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Transparency: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

 gyreheader Transparency: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

By now, most of us are aware that there is a large patch of floating plastic in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. What you may not know is that it’s not made up of plastic bags and empty bottles. It’s made up of billions of tiny pieces of plastic, and it’s basically invisible unless you’re floating in it. While this might seem better, it’s actually much worse for the environment—and for you. Our latest Transparency is a look at the Pacific Gyre and the plastic floating in it.

Gyre illustration by Jacob Magraw-Mickelson

Los Angeles

photo by Scott Beale

Honest parking meters are hard to come by, so it’s nice to see one confessing their own failure. Don’t worry little guy, you’ll be back to extorting motorists soon enough.

This is a blog post from Laughing Squid.

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Parking Meter FAIL

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Parking Meter Collects Donations For Local Charities

Meter Pops

No Parking by Sirron Norris

Be Afraid: San Francisco’s Parking Stencils of Doom

Squid and Compact Car Parking Only

"My name is Julia Dales and I want to win the Beatbox Battle Wildcard." And guess what. She did. More on the Beatbox Battle World Championship in this NPR post. (Thanks, Tara McGinley!)

Here's a scan of the NYPD Operations Order "Investigation of Individuals Engaged In Suspicious Photography and Video Surveillance," a document issued last month by the Department telling cops in no uncertain terms to stop hassling photographers who shoot in public places, and to get a warrant before searching a camera. Good one to print and carry in the Big Apple.

"Photography and the videotaping of public places, buildings and structures are common activities within New York City . . . and is rarely unlawful," the NYPD operations order begins.

It acknowledges that the city is a terrorist target, but since it's a prominent "tourist destination, practically all such photography will have no connection to terrorism or unlawful conduct."

The department directive -- titled "Investigation of Individuals Engaged in Suspicious Photography and Video Surveillance" -- makes it clear that cops cannot "demand to view photographs taken by a person . . . or direct them to delete or destroy images" in a camera.

Operations Order Investigation of Individuals Engaged In Suspicious Photography and Video Surveillance


(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Here is a great Instructable on how to build a high-quality woodworking bench based on a set of plans originally published in Fine Woodworking Magazine (the best magazine of its kind, in my opinion).

The design used here is simplification of a bench from Sam Allen's book Making Workbenches.

287 products from an online medication website arranged by hue using a Fermat Spiral pattern

Don't forget, the last day to buy advance (discounted) tickets for Maker Faire is THIS Wednesday, Midnight, PDT, May 20th. Tickets purchased after the advance deadline will be at regular price, same as at the gate. This also applies to group rate tickets.

Tickets can be purchased online and at locations around the Bay Area.

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EMI has told Danger Mouse that his latest CD won't see the light of day due to "legal issues," so he's responding by releasing the disc as a blank CD-R in a jewel case with art and liner notes. Fans can just download the music off a P2P site and burn it to the CD-R.

Dark Night Of The Soul, a collaboration with rock group Sparklehorse, also features Iggy Pop and The Flaming Lips, along with artwork by David Lynch.

It has already been streamed online, but Billboard magazine said a "legal dispute" with EMI derailed the project...

"Danger Mouse remains hugely proud of Dark Night of the Soul and hopes that people lucky enough to hear the music, by whatever means, are as excited by it as he is."

He added that the album, which comes with a limited edition, "100+ page book" of David Lynch photographs inspired by the music "will now come with a blank, recordable CD-R".

"All copies will be clearly labelled: 'For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.'"

Danger Mouse to release blank CD

Hear The Entire Album: 'Dark Night Of The Soul'

(Image: Danger Mouse 2 - Gnarls Barkley, a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike image from Staxnet's photostream)


Image: Mike Rosenthal, The Traveling Sound Museum, 2009

The spring show of ITP, New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, which was open to the public last Sunday and Monday, was a like science fair, with students eager to show the results of their projects, and also like a job fair, with middle-aged men in suits prowling for fresh-faced innovators. There’s an atmosphere of authentic creative exploration surrounding the projects displayed, but more often than not the starting point is a vaguely corporate-sounding buzzword: Sustainability! Wearable technologies! Arduino! Connecting to nature was a particularly hot topic, with variations on it ranging from urban botany—like the iPhone app Twigster that helps users identify species of plant life they encounter in parks—to the New-Age crunch of Root Boots, bark-covered footwear that encourages the wearer to stand still and contemplate nature by providing pleasant, low-frequency vibrations when at rest and making scary uprooting sounds when lifted. Voice from the Past also followed the trend of adapting technology to slow the pace of life down; the program lets callers leave a voice message and designate a time in the near or distant future when the recipient will be notified of it. The inverse of that was the whimsical Traveling Sound Museum, with sounds of events like the 1293 sacking of Jaisalmer by the emperor Ala-ud-din Khilji and the 1835 arrival of European explorers in Galapagos in mason jars displayed on an antique wooden cart. (The creator cagily batted away questions about what the burlap in the jars was hiding, and where they “really” came from.) Other projects let computers and audience share the credit for art-making. The “cobots” ShadowBot and SoundBot moved in response to environmental light or noise, respectively, to create messy, Spirogram-like doodles. With the heavy crowds at the show Monday, both were spinning out of control. Outis generates music from live video feed, performing a sonification of the input its camera picks up. If the structure and atmosphere of the ITP Spring Show recalled a science fair or job fair, the individual pieces were like fair sideshows, each designed to grab an audience’s attention for a short time before letting them continue to the next attraction. That has an analogy to the kind of viral fame that apps and devices like these might aspire to--postings on Boing Boing or Slashdot that momentarily tickle the interest of a few thousand readers before they move on to the next one.

Over on BBG, our Joel's spotted this visionary statement from one of our would-be masters of technology:

"I'm a guy who doesn't see anything good having come from the Internet," said Sony Pictures Entertainment chief executive officer Michael Lynton. "Period."

Quote: Sony Pictures CEO on the value of the internet

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