Tag: Hyperreality

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

Couch Cachet automatically updates social network information

Software Fakes an Active Social Life While You’re on the Sofa

Now that our cooler friends can Instagram, tweet, and FourSquare the heck out of every underground concert and speakeasy cocktail, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) has become a persistent problem for the less-hip. But there’s hope for those who would rather spend their Saturday nights watching re-runs of Downton Abbey than heading downtown to the newest brewpub.

The new application CouchCachet promises to give you the fully-booked, in-the-know life you so desperately wish to present. The app is a full-service social booster: Not only does it check you in to the trendiest places in your neighborhood, it also periodically tweets obscure lyrics and photos of hipsters in skinny jeans. As one of the quotes from the site says: “I can finally  be who I want you to think I am”. And what you are, along with the rest of the internet, is mostly an algorithm.

Via the New York Times.

Boomeranged Metaphors

Nature Deficit Disorder

Will this one day be public disease number one? For now, it’s our peculiar image of the week. Thanks Frits.

shit golden glitter
Fitness Boosters

A Pill for Golden Poop

Sure, there’s a pill to make your sweat smell like roses, but what about a pill that makes your poop look sparkly? Part of a high/low culture collaboration with Tobias Wong and Ken Courtney, Gold Pills are a $425 indulgence that promise to fleck your doo with bits of 24K gold. First exhibited in 246 and Counting at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, these pills are now available in an unlimited edition from the CITIZEN online store.

Food Technology

Inside the Fastfood “Photokitchen”

Why does your food look different in advertising than it does in the store? A Canadian McDonald’s marketing manager tries to answer this common question with a behind-the-scenes videos, providing insight into the fastfood behemoth’s “photo-kitchen”.

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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Braille 2.0

Text for blind people using the Braille alphabet has been around for some time. But instead of making separate books for the visually impaired, why not change the way we all read?

With Braille 2.0, you simply scan text with your finger. Tiny implants will digitalize the text and transmit it to an ear implant. The implant converts the text into spoken words that are projected into the ear.

Other applications of the system are also appealing for people with full vision. Adding the function of translating or explaining a word’s meaning will give readers a richer experience.  Instead of looking words up in the dictionary, you scan it and get the meaning projected through your ear implant. Reading in the dark might even be possible. Now everyone can go to the library and pick up any book he wants to read, with or without vision.

(Picture from http://coronavisions.blogspot.nl/2012/05/7-useless-gadgets.html)

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.

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Nanotech Generates the Blackest Black

As the NANO Supermarket opens discussions on the ethics, purpose and usability of nanotechnology, Frederik De Wilde is researching its artistic possibilities. De Wilde is a guest professor at the Transmedia program at the LUCA School of Arts in Brussels and artist in residence at the University of Hasselt. For a few years he has used nanotechnology to generate “super-black” artworks.

One technique is to ‘grow’ carbon nanotubes on a silicon wafer. When a photon approaches the surface it slips in between the nanotubes, and cannot be reflected. Because colors are generated through the reflection of photons, the surface of De Wilde’s artworks appear to be blacker than black. When applied to a complex 3D object it appears to be just a silhouette, because no reflections, highlights or shadows can be seen. The works of De Wilde are reminiscent of Anish Kapoor’s Descent into Limbo shown at De Pont in Tilburg, Netherlands.

Frederik De Wilde takes part in a selection for the TED2013 programme with his talk. Good luck with this.