Tag: Feed-Back


Urban Mining – Gold digging in the Sewers

gold digging in the sewers
Resource-poor Japan discovered a new source of mineral wealth: sewage sludge. In its first month of operation, a sewage plant in Japan’s Nagano prefecture has mined 5 million yen ($56,000) worth of gold from sludge.

Sewage plant operator Nagano Prefecture Suwa Construction Office announced that approximately four pounds of gold can be mined from each ton of molten fly ash generated when incinerating sludge at its facility in the town of Suwa. That is better than the 20 to 40 grams of golden metal retrieved from each ton of ore at Japan’s Hishikare mine, according to Reuters.

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First tweet from space

That’s one small tweet for man, one giant tweet for mankind.

The virtual realm has physically expanded once again as Timothy Creamer a.k.a. Astro_TJ made Twitter history by being the first person to tweet live from space.

Quote: twitter.com/NASA_Astronauts: “Hello Twitterverse! We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station — the 1st live tweet from Space! (cont)



Could this 2.0-bird be suffering from Infobesity? Then it must be the result of excessive infocalorie consumption.

Following people and news-sources on microblogservices like Twitter, has become a new addictive nature to many people. While our brains have only just adapted to print, radio, television and the (passive) internet, things worth knowing are now being funneled into them as if they were sponges. Read more


Designing Bugs That Eat Plastic

It is a well known secret that plastic hardly breaks down and almost all of the plastic ever made still floats around somewhere. With the great pacific garbage patch now twice the size of Texas and over 500 billion plastic bags produced a year – which take about a 1000 years to decompose – plastic is well on its way of becoming a basic material in the Earth’s ecosystem.

Earlier, we’ve discussed some of the dramatic effects of this material and suggested how a future microbe able to digest plastic could thrive on the vast amount of plastic ‘food’ available in the biosphere. It might take a million years, however, for a plastic-eating microbe to evolve.

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Orthorexia Nervosa: the healty eating disorder

Following anorexia nervosa (under eating) and bulimia nervosa (overeating), orthorexia nervosa (healty eating) is the latest eating disorder in the book. It is characterized by a fixation on eating what the sufferer considers to be healthful food, which can ultimately lead to early death.

While anorexia is typically associated with our visual culture and its unreachable beauty ideals, orthorexia seems closely related with our information age and the easy access to facts and figures. Today so many data about health benefits of our food are available – how it was processed, prepared, etc– and food packages are routinely decorated with scientifically detailed data on their contents. We are suffering from ‘overknowledge’.

While most of us respond to the food-data-overload with an occasional dosage of self chosen ignorance – forget about the facts, grab a burger! – people suffering from orthorexia will spend just as much time and energy thinking about food as someone with bulimia or anorexia.

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Retinal implant

The Eye of a Cyber Sapien

Retinal implant
An earlier post on this blog already displayed the possible future of sight using augmented contact lenses. Researchers at MIT take this second sight to a next level by creating a retinal implant that could help blind people regain much of their vision.

People receiving the implant would wear a pair of glasses with a built-in camera that wirelessly powers the implant and sends images to a micro-controller on the eye-ball. These are then processed and send to electrodes implanted below the retina.

Besides the immense value for blind people imagine the future possibilities for truly virtual and augmented reality. Always wanted infrared sight? Or would you prefer to hook it up to your Second Life account? You can also just watch a movie.

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Sixth Sense

Although this TED video has been all over the web and commented on this website already, it still deserves a separate post: Desigineers Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry of the MIT Media Lab – Fluid Interfaces Group envision a ‘Sixth Sense’ a wearable gestural interface to pave the way for a more profound interaction with our environment by augmenting it with digital information. The next nature thinking in their argument is striking:

We’ve evolved over millions of years to sense the world around us. When we encounter something, someone or some place, we use our five natural senses to perceive information about it; that information helps us make decisions and chose the right actions to take. But arguably the most useful information that can help us make the right decision is not naturally perceivable with our five senses, namely the data, information and knowledge that mankind has accumulated about everything and which is increasingly all available online.

Hence, they propose to blend all cultural information within the environment as a natural phenomenon. Culture becomes nature. Our environment becomes the interface again.

Of course, like with every emerging next nature, there is always an older nature lost: You’ll never be able to meet new people without immediately googling them.

Related: On the Road, Augmented phone browsingAvatar Machine, Datafountain, A Society of Simulations. Thanks Ton & Arnoud.


Placebo Buttons

Buttons are everywhere: throughout your day you press them on phones, alarm clocks, keyboards, elevators, dishwashers and of course on the computer screen. Although buttons did not exist in old nature – taken that nipples do not count as buttons – the little symbols of control have been ubiquitous throughout most of our lives. But for how long?

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