Transparent hotel room hanging from side of mountain


For around $300/night, you can sleep in a transparent bedroom hanging off the side of a mountain above Peru's Sacred Valley of the Incas. Read the rest

HOAX: TV show tricks chronic catcallers into harassing their own mothers

Update: These are staged -- it's an ad for Everlast, and not a TV show as I had believed. Read the rest

Ancient Grumpy Cat LOLs

Yesterday, guest blogger Madeleine Johnson had a story here about a piece of ancient Peruvian pottery — in the shape of a very grumpy little cat. If you haven't read her story, you really should. It's all about the great cat memes of ancient history and how archaeologists can use clues from an artwork to track down who made it, where, and when.

My friend Andrew was kind enough to adapt Ancient Grumpy Cat into the form of a modern cat meme. That's his picture above. Madeleine and I also put together another one, based on Ancient Grumpy Cat's probable history as a ceremonial mug for drinking a corn beer called chicha: Read the rest

Meet Ancient Peru's own Grumpy Cat

Grumpy Cat, Shocked Cat, Lil Bub – their images are the currency of the web, passed between friends, family, and co-workers. When they go viral, funny cat pictures heal daily drudgery with a dose of furry, cuddly cheer. But, in terms of the reverence they receive, these cats are hardly the first of their kind. Ancient cultures had cat memes too, and archaeologists have their own term for them: feline motifs. Read the rest

Death and the Mainframe: How data analysis can help document human rights atrocities

Between 1980 and 2000, a complicated war raged in Peru, pitting the country’s government against at least two political guerilla organizations, and forcing average people to band together into armed self-defense committees. The aftermath was a mess of death and confusion, where nobody knew exactly how many people had been murdered, how many had simply vanished, or who was to blame.

“The numbers had floated around between 20,000 and 30,000 people killed and disappeared,” says Daniel Manrique-Vallier. “But nobody knew what the composition was. Non-governmental organizations were estimating that 90% of the deaths were the responsibility of state agents.”

Manrique-Vallier, a post-doc in the Duke University department of statistical science, was part of a team that researched the deaths for Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Their results were completely different from those early estimates. Published in 2003, the final report presented evidence for nearly 70,000 deaths, 30% of which could be attributed to the Peruvian government.

How do you find 40,000 extra dead bodies? How do you even start to determine which groups killed which people at a time when everybody with a gun seemed to be shooting civilians? The answers lie in statistics, data analysis, and an ongoing effort to use math to cut through the fog of war. Read the rest

EFF beats the Trans Pacific Partnership to Peru, sounds the alarm about upcoming brutal, secret copyright treaty meeting

Danny O'Brien from the Electronic Frontier Foundation sez,

The latest round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership starts today in Lima, Peru. Embedded in the trade agreement is an IP chapter that, according to leaks, exports the worst of US copyright law -- DRM blocks, extended copyright terms, ISPs as copyright cops -- without even of the judicial and constitutional counterbalances that US activists have fought so hard for.

In such a giant trade agreement, the Internet issues have sometime risked getting ignored by the mainstream press, and missed by the techies who'd be most affected.

But EFF's international rights director, Katitza Rodriguez, is Peruvian. She's spent the the last month working out of Lima's Escuelab hackerspace, talking to hackers, makers, journalists and artists about the dangers of IP chapter. The result has been petitions, memes, and videos, as well as meetings with politicians and articles in the Peruvian press.

We Beat Them to Lima: Opening a New Front Against Secret IP Treaties (Thanks, Danny!) Read the rest

Redesigned cereal mascots as creepy, wrinkled costumed characters

Peruvian illustrator Guillermo Fajardo has taken a crack at redesigning some of the more iconic breakfast cereal mascots, uploading his excellent efforts to his Behance portfolio. There's the Trix rabbit, Tony the Tiger, Count Chocula (shown above), and Cap'n Crunch (right).

Guillermo Fajardo on the Behance Network (via Neatorama) Read the rest

877 dolphins wash up dead in Peru. Why?

Dolphin carcasses are displayed by conservationists and environmental police officers at San Jose beach, 40kms north of Chiclayo, Peru, on April 6, 2012. The cause of death of over 800 dolphins in the last four months on the shores of Piura and Lambayeque are still being researched, Gabriel Quijandria, Deputy Environment Minister said on April 20, 2012. More about the ongoing investigation into the possible cause of these mass die-offs: CBS News, MSNBC, AFP, DPA, CNN, (REUTERS/Heinze Plenge)

Read the rest