How a NASA team turned a smartphone into a satellite business
"a consumer-grade smartphone could be used to power a satellite in space"
space  comms 
february 2016
We want control of our bodies - GHOSTCOP
"I'm data exhausted. Not so much worried about the data I leave behind (though I should be), but of the amount I'm consuming. Endlessly, passively, ambiently absorbing and consuming. Like eating all day at a sub-par buffet, constantly full but never sated, to the point where you don't even enjoy your favorite dishes anymore. My brain is stuffed, and yet I can't retain or remember anything. And I physically feel this way, too: bloated, dull, fuzzy. "
writing  net  social 
february 2016
Douglas Rushkoff: 'I’m thinking it may be good to be off social media altogether' | Technology | The Guardian
"Professionally, I’m thinking it may be good for one’s career and business to be off social media altogether. Chris Anderson was wrong. “Free” doesn’t lead to anything but more free. Working for free isn’t leverage to do a talk for loads of money; now they even want you to talk for free."
media  net  social 
february 2016
Arctic Alba
"The concept of Arctic Alba posits a possible world in which Scotland identifies itself as a ‘North-facing-nation’. As Scotland becomes more politically, culturally and economically independent, it has the opportunity to engage with its geographical proximity to the Arctic and to forge new roles and relationships in an emerging arena of international importance." 
design+fiction  speculative 
february 2016
OFFAL by offal
"OFFAL is an international collective of women laptop performers who devise performances involving multi-location collaborative improvisation. The group was formed in 2015 in response to research around gender in digital technology and laptop ensemble practice . As a non-hierarchical collective it aims to connect an international group of women engaged in electronic music by developing technological systems and organisational structures that facilitate collaboration. The group provides a platform for the creation and performance of new laptop music by women."
music  web 
february 2016
The Extraordinary Exorcism of Mexico
"A few weeks ago Mexico, the second largest Catholic country, was exorcised of its demons in an unprecedented rite of Exorcismo Magno performed in secret in the city of San Luis Potosi. On May 20, the renowned Spanish exorcist José Antonio Fortea, author of the book "El Exorcismo Magno," joined Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, Archbishop Emeritus of Guadalajara, and a cadre of trained exorcists to perform the maximum type of Catholic exorcism, reserved for nations and dioceses, on the Mexican Republic itself. In an interview with the Catholic press, the famed exorcist, Father Fortea, explained that the Exorcismo Magno is "useful in situations in which great violence has been unleashed in a country.""
cult  mexico  weird 
february 2016
Taxpayers Give Big Pensions to Ex-Presidents, Precisely So They Don’t Have to Sell Out
"...modern presidents expect to live in luxury after they leave office, and to people with that sense of entitlement, $200,000 a year is chump change. By comparison, the median private pension benefit of individuals age 65 and older was $9,227 a year in 2014 – for those people lucky enough to have a pension in the first place.

"Prominent business consultant Chin Ning Chu, looking back in her 1991 book on Asian business culture, wrote that the Japan speeches “demonstrated to the world that Japan has arrived….[it] put a price tag on the President of the United States.” "
money  pol 
february 2016
These Trees Are Friends | Ultraphyte
"Can it be that even trees are old friends? And perhaps mourn their departed? A German forest ranger thinks so. The appropriately named Peter Wohlleben (“live well” or “farewell”) describes how pairs of ancient trees grow with their limbs apart to share the light, while their roots entwine to share nutrients. Even for years after one tree is cut down, its neighbor may continue shunting nutrients to the stump. For what biological purpose?"
eco  weird 
february 2016
‘The Reforestation of the Thames Estuary and the John Evelyn Institute of Arboreal Science’ by Tom Nooman – SOCKS
"A future timber and plantation industry stretches from the Thames Estuary throughout London, and beyond. The reforestation of the Thames Estuary sees the transformation of a city and its environment, in a future where timber is to become the City’s main building resource."
eco  architecture  design+fiction 
february 2016
Signs of early settlement in the Nordic region date back to the cradle of civilization
The discovery is also an indication that Nordic societies were far more developed 9,200 years ago than what was previously believed. The findings are important as it is usually argued that people in the north lived relatively mobile lives, while people in the Levant—a large area in the Middle East—became settled and began to farm and raise cattle much earlier.
february 2016
Dropa stones - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Dropa stones, otherwise known as the Dzopa stones, Dropas stones or Drop-ka stones, are said by some ufologists and pseudoarchaeologists to be a series of at least 716 circular stone discs, dating back 12,000 years, on which tiny hieroglyph-like markings may be found
february 2016
Reflections on the habitability of Earth
Managing these myriad calculations, the index gives the Earth, if observed from afar as we now observe faraway planets, about an 82 percent chance of being right for life.
But wait—only 82 percent?
Why wouldn't the Earth—the single example of a life-hosting world in all our experience—score a perfect, 100 percent rating?
"Basically, where we lose some of the probability, or chance for life, is that we could be too close to the star," Barnes said. "We actually are kind of close to the inner edge of the habitable zone. If we spotted Earth with our current techniques, we would reasonably conclude that it could be too hot for life."
space  eco 
february 2016
NETWORKS // An Interview with Mari Matsutoya | Berlin Art Link
PR: In 2014 your work – such as ‘Cyborg Singing’ – was questioning how one feels to be a cyborg. What’s the next question your work will deal with?

MM: Well at that point I was trying to disembody my own voice by triggering it with an accelerometer in my wig. The question here was more of agency and whether it is possible to carry emotional information through a program-aided means, and not through the mouth and the connected architecture of the body.
culture  bodymod 
february 2016
Claire Tolan: 'Thinking Systems (ASMR)', p.2 | atractivoquenobello
“I really expected it to kind of drown itself in a while”, says artist Claire Tolan about her ongoing research, interest and interaction with the YouTube-born practice and neologism ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response).
In the second of two videos exploring the Berlin-based artist’s work –as part of our ongoing video series made in collaboration with Video in Common –aqnb joins Tolan in talking about developing her work, from mixing ASMR sounds live on air for a regular show at Berlin Community Radio called ‘You’re Worth It’ to applying a growing archive to her ringtone database Shush Systems and live ASMR Karaoke events.
video  sound  asmr  peopleIknow 
february 2016
Carol Burnett on the State of Comedy TV: "I'm Kind of Bored of Producers Saying, 'It's Got to Be Edgy'" - Hollywood Reporter
"...we did a musical-comedy extravaganza every week with a 28-piece orchestra, 12 dancers and two guest stars a week, plus we had a studio audience. We'd do it in one hour and 15 minutes, and we'd be out in time to go have dinner. Also, the cost: You couldn't do what we did today because the cost would be astronomical."
culture  tv 
january 2016
Ancient maps of Jupiter's path show Babylonians' advanced maths | New Scientist
Thanks to a clue from a 50-year old photograph, a historian has decoded a mysterious trapezoid described on ancient Babylonian astronomical tablets.

That previously unexplained description is a scheme to predict Jupiter’s place in the zodiac – and it shows that ancient Mesopotamian astronomers beat Europeans by at least 1500 years in grasping the ideas that led to integral calculus.
january 2016
Scientists sequence ancient British 'gladiator' genomes from Roman York
"Cutting-edge genome technology in Trinity College Dublin has cast more light on a mystery that has perplexed archaeologists for more than a decade. The origins of a set of Roman-age decapitated bodies, found by York Archaeological Trust at Driffield Terrace in the city, have been explored, revealing a Middle Eastern body alongside native British."
january 2016
Louis C.K. Unveils ‘Horace And Pete’: Online Series Costars Alan Alda | Deadline
"Louis C.K. has this morning emerged, groundhog like, and surprised fans with the unveiling of a project he’s somehow managed to keep completely secret, a new online dramedy series co-starring Steve Buscemi and Alan Alda called Horace And Pete. Something like a dramatic (or blackly comedic) Cheers, the 67 minute drama revolves around an Irish bar, Horace and Pete’s, and the people who work and frequent it. C.K. wrote, directed and stars as Horace, who runs the bar a year after the death of his father, with Alda as bartender Pete, and Buscemi as another character called Pete. The show also features appearances by Edie Falco, Rebecca Hall, Jessica Lange, Kurt Metzger, Steven Wright and many others."
january 2016
Video Essay: The Cinematic Control Room 1971-2015 - YouTube
A video essay about control rooms in film and television since the 1970s. Computers, screen interfaces, and the rooms they are in are connected to the political context of a particular era. Always-on control room technologies result in a security and political crisis that is permanent, so potential threats in popular screen narratives come from sources that are imagined to be permanent, such as 'terrorism' and 'cyberattack'.
Co-edited by Cormac Deane and Stephen Hughes. Narrated by Gerard McHugh.
film  video  design  sf 
january 2016
The Power of Privacy – documentary film - YouTube
In this film, Aleks Krotoski travels the world to undergo challenges that explore our digital life in the 21st century.
film  net 
january 2016
Watch this hypnotic view of Earth from space over 24 hours
Glittering Blue is a beautiful, simple website that shows 24 hours of observations of Earth from the Japanese weather satellite Himawari-8 like you’ve never seen before.
space  web 
january 2016
The New Sound Of Music 1979 (Part 1) - YouTube
The New Sound of Music is a fascinating BBC historical documentary from the year 1979. It charts the development of recorded music from the first barrel organs, pianolas, the phonograph, the magnetic tape recorder and onto the concepts of musique concrete and electronic music development with voltage-controlled oscillators making up the analogue synthesizers of the day.
music  history  video 
january 2016
David Bowie Turned Down a Coldplay Collaboration, Saying "It's Not a Very Good Song" | News | Pitchfork
"In a new interview with NME, Coldplay's Will Champion said the late David Bowie once turned down their request for a collaboration. The band had written a song with a multi-part harmony, and envisioned Bowie as one of the voices. When Chris Martin wrote Bowie a letter asking him to participate, the response was definitive: "It's not a very good song, is it?""
january 2016
2016 is the time for "Old Seafood" to step aside and let the kids take charge | Culture Shock
Hong Kong is best known for its outside-the-box Cantonese slang. And as the curtains for 2015 are about to drawn, I can't help giving some new thoughts about “old seafood”. 
“Old seafood” obviously isn’t referring to seafood that is old, aged or stale. It doesn’t even have anything to do with seafood to begin with. The pronunciation of “old seafood” in English in fact resembles the Cantonese sound of lo see fut, which actually refers to "old anus" -- an ignorant, arrogant older person who occupies top positions in a society or company but thinks he knows it all and refuses to listen to others, particularly the younger generation.
january 2016
The Caught by the River Book of the Month: January - Caught by the River
Somewhere near the start of The Outrun there’s a reference to the old Orcadian way of asking where you’re from: “where do you belong?”
books  orkney 
january 2016
Globular clusters could host interstellar civilizations
So if habitable planets can form in globular clusters and survive for billions of years, what are the consequences for life should it evolve? Life would have ample time to become increasingly complex, and even potentially develop intelligence.
Such a civilization would enjoy a very different environment than our own. The nearest star to our solar system is four light-years, or 24 trillion miles, away. In contrast, the nearest star within a globular cluster could be about 20 times closer - just one trillion miles away. This would make interstellar communication and exploration significantly easier.
"We call it the 'globular cluster opportunity,'" says DiStefano. "Sending a broadcast between the stars wouldn't take any longer than a letter from the U.S. to Europe in the 18th century."
"Interstellar travel would take less time too. The Voyager probes are 100 billion miles from Earth, or one-tenth as far as it would take to reach the closest star if we lived in a globular cluster. That means sending an interstellar probe is something a civilization at our technological level could do in a globular cluster," she adds.
january 2016
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