In 2010, Vice Magazine commemorated the publication of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes' "Prague Through the Lens of the Secret Police" with a set of photos taken by the Soviet-era Czech secret police. As noted, these photos, shot blindly with hidden cameras, are actually pretty good art-photography.
They were spying full-time on average citizens, hoping to catch them in a situation that could lead to a swift arrest and a lengthy incarceration in some dank, hidden cell. With their cameras secreted in a suitcase or under a coat, the agents had no idea what was being captured while they were taking these pictures. Their negatives, in which one finds brilliant snatches of street life from a time that few outsiders were able to see, are full of unexpected gems. Total art from a bunch of Communist lackeys and thugs. Who would have thunk it?
(via How to Be a Retronaut)
University of Washington engineers developed a tiny, wireless, and steerable videocamera that can be worn by insects or minuscule micro-robots to stream live video. The device weighs just 248 milligrams. Evan Ackerman writes in IEEE Spectrum: The system was successfully tested on a pair of darkling beetles that were allowed to roam freely outdoors, and […]
Technology writer Faine Greenwood has a great piece in Slate about the expansion of police drone surveillance fleets. While there are still many, many reasons to worry about abuses of drone technology and mass surveillance in general, Greenwood takes a look at the legal, technical, and practical limitations of these policing methods. Greenwood essentially argues that, as […]
The United States Internal Revenue Service says it purchased access to a marketing database that offers location data for millions of US cellphones, so the IRS can identify and track persons suspected of tax-related crimes.
One million Americans use American Sign Language as their primary means of communication. But as you'd expect, even though ASL is the sixth-most used language in the US, it isn't just any old language like English or Spanish or French. According to Communication Service for the Deaf, 98 percent of Deaf people don't receive education […]
After a successful round of funding on Kickstarter, Fluster: The Social Card Game is now ready to help turn a party or game night into the engaging, surprising, and enlightening social affair you always hoped it would be. A deck of 100 cards, Fluster is chock full of unusual, funny, and thought-provoking questions inspired to […]
Physics may have been that class you sleepwalked your way through in high school. But while it might have just slipped under your radar throughout your academic career, you probably shouldn't have given it such shallow attention. Sure, we could focus on the immediate pluses of a career as a physicist, like the more than […]