The Bklyn BookMatch is a free service that matches readers with custom lists of recommendations: fill in a webform with "the titles, authors, and/or types of books you enjoy, and why" as well as "movies, TV, games, and other interests" and any books you dislike, as well as format and age preferences and within two weeks, a librarian will send you a customized reading list that you can check out of the Brooklyn library (or your own local library -- the service seems to be open to everyone!). (via Kottke)
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Described as "a transient bazaar that is not publicly announced, where nothing is for sale, and very little trace can be found of it afterward," it's been nearly 10 years since the first Lost Horizon Night Market hit New York City. Since then, this quirky underground event has popped up in other cities worldwide.
This past weekend it was back in Brooklyn.
Gothamist's Oriana Leckert went:
At a moment when the world seems to be going in a bleaker, more dangerous direction than at any point in our lifetimes, this is a night where New York’s most unusual spectacle-makers gather to share a few hours of pure weirdness and joy.
The Night Market is a shadowy affair, a truly underground, immersive occasion at a time when both those words have been so overused as to be rendered nearly meaningless. There is no mailing list to sign up for or Facebook page to “like”; one only learns of the sporadic soirée through word of mouth, and the market’s location, different each time, is not revealed until the day of. The only instruction truck proprietors receive is to create an interactive art piece within the vehicle’s four walls...
Saturday’s market, situated on two dimly lit blocks in industrial Bushwick, included 19 trucks, ranging from very simple to hilariously convoluted concepts. Each engendered its own atmosphere, engulfing visitors in a tiny world that was consuming enough to let people forget about the real one for a little while...
Read more: Photos: A Secret Box Truck Art Carnival Materialized Briefly In Brooklyn
photos by Alix Piorun for Gothamist, used with permission
Glitter gun fight
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Y'all we have made a pillow fight truck, if you just need to smash something and scream tonight.
If you need a bed and you're in the Brooklyn area, I strongly suggest you buy this one.
Why? Well, for one...
"Ain't nothing bad ever happen on this bed." At least that's what its current owner, Brian David Gilbert, says.
Two: No one, not even Gilbert's friend Laura, has smoked cigars on it.
Three: Well, watch the video.
photo via Craigslist ad
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Motherboard -- an imprint of Vice -- has announced that it will build a community ISP branching off its Brooklyn headquarters, built on meshing wireless protocols, and connected to the internet via high-speed fiber lines terminating at a network exchange.
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The Mast Brothers, a pair of bearded chocolatiers in Brooklyn, have built an empire on beautifully packaged "artisanal" chocolates that run $10/bar, billed as "bean to bar" confections. Read the rest
What was once the busiest freight port in the world recently held another freight hauling competition, but with a catch: all the boats were remote-controlled, had to fit in a 2'x2'x2' box, and had to be 3D printed. The Red Hook Regatta was a race to see how many "shipping containers" (actually, brick sized pieces of foam) teams could ferry to "cranes" (guys with fishing poles dangling down from the pier) through the choppy waters of New York Harbor.
Steering and propulsion are standardized, so it was a test of ship design, building, piloting, stevedorism, and Poseidon's whims.
The event was a collaboration between two Brookyln-based groups - high tech job training Digital Stewards and artists Pioneer Works.
More coverage at The Brooklyn Paper, PIX11 News (video), and The New York Times.
Image: 3d printed boat, by Creative Tools/3D Benchy Read the rest
Earlier this month, I attended a two-day meeting at Pioneer Works, an art and innovation center in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The center is both physically beautiful and filled with interesting people from many disciplines doing work in open workshops. It was founded by sculptor Dustin Yellin, and the lobby has one of his remarkable, life-sized three-dimensional humaniform sculptures, composed of thousands of collaged magazine clippings pressed between many sheets of glass.
David Byrne and St Vincent are touring Contemporary Color, a concert accompanied by a huge, choreographed color guard show. Read the rest
Cici James -- founder of Brooklyn's amazing science fiction bookstore Singularity and Co -- posed for a body-painted portrait amongst her wares. Read the rest
Singularity and Co is the wonderful, Brooklyn-based used science fiction bookstore launched with a 2012 Kickstarter campaign that raised funds to buy the rights to beloved, out-of-print sf novels and release them as CC-licensed ebooks. Gabe, a fan of the store, has produced this great, Twilight Zone-themed commercial for the shop. Read the rest
We recorded a special live episode of The New Disruptors in Brooklyn's fantastic DUMBO district in the Galapagos Art Space as part of the Nearly Impossible conference in which we talked about the joys, challenges, and surprises in prototyping, funding, producing, and distributing products. On stage, we had Che-Wei Wang and Taylor Levy of CW&T, Tom Gerhardt and Dan Provost of Studio Neat, and Jessica Heltzel of Kern and Burn.
The New Disruptors: RSS | iTunes | Download this episode | Listen on Stitcher
This episode is sponsored by Shopify: use Shopify to create your online store. Everything you need to start selling online – today! Read the rest
In the late 1990s, Kokie's Place was a legendary Williamsburg, Brooklyn bar where a guy would sell you cocaine from a closet in the back. A few years ago, Vice magazine presented an oral history of this vibrant, strange Puerto Rican dive bar where salsa dancers, hipsters, bikers, and addicts played in the snow. It's a fascinating, funny article that also touches on the insanely-fast gentrification of Williamsburg. By the way, the name of the bar isn't a reference to cocaine but rather to the coquí, a frog endemic to Puerto Rico. From Vice:
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JERRY P: The coke was stepped on like crazy. I think it was cut with meth, because it lasted so fucking long. I personally didn’t mind it.
BRIAN F: It was convenient living nearby because the coke was so awful. As soon as I did a bump I would run home, shit my brains out, and then come back refreshed and ready for more.
MEG SNEED: The coke there was pretty bad, true, but it was such a pleasant place to be. A real positive atmosphere and community feeling. I even thought about hanging out there without drugs once or twice. Of course I never did.
LUCY P: I don’t know if I ever talked to anybody there who I didn’t know, but I felt as though I could’ve. And it wasn’t just the drugs. There was a sense that everybody was there to enjoy some sort of desperate eked-out freedom. As though a line had been crossed into comity.
Joly MacFie captured video of Charlie Stross's and my tour-stop at Brooklyn's MakerBot this week. We were there in support of our new novel Rapture of the Nerds, and did a talk, reading and Q&A that touched on the Singularity, its precedents, its discontents, and its inherent comedy -- all while 3D printers chattered in the background. And afterwards everyone got 3D printed miniatures of our heads!
We're making our final stops of tour tomorrow -- Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! -- in Rochester, NY, at RIT. Tell your friends!
Cory Doctorow & Charles Stross - The Rapture of the Nerds
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Flexing, or bone breaking, is a mix of street dancing and contortionist movements mostly specific to Brooklyn. This video in particular is mesmerizing, almost ritualistic with this group of shirtless guys in gas masks all dancing together in the subway. Other riders seem to either not notice them or look on in a trance.
[Video Link] Thanks Dannel! Read the rest
Hey, Torontonians, Ann Arborites, and New Yorkers!
I'll be giving a free talk at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto called "Can creativity and freedom peacefully co-exist in the Internet age?" on Sept 14 at 7PM, where I'll be reprising my SIGGRAPH talk from August.
On Sept 15, I'll be in Ann Arbor, MI for the Penny Stamps Lecture Series, doing a panel called "On Futurology: Optimism And Failure" with Mark Stevenson and James King.
I head to New York next. First I'll be at the Brooklyn Book Festival on September 18, appearing on a 1200h panel called "Genres Crashers" with Jewell Parker Rhodes, Kelly Link and Stephanie Anderson.
Finally, I'm keynoting the O'Reilly Strata conference on September 20 at 1330h, with a talk called "Designing For Human Sensors, Not Human Barcodes."
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Two women in Brooklyn sat down on a playground bench to eat their doughnuts. They were issued summonses by local cops for violating the playground's "no adults without children" rule (because the way you keep children safe is to make sure that adults and children don't come into proximity with one another, unless the adults are parents or childminders, because those people never, ever harm children, and the only reason to want to be around children is to molest them). According to the women, the cops told them they were getting off light with a court summons because the official procedure called for them to be brought in for questioning.
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This cop attempted to be sympathetic. He proceeded to tell us that he was trying to be a gentleman by just giving us summonses instead of taking us in for questioning, because that was what "they" wanted him to do. If he just gave us warnings and told us to leave, he would get in trouble for "doing nothing all day." He went on to say that all he did when he was growing up was "do Tae Kwon Do and go to school." "Are you trying to say that we are bad people for sitting on a bench in a park and eating doughnuts?" I asked him, just trying to figure out where he was going with this. "No, no, I'm just saying that I never got in trouble. Sometimes I play basketball," he said, pointing at the courts behind him.
Here's an inspiring story about the Fixers' Collective in Brooklyn, a co-op that holds free open surgeries where people can bring their broken stuff for repair. The Fixers make no guarantees (they learned to fix stuff by taking it apart and trying to get it back together again), but they also don't charge anything; what's more, they'll teach you what they know so you can fix your stuff yourself.
"It makes people feel proud of themselves - a little less helpless," Ms. Pittman says. "Everything breaks. Everything. These days, and especially with all this electronic equipment, we have no clue - no idea at all - how to fix stuff. We are pretty much at the mercy of our computers, our cellphones. The Fixers' Collective helped us become a little more self-sufficient. It is an attitude as much as anything."
Pittman draws a direct line from the financial crash of 2008 - "which made a lot of people, and certainly us, less inclined to trust the experts" - to the creation of the collective. But it is also true, as Pittman hints, that many Americans worry that they have become more reliant on their belongings and more disconnected about how they work.
The art of the fix-it
Right to Repair law in MA (open-source your car) - Boing Boing
You Have the Right to Repair - Boing Boing
"We can repair anything" - Boing Boing
Computer Repair Flowchart - Boing Boing
Who is fixing your plane, and how? Frontline dumpster-dives into ... Read the rest