This week in the hacksphere, Regurgipaintings and a sexual satellite aptly named Proba V
The name speaks for itself – a technocentric cache of odds and ends, including how to build a 3D printer out of Lego. It works on principle, but clearly, the odds of the entire thing melting into a terrible lawsuit are extremely high.
Not much to explain here – sometimes Tumblr simply chooses to smile warmly upon those of us who grew up with a solid and unironic reverence for neon gifs.
GIF OF THE WEEK: by Ryoichi Kurokawa/Lachlan Burrows
Lachlan “Lockie” Burrows borrowed Ryoichi Kurokawa’s indoor-waterfall-installation Octfalls and made it into a gif – you know, for those of us who couldn’t travel back to 2011 to see it in the flesh. Check the video of Kurokawa’s original installation here.
Scientists at Oxford have confirmed the color of exoplanet HD 189773 b by measuring its albedo, or the light it reflects as it passes its parent star. Located in the Vulpecula constellation (“little fox”), HD 189773b is as blue as our earth, but for vastly different reasons: its wildly fluctuating temperatures (hot as hell) and volatile winds mean that atmospheric silicates become small bits of glass, creating a blue-light effect.
Cue all the Pocari Sweat jokes: UNICEF and friends have figured out how to convert human sweat into potable water using a contraption that resembles a washing machine. Cheers?
CYBERCRIME OF THE WEEK: Drone hunting in Colorado
Given last month’s news, the sentiment behind this item isn’t exactly a terrible thing, but come August 6, a fed-up town in Colorado will vote on an ordinance to create drone-hunting licenses with a US$100 bounty per drone caught. Destroying government property is a crime under U.S. federal law, but the citizens of Deer Creek seem steadfastly determined not to let unmanned aerial vehicles in and around town, setting a distinctly dystopic precedent for future human-drone interactions.
WEBSITE OF THE WEEK: Data is Nature
Data is Nature is the wonderfully esoteric research blog of Paul Prudence, a performance and installation artist who explores the interstices of art, technology and nature.
HARDWARE/GADGET OF THE WEEK: Proba V
The Proba V is a European Space Agency satellite, roughly the size of a large washing machine, that has produced a stunning 200,000 megapixel map of the world’s vegetation after only two months in space. It’s a pint-sized triumph for the ESA, especially since their 2002 Envisat mission failed due to loss of contact; the Envisat satellite was the largest civilian Earth observation satellite to ever see space, which is makes Proba V’s small size’s an even bigger success.
GEEK OF THE WEEK: Elon Musk
Before objecting to the redundance of this week’s superstar selection, take a moment to consider the abysmal state of rail travel in the United States over the past few decades. We eagerly await August 12, when Musk officially unleashes Hyperloop on the dying American train system.
APP OF THE WEEK: Livra-Obra
A beautiful project based on the work of 1980s Brazilian Constructivist Lygia Clark. The “book” itself is an interactive exploration of Clark’s fondness for cutting, folding and manipulating textured planes, but in an updated digital format. The app was developed by 32Bits Criações Digitais with Itaú Cultural and Associação Cultural o Mundo de Lygia Clark to complement an exhibition last year in São Paulo.
In the vein of last week’s Martin Howse post, using organic material to create technology is one thing, but artist John Knuth has gone a step further to create art out of fly regurgitation. Knuth created a mixture of sugar and watercolor pigments, fed it to houseflies kept in special canvas-walled enclosures, and let them do the painting. The idea of using biological creatures as a means of mass production is a tried and true sci-fi trope, but Knuth’s project could mark a wild turning point in the evolving relationship between art and technology.
Journalist Nonny de la Peña uses VR tech and 3d environments to immerse her “readers” in the world she’s reporting in.
ALGO ANXIETY OF THE WEEK: Realeyes
Marketing is on the right track with Realeyes, if the right track means training artificial intelligence how to recognize your feelings about product advertisements. Volunteers participate at home, via a webcam, which raises a whole host of new questions about exactly how meta this experiment is (in a related universe, TEDxAuckland just released a teaser video for its artificial intelligence project, Baby X.
WETWARE OF THE WEEK
Not quite wetware, but definitely edging towards a crossroads where medical technology, body modification and odd personal convictions meet under the blade of a surgeon’s knife. Japanese fortune-seekers are getting plastic surgery to change their palm lines for a more favourable future. The process itself requires burning the flesh with an electric scalpel in a shaky sort of way to ensure the scalpel will leave an appropriately organic-looking palm line.