Celebrating three decades of amazing innovation from the MIT Media Lab

This Wired video interview with former director Nicholas Negroponte and current director Joi Ito is a mind-blowing tour through the Media Lab's storied history: from e-ink to touchscreens to multitouch to in-car GPS to wearables. The current Media Lab administration is pretty amazing, and the research just keeps getting more mind-blowing.

Nightwork: the extraordinary, exuberant history of rulebreaking at MIT

MIT has a complicated relationship with disobedience. On the one hand, the university has spent more than a century cultivating and celebrating a "hacker culture" that involves huge, ambitious, thoughtful and delightful pranks undertaken with the tacit approval of the university. On the other hand -- well, on the other hand: Star Simpson, Bunnie Huang, and Aaron Swartz. In Nightwork, first published in 2003 and updated in 2011, MIT Historian T. F. Peterson explores this contradictory relationship and celebrates the very best, while suggesting a path for getting rid of the very worst.

EFF is suing the US government to invalidate the DMCA's DRM provisions

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has just filed a lawsuit that challenges the Constitutionality of Section 1201 of the DMCA, the "Digital Rights Management" provision of the law, a notoriously overbroad law that bans activities that bypass or weaken copyright access-control systems, including reconfiguring software-enabled devices (making sure your IoT light-socket will accept third-party lightbulbs; tapping into diagnostic info in your car or tractor to allow an independent party to repair it) and reporting security vulnerabilities in these devices.

Principles for 21st century living

A list of principles for the 21st century, from Joi Ito, presently running the MIT Media Lab:

Ito: There are nine or so principles to work in a world like this:

1. Resilience instead of strength, which means you want to yield and allow failure and you bounce back instead of trying to resist failure.

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Student's brain flatlined during classes



From "A Wearable Sensor for Unobtrusive, Long-term Assessment of Electrodermal Activity" (by Poh, M.Z., Swenson, N.C., Picard, R.W. in IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, vol.57, no.5), a chart showing a single student's electrodermal activity over the course of a week. — Read the rest

Zynga tanks

Zynga CEO Mark "just copy what they do" Pincus dumped $200m worth of company shares recently, safely in time for its stock to tank. Yahoo:

In April, Zynga conducted a "secondary stock offering" in which insiders dumped 43 million shares of stock at $12 a share, raking in about $516 million.

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Rightclearing: one-stop clearinghouse for music licensing


Philippe sez, "restorm.com launched rightclearing last week at the prominent Social Music Summit in NYC. The cloud-based music licensing platform provides artists and music professionals a simplified solution that enables them to monetize content through an automated licensing system. In the midst of all the SOPA, PIPA, ACTA rhetoric, and never-ending licensing chaos in the market, rightclearing is well-poised to provide a concise and compelling solution to the needlessly complex licensing labyrinth. — Read the rest

Designing curriculum for people doing stuff, not people passing tests

Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab, posts a personal essay called "Reading the dictionary," which describes the traditional school curriculum as equivalent to asking students to read the dictionary or an encyclopedia from cover to cover. He contrasts this with his own style of learning, "interest-driven learning" ("code for 'short attention span' or 'not a good long term planner'") and ruminates on what a curriculum designed for people like him would look like. — Read the rest