Tetrisoid slot sofa

Designer Matthew Pauk's "Slot Sofa" is pure doctrovian catnip -- a marvel of kentucky. Basically, I want to live in a Pullman car.

Slot is a dynamic furniture piece. The sofa system finds new value and diverse functionality by blending the sofa, coffee table, and ottoman. It utilizes the common constructional gaps found between the cushions of the sofa by converting them into tracks for which the table can slide in and out. When slotted, the table acts as a console. When freed, it acts as a coffee table. The magnetically retained sofa cushions always find and keep their optimal position either atop the table for an ottoman or below for a coffee table. Slot features traditional construction with textile upholstery and finished bent plywood.

Slot Sofa (via OhGizmo)

Impact of Manning case on media: "Death to Whistleblowers?"

"If successful, the prosecution will establish a chilling precedent: national security leaks may subject the leakers to a capital prosecution or at least life imprisonment. Anyone who holds freedom of the press dear should shudder at the threat that the prosecution’s theory presents to journalists, their sources and the public that relies on them." Floyd Abrams and Yochai Benkler, in a NYT op-ed published today.

New moon

"C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS and new moon," a photo by Rob Pfile shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool. "Stack of 14 images, 1/10s @ ISO1600 and f/4. canon 200 f/2.8L and canon 60D," Rob explains. "Got lucky with a break in the clouds. alignment with FFTAlignment script. workin' miracles again."

Song about Torontonians' dismal obsession with Canada Goose parkas

Torontonians are actually pretty well-dressed, but not in winter. In winter, everyone wears awful, identical Canada Goose parkas. This has made John R. so mentally distressed that he's actually made a rap video about the dismal state of affairs, with a video illustrating the problem:

Everyone in T-Dot wears the same damn coat
Is it cheap? Nope!
800 bucks, it’s Canuck
Goose Goose Goose Goose Goose Goose Duck
It’s a shopping spree
on the TTC
newscasters on TV
Why you asking me
if this coat was free?
I need it for extreme conditions in my SUV
Heat only goes to 3
This setting takes forever to warm my knees.

Everyone in Toronto Wears the Same Damn Coat

Cord-cutting wisdom from Nielsen to TV execs

"Oh, don't worry about those people who have found something better and who are dropping your service in six figure chunks each quarter. We'll just observe them and be ready to act later." -Mike Masnick Cory

Why are we curious?

Another great ramble from the always-fascinating Venkatesh Rao entitled "The Dead-Curious Cat and the Joyless Immortal," considers several explanations for our species' curiosity, and asks whether our weird, ubiquitous artificial life-forms (corporations) share this trait, and why:

Alone among the curious animals (though this seems like a conceit that more research might invalidate), we seem to be curious about clearly useless things. Or at least, things that have no obvious and immediate use. Humans seem to frequently poke at things that yield returns, if at all, only generations later. And often in ways unsuspected by those who do the poking.

We stare at the stars, we peer through microscopes, we climb mountains and we dive to the ocean floor.

This behavior, so natural to humans, is incomprehensible to human organizations. So things like space programs or other pure curiosity driven efforts have to be justified by politicians on the basis of “will improve life here on earth through the discovery of new materials and advances in medicine.” This is probably the mother of all idiotic fictions. Fortunately, we don’t seem to require our institutional fictions to be credible. Merely sufficient to stop conversations we don’t want to have.

There is an interesting symmetry here. Organizations naturally try to avoid pain — the pain of business model obsolescence or national decline for instance – through institutionalized “curiosity.” They find joy-seeking unnatural and in need of justification (hence the paradoxical notions of “efficient” innovation with high “yield” or “impact” and the relentless war on waste).

This has even been turned into a depressingly banal formula for innovation: what pain are you seeking to relieve?

For humans the reverse is true. Curiosity driven by pain-aversion is unnatural, but curiosity driven by joy-seeking is natural and requires no further explanation. Efficiency is the last thing on our minds when we are being curious. The concept does not even apply: efficiency pre-supposes a goal. Waste is pain in the efficient pursuit of goals.

The Dead-Curious Cat and the Joyless Immortal

In case you missed: Bradley Manning has a voice

The Freedom of the Press Foundation (of which I'm a board member) this week released surreptitiously recorded audio leaked from the Bradley Manning military pre-court martial hearing at Fort Meade. For the first time, you can now hear Manning's statement in his own voice. I do not know who recorded it or leaked it, but I do know that it is significant. If you haven't listened, you should, no matter whether you believe what Manning did was right or wrong.

In a statement responding to the leaked audio, the US Army said, "The US Army Military District of Washington has notified the military judge presiding over the United States vs. Pfc Bradley Manning court-martial that there was a violation of the Rules for Court. The US Army is currently reviewing the procedures set in place to safeguard the security and integrity of the legal proceedings, and ensure Pfc Manning receives a fair and impartial trial."

tl;dr: To ensure justice, we must keep the trial secret.

Read the rest

Arming Sisters: a crowdfunded campaign to teach indigenous women self-defense skills

Arming Sisters is described as a "crowdfunded project on a mission to bring compact self-defense courses" to indigenous women, "arming them to fight back."

Here in the US and Canada, native females are targeted with sexual violence at a far greater percentage than the rest of the population. One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime.

More about the project at armingsisters.com, and follow its founder Patricia Stein on Twitter: @PygmySioux. There's a CBC article here about her self-defense training, and her work in Egypt with Tahrir Bodyguard [Twitter, Facebook], a group that organized to keep female protesters in Tahrir Square safer from sexual political attacks.

(HT: @somebadideas)

Daniel Kraus's horror masterpiece Scowler audiobook

Yesterday, I reviewed Daniel Kraus's spectacular and terrifying horror novel Scowler. It turns out that Random House Audio has produced an audiobook version read by Kirby Heyborne (who also reads the audio edition of Little Brother), and they sell it as a DRM-free CDs direct from their site (a welcome alternative to Audible/iTunes, which requires DRM for audiobooks even when the publisher and writer object).

Read the rest

Obama intel chief's memo outlines new steps to deter leaks, including beefing up lie detector questionnaires

Jason Leopold at Truthout: "A memo sent to more than a dozen government agencies by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says a question added to lie detector tests will help deter leaks to the media." Yep. That'll do it.

Bellagio offers all-you-can-eat caviar

The Las Vegas all-you-can-eat buffet arms-race has gone thermonuclear: for $37.99, the Bellagio will give you access to its all-you-can-eat caviar buffet, offering "the world’s finest caviars Ikura and Tobiko."

Although buffets are all you can eat, the chefs recommend that customers take the caviar in small bites. To help novices, the chefs serve an appropriate amount on blinis and mini-waffles with traditional accompaniments such as chopped egg, red onions, chives or creme fraiche.

"We do have some people who come up with a bowl and want us to fill it up," Ortiz said. "But we like to respect the integrity of the dish."

Bellagio introduces all-you-can-eat caviar for $37.99 [Ron Sylvester/Las Vegas Sun]

(via Super Punch)

(Image: downsized, cropped thumbnail from a larger photo by Ron Sylvester)

Ryan Heshka's Teenage Machine Age art exhibition

Here's a look at artist Ryan Heshka's latest exhibition, which opened in Milan on March 7.

“Teenage Machine Age”, Ryan Heshka’s second solo show at Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea (Milan, Italy), picks up where last year's show (”OURS”) left off.

Expanding both the size of the pieces and mediums used, Heshka continues his exploration of dreamy scenes and hazy fictional memories, mixing in vague hints of universal themes. The use and abuse of technology; humankind’s mad race to outdistance boredom; the interweaving of the designed versus natural environment; commercialism gone mad… all find their way into primary-colored paintings.

Read the rest

The other other pope

Not happy with the election of Pope Francis (who looks either like Grumpy Cat or a Muppet, depending on the photo)? Then, perhaps, you can throw in your lot with Pope Michael I, who has ruled an offshoot, unofficial branch of the Catholic Church (which may, or may not, consist mostly of himself and his mother) from his living room in Delia, Kansas since 1990.

New pope is a grumpy cat


The new pope has been chosen. Image above from Jonathan Koshi.

MD used "silicone fingers" to trick biometric time clock on colleagues' behalf

NewImageBrazilian doctor Thaune Nunes Ferreira, 29, was arrested for fraud for allegedly covering up her colleagues' absence from work by using prosthetic fingers to sign them in on a biometric time clock at the hospital near Sao Paulo. According to the BBC, "police said she had six silicone fingers with her at the time of her arrest, three of which have already been identified as bearing the fingerprints of co-workers." Ferreira's attorney claims "she was forced into the fraud as she faced losing her job." (BBC News)