Snip from an essay at Edge.org
by Kevin Kelly
The main question that I'm asking myself is, what is the meaning of technology in our lives? What place does technology have in the universe? What place does it have in the human condition? And what place should it play in my own personal life? Technology as a whole system, or what I call the technium, seems to be a dominant force in the culture. Indeed at times it seems to be the only force - the only lasting force - in culture. If that's so, then what can we expect from this force, what governs it? Sadly we don't even have a good theory about technology.
I'm trying to investigate ways to understand the long-term consequences of technology in the world and place it into some position along with other grand things like biological nature, big history, the physics of the cosmos, and the future. It's a very ambitious project and, surprisingly, there isn't really much thinking about technology in terms of its sphere of influence in a way that might be useful to thinking about how to evaluate what we make.
to full text of essay.
Kevin Kelly is Senior Maverick at Wired magazine and author of books including New Rules for the New Economy, and Out of Control. He is currently editor and publisher of the Cool Tools, True Film, and Street Use websites. (thanks, John Brockman) Read the rest
From the Associated Press:
Exposure to methane gas led to the deaths of four family members and a farmhand, but whether they suffocated from the fumes or drowned in 18 inches of liquefied cow manure may never be known, authorities said.
Link Read the rest
This is a great idea. These folks bought fast food items and photographed them, then placed the photos side-by-side with the photos in ads for the same product. Shown here: KFC Famous Bowl
Each item was purchased, taken home, and photographed immediately. Nothing
was tampered with, run over by a car, or anything of the sort. It is an accurate
representation in every case. Shiny, neon-orange, liquefied pump-cheese, and all.
Link (Thanks, Stephen!)
I worked (briefly) in the photogoraphy studio of one of the biggest ad agencies in NYC. They paid a professional "food stylist" around $2000 a day to make the food look like that. Every golden sesame seed or drop of crystaline dew was hand placed. That maoynaise isn't mayo, it's hair gel and that chicken looks so good because aparently everything looks yummier when it's been sprayed with laquer. A lot of that "food" isn't food at all and the stuff that is food has been treated with more chemicals and "tricks of the trade" than most super models. Read the rest
My friend Kevin Kelly, a co-founding editor of Wired
and author of several excellent books, including Out of Control
and Asia Grace
, is a documentary movie junkie. True Films, his 56-page PDF book, reviews 100 of his favorite documentaries.
(Click on thumbnails for enlargement)"True Films" contains the best 100 documentaries I've reviewed on True Films as of December, 2004. I winnowed some from the larger list, and came up with an alphabetical collection of 100 documentaries I feel are worth your time. Most people will enjoy the majority included. There's been one private film club launched around this list.
What you get for your $3: a downloadable PDF file of a color version of the book (which was printed in B&W).
Buy for $3
| Other items for sale at the Boing Boing Digital Emporium Read the rest
This is smart: recycle a bathtub into an outdoor armchair by slicing it in half and bolting the halves together, or do the same thing but lengthwise to make a weatherproof sofa.
Update: Here's an alternative design from last year's Goldsmith's College Degree Show -- thanks, Isotonic!
Read the rest
Researchers from Ohio State University have shown that the fermented, liquefied feed extracted from a cow's stomach can produce about 600 millivolts. The juice comes from the rumen, the biggest portion of a cow's stomach. Unlike converting methane from cow shit into electricity, a method that requires expensive gear, this method generates electricity as the microorganisms in rumen fluid break down the complex carbohydrates in roughage. From a press release:
While rumen fluid itself won't be used as an energy source, some of the microorganisms found in the fluid are also found in cow dung, which may prove to be a good source for generating electricity. In fact, in a related experiment, the researchers used cow manure directly to create energy for a fuel cell...
This study represents the first time that scientists have used cellulose to help charge a fuel cell....
(The) output reached a consistent maximum of 0.58 volts. After about four days, the voltage fell to around 0.2 volts, at which time the researchers added fresh cellulose to bring the voltage back up to a higher level.
“While that's a very small amount of voltage, the results show that it is possible to create electricity from cow waste,” (bioengineerin Ann) Christy said.
UPDATE: BB reader Kevin Deganhart
writes, "When I read this it reminded me of something that my farmer dad told me the other day. An ethanol plant is being built in Yuma Colorado that uses cow manure to fuel the plant's processes."Link Read the rest
The Universe Within is an exhibit of plastinated corpses currently on display at San Francisco's Masonic Center. It's basically a knock-off of plastination pioneer Gunther von Hagens
' Bodyworlds show
. Apparently though, the people who plastinated these bodies didn't have von Hagens's chops. The bodies are leaking. City officials are investigating and may shut down the exhibit. From ABC7 News:
The I-Team spotted moisture beading up across faces, dripping inside chest cavities, and pooling beneath feet. Plastination experts tell us, it's evidence of a rush job.
Bob Henry, Int'l Society for Plastination: "It appears to be a classic example of someone not understanding the process and not realizing that it literally takes months to prepare a nice specimen."
The I-Team took samples from the bodies and sent them to a lab. It's silicone from the plastination process and liquefied human fat. The bodies were not degreased properly before they were filled with plastic. Link
There's also question about how the organizers acquired the bodies:
The Masonic's executive director and the show's promoter claim they were able to bring the bodies from China with the help of Peking University and Professor EnHua Yu. The promoter, Gerhard Perner, says he pays rent to the Masonic, keeps 15-percent of the show's profits for himself, and sends the rest back to China.
ABC7's Dan Noyes: "Do the profits go to Dr. Yu personally or to the university?"
Gerhard Perner: "To the university."
But university officials say all that's not true. They had no role in acquiring the bodies, they're receiving no money. Read the rest
Kevin Kelly reviews GotLogos.com
, an outfit that designs take-it-or-leave-it logos for $25.
Link Read the rest
I bought one $25 logo for my emerging True Films website. Its style (identical to Cool Tools) is pretty minimal, an approach which is actually hard to design for. Here is the logo they sent me via email a a few days later.
I paid $10 for a revision, requesting even more simplicity, and a few hours later they provided this.
You can now buy Kevin Kelly's excellent True Films book as a PDF file for $3 via PayPal.
What it is: True Films contains the best 100 documenatries I've reviewed in True Films as of December, 2004. (There may be additional films reviewed in 2005 posted here but they will not be included until version 2.0.) I winnowed some from this list, and came up with an alphabetical collection of 100 documentaries I feel are worth your time. Most people will enjoy the majority listed. There's been one private film club launched around this booklet. Link Read the rest