From a planet not far from the Telestereoscope, two projects have just entered our universe…
The Eyeteleporter, a wearable cardboard periscope that displaces your vision about two feet in any direction:
And Pinhole Selfies, a delightful mashup of retro tech with millennial idiom:
Hat tip to Brock Hanson for the links.
Update: I just realized that the pinhole selfie photographer, Ignas Kutavicius, is the same fellow who invented the amazing solargraphy technique of capturing the sun’s movement with a long exposure pinhole camera. Brilliant!
Science writer, TED talker and all-around interesting fellow Joshua Foer has built himself a device that does for sight and hearing what our Telestereoscope did for sight alone: a Topophonic Telestereoscope. You have to scroll down a bit on his single-page website to find it (apparently Foer doesn’t believe in permalinks) but I assure you there’s nothing but inspiring stuff between here and there, so it’s worth a scroll.
I’m a big fan of color coding. I use it to help me wrap my head around complex tasks, like computer animation. I’m also a pretty harsh judge of color coding schemes, especially for transit systems. Growing up in New York spoiled me for good in that regard: the subway there has its flaws, but color is not one of them. Having synaesthesia also makes me tend to organize names by color in my head (but usually only in my head, since nobody else shares my personal alphabet of colors.)
One of the problems with any color coding scheme is that the more things you need to code, the harder it gets to choose distinct colors. But where exactly is the limit? That’s the subject of this interesting paper, A Colour Alphabet and the Limits of Colour Coding(PDF) by Paul Green-Armytage. The lengths these folks went to to understand the problem are impressive. The paper also has great sentences like “Ivan is the colour of the letter G but four people saw it as Adam.” (Thanks to Mike K. for the link!)
Andy James works with Chautauqua students, including Shayla Malm, left, during a recent music class. Photo by Elizabeth Shepherd
My friend Andy James teaches elementary school on Vashon Island, a rural community a short ferry ride from Seattle. He’s got a real passion for teaching, and my conversations with him about it always leave me inspired. His latest project is no exception: faced with a new role as music teacher, he decided the thing to do would be to get the kids to compose, perform and record an entire album. And they did it. Not just any album, mind you: a concept album made entirely of original songs written by the kids, based on a South American folk story called “The Whistling Monster”. Now they’re selling the CD to raise funds for the school (and in the process help save Andy’s job, which like many teachers’ is on the chopping block). I haven’t heard the music yet, but if I know Andy it’ll be worth a listen!
The whole operation is pretty low-tech, so as of now you can’t buy the CD online.Update: Chautauqua Elementary School has made the CD available online! You can order it here in MP3 form or as a physical disk. Take a listen, and leave a comment below if you’ve got anything to say!
Eric Rodenbeck just pointed me to this gorgeous little game for the iPhone: Drop7. It combines the best elements of Tetris and Sudoku, but somehow transcends them both. While most games start out interesting and then plateau, this one actually gets better with time. It tempts you to come up with ever-more-creative ways to set up the domino-like chain reactions that yield the highest scores. The design is also solidly appealing (hey, with two nice weights of Helvetica, how can you go wrong!) And is it addictive? Ohhhh man, is it ever. The first time I played it, I was on a hard-seated chair. I don’t know how long I was sitting there, but when I tried to stand up, I couldn’t feel my toes. Both of my legs had gone to sleep. It’s that addictive.
My only critique is that every single number is the wrong color. Consult a synesthete next time, ok guys? :-)
Encyclopedia Pictura has just released the video for my favorite song on Bjork’s latest album… and the video’s as good as the song! Apparently the video was shot in stereoscopic HD. Don’t know how we’ll ever get to see it that way, but in the meantime, here’s a not-too-shabby quicktime. (Don’t bother with YouTube‘s version, it’s intolerably compressed.)
Thanks to Guido for the link! See also Cartoon Brew for a making-of video and other links…
This may be the coolest thing I’ve heard on the radio since Joe Frank. It’s a show called Radio Lab. It’s hard to pin down exactly what kind of show it is: is it straight-up science documentary a la “Nova”, or a “My Dinner with Andre” style conversation, or a Negativland-influenced audio collage? I’ve listened to two of the first five shows (Emergence and Time) and I can’t make up my mind. Here’s what they say about themselves:
Okay, this may be the coolest little hack I’ve ever seen, and simple enough that even a non-engineer like me could do it: LED “Throwies”, brought to us by Make Magazine. They’re basically little LED lights connected to a battery and a magnet, which you can attach to any ferromagnetic surface simply by tossing it at it. Ever wanted to see your name in lights? Now’s your chance! Be sure to check out the excellent video by Resistor and Fi5e.