While in old nature people build shelters to protect themselves from natural forces like wind and rain, today one has to protect oneself from nextnatural forces like electromagnetic signals, cellphone tracking, closed circuit television, drone attacks, radiation, etc.
The Faraday tent is a personal space that protects you from all electromagnetic signals in your surroundings. The nextnatural shelter was developed by Sarah van Sonsbeek. She also made a handy Faraday bag, which blocks all calls if you drop your phone in it.
You have a choice dear reader: spend 3 seconds scanning this blogpost, or spend the full 1:11:28 minutes listening to the interview John Brockman did with technology philosopher and founding editor of Wired Magazine, Kevin Kelly.
The interview touches upon the nature of technology, big data, surveillance society, money as a medium, techno-literacy and the question whether the universe is analog or digital.
The video is best experienced as radio, or you can read the transcript here.
Peculiar image of the week. Via Transcendent Man.
There seems to be a high demand for the ability to self-diagnose. Consider Scanadu, a company developing a medical device for self-diagnosis, has become the highest funded project in the history of Indiegogo, the crowd funding website similar to Kickstarter. The desire of the average consumer to have more control when diagnosing and checking their health, as well as removing the doctor as an intermediary, has lead to the company amassing more than $1,378,545 for its Indiegogo campaign, aimed at developing the Scanadu scanner.
Our ancestors could spot natural predators from far by their silhouettes. Are we equally aware of the predators in the present-day? As robotic birds will become commonplace in the near future, we should be prepared to identify them. Get into twenty-first century bird spotting with The Drone Survival guide.
The downloadable guide is an attempt to familiarize people with a changing technological environment. It contains the silhouettes of the most common drone species. It is also possible to order a copy printed on Chromolux ALU-E mirrored paper that, according to designer Ruben Pater, can be used as a defense against drone cameras because of its mirrored surface.
Prepare yourself for next natural predators. After reading the guide your follow up step could be to get a drone hunting permit.
Gamers in on line environments like World of Warcraft and Second Life may have had encounters with secret agents. The Guardian reports American and British spy agencies have infiltrated into major online environments, suspecting that terrorist were hiding among the elves and goblins.
So you might have heard about the Technological Singularity, but did you ever wonder what happens after the fact? Black Sky thinking is a term that is being developed to shape an approach for dealing with unfamiliar territories – both real and conceptual.
Black Sky thinking seeks to understand more about our situation without prejudging or even needing to know the future. It travels into the unknown, not as a reckless gesture but as a creative act, so that we may envision the world we wish to inhabit. This does not mean that anything goes, but rather, signals a fresh exploration of things we thought we knew, so that we can look and imagine afresh.
The next guest in our interview series is Jason Silva, Venezuelan-American filmmaker, futurist, and media artist. The TED Conference called him a performance philosopher for his poetic, impassioned and inspirational take on scientific and technological advancements, his riveting on-stage delivery style, and his hyper-enthusiastic insights on creativity, innovation, technology, philosophy and the human condition.
His non-commercial series of short videos, named Shots of Philosophical Espresso, explore the co-evolution of humans and technology and have gone viral with over 1.2 million views. Many have called Silva an “Idea DJ” and a poet, describing him as a re-vitalizer and remixer of optimism, and above all, a curator: of ideas, of inspiration, and of awe.
Our peculiar image of the week was created by artist Melanie Bonajo, who explores how the objects in our environment, which are supposed to serve us, at the same time also domesticate us. By the way, did you know sitting can be deadly?
In flipping through the future shock images of biosynthetic speculation, it’s easy to miss the historical trajectory to which biosynthetic practices belong. Etienne Turpin takes a look at the long twentieth century of ‘bubble-expanding’ invention and the underlying drive to maintain our sphere of seven billion people, in order to understand this trajectory. He regards proto-biosynthetic techniques like the Haber-Bosch process, which caused an agrarian revolution by synthetically introducing ammonia-produced fertilizer to farm fields, as a key to understanding the dynamics of living in this brave new biosynthetic world.
This essay was originally published in Volume magazine issue #35. Get your copy here.
Egyptian authorities detained a stork last week on suspicion of espionage, mistaking its migration tag for spying equipment. In fact the stork was innocent – like a number of other animals falsely accused over the years of undercover work.
A fundamental philosophical question, how do we know my blue isn’t your yellow? The current human and “natural” understanding of color is fundamentally based on a misunderstanding, a misunderstanding which has been explored by the team at Vsauce in their YouTube video here.
Maybe one day our misconceptions about color will change, inventing and expressing something new, or through use of technology we could create a uniform and correct perception.
UK scientists have designed an implantable microchip that attaches to the vagus nerve, which helps to control a variety of body functions from heart rate to hunger. The chip, which is just a few millimeteres in size, is designed to read electrical and chemical signatures of appetite. The device then sends electrical signals to the brain to reduce or stop the urge to eat.
The work could provide an alternative to weight-loss surgery. Sir Stephen Bloom, one of the researchers involved in the project, says that the chip could provide an alternative to “gross surgery” and reassures potential patients that “There will be a little tiny insert and it will be so designed as to have no side effects, but restrict appetite in a natural way”.
Although this might sound revolutionary, there are other groups working on the vagus nerve to combat obesity. American companies such as EnteroMedics and IntraPace both use vagus nerve stimulation to try to reduce food consumption.
Life-support machines, they are designed to activate our bodies when anatomy fails. But what will happen when the machines keep each other alive?
Designers Revital Cohen & Tuur van Balen created The Immortal; a machine which exists out of several life-support machines connected with wires and electric cords. They keep each other alive through circulation of electrical impulses, oxygen and artificial blood.
“About half of all people don’t take medications like they’re supposed to,” says Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla,California. “This device could be a solution to that problem, so that doctors can know when to rev up a patient’s medication adherence.” Topol is not affiliated with the company that manufactures the device, Proteus Digital Health in Redwood City, California, but he embraces the sensor’s futuristic appeal, saying, “It’s like big brother watching you take your medicine.”
Like bees and the flowers, we are entangled in a co-evolutionary relationship with our technology. But as in any relationship, we should make sure both parties are actually benefiting from the affair.
Looking at this next natural comic, it seems like our relationship might need some work. Thanks Ad.
Arguably the most accessible synthetic biology explanation video we have seen so far. From selective breeding to genetic modification, as our understanding of biology is merging with the principles of engineering into a new discipline called synthetic biology.
Written, animated and directed by James Hutson, Bridge8.