If you were sitting around in the early years of the Great Depression with $247 burning a hole in your pocket (about $3,800 in today's dollars) and were too lazy to get up and change your records when they finished playing, you might have been tempted by RCA's new Radiola Automatic Electrola RAE-26
. [more inside]
posted by Longtime Listener
on May 9, 2014 -
Pastplay: Teaching and Learning History with Technology.
The fourth book from the digitalculturebooks
imprint of the University of Michigan Press, Pastplay
includes a wide range of essays, all available online
for free. T. Mills Kelly reflects on his historical methods course which resulted in a historical hoax, “the last American pirate,” declared one of the 10 biggest hoaxes in Wikipedia’s first ten years. Matthew Kirschenbaum discusses if board games work better than computer games for teaching history. The book's chapters cover successful combinations of play, technology, and history. Yet, many are wary, as a "playful approach to teaching and learning with technology can seem like the worst of all possible worlds: the coupling of strategies developed for entertainment with tools created for commerce." [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi
on May 4, 2014 -
Following on the heels of Phonebloks
, a Google/Motorola formed a design group called Project Ara
. The Verge
recently interviewed Paul Eremenko
, the project lead, about progress made towards modularization of mobile phone components, overcoming engineering issues, and the group assigning itself an ambitious timetable to succeed in delivering a sellable product within two years, or disbanding.
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on Apr 25, 2014 -
is "a comedic satirical sci-fi pop-musical based on the theories of Ray Kurzweil and other futurists. It’s the story of two Miami girls and how they deal with the technological singularity, as told through as series of cinematic tweets." [more inside]
posted by mysticreferee
on Apr 20, 2014 -
Teaching The Camera To See My Skin.
An essay by photographer Syreeta McFadden on "photography's inherent bias against dark skin."
"Photography is balancing an equation between light and documentary. Beauty and storytelling. Honesty and fantasy. The frame says how the photographer sees you. I couldn’t help but feel that what that photographer saw was so wildly different from how I saw myself."
posted by sweetkid
on Apr 4, 2014 -
Carrier Access Codes
are a largely dated*, though still functional service to select your long-distance telephone carrier per phone call. In the United States
, these "dial-around codes
" reached a (commercial) peak in the late 1990s, as seen with ads featuring such semi-notables as Marla Gibbs, Christine Taylor and Reginald VelJohnson
, Harry Anderson
, John Lithgow
, Tony Danza
, Doug Flutie
, and even Alf and some well-known friends
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Mar 29, 2014 -
The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution
- "[Charles Percy Snow
] was pleading for a more adequately educated ruling class so that the suffering of the poor might be ameliorated... Snow wanted to believe something like this: political decisions in the modern world often concern how to deploy science and technology, so people well-trained in science and technology will be better prepared to make those decisions. But that's a syllogism without a minor premise." (previously
) [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Mar 15, 2014 -
“The good news is that there are solutions. The weakness of mass surveillance is that it can very easily be made much more expensive through changes in technical standards: pervasive end-to-end encryption can quickly make indiscriminate surveillance impossible on a cost-effective basis. The result is that governments are likely to fall back to traditional, targeted surveillance founded upon an individualized suspicion. Governments cannot risk the discovery of their exploits by simply throwing attacks at every “endpoint,” or computer processor on the end of a network connection, in the world. Mass surveillance, passive surveillance, relies upon unencrypted or weakly encrypted communications at the global network level.
Edward Snowden submits written testimony to an EU committee investigating mass surveillance, and answers questions.
The testimony takes place 3 days ahead of his highly anticipated SXSW appearance, to take place later today. Snowden is expected to speak about privacy, security, mass surveillance programs, free speech and whistle-blowing in a rare remote video appearance before a live audience.
Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo finds this “deeply troubling” in a letter he's sent to the organizers of the conference.
Meanwhile, people who wish to #asksnowden questions can use the hashtag on Twitter. The talk is to take place at 12pm PT, today.
posted by fantodstic
on Mar 10, 2014 -
Monsanto Is Going Organic in a Quest for the Perfect Veggie
- "The lettuce, peppers, and broccoli—plus a melon and an onion, with a watermelon soon to follow—aren't genetically modified at all. Monsanto created all these veggies using good old-fashioned crossbreeding, the same technology that farmers have been using to optimize crops
for millennia. That doesn't mean they are low tech, exactly. Stark's division is drawing on Monsanto's accumulated scientific know-how to create vegetables that have all the advantages of genetically modified organisms without any of the Frankenfoods ick factor." [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Mar 8, 2014 -
Inside the Nightmare Launch of HealthCare.Gov
- "Unknown to a nation following the fiasco, McDonough's assignment from the President had boiled down to something more dire than how to fix the site. As the chief of staff remembers his mission, it was 'Can it be patched and improved to work, or does it need to be scrapped to start over? He wanted to know if this thing is salvageable.' Yes, on Oct. 17, the President was thinking of scrapping the whole thing and starting over." (previously
) [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Mar 3, 2014 -
Louisburg High School junior Mason Wilde had some free time on his hands after giving up football. The perfect project soon fell into his lap: Nine-year-old Matthew, who was born with a condition called limb difference, has only a thumb on his right hand. Wilde modified the free Robohand
plans to fit the young boy. Then, using the 3D printer at the Johnson County Library, he created a prosthetic hand
that can even hold a pencil. [more inside]
posted by cellar door
on Feb 7, 2014 -
The Columbia Journalism Review interviews Evgeny Morozov: Evgeny vs. the internet
The entire Morozov aesthetic is in this sentence: the venom, the derision, the reverse jujitsu of his opponents’ sanctimony, the bald accusation that all the talk about a new age of human flourishing is nothing but an attempt to vamp the speaker’s consulting business. Tech enthusiasts channel hope. Tech skeptics channel worry. Morozov channels anger, and this can be a very satisfying emotion to anyone unconvinced that everything is getting better. Leon Wieseltier, who has published some of Morozov’s most acid criticism at The New Republic, compares him to the ferocious jazz musician Charles Mingus, who once responded to an interviewer who accused him of “hollerin’ ” by saying, “I feel like hollerin’.” I asked Morozov if he considers his Twitter feed, which spews a constant stream of invective and absurdist satire, to be performative. This was a bit like asking Mingus if he considers jazz performative. “Absolutely,” he said. “I consider it art.” [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Jan 13, 2014 -
Silent Technical Privilege.
"Even though I didn't grow up in a tech-savvy household and couldn't code my way out of a paper bag, I had one big thing going for me: I looked
like I was good at programming."
posted by Memo
on Jan 9, 2014 -
Take a stroll through French artist Vincent Fournier‘s
] gallery of animal photographs, and you’re likely to come across some creatures you’ve never seen before. Like, for instance, a jellyfish that is capable of electronically transmitting data across the Abyssal depths of the ocean. Or, perhaps, a scorpion that can perform semi-automated surgery on humans.
“These creatures come from the future—an imagined future, based loosely on current research on synthetic biology and genetic engineering,” says Fournier, of his project Post-Natural History, a series of digitally-altered photos of animals that do not yet exist. “The idea is that these are living species, reprogrammed by mankind to better fit our environment as well as to adapt to new human desires.”
posted by byanyothername
on Jan 8, 2014 -
China’s Space Program Is Taking Off
— "Its engineers have caught up with Europe when Europe was 20 years behind the space-racing superpowers. But by 2020 or a little thereafter, when the International Space Station (ISS) may be on its last legs, Chinese space managers expect to have a Mir-class space station in orbit. ... As was the case with the Cold War space powers, China's leaders are using human spaceflight to signal the world—and the long-suffering Chinese people—that Beijing's state-capitalism approach has won modern superpower status for their ancient society." From Aviation Week & Space Technology
, November 25, 2013.
posted by cenoxo
on Dec 15, 2013 -
The worst thing about cats is that you can't play with them unless you're physically present. Being elsewhere means being unable to play with a cat! It's a horrible situation, but now there's a solution. iPet Companion
lets you select a shelter and control a camera and trigger toys in the selected shelter's kitty play room. If there's other people on that shelter's page, you'll have to wait your turn, but turns are two minutes long so there's rarely much of a wait.
posted by Pope Guilty
on Dec 6, 2013 -