Earlier in the fall, I had the opportunity to visit Douglas Repetto in his office at Columbia University in New York. The founder of Dorkbot
and organizer of ArtBots
, Doug is an artist and maker and he writes the "Art Work" column for Make magazine
. When I visited Doug, he was working on a piece about Squirrel Cages. These cages are quite beautiful constructions, made out of wood with the assistance of a laser cutter.
At the time, I wasn't familiar with the term "squirrel caging", which means to turn things over in your mind without end. One writer describes squirrel caging as the "act of rumination on negative thoughts." Whether they are good or bad thoughts, we all have had the experience of not being able to stop thinking about SOMETHING.
Click on the above photo picture to go to a short movie of the squirrel cages in action.
The completed work, "Distributed Squirrel Cage for Parallel Processing" was later exhibited at the Main Street Museum in White River Junction, Vermont. Doug explains:
Humans are invited to write obsessive thoughts on scraps of paper, deposit them in squirrel cages, and turn the crank, thus offloading the actual work of obsessing to the mechanism. This cutting-edge apparatus applies the latest techniques in distributed, massively parallel processing to the age-old problem of broken human minds.
Maybe Doug could set up a Squirrel Cage installation somewhere down on Wall Street.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
CEO Dick Costolo will resign, to be replaced in the interim by Jack Dorsey
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