When a bird builds a nest, we call it nature, but when a human puts up an apartment building, suddenly it’s culture? As if the dividing line between nature and culture wasn’t difficult to draw already, artist Semâ Bekirovic is making it even more difficult.
For months she “fed” the family of coots in her environment with her own stuff (nude photo’s, old toothbrushes, etc), which the coots incorporated in their nest. The result is an artwork beyond her control.
Pity we can’t ask the coots how they feel about their new dwellings. Since they have constructed it themselves, they might be quite satisfied with their next nature building materials. It is merely our human perspective that makes the outlook of this next nest somewhat uncanny.
Getting information as fast as possible and on the spot is the trend. So what could be more direct than having information fired directly into the eye?
Today — together with his students — Babak A. Parviz, bionanotechnology expert at University of Washington, is already producing devices that have a lens with one wirelessly Radio Frequency powered LED. To turn such a lens into a functional browser, control circuits, communication circuits and miniature antennas will have to be integrated. These lenses will eventually include hundreds of semitransparent LEDs, which will form images in front of the eye: words, charts, imagery enabling the wearers to navigate their surroundings whithout distraction or disorientation. The optoelectronics in the lens may be controlled by a seperate device that relays information to the lens’s control circuit. Read more
Japanese design agency To-Genkyo proposes a dynamic freshness label for meat products. The hourglass-shaped label contains special ink that changes color based on the amount of ammonia emitted by the meat (the older the meat, the more ammonia it releases).
Hence you can easily read from the handy label if the meat is still fresh!! But wait.. could you not simple derive from the meat ITSELF if it is fresh? Well, some can perhaps, but nowadays most people can not ‘read meat’, so we need an authoritative label to tell us what we can and can’t consume.
Elegant detail: When the meat is no longer suitable for sale, the ink blocks the barcode at the bottom so that it cannot be scanned at the cash register.
Data-hungry companies like Google, Microsoft and Amazon could reduce their energy consumption with 40% by rerouting data to locations where electricity prices are lowest on a particular day. A smart routing algorithm could take advantage of daily and hourly fluctuations in electricity costs across the country (US) perhaps even the world. Further it could weigh up the physical distance needed to route information (it is more expensive to move data over greater distances) against the likely cost savings from reduced energy use. Energy prices fluctuate daily (changes in supply, consumer demand, fuel price hikes), even among geographically close locations. It is the outcome of research done by PhD student Asfandyar Qureshi and colleagues at MIT.
Google recently built a datacenter in Belgium that relies entirely on ambient cooling — on days when the weather gets too warm, the center’s servers are simply shut down. The energy-aware Internet-routing scheme is an extension of this idea says Bruce Maggs, vice president of research at Akamai. Data distribution alone will not be able to do the trick; servers need to use substantially less power when idle than when fully running. Further he remarks: “The paper is not about saving energy but about saving cost, although there are some ways to do both. You have to hope that those are aligned.”
The eye passes on more information to the brain than the brain will process. In that sense, the brain functions as a filter. But on the battlefield the risk of neglecting information could mean the difference between life and death. To take away the filter is the idea behind a pentagon-funded project to develop “brainwave binoculars”.
Intelligent binoculars can tap into the brain’s ability to spot patterns and movement to help soldiers detect threats from miles farther away than they can with traditional binoculars. Electrodes on the scalp inside a helmet will record the user’s brain activity as it processes information about high-resolution images produced by wide-angle military binoculars. Those responses will train the binoculars over time to recognize threats.
Meet A.T.R.E.E.M. (acronym for Automated Tree-Rental for Emission Encaging Machine), a device that compares daily activities, energy and products to the growth of a tree.
“From an ecological perspective, CO2 is a byproduct of the living, either directly or indirectly. From the economic perspective, CO2 may become the world’s largest commodity market. What do we consider the price of our own byproducts?
This project aims to criticise the carbon trading system as well as raise awareness of how good we are at destroying the planet.”
Ever wondered what happened to your old computer screen? At Monitex, a Grand Prairie, Texas recycler, workers strip picture tubes from used computer monitors. Tubes that work will be exported to a factory in Thailand, where they’ll be used in low-cost TVs. Broken ones are recycled domestically. Peculiar image of the week by Peter Essick.