LHC nearly ready

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“The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 27 kilometer (17 mile) long particle accelerator straddling the border of Switzerland and France, is nearly set to begin its first particle beam tests. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is preparing for its first small tests in early August, leading to a planned full-track test in September – and the first planned particle collisions before the end of the year. The final step before starting is the chilling of the entire collider to -271.25 C (-456.25 F). Here is a collection of photographs from CERN, showing various stages of completion of the LHC and several of its larger experiments (some over seven stories tall), over the past several years.”

You can read the full story here at The Boston Globe. There is also 27 absolutely spectacular photos of the collider companioned with the story.

written by Christopher | tags: , , , ,


Alex Dragulescu

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Alex Dragulescu is a Romanian visual artist whose practice embraces both traditional and new media. His projects are experiments and explorations of algorithms, computational models, simulations and information visualizations that involve data derived from databases, spam emails, blogs and video game assets.

His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions worldwide in Madrid, Venice, Florence, Rome, Seoul, Sao Paolo, St Petersburg, La Habana, Arad, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki and the Biennial of Young Artists, Bucharest. In 2005, his software agent Blogbot, won the IBM New Media Award at the Stuttgart Festival for Expanded Media in Germany.

He has a BS in Cinema and Photography from Ithaca College and a Masters of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from University of California at San Diego. In September 2007, Dragulescu left the Experimental Game Lab + Center for Research in Computing and the Arts at UC San Diego and is now a researcher in the Social Media Group at the MIT Media Lab.”

It takes a real artist to create something beautiful out of email spam.

written by Christopher | tags: , , , ,


We Feel Fine

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We Feel Fine is an exploration of human emotion on a global scale.

Since August 2005, We Feel Fine has been harvesting human feelings from a large number of weblogs. Every few minutes, the system searches the world’s newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases “I feel” and “I am feeling”. When it finds such a phrase, it records the full sentence, up to the period, and identifies the “feeling” expressed in that sentence (e.g. sad, happy, depressed, etc.). Because blogs are structured in largely standard ways, the age, gender, and geographical location of the author can often be extracted and saved along with the sentence, as can the local weather conditions at the time the sentence was written. All of this information is saved.

The result is a database of several million human feelings, increasing by 15,000 – 20,000 new feelings per day. Using a series of playful interfaces, the feelings can be searched and sorted across a number of demographic slices, offering responses to specific questions like: do Europeans feel sad more often than Americans? Do women feel fat more often than men? Does rainy weather affect how we feel? What are the most representative feelings of female New Yorkers in their 20s? What do people feel right now in Baghdad? What were people feeling on Valentine’s Day? Which are the happiest cities in the world? The saddest? And so on.

The interface to this data is a self-organizing particle system, where each particle represents a single feeling posted by a single individual. The particles’ properties – color, size, shape, opacity – indicate the nature of the feeling inside, and any particle can be clicked to reveal the full sentence or photograph it contains. The particles careen wildly around the screen until asked to self-organize along any number of axes, expressing various pictures of human emotion. We Feel Fine paints these pictures in six formal movements titled: Madness, Murmurs, Montage, Mobs, Metrics, and Mounds.

At its core, We Feel Fine is an artwork authored by everyone. It will grow and change as we grow and change, reflecting what’s on our blogs, what’s in our hearts, what’s in our minds. We hope it makes the world seem a little smaller, and we hope it helps people see beauty in the everyday ups and downs of life.

Jonathan Harris & Sepandar Kamvar
May 2006″

This has been online for a while now and I have neglected for no good reason to remember to post it. It is really amazing and you can really get caught up, once you realize what all is possible, in playing with it. It is Web 3.0 aggregate data thinking in action.

written by Christopher | tags: , , , , ,


Laser-etching Tattoo

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Wow, this is one of those things that is just too weird to ignore. A teenager modified a laser-etching machine to give himself a Pac-Man tattoo. He disable the safety mechanism in the machine with a die and a magnet in order to get it to perform the job. It looks like it would hurt like hell but you can already imagine the implications and the ideas other people would get as to what they could have burned into them. I’ll pass on this one but it’s pretty interesting.

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The Cloud

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The cloud is:

“An organic sculptural landmark that responds to human interaction and expresses context awareness using hundreds of sensors and over 15,000 individually addressable optical fibers. Constructed of carbon glass, spanning over four meters, and containing more than 65 kilometers of fiber optics, the Cloud encourages visitors to touch and interact with information in new ways, manifesting emotions and behavior through sound and a dichotomy of luminescence and darkness.

Located in downtown Florence outside the Fortezza da Basso. the Cloud is part of the “Redesigning Fashion Trade Shows” project that Pitti Immagine launched with MIT Mobile Experience Lab in January 2007. It is a long-term project that will creatively rethink the trade show concept and will propose innovative technologies, perspectives and sensory experiences for fashion trade shows.”

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,


New Firefox

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A coworker reminded me today that a new version of Firefox is out. It’s my web browser of choice and has been for a while now. I used to work as an actioncript developer and I have designed a few websites in my day. Firefox was always the best browser in terms of development and it still blows Microsoft out of the water. So if you have yet to experience Firefox, do yourself a favor and download it now. They are trying to set a new world record today for the most downloads in a single day. It will be interesting to see if they succeed.

written by Christopher | tags: , , , ,

Crude Oil Excreting Bugs

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I stumbled upon this today and was floored. Granted, I think what we should be doing is looking for alternatives to petroleum because of it’s dire effects on the internet. That said, this was still absolutely fascinating and impossible to ignore.

LS9 has genetically altered tiny single cell bugs to excrete a renewable form of crude oil from the consumption of  agricultural waste. The excreted, ‘Oil 2.0’ will not only be renewable but carbon negative. This means that the carbon it emits will be less than that sucked from the atmosphere by the raw materials from which it is made.

The resultant renewable form of crude oil could then be refined into other products, such as petroleum or jet fuel. Regular crude oil is only a few molecular stages removed from the fatty acids normally excreted by yeast or E. coli during fermentation. So it didn’t take much DNA fiddling from LS9 to achieve the desired result. The best part is that the energy-intensive process of distillation is almost eliminated because the bugs excrete a substance that is close to pump-ready.

LS9’s plan is to have demo-plant operational by 2010 and construction of a commercial-scale facility set to being in 2011.

You can read more about this amazing development here.

Discovered via Joyengine.

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BMW Concept Car

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BMW Concept Car

Take a look at BMW’s new cloth concept car. Very cool.

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The Space Collective

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The Space Collective is one of those rare and magnificent beasts that you stumble upon and can find little words to describe. That is essentially what happened today when I found it by way of a link to a link to a link. Even still after having spent some time on the site, I really can’t even describe to you exactly what it is all about. What I do know is I like where it is going and that it is about looking at the world, and the internet a little differently. It is about wonder and I like to wonder. Our live, work, consume, die routine doesn’t account for much wonder and the irony is that wondering about things is usually what leads to the greatest ideas and innovation. So, it is nice to find a site that is encouraging people to do so in several regards. Be sure to look around the site because there is something unusual, unexpected and often times inspiring lurking just past every button click.

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MIT Nexi Robot

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MIT Media Lab Personal Robotics Group have built a robot named Nexi that is able to move it’s hands and emote by conveying simple facial expressions. The robot falls under the MDS program which stands for Mobile/Dexterous/Social. The program is headed by roboticist Cynthia Breazeal. The small frail looking arms are capable of holding up to 10 pounds and the robot is able to move around vis-a-vis a pair of Segway-like self balancing wheels. The color camera in one of it’s eyes combined with the IR system in it’s forehead allows Nexi of mapping out it’s environment to better navigate the surrounding environment.

The eventual goal of the program is to help support the study of human-robot interfacing, teaming and social learning.

If you were to ask me, I would have to say that it’s all about the eyebrows. Even with the eyebrows it is pretty creepy.

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,