Current Reblogger: Chloë Bass

Chloë Bass is an artist, curator and community organizer based in Brooklyn. She is the co-lead organizer for Arts in Bushwick (, which produces the ever-sprawling Bushwick Open Studios, BETA Spaces, and performance festival SITE Fest, which she founded. Recent artistic work has been seen at SCOPE Art Fair, CultureFix, the Bushwick Starr Theater, Figment, and The Last Supper Art Festival, as well as in and around the public spaces of New York City. She has guest lectured at Parsons, the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, and Brooklyn College. Other moments have found her co-cheffing Umami: People + Food, a 90 person private supper club; growing plants with Boswyck Farms (; and curating with architecture gallery SUPERFRONT ( Chloë holds a BA in Theater Studies from Yale University, and an MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts (PIMA) from Brooklyn College.

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Stephen Wolfram’s Introduction to WolframAlpha

May 13, 2009

Building the ultimate computational knowledge engine is a highly ambitious and long-term project. The WolframAlpha that you will get to start exploring next week is really just the beginning. Still, there are a lot of ways that you might use WolframAlpha.

In this screencast, Stephen Wolfram gives a quick introduction and demo of today’s WolframAlpha.



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Touch screens are everywhere these days. The Maker Shed has a TouchShield Stealth for use with the Arduino environment. Now that the Arduino Mega has been released the bigger TouchShield Slide is also available. Liquidware Antipasto posted some great code to help you get started with your own touch screen project:

I'm making the TouchShield tell the Arduino to turn on an LED. The Arduino code is compatible on the Duemilanove and the Mega. The TouchShield code is compatible on the Stealth and the Slide.

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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 News & Media Limited 2009 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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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.


  • 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.


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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

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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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More about the ITP Spring Show 2009

In the Maker Shed:


Arduino Family

Make: Arduino

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In terms of gift ideas, this one really stinks (boys, don’t surprise your special ladies with this). But if you’re planning a few keggers this summer, this custom-printed toilet paper is sure to garner some laughs.

Available through Carlberg Design, your toilet paper can now capture everything from funny quotes to your company’s logo (probably not the greatest idea) to pics of your boss (how therapeutic) and even your ex-wife (wow, someone’s bitter).

Or just stick with the tried & true “World’s Crappiest…(you fill in the blank)” version.

Each custom roll of 1-color toilet paper is individually shrink-wrapped and costs a cool $12 if you order 4 or less. If you order more, it’s cheaper, but how many rolls of custom-printed toilet paper does a person really need? You can also mix & match designs.

This isn’t your crappy (sorry) commercial-grade TP either. Designs are printed on 2-ply, facial quality, biodegradable paper.

They even take rush orders. You know, for those crazy times when custom-printed toilet paper is a must.

via Liquid Shirts

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Geek school projects

Irregular Incurve: The Robot Ribcage Keytar Is Odd But Beautiful

By matt buchanan, 10:40 AM on Tue May 12 2009, 6,521 views (Edit post, Set to draft, Slurp)

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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]

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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 News & Media Limited 2009 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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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

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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

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