History of the Light Bulb photo exhibit

Photographer Catherine Wagner spent two years in residence at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. While there she photographed selections from the museum's collection of more than 50,000 historic light bulbs. The resulting series, titled A Narrative History of the Light Bulb, opened yesterday at San Francisco's Stephen Wirtz Gallery and runs through April 28. A reception for the artist is scheduled for Thursday, April 5, 5:30-7:30pm. The beautifully minimalist and sculptural photographs are also viewable online. Seen here, The Lamps of 1900 (Lambda Print, 33.9 x 18.4 inches, 2006). Link (Thanks, John Tarrant!) Read the rest

Floppy drive bound into a book

Jim sez, "I am a book conservator, book artist, and author. In 1993, I made a 'book' using a floppy drive from my first computer (circa 1983 Leading Edge), binding the drive with the printed text of a short essay on the topic, the same text on the floppy in the disk drive"


(Thanks, Jim!) Read the rest

RU Sirius interviews psychedelic researcher

10 Zen Monkeys has a highly informative interview with Jag Davies from MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies). Davies runs through all the latest information on legal psychedelic studies and experimentation. (Those Monkeys also toss out some really funny stoner jokes.) The interview, covering pot, ecstasy, psilocybin, ibogaine, ketamine, and LSD, ran first on the RU Sirius Show.
RU: So a while back, MAPS got approval for a study in MDMA (ecstasy) assisted psychotherapy. Where are we at with that?

JAG: It's almost over. They've treated 15 out of 20 patients. It's very slow. There are lots of pre-conditions for the study because it's such a controversial substance. But the results are ridiculous. Their CAPS score—(CAPS is the Clinician Administered PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] Scale) is about five times higher than in treating chronic treatment-resistant patients with Zoloft... And there are a whole other slew of studies that are sort of copying this one that we're doing in a bunch of other places like Switzerland, and Israel, just to be sure.

JEFF: So does it look like MDMA is going to become something that's used pharmaceutically?

JAG: After careful analysis, we decided that MDMA is probably the most likely of any psychedelic drug to get approved. First of all, it has a very gentle sort of pharmacological profile.

But the other reason is… because it was so demonized by the government in the 1980s and 1990s, there has been hundreds of millions of dollars of research done into its risks. So they've done all the work for us!

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Guide Horse sneakers designed by blind people

Don sez, "I'm a volunteer for the Guide Horse foundation, and our blind guide horse users have been very creative in choosing shoes for their ponies, creating sneakers, boots and dress shoes. Since our users are blind, they cannot see how they look to sighted people, but they have lots of fun crafting shoes!" Link (Thanks, Don!) Read the rest

Melting North Pole sends buried watch to Denmark

Axlrosen sez, "A wristwatch buried in the ice at the North Pole three years ago was found by a boy more than 1,800 miles away after it floated ashore on the Faeroe Islands."
Niels Jakup Mortensen, 11, spotted a black box near his home on Suduroy, the Faeroes' southernmost island, his mother Anna Jacobsen said. Inside, she said, was a watch that had been buried at the North Pole by Joergen Amundsen, a descendant of Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen.

Jacobsen said the watch discovered by her son earlier this month was still working, and was accompanied by a letter from Joergen Amundsen. "It was so unbelievable," she said. "It had been buried in the North Pole."

Link (Thanks, Axlrosen) Read the rest

How the RIAA decides whom to sue

Brian from the comedy site BBSpot sez, "Since the RIAA seems to sue everyone, I created a flowchart which shows how they make their decisions. Or at least how I imagine it to be." This is some funny (and plausible) stuff! Link (Thanks, Brian!) Read the rest

RSS-I - an RSS feed for your decisions

Matt Webb gave the morning keynote today at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology conference in San Diego. His talk (From Pixels to Plastic) was a whirlwind tour through amazing and funny ideas (he opened by seeing how long he could stare at us, smiling, without cracking up).

But the wow moment for me was when he talked about a notional kind of RSS reader -- an "RSS-I" reader, for interactive RSS. The idea is to take all the little decisions that all the services you use have asked you to make (Amazon recommends a book, your mailing list wants you to approve a post, Flickr wants you to add a buddy, your blog wants you to approve some comments) and stream them into a special reader, so that they're all in one place, and you can keep track of your decisions, make them in one go, and not have to run all over the Web.

This hasn't been built, but the second Matt mentioned it, I had that galvanic feeling, that feeling of, "I need this, I didn't know it, but I need this. I really, really need this."

Webb said a lot of fantastic stuff this morning (he demoed a little plastic robot that falls over when your friends go off IM and stands up when they come back online), but this one really floored me.

Update: Here's some more links: Matt's slides, The RSS-I slide, Matt's blog post on RSS-I

See also: Boing Boing audio interview with Mind Hacks editor Matt Webb Brain Hacks: Overclock your amygdala Ruminations on a bee Futurism, fictional and science fictional - rambling and inspiring Read the rest

Marijuana isn't kosher for Passover

Israel's pro-marijuana party has just announced that it believes that pot isn't kosher for Passover:
Biblical laws prohibit eating leavened foods during Passover, replacing bread with flat crackers called matza. Later injunctions by European rabbis extended those rules to forbid other foods like beans and corn, and more recent rulings have further expanded the ban to include hemp seeds, which today are found in some health oils _ and in marijuana.

Green Leaf is a small political party that supports the legalization of marijuana. Although it is by no means a Jewish religious authority, the group decided to warn its observant supporters away from the drug on Passover.

Link (Thanks, WizardMi!)

Update: Carl sez, "students are giving up MySpace for Lent." Read the rest

Goldfish live in a deep-fat fryer

A Japanese restaurant has combined a deep-fat fryer with a functional goldfish tank -- the boiling oil floats on the surface of the cool water, and the fish get to eat all the crumbs of batter that dribble down.
Because oil floats on water, despite the massive heat (163 degrees Celsius) the goldfish simply stay away from the surface and all is well. They eat the crumbs of croquettes and other fried foods that fall to the bottom, and can live in there for 5-10 years as they happily clean away, ignorant to the fact that certain death awaits any potential escapees.
Link (via Kottke)

Update: Tamyu sez, "The actual video isn`t about the fish - in fact, they are only temporarily in the tank to demonstrate that it is really water. I assume they were removed after the segment. The real topic is the new design for an industrial deep fryer. By putting water in the bottom of the fryer and suspending the heating element above, the oil lasts longer. The crumbs are not sinking down and being burnt as with an oil only fryer. It also prevents the sort of explosion that normally happens when water and hot oil are combined. The water sinks down past the heating element and into the cooler vat before it has the chance to explosively boil. The goal is to reduce oil spending and make the deep fryer safer for employees." Read the rest

Cory's signing tonight in San Diego at Mysterious Galaxy

A reminder to those in San Diego: I'm doing a drop-in signing and meet-and-greet tonight at 6:30PM at the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore. They've got a stack of copies of Overclocked (my new short story collection) in stock. I hope to see you there!
When: Thursday, March 29: 6:30-7PM Where: Mysterious Galaxy Books, 7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite #302, San Diego, CA 92111, 858.268.4747
Link Read the rest

Google's driving direx from New York to Dublin, Ireland

Hilarious: ask Google Maps for driving directions from New York to Dublin, Ireland and they'll give them to you, including this step, "Swim across the Atlantic Ocean 3,462 mi." Weirdly, they instruct you to swim to France, drive the Chunnel to England, then take a ferry back to Ireland. Surely there's a more efficient totally impossible route?


(via Kottke)

Update: Dave sez, "Of course, you'd have to swim about 4.9mph for 29 continuous days to achieve this time. Considering that the worlds fastest swimming records (in a 50-meter race) are just over 5mph... your mileage may vary!" Read the rest

Musicians Rock the Net for Net Neutrality

The Rock the Net campaign has rallied rock stars to speak out in support of Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality is the idea that the phone company should just pass along the web-pages, videos and emails you request (which seems like an obviously good idea). The alternative, Net Discrimination, would allow phone companies to hold back or slow down the stuff you ask for, unless the company who's serving it to you has paid them a bribe for "premium service."

A good explanation of this idea comes from Craig "craigslist" Newmark: "Let's say you call Joe's Pizza and the first thing you hear is a message saying you'll be connected in a minute or two, but if you want, you can be connected to Pizza Hut right away."

The Rock the Net campaign, made up mostly of musicians who are on smaller record labels or none at all, said they are fearful that if the so-called "Net neutrality" principle is abandoned their music may not be heard because they do not have the financial means to pay for preferential treatment...

Former musician Jenny Toomey, who is now executive director of the Future of Music Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group for independent musicians, said this issue is so important that it has even attracted some big name artists, such as R.E.M., Sarah McLachlan and even Kronos Quartet, a classical musical string ensemble.

Link (via /.) Read the rest

Evolutionary computer improves its hardware with genetic algorithms

Techies at the University of Oslo have built an evolutionary computer that changes its design using genetic algorithms to improve performance:
What their hardware does is par up “genes” in the hardware to find the hardware design that is the most effective to accomplish the tasks at hand. Just like in the real world it can take 20 to 30 thousand generations before the system finds the perfect design to solve the problem, but this will happen in just a few seconds compared to the 8-900.000 years it took humans to go through the same number of generations.
Link (via Futurismic) Read the rest

Hugo nominees announced

This year's Hugo nominees are out -- congrats to all the great nominees! It's amazing to see great books like "Glasshouse," "Rainbows End," and "Blindsight" on the ballot, along with stories like Ian McDonald's "The Djinn's Wife," Bill Shunn's "Inclination," Geoff Ryman's "Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter," Ben Rosenbaum's "The House Beyond Your Sky" not to mention Neil Gaiman's "How to Talk to Girls at Parties," Tim Pratt's "Impossible Dreams" -- and the list goes on! An art book by Picacio, a bio of Alice Sheldon, a memoir by Chip Delany; badass movies like Children of Men and V for Vendetta, and a really top-flight list of Campbell nominees! Christ, it's going to be hard to pick favorites this year.
Novel Michael F. Flynn, Eifelheim (Tor) Naomi Novik, His Majesty’s Dragon (Del Rey) Charles Stross, Glasshouse (Ace) Vernor Vinge, Rainbows End (Tor) Peter Watts, Blindsight (Tor)

Novella “The Walls of the Universe” by Paul Melko (Asimov’s, April/May 2006) “A Billion Eyes” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s, October/November 2006) “Inclination” by William Shunn (Asimov’s, April/May 2006) “Lord Weary’s Empire” by Michael Swanwick (Asimov’s, December 2006) Julian: A Christmas Story by Robert Charles Wilson (PS Publishing)

Novelette “Yellow Card Man” by Paolo Bacigalupi (Asimov’s, December 2006) “Dawn, and Sunset, and the Colours of the Earth” by Michael F. Flynn (Asimov’s, December 2006) “The Djinn’s Wife” by Ian McDonald (Analog, July 2006) “All the Things You Are” by Mike Resnick (Jim Baen’s Universe, October 2006) “Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter” by Geoff Ryman (F&SF, October/November 2006)

Short Story “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” by Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things) “Kin” by Bruce McAllister (Asimov’s, February 2006) “Impossible Dreams” by Timothy Pratt (Asimov’s, July 2006) “Eight Episodes” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s, June 2006) “The House Beyond Your Sky” by Benjamin Rosenbaum (Strange Horizons, September 2006)

Related Book Samuel R.

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Looking Real Good: fashion shots of normal people

Pete sez, "Last week my friends and I quietly launched our new project; the basic premise is that interesting people upload photos of themselves looking their best. Every day there's a new person to read about on the homepage/RSS for 24 hours. There's no profit motive, and no opportunity to comment or vote or any other cruft; it's just an opportunity to wake up and see a fresh new face." Link (Thanks, Pete) Read the rest

MOG's automated music video collector

Last year, my friend David Hyman launched MOG, a social networking site for music lovers that uses a downloadable app to scan your music library and automatically populate your page on the site with data. This afternoon, David told me about a cool new feature launching tomorrow called MOG TV. At its most basic level, MOG TV automatically locates the music videos on YouTube that correspond to the songs in your music library. David tells me that their algorithms and heuristics are really good at identifying the best match for the tune. And when the system inevitably screws up, MOG users are encouraged to flag the offending clip as bad quality or just plain wrong so the matches get better over time. The neatest thing though is that MOG TV doesn't just filter for the "official" promotional videos for each song. David tells me that "probably more than half of what you'll see on MOG TV is live footage." Hooray for bootleg concert video! Link Previously on BB: • MOG: social networking around music Link Read the rest

Stasi chief was an Orwell fan, bent reality to get room 101

Erich Mielke, the head of the East German secret police, was a great fan of Orwell's novel 1984, and desperately wanted his office to be in Room 101 (the location of the torture chamber in the novel). His office was on the second floor. So he renamed the first floor the mezzanine.
"I’d long been fascinated by George Orwell’s work, but I resisted reading 1984 until I finished the manuscript for Stasiland. After that, I devoured it, and I couldn’t believe Orwell’s prescience. When I went into Mielke’s office, I saw it had the number 101, which in 1984 is the number of the torture chamber. 1984 was banned in the G.D.R. but of course, Mielke and Honecker had access to banned material. The guide told me that Mielke wanted this number so much that even though his office was on the 2nd floor, he had the entire first floor renamed the Mezzanine so that he could call his room 101."

--Anna Funder, author of Stasiland

Link Read the rest

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