Tag: Back to the Tribe

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Back to the Tribe

Deliver us from Digital Bluntness

The internet is a wonderful tool, with huge potential and is often used with positive results. But more recently it is becoming apparent how, as a tool, it dehumanises and makes people lose a grip on the reality of their actions and the implications of their voice.

Take for example a social tool such as Twitter. It’s mission statement is simply ““To instantly connect people everywhere to what’s most important to them.” with 140 characters it does this quite well. But at the same time things can also go wrong. Being such an open platform it allows for anyone to read anything you write (assuming your settings aren’t set to private) and yes, that includes your boss!

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“Second Life” (2007); Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Back to the Tribe

Out of Network

When we type “Flickr” or “Facebook” or “YouTube” into a browser, we seek to enter social networks and enjoy secure communication and interaction with a vast number of online users from around the world. Most of us take for granted that these words are understood by others in the same way. But what if rather than type these words on a keyboard we paint them on the walls of slums in Mali, Cambodia or Vietnam. Their meanings would certainly change.

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Back to the Tribe

Modern Cave Painting

Primitive man lived in caves. He used the surface of these caves as a canvas (*) to make representations of the things that surrounded him: animals and hunting, stories of magic and ritual, which helped him to make sense of the world.

Over the years, his cave has changed quite a bit: today, it comes on four wheels and in bright, shiny colors. In their turn, tribes of other cavemen use them as canvasses for their own art. An art which in itself has become more primitive and abstract, or minimal and conceptual if you want. It doesn’t nessecarily want to tell a story, or say something about the world outside the cave. Rather, it seems to refer to the cave itself. Instead of making representations of magic and rites, the creative act itself has become the ritual. Now drive me back to the tribe!

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3dbone
Anthropomorphobia

Swap Your Bones for an Improved, 3D-Printed Version

3D printing technology is improving quickly. The applications of these revolutionary devices are obvious regarding medicine and body science. Scientists have already created 3D-printed ears. It may be that more complex organs are only a few years away.

The medical applications are clear, but what if we thought about 3D organ printing in a more cosmetic way ? Nowadays, piercings and tattoos are not limited just to rebels, but are popular for many people. On the more extreme end, subdermal implants have appeared too, borrowing both from plastic surgery and from piercing. Changing your outside apparence is a common practice. But we could use 3D printing to change our inside appearance too.

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chips
Food Technology

How Food Scientists Engineer the “Bliss Point” in Junk Food

Over at the New York Times, a recent article exposes the clever and surprisingly immoral ways the food industry manufactures foods to rival hard drugs for their addictive potential. Well worth the read, the article discusses “designer sodium”, the genesis of the ideal kid’s lunch, and the search for the morphine-like “bliss point” in soda. One scientist’s description of Cheetos, in particular, highlighted the extraordinary detail that goes into what we see as a normal, familiar food:

“This,” Witherly said, “is one of the most marvelously constructed foods on the planet, in terms of pure pleasure.” He ticked off a dozen attributes of the Cheetos that make the brain say more. But the one he focused on most was the puff’s uncanny ability to melt in the mouth. “It’s called vanishing caloric density,” Witherly said. “If something melts down quickly, your brain thinks that there’s no calories in it . . . you can just keep eating it forever.” Read more

facebook_avant_la_lettre
Back to the Tribe

Cavemen Used ‘Facebook’ Already

Scientists claim to have discovered a “prehistoric version of Facebook” used by ancient tribes to communicate with each other. After analyzing over 3000 rock art images in Sweden and Russia, Mark Sapwell and his team from Cambridge University concluded that the sites functioned like an “archaic related stories version” of social networks where users shared thoughts and emotions and gave stamps of approval to other contributions – very similar to today’s Facebook like.

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dezeen_Forget-Me-Knot-by-Sruli-Recht_1
Anthropomorphobia

Forget Me Knot

We all know BioJewellery; two wedding rings grown from bone tissue collected from two lovers. This intimate ring allows you to physically wear your partner around your finger. Although these rings are…

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chicken coop
Back to the Tribe

A €1,174 Chicken Coop for the Bourgeois Farmer

Long for farm-fresh eggs on the table? Dream about going to bed each night worrying about racoons, rats and foxes? Like the feeling of scraping chicken shit off your hands? For the low price of €1,174, upscale cooking supplier Williams-Sonoma will furnish you with a rustic chicken coop for your backyard flock.

Like children’s playhouses, the complete line of Williams-Sonoma chicken coops enable suburbanites and weekend warriors to enact deeply emotional fantasies – except here, they’re not fantasies of princely wealth or futuristic space exploration, but of preindustrial simplicity. Most fantasies are aggrandizing. The bourgeois farmer’s fantasy is one of humility, of dirt and labor. And as with all fantasies, this one is only loosely grounded in fact.

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help_from_africa
Back to the Tribe

Help Us Africa!

Like the fish, who don’t know its wet, we are immersed in technological systems. They are created to improve our lives, yet they may numb our true human potencies as well. When…

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brooklyn survivalists
Back to the Tribe

Charging Phones by (and with) Camp Fire

With areas of New York still without electricity, BioLite recently came to the rescue of Brooklynites by  setting up a charging station with camping stoves that convert excess heat to electricity. As…

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ethiopian tablet hackers
Back to the Tribe

Illiterate Kids Learn to Hack Tablet Computers with No Outside Help

The One Laptop Per Child program is experimenting with what at first seems to be the lazy way to philanthropy: dropping off tablet computers in remote Ethiopian villages and then simply leaving. Could illiterate children learn not only how to operate the Motorola Zooms, but teach themselves to read? According to  Nicholas Negroponte, founder of One Laptop Per Child, the results were astonishing:

“We left the boxes in the village. Closed. Taped shut. No instruction, no human being. I thought, the kids will play with the boxes! Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, but found the on/off switch. He’d never seen an on/off switch. He powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs [in English] in the village. And within five months, they had hacked Android. Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera! And they figured out it had a camera, and they hacked Android.”

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modern stone age tools
Augmented-Bodies

Modern Flint Tools

Stone tools are the most ancient evidence of our ancestor’s ingenuity, proof that we’ve been augmenting our bodies for millions of years. These flint tools by Ami Drach and Dov Ganchrow update…

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