Telerobotic searchlight art installation

Vectorial Elevation is a telerobotic art installation in Vancouver, Canada that enables you to aim 20 searchlights around the English Bay via the Web. Four cameras around the city then photograph your design and the system creates a Web page for it. I'm into the ability to change the environment remotely at this scale, but having to wait in line to have a go reminds me of the first Web telerobot, Ken Goldberg's Mercury Project from 1994. (Ken didn't like the idea of Web users having to queue up either, which is why he went on to develop methods for collaborative telerobotics.) Rafael Lozano-Hemmer created Vectorial Elevation in 1999 for Mexico City's Zócalo Square. The installation will be online in Vancouver through February 28. From the project's concept page:
This website includes a virtual model of Vancouver where you are able to design "light sculptures" with 20 robotic searchlights located along English Bay. Once you are happy with your design you submit it together with your name, location and dedication or comments. Every night from dusk to dawn new designs are quietly rendered sequentially as they are added to a queue. The project automatically creates a personal webpage for each participant, documenting his or her contribution with views from 4 project webcams. With a 15 Km visibility radius, the installation intends to blend the virtual space of the Internet with one of the most emblematic public spaces in Vancouver.
Vectorial Elevation Previously:Boing Boing: Telerobotic birdwatching A Twist on Tele-robotics: Today at noon PST! Read the rest

Funky Friday: Springtime in Bollywood (Holi He!)

DJ Carlito, aka my brother Carl, who has become the go-to deejay for Indian weddings in Virginia (I am absolutely not kidding), shares the links and images in this post and explains:

Holi, the yearly festival celebrating the return of color to the world, will start on Sunday Feb 28, 2010 and continue for 2 days until Monday March 1st. Holi is celebrated on the Phalgun Purnima (or Pooranmashi, Full Moon) according to the Hindu Calendar. Holi is a festival of radiance (teja) in the universe. The celebrations officially usher in spring, the celebrated season of love. There are several stories of the origin of Holi -- and several various deities are involved in this holiday.
More about the celebration here. Video above: Rang Barse. Another goodie: Holi Aai Re," from the Bollywood classic Mashaal. Another gem from one of the biggest Bollywood blockbusters ever: Holi ke Din. And here's another Holi-themed video you may dig.

More about DJ Carlito (aka Xeni's kid brother, available for all your Indian wedding DJ needs): blog, Myspace. Listen to his weekly radio show "If Music Could Talk" Sundays 7-9pm EST online or on-air at WRIR in Virginia, and dig his show archive here online. Read the rest

Messenger bags made from old life vests

It would be neat if the life vests were still functional; then I'd actually consider taking this bag with me on an airplane ride.

Link (via NotCot) Read the rest

Talented bread flinger in south India

This fellow seems to know what he's doing. (Via Arbroath) Read the rest

Shoes made out of recycled TVs

These kinda-cute pumps by vegan shoemaker Olsenhaus are made from polyester microfiber extracted from old analog TVs.

(via Ecouterre) Read the rest

Make your own Pong-clock: MONOCHRON

MONOCHRON - open source retro clock from adafruit industries on Vimeo.

Phil Torrone sez, "Hardware hacker 'Ladyada' has released an open source retro arcade style table tennis for two clock called the MONOCHRON. According to MONCHRON project page they 'wanted to make a clock that was ultra-hackable, from adding a separate battery-backed RTC to designing the enclosure so you could program the clock once its assembled.' It includes a ATmega328 processor (with'Arduino' stk500 bootloader for easy hacking). It's completely open source hardware, all firmware, layout and CAD files are yours to mess with."

MONOCHRON (Thanks, Phil!) Read the rest

Luxembourg-sized icebreak breaks off Antarctica

From Times Online: An iceberg the size of Luxembourg has split off from the Antarctic continent and could disrupt global ocean patterns and weather systems for decades, according to scientists. Read the rest

The Fashion of Taxidermied Vermin

Avant-garde artist Reid Peppard has a line of bold fashion accessories for men and women. Actually, bold is putting it mildly. The fashion accessories are pieces of fashioned taxidermy crafted from road kill and pest controlled vermin. The mouse bow tie is a particularly powerful statement, I'd say. Read the rest

Pages from Jim Woodring's Moleskine sketchbook

Visit Jim Woodring's site for a close up look at his Moleskine sketchbook.


Previously:New Jim Woodring toys: "Imperial Newts" - Boing Boing New Jim Woodring painting - Boing Boing Jim Woodring handpressed prints - Boing Boing New Jim Woodring toy: Mr Bumper - Boing Boing Woodring animated - Boing Boing Jim Woodring Interview - Boing Boing Boing Boing: Pelagic sea slug looks like Jim Woodring creature Jim Woodring interview - Boing Boing Jim Woodring's "Dirt in the Afternoon" drawing - Boing Boing Pressure Printing's new Jim Woodring art - Boing Boing Cosmocopia - new book / jigsaw puzzle by Di Filippo and Woodring ... Boing Boing: MP3 interview with Jim Woodring Boing Boing: New Jim Woodring art -- Divinorum, or Life After Man Jim Woodring Sublime Stitching embroidery patterns - Boing Boing new stuff from jim woodring new jim woodring figurine from strangeco jim woodring's pop-up moleskine art Jim Woodring originals at Comic Art Collective - Boing Boing Boing Boing: Jim Woodring original art for sale jim woodring show at gage academy of art Read the rest

Taste Test: Umeboshi

It's so sour that just looking at it makes you salivate. At least that's how the saying about umeboshi, or sour plum, goes. There's some truth in it, too — umeboshi has double the citric acid content of a lemon, so when you stick it in your mouth you can feel your cheeks suck into themselves. Nevertheless, Japanese people consume umeboshi often, not just to add flavor to things but straight up as a condiment with rice. Maybe it's because we believe that umeboshi has health benefits, like improving blood flow, helping digestion, and fighting bacteria. Or maybe because, when the red fruit is placed in the middle of a bento box full of white rice, it kind of looks like the Japanese flag.

Read the rest

The brain and intelligence

You know what they say about people with big brains ... Or, actually, maybe you don't.

Despite being a major concept underlying of the neurobiology of intelligence for the last 150 years or so, the connection between brain size and smarts isn't well-understood by Joe and Jane Average. Does it mean smaller people—including women—are less intelligent? What about animals, like elephants, that have much larger brains than ours? Are our academic destinies really written in our hat size?

It's complicated. We know that brain size and intelligence are correlated, but that simple fact is only a starting point for a much more intricate story—one that science is only beginning to understand. Read the rest

Road Trip Stop 3: Lowbrow Art Galleries, Los Angeles, California.

Ishkur, by Martin Wittfooth, 30" x 30", oil on panel. On exhibit at CoproGallery, Santa Monica, CA

I'm taking a road trip to points of interest in Southern California! The trip is being underwritten by Buick LaCrosse, which has also kindly provided me with the use of a Buick LaCrosse to drive during the tour. My first stop was the Griffith Observatory, in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. My second stop was to Coco's Variety in Silver Lake. The third leg of my trip takes me to lowbrow art galleries in Los Angeles.

One of the reasons I love Los Angeles so much is that it's the birthplace of my favorite kind of art -- the "lowbrow / pop surrealism" genre. Since I'm drawn to the sources that lowbrow artists look to for their inspiration -- hot rod and biker illustrations, monster and exploitation movies, science fiction pulps, sleazy magazines, lurid comic books, sailor tattoos, Tex Avery cartoons, and Polynesian pop -- it's only natural that I find the art they create to be appealing as well. A lot of people despise lowbrow, which makes me like it all the more. When New York Times art critic Grace Glueck called Mark Ryden a "relentless kitsch-meister," I began appreciating Ryden's work all the more, just as I'm sure admirers of abstract expressionism become even more fond of Cy Twombly's multi-million dollar masterpieces whenever uncultured hicks like me make fun of them. Read the rest

UV-glowing skulls stamped onto thousands of pounds' worth of UK bank-notes

Shardcore sez, "For the last two years I've been stamping UV skulls on the Queen's face on all the money that I get out of the ATM. There's now thousands of pounds worth floating around the UK economy, visible only to bees and humans with a blacklight. Given the events in the world's economy over the last couple of years, it seems all the more (im)pertinent."

UK shopkeepers often keep a UV light by the till to check notes to ensure they're not counterfeit.

Money Previously:Hilarious money doodles - Boing Boing Art students on the future of money - Boing Boing Deduct your Ponzi scheme losses - Boing Boing Currency origami -- strange bodies and familiar faces - Boing Boing Tokyo nabe issues Astro Boy currency - Boing Boing When US currency was a showcase for art: 1876 - Boing Boing Tiny rubber stamp removes "God" from US Currency - Boing Boing Boing Boing: Lileks examines currency Christopher Wilde: currency collages - Boing Boing Cash graffiti Boing Boing Read the rest

Schneier: CCTVs don't make us safer

Bruce Schneier has written an outstanding essay for CNN on why sticking CCTV cameras on every corner doesn't make us safer, and can make us less safe by opening us up to abuse, and by causing police resources to be misallocated. This is required reading for the twenty-first century. Bruce points out that where there's a specific threat in a specific place -- casinos worried about cheats, shops worried about shoplifters, parking garages worried about skulking muggers -- CCTVs have some use. But as a catch-all solution to crime, they just don't work well enough to justify their expense in resources and liberty.
Pervasive security cameras don't substantially reduce crime. This fact has been demonstrated repeatedly: in San Francisco, California, public housing; in a New York apartment complex; in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; in Washington; in study after study in both the U.S. and the U.K. Nor are they instrumental in solving many crimes after the fact.

There are exceptions, of course, and proponents of cameras can always cherry-pick examples to bolster their argument. These success stories are what convince us; our brains are wired to respond more strongly to anecdotes than to data. But the data are clear: CCTV cameras have minimal value in the fight against crime.

Although it's comforting to imagine vigilant police monitoring every camera, the truth is very different, for a variety of reasons: technological limitations of cameras, organizational limitations of police and the adaptive abilities of criminals. No one looks at most CCTV footage until well after a crime is committed.

Read the rest

Bruce Sterling explains "atemporality for artists"

Here's Bruce Sterling's speech at Transmediale, a talk on "atemporality for the creative artist," which explains what the net and technology have done to the idea of the history and the future. It's chunky stuff, exciting, and weird:

Now let me tell you how the atemporal Richard Feynman approaches this. The atemporal Richard Feynman is not very paper-friendly, because he lives in a network culture. So it occurs to the atemporal Feynman that he may, or may not, have a problem.

'Step one - write problem in a search engine, see if somebody else has solved it already. Step two - write problem in my blog; study the commentory cross-linked to other guys. Step three - write my problem in Twitter in a hundred and forty characters. See if I can get it that small. See if it gets retweeted. Step four - open source the problem; supply some instructables to get me as far as I've been able to get, see if the community takes it any further. Step five - start a Ning social network about my problem, name the network after my problem, see if anybody accumulates around my problem. Step six - make a video of my problem. Youtube my video, see if it spreads virally, see if any media convergence accumulates around my problem. Step seven - create a design fiction that pretends that my problem has already been solved. Create some gadget or application or product that has some relevance to my problem and see if anybody builds it.

Read the rest

Australia's chief censor redacts official website to downplay his role in censorship

Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy -- who has been responsible for pushing through Australia's national Internet censorship program -- has been caught censoring his own website: the script that creates a tag cloud of topics covered on his site had been modified to ignore any references to his censorship initiatives. This means that visitors to his site would not have an easy means of reading the Minister's statements in support of censorship, and anyone who relied on the tag-cloud to understand the Minister's agenda would have no way of knowing he'd been involved in the censorship initiative.
It was revealed today a script within the minister's homepage deliberately removes references to internet filtering from the list.

In the function that creates the list, or "tag cloud", there is a condition that if the words "ISP filtering" appear they should be skipped and not displayed.

The discovery is unlikely to do any favours for Senator Conroy's web filtering policy, which has been criticised for its secrecy.

Conroy's website removes references to filter (via /.) Previously:Australian censorship law collapses under public disapprobation ... Australian minister of net-censorship gives TV network $250M after ... Australian censor board demands large-breasted porn-stars Boing Boing Boing Boing: Australia's proposed 'net censorship scheme: the ... Great Firewall of Australia will nationally block sites appearing ... Read the rest

Pentagon fesses up to 800 pages' worth of potentially illegal spying, including peace groups and Planned Parenthood

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has forced the Pentagon to release over 800 pages of classified material documenting "possibly illegal" spying during the Bush administration. The heavily redacted documents include details of a spying program against Planned Parenthood and white supremacist groups in the runup to the Atlanta Olympics, as well as spying on Alaskans for Peace and Justice, an anti-recruiting group, civilian cell phone conversations, and other breaches of spying laws.

The rubric of spying is that it needs to take place to stop people who are acting illegally or may act illegally. When spies break the law, they commit the infraction that they claim to have dedicated themselves to preventing.

Pertaining to the Planned Parenthood members, for example, the oversight report provides no explanation about how the information was collected. Nor does it indicate why the information was collected and notes only that military intelligence is not allowed to collect and disseminate information on U.S. persons unless the information constitutes "foreign intelligence." The report indicates that the collection was therefore "clearly outside the purview of military intelligence" and should have been handled by law enforcement.

Another oversight document discusses an incident involving the interception of civilian cellphone conversations of U.S. persons in April 2007. During a field exercise at Fort Polk, Louisiana, a Signals Intelligence noncommissioned officer operating a SIGINT collection system intercepted the cell phone calls, though the document doesn't indicate if they were intercepted on U.S. soil or outside U.S. borders.

Initial reports indicated that the officer listened to the conversations for entertainment purposes, and the incident was reported to the National Security Agency.

Read the rest

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