"Aaron Swartz was brilliant and beloved. But the people who knew him best saw a darker side." A masterful profile of the late activist, through the testimony of many who loved him, written by Larissa MacFarquhar for The New Yorker. — Xeni
Every so often, our cameras on Cassini digitally record, either intentionally or incidentally, other celestial bodies besides those found around Saturn. The Cassini Imaging Team is releasing a pair of images that did just that. Venus, a lovely shining beacon of light and Earth's `twin' planet, was recently sighted amidst the glories of Saturn and its rings.
Adam sez, "The Public Domain Review is a not-for-profit project dedicated to showcasing the most interesting and unusual out-of-copyright works available online.
We've been featured on Boing Boing before.
We have just launched our fundraising campaign to try and keep the project alive."
I just floated back to the mainland after three wonderful weeks working and experiencing new things in Hawaii. While I was there, I ran into Boing Boing pal Kaki King (web, amazon, twitter), who very kindly agreed to sit down with us for the taping of Boing Boing's next edition of our in-flight Virgin America channel (it's channel 10 on their planes, and if you haven't watched it before, I guarantee you'll love it). She played a live session for Boing Boing, and talked with us about the new record. I can't wait for all of our readers, all of her fans, and all of Virgin America's passengers to get turned on to the wonderful music she played for us on a sunny, breezy day on the island of Oahu.
Kaki's most recent album "Glow" came out in late 2012 when I was still right in the middle of cancer treatment, and I wasn't really keeping up with new musical releases. But I listened to it last week with her in a new mutual friend's home on Oahu, on a rainy, windy island winter day. And man, I was totally smitten. It's a masterpiece of layered, melodic guitar, with accompaniment by the Ethel string quartet. It's her best work ever.
MakieLab, the 3D-printed toy company my wife Alice founded, has just shipped its first tablet-based doll-builder: the Makies Doll Factory!
We think designing Makies with fingers feels really cool, like proper making. And, we've revamped the pricing for real-life Makies, so you can order only the hair, accessories and clothes you want with your doll - which makes most Makies a bit cheaper too! App users get this first (we re-jigged the shop along with the app, to make this possible), and we'll be rolling it out to www.makie.me later this week.
On Naked Capitalism, The Unknown Transcriber has transcribed the full text of Lawrence Lessig's Aaron's Law talk, which was one of Larry's finest moments.
So Aaron was a hacker. But he was not just a hacker. He was an Internet activist, but not just an Internet activist. Indeed, the most important part of Aaron’s life is the part most run over too quickly – the last chunk, when he shifted his focus from this effort to advance freedom in the space of copyright, to an effort to advance freedom and social justice more generally.
And I shared this shift with him. In June of 2007 I too announced I was giving up my work on Internet and copyright to work in this area of corruption. And I’m not sure when for him this change made sense, but I’m fairly sure when it made sense for me. Happened in 2006. Aaron had come to a conference, the C3 conference, the 23rd C3 conference in Berlin, and I was with my family at the American Academy in Berlin and Aaron came to visit me. And we had a long conversation, and in the course of that conversation Aaron said to me, how are you ever going to make progress in the areas that I was working on, copyright reform, Internet regulation reform, so long as there is, as he put it, this, quote, “corruption” in the political field. I tried to deflect him a bit. I said, “Look, that’s not my field.” Not my field. And he said, “I get it. As an academic, you mean?” And I said, “Yes, as an academic, that’s not my field.” And he said, “And as a citizen, is it your field?” As a citizen is it your field?
And this was his power. Amazing, unpatented power. Like the very best teachers, he taught by asking. Like the most effective leaders, his questions were on a path, his path. They coerced you, if you wanted to be as he was. They forced you to think of who you were and what you believed in and decide, were you to be the person you thought you were? So when people refer to me as Aaron Swartz’s mentor, they have it exactly backwards. Aaron was my mentor. He taught me, he pushed me, he led me. He led me to where I work today.
Our children spend their days being passively instructed, and made to sit still and take tests -- often against their will. We call this imprisonment schooling, yet wonder why kids become bored and misbehave. Even outside of school children today seldom play and explore without adult supervision, and are afforded few opportunities to control their own lives. The result: anxious, unfocused children who see schooling—and life—as a series of hoops to struggle through.
In Free to Learn, developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that our children, if free to pursue their own interests through play, will not only learn all they need to know, but will do so with energy and passion. Children come into this world burning to learn, equipped with the curiosity, playfulness, and sociability to direct their own education. Yet we have squelched such instincts in a school model originally developed to indoctrinate, not to promote intellectual growth.
Elix sez, "Tailly is the invention of Shota Ishiwatari, the Japanese maker/inventor that designed and built the prototypes for the emotion-displaying Necomimi cat ears by NeuroSky. He's invented a tail that monitors your heart rate and reacts accordingly: A slow, lazy swish when you're relaxed, a brisk wag when you're excited, and so on. The goal is to deliver the goods (if successful) in September. It's down to the last three days, and it's struggling. It's only raised about 30% of its goal, and it could use some happy mutant help. The actual cost for the initial production run is $100,000, but Ishiwatari has negotiated a deal with a trading company to get them to kick in half if he can crowdfund the other half. This is a Kickstarter-style fixed funding campaign, so if he doesn't make the goal, he gets nothing at all."
Tailly is not just a toy, nor is it a fashion accessory or a gadget. It is those three items combined, and, since it reacts to the heart beat rate, an extension of the users’ body. Tailly is fun to wear to parties, while out with friends or playing with kids. You could even wear Tailly on a date and express your true feelings through the wagging tail. Even better, your partner could also wear one for the both of you to add a level of subconscious communication between the two of you.
Wow. Four days without internet. That's been interesting!
We've had quite an adventure thus far. Saturday AM we met 9 other Vanagons and headed south. It is an amazing group of people and we've fallen for everyone. It is an incredible melange of VW camper van enthusiasts.
We spent our first night 16km south of San Quentin. We then made our way to Bahia de Los Angeles for 2 nights. From our campsite at La Gringa I dug for clams, caught a striped bass from a kayak and spent a few hours trying to fix my now destroyed awning (an old Dometic A&E that was beautifully color matched to Serendipity but alas, is no more.)
Today we drove to San Ignacio. Tomorrow we see whales. I wish I had more time to write. Perhaps this evening, but we're being rushed off to the campsite from here in town square. The church is lovely.
A small sensor detects when someone sits and decrements a counter. Every time someone sits up, the chair knocks a number of time to signal how many uses are left. When reaching zero, the self-destruct system is turned on and the structural joints of the chair are melted.
Snippet from a Connecticut State Appropriations Committee hearing about a program to help students overcome shyness:
17-year-old-girl: "I am usually a very shy person, and now I am more outgoing. I was able to teach those children about certain things like snakes that we have and the turtles that we have... I want to do something toward that, working with children when I get older."
Students at Monument Mountain Regional High School in Massachusetts created their own school for a semester. "What did it look like? No quizzes. No tests. No grades. Students created their own learning materials and taught themselves and each other."
"Lawmakers from Northern Ireland formally appealed Tuesday for the South Korean carmaker to junk the name of its planned super-mini sports coupe because "Provo" is the nickname for the dominant branch of the outlawed Irish Republican Army, the Provisional IRA."
Looks great in orange. Can't wait to check out the Toyota Blackentan and Hyundai Sectarian at next year's Detroit Auto Show.