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What is Next Nature?

With our attempts to cultivate nature, humankind causes the rising of a next nature, which is wild and unpredictable as ever. Wild systems, genetic surprises, autonomous machinery and splendidly beautiful black flowers. Nature changes along with us.

Posts Tagged ‘Digital-Presence’

  • YouTube Preview Image

    Gordan Savicic – Facebook Suicide

    Slowly but steadily the digital environment is becoming the primary living space where we interact and define ourselves. According to Gordan Savicic however, some things are still missing… like committing suicide.

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  • Playing With Pigs

    Besides children and pets, it turns out that pigs are also attracted to interactive interfaces. Pig Chase is a computer game in which pigs and people can play together. The aim of the project is to entertain pigs in the bio-industry and to research the relationship between the cognitive capacities of pigs and people.

    So, how does the game work? A screen with light effects in the pigs’ pen is connected to an iPad. Pigs are fascinated by the movement of light and attracted to new light spots on the surface. The iPad user controls a ring of light, which the pig follows with its snout. The human participant leads the pig’s snout to a target. When the target is reached, the pig is rewarded with a display of fireworks.

    Pig Chase is developed by The Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) and Wageningen University. Video and more information on Playing with Pigs. Via Mashable.

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  • we-the-people

    The Right to Privacy

    Privacy is a right. A right given to people by telecommunications companies and social networking websites. It can be described by multiple-choice lists of settings. And it seems that people are extremely willing to downgrade their notion of privacy to the level of the visibility of their social media feed or the confidentiality of their recent viral video viewing history in order to fit the various trending models. Which naturally leads to the question of whether anybody can explain what their privacy is about.

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    iPhone Entertainment for Pets

    Children can be effortlessly entertained for hours thanks to tablet and smartphone games, but these technologies also provide a solution for the lazy pet owner.

    More videos of perplexed pets after the jump.

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  • Visual

    Effortless Learning

    Matrix-style learning sounds like an impossibility, yet new research suggests it might become reality.

    Boston University and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto have conducted experiments in which they demonstrated that they could induce brain activity patterns through a person’s visual cortex, thereby improving a subject’s performance on a visual task. The researchers used decoded functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and neurofeedback to make the subject’s brain activity match that of another person who had previously learned the task.

    The result, say researchers, is a novel approach to learning sufficient to cause long-lasting improvement in tasks that require visual performance. This research might some day lead to applications that could enable you to learn to shred a guitar like Hendrix while not even thinking about what you want to learn. According to lead author and BU neuroscientist Takeo Watanabe, ”We found that subjects were not aware of what was to be learned while behavioral data obtained before and after the neurofeedback training showed that subjects’ visual performance improved specifically for the target orientation, which was used in the neurofeedback training.”

    Video explanation here: Researchers explain Decoded Neurofeedback
    Via: www.nsf.gov

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  • collector afterlife

    A Bug’s Afterlife

    When fruit flies die, they don’t go to heaven, but they do get to go to outer space. At least that’s the conceit of artist HsienYu Cheng’s Collector: Afterlife, which zaps bugs with high voltage and then reincarnates them in a Space Invaders-style video game. Each dead fly translates to one extra life for the onscreen hero. When the lives run out, the player has to wait around for more flies to wander into the trap’s deadly blue light. It’s a digital age update on the concept of rebirth, or just a new take on the spider and its web.

    Via Mediamatic

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  • Steve Jobs 1955 -2011

    Steve Jobs 1955 -2011

    Steve Jobs, former Apple CEO, passed away on Wednesday October 5th after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Technology conceived from his vision has changed the world dramatically over the past 14 years. He kissed the snake; we eat the fruit. The Next Nature garden has entered a new era.
    image source

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  • fold-it-protein-game

    Gamers Solve Enzyme Riddle

    In a vivd example of the blur between culture and nature, players using an online game called Foldit have helped solve complex questions for researchers about enzyme models. The solution, which eluded researchers for more than 10 years was solved by gamers in only a few days, contributing towards research into anti-AIDS drugs. Giving credit where it’s due, researchers have named the gamers as co-authors in the study published in the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.

    Read the full story on BBC.com.

  • sins

    Sin free for just €1.59

    For just £1.19 ($1.99, €1,59) you can download an app for your iPhone which offers tips and guidelines with the sacrament, “the perfect aid for every penitent” as the description reads. This, on itself, is not so special. There are dozen of apps which help you to confess, though this is the first which is officially approved by the Catholic Church.

    The app allows users to keep track of their sins, and guides them through the sacrament (where Catholics admit their wrongdoing through).  The app is launched shortly after Pope Benedict XVI gave the advice to embrace digital communication. Although he adds: “It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives.”

    Hopefully there will be a ‘Pocket Pope’ app in the near future.

    Via BBC News, iTunes

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  • Brainscan App

    Brainscan App

    By hooking up a commercially available EEG headset to a Nokia N900 smartphone, Jakob Eg Larsen and colleagues at the Technical University of Denmark in Kongens Lyngby have created a portable system to monitor neural activity of the brain. Wearing the headset and booting up an accompanying app, creates a simplified 3D model of the brain that lights up as brainwaves are detected. The brain-image can be rotated by swiping the screen. Furthermore, the app can connect to a remote server for more intensive data-processing, and then display the results on the cellphone. The system might assist people with conditions such as epilepsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and addiction. One small step for science, but a giant leap for health care. Source: newscientist.com

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  • YouTube Preview Image

    I am not a Robot. I am a Unicorn.

    At Cornell Creative Machines Lab they were curious to see how two “chatbots” would make conversation. Powered by Cleverbot, created by AI researcher Rollo Carpenter, the robots were fooled into recognizing each other as humans. On YouTube someone comments: “If ever these two got married, it wouldn’t last a week.” But the contrary could be true if their somewhat intelligent chitchat helps them pass the Turing test. Till the switch do them part.

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  • Physical Scrollbars

    Physical Scrollbars

    Scrollbars is a series of installations and physical scrollbar-representations created by Dutch artist Jan Robert Leegte. According to the artist, most of us consider the scrollbar to be a virtual object – but in use it triggers reactions such as frustration, which suggests a subconscious acceptance of the inherent “reality” of these objects.

    Via guerrilla innovation

  • YouTube Preview Image

    YouTube preserves unmediated Nature

    On Youtube, there’s a whole sub-genera of safari videos that show, in gruesome detail, what exactly it means to live and die in Old Nature. The above film is a particularly stomach-churning example, depicting African hunting dogs that eviscerate and devour a kudu while the antelope is still very much alive.  It’s the sort of material that winds up on the editing floor during the production of a typical nature documentary. Wildlife films sanitize the predator-prey relationship. Death occurs off-screen; if it is shown, it’s bloodless and quick.  Amateur nature videos remove a layer of artistic interpretation between the audience and “authentic” nature. Without a sound track or a narrator contextualizing the hunt, death becomes neither triumphant nor tragic. It doesn’t impart any moral lessons. In nature, as in YouTube, death just happens.

    Amateur videos like “Survival of the Fittest” compete for page views, and so still maintain the entertainment edict of traditional wildlife filmmaking. Web cams trained on nesting birds or savannah waterholes offer an even more immediate experience. They’re instantaneous, unedited, and usually unrecorded. In other words, wildlife web cams are the next best thing to being there. It used to be that professionally produced films, articles, and books were the main means for city-dwellers and office-workers to experience any wildlife more threatening than a pigeon.  Advanced digital technologies have helped to restore some ‘truth in advertising’ to the workings of wild ecosystems. In some sense, YouTube and other websites have become unintentional parks that uphold the conservation of unmediated nature.

  • typewriter animals

    Typing Out Evolution

    From the exhibit “What Machines Dream Of” in Berlin comes Life Writer, a work by Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau. As the participant types, letters are projected on a scroll of paper. After pushing the return bar, the letters are transformed into animated, typographic creatures that bob and skitter across the paper. The ravenous insects then proceed to gobble up the words as fast as they’re typed. When the paper is scrolled, the creatures reproduce, birthing offspring that looks slightly different from the parent. An algorithm determines the shape and behavior of the organisms, and controls how they evolve with each generation.

    Sommer and Mignonneau use an obsolete technology to bring up very current questions about the autonomy of technological systems, and what ‘life’ means when humans can create convincing facsimiles of it. “What Machines Dream Of” is on display until August 28. It’s free, fun, and full of  next natural goodness.

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  • Bare necessities

    Bare necessities

    According to a research by JWT AnxietyIndex the changing mediascape is upon us. Do to the recession people are forced to validate their luxuries and it turned out that teens and twentysomethings are willing to cut back on a lot of things, except on the internet connection and mobile phone.  Within their mediascape these are more important then traditional entertainment. Connectivity is entertainment.

    Via: We Are Organized Chaos.

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  • backtothetribe

    Essay: Back to the Tribe

    Traditionally, technology is seen as a force that diminishes our instincts and puts us at a distance of nature. Increasingly however, we realize technology can also energize and amplify our deepest human sensibilities – even some we had forgotten about. Propelling us not so much back to, but rather forward to nature.

    By VAN MENSVOORT

    Almost two decades ago, Brian Eno – artist, composer, inventor, thinker – gave an interview in which he stated the problem with computers was that there is not enough Africa in them [1]. “Africa is everything that something like classical music isn’t. Classical – perhaps I should say ‘orchestral’ – music is so digital, so cut up, rhythmically, pitch wise and in terms of the roles of the musicians. It’s all in little boxes.”… “Do you know what a nerd is? A nerd is a human being without enough Africa in him or her. I know this sounds sort of inversely racist to say, but I think the African connection is so important. I want so desperately for that sensibility to flood into these other areas, like computers.” … “It uses so little of my body. You’re just sitting there, and it’s quite boring. You’ve got this stupid little mouse that requires one hand, and your eyes. That’s it. What about the rest of you? No African would stand for a computer like that. It’s imprisoning.”

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  • a run on the bank

    BitFriday – First Crash for Digital Currency

    On June 10, the digital currency Bitcoin lost 30% of its value in a few hours, dropping from US $28.92 to $20.01 per coin. Bitcoins are a largely untraceable form of money, relying on a peer-to-peer  system for legitimacy, instead of a central authority like a government or Second Life’s Linden Labs. Gawker recently brought Bitcoins to mainstream attention in a report on Silk Road, a website where aspiring drug users can use the anonymous currency to purchase home delivery of any psychoactive from LSD to cocaine.

    The Bitcoin Black Friday was the result of certain events that real life markets have learned to control for – a bank rush, where Bitcoin owners exchanged their Bits back to bucks en masse, and a market that stayed open despite rapid inflation over the last few weeks. Millions of dollars in Bitcoin investments were lost in the resulting crash. This fast-moving bear market goes to show that online events increasingly mimic ‘real’ events, and that the investors in digital markets could stand to crack open their history books. Virtual economies work the same as actual ones, although all money, by definition, is already virtual.

    Via DailyTech.  Image via Dipity.

  • hiking using cell phone

    Humane Technology #6: Improve the Human Condition

    And now for the sixth and final principle: Humane technology improves the human condition and helps people realize the dreams they have of themselves.

    No matter what your government might be telling you, we probably don’t need better defense technology. Instead of killer robots and city-leveling bombs, we need tech that adds to the very best in ourselves- our health, our minds and our dreams for the future. Naturalist E.O Wilson’s notion of biophilia should not be limited just to humans. Technology should love life as much as we do.

    Humane technology, as a concept, can be tricky to pin down. What is humane in one circumstance is irritating or destructive in another. A cell phone may be more humane than a landline, permitting the talker to wander around, free to conduct business or call home from the far side of the globe. But cell phones may be inhumane for precisely this reason. A Blackberry or iPhone can seem less like an indispensable fifth limb than a second mouth that just won’t shut up. A technology can never defined as entirely humane or entirely inhumane. There is no end point that makes a certain device ‘humane.’ We may not know it by how it looks, but we will know it by how it feels.

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