Back to the Tribe
Modern technologies can revive ancient impulses
Modernity tried to whitewash our tribal selves, to erase the vestiges of the savannah in our genome. But like graffiti in a city, our inner caveman is irrepressible. The ancient hominid self springs up unpredictably and in unexpected places.
The tribe underlies the most fundamental parts of our identities, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to pin down. How far have we moved from our small bands of foragers? Digital technologies like social networking sites and cell phones return us to an age of tribal-style social immersion.
These peculiar illustrations are part of a sixteen-page pamphlet produced to put inside the postage-paid, business-reply envelopes that come with junk mail offers. Every envelope collected is stuffed with the pamphlet and mailed back to …
Cell phone minutes: the next currency
It might just be my old nature mind, but I still find it a daily miracle: being able to walk into the bakery around the corner and trade a piece of paper – called …
Digitally Enhance your Ego
Avatars, almost every internet user has at least one of them running around somewhere on the web. We control then in numerous games and forums, but do they also control us?
Researchers at the Virtual Human …
Social Networking down to the Genetic Level
If you’ve ever wanted to know just exactly how much DNA you share with your ridiculously tall brother or doppelganger best friend, you’ll soon be able to find out. 23andMe, a personal genomics startup in …
The Printed Pot
These printed pots were inspired by Southwest Native American pottery and were printed using powdered slip and binder in a three-dimensional printer.
Mixing ancient traditions with emerging technologies. Don’t you just love it when oldnature & …
Archaeologist finds ruins of ‘Friendster’
Researchers conducting the Friendster excavation say the site has been deserted since the year 2005 A.D.
In 1961, the name of Marshall McLuhan was unknown to everyone but his English students at the University of Toronto — and a coterie of academic admirers who followed his abstruse articles in small-circulation quarterlies. But then came two remarkable books — The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) and Understanding Media (1964) — and the graying professor from Canada’s western hinterlands soon found himself characterized by the San Francisco Chronicle as “the hottest academic property around.” He has since won a world-wide following for his brilliant — and frequently baffling — theories about the impact of the media on man; and his name has entered the French language as mucluhanisme, a synonym for the world of pop culture.
Today’s technology advances so rapidly that people are often unable to update their media schemas in time and as a result are left cluelessly in awe of it all. Mike Thompson’s Wifi dowsing rod aims to work against this: By basing the design for a wireless internet detector on ancient technology, the user should immediately feel at home with the device.
Although perhaps impractical and anecdotal, the Wifi dowsing rod is an intriguing attempt of using ‘magic’ as a construct to cope with the technological complexity accumulating around us. A great gift for your grand-grand-parents.
In millions of offices and homes around the world, people are hard at work planting crops, feeding cattle and tilling their land. Welcome to Farmville, the digital rural world where the sun always shines, where beans take two days to grow, where pink cows produce strawberry milk, where farming is leisure.
Farmville has become a viral Internet trend since its launch as a Facebook application in 2007. According to Zynga, the company that brought FarmVille into the world, it has rapidly grown to over 70 million users – compare that to the one million traditional farmers active in the USA.
Players sign up and get fields, infrastructure, and cash. Their task is to create bigger, better, and richer farms. The game starts off with a given piece of land and seeds …
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 . “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.”
Twenty years ago, when Eno gave his interview, no one had a mobile phone. Today when you accidentally leave your house without your phone you feel amputated – as if you left a limb on the table – and you quickly …
Now here is an experiment any one can do at home: Look around in your house and try to find a consumer product of which you know where it was made and by whom. Got any? Indeed, this can be quite a difficult task nowadays. Which shows how disconnected we have become from the products surrounding us – for all we know they grow in the shopping tree.
Thomas Thwaites decided to take things in his own hand and see if …
Mapping the DNA World
DNA related tools, once expensive and restricted to research and crime labs, are rapidly becoming affordable. Like GPS – once a high-tech wonder now turned into a everyday gadget – simple DNA sequencing may soon be available to almost everyone.
Undoubtedly DNA related applications will transform society as we know it:Synthetic pets, Amateur food testing, Faked DNA evidence, Genetic mapping,Genetic social networks, DNA as information storage, HumanDNA trees, Hyper Fruit… the applications are mind bubbling and seemingly infinite.
Amazon Tribe lacks concept of Time
A study, in Language and Cognition has shown that time does not exist as a separate concept for the Brazilian Amondawa – an Amazon tribe first contacted by the outside world in 1986.
The Amondawa language …
We Domesticated Ourselves
Our bodies are maps of our ancestor’s social lives. We evolved, physically and behaviorally, in incredibly complex social groups. Such intense sociability may have favored the very traits we favor in cows, horses, dogs and …
Japanese professor Hiroshi Ishiguro from Osaka University has quite a track record of threading the uncanny valley. Remember his Doppelgänger Robot and Geminoid Female? His current proposal brings new dimensions to mobile communications: Humanoid …