At first brush, this looks stupid—a 3d-printing solution for a cardboard-and-scotch-tape problem—but watch the video; this is fucking brilliant (given my general skepticism and snarkery about 3D printing, that constitutes high praise indeed):
…and learned that, if you wanna know what it’s like being me, microdose LSD.
(DISCLOSURE: I have indeed dropped acid. It made me almost entirely unbearably me-like. None of this constitutes an endorsement of anything other than this particular episode of this podcase.)
Stick with it past; the breakdown around the 3min mark takes this from schtick to rad-as-fuckyeah!
This is a really fascinating video for anyone interested in the emergent complexities (and edge/corner-case failures) that inevitably arise when folks start fixing social problem with technology. It’s absolutely mandatory viewing for anyone who thinks they have a “simple” gun-control/gun-safety solution, especially one that involves “smart gun technology” (SPOILER ALERT: such solutions are not solutions at all).
Just as an aside, it seems a little over-cautious for WIRED to call these “potentially dangerous flaws” in the gun’s design: The gun can be fired by an unauthorized person in possession of the firearm (using magnets available at any hardware store), and it can also be disabled at a distance by an attacker with some minor soldering skills. Both of these hacks require very little skill (and not even all that much money) to execute now that the flaw is known. As such, the gun fails at both things it’s supposed to do (i.e., work in an an emergency and prevent unauthorized folks from making it work). The existence of these flaws guarantees that large agencies (military, law enforcement, etc.) will never use these unreliable solutions, and thus the price won’t come down due to economies of scale.
This smart gun is, at best, a novelty—and there is no reason to believe that any of the other early generation technologies will be any better until there is a fundamental change in how these are designed and engineered (e.g., the design needs to be open and companies need to start offering very high bounties for finding hacks, so that guys like the fella in the video have an incentive to buy these things as soon as they hit the market and start tearing them down).
Annoyed that they glossed over spring reverb, a very portable mechanical reverb solution, but this is otherwise a great intro to the history and significance of reverb in music.
More details here.
This is a commercial/charitable fundraising situation. The Humble Bundle folks and No Starch Press have bundled together a bunch of awesome books. Pay as little as $1 to get a few, $8 to get a bunch, and $15 to get them all. If you go in at the $15 level, you get ~$300 in books (all digital, all in multiple formats, all totally DRM-free, so you can read them however and wherever you like). It’s a really awesome deal (I bought plenty of Humble Bundles way before I ever was part of one—and, I’ll be straight with you: Being part of one as an author is a really big boon for me, too; my last Humble Bundle put an additional 30,000 copies of my book in front of eager makers, and helped me make enough money to stay afloat that year).
Even if you only drop a buck for the first five books, you’re getting some great stuff—Medieval LEGO is fun, the Scratch book is solid, and my son loved Lauren Ipsum (which is sort of a modern computer-science take on Phantom Tollbooth; he’s easily read it a half dozen times). Moving up to the $8 tier doesn’t just get you my book (which regularly sets you back ~$20), but also two of my favorite intro programming books (I learned Python from Teach Your Kids to Code, and Scratch Programming Playground is what taught my kid to code) and a really great manga book that’ll explain electricity to anyone. And, of course, going whole hog just piles on the awesomeness (again, I’m especially pleased to see a couple DIY hands-on electronics books here, especially since Arduino has gotten so dirt-cheap to get into). Every purchase doesn’t just benefit my publisher and me, but also Teach for America.
Sorry it’s taken me so long to post an update from our man in
Brussels, Arthur Lacomme. As you’ll recall he and his pals built some frikkin’ awesome! costumes/instruments/noisetoys for the Carnaval Sauvage de Bruxelles. You can see more pics and vid on Arthur’s website.
I love a lot of things about both this Carnaval Sauvage de Bruxelles thang and Arthur’s contribution to it, bot most of all I love their costumes. When I was very little my mother was a docent at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and so my earliest memories are of that museum, and especially their collections of Native American and African ritual art and “material culture.” I’ve always loved the dance costumes they have in their collection (similar to those shown below, which are in the AIC), and the dances that went with them, which were exuberant and otherworldly to me (much like the sounds that I like to dig out of unsuspecting electronics).
Arthur also pointed me to a few of his fellow Brusselers (Brusselman? Brusselsprouts?) similarly pushing out into the fringes of the Good Noise. I’m loving this!
Here’s Why the Eye:
and this is Hoquets:
PRO-TIP: Get both of these vids playing simultaneously in separate windows on your computer; the sounds layer-up in a fun way.
This is an easy one: the budget currently under consideration cuts the Environmental Protection Agency’a funding by ~30%. Right now the EPA has one (1!) toxicologist serving the six-state region that includes Michigan (where we just had an enormous lead-tainted-public-drinking-water problem). That’s down from four toxicologists a few years back—and even with 4x the staff they were overburdened.
It simply isn’t possible to assure safe air and water with the EPA running at two-thirds power—and if we want to increase domestic manufacturing, then we’re going to need to be even more diligent than we are today. Call yr reps and urge them to push for full funding of the EPA.
Long story short: “Net Neutrality” means that, just as the phone company must route all calls with the same priority and quality, broadband providers (like Comcast and AT&T) must treat all web traffic the same, and not, for example, make connections to Netflix super crappy so that you feel obliged to pay for OnDemand in order to watch Mad Max: Fury Road or Sophia the First.
You have until July 17 to tell the FCC how you feel about that. Submitting an official comment—one someone actually reads and takes seriously—is super easy:
- Go to this link and click “Express” (to get a form you can fill out and submit right there) or click “New Filing” (to upload a document you’ve already written).
- Express your feelings about Net Neutrality hitting on one (or more) of three key points:
- How has Net Neutrality impacted your life? Do you have an online business that would be FUBAR if Amazon got priority connections? Did a service that organically arose as a result of the net being an equal access zone improve your life (examples: Things you’ve learned off of YouTube, clients/jobs you’ve connected with over LinkedIn or Monster.com or a freelancing community, relatives you re-connected with via Facebook or genealogy websites, supportive communities you found in this forum or that sub-reddit, etc.)
- What do you understand you are buying when you pay for broadband? Is it more like a telephone line—a “telecommunications service” that creates value by giving you a clear connection to the information and services you want—or is an an “information service” in and of itself, that is, a service that creates value by giving you information? (Under FCC rules, telecommunications services require greater regulation than information services.) If you go online and go to YouTube to watch a video, then Facebook to kibitz with pals, then check your Gmail, your broadband is a telecommunications services. If, on the other hand, you boot up your laptop, rub your hands together, and say “Ah! Time to go check the Comcast website for the latest news and weather, then go to the Comcast Cat Video service to watch some cat videos, then head on over to ComcastBook to chat with my pals!”, then it probably makes more sense to call Comcast an “information service.” (Yes, I realize most of the “Comcast information services” I listed don’t exist; that’s the point. They offer few “information services,” and most other ISPs don’t even offer those.)
- Competition. If your current ISP decides to start blocking YouTube traffic and slowing Netflix to a crawl, can you just lickety-split change services to one that treats all traffic equally, or is it hard, expensive, or impossible to switch, or even shop around, because competition is too scarce?
(Ars Technica has a great article going into detail about this approach to discussing Net Neutrality with the FCC. Highly recommended read!)
Here’s a draft of my comment:
I do not believe that the FCC should reclassify broadband as an “information service.” As a consumer, it’s plain as day that I’m purchasing “telecommunications service” from Comcast when I pay for my broadband access.
Although I’ve had broadband Internet access through either AT&T or Comcast for at least 15 years, I have never used either company for any of their “information services.” I currently use Apple, Amazon, and Google for cloud storage, FastMail and Apple for email hosting, NearlyFreeSpeech.net for web hosting, DynDNS for domain name services, ArborDomains for domain name hosting, the University of Michigan for my VPN, and Verizon, Skype, or Google for telephony. Heck, even though Comcast *does* offer cable TV and streaming video, I don’t use that service (they dropped the only channel I wanted), instead relying on Netflix, YouTube, Apple, and Amazon.
Comcast actually does a pretty good job of providing me with a telecommunications service–but to call that an “information service” is as obtuse as calling the highway system a “grocery service” simply because the grocery store has produce delivered via truck.
When I pay Comcast, I’m paying them for fast and reliable broadband service, connecting me to the many “information services” I want, value, and pay to use.
Thank you for your time and attention.
David Erik Nelson . . .
Go forth and tell your government how you want them to handle regulating this vital public utility.