Tour The International Space Station.

Float in space w/ new @Google Street View of @Space_Station! See Where crew exercise, conduct @ISS_Research + more: bit.ly/2uMmTif

Very cool!

Via Raw Story.

Romancing The Gibbet.

For those who prefer their tourism a bit on the grisly side of history, There’s Romancing The Gibbet, a new app.

Academics from Bristol in southwest England have developed a mobile phone app that alerts walkers when they pass some of the goriest sites from the region’s history.

As part of a project called “Romancing the Gibbet”, the University of the West of England has funded a series of audioguides that play excerpts of 250-year-old ballads and court proceedings as listeners pass the scenes of notorious crimes.

“The extraordinary 18th century practice of hanging and sometimes gibbeting selected felons – exhibiting their bodies to public view in iron cages – at the scene of their crime was intended to leave an indelible and exemplary impression on disorderly villages and small towns,” the university said.

There’s more at Reuters, including some of the specific murders and murderers who are part of the touring app.

Net Neutrality: A Foreshadowing.

Screencap via GIPHY.

Sites across the web today devote their digital real estate to protecting net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission regulations that ensure every website can be accessed at equal speed and convenience. If you’ve visited Reddit, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Google, or Netflix, you may have read that these Obama-era regulations preventing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from charging extra for faster web connections are in danger, thanks, in part, to FCC chief Ajit Pai. The principle behind these regulations is that the internet, like water and electricity, is a utility that everyone should have equal access to. Without the internet, it’s nearly impossible to participate in modern society.

So, for a glimpse into the future of a net without neutrality, we’ve gathered 10 infuriating loading screen GIFs from artists like Alex Apostolides and Nikita Liskov. Spoiler: they never end. For more details on how net neutrality works and the specific threat facing it today, click here. But to feel the pain of a future without it, simply scroll on down.

And it is painful, believe me. I get enough of this painful already with Verizon, it does not need to be worse, but that’s what we all have to look forward to, unfortunately.

To learn how you can help protect net neutrality, click here.

There’s more at The Creators Project.

Cool Stuff Friday.

Alexey Kondakov.

Ukranian multimedia artist Alexey Kondakov flexes his Photoshop prowess to take characters from classical paintings and transport them into everyday  scenes in his series “Art History in Contemporary Life”. The ongoing project sees the artist take banal photographs of contemporary urban life — from subway cars to waiting rooms and trash-filled alleyways, and inserting figures from paintings by the likes of Bouguereau and Holbein. In doing so, Kondakov creates a playful meditation on the nature of time, overlapping époques and cultural contexts. See more of his work on his Facebook page.

You can see more at iGNANT.

File this under Want. As a whole house full of want. It’s a chair which is also a bookshelf, which is in turn, part of the larger bookshelf. This is brilliance. You can see much more and read all about it at iGNANT.

Danli Hu.

A thought-provoking project by interactive designer Danli Hu reminds us that reality has never been concrete. Made for Hu’s graduate program in Design and Technology at New York’s Parson’s the New School, Touching the Void allows users to feel objects that aren’t really there.

“Humans are visual animals; we rely on our eyes and believe the world is exactly like what we see. We think an object physically exists in our real world because we can perceive it with our eyes and feel it with our hands. Creating a virtual object, which is unseeable but provides physical sensations despite its invisibility, challenges people’s definition about virtual and reality,” explains Hu on her website.

You can see and read more at The Creators Project.

The Museum of Failure.

Oh, this is absolutely grand, and you can read all about it, and see more at The Creators Project, or just head over to The Museum of Failure in Helsingborg, Sweden. On July 13th, the museum will be having a failed beer tasting:

July 13 / 19:00 – 21:00

Explore the world of good, bad and experimental beer with Brygghuset Finn  www.brygghusetfinn.se

The Museum is also on tour, and will be doing pop ups in Gothenburg, Sweden, Istanbul, Turkey, Miami Fl, USA, New York City, USA, and Stockholm.

BIEM.

Courtesy of BIEM.

BIEM is a new sexual health app, designed to help de-stigmatize testing, and make communicating results with partners easier, too.

With the goal of removing stigmas and empowering a new generation to take action, Biem is offering the world’s first virtual sexual health clinic. The app, which launched today, allows users to discreetly talk one-on-one with sexual healthcare providers, get tested right at home, receive results directly to their phones and effortlessly share the information with sexual partners.

Bryan Stacy, Biem’s founder and CEO, created the mobile app’s concept after he was diagnosed with Chlamydia and testicular cancer at once.

“I realized that the worst part of the entire experience was the two-month period before I was diagnosed—the time during which I felt something was wrong, but rationalized it away,” says Bryan about the motivation for developing Biem. “I knew I had to eliminate the barriers that keep people in this damaging loop.”

Notably, Biem doesn’t require a subscription and complies with all medical regulations. The app’s judgement-free, information-forward experience requires a video chat with one of Biem’s healthcare providers prior to getting tested, and costs $45 for each session. Once complete, users will get tested through one of the app’s lab partners hosted throughout the United States. If users prefer being tested at home, there’s an additional $45 fee.

As STD rates in the U.S. rapidly rise, Biem hopes to address the national epidemic with a platform that eliminates “the awkwardness, shame and inconvenience that prevents people from getting tested and talking to their sexual partners about health and STDs.” Unlike other online heath clickbait, which often employs fear mongering tactics, Biem is an LGBTQ-friendly alternative that merges convenience with personalized care.

Courtesy of BIEM.

Via Out. You can download BIEM here.

Jumping Spiders, Galileo, and Twitter.

Kaldari/Wikipedia.

A fascinating story about a rain of jumping spiders, their penchant for hunting laser dots, scientists being brought together on Twitter, and how Jumping Spider eyes are built just like Galilean telescopes – they can see the moon. If you, like me, start following videos from the main one at the site, you’ll find all manner of people who keep these friendly and smart beings as companions.

The Atlantic has the full story.

BOTulism.

Twitter Audit.

Bots have always been a problem. They are now a much bigger problem, on Twitter in particular. Too many people are gullible, and far too many people simply do not take minutes out to fact check things. Fact checking can be tedious, but it’s part and parcel of being informed these days. Twitter bots have gotten a bit more sophisticated, not much, but enough to fool people, and that’s really all they need to do. This makes it much more difficult to refute all the fakery and Trakery™ out there. Bots can also outperform people, so there’s much more nonsense than valid information on the loose.

A bot will write on Twitter in clunky English, reciting paragraphs of propaganda or fake news in compartmentalized tweets, often featuring rudimentary linguistics and nondescript profiles. Unlike computer programs, frustrated citizens and real people online engage with the context of specific posts, respond to counterpoints and typically use profiles that reflect human personalities. “They’re yelling fools,” Philip N. Howard, a sociologist at the Oxford Internet Institute, told the New York Times, “and a lot of what they pass around is false news.”

But bots—including those designed to support the Trump presidency—are continuing to invade social media and create chatter at such a rapid speed, that the differences are becoming blurred for many users attempting to keep a grasp on reality in 2017.

[…]

But as of recently, many of those bots appear to have one common and undeniable goal: to protect and defend the 45th president of the United States.

[…]

The Trump bots are active virtually 24/7, and especially during times when the president is furiously tweeting.

“A bot army can be utilized for a number of dishonest purposes, chief amongst them, misrepresenting public sentiment about whichever topics the controller has interest in,” Brad Hayes, fellow at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab’s Interactive Robotics Group, told NY Daily News Saturday. “If 3 million people started tweeting in favor of or against a particular topic, would it shift public perception? What if those same 3 million people targeted every source you use for information? It’s fair to say that this kind of written ‘show of force’ can certainly alter perceptions.”

There’s much more at Raw Story.

Cool Stuff Friday.

Sharif Hamza.

Sharif Hamza.

London-born, New York-based image maker Sharif Hamza collaborated with make up artist Georgina Graham and video artist Tony Oursler to create the photography project “Purple. Oursler”.

You can see and read more at iGNANT.

 

無料欲望/yoshi47 from GOOKUDA on Vimeo.

Mural for “Forest For the Trees” in Portland.

The art of Yoshi47 is a must see, vibrant, engaged, happily psychedelic, and mindful. You can see much more, and read more at Spoon & Tamago.

 

And last, but not least, TOIO!

Toio, at first glance, is stunningly simple: the core of the toy is just 2 white cubes with wheels. But don’t be fooled by their appearance. The tiny cubes pack a whole lot of tech. They respond to motion, are able to detect the exact location of the other, and can be programmed but also remote controlled.

It would seem that the possibilities for toio are endless, which is why the developers teamed up with various creatives and designers to come up with various craft sets that help kids explore what robots can do. You can create your own robotic beast and battle others, you can play board games with them and you can make obstacle courses for them to go through. Sony has even teamed up with Lego for this project, allowing kids to build Lego structures on top of their robots.

But one of the most attractive features is a craft set designed by the folks behind the lovable PythagoraSwitch TV segment. It’s a simple paper set that encourages kids to join the two white cubes using paper. The cubes then interact with each other and come alive, resulting in different movements.

Check out the videos to get a better sense of what toio can do. Sony has released a limited quantity of toio sets that start at 21,557 yen (about $200 USD) and go up to 33,415 (about $300 USD) depending on how many craft sets you want to add on.

Via Spoon & Tamago.

Here Lies Imzy, RIP.

Credit: Imzy.

Imzy, the “nice Reddit” has been laid to rest, and is being mourned by its users. It would seem that nice has little place on the ‘net, and has once again been chased into small pockets here and there in the netverse.

After a long bout of illness and injury sustained from battling racism, misogyny, and general depravity, Imzy — the last hope for human decency on the internet — has died. It was 2 years old.

Imzy, the “nice Reddit” created by Jessica Moreno and Dan McComas, two former Reddit executives who left the company in 2015 amid intense controversy over their anti-harassmentpolicies, will officially shut down June 23.

The reason? There’s no room for a platform that promotes basic politeness in the social media market.

In a blog post announcing the impending shut down Wednesday, McComas wrote “it is time for us to shut down the site” as Imzy couldn’t find a “place in the market.”

[…]

Imzy’s sunset isn’t just a loss for users, who regarded it as a place of belonging, it’s also a sign that the worst things about human interaction — bullying, harassment, forums dedicated to promoting racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia, unsolicited photos of genitalia, beheading and other snuff videos, child pornography — are likely permanent fixtures on the internet, and by extension in society.

[…]

Maybe this is what life on the internet is supposed to be. After all, the internet is just a mirror of the society it serves and a product of the biases and blind spots of a technology’s creators, so why would we expect it to be any different? Why should the internet somehow be better than the casual and blatant nastiness people experience every day?

It seems that belief in duality persists, this idea that online is distinct and separate from ‘real’ life. Yes, the ‘net is societies, writ large, often in crayon and spray paint. There’s a whole lot of ugly in human societies, so it should not be a surprise that ugly rears up on the ‘net. There’s a whole lot of kindness and creativity in human societies too, and that also shows up on the ‘net. It’s true that nice, fun, and kind don’t garner the same attention as ugly and malicious; we are all attracted to the worst excesses of humankind, if for no other reason, to tsk and be shocked that people could do such a thing. I’ve done my own tiny experiments here on Affinity, with doing nothing but art / photography / nice and fun stories in a day of blogging. When I do that, my stats take a serious hit. Blog about politics, assholes, bigots? Much better for my stats. I try to strike a balance, but it’s not always easy to do.

I am not a social person, at my keyboard, or away from it. I find socializing to be exhausting, and can only handle it in limited amounts, so for someone like me, the internet is ideal, because I can wander away when it all becomes too much. That’s why I don’t indulge in social media much, because being involved with social media means being involved with people, and all the consequent obligations to those people. I don’t think there is any particular reason nice can’t thrive on the ‘net, there are pockets of it all over the place, if you go looking. PZ has written about Mastodon a couple of times, and seems to enjoy it. If you’re trying to be a massive media giant, maybe it doesn’t work so well, I don’t know. Imzy had a great deal of money in October, $8 million. I won’t pretend to understand why it’s now being considered a failure, and those in charge don’t seem to want to explain it fully. Perhaps if there was less focus on the money, nice would thrive better on the ‘net, I don’t know. Seems to me that greed and nice don’t go hand in hand, but what do I know?

Think Progress has the full story.

Cool Stuff Friday.

Archive Dreaming from Refik Anadol on Vimeo.

Archive Dreaming, a stunning project, and one I hope becomes a reality before I die, because it would be an amazing experience! You can read all about this, and see more at The Creators Project.

Minutiae Photos.

There’s a new app in town, but it’s not like other social media in any way. This one is to document entirely mundane moments of your life, and you don’t get to do it at any given time.

Thus was born Minutiae, an anonymous photo-sharing app that, unlike uber-serious photography apps, encourages people to embrace the boring and mundane instead of meticulously sculpting the digital replica of their everyday lives.

Once a day, at random, all participants receive an alert to take a photo simultaneously, regardless of time zone. After taking the photo, the user is paired with a random stranger somewhere in the world who also just took a photo, and they are given 60 seconds to browse their chronological timeline or that of the stranger with whom they were matched. When the minute expires, the app shuts down, and the users must wait for the next alert to use the app again. Beyond the anonymity and its focus on the quotidian, Minutiae also prevents users from following anyone.

Despite Minutiae being a fully functioning app, Adolfsson and Wilson agreed that it should really be an artwork in and of itself. As Wilson tells Creators, it helped that they had a bit of a Swedish Arts Council funding instead of venture capital, so they were able to make what they see as a collective embrace of global mundanity.

“Our thesis is not that social media is ‘bad,’ just that it ends up making us look at the world, and documenting our experiences, in a very particular way,” says Wilson. “Through our use of Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat, etc., we are in the continuous process (often unconsciously) of refining filters that determine how we capture our lives… Minutiae frees us from this pressure to perform since you no longer have the option to choose what you are documenting—connections are singular and random.”

Another way Minutiae frees users, according to Adolfsson, is by restricting the time spent on the app to one minute per day. This flies right in the face most apps, which are designed to keep users locked in for as long as possible, or returning again and again like an addict.

“The app is a tool to help participants document their own in-between moments of life,” says Adolfsson. “The type of moments that we usually don’t think of as important enough to capture.”

You can see and read more at The Creators Project. Minutiae.

Metalliferous Streams from Eric Bellefeuille on Vimeo. All I have is WOW.

Paris at night by Roberto Estupinián.

Amazing, exquisite photos of Paris at Night.