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    Youtube identity Gigawipf makes Floppy Music.  From 2012, this is his version of “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell using 13 floppy disc drives, 1 hard drive, Moppy by Sammy1Am, an Ardiuno UNO M_usical Fl_oppy controller program.

    via laughingsquid

    Containerization of Information

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    At SXSW13 I saw a marvelous presentation by Mickey McManus from MAYA Design: Trillions: Thriving in the Information Ecology.  He discussed the need for the internet and mobile devices and the applications we run on them - primarily information - to have a common API.  He used the brilliant example of the emergence of shipping containers in the mid-1960s which revolutionized the transportation of goods and created the global economy we know today.

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    According to McManus and his team we are only at the foundation level of our understanding - and exploitation - of the information “revolution”.  For MacManus the revolution hasn’t even started yet, and with another billion people coming online in the coming decade, we best organize ourselves a little better.

    The web is over, it was a cute lab experiment, the sort of toy that Nature watches her children play with and laughs. Six billion mobile devices. Eight? Ten? Cute as a button. What will happen when we climb the next mountain? When instead of information being “in” computers; people, products, environments, and cultures begin to live “in” the information?” (MAYA Design)

    The idea that we could have a common external API for all information that is understood and recognized across all devices, nodes, people and operating systems could be the next big global revolution.  They have put together a helpful Vimeo clip to explain all of this:

    via MAYA Design and SXSW 

    This Is Mars

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    With much of the excitement around Martian imagery being dedicated at the moment to the achievements of the Curiosity Rover and its Earth-bound team it is timely that there is a publication which shows off the wonders of the Red Planet from above.

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    Since 2006 NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, with its powerful HiRISE telescope, has been dutifully mapping the Mars surface in unprecedented detail.  A new publication, This Is Mars (amazon, book depository), by Xavier Barral a French photographer and designer with text by HiRISE telescope principal researcher Alfred S. McEwen, astrophysicist Francis Rocard, and geophysicist Nicolas Mangold, is a stunning example of space dreaming via telescopic vision.

    image

    The book catalogs some 150 of HiRISE’s most spectacular and distinctly other-worldly high-rez images of the Martian surface. As Barral notes in the text:

    "At the end of this voyage, I have gathered here the most endemic landscapes. They send us back to Earth, to the genesis of geological forms, and, at the same time, they upend our reference points: dunes that are made of black sand, ice that sublimates. These places and reliefs can be read as a series of hieroglyphs that take us back to our origins."

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    The quality and unique artistry of these terrestrial images taken from high in the Martian atmosphere recall similar collections, such as the NASA Art Project.

    via brain pickings

    It Started with a Lego Block

    A must watch for data viz buffs - and humans too. Unfortunately, depending on your territory, a 30 second General Electric advert precedes the video - which is quite ironic given the subject matter - but worth the wait to witness Hans Rosling explain the numerical challenges of the next 100 years with Lego blocks:

     

    via the guardian

    Where Creativity Begins

    The Guardian has published an interesting survey article by Oliver Burkeman in response to a new book by Mason Currey, Daily Rituals: How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration And Get To Work, which details the daily habits and routines of creative people:

    "Benjamin Franklin spent his mornings naked. Patricia Highsmith ate only bacon and eggs. Marcel Proust breakfasted on opium and croissants. The path to greatness is paved with a thousand tiny rituals (and a fair bit of substance abuse)."

    Daily rituals
    Illustration: Jean Julien for the Guardian

    Burkeman breaks these habits down into six common themes which seem to have currency among most creatives toiling at the frontiers of genius:

    1.  Get Up Early

    It was good for Marcel Proust, Mozart, Georgia O’Keeffe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Jonathan Edwards and Ernest Hemingway who wrote: “There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write.”

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    2.  Make An Honest Crust

    "I find that having a job is one of the best things in the world that could happen to me," wrote Wallace Stevens, an insurance executive and poet. “It introduces discipline and regularity into one’s life.”  Others who also had day jobs and squeezed their creative pursuits into the wee hours of their days and nights were William Faulkner (power plant worker); TS Eliot's (Lloyds bank); and William Carlos Williams, a paediatrician, who scribbled poetry on the backs of his prescription pads.

    3.  Keep on Walkin’

    Just about every blues artist worth his or her salt has a song about walking so it makes sense that some of the deepest thinkers on the planet found plenty of time to pop on their slippers and gown and take a walk in the woods.  Again Hemingway was a fan of the long afternoon walk, as was Beethoven, Mahler, Erik Satie and Tchaikovksy.

    In fact, in researching the book Currey found that “It’s long been observed that doing almost anything other than sitting at a desk can be the best route to novel insights. These days, there’s surely an additional factor at play: when you’re on a walk, you’re physically removed from many of the sources of distraction – televisions, computer screens – that might otherwise interfere with deep thought.”

    4.  Have A Plan - And Stick To It!

    When working it is important to observe routine, (some more eccentric than others): Gustave Flaubert (took hot baths and demanded ritualistic dinner times), Le Corbusier, (was up at 6am for his 45 minutes of daily calisthenics), Immanuel Kant (a strict 3.30pm walk), and Patricia Highsmith, (consumed bacon and fried eggs for every meal every day).*

    Research into “cognitive bandwidth” and the limitations of willpower have largely substantiated a hunch by William James, the progenitor of modern psychology: “if you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work. Don’t consider afresh each morning whether to work on your novel for 45 minutes before the day begins; once you’ve resolved that that’s just what you do, it’ll be far more likely to happen.

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    5.  Practice Strategic Substance Abuse

    One wonders why this wasn’t number one. Tales of the Romantic poets awash with opium and absinth, the beat generation wired on amphetamines, the Stones on heroin, pot and JD, The Beatles and the Dead on LSD, Hemingway pickled by noon, Scorsese’s midnight coke fueled storyboards, Fatboy Slim pinging on Brighton Beach at 2am, the list goes on:

    Auden, Ayn Rand and Graham Greene had their Benzedrine, the mathematician Paul Erdös had his Ritalin (and his Benzedrine); countless others tried vodka, whisky or gin. But there’s only one that has been championed near-universally down the centuries: coffee. It’s been suggested that the benefits of caffeine, in terms of heightened focus, might be offset by a decrease in proficiency at more imaginative tasks.”

    6.  You don’t need a desk

    I know I am notoriously stubborn about my desk.  I am almost child-like in my fist pounding temper tantrums when I am trying to write with Microsoft Word on a Mac when I am not near my beloved desktop PC.  But sometimes I find it liberating and a wholly focusing experience when I venture out somewhere busy - a bar, cafe or restaurant - and set up shop for the afternoon.  Everything I need is there: sparkling water, coffee and sustenance (and I make sure the cafe has a license in case I get really inspired).  I find the general buzz of the other patrons forces me to concentrate harder than I otherwise would, often to great effect.

    But there are many work habits which are defined by their site of action: Somerset Maugham (faced a blank wall), Jane Austen (wrote mainly in the family sitting-room), while Agatha Christie was happy working anywhere she could find a stable top for her typewriter - she didn’t even own a desk!

    The journalist Ron Rosenbaum cherishes a personal theory of “competing concentration”: working with the television on, he says, gives him a background distraction to focus against, keeping his attentional muscles flexed and strong.

    So there you have it, six themes for a more productive life.  Common human rituals we could all probably subscribe to in one way or another. However, I dare say we could also spend a lot more time debating the merits of each and in what combination, which could breed that one commonality which does not feature herein: procrastination.

    So methinks best just to make a plan and stick to it.  Now, get cracking!

    (* Although Highsmith also collected live snails and, in later life, promulgated anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, so who knows?)

    via the guardian

    Percussive Maintenance

    :: A supercut by Duncan Robson :: of faulty circuitry as rectified with a good wholesome wallop and/or a well placed kick.  These things take time, I have tried a Supercut myself, and it took hours of pain staking viewing, scanning the recesses of my own memory, skipping through unfamiliar titles and trawling IMDB and a maddening array of “best of lists” until I had the visual fodder to compile the final edit.

    This piece by Robson must have taken a considerable amount of time not only in terms of research but also to construct the edit as it is indeed a percussive piece cut to the music of Try It Now by Joel Robson.  All hail the Fonz!

    via thisiscolossal and dunk3d

    Robotics & Choreographed 3D Mapping

    :: Bot & Dolly is a design and engineering studio :: that specializes in automation, robotics, and film making.  Their latest clip is a documents a live choreographed performance, called “Box”, which features a mixture of robotically controlled monitors, moving projection-mapping and choreographed human interaction.

    Box from Bot & Dolly on Vimeo.

    From the project website:

    “Box” explores the synthesis of real and digital space through projection-mapping on moving surfaces. The short film documents a live performance, captured entirely in camera. Bot & Dolly produced this work to serve as both an artistic statement and technical demonstration. It is the culmination of multiple technologies, including large scale robotics, projection mapping, and software engineering. We believe this methodology has tremendous potential to radically transform theatrical presentations, and define new genres of expression.

    via this is colossal and bot & dolly

    Computer Graphics & Art (1976-78)

    image :: A quarterly publication Chico California :: which focused on computer graphics and the artists who were using and experimenting with “new media” back in the late 1970’s.  12 great issues were published between 1976 & 1978. Each magazine included essays, illustrations and descriptions of new works and studies.  From the vault:

    COMPUTER GRAPHICS & ART is a new international quarterly of interdisciplinary computer graphics for graphics people and computer artists. This new periodical is aimed at students, teachers, people from undergraduate and graduate institutions, researchers, and individuals working professionally in graphics. Its topical coverage is broad, embracing a variety of fields. It is useful, informative, entertaining, and current.
    Over at compArt daDA you will find 11 of the 12 publications which have been carefully scanned and made available in pdf.

    The Arcade Fire Experiment

    :: Interesting things happen when Google throws some cash at creative types :: The latest Chrome Experiment comes from director Vincent Morisset who has developed an interactive film for a new tune by Arcade Fire.

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    Just a Reflektor allows users to interact with the music clip on their computer screen by casting a “virtual projection” using their smartphone or tablet.

    Check it out here.  Here’s a behind-the-scenes video about how the film was made:

    via laughing squid

    The Internet Must Go!

    Not since Senator Ted Stevens likened the Internet to a series of tubes in a senate subcommittee meeting on Net Neutrality and John Stewart so ruthlessly decoded his ignorance on The Daily Show have we had something as sharp as this.

    Satire might just be the last weapon we have in the Net Neutrality debate fight and the intrepid John Wooley might be the other side’s best kept secret.  Until now.

    For more info pop over to the project site where you can see the “leaked” video Internet Must Go!, extended interviews and extra “leaks” from the film makers and the bumbling Mr Wooley.

    If it wasn’t so disturbing it would be damn funny.

    via the internet

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