Category Archives: Inspiration


Staying Human In The Machine Age

In this inter­view with media the­or­ist Douglas Rushkoff pro­mot­ing his latest book Throw­ing Books At The Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosper­ityhe notes that shar­ing profits with your employ­ees is just good business.

“This is not bad busi­ness; this is not char­ity. This is using the prin­ciple of plat­form cooper­ativ­ism to end up with wealth­i­er mar­kets, wealth­i­er employ­ees, wealth­i­er sup­pli­ers. The wealth­i­er the people are around you, then the wealth­i­er you get to be.” — Douglas Rushkoff 

This thought­ful inter­view cov­ers a lot of the altru­ist­ic ter­rit­ory sug­ges­ted by the 99% — except Douglas has the his­tor­ic­al muscle to back up his claims. Refer­ring to new tech­no­lo­gies as a renais­sance of older, more repressed approaches, he provides thought­ful prose and a look towards a more hope­ful future — for us all. Worth a read.


Throwing Rocks At The Google Bus: How Growth Became The Enemy of Prosperity
The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable (and more…)

The Stan­ley Par­able (adap­ted from the free ori­gin­al Half-Life 2 mod) is an explor­a­tion of story, games, and choice. Except the story does­n’t mat­ter, it might not even be a game, and if you ever actu­ally do have a choice, well let me know how you did it.

It was a col­lab­or­a­tion between Dav­ey and UK design­er Wil­li­am Pugh, work­ing togeth­er as Galactic Cafe. The game expan­ded sub­stan­tially upon the mod ver­sion, adding sub­stan­tial amounts of new con­tent, new end­ings, a com­plete over­haul of the visu­al designs, and new voice­work from Kevan Brighting.

The game was one of the first to be approved for Steam via the Green­light com­munity fea­ture. It went on to sell over a mil­lion cop­ies, win such awards as the IGF 2014 Audi­ence Choice award, and be fea­tured in schools and museums all over the world.

A free demo and the full ver­sion can be pur­chased here.

The Begin­ner­’s Guide is a nar­rat­ive video game for Mac and PC. It lasts about an hour and a half and has no tra­di­tion­al mech­an­ics, no goals or object­ives. Instead, it tells the story of a per­son strug­gling to deal with some­thing they do not under­stand. It can be pur­chased here.

Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger And The Ter­ribly Cursed Emer­ald: A Whirl­wind Heist is a free-to-play “15 minute heist game” in which you’ll become a mas­ter thief, burg­lar­iz­ing his way across the hot­test sum­mer in Europe. It fea­tures voice act­ing by Brit­ish comedi­an Simon Ams­tell, formerly the host of Nev­er Mind the Buzz­cocks, who seems to be hav­ing a bit of a stress­ful time explain­ing exactly what it is you’ll be doing on this job.

The GyroGlove from GyroGear

GyroGlove: Solutions can come from any perspective

Gyro­Glove is a glove designed to sup­press hand tremors caused by Par­kin­son’s dis­ease. Instead of using drugs to coun­ter­act the effect of the dis­ease, which have a finite lifespan and some­times sig­ni­fic­ant side effects, Joon Faii Ong (a med­ic­al stu­dent at Imper­i­al Col­lege Lon­don) worked with a team of engin­eers, design­ers and med­ics to cre­ate a glove that would dir­ectly sta­bil­ise the hands of someone suf­fer­ing from tremors, by using gyroscopes.

First nom­in­ated as a final­ist in the AXA PPP Health Tech & You Awards, and now on tar­get to launch at the end of 2016.

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The Genius of Claude Shannon

I’ve always been a fol­low­er of Claude Shan­non and the incred­ible work he did regard­ing Com­mu­nic­a­tion The­ory (i.e. signal/noise) while at Bell Labs. He knew enough to refrain from over-explan­a­tions — and in doing so he also inven­ted the broad­er dis­cip­line of Inform­a­tion The­ory. He coined the term ‘bit’, and was just as influ­en­tial to com­puters and inform­a­tion net­works as Alan Tur­ing. He built the first jug­gling robot.

I just fin­ished read­ing a quite com­pre­hens­ive his­tory of this sub­ject — The Inform­a­tion by James Gleick. From Amazon’s descrip­tion: “We live in the inform­a­tion age. But every era of his­tory has had its own inform­a­tion revolu­tion: the inven­tion of writ­ing, the com­pos­i­tion of dic­tion­ar­ies, the cre­ation of the charts that made nav­ig­a­tion pos­sible, the dis­cov­ery of the elec­tron­ic sig­nal, the crack­ing of the genet­ic code. In ‘The Inform­a­tion’ James Gleick tells the story of how human beings use, trans­mit and keep what they know. From Afric­an talk­ing drums to Wiki­pe­dia, from Morse code to the ‘bit’, it is a fas­cin­at­ing account of the mod­ern age’s defin­ing idea and a bril­liant explor­a­tion of how inform­a­tion has revolu­tion­ised our lives.”

There’s also a great (and greatly sim­pli­fied) video essay below about his work by the fant­ast­ic Adam Westbrook.

April 30th 2016 marks the cen­ten­ary of his birth, and there are a num­ber of cel­eb­ra­tions mark­ing this event. Many of his sem­in­al papers (includ­ing the cru­cial A Math­em­at­ic­al The­ory of Inform­a­tion) are avail­able here.

Admit­tedly, his work sounds a little dry, how­ever — along with John von Neu­mann and George Boole — his work ushered in the digit­al revolu­tion as we know it today, and will con­tin­ue to influ­ence how we think about com­puters well into the future.

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Keeping streets clean: vote with your butt

We all want clean and safe spaces around us. Pub­lic polling dis­covered that a stag­ger­ing 86% of people think lit­ter­ing is a dis­gust­ing habit yet only 15% of us would actu­ally con­front someone and tell them that. Tak­ing pride in the areas we live and work in helps to build bet­ter com­munit­ies, and saves money.

This is why from May to Octo­ber, UK crowd­fund­ing net­work Hub­bub tri­alled a new approach to tack­ling lit­ter­ing on Vil­li­ers Street, West­min­ster, using the latest think­ing on beha­viour change and aware­ness rais­ing from around the world.

Hub­bub’s 5 point lit­ter manifesto:

We think that every­one can work togeth­er to make loc­al spaces clean­er, safer and more invit­ing. Let’s all put lit­ter in its place:

  • Gov­ern­ment: Don’t loiter on lit­ter. Cre­ate a strategy that has teeth.  Show lead­er­ship by provid­ing or stim­u­lat­ing fund­ing.  Engage with the sig­nat­or­ies of the Lit­ter Pre­ven­tion Com­mit­ment and oth­er import­ant stake­hold­ers to cre­ate a robust plan win­ning wide­spread support.
  • Busi­nesses, NGO’s and Loc­al Author­it­ies: Act with a uni­fied voice to raise lit­ter up the agenda with gov­ern­ment and the pub­lic. Share bright ideas and sup­port innov­at­ive, col­lab­or­at­ive beha­viour change schemes nationwide.
  • Loc­al Organ­isa­tions: Work to cre­ate new coali­tions, tak­ing loc­al action on lit­ter. Busi­ness Improve­ment Dis­tricts take a lead­er­ship role and share res­ults so that suc­cesses can be rep­lic­ated elsewhere.
  • Media! You have a role too. Help bring this issue ser­i­ously back into pub­lic debate. Cap­ture the ima­gin­a­tion of the pub­lic, pro­mot­ing pride in loc­al areas.
  • Every­one: Lit­ter is in your hands, and will only change if we change our beha­viours. Let’s wise up and bin it. Tak­ing pride in our neigh­bour­hoods will save money and help build bet­ter communities.

Inspired to run your own cam­paign? Click here for more inform­a­tion on rep­lic­at­ing Neat Streets.

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Giorgia Lupi @ Accurat

Gior­gia Lupi is an inform­a­tion design­er in Brook­lyn, New York. Her work and research chal­lenges the imper­son­al­ity that data might com­mu­nic­ate, design­ing enga­ging visu­al nar­rat­ives able to con­nect num­bers to what they stand for: know­ledge, beha­vi­ors, people. She is co-founder and design dir­ect­or at Accur­at, a data driv­en research-design and innov­a­tion firm. She has been draw­ing weekly data as 1/2 of Dear Data from New York.


Optical Data Storage Squeezes 360TB on to a Quartz Disc — Forever

Research­ers at Southamp­ton Uni­ver­sity in the UK have now writ­ten a series of major works to small glass discs– includ­ing the Uni­ver­sal Declar­a­tion of Human Rights, Newton’s Opticks, the Magna Carta and the Kings James Bible. The dens­ity of the data aboard these discs sug­gests that they could squeeze a total of 360 tera­bytes onto a single piece of quartz. They also point out that the data is extremely stable: It could endure for as long as 13.8 bil­lion years at tem­per­at­ures up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


Overpass Light Brigade

In Wis­con­sin the gov­ern­ment is try­ing to privat­ise water — there are many prob­lems with this.

The Over­pass Light Bri­gade was forged in the act­iv­ist cli­mate of the Wis­con­sin Upris­ing. Our mes­sages shine at night over high­ways and oth­er pub­lic spaces. We believe in the power of com­munit­ies com­ing togeth­er in phys­ic­al space, as well as the import­ance of vis­ib­il­ity for grass­roots and pro­gress­ive causes. We are a loose and inclus­ive affil­i­ation of people ded­ic­ated to the power of peace­ful protest and art­ful activism.

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Design principles for reducing cognitive load


Every time you vis­it a web­site, a pro­cess of learn­ing is ini­ti­ated in the brain. Wheth­er it’s the nav­ig­a­tion, lay­out, or that auto-rotat­ing image slider on the homepage, your brain has to learn how to use the site while keep­ing track of the reas­on you came there in the first place. The men­tal effort required dur­ing this time is called cog­nit­ive load.

via the remark­able

Brandalism: 600 ad takeovers in Paris before the COP21 Climate Conference

Chal­len­ging the cor­por­ate takeover of the Par­is cli­mate talks. Two days before the launch of the UN COP21 Cli­mate Con­fer­ence, 600 posters were installed by the Brandal­ism pro­ject in out­door media spaces across Par­is. 82 Artists from 19 dif­fer­ent coun­tries made art­works to chal­lenge the cor­por­ate takeover of COP21 and to reveal the con­nec­tions between advert­ising, the pro­mo­tion of con­sumer­ism and cli­mate change. The artists included Neta Har­ari, Jimmy Cauty, Banksy-col­lab­or­at­or Paul Insect, Escif and Kennard Phil­lips — many of whom fea­tured at Banksy’s Dis­ma­land exhib­i­tion in Eng­land this summer.

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Pi Zero computer so cheap it comes free with magazine


The Pi Zero is a fully fledged com­puter which meas­ures just 6.5cm by 3cm. Made in Wales, it sells for just £4 in the UK and $5 in the US. Rasp­berry Pi is also giv­ing the device away for free with the pur­chase of its £5.99 monthly magazine, The MagPi.

How­ever, it’s not the only kid on the block. The C.H.I.P. (from Next Thing Co.) launched earli­er this year has a sim­il­ar form factor and sim­il­ar price. Here’s a blow-by-blow com­par­is­on — but it’s dif­fer­ent strokes for dif­fer­ent folks.

Either way, these sub £10 com­puters will dis­rupt many exist­ing busi­ness mod­els (and cre­ate a few new ones, as well).


Smart products, smart makers


The inter­net of things will strengthen man­u­fac­tur­ers’ hands in the battle for cus­tom­er loy­alty. A com­mod­ity ought to be “a very trivi­al thing”, Karl Marx argued in Cap­it­al, and “eas­ily under­stood”. But in fact it is the oppos­ite: “a very queer thing, abound­ing in meta­phys­ic­al sub­tleties and theo­lo­gic­al niceties.”


Light Painting Enters The 21st Century

The Air Pen­cil from Adtile lets any­one cap­ture free­form move­ment in space using their mobile device. Air Pen­cil taps into a smartphone’s nat­ive micro-elec­tro-mech­an­ic­al sys­tems (MEMS) – namely the three-axis mag­ne­to­met­er, three-axis accel­er­o­met­er and three-axis gyro­scope. It then calls on soph­ist­ic­ated Adtile-designed algorithms to reli­ably infer the pre­cise move­ments of the user based on sensor data.


A 3D Fractal Artist Is Building an ‘Interstellar’ Inspired VR World

Film­maker Juli­us Hor­sthuis, the fre­quent explorer of fractal­ized cav­erns and end­less ali­en plan­ets, has begun a line of com­puter-gen­er­ated exper­i­ments that could let us explore our own Inter­stel­lar-like mul­ti­di­men­sion­al real­it­ies. His impress­ive series of sweep­ing fractal vis­tas, begin­ning with Gei­ger­’s Night­mare nearly a year ago, has giv­en him a wealth of know­ledge about mak­ing gor­geous fractals. Now, he has channeled that exper­i­ence into build­ing Hall­way 360VR, the first in a line of 360-degree vir­tu­al real­ity animations.