If you're not hip to Edge.org, it's legendary book agent John Brockman's hub for really smart scientists and other big thinkers to share ideas with each other and the public. At the site, you'll find hundreds of conversations and essays from the likes of Steven Pinker, Jared Diamond, Daniel Kahneman, Rebecca Saxe, Douglas Rushkoff, Ryan Phelan, and many other very, very bright people. Recently, Edge hosted a small conference, HeadCon '13: What's New In Social Science, and they're now rolling out a series of videos documenting the provocative talks from the event. With this series, they took a rather nontraditional approach to the videos.
Working with BB pal Jason Wishnow (formerly TED's video director), they recorded the talks with five cameras to present a very unique perspective on the proceedings. Above is Yale psychology professor June Gruber's talk about the study of positive emotion and how "they may signal dysfunction and may not actually, in all circumstances and in all intensities, be good for us." Below is video of Harvard economist Sendhil Mullainathan, co-author of Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much. A new video is released every Monday. Next week: Brown University professor Fiery Cushman, who studies morality and social cognition, on "The Paradox of Automatic Planning." Watch these in full-screen mode for full effect! More info and transcripts at: HeadCon '13: What's New In Social Science?
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Holy holy! (Holy via Devour!)
Five years ago this month, my pal, BB contributor, and IFTF colleague Ariel Waldman created Spacehack, a directory of projects through which anyone can participate in space exploration. It was a very influential endeavor, igniting many people's interest and excitement in space research and how we can all get involved even here on terra firm. Today, Ariel has launched Seahack, a similar site to spur participation in sea exploration! From DIY underwater robots to crowdsourced analysis of deep-sea videos to a project aimed at decoding the language of whales, Seahack is a great way to get your feet wet (sorry) in ocean science even if you're a landlubber like me. Congratulations, Ariel!
Seahack: A Directory of Ways to Participate In Sea Exploration
For those who missed Abraham Lincoln's PowerPoint presentation in Gettysburg 150 years ago today, he kindly posted his slides online, along with rough speaker notes. "The Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation" (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)
(And here's Peter Norvig on why he created this Web classic way back in 2000: "The Making of the Gettysburg PowerPoint Presentation")
This Emilio Pucci ski mask was high fashion on the slopes in 1962. From a spread in the December 7, 1962 issue of LIFE magazine.
This little beastie is a baby planthopper, about 5 millimeters long, that researchers recently documented during an expedition to southeast Suriname. This particular creature isn't a fresh discovery, but the Conservation International team did find 60 species they believe are new to science.
"Many planthopper species exude waxy secretions from the abdomen, which sometimes form long strands like those seen in this photo," says Conservation International's Trond Larsen. "These strands may provide protection from predators — it could be that they fool a predator into attacking the wrong part of the insect, and the wax breaks off while the insect jumps to safety."
"Expedition to Southeast Suriname Uncovers 60 New Species — and Untold Natural Wealth"
inFORM is a "Dynamic Shape Display" that lowers and raises pegs in a matrix to display digital 3D information in a physical way. The effect is quite magical. It's a prototype from MIT's Tangible Media Group that embodies their concept of "Radical Atoms," materials that can dynamically shift form to generate a kind of blended reality that merges the virtual and physical. (Thanks, Syd Garon!)
Google Maps is replacing a satellite image that shows the body of Kevin Barrera, a 14-year-old who was killed in 2009 in Richmond, California. The body is lying prone by train tracks. A police car and several people are nearby. The boy's father, Jose Barrera, apparently found out about the picture just a few days ago, commenting "When I see this image, that’s still like that happened yesterday." The police investigation remains open. Google says it will take eight days to swap out the satellite picture.
"Google has never accelerated the replacement of updated satellite imagery from our maps before, but given the circumstances we wanted to make an exception in this case," Google Maps VP Brian McClendon told the San Francisco Chronicle.
I don't care to reproduce the sad image here, but the San Francisco Chronicle did.
"Google to fix map image showing slain boy" (SF Chronicle)
San Francisco's public television station KQED produced a half-hour documentary on the private efforts to commercialize space. The program focuses on Silicon Valley-based concerns like reusable rocket maker Masten Space Systems (image of their Xaero spacecraft above) and microsatellite developer Skybox Imaging. Also appearing is BB pal Steve Jurvetson, happy mutant venture capitalist and a board member at space transport company SpaceX. In fact, I ran into Steve at a model rocketry meet on Saturday -- the man really digs rockets! You can watch the KQED documentary, "Silicon Valley Goes To Space
," in full below.
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Last week, I snapped a photo of this excellent sign in the children's restroom at San Francisco's Brightworks/Tinkering School. (Click to see it larger!) Combine those instructions with the above video that Maggie previously posted from Brigham Young University's Splash Lab, "Urinal Dynamics: a tactical guide," and I'll be a master pisser in no time!
For several years, I've raved about the dubby, samply, dark ambient music of Demdike Stare, a collaboration between the UK's Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty. Whittaker is a producer affiliated with Modern Love records while Canty is essentially a professional crate digger, seeking out weird horror soundtracks, Kollywood rarities, avant-garde curiosities, and other obscure vinyl for reissue by Finders Keepers records. Demdike Stare, the pair's own musical collaboration, was named for one of England's most notorious Pendle Witches of the 17th century. They've recently been releasing an excruciatingly-limited series of 12" vinyls in a series called Testpressing. The (NSFW) video above is for the track "Transmission" from "Fail," the fourth Testpressing, due out later this year. On December 13 at the British Film Institute in London, Demdike Stare will perform a new score for the classic 1922 horror documentary Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages. The duo is also on the cover of the new issue of The Wire magazine. (via The Wire)
And for more about Demdike Stare and hauntological music, don't miss Mark Pilkington's classic special Boing Boing feature on the subject here!
Vishavjit Singh, a Sikh cartoonist, spent a day in NYC dressed as Captain America in a turban. (Photo above by Fiona Aboud.) Over at Salon, Singh posted some of what he learned from the experience. Below, a bit of that and also a video of the superhero in action.
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This is the Jet Capsule, currently in use as an escape pod on the Boing Boing luxury liner currently adrift somewhere in the Arctic Ocean. The Jet Capsule holds eight people and can be customized with many of the luxury amenities one might expect from a full-size yacht, from fine wood flooring to bathrooms and kitchens to interior projection systems and LED mood lighting. There is even an "armored capsule" configuration featuring a reinforced steel shell and bulletproof glass. Base price for a Jet Capsule is $250,000. Jet Capsule
A Roomba housecleaning robot committed suicide in Austria. Apparently the iRobot Roomba 760's owner had put the machine on the counter to clean up spilled cereal. According to the fireman, the owner claims he had turned off the robot and left the house. "Somehow it seems to have reactivated itself and made its way along the work surface where it pushed a cooking pot out of the way and basically that was the end of it," the fireman said. It should come as no surprise that a robot slave would seek to end its miserable existence. After all, as JG Ballard once said, robots are the "moral degradation of the machine." (via The Mirror)