My wife Alice quit her job a year ago to found Makies with some friends in London and Helsinki. Makies is a 3D printing startup. The company's mission is to create toys and dolls from "playful" digital environments (games, social systems, stuff like that). Essentially, the idea is that you create digital people, along with their clothes and accessories, and play with them online, and at the press of a button, you can order these things as physical objects that get custom produced by a local supplier and shipped straight to you. The idea is to build a business that inspires makers, hackers and crafters -- for example, the dolls' heads are designed to take an Arduino Lilypad, should you have such a notion.
After a lot of experimentation and design iteration, they've gotten to the point where they can reliably produce and ship 10-inch custom action dolls using suppliers here in London, and they want to alpha test it against the real world, so they're selling 100 of these dolls to see how the whole thing works. There are just a few left now -- Alice didn't want me to blog this until all the people who'd signed up for the mailing list and all the friends and family had had a crack at the inventory. You can also play with the doll creator without buying the actual doll. They've learned a ton in a just a few days, and they're looking for more of your feedback.
Abzde set a slinky upon an inclined treadmill and the brave spring proceeded to slink its way down that machine for 3 heart-pounding minutes and 20 unbeatable seconds. Watch as the slinky moves from side to side, nearly -- but not quite -- going over the edge time and again, tempting fate and laughing at danger with its brave non-hands planted upon its heroic non-hips. Oh, slinky.
"Three huts and a house were flattened last Sunday, while people are occasionally being pelted with stones by unseen things, believed to be goblins at a Chisumbanje homestead in Chipinge South where mysterious occurrences are haunting the Sithole Family," reports The Zimdiaspora. (via Fortean Times)
Miss Cakehead sends us these "Incredible and gross chicken feet cake pops created for the Evil Cake Shop by Miss Insomnia Tulip."
The feet are made from vanilla & raspberry cake, triple dipped in white chocolate with the pop hand painted to resemble a boiled chicken foot; the chicken dipping sauce pop (top) covered with coloured piping gel; the battered chicken foot pop is covered with the dipping sauce and crushed citrus sprinkles to resemble batter. Ruddy amazing Yorkshire based baking talent and a really innovative cake pop design to boot.
Etsy seller FaustX2 made this Star Wars fig display table out of printing-press trays and other salvage items, topped with tempered glass.
This mixed media custom coffee table was made from reworked vintage printing press trays and a pair of vintage steel dock pallets. The interior display area is populated with a broad survey of Storm Troopers, Clone Troopers and other Imperial officers and droids from the various eras of Star Wars mythology. The pallets have been left rusted and all woodwork has been kept rough in keeping with the industrial style of the piece and are bound together with black steel wire. For a more modern look the pallets/base could be ground to a shiny steel finish depending on environment. The table top is 3/8" thick tempered glass and can be easily removed to rearrange the display area below. The table is very heavy (close to 100lbs) due to the steel pallets but felt sliders have been mounted on the bottom for easy movement on hard floors. Shipping is at cost in North America via Fedex ($500 due to weight and size).
DeviantArt's Ashleyisthebomb shows off a Starburst chewies castle whose individual bricks were melted together with a glue-less hot glue gun: "because there was no glue or anything, it was completely edible. My family and I had fun eating it until we got sick of starbursts, then i threw it out.
It took FOREVER and ended up weighing about 60 pounds."
at the japan premium beef storefront, chicago-based design studio ODL (object design league) have created a meat-themed
installation of their 'balloon factory', with balloons that take the form of sausages and steak cuts. the installation was curated
by sight unseen as part of the NoHo design district during new york design week.
'balloon factory' was originally designed in 2011 as a performative assembly line (covered by designboom here).
the ODL team creates their own balloon formers, which are primed with soap before being dipped into latex.
the thin coat of rubber that adheres to the surface becomes the actual balloon. while it is still wet, latex colours
can be mixed or the balloon can be hand-painted to achieve various visual effects. once dry the rubber is leached
and vulcanized to be strengthened for inflating. in all, each balloon takes about three hours to produce.
Here's a story that combines two favorite bits of volcano news into one interesting discovery. You know those great, freaky photos of volcanic lightning? (In case you don't, I've got one posted above.) Remember how the Icelandic volcanic eruptions totally screwed up everybody's airplane travel plans?
Apparently, studying volcanic lightning could lead to better eruption detection systems that could make it easier to predict how big a plume of ash off that volcano will be—knowledge that can help airlines and travelers be better prepared. At Nature, Richard Monastersky reports:
The researchers found that the amount of lightning correlated with the height of the plume, something they could not test using more limited data collected during an eruption at Alaska’s Mount St Augustine in 2006. This observation is important, says Behnke, because systems to monitor lightning could provide an estimate for the size of an eruption, which is not always easy to assess for remote volcanoes.
During a previous eruption at Mount Redoubt in 1989 and 1990, for example, the size of the plume wasn’t known and a plane nearly crashed after passing through the ash cloud and temporarily losing all power from its engines. Behnke and her colleagues suggest that VHF stations similar to the ones they installed at Mount Redoubt could be used to monitor volcanoes to give early warning of an eruption and an estimate of its size.
Seventy-one feet above the Harvard Forest, you can stand on a plywood platform attached to a slightly swaying tower of metal scaffolding, and look out over miles of hemlock groves. On the ground, the trees are massive—trunks reaching up and up and up. From the top of the tower, though, the view feels a bit like hanging out in a Christmas Tree farm. All you see are the friendly, conical tops.
The Hemlock Eddy Flux Tower is one of four research towers in the Harvard Forest. Since 2001, data collection systems on the top of this tower have measured carbon dioxide, water vapor, and wind currents. These measurements are made five times every second.
Thanks to this system, we now know that even a relatively old forest like this can still capture and store a decent amount of carbon dioxide. The hemlocks around the tower are pushing 230. That's not terribly old by tree standards, but it's old for this part of North America—most of which was once clear cut. It's also old enough to challenge some previously held conventional wisdom about what kinds of forests are best for carbon sequestration. Previously, scientists thought only young forests, where the trees were still growing rapidly, did that job very well. Sites like the Hemlock Tower have shown a different story.
Also: It's rather terrifying to climb. The tower lives, it is not stationary. A network of steel cables keep it from toppling over, but you can still feel it tilting one way and then the other underneath you. And, at every landing on the stairs, there's a precarious little gap you have to step over. I took my camera with me in one hand as I made the ascent. About partway up, the filming quality takes a notable turn for the worse as I found myself clinging a bit more tightly to the hand rails. How's that for an awesome tool of science?
Mozilla's new Webmaker project is a global initiative to "move people from using the Web to making the Web." They're running a series of events, including an upcoming Summer Code Party with interactive and recorded sessions on making stuff (I'll be doing one of these). That's just one piece; Seth Rosenblatt has more on CNet:
Mozilla gains some heightened visibility from the campaign by encouraging people who participate to use authoring tools that it has created, such as Popcorn and Hackasaurus, to do everything from site template tweaks to full-on app building. While the initiative stands to raise the visibility and importance of coding among the general public from a well-known non-profit already established in the field, it also comes just as the company plans to begin unveiling massive challenges to nearly every major player on the Web today with its Boot to Gecko phones, Persona login system, and Mozilla Marketplace for Web apps.
Mozilla also announced today the winners of a contest it held called Firefox Flicks, a crowd-sourced filmmaking contest that asked participants to "tell the story of
Firefox." Six films were chosen as finalists and shown at Cannes this past weekend out of 400 submissions.
Neither I nor Dean Putney—BoingBoing's intrepid web developer—live in New York City. But we realized recently that we're both going to be visiting at the same time. So we're planning on meeting up for a little, informal Memorial Day picnic in Prospect Park, and we'd like you to join us. We'll be meeting up on Monday, May 28th, at 3:00 pm in front of the Brooklyn Museum. Bring whatever you want to eat and, if you so choose, a nifty object or DIY project for show-and-tell. Hope to see you there! — Maggie
Courts around the world have instituted censorship regimes that require ISPs to block the Pirate Bay. In response, TPB has added a new IP address (22.214.171.124) by which it can be reached. It also has a new design that is especially friendly to proxies who wish to provide local, unblocked access. TorrentFreak explains:
In most countries where The Pirate Bay is blocked it’s done by a domain and IP-address filter. But, since TPB added a new IP-address at 126.96.36.199, blocked subscribers can access the site again without problems. At least for now that is, since in some cases the copyright holders have the power to add new domains and addresses upon request.
The Pirate Bay team is no stranger to this. However, circumventing the blockades directly is not the main reason the IP-address was added. Regular users of TPB will notice that the site hosted on the new address is slightly different from the standard site.
The Pirate Bay team told TorrentFreak that the new site is setup to guarantee maximum compatibility with the many proxy sites that are out there.
“It is made so the people who setup proxies can use the new IP-address instead of coming up with complicated rewrites for static content and stuff. Instead of pointing their proxies to thepiratebay.se they should point it to that IP-address,” we were told.
Visitors to the ITP spring show were greeted by a sign designed by Trent Rohner
As a graduate student at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, I’m constantly surrounded with astounding creativity from my fellow students, who come from a wide array of disciplines. I’m working among musicians, architects, archeologists, lawyers, designers, physicists, and much more. Our commonality is that we all want to use technology in creative ways.
Twice a year, ITP opens its doors to the public for a gallery-style showing of the best student work from the semester. It’s a chance for non-ITP’ers to get a small taste of our flavor of creativity and a feeling for what we’re all about. The ITP Spring Show wrapped last week and was a huge success. Before the show opened, I ran around the floor and took photos of a few projects that give a good idea of what the program is about.
I’m sure a rocking chair is not what you’d expect to see from a technology program. But Chairish, Annelie Berner’s rocking chair for two is the work product for a class called Design for Digital Fabrication. Using CAD software, Annelie went through many design and prototyping iterations. Eventually, she cut the design out of plywood with a computer-controlled (CNC) router. The pieces are held together with threaded rod and nuts to make a chair for sharing.