Interview: Floris Kaayk, the Visionary Creative Mind Behind Human Birdwings
“News Machine” Illustrates the Effects of Media Distortion
The News Machine is a contraption that explains the news distortion that happens when a message is broadcast through different media. The starting point is a tweet sent from a tablet, then the 140 character sentence is echoed through different media filters and into print. The transmission alters the original tweet slightly through slight mistranslations between the filters. The final result is a twisted version of the original source.
Hire a Hyperreal Girlfriend to Look Better on Facebook
Dave Lee, a technology reporter at BBC News, experimented with hiring a women for $5 in order to get the coveted Facebook status: ‘In a relationship with’. “Sophia” – not her real name – offers her services as a make-believe girlfriend through the website Fiverr. According to Lee, many men hire fake girlfriends to look better on social networking sites or to make their exes jealous. Though Sophia was not real, for a few days she was “real” to Lee’s friends and acquaintances on Facebook.
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
Software Fakes an Active Social Life While You’re on the Sofa
CouchCachet promises to give you the fully-booked, in-the-know life while you are on the Sofa.
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.
That Website Smells!
Do you ever miss being able to smell the woods in an online travel journal? The odor of a new leather jacket in an online shop? Or perhaps you just couldn’t find the words in an email to describe the delicious scent of your freshly baked goods?
DigiScents did, or at least thought a lot of consumers in 2001 were encountering this gap in the day’s technology. The idea of adding smell to the way we communicate online unfortunately was not successful. Failing to surpass the prototype stage, its ambitious concept to link our rapidly growing technology use to more senses than our eyes and ears, actually does something more: It reveals the true colors of the technology we use.