Jason & Farah, cognitive science postdocs at Washington University, write, "We humans have always used our surroundings to extend our memory. But is the technology of today enhancing human memory, or replacing it? Help us do the research! We plan to gather survey data and run Internet-based psychology experiments to find out:
How are people currently using technology for memory purposes?
How well do people understand the technology and their reliance on it?
Are there ways to improve the interplay between technology and human memory?"
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Phil Torrone and Limor Fried send us the latest episode of Collin's Lab: "Learn how to bring a circuit from schematic to reality using a solderless breadboard - then make it permanent by reincarnating your circuit on sturdy perfboard."
Collin's Lab: Breadboards & Perfboards
"Be More Tea," an ad for Lipton's tea, is sheer genius: Kermit finds himself tempest-tossed in a hard, uncaring version of Manhattan where everyone is an avatar of Animal. Through calmness and good nature, he tames the city and rescues Miss Piggy. It's a lovely message about the power to change the world by changing how you respond to it, and funny besides.
Shame that the tea isn't very good.
How To #BeMoreTea with Lipton & The Muppets!
MC Chris, creator of such immortal nerdcore classics as Fett's Vette and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, has a new double album out: Foreverrr.
Foreverrr is an insane, lewd, lacivious, profane and obscene delight of a concept album about the romance between a lonely ghost and a grandmotherly sexbot who's taken up residence in a haunted house. It features songs about all five Ghostbusters (including Tully), as well as nods to Wednesday Addams and The Shining (it's also got a ton of silliness about Luigi, french fries, and dating woes).
Ultimately, though, as the liner notes say, "it's also about letting go of the past, letting go of your anger, letting go of people you love." Amid all the supernatural sex-jokes and fat beats, MC Chris slides a lot of poignant, autobiographical material about coming to grips with his alcoholic father, and learning how to cope with his anger rather than taking it out on hecklers at his shows.
One of the Ghostbusters tracks, 58.9, was released early as a memorial to Harold Ramis, and a fan made a rather good video for it.
The album ships on Tuesday: $25 gets you two CDs in sleeves; $45 gets you a tri-fold CD case and a t-shirt; and $65 gets you the tri-fold case, a hoodie, stickers, a poster, a tote and a button.
"Foreverrr" - MC Chris
The Trustycon folks have uploaded over seven hours' worth of talks from their event, an alternative to the RSA security conference founded by speakers who quit over RSA's collusion with the NSA. I've just watched Ed Felten's talk on "Redesigning NSA Programs to Protect Privacy" (starts at 6:32:33), an absolutely brilliant talk that blends a lucid discussion of statistics with practical computer science with crimefighting, all within a framework of respect for privacy, liberty and the US Bill of Rights.
Felten's talk lays out how the NSA's mass-collection program works, what its theoretical basis is for finding terrorists in all that data, and then explains how this is an incredibly inefficient and risky and expensive way of actually fighting crime. Then he goes on to propose an elegant alternative that gets better intelligence while massively reducing the degree of surveillance and the risk of disclosure.
I'm using Vid to MP3 to convert the whole seven hours' worth of talks to audio and plan on listening to them over the next couple of days.
Update: Here's that MP3 -- it's about 1GB. Thanks to the Internet Archive for hosting it!
TrustyCon - Live from San Francisco
Glenn sez, "R&B music was pretty bawdy before its entered the era of white appropriation and radio play. Leah Reich, an ethnographer by training and a music lover and singer by love, takes a stroll through some of the filthiest, wonderful era before all this stuff was cleaned up. Tons of links to Youtube videos and other sources."
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Sheer hilarity. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
See also: Black metal meets Benny Hill
Charles Koppelman writes, "Zero Day (working title) is a documentary film being produced and directed by Charles Koppelman. BBC Storyville is co-producing and intends to air it. The film begins with the story of a single malware attack by the Assad regime in Syria using Skype as a platform. This targeted phishing attack used a Remote Access Tool (Xtreme RAT) to infect an activist’s computer. He was then tracked surreptitiously by security forces. He suffered very real physical consequences — detention, jail, and torture. His jailers showed him a file with hundreds of pages of email, web posts and surveillance reports on his movements. It is well-documented that he was the first Syrian activist to be attacked in the ongoing cyberwar conducted by the Assad regime. The Assad regime uses this same digital surveillance tool to compromise countless other activists and citizen journalists."
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Just look at it. (Sugary sweet J-pop goes death metal) (via Mefi)
I love reading with my daughter, Poesy, who has just turned six. We agree on almost all of her favorites, and re-reading them is one of our best-loved activities, and how we pass the time on boring bus-rides and so forth. However, there are a few books that Poesy loves, but which leave me cold. First among these is are the Ariol books, a long-running French kids' comic series that are being swiftly translated into English by Papercutz (there are three books out so far, and a fourth is due in May). Ariol was co-created by the amazing and talented Emmanuel Guibert, whose other work includes the anarcho-gonzo Sardine kids' comics; the brilliant WWII memoir Alan's War, and the extraordinary memoir of doctors in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, The Photographer.
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Timeholes, a two-minute, CC-licensed science fiction movie by Ben Mallaby, explores the future of obnoxious behavior and drunkenness in a world where time-travel is a given.
In 1979, William S Burroughs delivered a series of lectures on creative writing (though he insisted that he was teaching creative reading -- that is, analyzing the writing process by reading, because everyone can be taught to read, but only some will be able to write) at Naropa University. Three of these lectures, running to over four hours, are up on Youtube, covering writing exercises, Brion Gysin, Aleister Crowley, science fiction, General Semantics, and cut-ups. These are excellent listening, and are licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivs-NonCommerical (as is the rest of the Naropa collection.)
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In this video, a young musician called Li-Jin Lee performs the Super Mario theme (complete with eerily accurate SFX on a Sheng, an ancient Chinese reed instrument) at the National Concert Hall in Taipei, as part of a lecture on the Sheng.
Taiwan Philharmonic (NSO) - "The Power of Sheng" w. Super Mario 超級瑪莉
Marko Rakar writes, "Croatian journalist and editor Oleg Mastruko visited more than 47 countries in the past 10 years and made a number of postapocalyptic pictures in deserted places. Pictures include abandoned airforce bases, Cairo's City of the Dead, old military factories, a Nevada ghost town, were markedly void of people, 'a vision of failed civilization,' as Mastruko describes it. Oleg is currently running a campaign at Indiegogo in order to fund a picture book called 'Without people.'
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Here's a late 1970s Vincent Price performance of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven," featuring the dean of horror at his scenery-chewing best. Compare with Lord Buckley's 50s jazz hipster version.
Vincent Price's The Raven
(via Seanan McGuire)