Category Archives: Inspiration

Sunrise

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.

via singularityhub.com

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.

via designcouncil.org.uk and gyrogear.co

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.

via amazon.co.uk and delve.tv

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.

via hubbub.org, ballotbin.co.uk and digitalsynopsis.com

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.

via brainpickings.com

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.

via gizmodo.com

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.

via facebook.com and overpasslightbrigade.org

Design principles for reducing cognitive load

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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 jonyablonski.com

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.

via streetartnews.net and brandalism.org.uk

Pi Zero computer so cheap it comes free with magazine

Pi-Zero-Features-Graphic-Small

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).

via theguardian.com

Smart products, smart makers

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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.”

via economist.com

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.

via adtile.me

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.

via thecreatorsproject.vice.com