Third Thumb: an opposable prosthetic enhancement

mostlysignssomeportents:

Designer Dani Clode’s Third Thumb is a 3D printed robotic prosthetic thumb that goes on the pinky side of your hand, created a motorized, opposable additional thumb that you can use to play the guitar, pick up objects, or crack an egg.

Clode proposes that her thumb can be styled as a piece of jewelry or as a tool, depending on the materials used and the system’s programming.

https://boingboing.net/2017/07/06/polydactylism.html

“When a whale dies, it becomes a rotting feast for birds and sharks. If it ever happens to reach shore, it’ll likely be in…

whale, whale heart, plastination, preservation

“When a whale dies, it becomes a rotting feast for birds and sharks. If it ever happens to reach shore, it’ll likely be in terrible shape. Lucky for mammalogy technicians at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, a blue whale that washed up in Newfoundland in 2014 was in good enough condition that they were able to preserve its 440-pound ticker. “Its sheer size alone accelerates decomposition, so it’s remarkable we got to salvage a heart,” says Jacqueline Miller, who led the first-of-its-kind preservation effort. It recently went on display, and Miller gave us a deep dive into how to plastinate a leviathan organ.”

(via https://www.wired.com/story/how-scientists-preserved-a-440-pound-blue-whale-heart)

Time travel is time research

Medium, Long Now, James Gleick, time, time travel, futures, history

“We’re still trying to figure out what time is,” Gleick said. Time travel stories apparently help us. The inventor of the time machine in Wells’s book explains archly that time is merely a fourth dimension. Ten years later in 1905 Albert Einstein made that statement real. In 1941 Jorge Luis Borges wrote the celebrated short story, “The Garden of Forking Paths.” In 1955 physicist Hugh Everett introduced the quantum-based idea of forking universes, which itself has become a staple of science fiction.

“Time,” Richard Feynman once joked, “is what happens when nothing else happens.” Gleick suggests, “Things change, and time is how we keep track.” Virginia Woolf wrote, “What more terrifying revelation can there be than that it is the present moment? That we survive the shock at all is only possible because the past shelters us on one side, the future on another.”

“Enjoy the present. Don’t waste your brain cells agonizing about lost opportunities or worrying about what the future will bring. As I was working on the book I suddenly realized that that’s terrible advice. A potted plant lives in the now. The idea of the ‘long now’ embraces the past and the future and asks us to think about the whole stretch of time. That’s what I think time travel is good for. That’s what makes us human — the ability to live in the past and live in the future at the same time.”


via https://medium.com/the-long-now-foundation/time-travel-is-time-research–6f3248fef6b0

The Stelvio Pass in northern Italy is the highest paved roadway in the Eastern Alps, with an elevation of 2,757 meters (9,045…

dailyoverview:

The Stelvio Pass in northern Italy is the highest paved roadway in the Eastern Alps, with an elevation of 2,757 meters (9,045 feet) above sea level. Only accessible in the summer months, the road and its 75 hairpin turns are sometimes scaled during the famous Giro d’Italia cycling race.

46.528611°, 10.452777°

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2up6Gfm

Source Imagery: DigitalGlobe

“The video, called “Alternative Face v1.1”, is the work of Mario Klingemann, a German artist. It plays audio from an NBC…

GAN, Mario Klingemann, ML, AI, News, Fake News, media, 2017

video link

“The video, called “Alternative Face v1.1”, is the work of Mario Klingemann, a German artist. It plays audio from an NBC interview with Ms Conway through the mouth of Ms Hardy’s digital ghost. The video is wobbly and pixelated; a competent visual-effects shop could do much better. But Mr Klingemann did not fiddle with editing software to make it. Instead, he took only a few days to create the clip on a desktop computer using a generative adversarial network (GAN), a type of machine-learning algorithm. His computer spat it out automatically after being force fed old music videos of Ms Hardy. It is a recording of something that never happened.”

The solar-powered tech that generates water out of desert air

Medium, water, desert, solarpunk

It might seem counter-intuitive, but Coleridge’s famous line from the Ancient Mariner could also apply to the desert. Even in some of the driest places on earth, the air holds thousands of litres of fresh water that have remained tantalisingly inaccessible. Until now. Scientists at MIT and the University of California at Berkeley have created a device that can suck water from the air. Even better: it’s solar-powered. So, even in the most remote, arid deserts it can harvest drinking water from the atmosphere.

via https://medium.com/world-economic-forum/the-solar-powered-tech-that-generates-water-out-of-desert-air–1587851da487

Can speculative evidence inform decision making?

Medium, Anab Jain, futures, decision making, choice, uncertainty, evidence, speculation, data, 2017, Superflux

Over at Superflux, our work investigating potential and plausible futures, involves extensively scanning for trends and signals from which we trace and extrapolate into the future. Both qualitative and quantitative data play an important role. In doing such work, we have observed how data is often used as evidence, and seen as definitive. Historical and contemporary datasets are often used as evidence for a mandate for future change, especially in some of the work we have undertaken with governments and policy makers. But lately we have been thinking if this drive for data as evidence has led to the unshakeable belief that data is evidence.

via https://medium.com/@anabjain/can-speculative-evidence-inform-decision-making–6f7d398d201f

As I get older I tend not to get less cynical about things but to move judgment from individuals to systems. And just about…

judgment, systems, oppression, choice, culture

“As I get older I tend not to get less cynical about things but to move judgment from individuals to systems. And just about every time that I’ve made some sort of judgment on the integrity of people, individually or in groups, I later find that in fact those people are just trapped in systems or cultures that they didn’t create and which narrow and dictate their choices in unhealthy directions.”

Freddie deBoer

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, artists gradually became aware of the unusually precise nature of the imagery generated by…

“Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, artists gradually became aware of the unusually precise nature of the imagery generated by computers, as did people from other fields.
Among them was a lecturer at the University of Manchester, Desmond Paul Henry. The university was responsible for important early advances in computer science, not least in building the world’s first stored-program computer, the Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine, which was nicknamed ‘Baby’ when it was completed in 1948. Henry took a keen interest in such developments, but as an observer, not a participant. He taught philosophy at the university, and had discovered computers as a technical clerk for the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers during the Second World War. In 1951, while browsing around the second-hand bookstalls on Shudehill in Manchester, Henry went into an army surplus warehouse and spotted an old Sperry bombsight computer used by British bomber aircraft to calculate when to release their bombs. He bought it for £50, a substantial sum at the time, and rigged it up to guide ballpoint pens and, later, technical tube pens across paper. After his first machine died, Henry recycled some of the components into a new one and subsequently repeated the process to build a third. He exhibited his mechanical drawings at local art galleries in Manchester and also in ‘Cybernetic Serendipity’, the 1968 survey of computer art at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, which later toured to the United States.”

Rawsthorn, Alice.Hello World: Where Design Meets Life. London: Hamish Hamilton, 2013. (viacarvalhais)

The Lone Star Tick That Gives People Meat Allergies May Be Spreading

ticks, meat-allergy, allergies, tick, health, genetics, climate-change

First comes the unscratchable itching, and the angry blossoming of hives. Then stomach cramping, and—for the unluckiest few—difficulty breathing, passing out, and even death. In the last decade and a half, thousands of previously protein-loving Americans have developed a dangerous allergy to meat. And they all have one thing in common: the lone star tick. Red meat, you might be surprised to know, isn’t totally sugar-free. It contains a few protein-linked saccharides, including one called galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, or alpha-gal, for short. More and more people are learning this the hard way, when they suddenly develop a life-threatening allergy to that pesky sugar molecule after a tick bite. Yep, one bite from the lone star tick—which gets its name from the Texas-shaped splash of white on its back—is enough to reprogram your immune system to forever reject even the smallest nibble of perfectly crisped bacon. For years, physicians and researchers only reported the allergy in places the lone star tick calls home, namely the southeastern United States. But recently it’s started to spread. The newest hot spots? Duluth, Minnesota, Hanover, New Hampshire, and the eastern tip of Long Island, where at least 100 cases have been reported in the last year. Scientists are racing to trace its spread, to understand if the lone star tick is expanding into new territories, or if other species of ticks are now causing the allergy.

via https://www.wired.com/story/lone-star-tick-that-gives-people-meat-allergies-may-be-spreading/

Standard Ebooks

ebooks, publishing, public-domain, typesetting, VCS

The Standard Ebooks project is a volunteer driven, not-for-profit effort to produce a collection of high quality, carefully formatted, accessible, open source, and free public domain ebooks that meet or exceed the quality of commercially produced ebooks. The text and cover art in our ebooks is already believed to be in the public domain, and Standard Ebook dedicates its own work to the public domain, thus releasing whole ebooks files themselves into the public domain.

via https://standardebooks.org/about/

Hedge-Fund Pay and Trader Lies

economics, money, art, metafictional-narrative, PonzICO, blockchain, ICO

“As a double bonus, if everyone stays irrational it might greatly enrich the author, providing future funding for blockchain performance art.” The great art project of our age is to entirely collapse the distinctions between “fraud” and “performance art,” so that one day mortgage-bond traders will be able to say “wait, no, I wasn’t lying about bond prices to increase my bonus, I was performing a metafictional narrative about bond-price negotiations in order to problematize the underlying foundations of bond trading in late capitalism.”

via https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017–05–16/hedge-fund-pay-and-trader-lies

Why Overwork Is Really a Kind of Laziness

Medium, work, overwork, busy, stress, laziness, virtue, busyness, stoicism, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, 2017

As the great German theologian Josef Pieper argued, for most of history philosophers and theologians treated overwork as a moral failing. The Stoic philosopher Seneca, for example, made a distinction between leisure and idleness; and importantly, people who were “out of breath for no purpose, always busy about nothing” were, in Seneca’s view, guilty of the worst kind of idleness. Because it occupies our time and feels like accomplishment, but actually produces very little and gives us little opportunity to learn about ourselves, this kind of busyness was to be avoided. As Pieper put it, in this vision leisure “is not a Sunday afternoon idyll, but the preserve of freedom, of education and culture, and of that undiminished humanity which views the world as a whole.” This is not to say that work was something to be avoided. Stoics like Seneca saw work as essential, as one of the things that made life meaningful. But in order to become our best selves, they argued, it was also necessary to take the time to reflect on our lives and choices — and that required both time and an “inward calm” that let us see ourselves and the world clearly.

via https://journal.thriveglobal.com/why-overwork-is-really-a-kind-of-laziness–4e3b3a1bddf4

“Individuals with grapheme-color synesthesia experience idiosyncratic colors when viewing achromatic letters or digits. Despite…

synesthesia, phonetics, lingusitics

“Individuals with grapheme-color synesthesia experience idiosyncratic colors when viewing achromatic letters or digits. Despite large individual differences in grapheme-color association, synesthetes tend to associate graphemes sharing a perceptual feature with similar synesthetic colors. Sound has been suggested as one such feature. In the present study, we investigated whether graphemes of which representative phonemes have similar phonetic features tend to be associated with analogous synesthetic colors.”

(via https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5346570/)

Graphemes Sharing Phonetic Features Tend to Induce Similar Synesthetic Colors

allthingslinguistic:

Someone’s done the cross-linguistic synesthesia writing system study that I was speculating about a couple months ago! This study features grapheme-colour synesthetes who were trilingual in Korean, English, and Japanese. Here’s the abstract: 

Individuals with grapheme-color synesthesia experience idiosyncratic colors when viewing achromatic letters or digits. Despite large individual differences in grapheme-color association, synesthetes tend to associate graphemes sharing a perceptual feature with similar synesthetic colors. Sound has been suggested as one such feature. In the present study, we investigated whether graphemes of which representative phonemes have similar phonetic features tend to be associated with analogous synesthetic colors. We tested five Korean multilingual synesthetes on a color-matching task using graphemes from Korean, English, and Japanese orthography. We then compared the similarity of synesthetic colors induced by those characters sharing a phonetic feature. Results showed that graphemes associated with the same phonetic feature tend to induce synesthetic color in both within- and cross-script analyses. Moreover, this tendency was consistent for graphemes that are not transliterable into each other as well as graphemes that are. These results suggest that it is the perceptual—i.e., phonetic—properties associated with graphemes, not just conceptual associations such as transliteration, that determine synesthetic color.

The study is open-access and available in full here.

Graphemes Sharing Phonetic Features Tend to Induce Similar Synesthetic Colors

From Robin Hood to Economic Space Agency

Medium, economics, Robin Hood, Economic Space Agency, ECSA, art, hedge funds, politics, ethereum

The next step takes the logic further: not only stealing from the rich and giving to the poor (like Robin Hood did), but exploring, building new ecologies, new ecosystems, new universes, new possibilities, new worlds of value. For this purpose the Robin Hood hydra grew a new head: a start-up company Economic Space Agency, Inc. (ECSA). Economic Space Agency builds tools with which we can create economic space — not only to distribute something existing or produced in a pre-existing space, but to reorganize/rebuild the space itself. Two trends are converging and making open source economy possible: the moldability and plasticity of financial technologies and the decentralization and disintermediation provided by distributed ledgers. ECSA’s DNA contains all these things: hard core research (the team has published over 25 books), direct engagement with the power of art to create unforeseen (economical, social, political, financial, incorporeal) processes, financial first-in-the-world inventions (such as a hedge fund as a coop, and asset-backed cryptoequity), experimental hands-on attitude and an intimate lived experience of how the financial and the social co-determine each other.

via https://medium.com/economic-spacing/from-robin-hood-to-economic-space-agency–4516e8c01024

‘A reckoning for our species’: the philosopher prophet of the Anthropocene

environment, Anthropocene, Tim Morton, ecology, hyperobjects, art, nature, hedgehogs, extinction

Part of what makes Morton popular are his attacks on settled ways of thinking. His most frequently cited book, Ecology Without Nature, says we need to scrap the whole concept of “nature”. He argues that a distinctive feature of our world is the presence of ginormous things he calls “hyperobjects” – such as global warming or the internet – that we tend to think of as abstract ideas because we can’t get our heads around them, but that are nevertheless as real as hammers. He believes all beings are interdependent, and speculates that everything in the universe has a kind of consciousness, from algae and boulders to knives and forks. He asserts that human beings are cyborgs of a kind, since we are made up of all sorts of non-human components; he likes to point out that the very stuff that supposedly makes us us – our DNA – contains a significant amount of genetic material from viruses. He says that we’re already ruled by a primitive artificial intelligence: industrial capitalism. At the same time, he believes that there are some “weird experiential chemicals” in consumerism that will help humanity prevent a full-blown ecological crisis. Morton’s theories might sound bizarre, but they are in tune with the most earth-shaking idea to emerge in the 21st century: that we are entering a new phase in the history of the planet – a phase that Morton and many others now call the “Anthropocene”.

via https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/15/timothy-morton-anthropocene-philosopher

WoodSwimmer is a new short film by engineer and stop-motion animator Brett Foxwell, who has built armatures for films such as…

wood, growth, animation, timelapse, WoodSwimmer, Brett Foxwell

video link

WoodSwimmer is a new short film by engineer and stop-motion animator Brett Foxwell, who has built armatures for films such as Boxtrolls and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Created in collaboration with musician and animator bedtimes, the work follows a piece of raw wood through a milling machine, capturing its unique growth rings, knots, and weathered spots through a series of cross-sectional photographic scans. Due the speed at which the images are animated, the log’s grains begin to flow like granules of sand—shifting, mixing, and flowing in a vibrant dance that seems completely removed from its rigid material.

“Fascinated with the shapes and textures found in both newly-cut and long-dead pieces of wood, I envisioned a world composed entirely of these forms,” Foxwell told Colossal. “As I began to engage with the material, I conceived a method using a milling machine and an animation camera setup to scan through a wood sample photographically and capture its entire structure. Although a difficult and tedious technique to refine, it yielded gorgeous imagery at once abstract and very real. Between the twisting growth rings, swirling rays, knot holes, termites and rot, I found there is a lot going on inside of wood.”

These Shoes Help Clean Lakes–Because They’re Made Of Polluting Algae “After a massive explosion of algae growth in China’s…

futureofscience:

These Shoes Help Clean Lakes–Because They’re Made Of Polluting Algae

“After a massive explosion of algae growth in China’s Lake Taihu a decade ago left more than two million people in the area temporarily without safe drinking water, the government started spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to try to solve the algae problem. One part of the solution: working with a company that harvests algae from the lake before it grows out of control, and turns it into a flexible, rubbery material that is now being made into shoes.

Vivobarefoot’s water-resistant Ultra III shoes are usually made from a petroleum-based version of the same material, ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). But a version that will launch in July is made from a blend of algae and EVA, instead. To get enough algae to make one pair means cleaning 57 gallons of water, which are then returned to the lake.”

If more and more people cast themselves as designers, where does this leave the professionals? Will they disappear? Or will…

“If more and more people cast themselves as designers, where does this leave the professionals? Will they disappear? Or will their influence be gradually eroded? Not if they prove their worth. In this respect, design is not unlike psychology. Lots of us like to think of ourselves as self-taught psychologists, and often use rudimentary psychological techniques when coming to instinctive conclusions about other people’s actions or motives. If we are lucky and observant, our judgements may be correct, but surely they would be more perceptive if we had studied psychology, or were able to draw on the knowledge, discipline and experience acquired from years of professional practice. Much the same can be said of design, just as long as the professionals can match the originality and resourcefulness of Blackbeard, Qin Shihuangdi, Nicholas Owen and other ‘accidental’ designers.”

Rawsthorn, Alice.Hello World: Where Design Meets Life. London: Hamish Hamilton, 2013. (viacarvalhais)

Fifth massive solar farm in Riverside County — this one near Joshua Tree — to sell power to SoCal Edison

rjzimmerman:

Excerpt:

Riverside County could soon be getting its fifth massive solar farm.

The 500-megawatt Palen solar project would be built near Desert Center, between Interstate 10 and Joshua Tree National Park. It would join the nearby Desert Sunlight facility — which at 550 megawatts was the world’s largest solar farm when it opened — and three projects near the Arizona border, known as Blythe, McCoy and Genesis.

Palen’s developer, San Diego-based EDF Renewable Energy, has signed a contract to sell the electricity the plant would generate to the region’s major utility, Southern California Edison — a key step before construction can begin. The California Public Utilities Commission is likely to approve that contract later this month. The developer must also wait for Riverside County and the federal Bureau of Land Management to conduct an environmental review, which the agencies expect to finish later this year.

Like many solar plants in the desert, Palen has faced pushback from conservationists and tribal groups, who say the industrial facility would harm fragile ecosystems, destroy Native American artifacts and negatively impact Joshua Tree National Park, which is just eight miles from the project site. Critics have argued Palen would disrupt sand transport habitat critical to Mojave fringe-toed lizards and a corridor used by Agassiz’s desert tortoise, which is considered “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Palen would be located within a 148,000-acre renewable energy zone designated by the Obama administration last year. But David Lamfrom, from the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association, said it was never the government’s intention for every acre to get developed. Ecosystem impacts still need to be taken into account, he said.

Fifth massive solar farm in Riverside County — this one near Joshua Tree — to sell power to SoCal Edison

Millions and millions of us are ready. We want to not only build carbon-zero cities and regions but to live the lives that will…

“Millions and millions of us are ready. We want to not only build carbon-zero cities and regions but to live the lives that will make them thrive. We want clean energy, sure; indeed, we demand all energy be clean energy. But generating more clean energy — vital as it is — is only one part of making the world we need. We also need to imagine, design and rapidly build cities where prosperity demands much less energy to begin with and ends up shared with far more of our neighbors: cities of abundant housing in super-insulated green buildings; of walkable neighborhoods, effective transit, shared vehicles and abundant bike lanes; of circular flows of resources and frugal excellence; of breakthrough technologies and worldchanging designs; of lived innovation and community creativity — of more adventure, more fun, and, for fuck’s sake, more beauty.

Beauty matters. The sheer ugliness of the old industrial way of life all around us is something we’re taught not to see. We’re taught not too see its aesthetic ugliness, sure, but even more we are taught to ignore its ugliness of soul, it’s ugliness of purpose, its ugliness of effect. Look away, numb yourself, never speak of it again.

Millions of us do not want to spend our brief spans on Earth contributing to these systems of catastrophic ugliness. We want to live in systems that are beautiful to be a part of, beautiful in their workings, and beautiful for future generations.

We need to demand the freedom build the beautiful. If a new movement today is going to be about anything meaningful, it must be at its very core a fight to build the beautiful, at the scale of the necessary, in the very short time we have left.”

Alex Steffen, “The Last Decade and You” (viasolarpunks)