Other Ten Percent 3/29/2012

Mar 29 2012

Ugh. You ever have one of those days where you keep waiting for the day to start and then suddenly it’s 6pm and you kinda realize that all the things you were planning to have be the start of your day are actually just not going to happen that day? I totally had that day today. Kept waiting for like interesting news stories or feedback on stories or SOMETHING that would signal it was time to get going and…NOPE. Again: ugh. Officially declaring tomorrow a get my shit together thursday. Time to do chores and crap and get stuff back on track. Also maybe figure out my life or something. No biggie. Anyway one of the things I wish was a bit better today is internet links which are just kinda okay.

Researcher publishes specs for real Linux-powered Star Trek tricorder
Well I suppose this was kinda inevitable given how dedicated we’ve been to building every other star trek gadget in real life. I wonder what life would be like if TNG had everybody wearing cyberpunk goggles and navigating all away teams via Augmented Reality from the holodeck or something. Basically I wonder what percentage of our technological development was dictated by a television show because I’m thinking it’s a double digit percentage.

Google dives into personal analytics with new Account Activity feature
I’m sure this’ll come back to bite me but I sort of think all personal analytics tools I’ve seen launch in the past year are fundamentally wrongheaded. The weird thing about trying to self quantify is how fast you detect the pattern of whatever you’re trying to track and get bored so the impulse to like dig deep for patterns you may not have noticed seems to be the main trend to automated analytics tools. The problem there is that you haven’t noticed because you don’t care. I still think analytics needs ubiquitous capture of a ton of different data points so that it can make connections between your e-mail and your diet or something. The tool has to be managing more data than I can usefully abstract or else it’s just another google tab I’ll never open.

Turning on a 100-year-old light bulb
I can’t decide if I’m really impressed that the light-bulb can theoretically make it 100 years or if that’s a terrifyingly short timeline for a really central technology to modern culture.

Tour the Woodshop of “Parks & Recreation” Actor Nick Offerman
Did you know that Nick Offerman actually has a woodshop and loves woodworking and that they actually built Ron Swansons obsession with crafts into the character BECAUSE THE ACTOR IS THAT COOL? Well if you did not know that before you know it now that you have this 8 minute video tour of his woodshop. Also he’s married to Megan Mullaney and when I am a boring 30 something who has dinner parties they’re kind of my ideal party guests.

Why Do Deep-Sea Explorers Wear Those Tiny Knit Caps?
I mean it was going to make it into OTP based purely on being an exploration of an ultra-specific pattern but it doesn’t hurt that the answer is actually moderately interesting. I mean there are other options obviously but I hadn’t really considered the practical advantages of the knit cap for deep-sea exploration before. Of course I’d never really considered that the knit cap is an ideal form for staying warm without adding a whole bunch of extra space considerations on top of your head before since I’d never had to consider both those things at once.

Manifesto for Visual Culture
One day soon the people who believe that art is a truly original act of creation that’s being destroyed by the internet and the people that believe that art has always been recontextualisation are just going to straight up go to war. Sure that’s a little bit silly and far fetched but I’ve seen too many propaganda posters for that war at this point to think it could never happen.

Soviet medallions scattered on Moon in 1959
Speaking of propaganda, the more I read about the space race the more I think we should have just declared Russia the winners. Sure, we re-framed the debate like pros and went to the fucking moon and that was pretty awesome, but every single time I read about how russians beat us to the punch on such and such thing their solution is fucking brilliant. You know the old joke about how NASA spent millions of dollars and years of research to make a pen that worked in space and the Russians just used pencils? It’s basically that all the way down the line. Sure, some of their cost saving solutions were “have a blatant disregard for human and animal life to speed shit up,” and I don’t mean to lionize them for that but their engineers just kept coming up with these ingenious little hacks to get around the fact that we were better funded and better organized. Want to get to the moon before the americans but can’t figure out how to keep your craft from breaking when it gets there? Well just build one that’s SUPPOSED to break.

Showtime: Yayoi Kusama, “Obliteration Room”
I actually don’t have a whole lot to add to this video and Sterling’s commentary except that I somehow think this whole project is weirdly predictive of 21st century parenting in a weird sort of way. I kind of love the idea of a whole generation of parents that have devalued the physical world to the point where kids can just use it as their playground while the adults do the important, virtual things.

Design Fiction: BLADE RUNNER sketchbook
Guys, seriously though, take a little time to go through this thing because it’s basically brilliant.

Album Of The Week: Chromatics Kill For Love
So I have no webcomics and no new articles I really want to show off so instead here’s an album I’m listening to as I write this and I think it’s brilliant. The link has a lot of words about the album along with a Soundcloud stream of the whole 91 minute (!!!) album. The whole thing basically plays like a less brilliant but way more accessable and consistent Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. I mean Chromatics and M83 are very different bands in a lot of ways but…well just listen to it and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

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