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The good news for us in the Northern hemisphere is that the snow season is gone .. the bad news is that allergy season is upon us.

If you are like me and you are looking for a drug free approach to combat allergies, then the SneezerBeam may be the gadget for you.

The Sneezer Beam can help to reduce symptoms such as sneezing, running nose, sinus congestion, watery eyes and more. It simply works through by leveraging a low energy narrow band dual wavelength light beam to relieve hay fever and allergy symptoms.



Specifications

  • Uses photo therapy to help relieve Hay Fever
  • Non-invasive and drug free treatment
  • Use for three minutes, three times daily whilst symptoms persist
  • Automatic shut off alarm
  • Measures 7.8 x 4.5 x 4.5cm
  • Uses 1 x 9v battery (incl.)
  • A medically approved device with full CE certification.

SneezerBeam

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A seemingly trivial tweak to the social messaging website's defaults has users up in arms - and threatens its expansion

What looks like an innocuous note on the Twitter blog last night has instead touched off a firestorm. If you can touch off a firestorm on a social network. Anyway.

The note said:

We've updated the Notices section of Settings to better reflect how folks are using Twitter regarding replies. Based on usage patterns and feedback, we've learned most people want to see when someone they follow replies to another person they follow—it's a good way to stay in the loop. However, receiving one-sided fragments via replies sent to folks you don't follow in your timeline is undesirable. Today's update removes this undesirable and confusing option.

I know: you're saying "huh?"

Here's how it works. Twitter is a non-reciprocal social network: A may "follow" (see the tweets of) B, but B doesn't have to follow A. Instead, B might follow C (whom A doesn't follow), and send comments to C - which, in the evolving language of Twitter, are prefixed by "@".

Thus B might say:

@C you went to the Flight of the Conchords gig? Album's great!

Until last night, A would have seen that tweet. And, if A was a Conchords fan, or respected B's opinion, then they might also be interested in C - who seems to have the same interests (at least on satirical music/TV series).

But with the tweak, that doesn't happen. Because B is addressing C - even though it's public, in the "timeline" - it doesn't appear in A's list of "things B said".

This is not popular - there's already the #fixreplies meme - and Evan Williams, Twitter's chief executive, has responded "Reading people's thoughts on the replies issue. We're considering alternatives. Thanks for your feedback."

While it was a user preference that you could choose not to see messages directed to someone you didn't follow, what has annoyed people is that it's now a default - and you can't change it. (Putting words in front, so the @C is embedded somewhere in the message, or even an underscore - such as _@C - does work, but it's a hoop that people who had previously chosen to see everything don't want to jump through.)

The wider point about this though is that it cuts to the heart of how you make social networking effective. Twitter has been likened to a giant cocktail party: pretty much everything is in the open (apart from people who "protect" their updates, meaning you have to request to see them). The idea that you can serendipitiously come across interesting people by watching the interplay of people you already follow with people you don't has been one of its attractions.

Similarly on Facebook, where having befriended somebody, you can cruise through their friends and see if there are others you'd like to get connected to. In essence, we're trying to reduce the six degrees of separation to one (within the natural limits of our ability to properly befriend large numbers of people - which is limited, apparently by the folds in our brain, to about 150, aka Dunbar's number).

Really, we need an anthropologist to weigh in here..

Biz Stone, the co-founder who wrote the original blogpost, did seem to realise that this might interfere with how people used Twitter, but brushed it off:

Spotting new folks in tweets is an interesting way to check out new profiles and find new people to follow. Despite this update, you'll still see mentions or references linking to people you don't follow. For example, you'll continue to see, "Ev meeting with @biz about work stuff" even if you don't follow @biz. We'll be introducing better ways to discover and follow interesting accounts as we release more features in this space.

Except that the typical way to write the above tweet would be
@ev meeting with @biz about work stuff
which would not then appear in the stream of anyone who doesn't follow @ev - meaning they'd never know about Ev's and Biz's meetups.

Any way you look at it, it's retrograde. The interesting thing will be to see how long it takes @ev and @biz to realise this and roll back the change.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2009 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Jesse Ventura -- former pro-wrestler, Minnesota governor, Navy SEAL -- says that he's ashamed that the US government waterboarded its prisoners, and says that Cheney is a "chickenhawk" who didn't have the guts to fight in Vietnam, but was tough enough to order torture:

It's drowning. It gives you the complete sensation that you are drowning. It is no good, because you -- I'll put it to you this way, you give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders...

I don't have a lot of respect for Dick Cheney. Here's a guy who got five deferments from the Vietnam War. Clearly, he's a coward. He wouldn't go when it was his time to go. And now he is a chicken hawk. Now he is this big tough guy who wants this hardcore policy. And he's the guy that sanctioned all this torture by calling it enhanced interrogation.

Jesse Ventura: You Give Me a Water Board, Dick Cheney and One Hour, and I'll Have Him Confess to the Sharon Tate Murders

(via Digg)














MAKE was at the ITP Spring Show 2009 earlier this week. This is a compilation video of just some of the cool projects that were on display. Later in the week I will be writing about some of my favorite projects in more detail.



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In the Maker Shed:

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Resident artist Jon Cohrs has created a device for striking it rich by prospecting for oil in the city center. Using old metal detectors, hydrocarbon sensors, locative media, and hype, this project combines a DIY aesthetic, basic accessible electronics, and pop culture to re-invigorate urban exploration and prospecting. Riding on the coat tails of the current subculture of prospecting and the historical precedent of the Gold Rush, the aim is to encourage a tongue-in-cheek urban oil rush.

Instructions on how to make the device will be made available online, and news of oil strikes in cities around the world will be projected as a Twitter feed in the gallery space. The device is both a real technological accomplishment, and an artistic 'conceptual object' which challenges us to reassess our greed and dependence on oil. http://urbanprospecting.net is a featured project on Instructables.com

The project is a result of Cohr's winning a Futuresonic 2009 Art Award Commission.

If you've got big ideas, could use a little time and money, not to mention support and inspiration, to create a visionary project, then go apply to our Summer/Fall Residency.  This is the last week of the cycle!

Residents are granted a $5,000 stipend and 24/7 access to Eyebeam's state of the art digital design and fabrication studios at their Chelsea facility.  Come work with us!

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Opening reception: Thurs., May 21, 2009, 6PM – 8PM

Drawing Contemporaries, curated by Eyebeam senior fellow Michael Mandiberg, was an exhibition of work on paper made by a peer group of new media artists who all create drawings, both as a primary object and as an experimental process. For many of the artists, the use of computers and algorithms are the focus in their work. While a number of the artists are Eyebeam affiliated, all are contemporaries whose influences upon each other can be traced in this exhibition. Drawing Contemporaries was on exhibit May 21 - June 9, 2009.

Darren Kraft uses powdered graphite to photorealistically reproduce icons and logos associated with consumer and political culture; Eyebeam senior fellow Steve Lambert and Julia Schwadron write personal and poetic messages of hope, which they leave taped up in public places; Eyebeam senior fellow Michael Mandiberg uses the laser cutter to etch and carve works on paper that incorporate text, history, and design; Marisa Olson performs google image searches for obsolete technologies, and traces their contours directly off her laptop screen with a mechanical pencil; and Lee Walton creates elaborate indexes of possible graphic marks which are algorithmically used to document events as they occur. His subjects range from pedestrian traffic to sports games.

Geek school projects

Irregular Incurve: The Robot Ribcage Keytar Is Odd But Beautiful

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Irregular Incurve started as an attempt to design a new acoustic instrument puny humans couldn't wrap their hands or mouths around—the result is a robot dinosaur rib cage that plays music. It's mezmerizing:



It uses a MIDI input device and plays twelve different tones, though it can be tuned so it can play different kinds of music. [Irregular Incurve at ITP]

guest post by Burstein!

Star Wars Soundboard

The official Star Wars website has released a web-based soundboard where you can combine a series of sounds and quotes from Star Wars on two channels. While simple for now, Star Wars promises many more features to come. Even without the features, I was able to put together a deep meaningful dialog between Princess Leia and Chewbacca that made my inner 12-year-old giggle (with the help of a timely “Nooo!” from Luke).

This is a blog post from Laughing Squid.



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Star Wars Soundboards Launched, Remix A Wookie

Related posts:

Star Wars: Live on Stage Featured on The Official Star Wars Blog

Star Wars Crawl, Make Your Own Custom Star Wars Intro

Star Wars vs. Star Trek, The Death Star Destroys The Starship Enterprise Over San Francisco

Star Wars Celebration IV & USPS Star Wars Stamps

Darth Vader Star Wars Transformer Turns Into Death Star

Greek authorities ban Google Street View camera cars over fears of becoming a 'Big Brother' society

Highlighting a growing fear among Greeks of the threat posed by "creeping" new technologies, Athens's data protection agency has prohibited vehicles manned by Google's Street View drivers from the country.

The all-powerful watchdog said the search engine would have to provide "additional information" and concrete guarantees that the service was not an invasion of personal privacy before expanding the programme to Greece.

"We are not going to allow our country to become a Big Brother society," said one agency official, who asked not to be named.

Additional information would include telling the agency how long it planned to keep images taken by Street View vans and what steps it would take to alert residents of their rights if they were liable to be photographed.

Advance warnings by the drivers of camera-equipped Google cars were inadequate and not enough to fend off fears of intrusion of privacy, the authority said.

In part as a legacy of seven years of harsh military rule, Greece has draconian rules around protecting private data – edicts that for years have made it extremely hard for governments to install state-of-the-art monitoring technologies. The abolition of CCTV cameras – although a relative rarity in Greece compared with the UK and other EU states – was a major demand of protesters when violence erupted in the country last December.

Asked whether the clampdown on Google Street View was an extreme measure – given that it is legal to take photographs in public places across Greece – another watchdog official said: "Photographs are not normally made available globally, and therefore there is no risk of violation of personal data."

The Greek agency also prohibited a rival surveillance service operated by ISP Kapou, a Greek company, saying its images posed a similar threat.

Echoing a widespread view, Yannis Papadopoulos, a Greek leftist who agreed with the watchdog's precautionary stance, said: "Privacy as a concept or even word may not exist in our language but all this snooping is simply Orwellian. We won't let it pass."

Google insisted that protecting privacy was a priority for the street-mapping service it launched in the US two years ago and which is now operational in nine countries.

"Google takes privacy very seriously, and that's why we have put in place a number of features, including the blurring of faces and licence plates, to ensure that Street View will respect local norms when it launches in Greece," the company said.

A "dialogue" with the Hellenic Data Protection authority was ongoing, it said.

"We believe that launching in Greece will offer enormous benefits to both Greek users and the people elsewhere who are interested in taking a virtual tour of some of its many tourists attractions."

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2009 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds