domains and conduct experimental studies that show gesture classification accuracies of 99% are achievable with our technology.

Science: Do You Understand the Northern Lights?

While this video explains how the Northern Lights work, it takes a much more humorous approach than most science documentaries. It’s really funny seeing some of the people’s misconceptions. “Photons and…you know, neurons…superfluidity of neurons…” That made me laugh.

Interview: Neil deGrasse Tyson: Atheist or Agnostic?

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson claims the title “scientist” above all other “ists.” And yet, he says he is “constantly claimed by atheists.” So where does he stand? “Neil deGrasse, widely claimed by atheists, is actually an agnostic.”
Source: BigThink

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Event: SETIcon II

SETIcon II, A Conference on Space and Imagination

SETIcon II, a conference on space as seen through art, literature, and science, takes place June 22-24, at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara, California. SETIcon II is hosted by the SETI Institute.
SETIcon, envisioned and organized by the SETI Institute, is a unique, entertaining and enlightening public event where science and imagination meet. SETIcon brings together innovative scientists, science fiction authors, space and science artists, space lovers, and the curious and adventurous everywhere for a 3-day public celebration and exploration of space, real science, technology, imagination, and science education.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Gadgets: Augmented Reality Sandbox

This new augmented reality sandbox designed by Oliver Kreylos out of U.C. Davis that projects a real-time colored topographic map complete with contour lines onto the surface of the sand while you manipulate it. The system even allows you to pour virtual water on your creation and interact with it in real time. It’s not hard to imagine switching the entire system to volcano mode, or using the projection in some sort of three dimensional toy battlefield. Gah!

According to Krelos’ YouTube page, the project was funded by the National Science Foundation with the hopes of installing these systems as exhibits at science museums like the Lawrence Hall of Science or the Tahoe Environmental Research Center. See another demo of this 21st century sandbox here.

Tech: Swÿp

Swÿp, a prototype interface to share files with a swipe

Natan Linder, a PhD student in the Fluid Interfaces group at the MIT Media Lab with Alexander List are developers of Swÿp, a piece of open-source software that facilitates “cross-app, cross-device data exchange using physical ‘swipe’ gestures,” they write on their website. “Our framework allows any number of touch-sensing and collocated devices to establish file-exchange and communications with no pairing other than a physical gesture.” Translation: Dragging files from a phone to a computer with a swipe of the finger isn’t just a cool, far-fetched idea, it’s reality.

Swÿp can be used for iOS and LuminAR, but it’s still part of ongoing research, so it’s not available in app form yet.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Gadgets: Glove One

Glove One, a cellphone you wear on your hand:
Milwaukee-based designer Bryan Cera took the smartphone and turned it into something you can wear like a glove, using numbers spread out across the underside of your fingers to do the dialing. It looks a little clumsy, but that’s by design, too: Cera doesn’t want a Glove One on every hand; he’s trying to tell us something about the future.

Glove One, to state it plain, represents a future where our smartphones have become a real part of us, and our hand is now a vestigial limb replaced by a functioning handset:

“It presents a futile and fragile technology with which to augment ourselves. A cell phone which, in order to use, one must sacrifice their hand. It is both the literalization of Sherry Turkle’s notion of technology as a “phantom limb”, in how we augment ourselves through an ambivalent reliance on it, as well as a celebration of the freedom we seek in our devices.”

Source: DVICE
More Photos: Ponoko

Video Distraction: Mobile Phone Test

More and more traffic accidents are due to texting. If we want to reduce the 1.2 million traffic victims worldwide each year, we have to act. How do you convince youngsters not to text while driving? Prove them it is a very bad idea: oblige them to text while driving! See how Belgian learner drivers reacted when they were told they had to pass the mobile phone test in order to get their driver's license.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Science: Pursuit Of Light

Perhaps more than all other federal agencies, NASA tells stories about big things: big places, big data, big ideas. Using extraordinarily high resolution data sets from some of the most innovative and powerful scientific instruments ever built, the media team at NASA Goddard presents PURSUIT OF LIGHT. The presentation showcases top level goals of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, with an eye toward capturing the imagination of mainstream audiences.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Lecture: Just How Small is an Atom?

For those who want to skip the video: Really, really, really, really, really small. But if I’d be you, I’d watch it anyway.

Source: TEDEducation

Infographic: How Big is Apple

Just How Big is Apple
Its devices are ubiquitous, its annual new product releases are among the most anticipated in the world and it recently announced it would begin issuing a dividend to its stock owners–expected to generate $10 billion in the first year alone. But ho do Apple’s eye-popping statistics translate to the real world?
Source: Best Computer Science Degrees

News: The 16th Annual Webby Award Winners

The winners have been announced for the 16th Annual Webby Awards. Winners will accept their awards and give their Webby 5-Word acceptance speech on May 21, 2012 at The Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. The show will be streamed live in HD via the Webby Awards website. Comedian Patton Oswalt will host the show.

Special Achievement Award winners:
Webby Person of the Year: Louis C.K.
Webby Artist of the Year: Björk
Webby Actresses of the Year: Juliette Lewis and Graydon Sheppard of “Sh*t Girls Say”
Webby Breakout of the Year: Instagram